February 2nd, 2011

funny

Because of course, all them scary folks are from Canada! (eh?!)

 Canada-U.S. border security 'unacceptably ineffective': report
U.S. Senators call for greater coordination of security agencies
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 9:37 PM ET Comments696Recommend25
CBC News

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman released a government watchdog's report in Washington on Tuesday that detailed gaps in security along the U.S.-Canadian border. (CBC)
Two prominent American senators say a U.S. government watchdog's report should "sound a loud alarm" over security gaps along the U.S.-Canada border.

Senate Homeland Security chair Joseph Lieberman and Republican Senator Susan Collins said the report prepared by the U.S. Government Accountability Office shows American and Canadian agencies do not have the ability to detect illegal crossings of drugs, weapons and people along the vast majority of the border.

The report concluded just 50 kilometres along more than 6,400 kilometres of the border had reached an "acceptable level of security" in 2010.

Lieberman said the findings should send a message to the Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian government that more must be done.

"The GAO report makes clear that the defence of our northern border is nonetheless unacceptably ineffective," Lieberman said Tuesday in a press conference in Washington. "It's weak, weaker than it should be and needs to be."

It comes amid recent reports of discussion between Canada and U.S. that would see their security bureaucracies more interlinked.

Canadian officials have long been concerned that enhanced security in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States would hinder the flow of daily trade between the two countries along the border.

The GAO report recommends increased inter-agency co-ordination with Canadian agencies in charge of border security and policing.

Security operations had only reached "full situational awareness" along 1,620 of the estimated 6,400 kilometres of border, in which the probability of detecting illegal entry or activity is high, the report said.

Terror risk 'higher' from Canada: Lieberman

The report reviewed four sectors along the border that Department of Homeland Security identified as having a potential threat for "known terrorist and criminal organizations" smuggling drugs and people into the United States.

The sectors included the stretches of border between:

British Columbia, Oregon and Washington state;
Ontario and Great Lakes states, including Michigan, Ohio and Illinois;
Quebec, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Lieberman said that while Americans traditionally view their border with Mexico as more porous and dangerous, the report said the Homeland Security department has concluded the risk of "terrorist activity" across the northern border is actually higher than across the southern border.

"Why? Because there are more Islamist extremist groups in Canada than Mexico," Lieberman told reporters.


Despite their concerns, the senators said they are not proposing moving patrols from the U.S.-Mexico border to guard the northern border.

The issue of a continental security perimeter is expected to be on the agenda when Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington later this week.


Source: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2011/02/01/canada-us-border-security.html#ixzz1CmzvQCkc

Jesus christ Lieberman.No. (edited) Seriously, I don't think I've ever heard of huge amounts of Canadians going south to find menial/manual labor jobs/to try to have a better life. Most Canadians go to the US to buy cheap(er) stuff :P.  I do recall people traveling to Canada to get cheaper drugs though.
(edit because I forgot what I was saying) Also, I am really sick of this bullshit idea that all terrorists are muslim/arab/some ethnic minority. NO. (what do you call those people who target abortion clinics again....?)

Brooklyn state Sen. Eric Adams' YouTube video gives parents advice on how to spy on their kids

Source: NY Daily News

A Brooklyn pol wants to teach parents how to spy on their kids, scour their backpacks for guns - and strip-search their dollies for drugs.

State Sen. Eric Adams, who served 22 years in the NYPD before running for office, stars in a new online video that shows parents how to sniff out hidden contraband in a little suspect's bedroom.

"A small-caliber weapon could be hiding inside a jewelry box," the senator warns in the five-minute video. "Run your hands over the pillows and see if you feel anything that's unusual."

As ominous music plays over a mock search of a child's bedroom, Adams shows how a bag of marijuana could be stashed under the clothes of a plastic baby doll - and how a crack pipe can sit unnoticed in the zippered pocket of a backpack.

"Could he have found it on the street?" Adams asks. "That's quite possible, but this is a discussion piece where you should start speaking with him to find out what he is doing with it."

When Adams turns up a bullet behind a framed photo, he notes that this doesn't mean the child has a gun, but he adds: "Where there's smoke, there's possibly fire - and where there are bullets, there's possibly a gun."

Adams, a Democrat, plans to blast the video to schools and churches as part of a push to use Black History Month to enlist parents to reduce street violence.

"You would be surprised how many parents are disconnected from the drug and violence culture," Adams told the Daily News. "They believe it's on TV, not in their house."

Adams says he routinely searches the bedroom of his 15-year-old son. He regularly stages unannounced inspections of the teen's book bag and says all parents need to do the same - even if they trust their children.

"It's not spying on your children. It's protecting your home," he said. "If the police come inside a household and those items are in there, the whole house gets arrested. They arrest everybody and sort it out later in the courtroom."

He urges parents to detect problems before cops show up with a warrant - or a younger child finds a sibling's gun.

"It would amaze you how many decent families where you have professional parents - teachers, medical professionals - and all of a sudden, we'd call and say, 'We have your son here in possession of a gun' or, 'Your daughter has been selling drugs.' It's right in their house. ... They don't enter their children's rooms."

Kids are not entitled to privacy at home, Adams said.

"There is no Fourth Amendment or First Amendment or any amendment right inside your household," Adams said of the constitutional protections that bar unreasonable searches and allow for free expression. "Parents write the constitution for what rights are in their homes, and one right they must understand is the right to protect all members of their household."


Uncle V wants you

Republican legislators in Ohio TP a colleague's house


The Metro (UK): Ohio's Jay Hottinger blames politician pals for toilet papering his house

Politics is considered to be a dirty business, which is perhaps why a US official woke recently to find his property covered in toilet paper and is now accusing his fellow Republicans of the prank.

Jay Hottinger, a representative of the state legislature in Ohio, is accusing his politician pals of covering his car, fence and mailbox with toilet paper, although he admits it was all in good humour.

Top of Mr Hottinger's list of culprits is state senator Mark Wagoner, who he claimed asked him for his address a few days before the incident.

Mr Wagoner admitted to playing a part in the prank but reassured voters it was not done on the taxpayers' time, the Toledo Blade reported.

'I was not one of the people who did the toilet papering, although I did help get the toilet paper. Jay is a good friend... It was all good natured,' the senator said, adding it was Mr Hottinger that originally put the idea in the group's head at recent retreat.

Although Mr Hottinger has said he is not going to hold a grudge against his fellow Republicans, he did warn: 'That's not to say I won't pay them back at some point.'
For a U.S. source, NPR has an audio report here.

And we all think government is serious business. I guess these guys don't!
normal

Are Neocons Stealing from The Onion Now?!

Stealth Jihadists or Decoy Mooslims: Either way We are Doomed.

Leading Neoconservative Frank Gaffney Argues Muslim Brotherhood Has ‘Infiltrated’ The Federal Government

Amidst the political upheaval in Egypt, conservatives are scare-mongering about the possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt. But leading neoconservative Frank Gaffney is taking Muslim Brotherhood fearmongering to new heights. This past weekend, Gaffney was a featured speaker at the Educational Policy Conference in St. Louis, an annual gathering of social conservatives. Gaffney used the opportunity to discuss how the Muslim Brotherhood is not only poised to implement a new theocracy in Egypt, but is also operating in the United States under “front groups” like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil liberties group dedicated to “protecting the rights of all Americans, regardless of faith.”

After his speech, ThinkProgress caught up with Gaffney to probe his conspiracy further. Echoing the McCarthyist anti-communist rhetoric of the 1950s, Gaffney told us that there were already people in the federal government doing the bidding of “stealth jihadists.” When we asked Gaffney to name names, he pointed to President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
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pen

Lethal cyclone hits category five

I was going to wait until the aftermath, but this is pretty big now (just look at it, it's a giant). Mother nature hates my State of Queensland. We go through floods and now this.

Yasi is big, it's fast, and it's going to be a Category 5 and Townsville and Cairns are relatively large residential centres,





===
Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi was upgraded to category five off north Queensland this morning as the weather bureau warned it was likely to be "more life-threatening" than any storm seen in Australia in living memory.

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Source

ETA: To add new image of cyclone comparison.

The area that is going to be impacted is where I grew up, I have relatives in three of those towns in the path of the storm (yes it is that big) and my Nana and two aunts and their kids have packed up as much as they can and evacuated to stay with an uncle who lives further inland. They bunked down and weathered a smaller cyclone three days ago, but this is a monster and the authorities told them to leave. North Queenslanders aren't afraid of cyclones, they see so many, but they are afraid of this.
oldboy box

WikiLeaks among nominees for Nobel Peace Prize



Wednesday, February 2, 2011 3:42 GMT

By Wojciech Moskwa

OSLO (Reuters) - Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian politician behind the proposal said on Wednesday, a day after the deadline for nominations expired.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee accepts nominations for what many consider as the world's top accolade until February 1, although the five panel members have until the end of the month to make their own proposals.

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SOURCE
Citadel

The TV images are always white

When Showtime’s Queer as Folk was on the air, a friend was giddy with excitement. Once when he was waxing about a particular episode, I yawned.

“Sure. Great show,” I said. “When they decide to add a dark face to the cast, come talk to me.”

He didn’t miss a beat.

“This is a first step for us. You have to admit that, James.”

I found his pronoun trouble sweet (one of the reasons we are friends). Why assume I was included in the QAF zeitgeist? We went back and forth for awhile, and then moved to another topic.

I thought about that conversation after reading Michael Arceneaux’s article over at The Root. The writer takes Entertainment Weekly to task for its cover story on the “gay teen revolution” on television. While acknowledging the number of gay characters on the small tube, Arceneaux rightfully wonders why they all come from one racial group.

“Many gays of color certainly don’t see themselves in this revolution. Though we are seeing a lot more gay faces on TV, many of them are of the same ilk. And are we really challenging the tolerance levels of Americans that much by asking them to accept versions of gay people that they’ve long grown accustomed to seeing?”

Many will find that question churlish, but it’s more than fair. Especially if we consider the facts of our lives. The most recent Census numbers indicate a large portion of gay families are black and/or brown and southern. However, those stories lack any cache. Sure they are worth telling, but why waste the time when you can get tons of buzz by retelling the lives of people cut from the same cloth?

If the “gay teen revolution” were real, we would see characters who prove LGBT is not the providence of one racial and/or social group. Maybe that’s too much to ask of a medium that disparages complexity. This is the same industry that couldn’t offer The Wire one Emmy nod for acting. However, is there anything new, or different, when the TV narratives only represent a slice of the diverse tribe?

Source.
Not what you think I am

Iowa House passes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage



A constitutional ban on gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships passed the Iowa House Tuesday afternoon 62-37. Democratic Reps. Dan Muhlbauer, Brian Quirk and Kurt Swaim joined 59 Republicans in support of the measure. Thirty-seven Democrats voted “no,” and one Republican was absent.

The legislation, House Joint Resolution 6, was the subject of nearly three hours of debate with only two lawmakers speaking up in support. The rest, all Democrats, denounced the bill as nothing more than writing prejudice and discrimination into the constitution.

“Here’s the funny things about rights — they’re not supposed to be voted on,” said state Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) worried about how history will judge Iowa lawmakers who vote in support of revoking marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“Many years from now we’ll look back on this debate and we’ll regret it,” he said.

After discussing his belief that marriage is about “responsible procreation,” state Rep. Rich Anderson (R-Clarinda) asked what could come next if the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage is allowed to stand. He concluded that it would lead to legalized polygamy and incest.

“If we remove the gender requirement for marriage, there is no rational basis to define the number,” he said. “So we open up the possibility of the constitutional recognition of polygamous relationships. That’s a slippery slope. And I don’t know where the logic is to draw the line. We wouldn’t recognize incestuous relationships between two consenting adult brothers and sisters. That raises up within us disgust, and we can’t accept that. We draw lines. We define marriage.”

Some of the most impassioned testimony came from state Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames), who argued that Iowa has long been ahead of the rest of the nation in recognizing the rights of minorities.

“Iowa is a special place. We have been ahead of the nation many times when it comes to civil rights. Here we are again; we are ahead of much of the nation. I am proud of the role we play to lead our nation in civil rights again,” she said.

“In the 1967 case, Loving v. Virginia not only ended the ban on interracial marriage but declared that marriage is one of the basic civil rights,” Wessel-Kroeschell continued. “In a representative democracy, we must not only vote the will of our constituents, but we must also do our homework, and sometimes we need to ignore the polls and do the right thing. This is one of those cases. We need to be on the right side of history, vote for equality and justice for all and vote no on HJR 6.”

Two outspoken opponents of marriage equity — Republcian state Reps. Glen Massie of Des Moines and Rep. Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill — took the highly unusual step of refusing to answer questions in defense of the constitutional amendment when requested by Democratic state Rep. Nathan Willems of Lisbon. Willems eventually got state Rep. Erik Helland (R-Johnston) to discuss whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Iowa Constitution applies to everyone except for gay couples, with Hellend concluding that there is a fundamental disagreement on the issue.

Carolyn Jenison, executive director of the LGBT-rights group One Iowa, said the amendment “devalues families and divides Iowans.”

“The Constitution is meant to protect the freedoms and liberties of all Iowans,” she said after the bill passed. “It is inappropriate to use the political process to single out and deny a group of Iowans of their constitutional protections.”

In order to become law, the amendment must now pass in the Democratic-controlled Iowa Senate, where Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, has vowed to block it. If it succeeds there, it must be passed by both the House and Senate again in 2013 before it can be placed on the ballot.

Source

Arrggh...may this thing die a painful death on the Senate floor.
once upon a time

Micheal Steele on the Daily Show

From Examiner.com: Last night Michael Steele went on The Daily Show for an interview with Jon Stewart. However, before the questioning could begin the former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman had to prove that he was the “real” Michael Steele. Over the past year Stewart and one of his correspondents, Wyatt Cenac, have made famous a “puppet Steele” with funny mannerisms and rhymes. After proving he was the genuine article, the interview moved on to some more meaningful. 

Stewart first challenged Steele on the notion that Republicans are somehow the “fiscally responsible” party. Steele admitted that the GOP “lost their way” over the past ten years, but said that have traditionally been for less spending. Stewart countered by pointing President Reagan (some 25 years ago) also ran deficits and raised taxes during his presidency. Steele basically conceded the point, saying that many conservatives have a “blind spot” when it comes to Reagan.

Stewart then went on to press Steele on the apparent hypocrisy of the RNC, which is now $23 million in debt as a result of raising their own “debt limit” in 2010. Steele justifies the debt by saying he opposed it at first, and also claiming the money was well spent since it led to the Republican gains in the midterm elections. Stewart argues that Steele’s reasoning is the same as that of Democrats who justify stimulus spending as “money well spent” in order to obtain larger gains in the future.

Though liberals will of course view Stewart’s points more favorably, Steele did handle the interview well and make some valid counter arguments. Many analysts believe that Steele actually interviews better in the days since he was kicked out of chairman’s post by the RNC.

Part 1 is very silly. Part 2 is more SRS BSN.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Michael Steele Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook



The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Michael Steele Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
music | Erikah Badu

LIVE POST: Egyptian Protests Discussion Part 6.



PREVIOUS LIVE POSTS:  five | four | three | two | one

EGYPTIAN UPRISING BACKGROUNDER: Live News Feeds:
Notable Tools:
MOST RECENT EVENTS: Collapse )

Will update this entry as notable link suggestions/updates come in.

NOTE: Separate submissions related to Egypt will likely be rejected. Please link articles in THIS post for discussion/entry spotlights.
Citadel

Women writers and readers still woefully underrepresented. Now in graph form!

“Numbers don’t lie.” “What counts is the bottom line.”

Such sayings sound definitive, like the dead-end of a boring story. But as these facts come to light–no longer imagined or guessed at–so does the truth of publishing disparities, the unfortunate footing from which we can begin to change the face of publishing. We are no longer guessing if the world is flat or round; we are wondering how to get from point A to B now that the rules of navigation are public and much clearer. Questions long denied will lead us to new awareness, to challenge current publishing practices, and to query the merits of selection on the level of individual publications and review journals alike.

Please take a look. Scroll slowly. Notice the Red. Your favorite publication might be here. Atlantic? Boston Review? Granta? Harpers? London Review of Books? New Republic? New Yorker? NY Times Book Review? New York Review of Books? Poetry? Times Literary Supplement? And many more…

The truth is, these numbers don’t lie. But that is just the beginning of this story. What, then, are they really telling us? We know women write. We know women read. It’s time to begin asking why the 2010 numbers don’t reflect those facts with any equity. Many have already begun speculating; more articles and groups are pointing out what our findings suggest: the numbers of articles and reviews simply don’t reflect how many women are actually writing. VIDA is here to help shape that discussion. Please tell us about the trends you’ve witnessed in your part of the writing world. Let us know what you think is going on. We’re ready and anxious to hear from you. We’re ready to invest our efforts and energy into the radical notion that women are writers too.



Source, includes other graphs of similar results.
normal

Georgia Republican Promises to Turn His State into a Libertarian Paradise

Georgia to Have their Own Post-Apocalyptic Thunderdome. Death Matches to Be Scheduled Next Spring!

Georgia Republican: Nobody Should Need A Driver's License

Republican Georgia state legislator Bobby Franklin thinks that driver's licenses impose undue restrictions on the right of citizens to travel. So he's proposed legislation to stop the state from issuing them.

"Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose," Franklin's legislation states. "Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right."

In an interview with CBS Atlanta News, Franklin claimed driver's licenses are a throw back to oppressive times.

"Agents of the state demanding your papers," he said. "We're getting that way here."
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donk... donk... donk...

Immigration officer fired after putting wife on list of terrorists to stop her flying home

An immigration officer tried to rid himself of his wife by adding her name to a list of terrorist suspects.

He used his access to security databases to include his wife on a watch list of people banned from boarding flights into Britain because their presence in the country is 'not conducive to the public good'.

As a result the woman was unable for three years to return from Pakistan after travelling to the county to visit family.

The tampering went undetected until the immigration officer was selected for promotion and his wife name was found on the suspects' list during a vetting inquiry.

The Home Office confirmed today that the officer has been sacked for gross misconduct.

The incident is likely to raise new questions over levels of efficiency in the UK Border Agency, the organisation formed nearly three years ago by then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to take over all immigration controls.

It has been criticised for poor performance by the Parliamentary Ombudsman and has suffered its share of humiliating incidents - for example the incident 19 months ago when an illegal immigrant escaped from the channel tunnel port at Folkestone by clinging to the underside of a bus carrying Border Agency staff.

The Agency is charged with putting into operation the Coalition's policy of reducing numbers of workers from outside Europe allowed into Britain.

A spokesman said: 'We expect the highest levels of integrity. Allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated and we always take action swiftly where we find members of staff who have abused their position.

'On the extremely rare occasions where this occurs, the strongest action is taken.'

The officer in the latest incident to come to light was employed by a unit maintaining watch lists.

He is understood to have worked at the Agency's headquarters at Lunar House in Croydon, South London.

His wife visited family in Pakistan but when she tried to return to Britain she was not allowed onto the aircraft. Airline and immigration officials refused to explain to her why.

She was forced to remain in Pakistan for three years until her husband's manipulation of the suspect list came to light.

He is understood to have applied for a promotion that would have meant a higher level of security clearance.

During the vetting process the name of his wife was discovered on the suspect list, to the surprise of security staff.

When questioned, the officer confessed to his alteration of the lists and was sacked.

Daily Mail

Former Tory Lord Chancellor says Christians must have the right to bar gays

 Lord Mackay of Clashfern has argued that Christians must be free to act on their consciences when it comes to gay rights.

The former Lord Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher and John Mayor said insisting that Christians abide by equality laws – such as in the case of hotel owners – was “Orwellian”.

Last month, gay couple Martin Hall and Steven Preddy won their case against a Christian-run bed and breakfast which barred them from sharing a room.

A judge ruled that the gay couple, who are in a civil partnership, should have been treated in the same way as a heterosexual married couple as the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations state.

Writing for ConservativeHome, Lord Mackay, who has frequently voted against gay rights, argued: “Most people still affectionately regard marriage, as understood by English law and the Church, as deserving of its special status.

“To equate civil partnerships with marriage is a big step to take. For the law to force people to equate the two, and penalise those who do not, is an Orwellian leap.”


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Source: Pink News

Saturday Night Live attacked for transphobic skit

 US television show Saturday Night Live has been attacked for including a skit which mocked transgender women.

The piece, a mock advertisement for hormone pills, was “destructive and dehumanising”, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said.

It showed men with facial hair wearing dresses and advertised ‘EstroMaxx’.

GLAAD said the segment was “dangerous and blatantly anti-transgender”.

It added: “This segment cannot be defended as ‘just a joke’ because there was no ‘joke’ to speak of.

“The attempted comedy of the skit hinges solely on degrading the lives and experiences of transgender women.

“Holding people up for ridicule simply on the basis of their identity fuels a hurtful climate and puts people in danger, especially given how infrequently the media shines a fair and accurate light on the lives of transgender people.


GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said: “The violence, discrimination and harassment that transgender Americans experience each and every day is no laughing matter.

“Saturday Night Live is a touchstone of American comedy, but Saturday’s unfunny skit sends a destructive and dehumanising message.”


NBC, which broadcasts Saturday Night Live, has not commented.

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Source: Pink News

Six trans women killed in Honduras in two months

 LGBT campaigners are calling on Honduran authorities to fully investigate the murders of six transgender women in just 60 days.

According to Human Rights Watch, the first death was on November 29th and the latest took place on January 17th.

The women were murdered on the streets or in their homes in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and in the cities of Comayagüela and San Pedro Sula.

The attacks ranged from gunshots to setting the victims on fire.

Indyra Mendoza, director of Honduran lesbian group Red Lésbica Cattrachas, said: “The impunity with which these murders have taken place has shaken the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Honduras.

“We need legislative change and prevention programs to end discrimination in Honduras, because at the moment we are living our lives in hiding.”


Human Rights Watch said the women appeared to have been tortured before being killed.

The victims were Idania Roberta Sevilla Raudales, 58; Luisa Alvarado Hernández, 23; Lady Óscar Martínez Salgado, 45; Reana ‘Cheo’ Bustamente; Briget Makaligton and Fergie Alice Ferg.

The government is failing to tackle the killings, Human Rights Watch claims.

Dipika Nath, researcher in the LGBT programme at the charity, said: “The government needs to act urgently to fulfill its obligations under international treaties and swiftly arrest and bring to trial those responsible for these murders.

“It is up to the government to fulfill its commitment to protect the rights of all Hondurans regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.”


Source: Pink News
king rad

REPUBLICANS PROTECTING US FROM BIG GOVT. AND BIG ROCKS

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


WASHINGTON—In a strong rebuke of President Obama and his domestic agenda, all 242 House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal the Asteroid Destruction and American Preservation Act, which was signed into law last year to destroy the immense asteroid currently hurtling toward Earth.

The $440 billion legislation, which would send a dozen high-thrust plasma impactor probes to shatter the massive asteroid before it strikes the planet, would affect more than 300 million Americans and is strongly opposed by the GOP.

"The voters sent us to Washington to stand up for individual liberty, not big government," Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said at a press conference. "Obama's plan would take away citizens' fundamental freedoms, forcing each of us into hastily built concrete bunkers and empowering the federal government to ration our access to food, water, and potassium iodide tablets while underground."

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Source

Rachel Maddow Slams Glenn Beck

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Rachel Maddow took Glenn Beck to task for his frequently apocalyptic pronouncements--saying that he and other right-wing media figures said such outlandish things that she couldn't tell truth from fiction sometimes.

Maddow's denunciation of Beck was part of her explanation for why she believed a post about Sarah Palin on a satirical website and aired an item about it. She said that Beck has used "every occasion as the right occasion to push for the idea...that it's the end of the world."

Maddow then played clips of Beck's doomsday take on the Egypt uprisings. (Beck has warned that the protests will lead to a caliphate and are being directed by Communists and jihadists. He also apparently said that China is close to taking over New Zealand.) Maddow pointed out that Beck had been equally apoplectic about Wall Street reform. It is for this reason, she concluded, that she was hoaxed.

Beck and others, Maddow said, see "a direct ratio between their own success and how afraid they can make their audiences."

source

misc01
  • xerox78

Planned Parenthood is under attack

New Video Seeks To Discredit Planned Parenthood

An anti-abortion group Tuesday released undercover video taken in its latest attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood - footage of operatives posing as a pimp and a prostitute seeking health services at a New Jersey clinic.

The group releasing the video, Live Action, said it depicted a clinic employee offering to help cover up a sex ring so that its prostitutes could receive health services. Planned Parenthood said it had promptly notified law enforcement authorities after the visit, but it also said it was investigating whether the clinic employee in the video may have violated some of the organization's policies.

Planned Parenthood had proactively revealed the broad outlines of the new undercover operation last week, reporting that at least 12 of its clinics across the country had been visited by men claiming to be sex-traffickers.

The organization, which is the leading U.S. provider of abortions, asked federal authorities to investigate and said it had identified a man involved in the visits as linked to Live Action.

On Tuesday, Live Action released a video that it said was taken Jan. 13 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Perth Amboy, N.J.

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The fake video can be seen at the source

Another informative article

A couple of petitions:
People for the American Way: Don't Let Planned Parenthood Get ACORNed!

CREDO Action: Don't let them "Shirley Sherrod" Planned Parenthood
jisookimcandela

Should Be Titled "Group Finds a Bunch of Gullible Students and Points the Finger at the Internet"



‘Tree octopus’ is latest evidence the internet is making kids dumb, says group


Every few months, almost like clockwork, an alarming report comes along purporting to show that the Internet is turning everyone's brains -- particularly the brains of this generation's children -- into mush. It's apparently that time again.

A few days ago Pearson, which bills itself as "the world's leading PreK-20 educational publishing company," sent out a press release touting a new study. Its title was attention-grabbing: "Schools Facing Learning Crisis Spawned by Internet." Its opening line read: "Schools around the nation are facing a learning crisis caused by the Internet..."

Scary stuff, right? Tell us more!

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Source

Obviously there is an issue of poor information and unreliable sources such as Wikipedia being used for scholarly work, but like the author says, this is something to be countered by critical thinking skills not technological finger-pointing.

What's worse than an asteroid? An Obamastroid.

Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth
FEBRUARY 2, 2011


House Republicans say the bill, which was passed to stop the giant asteroid from hitting Earth, is 'big government at its worst.'

WASHINGTON—In a strong rebuke of President Obama and his domestic agenda, all 242 House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal the Asteroid Destruction and American Preservation Act, which was signed into law last year to destroy the immense asteroid currently hurtling toward Earth.

The $440 billion legislation, which would send a dozen high-thrust plasma impactor probes to shatter the massive asteroid before it strikes the planet, would affect more than 300 million Americans and is strongly opposed by the GOP.

"The voters sent us to Washington to stand up for individual liberty, not big government," Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said at a press conference. "Obama's plan would take away citizens' fundamental freedoms, forcing each of us into hastily built concrete bunkers and empowering the federal government to ration our access to food, water, and potassium iodide tablets while underground."

"We believe that the decisions of how to deal with the massive asteroid are best left to the individual," King added.

Repealing the act, which opponents have branded 'Obamastroid,' has been the cornerstone of the GOP agenda since the law's passage last August. Throughout the 2010 elections, Republican candidates claimed that the Democrats' plan to smash the space rock and shield citizens from its fragments was "a classic example of the federal government needlessly interfering in the lives of everyday Americans."

"This law is a job killer," said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who argued the tax increases required to save the human species from annihilation would impose unbearably high costs on businesses. "If we sit back and do nothing, Obamastroid will result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, which we simply can't afford in this economy."

"And consider how much money this program will add to our already bloated deficit," Foxx continued. "Is this the legacy we want to leave our children?"

Many GOP members have also criticized the legislation for what they consider pork-barrel spending, claiming the act includes billions in "giveaways" to NASA, nonperishable food manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies contracted to produce mass volumes of vitamin D supplements in the likely event that dust from the asteroid's impact blots out the sun for a decade.

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... enjoy!
garf tired

Creative people may be more likely to cheat

The art of the con: Creative people may be more apt to cheat, says U.S. study



A new university study suggests a troubling link between creativity and loose morals.

A new university study suggests a troubling link between creativity and loose morals.
Photograph by: Fotolia, Fotolia

What do Dr. Evil and lawyers have in common?

It sounds like the setup for a bad joke, but the answer is actually the key finding of a Harvard Business School study exposing the underbelly of creativity.

Across five experiments, each of which used between 71 and 111 people, researchers discovered an association between outside-the-box thinking and unethical behaviour. It appears the cognitive gymnastics that boost creativity are simultaneously a burden on honesty, as they foster the development of "original ways to bypass moral rules" — whether in a criminal mastermind trying to take over the world or an inventive attorney trying to win over a judge.

Francesca Gino, associate professor of business administration at Harvard, calls it "a first step in uncovering some of the potential dark consequences of being creative."

"Organizational behaviour, management and psychology literature all point to the benefits of creativity," said Gino, who co-authored the working paper with Dan Ariely of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

"But we show that creativity also helps in the rationalization process. It allows people to come up with a lot of excuses and justifications for why their behaviour isn't bad."

The researchers report that participants with creative personalities who scored high on divergent-thinking tests were more likely to cheat; that this dispositional creativity was a better predictor of unethical behaviour than intelligence; and that people primed to think outside-the-box were more apt to behave dishonestly "because of their creativity motivation," and to have "greater ability to justify their dishonest behaviour."

A field study at an advertising agency replicated these effects, suggesting that people who work in positions that require creative thinking are likelier to be morally lithe — inflating expense reports and stealing office supplies, for example.

"It's a finding that's both interesting and alarming, and puts pressure on organizations to try to find ways in which they can foster creativity without these bad consequences," said Gino.

Canadian playwright Marty Chan admits that his innate creativity has seen him bend the rules of theatre to his benefit — such as breaking the "fourth wall" in his critically lauded play The Bone House. But he's skeptical of its likelihood of making him blur ethical boundaries.

"Being creative means questioning what's normal. But there's a difference between questioning and acting on it," said Chan, the Edmonton Public Library's writer-in-residence." Just because I turn a theatre convention on its head doesn't mean I'm about to go on a crime spree as well."

Sharon Ryan, an ethics instructor at the University of California-Los Angeles Extension, said the study's findings dovetail with previous research showing that people use their moral imagination to creatively think of ways to improve the quality of their group's existence.

As such, she said she believes the participants' backgrounds are of particular importance because people's group membership would cause them to be motivated by different things to cheat.

"I refuse to believe that creativity, one of humanity's most precious abilities, is predominantly evil in its application," said Ryan, who suggests the study's "depressing and dismal" findings are limited by the research design.

Because roughly 20 per cent of participants were business majors, and money was used as a carrot in the experiments, Ryan believes the results may have been skewed by these students' elevated desire to maximize profits, a goal prized by the business community.

But Gino reports that even after controlling for this factor, the results hold true.

"For progress in society, we need creative thinking," said Gino. "Our message is simply that individuals can't be left unchecked."

Read more: http://www.canada.com/Creative+people+more+cheat+says+study/4186599/story.html#ixzz1CrTZooeD


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lost // jack

NYC smoking ban extended to parks, Times Square

NEW YORK — New York City's parks, beaches and even Times Square will be off-limits to smokers under one of the nation's toughest anti-cigarette laws passed Wednesday by the City Council.

"This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a beach not littered with cigarette butts," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after the 36-12 vote.


The smoking ban will cover 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches plus boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas like the one in the heart of Times Square. The ban goes into effect 90 days after Bloomberg signs the bill; the mayor has 20 days to do it.

States and cities from Maine to California have banned smoking in public parks and beaches, but New York is pursuing one of the widest-reaching urban bans. Smoking is also prohibited in Los Angeles city parks and in Chicago parks with playgrounds.

Supporters of the New York ban said exposure to secondhand smoke poses health risks.

"The statistics don't lie: Secondhand smoke kills," Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. "With this bill, all New Yorkers can now breathe easier and breathe cleaner air."

A law banning smoking in New York City bars and restaurants went into effect in 2003.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz voted for the latest ban despite her ambivalence about earlier anti-smoking measures that forced her outdoors in bad weather when she was a smoker.

"My grandson used to tell me, 'Grandma, you're going to die,'" Koslowitz, now a nonsmoking legislator, said in announcing her vote.

Outside on Wednesday, the wet, raw winter weather didn't seem to bother Cal Johnson as he strolled through the park in front of City Hall, puffing on a cigarette.

"I guess I'll have to stop smoking in this park," said the 68-year-old retired Wall Street analyst when he was told of the anti-smoking vote.

However, "in principle, I support this ban on smoking — even though I'm a smoker," said Johnson, adding he'll smoke on a nearby street where he lives once the new law kicks in.

The expanded smoking ban will give the city's Parks Department the power to slap violators with quality-of-life summonses, which are tickets for minor offenses like panhandling or public urination that typically carry fines of under $100.


However, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the bill's prime sponsor, said the ban isn't intended to be a legally "punitive program." She said the city expects the law will be primarily self-enforced, with residents warning anyone who lights a cigarette in a park or on a beach that it's illegal. Police won't be responsible for enforcing it, she said.

Smokers'-rights groups held protests against the ban after city officials announced last fall that they were pursuing it.

And on Wednesday, some of the dozen council members who voted against it said they believed the ban violated individual freedoms.

Councilman Erik Dilan called the ban "an infringement on the rights of people," adding sarcastically, "So now, if anyone wants to smoke, they'll have to smoke in the bike lane."

Health and environmental advocates applauded the council vote.

"Thanks to this policy, public spaces intended for outdoor recreation will now be available for use in the healthy manner they were intended," said Sheelah Feinberg, executive director of the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City.

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This is awesome. Can we just ban smoking in public everywhere? Please? It's nasty.
movies | The Sound of Music

ONTD_P's Photo of the Day: February 02, 2011.


Flood victim Raja, a ten-year-old student, holds his books while returning from school in Mir Hassan village, some 47 km (29 miles) from Dadu in Pakistan's Sindh province, January 27, 2011. Monsoon floods last year, one of the worst natural disasters in Pakistan's history, left about 11 million people homeless, killed nearly 2,000, destroyed millions of acres of crops and hammered the economy. A study by Save the Children showed that 87 percent of children interviewed were stressed and aggressive, 75 percent could not express themselves properly and 70 percent felt insecure, with fear of people, water, open places and darkness.

(Akhtar Soomro | REUTERS)


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