January 14th, 2011

garf tired

Mark DeMoss Disbands 'Civility Project,' Citing Conservative Attacks, Grim View On Discourse

Mark DeMoss Disbands 'Civility Project,' Citing Conservative Attacks, Grim View On Discourse

Mark DeMoss, director of the Civility Project, a two-year-old effort launched at the beginning of the Obama presidency to prompt legislators across the nation to cool political rhetoric, decided to shut the campaign down earlier this month -- even before the latest resurgence of debate about "vitriol" and rhetoric sparked by the events in Arizona over the weekend.

DeMoss, an evangelical conservative with ties to some big-name Republicans, cited a general lack of interest, as well as pervading signs that the nature of political discourse appeared only to be deteriorating during Obama's first two years as president, as justifications for halting his program.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, DeMoss provided a little insight about how his project was received by some on the right.

"The worst e-mails I received about the civility project were from conservatives with just unbelievable language about communists, and some words I wouldn't use in this phone call," DeMoss told The Times. "This political divide has become so sharp that everything is black and white, and too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any liberal or Democrat. That would probably be true about some liberals going the other direction, but I didn't hear from them."

The pledge he sent to 585 sitting representatives, senators and governors in early 2009, asking them to sign on to the project's three tenets, was simple:

I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.

I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.

I will stand against incivility when I see it.

Yet two years after the launching of the initiative, he had only three signatures: Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Reps. Frank Wolfe (R-Va.) and Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).

"You three were alone in pledging to be civil," wrote DeMoss in a release this month announcing the closure of the group. "I must admit to scratching my head as to why only three members of Congress, and no governors, would agree to what I believe is a rather low bar."

While the lack of positive response appears to have been disheartening to DeMoss, he refrained from suggesting that there was any connection between increasingly contentious political discussions and the devastating violence in Arizona over the weekend.

"Whether or not there's violence, whether or not incivility today is worse than it's been in history, it's all immaterial," he told The Times. "It's worse than it ought to be."

movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: January 13, 2011.

Haiti (from October 2010) | [October, 2010 marked] nearly ten months since the devastating January earthquake struck Haiti, reducing Port-au-Prince to rubble and claiming over 300,000 lives. In the time since, Haiti's government, the United Nations, and many other aid agencies have struggled just to keep the population healthy and fed as it tries get back on its feet.The cholera strain is not native to Haiti, and reportedly matches strains found in South Asia, placing suspicion on U.N. personnel from that area who were stationed nearby. Some 1.3 million people are still crammed into thousands of makeshift camps dotted around the capital, leaving them vulnerable to both disease outbreaks and the elements - of particular concern as Tropical Storm Tomas approached.

Note: "Haiti, One Year Later" to follow, tomorrow; sit tight.

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Full Gallery:
Alison - Cross Country

Jon Stewart asks Tim Pawlenty if conservatives really believe the shit they say

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Tim Pawlenty Extended Interview
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Resident Jon Stewart stan here. Sorry if this is too much Stewart for you guys, but I'm genuinely curious* about the reaction from people here who are angry at him for perceived false equivalency. In my view, he addresses the issue rather well in this interview.

Unless you just want to see him get angry, in which case you're still out of luck.

*as evidenced by my mood status
*morticia addams rose

The founding fathers owned slaves? Bullshit!

Tea parties issue demands to Tennessee legislators
Among 5 priorities, state group wants kinder treatment of Founding Fathers in history courses

* By Richard Locker
* Memphis Commercial Appeal
* Posted January 13, 2011 at midnight

NASHVILLE — Members of Tennessee tea parties presented state legislators with five priorities for action Wednesday, including “rejecting” the federal health reform act, establishing an elected “chief litigator” for the state and “educating students the truth about America.”

About two dozen tea party activists held a news conference, then met with lawmakers individually to present their list of priorities and “demands” for the 2011 legislative session that opened Tuesday.

Regarding education, the material they distributed said, “Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”

That would include, the documents say, that “the Constitution created a Republic, not a Democracy.”

The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curricula, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

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Chanel #3

Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing' Banned in Canada

Dire Straits haven't been in the news for what, 25 years, but they're back in the headlines thanks to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. The CBSC has ruled that Dire Straits' hit 'Money For Nothing' has been ruled "too offensive to be broadcast on Canadian radio.

The Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' ban came after a listener to radio station CHOZ-FM in St. John's, Newfoundland complained that the 1985 song includes the word “faggot.”

The offending Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing' lyrics are "See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup, Yeah buddy that’s his own hair. That little faggot got his own jet airplane. That little faggot he’s a millionaire."

The CBSC ruled that 'Money For Nothing' can be broadcast on radio if it's substantially edited.

The song Money For Nothing was supposed to be about a couple of working class guys watching MTV and complaining about pampered rock stars.

Here are the Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing' lyrics:

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So, ONTD_P? Is this censorship? Is this right? I'm of two minds on this and am genuinely not sure how I feel.
abdel kader onna stamp

More Stuff From Tunisia

ETA: Ben Ali has left, France is refusing him entry, and a whole lot has happened since I submitted this. The source link is a live feed; the situation will keep going for a while yet.

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has sacked the government and said new parliamentary elections will be held within six months. Earlier, police fired tear gas to disperse an unprecedented demonstration outside the interior ministry in Tunis, sending people fleeing into surrounding streets.

Sources tell al-Jazeera TV that the Tunisian security forces have arrested members of Trabelsi family at an airport. Many of the protesters have expressed their anger at the power, wealth and influence of the extended family of President Ben Ali's second wife, Leila Trabelsi. "No, no to the Trabelsis who looted the budget," has been a popular slogan. Many refer to the president's relations simply as "The Family" or "The Mafia", according to the New York Times.

Mahmoud Ben Romdhane of the opposition Renewal Movement tells BBC World News: "At this moment, according to the latest information that I have, the president it no longer in power and a coup has happened. If this information is true, the answer is clear. He will no longer have the power to decide to accept or refuse [the demands for him to step down]."

From here, live feed. Includes graphic video.

Revolution, y/n?

...Maybe. But regardless Anonymous can now say they had a hand in toppling a government.
Spock/douchebaggery by _kissmygrass
  • lidane

Sarah Palin's first public appearance after the Tuscon tragedy -- a gun show

Because really, it's the height of Presidential gravitas and seriousness to go to speak at a gun show while a member of Congress is in the hospital after being shot in the head.

I'll give Caribou Barbie the benefit of the doubt and assume this was booked in advance of the shooting since most public speaking engagements are set weeks in advance, but still. Would it kill this woman to show even the slightest bit of empathy or class?


Sarah Palin to speak in Nevada
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN | 1/14/11 7:44 AM EST Updated: 1/14/11 10:49 AM EST

The former vice presidential candidate and possible 2012 presidential hopeful is headed to Safari Club International’s convention later this month in Reno, Nev. - one of the key early presidential primary states.

Organizers made the announcement that Palin would be appearing at the gun-related gathering less than a week after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that badly injured her and left six dead.

Palin is scheduled to keynote the pro-hunting group’s huge annual meeting on Jan. 29 - 20,000 are expected from around the world - with a speech on “her past hunting experiences and how politics affect the current state of hunting and fishing,” according to a Safari Club website. Tickets for the event are already sold out.

ontd → glasses!rdj

Climate chaos across world as La Nina makes her mark

As Queenslanders battle the state's worst flooding disaster in decades, countries around the world are also grappling with climatic chaos that has killed hundreds and affected millions more.

In Brazil, more than 440 people were killed overnight when freakish storms in the mountainous area just north of Rio de Janeiro dumped the equivalent of a month's rain in just a few hours.

Parts of Sri Lanka and the Philippines are also currently underwater, with scores killed in flash floods and mudslides and hundreds of thousands more displaced.

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Tea Party: The Constitution Says Nothing About Protecting Children from Bootstraps! Socialism!!!

Tea Party to Re-brand Child Slavery as: "Internship Summer Program for Minors to Learn the Wonders of Corporate Exploitation with no Pay or Benefits!!!"

Sen. Mike Lee Calls Child Labor Laws Unconstitutional

Last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) posted a lecture on his YouTube channel where he explains in great detail his views on the Constitution. As part of the lecture, which is essentially a lengthy defense of his radical tenther interpretation of the Constitution, Lee claims that federal child labor laws are unconstitutional:

Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law—no more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting — that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned — that’s something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress. [...]

This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh.
Not because we like harshness for the sake of harshness, but because we like a clean division of power, so that everybody understands whose job it is to regulate what.

Now, we got rid of child labor, notwithstanding this case. So the entire world did not implode as a result of that ruling.

Watch it:
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That child is surely me...
  • perthro

Aishwarya Rai to Sue Elle Magazine

Oh, look who's whitening the world again. Source 1, Source 2.

Elle magazine might soon face the wrath of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan if it is proved that the mag has digitally paled her skin tone in the latest  issue. Elle of India has carried out a cover story on the actress for this edition and she is seen wearing a Victorian style gown designed by Rohit Bal. The inside story on the former Miss World is written by Pritish Nandy.

Since Aishwarya Rai was busy attending her ailing father she was not aware of the alterations that have been made by the mag, but now that she has learnt about it she is authenticating it and if it is proved the lady won’t hesitate to sue the mag. This is not the first time that the global star will take a stand against this kind of racial discrimination.

Previously, Aishwarya refused to endorse a skin lightening product of L’Oreal as part of her ethics where she believes that women should be seen by their achievements and not skin color. So last thing she would want is to be part of a mag or a product that promotes racial discrimination. Being a global face of the contemporary woman, Aishwarya is ready to drag the international mag to court.

This won’t be the first time that Elle has been involved in doing such a thing, in the US issue the mag digitally bleached the skin color of the Oscar winner Gaboury Sudibine on its cover page. The African-American actress was given a lighter shade in this year’s September issue. 
!!! penguins

This is straight from a Disney movie, you guys!

Farne Islands seal pups' 'remarkable' journey

seal pup 

Three grey seal pups survived a journey of hundreds of miles after being swept away from the British Farne Islands in stormy weather. The pups, which had been marked with dye, were found on a Dutch beach more than 300 miles away from the Northumberland islands. National Trust head warden for the Farne Islands David Steel said their survival was remarkable. They are now recovering at a seal rescue centre in the Netherlands.

The first pup, which was less than three weeks old when it made the journey, was found on 13 December. The other two were found on 6 and 7 January.

Mr Steel said: "This is a remarkable tale of determination and survival in the turbulent waters of the North Sea. "For three young grey seal pups to make it through such an ordeal is amazing."

Once they have put enough weight on they will be released back into the wild.

Newly-born seals on the Farne Islands are tagged with dye with the colour rotated for every colony count. Two of the seals had blue dye, putting their birth about 30 November, and the third had yellow dye, meaning it was born in mid-November.

Mr Steel said: "The two pups with the blue dye would have still been dependent on their parents and the third pup would have only just gained its independence when they began their mammoth journey. Young pups have been discovered along the Northumberland coastline, but this a real rarity."

The trust said the survival rate of grey seals in the sea around the Islands was low with more than 45% of pups not surviving the winter months.

SOURCE: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-12185780

I thought everyone could do with some happy news. Also, I had to look up some better photos of grey seals. If you'd like to see the fruits of my labors, try this flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/greendreamsphotography/5223913364/

Forte, impávido, colosso. Brazil's worst natural disaster.

Bodies pile up after Brazil floods

At least 537 people have been killed and many more are feared dead after floods and landslides devastated towns and villages in a mountainous area near Rio de Janeiro.

Renewed rainfall on Friday threatened to complicate efforts by rescue teams to reach survivors trapped in isolated areas.

Rivers of mud tore through towns in the mountainous Serrana region, levelling houses, throwing cars atop buildings and leaving thousands of people seeking shelter.

"The rain did not stop at dawn and is continuing in the morning, which is making the rescue efforts more difficult," Lieutenant Rubens Placido, a fireman in the hard-hit town of Nova Friburgo, said.

"The number of deaths is going to rise quite a bit. There are still a lot of people buried."

At least 223 people are believed to have died of the town of Teresopolis, where hundreds more are feared buried under the rubble of their homes after the equivalent of a month's rain fell in less than 24 hours.

"There are three or four neighbourhoods that were totally destroyed in rural areas," Jorge Mario, the mayor of Teresopolis, said. "There are hardly any houses standing there and all the roads and bridges are destroyed."

Television images of the three towns hit by the torrents of water and mud showed emergency workers going through the ruins of collapsed homes in a search for survivors, but often finding only bodies.

Morgue 'overflowing'

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Teresopolis, said the makeshift morgue set up at the city's main police station was overflowing with bodies.

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+ Photos. WARNING for bodies!

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Click here for some before/after pics.

  • mswyrr

The assault on ethnic studies is unwise and undemocratic

The assault on ethnic studies is unwise and undemocratic

By Leslie Bow, January 11, 2011

As a professor of ethnic studies, I feel under assault.

At the beginning of this year, Arizona’s HB 2281 targeting ethnic studies in Tucson’s public school system went into effect. For those of us who teach ethnic studies — for all educators — this ban represents a call to arms.

Of course, I mean that figuratively. HB 2281 apparently does not.

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Thought this might be a good addition to the discussion after the earlier post about conservatives attempting to whitewash the US Founding Fathers in history classes. You can get more background on the Arizona law discussed by Bow in this Mother Jones report.
[LB] Idea!

Tree of Failure

Tree of Failure

President Obama gave a wonderful speech in Tucson on Wednesday night. He didn’t try to explain the rampage that occurred there. Instead, he used the occasion as a national Sabbath — as a chance to step out of the torrent of events and reflect. He did it with an uplifting spirit. He not only expressed the country’s sense of loss but also celebrated the lives of the victims and the possibility for renewal.

Of course, even a great speech won’t usher in a period of civility. Speeches about civility will be taken to heart most by those people whose good character renders them unnecessary. Meanwhile, those who are inclined to intellectual thuggery and partisan one-sidedness will temporarily resolve to do better but then slip back to old habits the next time their pride feels threatened.

Civility is a tree with deep roots, and without the roots, it can’t last. So what are those roots? They are failure, sin, weakness and ignorance.

Every sensible person involved in politics and public life knows that their work is laced with failure. Every column, every speech, every piece of legislation and every executive decision has its own humiliating shortcomings. There are always arguments you should have made better, implications you should have anticipated, other points of view you should have taken on board.

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I rather liked this write up and I thought y'all might as well.
king rad

France's Free Makeover

France fights joblessness with lipstick, blush

With a touch of blush and some judiciously applied eye makeup, France's main unemployment agency is trying to lure jobless women back into the workforce by offering them a taxpayer-funded day of pampering.

The makeover drive, launched this week by the Pole Emploi agency, aims to boost the confidence of women who have been out of work for years and too busy — or simply too discouraged — to worry about their appearance, its organizers told Reuters.

"This is about giving them back their pluck. Makeup changes your life simply and quickly," said Regine Ferrere, a makeup artist who supervised the makeover studio. "Touching people and talking to them is far better than giving them a pill or sending them to the psychologist's office."

At the first makeover day, 10 women gave themselves over to the care of professional makeup artists and stylists. The advice they received was equal parts beauty tips, pep talk, and motivational slogans for job seekers.

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A few days old but I'm curious to see how well it works. A makeover might help me in a job interview but since I don't wear makeup it might be equally terrifying
Utena "Bitchplz"

Jenny McCarthy Under The Impression That There's Still an Autism/Vaccine "Debate"

Jenny McCarthy: In the Vaccine-Autism Debate, What Can Parents Believe?

Last week, parents were told a British researcher's 1998 report linking the MMR shot to autism was fraudulent -- that this debate about vaccines and autism is now over, and parents should no longer worry about giving their children six vaccines at a single pediatric appointment or 36 by the time they are five years old.

Is that the whole story? Dr. Andrew Wakefield's study of 12 children with autism actually looked at bowel disease, not vaccines. The study's conclusion stated, "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described [autism]."

Dr. Wakefield did something I wish all doctors would do: he listened to parents and reported what they said. His paper also said that, "Onset of behavioral symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in 8 of the 12 children," and that, "further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome [autism with gut disease] and its possible relation to this vaccine."

Since when is repeating the words of parents and recommending further investigation a crime? As I've learned, the answer is whenever someone questions the safety of any vaccines.

For some reason, parents aren't being told that this "new" information about Dr. Wakefield isn't a medical report, but merely the allegations of a single British journalist named Brian Deer. Why does one journalist's accusations against Dr. Wakefield now mean the vaccine-autism debate is over?

One of the actual parents from the study, who talked to Generation Rescue, wondered the same thing:

How could the BMJ [British Medical Journal, publisher of Brian Deer's article] scrutinize what Brian Deer has said without looking at our children's medical notes which they are not allowed to have? This needs to be challenged.

Another parent of one of the 12 children put things even more strongly:

"To hear that my son's gastrointestinal condition has been extensively refuted, by unqualified and ill-informed individuals who have never laid eyes on him, looking at and mis-interpreting scanty medical notes without the courtesy to ask for our version of our son's early childhood, flies in the face of everything that the medical community and its professional bodies seek to represent. This is especially curious as gastrointestinal issues in autism are well recognized and documented and are included in the UK government's own best practice guidelines for early investigation and treatment."

American media, why aren't we hearing from these parents? If Brian Deer's allegations are actually false, if the Lancet 12 parents stand with Dr. Wakefield, then what exactly are moms and dads supposed to think about last week's media circus?

I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son. Why aren't there any tests out there on the safety of how vaccines are administered in the real world, six at a time? Why have only 2 of the 36 shots our kids receive been looked at for their relationship to autism? Why hasn't anyone ever studied completely non-vaccinated children to understand their autism rate?

These missing safety studies are causing many parents to approach vaccines with moderation. Why do other first world countries give children so many fewer vaccines than we do? What if a parent used the vaccine schedule of Denmark, Norway, Japan or Finland -- countries that give one-third the shots we do (12 shots vs. 36 in the U.S.)? Vaccines save lives, but might be harming some children -- is moderation such a terrible idea?

This debate won't end because of one dubious reporter's allegations. I have never met stronger women than the moms of children with autism. Last week, this hoopla made us a little stronger, and even more determined to fight for the truth about what's happening to our kids.


(Source. I'm kinda surprised Huffington Post let her post this BS. Also she's listed on there as being an "Author, model and autism activist". Bitchplz, you're setting autism research back like whoa.)
queen regina

Military commission: Lift ban, allow women in combat

Military commission: Lift ban, allow women in combat
'It's something whose time has come ... a logical outcome of what women have been doing'

by Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A military advisory commission is recommending that the Pentagon do away with a policy that bans women from serving in combat units, breathing new life into a long-simmering debate.

Though thousands of women have been involved in the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have done so while serving in combat support roles — as medics, logistics officers and so on — because defense policy prohibits women from being assigned to any unit smaller than a brigade whose primary mission is direct combat on the ground. On Friday, a special panel was meeting to polish the final draft of a report that recommends the policy be eliminated "to create a level playing field for all qualified service members."

If it were approved by the Defense Department, it would be yet another sizeable social change in a force that in the past year has seen policy changes to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly for the first time in the military and to allow Navy women to serve on submarines for the first time.

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I really hope that this goes through. I personally don't like war, but I know that there are many women who want military careers, and all that a ban on women in combat does is to say that women make inferior soldiers, which is patently untrue.