January 12th, 2011

copshows| Stickup Man

ONTD_Political's PotD: January 11, 2011.

A Historic Vote In Sudan | There is jubilation in Juba, a young but scruffy city in Southern Sudan that could soon become the world’s newest capital. Hundreds of residents rallied in the streets, days before voting begins in a seven-day independence referendum that is likely to result in the south breaking away from the Khartoum-based north. The 2005 treaty brought to an end decades of civil war between the Islamic north and predominantly Christian and animist south. The south is expected to vote by around 99 percent to secede from the north - which will also give it a majority of Sudan's oil. Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir has stated he would honor the vote, whatever the outcome. Should the vote to secede pass, the hard work of defining borders, working out how to share oil revenue and more will have just begun. Collected here are images of Sudanese people participating in this week's vote.

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Full galleries:
anime, technology

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'

Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

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Not terribly political, but... kinda?

Cindy Jacobs Thinks Gay Soldiers Are to Blame for All the Dead Animals

January 2011 has not gotten off to a good start. Dead birds are falling from the sky, snow is paralyzing major cities, and a nutjob's shooting spree in Tuscon, Arizona has devastated a nation. So, naturally, out come the crazies to voice their insane opinions in a timely manner.

Cue preacher Cindy Jacobs, who's correlating dead blackbirds with the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which means that gay men and lesbians can serve their country proudly without having to shut up when someone asks them if they have a sweetheart back home for fear of losing their jobs because of their private lives.

In other words, Cindy Jacobs -- who might just be Amy Sedaris reprising her Strangers With Candy character, Jerri Blank (that blazer! that necklace! that hairline!) -- is here to clear things up for you: lesbians in the Air Force is killing drum fish.

Source: http://www.urlesque.com/2011/01/11/cindy-jacobs-dadt-dead-animals/

OP Says: The video is also posted at the source.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Pete King bill would ban guns within 1,000 feet of lawmakers

Pete King bill would ban guns within 1,000 feet of lawmakers

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), one of the few pro-gun control Republicans in the House, wants to make it illegal for someone to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of certain high-ranking federal officials, including members of Congress.

In addition to giving him and his colleagues protection, King told POLITICO that his purpose is also to protect constituents who want to meet with public officials and might be hesitant to do so in wake of the shootings in Arizona.

“It would give law enforcement the weapon they need to protect federal officials, and just as importantly, it would provide a large measure of security for those who want to meet with their federal elected officials,” said King, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

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Honestly, I don't see a problem with it. Sorry if impinges on your right to carry a bloody gun every fucking where; I think people's right to not be afraid someone is there to assassinate them because they are in the public eye is more important. You do not have the right to take a gun everywhere (which is why not near schools and not to the airport.) Deal with it.
a touch of life

Palin accuses critics of 'blood libel'

I'm not going to use the wtf pancake palin pic out there, because I liked that original bunny (RIP pancake bunny), she's wtf enough on her own.

canoe news

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them,” the conservative Tea Party favourite and former Alaska governor said in her first major response to critics.

“Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

Dude, I'm so not missing Jon Stewart tonight.

Tea Party-backed School Board in North Carolina Abolishes Integration Policy

Republican school board in N.C. backed by Tea Party abolishes integration policy

By Stephanie McCrummen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 12, 2011; 12:38 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. - The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood.

But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to "say no to the social engineers!" it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation's most celebrated integration efforts.

And as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits - logic that critics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation.

The situation unfolding here in some ways represents a first foray of tea party conservatives into the business of shaping a public school system, and it has made Wake County the center of a fierce debate over the principle first enshrined in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education: that diversity and quality education go hand in hand.

The new school board has won applause from parents who blame the old policy - which sought to avoid high-poverty, racially isolated schools - for an array of problems in the district and who say that promoting diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools.

"This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s - my life is integrated," said John Tedesco, a new board member. "We need new paradigms."

But critics accuse the new board of pursuing an ideological agenda aimed at nothing less than sounding the official death knell of government-sponsored integration in one of the last places to promote it. Without a diversity policy in place, they say, the county will inevitably slip into the pattern that defines most districts across the country, where schools in well-off neighborhoods are decent and those in poor, usually minority neighborhoods struggle.

The NAACP has filed a civil rights complaint arguing that 700 initial student transfers the new board approved have already increased racial segregation, violating laws that prohibit the use of federal funding for discriminatory purposes. In recent weeks, federal education officials visited the county, the first step toward a possible investigation.

"So far, all the chatter we heard from Tea Partiers has not manifested in actually putting in place retrograde policies. But this is one place where they have literally attempted to turn back the clock," said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP.

School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta referred questions on the matter to the district's attorney, who declined to comment.
Tedesco, who has emerged as the most vocal among the new majority on the nine-member board, said he and his colleagues are only seeking a simpler system in which children attend the schools closest to them. If the result is a handful of high-poverty schools, he said, perhaps that will better serve the most challenged students.

"If we had a school that was, like, 80 percent high-poverty, the public would see the challenges, the need to make it successful," he said. "Right now, we have diluted the problem, so we can ignore it."

So far, the board shows few signs of shifting course. Last month, it announced that Anthony J. Tata, former chief operating officer of the D.C. schools, will replace a superintendent who resigned to protest the new board's intentions. Tata, a retired general, names conservative commentator Glenn Beck and the Tea Party Patriots among his "likes" on his Facebook page.

Tata did not return calls seeking comment, but he said in a recent news conference in Raleigh that he supports the direction the new board is taking, and cited the District as an example of a place where neighborhood schools are "working."

Beyond 'your little world'

The story unfolding here is striking because of the school district's unusual history. It sprawls 800 square miles and includes public housing in Raleigh, wealthy enclaves near town, and the booming suburbs beyond, home to newcomers that include many new school board members. The county is about 72 percent white, 20 percent black and 9 percent Latino. About 10 percent live in poverty.

Usually, such large territory is divided into smaller districts with students assigned to the nearest schools. And because neighborhoods are still mostly defined by race and socioeconomic status, poor and minority kids wind up in high-poverty schools that struggle with problems such as retaining the best teachers.

Officials in Raleigh tried to head off that scenario. As white flight hit in the 1970s, civic leaders merged the city and county into a single district. And in 2000, they shifted from racial to economic integration, adopting a goal that no school should have more than 40 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, the proxy for poverty.

The district tried to strike this balance through student assignments and choice, establishing magnet programs in poor areas to draw middle-class kids. Although most students here ride buses to school, officials said fewer than 10 percent are bused to a school to maintain diversity, and most bus rides are less than five miles.

"We knew that over time, high-poverty schools tend to lose high-quality teachers, leadership, key students - you see an erosion," said Bill McNeal, a former superintendent who instituted the goal as part of a broad academic plan. "But we never expected economic diversity to solve all our problems."

Over the years, both Republican and Democratic school boards supported the system. A study of 2007 graduation rates by EdWeek magazine ranked Wake County 17th among the nation's 50 largest districts, with a rate of 64 percent, just below Virginia's Prince William County. While most students posted gains in state reading and math tests last year - more than three-quarters passed - the stubborn achievement gap that separates minority students from their white peers has persisted, though it has narrowed by some measures. And many parents see benefits beyond test scores.

"I want these kids to be culturally diverse," said Clarence McClain, who is African American and the guardian of a niece and nephew who are doing well in county schools. "If they're with kids who are all the same way, to break out of that is impossible. You've got to step outside your little world."

'Constant shuffling'

But as the county has boomed in recent years - adding as many as 6,000 students a year - poverty levels at some schools have exceeded 70 percent. And many suburban parents have complained that their children are being reassigned from one school to the next. Officials blame this on the unprecedented growth, but parents blame the diversity goal.

"Basically, all the problems have roots in the diversity policy," said Kathleen Brennan, who formed a parent group to challenge the system. "There was just this constant shuffling every year." She added: "These people are patting themselves on the back and only 54 percent of [poor] kids are graduating. And I'm being painted a racist. But isn't it racist to have low expectations?"

As she and others have delved deeper, they've found that qualified minority students are under-enrolled in advanced math classes, for instance, a problem that school officials said they've known about for years, but that strikes many parents as revelatory. Some have even come to see the diversity policy as a kind of profiling that assumes poor kids are more likely to struggle.

"I don't want us to go back to racially isolated schools," said Shila Nordone, who is biracial and has two children in county schools. "But right now, it's as if the best we can do is dilute these kids out so they don't cause problems. It sickens me."

In their quest to end the diversity policy, the frustrated parents have found some influential partners, among them retail magnate and Republican operative Art Pope.

Following his guidance, the GOP fielded the victorious bloc of school board candidates who railed against "forced busing." The nation's largest Tea Party organizers, Americans for Prosperity - on whose national board Pope sits - cast the old school board members as arrogant "leftists." Two libertarian think tanks, which Pope funds almost exclusively, have deployed experts on TV and radio.

"We are losing sight of the educational mission of schools to make them into some socially acceptable melting pot," said Terry Stoops, a researcher at the libertarian John Locke Foundation. "Those who support these policies are imposing their vision on everyone else."

'Disastrous' results

Things have not gone smoothly as the new school board has attempted to define its vision for raising student achievement. A preliminary map of new school assignments did not please some of the new majority's own constituents. And critics expressed alarm that the plan would create a handful of high-poverty, racially isolated schools, a scenario that the new majority has begun embracing.

Pope, who is a former state legislator, said he would back extra funding for such schools.

"If we end up with a concentration of students under-performing academically, it may be easier to reach out to them," he said. "Hypothetically, we should consider that as well."

The NAACP and others have criticized that as separate-but-equal logic.

"It's not as if this is a new idea, 'Let's experiment and see what happens when poor kids are put together in one school,' " said Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a think tank that advocates for economic integration. "We know. The results are almost always disastrous."

Many local leaders see another irony in the possible balkanization of the county's schools at a time when society is becoming more interconnected than ever.

"People want schools that mirror their neighborhood, but the bigger picture is my kid in the suburbs is connected to kids in Raleigh," said the Rev. Earl Johnson, pastor of Martin Street Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh. "We're trying to connect to the world but we're separating locally? There is something wrong."



S.C. Company Sells Engraved “You Lie” Component For AR-15 Rifle

UPDATE: As of Jan. 12 the webpage for the “You lie” etched rifle component is no longer available. Screen shots of the page are below. Palmetto State Armory president Jamin McCullam was not immediately available for comment.

A South Carolina gun and accessories company is selling semi-automatic rifle components inscribed with “You lie” – a tribute to the infamous words of 2nd District Republican Congressman Joe Wilson when he shouted at President Barack Obama during a congressional speech about national health care reform in the fall of 2009.

“Palmetto State Armory would like to honor our esteemed congressman Joe Wilson with the release of our new ‘You Lie’ AR-15 lower receiver,” reads a portion of the company’s website.

The product “is neither endorsed nor affiliated with Joe Wilson or his campaign,” according to a line of text at the bottom of the page. A picture of Wilson holding a rifle and standing in the company's gun shop appears on the same page. The company offers the components, marked “MULTI to accommodate most builds,” for $99.95 apiece.

“Only 999 of these will be produced, get yours before they are gone!” the website reads.

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gen || friends

A&E's "Beyond Scared Straight".

“Beyond Scared Straight” is Beyond Common Sense

Written by Joe Vignati on Jan 11, 2011
Joe Vignati:

On January 13th, A&E will premiere its new series Beyond Scared Straight touting the benefits of Scared Straight programming to an unsuspecting U.S. audience.

Unfortunately, there’s little new to be presented, either in effective programming for youth or responsible broadcast standards for prime time television.

The original Scared Straight!, produced in 1978, won an Academy Award (Best Documentary) for its Director, Arnold Shapiro.  This was followed by Scared Straight! Another Story (1980), and Scared Straight! 10 Years Later (1987), and, for good measure, Scared Straight! 20 Years Later (1999).

It appears that Mr. Shapiro is nothing, if consistent, in his messaging (he was also producer of the amazingly popular television shows Rescue 911 and Big Brother).  

Unfortunately for the viewing public, his message is amazingly wrong.

The premise behind scared straight programming is classic deterrence theory.  Take at-risk youth, put them in an adult prison, and expose them to adult prisoners so they get a taste of what their life could be like if they don’t change. The idea is that by inflicting kids with enough pain/discomfort now (through shock immersion in prison culture) this will discourage offending behavior in the future.

The new show and A&E’s website claim: “Over the years, both the prison program and the film have turned countless kids away from drugs, violence and crime, and kept them out of prison.”

When information is lacking, fear tends to proliferate.  This programming preys on parents and communities sometimes desperate to find a way to make an impact on a troubled youth.   

This type of get- tough message has great appeal: the spare the rod, spoil the child approach has deep roots in our culture and thrives on community fear and misinformation.

At the time that the original Scared Straight! first aired, we did not have the research to show what works in juvenile justice prevention and intervention. Fortunately, in the past 32 years since the original Scared Straight!  first aired, research has caught up with reality television and is able to provide us with the truth about some of Scared Straight’s claims.

In the short-term, Scared Straight programs succeed in getting a kid’s attention.  It seems rational, and surveys taken after the prison experience almost universally indicate that youth have had a strong reaction and are “going to clean up my act”.

But the research is clear, once the trauma of Scared Straight has worn off, meta-analysis shows that this intervention actually INCREASES the odds of offending compared to a no-treatment control group.

This research has been well-documented by Mark Lipsey, the Campbell Collaboration, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Reclaiming Futures, and others.

Their research separates juvenile justice system interventions into two broad categories:

  • Control Approaches – Scared Straight falls in this category.
  • Therapeutic Approaches –  Skill Building, Counseling, Multiple Service Delivery fall in this category.

 Multiple studies clearly show that Therapeutic approaches are effective, Control approaches are not effective. 

 It is important to also note that the US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention actively discourages the use of Scared Straight programming. Here’s why:

  • Scared Straight programming is not only ineffective, it may actually increase the participant’s risk of offending.
  • Research shows it does not work as intended and may have a negative impact

It may not make for good television but as good stewards of public funds it is our obligation to avoid the lazy sensationalism of easy, reality show “fixes” and ground our response to crime prevention in solid, research-based interventions that have proven their effectiveness.

Your tax dollars are being used to support a program that makes it more likely that juveniles will break the law. Isn’t it time that we direct our scarce resources towards programming that has been shown to reduce crime?



once upon a time

Sarah Palin, Blood-Libel Hypocrite

Sarah Palin is outraged. In a Facebook post this morning, she responds to critics who have suggested that her target map of Democrats, which put a crosshairs-like symbol over the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., may have contributed to the Tucson shooting.

Palin writes:

After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event. President Reagan said, "We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies … journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

That's what Palin believes. Each person is solely accountable for his actions. Acts of monstrous criminality "begin and end with the criminals who commit them." It's wrong to hold others of the same nationality, ethnicity, or religion "collectively" responsible for mass murders.

Unless, of course, you're talking about Muslims. In that case, Palin is fine with collective blame. Collapse )

Gay intern credited with helping to save Giffords’ life following Arizona shooting

A gay intern, who had been working for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) for only five days, is credited with helping to save the Congresswoman’s life after she took a gunshot wound to the head while appearing at a public event on Saturday.

Daniel Hernandez Jr., a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, was volunteering at the community event and was standing about 30 feet from Giffords when Jared Loughner opened fire on the congresswoman.

Six people in the crowd were killed, and 13 others injured, including Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

“When I heard gunshots, my first instinct was to head towards the congresswoman to make sure that she was OK,” Hernandez told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning.

“I had to lift up the congresswoman, because she was severely injured, and I wanted to make sure that she was able to breathe OK because there was so much blood,” he said.

“The congresswoman was alert. She was able to hold my hand when I asked her if she could hear me,” said Hernendez.

“I wasn’t able to get any words from her. She may have been trying, but because of the way that I was having to hold her it was a lot easier to just ‘if you can hear me Gabby just grab my hand to let me know that you’re okay.’”

The fact that Hernandez was nearby and able to react quickly probably saved Giffords’ life, said state Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson), a hospital physician.

Hernandez, a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, told the Dallas Voice that Giffords has “been a great ally to the LGBT community.”


Prominent Chinese Artist’s Studio Torn Down

The studio would have stood at the heart of an embryonic arts cluster on the outskirts of Shanghai, drawing luminaries from around the world.

It took two years to build, and one day to tear down.

The new Shanghai studio designed by Ai Weiwei, a protean artist who is one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese Communist Party, was completely razed at the order of government officials on Tuesday, Mr. Ai said in a telephone interview from Shanghai on Wednesday. Mr. Ai said a neighboring studio he had designed for a friend had also been destroyed.

“Everything is gone,” he said. “It’s all black now. They finished the job at 9 o’clock last night.”

It is the latest act in Mr. Ai’s escalating conflict with government officials over the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule — a clash that Mr. Ai now views as performance art.

Mr. Ai said he did not know why officials decided to destroy the studios, but suspects it was because of his political activities. He had known about the order to destroy the studios since last July, when construction on the buildings was completed, but was shocked to discover that workers had started the job at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Mr. Ai said officials had told him earlier that the destruction would not take place until after the first day of the upcoming Year of the Rabbit, which falls on Feb. 3.

“I called the officials and said, ‘You promised us not to take it down until after New Year’s Day,’” Mr. Ai said. “They said, ‘If the studio is to be taken down, it doesn’t matter if it’s sooner or later.’”

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Updates on both sides of things from Tucson

Giffords moves arms, survival odds at '101 pct'

One of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' doctors declared Tuesday she has "a 101 percent chance of surviving," as she made more progress, moving both arms and breathing on her own for the first time — just three days after a bullet shot through her brain.

Doctors emphasize she is in for a long recovery, and her neurosurgeon repeated his cautionary phrase of "she's holding her own."

But there was no denying what was clearly good news.

Giffords, a three-time Democrat, remains in critical condition at Tucson's University Medical Center where she was operated on Saturday after being shot during a meeting with constituents outside a Safeway supermarket. The attack killed six and injured 14 others. Six remained hospitalized.

Giffords' improvement has been incremental, but impressive. Doctors previously reported she raised two fingers of her left hand and gave a thumbs-up when responding to verbal commands. Now they say she is moving her arms.

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More warning signs on day of shooting

Investigators revealed more disturbing details about the events leading up to the assassination attempt against U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, including a menacing handwritten note in the suspect's home with the words "Die, bitch."

And on the day of the shooting, a mumbling Jared Loughner ran into the desert near his home after his father asked him why he was removing a black bag from the trunk of a family car, sheriff's officials said. Loughner resurfaced later Saturday when authorities say he showed up at a grocery store in a taxi and shot 19 people, killing six, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

Investigators provided the new details to The Associated Press and said they're still searching for the bag. They suspect it could contain clues into Loughner's motives.

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It's an, uh, interesting picture they are trying to paint of him and his family, and a lot of it rubs me the wrong way for reasons I can't quite put my finger on, like pointing out the mom always buying beer, making out what seems to me to be common politeness as "strange," that sort of thing.

ETA - From the comments, here are the first pics of Giffords in the hospital (same pics, just pick your source):
LA Times
garf tired

Pension Envy

Pension Envy

Tuesday 11 January 2011

by: Dave Johnson | Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed

Pension Envy

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Florencia Cárcamo, brinstar)

Since the 80s many employers have stopped offering health care, pensions and other benefits to their employees. Many are also cutting pay and hours, while increasing the workload. So more and more people are hurting. As more and more of us fall further and further behind, corporate/conservative propagandists use resentment to drive anti-union feelings. They tell people to oppose unions, saying, "Why should they have it so good?" The real question you should ask is, "Why should we have it so bad?"

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This video directs people to a STOP THE LIES website where you can sign up to add your voice, download a fact sheet and find other resources.


Sharron Angle Weighs in on Tucson

Sharron Angle Defends Inflammatory Rhetoric In Face Of Criticism

Nevada Republican Sharron Angle came to her own defense on Wednesday in response to criticism of her use of inflammatory language that made headlines and raised eyebrows during her unsuccessful campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during the midterm election season.

Angle and her questionable choice of words -- such as floating "Second Amendment remedies" as a possible solution to use "when our government becomes tyrannical" -- landed back in the spotlight following the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz. last Saturday in which numerous victims were wounded or had their lives taken.

CNN reports that Angle released a statement on Wednesday condemning "all acts of violence," but dismissing criticism of her choice of words as dangerous.

"I condemn all acts of violence," said Angle. "The despicable act in Tucson is a horrifying and senseless tragedy, and should be condemned as a single act of violence, by a single unstable individual."

The conservative favorite went on to defend herself, as well as Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement in response to recent criticism.

"Expanding the context of the attack to blame and to infringe upon the people's Constitutional liberties is both dangerous and ignorant," she said. "The irresponsible assignment of blame to me, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement by commentators and elected officials puts all who gather to redress grievances in danger."

HuffPost's Sam Stein reported last year on incendiary remarks made by Angle that came to light during her campaign:

Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate turned Republican primary winner in Nevada, has taken heat for a number of extreme affiliations and policy positions. One of the more outlandish was a statement she made during a radio interview last January in which she floated the idea that the public would bring down an out-of-control Congress with "Second Amendment remedies." ... In an interview she gave with conservative talk show host Bill Manders earlier in the campaign, Angle conspicuously floated, once again, "Second Amendment remedies" to deal not just with the supposedly ever-growing "tyrannical" U.S. government, but to replace her now general election opponent: Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).


Republicans Have Nothing to Fear from The Tea Party's Message of Fear *

*Unless you are Black, Gay, or Female...

Gabrielle Giffords' Arizona shooting prompts resignations

Anthony Miller: Maybe is because he doesnt look like a Republican...

A nasty battle between factions of Legislative District 20 Republicans and fears that it could turn violent in the wake of what happened in Tucson on Saturday prompted District Chairman Anthony Miller and several others to resign.

Miller, a 43-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident and former campaign worker for U.S. Sen. John McCain, was re-elected to a second one-year term last month. He said constant verbal attacks after that election and Internet blog posts by some local members with Tea Party ties made him worry about his family's safety.
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  • carmy_w

(no subject)


By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

On November 22, 1963, Mummy picked me up early from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Driving home to Hickory Hill in northern Virginia, I noticed that all the District flags were at half staff. Mummy told us that a bad man had shot Uncle Jack and that he was in heaven. Daddy's friend and former football teammate, Dean Markham, a Justice Department Rackets Division Attorney picked up my little brother David at Our Lady of Victory. "Why did they kill Uncle Jack?" David asked him. Dean, an ex-marine, combat veteran, known as the toughest linesmen on the "GI-Bill Squad," -- the toughest football team in Harvard University's history -- wasn't tough enough to field that question. He wept silently all the way to our driveway. When I got home, Daddy was walking in the yard with Brumus, our giant black Newfoundland and Rusty, the Irish Setter. We ran and hugged him. We were all crying. He told us, "He had the most wonderful life, and he never had a sad day."

Neither Beck, Hannity nor Savage nor the hate merchants at Fox News and talk radio can claim to have invented their genre. Toxic right-wing vitriol so dominated the public airwaves from the McCarthy era until 1963 that President Kennedy, that year, launched a citizen's campaign to enforce the Fairness Doctrine, which required accuracy and balance in the broadcast media. Students, civic and religious groups filed more than 500 complaints against right-wing extremists and hate-mongering commentators before the FCC.

The Dallas, Texas, airwaves were particularly radioactive; preachers and political leaders and local businessmen spewed extremist vitriol on the city's radio and TV stations, inflaming the passions of the city's legions of unhinged fanatics. There was something about the city -- a rage or craziness, that, whether sensible or not, seemed to have set the stage for Jack's murder. The Voice of America, half an hour after the assassination, described Dallas as "the center of extreme right wing." The Texas town was such a seething cauldron of right-wing depravity that historian William Manchester portrayed it as recalling the final days of the Weimar Republic. "Mad things happened," reported Manchester. "Huge billboards screamed 'Impeach Earl Warren.'" Jewish stores were smeared with crude swastikas. Fanatical young matrons swayed in public to the chant "Stevenson's going to die -- his heart will stop stop stop and he will burn burn burn!" The mercantile elite that ruled the city carefully cultivated the seeds of hate. Radical-right broadsides were distributed in public schools; the Kennedy name was booed in classrooms; junior executives who refused to attend radical seminars were blackballed and fired. Manchester continued:

Dallas had become the mecca for medicine show evangelists of the National Independence Convention, the Christian Crusades, the Minutemen, the John Birch Society and Patrick Henry Societies and the headquarters of right wing oil man H.L. Hunt and his dubious activities... The city's mayor, Earl Carroll, a right wing co-founder of the John Birch Society, was known as 'the socialist mayor of Dallas' because he maintained his affiliation with the Democratic Party.

Dallas's oil and gas barons who routinely denounced JFK as a "comsymp" had unbottled the genie of populist rage and harnessed it to the cause of radical ideology, anti-government fervor and corporate dominion.

Uncle Jack's speech in Dallas was to have been an explosive broadside against the right wing. He found Dallas' streets packed five deep with Kennedy Democrats, but among them were the familiar ornaments of presidential hatred; high-flying confederate flags and hundreds of posters adorning the walls and streets of Dallas showing Jack's picture inscribed with "Wanted for Treason." One man held a posterboard saying, "you a traitor [sic]." Other placards accused him of being a communist. When public school P.A. systems announced Jack's assassination, Dallas school children as young as the fourth grade applauded. A Birmingham radio caller declared that "any white man who did what he did for niggers should be shot." As my siblings and I visited the White House to console my cousins John and Caroline, a picket paraded out front with a sign, "God punished JFK."

Jack had received myriad warnings against visiting the right-wing Texas city. Indeed, there had been a sense of foreboding even within our family as he and Aunt Jackie prepared for the trip. Jack made an unscheduled trip to Cape Cod to say goodbye to my ailing grandfather. The night before the trip, Mummy found Jack distant and brooding at a dinner for the Supreme Court Justices. He was very fond of Mummy, but for the first time ever, he looked right through her.

Jack's death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance -- to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in the political landscape.

Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital room fighting for her life, and a precious nine-year-old girl is dead along with five others. Let's pray for them and for our country and hope this tragedy prompts another round of examination of conscience.



Man arrested over threats to kill McDermott

Man arrested over threats to kill McDermott
A Palm Springs man has been arrested for leaving phone messages threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, the Seattle Democrat.

By Jim Brunner
Seattle Times political reporter

A Palm Springs man has been arrested for leaving phone messages threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, the Seattle Democrat.

Charles Turner Habermann was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of threatening a federal official, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Habermann, 32, made two expletive-laced phone calls to McDermott's office on Dec. 9, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

In the first call, Habermann said he'd seen McDermott on television and was enraged by his comments opposing tax cuts for the rich.

"He's a piece of human filth. He's a liar, he's a communist, he's a piece of [expletive] garbage," Habermann said in the recorded message, according to the criminal complaint.
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ETA: More here.

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Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

Debates over education

 An irate caller gets into discussion with Education Secretary Michael Gove over his plans to reform the school league tables. (You will particularly enjoy this if you disagree with Gove, or if you like to hear BAMFy callers shout at politicians.)

The school league tables are changing, so that we are now going to have more information about schools than ever before. In particular, schools will be judged by how many children get five academic GCSEs: English; maths; science; ancient or modern history or geography; and a modern or ancient language. Seems like a good idea, no?

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More information on school league table reforms here  and here.

Six months for ‘isolated incident’

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

One of two brothers found guilty of burning a cross on an interracial couple’s lawn last February was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday.

But 21-year-old Nathan Rehberg of Avondale will spend only two more months in the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Burnside, thanks to credit for time already served.

“(Rehberg’s) offence was not part of any organized or even repeated individual hate campaign ... It was racially motivated, but it was not part of a broader community racial initiative,” Supreme Court Justice John Murphy said in rendering his decision yesterday in Kentville. “I think it’s fair to say it was an isolated incident.”

Rehberg, along with his younger brother, Justin, burned a two-metre cross on the lawn of Shayne Howe, who is black, and Michelle Lyon, who is white, on Feb. 21. Lyon is a distant cousin of the Rehbergs.

Howe and Lyon awoke that morning to a cross burning on their lawn and shouts of “die, n-----, die.”

Justin Rehberg testified that it was an attempt at vengeance for allegedly spreading rumours about the two men.

Murphy sentenced Rehberg to six months in prison for harassment, and four months for inciting hatred. The sentences are to be served concurrently, and Murphy granted Rehberg four months’ credit for the two months he served in custody before he was released on bail.

“This court, and any court in this country, has to indicate that a crime of this nature ... will not be tolerated in our society,” the judge told the court.

“Mr. Rehberg has to learn of the significance of the impact on the victims and on society in general.”

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I remembered seeing this story posted here so I thought I'd post a follow-up now that the sentencing is over.
john stewart shocked
  • aviv_b

2nd Amendment advocate says ban on high-capacity clips passes muster

Gun surprise: 2nd Amendment advocate says ban on high-capacity clips passes muster

By Michael Isikoff
NBC News National Investigative Correspondent

A leading gun rights advocate says there is no constitutional barrier to restricting the sale of high-capacity gun magazines such as the one used by accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner and that such proposals are justified to prevent “looney tunes” from committing more gun massacres.

Robert A. Levy, who served as co-counsel in the landmark 2008 Supreme Court case that established a Second Amendment right to bear arms, said there was no reason the court’s decision in that case should apply to the purchase of high-capacity gun magazines.

“I don’t see any constitutional bar to regulating high-capacity magazines,” Levy said in an interview with NBC. “Justice (Antonin) Scalia made it quite clear some regulations are permitted. The Second Amendment is not absolute.”


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Something sensible from gun-rights advocates - I'm well and truly shocked!

source: http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/12/5824805-gun-surprise-2nd-amendment-advocate-says-ban-on-high-capacity-clips-passes-muster

Buff Stuff

Transgender vets want military access for own

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before handcuffing herself to the White House fence, former Petty Officer First Class Autumn Sandeen carefully pinned three rows of Navy ribbons to her chest. Her regulation dress blue skirt, fitted jacket, hat and black pumps were new - fitting for a woman who spent two decades serving her country as a man.

Sandeen was the only transgender person among the six veterans arrested in April while protesting the military's ban on openly gay troops. But when she watched President Barack Obama last month sign the hard-fought bill allowing for the ban's repeal, melancholy tinged her satisfaction.

"This is another bridesmaid moment for the transgender community," the 51-year-old San Diego resident said.

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy now heading toward history does not apply to transgender recruits, who are automatically disqualified as unfit for service. But the military's long-standing posture on gender-identity has not prevented transgender citizens from signing up before they come out, or from obtaining psychological counseling, hormones and routine health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs once they return to civilian life.

So as the Pentagon prepares to welcome openly gay, lesbian and bisexual service members for the first time, Sandeen is not alone in hoping the United States will one day join the seven other nations - Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, the Czech Republic, Thailand and Australia - that allow transgender troops.

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Source has the complete article.

MetroPCS alleged to be violating net neutrality rules with new LTE plans

Well, it looks like the fine print in MetroPCS' new LTE pricing plans is causing more than just some confusion among MetroPCS customers -- as CNET reports, it's now also drawn the ire of several public interest groups, who allege that the carrier is violating the FCC's new net neutrality rules. For those not familiar with the new plans, they include a $40 plan for unlimited web browsing plus YouTube, and a $50 plan that adds 1GB of "additional data access" that covers things not considered to be "web browsing" by MetoPCS -- Netflix, Skype, etc. That, in effect, creates two different types of "data," and leaves MetroPCS as the only voice deciding what gets included in one plan and not the other. For its part, MetroPCS insists that its "new rate plans comply with the FCC's new rules on mobile open Internet," and that it is simply offering "increased consumer choice" by offering different rate plans. SOURCE

It's happening, guys!!
king rad

Poo-Gloos: The Wave of the Pooture!

Igloo-Shaped Devices Eat Sewage and Treat Wastewater

Inexpensive igloo-shaped, pollution-eating devices nicknamed "Poo-Gloos" can clean up sewage just as effectively as multimillion-dollar treatment facilities for towns outgrowing their waste-treatment lagoons, according to a new study.

"The results of this study show that it is possible to save communities with existing lagoon systems hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, by retrofitting their existing wastewater treatment facilities with Poo-Gloos," says Fred Jaeger, chief executive officer of Wastewater Compliance Systems, Inc., which sells the "Poo-Gloo" under the name Bio-Dome.
Kraig Johnson, chief technology officer for Wastewater Compliance Systems, will present the study Jan. 13 in Miami during the Water Environment Federation's Impaired Water Symposium. It also will be published in the symposium program.

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Source has stinktistics

ngl, I needed something lighthearted
peacock, snake eyes

The Goddess English

... pro-English campaigners from the 200-million-strong Dalit community, the oppressed "outcasts" of traditional Hinduism, [...] are erecting a black granite temple dedicated to the Goddess English, hailing her as a deity of liberation from poverty, ignorance and oppression.

"She's modelled on the Statue of Liberty, holds aloft a pen and India's constitution, and her pedestal isn't the usual lotus but a computer monitor," said English teacher Amarchand Jauhar, supervising the temple's construction in Banka village in northern Uttar Pradesh. "Without English, nothing is possible for us Dalits."

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Interesting take on language politics, and finally a deity I - a non-native speaker and teacher of EFL - could get behind?
movies | Impish Fräulein2

Live Post: "Together We Thrive: Tucson and America", Arizona Rally/Memorial.

Join Arizona Public Media, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with other invited guests as we begin the healing process with the people of Tucson, the nation, and the world to honor Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the many others  who were injured or lost in Saturday’s tragic shooting.
This program will air live from the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center, where thousands are expected to gather to share their sadness and hope for the future. The event will include a Native American blessing, a moment of silence, a poetry reading and the presentation of a chain featuring messages from members of the public.

ETA: Apparently we're getting our facts mixed up;  it's more a "Unity Rally" than a "somber memorial service", thus several news outlets are sort of projecting a partly false mood for the event by having "MEMORIAL" displayed across the bottom of the screen.

Thanks once again, mainstream media, for the bang-up job in accurate reporting! /Sarcasm
Bree Gun



O'Reilly and Hasselbeck have a conservative commiseration party over the fact that Republicans are being accused (in particular, by Tucson Sheriff Dupnik) of stirring up violence tied to their rhetoric.

Said Dupnik on Monday: "The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information. [Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences."

However, 10 months ago, Hasselbeck was singing a different tune, calling Palin's 'crosshairs' map "despicable".

SW - Raining Troops



I know we're going to have an awesome 2011, but in order to do so, your Mama Mod is here to go over some of the rules that need refreshing.

Rule #1: No sexual objectification of politicians. UNLESS THEY'RE CUU-UUUUTE~

Rule #2: No popcorn.gif. UNLESS THERE'S PLENTY TO GO AROUND!

Rule #3: No party posts. UNLESS THE MODS ARE INVITED!

Now, girls, we've been having some issues lately with HOW TO CONTACT YOUR MAMA MODS. As you know, we think of you all as our daughters, and we love it when you keep in touch, but some ways to do it are better than others.

What not to do: PM/email/tweet your favorite mama. We are a team, and we cannot do things on our own; when you contact one of us individually, don't be surprised if you only get a note back reminding you to use proper channels.

What to do: Email all of your mama mods at ontdpolitical@gmail.com. This address can be found in the community contact info in the profile. This account is set up to forward emails to each of our accounts. Or else use the open post at ontdp_mods, where comments default to screened. Keep in mind that oftentimes when you personally contact a mod, it's for things that a maintainer is required to handle in the first place - moderators cannot edit posts, delete or screen other people's posts or comments, or ban anyone. This is a good reason to use our methods of collective communication. That way a maintainer will be sure to see it ASAP.

Your mamas know that even if it's not your first time, sometimes posting to the community can make you nervous or frightened. But girls, we're here to make your time in this community as totally awesome as possible. So for all of us to get along in the mod queue, here is WHAT YOU NEED TO DOUBLE-CHECK WHEN YOU SUBMIT A POST. When we were young humans, we would screw up our posts all the time, but you don't have to do the same if you follow these four simple rules.

a) Source. Every post must have a link, and that link must not be to some frumpy little turd's blogspot. Acceptance is at mod discretion.
b) Tags. Every post must have them, and they must be existing ones. If you want to create a new tag, submit a request or say so in the post.
c) LJ cut. If you have to scroll to see the whole thing, put it behind a cut. If pictures are wider than 500 px, put them behind a cut, too.
d) Trigger warnings. USE THEM.

Additionally, always double check your HTML. We get a lot of submissions where the HTML is jacked.

IF YOU ARE NOT SURE IF A SOURCE IS OKAY OR WOULD LIKE TO DO A SPECIAL/NON-STANDARD POST, CONTACT US FIRST AND WE WILL GET BACK TO YOU. This will save you the pain of facing rejection from your mama. Human tears are very natural, but nobody wants to see you cry over your post getting the axe.

MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah


John Dingell Runs Through Litany Of Violent Rhetoric On House Floor (VIDEO)

Members of Congress have, by and large, stayed out of the partisan fray over violent rhetoric in the wake of the Arizona shooting spree. But there have been some exceptions. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took the opportunity to muse that the government may be withholding information about the crime because Jared Loughner is a flag-hating Marxist liberal who might embarrass President Obama.

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), by contrast, ran through a litany of now-infamous statements by high-profile politicians, leaving blank the names of people and issues under threat.

"Let me read some statements that I have seen to be pretty awful," he said on Wednesday.

Here they are in order:

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It's nice seeing an actual member of Congress calling this out.