January 25th, 2011

Bill O'Reilly reacts to Keith Olbermann's depature from MSNBC

If you thought Bill O’Reilly was going to let his time-period competitor Keith Olbermann depart MSNBC without getting in a few final kicks, you underestimate how much glee there is in the halls of the Fox News Channel today.

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Bernie and Bill complain about the corrupt liberal media and its love affair with Maddow and Olbermann while gloating about MSNBC's dismal, and Fox's incredible, ratings.
Home of the enslaved.

GOP pushing for ISPs to record user data

The House Republicans' first major technology initiative is about to be unveiled: a push to force Internet companies to keep track of what their users are doing.

A House panel chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss forcing Internet providers, and perhaps Web companies as well, to store records of their users' activities for later review by police.

One focus will be on reviving a dormant proposal for data retention that would require companies to store Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for two years, CNET has learned.

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jeeves is omnipotent. (bitch.)
  • chaya

Map Shows Every State Is Bad At Something

Some of these aren't actually embarrassing (the worst thing about Ohio is its high number of library visits?), but it'll be nice to have this on hand the next time one state gets uppity about its education rankings. Explanations here.

Send an email to Margaret Hartmann, the author of this post, at

Read more: http://jezebel.com/5742160/map-shows-every-state-is-bad-at-something#ixzz1C3Jk7hdR

Sauce over at Jezebel.

Also, isn't 'most mobile homes' a little classist? It might be partially indicative of a poverty issue but if it's about poverty, talk about the poverty. Not the little wheely houses. >:C

And really: worst... at... abortion? I checked the source, and it's not about the operations being performed badly or anything - nope, just about how many women have had them.

British guard killed Australian 'in self-defence'

I'm sure there is much more to this story than what this article reveals.


A British security guard accused of killing two colleagues in the Iraqi capital's Green Zone has told an Iraqi court he acted in self-defence during an alcohol-fuelled brawl.

Danny Fitzsimons told Karkh criminal court in west Baghdad that the two men, fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian national Darren Hoare, had burst into his room and pinned him down before pointing an M4 rifle at his face, prompting him to use his pistol to kill them.

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ONTD: What's For Dinner Version.

Alabama law firm to Taco Bell: That's not beef
Suit claims that binders, extenders make chain's advertising claims false

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama law firm claims in a lawsuit that Taco Bell is using false advertising when it refers to using "seasoned ground beef" or "seasoned beef" in its products.

The meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as "beef," according to the legal complaint.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in the Central District of California by the Montgomery law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles.

Attorney Dee Miles said attorneys had Taco Bell's "meat mixture" tested and found it contained less that 35 percent beef.

Miles said the lawsuit does not seek monetary damages, but asks the court to order Taco Bell to be honest in its advertising.

"We are asking that they stop saying that they are selling beef," Miles said.

Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch (PAYCH) said the company denies that its advertising is misleading.

"Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We're happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree," Poetsch said. He said the company would "vigorously defend the suit."

The lawsuit says that Taco Bell's "seasoned beef" contains other ingredients, including water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch.


Taco sauce

Well, this will be interesting.

Missouri anti-abortion forces rally in D.C. with renewed hopes

Eighth-graders from the Blessed Teresa Calcutta school in Ferguson were among those making the trip to Washington for yesterday's annual anti-abortion rally

Many of those riding in the nine buses that arrived early today from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to commemorate the 38th anniversary Roe v. Wade say they are optimistic about further limiting abortion.

Overturning the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion seemed unlikely any time soon. But leaders professed hopes that new or strengthened Republican majorities will be able to further their cause both in Washington and Jefferson City.

"We don't know what will happen two years from, now but pro-lifers are hoping we can take advantage of this opportunity," said Sam Lee of St. Louis, a lobbyist with Campaign Life Missouri.

Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, said the GOP success in recapturing the U.S. House already paid dividends in the vote last week to repeal the new health care law.

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iran freedom!

"MotherF*&%!ing BIRDS?!" The Daily Show: How Birds Are Valued More Than People

Wyatt Cenac finds an historic black town in Mississippi where birds are revered more than people.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bird Like Me
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For those unable to view the video above: 

Basically, there's an historic black town in Mississippi, USA, founded by slaves about 150 years ago, called Turkey Creek. 

Acre by acre, industries of all kinds have abused the town and taken their lands to be used for dumping grounds and development. 

The residents of Turkey Creek have appealed to government officials and the NAACP for help, but the only organization that came to their aid was the Audubon Society. 

Apparently, there are some special birds that live in Turkey Creek, so the society was able to get a majority of the land labelled as a nature reserve in order to preserve the town from more development. 

Basically, people care more about the bird than they do people. They had no problem developing over the town's historic graveyard to build apartments, but they won't develop on land that's been preserved for birds. 

Funny bits: 1) Wyatt Cenac goes on a mumbled-cursing streak, walking from Mississippi to an office (in New York?) where he talks to Al Sharpton for like 3 seconds. 2) Wyatt goes into a mall in Biloxi where he walks around as a regular dude and gets shunned by the white people, but when he dresses up as a bird, people are friendly towards him. 

Holy Sh#t! Justice Scalia Now The Voice of Reason: Is He a Sekret Socialist?

In Other News: Thomas Jefferson was a Filthy Liberal...

Scalia Slaps Down GOP’s Tentherism

Yesterday, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia spoke to a gathering of mostly-Republican lawmakers about separation of powers under the Constitution. During that gathering, Scalia was asked to embrace one of the Tea Party’s pet constitutional theories — but his response did not go well for the far right:

“The question of earmarks came up, whether or not the constitutionality of earmarks would be considered constitutional [sic],” Bachmann told reporters after the seminar. [...]

“It’s up to Congress how you want to appropriate, basically,” Scalia told the members, according to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). “He pointed out historically, like when Jefferson was president, [Congress] said here’s a big pot of money, you decide where it goes, and Jefferson ended up paying up a big hunk of it to the Barbary Pirates.”

“I think the fairest thing to say was he took it for granted they were constitutional,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) — one of a small handful of Democrats in attendance. “I don’t think there was any question. I can’t see how you can make an argument that they’re not Constitutional — Congress is the appropriating body.”

Although Scalia was asked about earmarks, his answer is nothing less than a wholesale repudiation of the right’s tenther vision of the Constitution.
After President Obama took office, right-wing lawmakers suddenly began claiming that the Constitution places strict limits on how Congress is allowed to allocate federal funds. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) claims that Social Security, Medicare and federal disaster relief are all unconstitutional. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) believes Pell Grants, federal student loans and all other federal education programs are unconstitutional. And the GOP’s Pledge to America embraces tenther rhetoric — suggesting the entire party could agree with Lee and Coburn.

Yet, as Scalia indicates, tentherism is baseless. Because Article I of the Constitution gives Congress broad authority to “to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” Scalia is exactly right that it is almost entirely “up to Congress” to decide how it wants to appropriate.

Nevertheless, it is a sad commentary on the state of the modern GOP that ultra-conservative Justice Scalia has transformed into a voice of moderation against the even more radical Tea Party.

Update The Wall Street Journal reports that Scalia had even more disappointing news for his Tea Party hosts:

“He said, ‘States rights? Fuhgeddaboudit!’” said freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R., Ill.), a self-described “tea-party guy” who came to Washington “to storm the gates.”

Mr. Walsh mentioned a couple of other surprises, including Justice Scalia’s view that the line-item veto, desired by some conservatives, is unconstitutional.

Moreover, “stare decisis—he’s okay with that,” Mr. Walsh said, using the Latin term for following legal precedent. . . .

Freshman Rep. Steve Southerland (R., Fla.) asked about the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s so-called czars. Justice Scalia said the president is entitled to hire advisers, and if that’s what czars were, there was little problem, according to Mr. Nadler. But Justice Scalia declined to get into specifics, saying the issue could come before the court. Mr. Southerland said he felt the justice ducked the question.
Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

School District Lines Are No Joke

The Curious Case of Kelley Williams-Bolar

So you probably have heard about Ms. Willams-Bolar. If not:

TL;DR Summary: She lied about where she lived so her kids could go to school in a different distrct. Didn't pay tuition either, apparently. She was caught (duh) and put on two years of probation and 80 hrs of community service.

AKRON, Ohio – A Summit County woman will spend 10 days in jail after she was found guilty in a school residency case that could set a precedent for Ohio school districts.

Judge Patricia Cosgrove also placed 40-year-old Kelly Williams-Bolar on two years of probation and ordered her to complete 80 hours of community service.

On Saturday, a jury found Williams-Bolar guilty on two counts of tampering with records. She was also facing one count of grand theft, but the judge declared a mistrial on that charge after the jury couldn’t reach a verdict.

“I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school systems,” Cosgrove told NewsChannel5 after the sentencing.

Prosecutors said Williams-Bolar lived in Akron, but falsified enrollment papers in the Copley-Fairlawn School District so her two girls could attend schools for two years.

Prosecutors said the lies cost the district about $30,000. Copley-Fairlawn does not have open enrollment and out-of-district tuition is about $800 per month.

There seems to be myriad responses to this case. Ranging from the impassioned response from Boyce Watkins to the “fraud is fraud” response by Bob Dyer of the Beacon Journal. Titles all over the internet have proclaimed “MOTHER IMPRISONED FOR SENDING KIDS TO WRONG SCHOOL!” implying that the only thing wrong was simply enrolling where she shouldn’t have. Under the current laws of Ohio Ms. Williams-Bolar committed a crime. This can’t be argued. What can be argued is whether the actions by the court are right and appropriate for the defendants situation.

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I've served on a jury before and I can say that there are two groups of people that sit in the jury room deliberating your fate: 1) people who don't know what's going on at all (and I mean this in every way imaginable) and 2) people who have seen way too many episodes of Law & Order. You don't ever want to be tried by a jury of your peers. Ever. Imagine what this comm would be like if we had open membership, no rules, and no mods. That's what jury deliberation is like.
Donna has had enough by PrettyQuoteable

So then Karl Rove goes "LOL ELECTION LAW W/E"

Bush White House Broke Elections Law, Report Says
WASHINGTON — The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a "political boiler room" that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.

The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration’s Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a “target list” of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns.

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Original report.

I bet there won't be any charges filed. >:-|

Melanie Phillips defends ‘gay brainwashing’ Daily Mail article

 Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips has defended an article which suggested that gay people were becoming the “new McCarthyites”.

Her column, published yesterday, implied that homosexuality would become “mandatory” and accused gay activists of trying to “brainwash” children.

The article was written in response to plans to make lessons more inclusive of LGBT people and became a trending topic on Twitter.

Ms Phillips told PinkNews.co.uk that she would always defend gay people against “true prejudice” but maintained that the gay rights lobby intends to destroy “normal sexual behaviour”.

In an email, she wrote: I’m sorry if what I wrote has offended some of your readers. You tell me that they may regard it as ‘over the top’. In fact, that is how I would describe some of the reaction to what I wrote.

“I have nothing against gay people and would always defend them against true prejudice – as I did in my article, and as I often do when considering the threat posed to them by radical Islamism. What does concern me, however, is the ‘gay rights’ political agenda which, as activists have often made clear, aims to change the basic moral framework of society.

I am very surprised that readers may be offended by my suggestion that this agenda aims to destroy ‘normal’ sexual behaviour; as Andrew Sullivan made clear in his famous book, ‘Virtually Normal’, this is indeed a core aim.

“As for the issue of the teaching materials I would have thought that, given your readers’ concern for civil liberties, they would be disturbed by any manipulation of the school curriculum to promote a particular viewpoint about any group. There is no evidence at all that any such initiative has ever diminished any kind of prejudice or bullying in schools.

“And I know that many gay people are very decently troubled by my central point, that the equality agenda is depriving Christians of their rights to live their lives in accordance with their principles.

“I hope this helps explain my position more fully.”

Source: Pink News
For those who missed it yesterday, here is the article this shit is regarding.
Shaun of the dismayed

Will an 11-year-old get life in prison for murder? Here’s what you need to know

Jordan Brown's legal situation is one of the more complicated criminal cases to be heard in Pennsylvania... well, ever. And things will continue to get interesting today.

As the Inky noted via the Associated Press this morning: "A Superior Court panel in Pittsburgh must decide whether a boy who was 11 at the time should be tried as an adult in the slaying of his father's pregnant fiancee."

Which deserves some added information:

In February 2009, when Jordan was 11, his father's girlfriend, Kenzie Houk, was found murdered -- shot in the head with a shotgun assumedly while she slept. This took place about an hour's drive north of Pittsburgh in a rural farmhouse she shared with her boyfriend, one of her daughters, and Jordan.

It took local cops a short time to investigate and conclude that Jordan -- whose father had purchased him a shotgun not long earlier -- had committed the act. Though he denied it -- and continues to deny it -- Jordan was incarcerated and held for trial. A judge last year concluded that the 11-year-old would be tried as an adult for murder. The judge's rationale: Jordan's refusal to admit guilt showed that he was not sorry for what he did.

Admission or not, this is unheard of in most other states. Earlier this month, for example, an 10-year old in Ohio committed an eerily similar crime. There was zero talk of adult time in that case because in Ohio, a 10-year-old is a child.

In Pennsylvania, however, things aren't so clear. Human Rights Watch has pointed out that the Keystone State sentences hundreds more kids to life in prison than any other state in the country (and more than most other states in the country combined). So in Pennsylvania an 11-year-old may not be a child in the eyes of the law. He or she may be an adult. And adults get harsh sentences: If Jordan is convicted, he'll face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He'll be the youngest person in recorded history to receive that sentence.

The hearing today will get to that. And it'll also begin the process of answering the following question:

Is an 11-year-old liable for murder as an adult in Pennsylvania?

Amnesty International is all over it. (They think Jordan Brown should be tried as a juvenile). And so is Kenzie Houk's family. (They think the kid should die in prison.)

A panel will hear arguments today and eventually make a decision. One way or the other, that decision -- which will take months, as these types of proceedings tend to -- will have a massive impact on juvenile criminal law nationwide.

Peripheral info:

* It's unconstitutional to sentence anyone to death if that person committed a crime before he or she turned 18.

* It's also unconstitutional to sentence anyone to life in prison without the possibility of parole if that person committed a non-homicide offense before he or she turned 18.

* Read the whole Jordan Brown story -- and more about his innocence claim -- here.

* Read about SCI Pine Grove, the institution Jordan will serve time in if he's convicted.

* Read the brief written by Jordan's attorneys and Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of the Philadelphia Juvenile Law Center, in favor of trying Jordan as a juvenile.

Philadelphia City Paper

Twitter Blocked in Egypt As Protests Turn Violent

As anti-government protesters and police clash in Cairo today, reports indicate that the Egyptian government is making an effort to censor Twitter and other websites.

As with the protests in Tunisia throughout the last month (which at least partially inspired the Egyptian uprising), the protest in Cairo was organized using Facebook. The Christian Science Monitor reports that more than 90,000 people signed up on a Facebook Page for the protests in the past week, though the turnout appears to be much smaller than that.

Another similarity between the Egyptian protests and the Tunisia uprising: People on the ground have been using Twitter to post photos, video feeds and other information about the protests using hashtags like #Jan25, #EgyRevolt and #Egypt.

But now some reports indicate that Twitter as well as some websites reporting live on the demonstrations have been blocked in Egypt. Vodafone Egypt also confirms that Twitter is down in this tweet.

We have reached out to Twitter for confirmation and will be updating this article as we hear more.


Religious coalition pressing Asheville for additional LGBT rights, protections

A religious coalition known as the “People of Faith for Just Relationships” are pressing the city to do more for LGBT equality.

The group, consisting of 25 local religious leaders led by the Reverend Joe Hoffman, has released a resolution calling for four specific protections.

Hoffman said the purpose of the resolution was “to stimulate Asheville and City Council to take a leadership role in a statewide effort to recognize the need for equal civil rights, employment rights, family rights, and protection from bullying for LGBT citizens.”

According to the Asheville Citizen Times, the resolution calls for:

1. Extending the city’s employment discrimination clause to include “sexual orientation”, “gender”, and “gender identity or expression.”

2. Enacting an anti-bullying ordinance for all city institutions and grounds.

3. Creating a Domestic Partner Registry to recognize same-sex relationships for the purposes of providing documentation and offering a mechanism through which hospitals, businesses, and other entities will have the opportunity to recognize these relationships.

4. Endorsing and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the familial rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.

Last year, Asheville city council passed a law legalizing domestic partnerships but the coalition says that the law doesn’t go far enough to ensure equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

' through the storm we reach the shore
  • schmiss

He's back. (already)

Court Grants Rahm Emanuel Stay to Appear on Ballot Printing While Appeal Decided

Rahm Emanuel won a partial victory Tuesday as the Illinois Supreme Court allowed his motion for a stay and said they would hear his appeal, ordering that any ballots printed while the appeal is considered must have his name on it.

The Illinois Supreme Court also granted Emanuel's motion to have the case considered in an expedited fashion but did not set an immediate time table for the appeal. The court said it would not take any additional briefs nor would it hear oral argument.

The Chicago Board of Elections had started to print mayoral ballots Tuesday without Emanuel's name on them. Tuesday around noon, they called the printer and had them "stop the presses." Chairman Langdon Neal told the Associated Press they'd restart printing ballots Tuesday afternoon with Emanuel's name.

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The collapse of the US as we know it: alarmism or realism?

Four scenarios that could spell the end of the United States as we know it -- in the very near future


A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

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Certain ~dramatized scenarios~ here rather gild the lily, so to speak, and I always get an edgy feeling from economic or military doomsday theories that place China in the center of it all, as it has a whiff of Yellow Peril panic, no matter how realistic any projections may be. I also don't think that this author has exhaustively covered everything that could possibly happen to the USA in the next 15 years. However, I do think that it's worthwhile to have a dialogue about the very, very real likelihood of the USA's power and influence waning soon, the effects that will be had on its populace, etc. Of the scenarios this guy proposes, what do you imagine is most probable? What are your own concerns and fears?
Akuma River

Since January 14 officers have been killed nationwide

Fla. officer deaths cap deadly 24 hours for police
By TAMARA LUSH and MITCH STACY, Associated Press Tamara Lush And Mitch Stacy, Associated Press – Tue Jan 25, 9:14 am ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The slaying of two police officers as they helped serve a warrant stunned a state already mourning police deaths in Miami and capped a bloody 24 hours nationwide that saw 11 officers shot in five states.

"That's not normal," said Steven Groeninger, a spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police deaths. "It kind of seems like law enforcement, because of their uniform, have a target on their back."

So far in January, 14 officers have been killed in the line of duty. Two of the 11 shot between Sunday and Monday have died.
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Say what you will about cops abusing power but there are good cops out there and they do help the public. Police shootings seem in an uptick, many things can be the cause of this but it is very unusual to have high death rates like this. It is making police officers very worried, paranoid, and possibly more likely to over react to situations.

Cops are trigger happy right now because they feel like they are being targeted.
Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

LOL bye

Andy Gray, the Sky Sports presenter at the centre of a sexism storm following derogatory comments about a female official, has been sacked by the broadcaster in response to "new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour".

Sky Sports' managing director Barney Francis, who yesterday disciplined both Gray and Richard Keys for their comments, said he had "no hesitation" in summarily terminating Gray's contract.

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Research or the lack thereof

In the wake of the shootings in Tucson, the familiar questions inevitably resurfaced: Are communities where more people carry guns safer or less safe? Does the availability of high-capacity magazines increase deaths? Do more rigorous background checks make a difference?

The reality is that even these and other basic questions cannot be fully answered, because not enough research has been done. And there is a reason for that. Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research agree in saying that the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.

“We’ve been stopped from answering the basic questions,” said Mark Rosenberg, former director of the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was for about a decade the leading source of financing for firearms research.

Chris Cox, the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, said his group had not tried to squelch genuine scientific inquiries, just politically slanted ones.

“Our concern is not with legitimate medical science,” Mr. Cox said. “Our concern is they were promoting the idea that gun ownership was a disease that needed to be eradicated.”

The amount of money available today for studying the impact of firearms is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1990s, and the number of scientists toiling in the field has dwindled to just a handful as a result, according to researchers.

The dearth of money can be traced in large measure to a clash between public health scientists and the N.R.A. in the mid-1990s.

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We will have a separate thread called ~The After Party~ for Michelle Bachmann and the GOP rebuttals. Don't use this post to discuss those.

Useful Links
CNN Live Stream
C-SPAN Live Stream
PBS Live Stream
YouTube Stream (set up by the White House, not the people that post crappy bootlegs of TV shows!)
White House Enhanced Feed

Cairo protesters in violent clashes with police

Cairo protesters in violent clashes with police: Egyptian protesters call for end to Hosni Mubarak's rule and hail 'first day of revolution'

Egyptian police used teargas and rubber bullets and beat protesters in a bid to clear thousands of demonstrators from a central Cairo square late last night after people had taken to the streets earlier today demanding the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule in mass demonstrations inspired by the toppling of the government in Tunisia.

Cairo was the scene of violent clashes as thousands of protesters from separate demonstrations converged on Tahrir Square, the central plaza. Demonstrators waved Egyptian and Tunisian flags, hauled down a billboard for the ruling NDP party and chanted "depart Mubarak" at the 82-year-old leader, who will face elections later this year. One policeman died in the Cairo violence.

Two protesters were killed in Suez, east of Cairo, as other demonstrations took place around the country.

"This is the first day of the Egyptian revolution," said Karim Rizk, at one of the Cairo rallies. The protests against decades of poverty, oppression and police torture had been declared illegal by the authorities and were met with a fierce response. Teargas and water cannons were fired into the crowd and rocks were thrown into the air by demonstrators and security forces.

"We have taken back our streets today from the regime and they won't recover from the blow," said Rizk.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Is The Word "Gringo" Offensive Or Just Distracting?

Is The Word "Gringo" Offensive Or Just Distracting?

As part of NPR's mission, the network endeavors to take its audience to places they've never been and enable them to hear from people they are not likely to meet.

That's a good thing.

NPR tried to do that with a first-person commentary by a young Latina – who is not an NPR employee – sharing her reaction to a lone gunman shooting a congresswoman and 18 others in Tucson on Jan. 8.

All Things Considered editor Ellen Silva commissioned the piece from columnist Daisy Hernandez after a Latina on NPR's staff suggested the idea. Hernandez is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women on Today's Feminism.

"What was valuable about the piece was that it offered listeners insight into a conversation they might not otherwise hear," said Silva. "We were privy to a conversation that some Latin people would have with each other. That's one of the values of diverse voices."

Silva is right.

In the commentary, Hernandez expressed her "brown" relief that the Tucson shooter was not Hispanic.

"It's safe to say there was a collective sigh of relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo," Hernandez said on Jan. 12. "Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn't be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week, they'd be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy."

She made a valid, thought-provoking point. If only she hadn't used the word "gringo."

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And once again, a discussion on race instantly turns into "What about the feelings of white people?", tiptoeing around how they might feel and ignoring the feelings of a POC.

Afghan infants fed pure opium

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan (CNN) -- In a far flung corner of northern Afghanistan, Aziza reaches into the dark wooden cupboard, rummages around, and pulls out a small lump of something wrapped in plastic.

She unwraps it, breaking off a small chunk as if it were chocolate, and feeds it to four-year-old son, Omaidullah. It's his breakfast -- a lump of pure opium.

"If I don't give him opium he doesn't sleep," she says. "And he doesn't let me work."


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