February 13th, 2011

stock | Got My Drink On

ONTD_P's Photo of the Day: February 13, 2011.

Chinese New Year, 2011 | The Lunar New Year, or more accurately the lunisolar new year, began February 4 and in most countries that celebrate it ushered in the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac. In China Lunar New Year is the most important date on the calendar and triggers over a month of holiday travel which is often described as the largest annual human migration in the world. Hundreds of millions tax the transport system. The new year also marks the beginning of the Spring Festival in China which continues until the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day. Lunar New Year is celebrated in many countries, with many different traditions as well. Gathered here are pictures of China's travel wave and celebrations, as well as pictures from other countries' Lunar New Year observations.
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Full galleries:

Idaho to Kill Socialized Medicine: Medicaid

Saviors Will Be Greeted with Flowers

Idaho Nullificationists Poised To Kill Medicaid In That State

The Idaho state legislature is on the verge of enacting an unconstitutional bill nullifying the Affordable Care Act. Yet, while Idaho’s proposed act of nullification would have no impact whatsoever on the ACA itself, the Idaho Attorney General’s office warns that it could lead to a serious unintended consequence for the people of Idaho:

An additional legal ramification that must be considered as RS 20315 is contemplated is its effect on existing and future Idaho participation in the Medicaid Program. As a purely voluntary program, Idaho’s refusal to comply with the expanded provisions within the PPACA could potentially result in Idaho exiting the program and losing the existent federal matching funds. This could create a situation where individuals presently covered would no longer be covered, yet still require medical treatment, which likely would be required to be provided for and paid for through some non-federal means. This situation, in turn, could create an intense burden on the State’s

Medicaid is an entirely voluntary program in which the federal government provides generous grants to the states on the condition that the states comply with certain conditions. Yet, by attempting to nullify the ACA, Idaho would be refusing to comply with the voluntary conditions on its Medicaid funding spelled out in the ACA itself. Accordingly, nullification could have the effect of withdrawing Idaho from the Medicaid program altogether.

Were the state to do so, it would have drastic consequences for Idahoans and for their state’s budget. Presently, Idaho receives over $1 billion in federal grants to administer its Medicaid program — an amount that equals approximately two fifths of the state’s overall budget. If the state gave up this money, it would have to chose between eliminating health coverage for the 223,198 Idahoans who currently depend on Medicaid, or implementing similarly draconian cuts such as slashing its public schools budget by 85 percent.

ThinkProgress previously reported that the leading proponents of Idaho’s nullification bill — including Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) — decided to move forward with this ill-considered proposal after reading a book on nullification by leading Confederate apologist Tom Woods. As it turns out, there are very real consequences when state officials abandon the advice of real legal experts in favor of crackpot pseudo-historians like Woods. One of those consequences could be the end of Medicaid in Idaho.
fleur de lis

Young People Falling Behind Economically

Marian Wright Edelman
President, Children's Defense Fund

Release Date: February 11, 2011

While there is a lot of talk today about jobs, there has been far too little attention paid to the job prospects of young people. A new report prepared for the Children’s Defense Fund shows young people have lost more ground economically than any other age group over the last three decades. Dr. Andrew Sum, professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, and his colleagues paint a grim economic picture for the futures of young workers and young families, and Black young people and young families fare the worst. The widening income inequality and declining real incomes of young Black families with children raise serious questions about the economic and social futures of their children. The American Dream for poor young people and their children is vanishing on our watch.

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Direct Link to Full Report (Sum et al. (2010), Deteriorating Employment Rates and Incomes Threaten the Future of Young Workers and Young Families: Black Young People and Young Families Fare the Worst)
iran freedom!

What "original intent" would look like; The Tea Party's "America"

With reverence and awe, Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party pay homage to the original Constitution and framers who drafted the document in 1787. The House of Representatives, in a nod to them, began its session this year by reading it. Bachmann even brought Antonin Scalia to a seminar on the Constitution for members of Congress, where the Supreme Court justice instructed members to read the Federalist Papers and follow the framers' original intent. Moreover, many of the Tea Party's political positions, such as opposition to President Obama's healthcare reform program, are rooted in their adherence to the original document.

But what if they actually got their way? If a Tea Party constitutional reading suddenly took sway and we returned to the original document as conceived, what would the American republic look like? Much to the surprise of Bachmann and others, there wouldn't be that much freedom and democracy.

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Italy declares migrant emergency

Humanitarian crisis feared as thousands of north African migrants, mainly from Tunisia, flood tiny island of Lampedusa.

Italy has declared a humanitarian emergency after thousands of migrants sailed across the Mediterranean Sea from Tunisia, overwhelming authorities on Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island.

The Italian government said on Sunday that it was planning to deploy security forces on Tunisian soil to stop the waves of illegal immigrants.

"I will ask Tunisia's foreign minister for authorisation for our forces to intervene in Tunisia to block the flux," Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, said in a television interview.

He said that the EU had not responded to Italian calls for assistance, and that his country would have to manage the crisis.

Bernardino De Rubeis, Lampedusa's mayor, called the situation "out of control".

The remarks came a day after the Italian government said in a statement: "The cabinet today... has proclaimed a state of humanitarian emergency following the influx of the large number of citizens from North Africa."

The statement said that the decision to call an official emergency would enable civil protection officers "to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa".

In particular, the move will enable the central government to release funds for local authorities in areas which have been inundated by the wave of refugees, most of whom have fled to Lampedusa.

The majority of the people have come from nearby Tunisia, in the wake of the country's revolution four weeks ago.

Nearly 4,000 migrants have landed in Italy since Wednesday, according to Antonio Morana, harbour master on the island.

Most were packed into small fishing boats that were intercepted by coast guards and then taken to Lampedusa, where they were given blankets and received medical care after stepping off the boats.

Hundreds have had to sleep out in the open at the port because of a lack of facilities on the island, while others were taken to local hotels.

'More immigrants'
Karl Stagno Navarra, a journalist following events from Valletta, Malta's capital, told Al Jazeera that more migrants are on their way.

"The problem is not only for law and order on the island, but its also logistics, because the centre for migrants [on the island], which used to be operational up to a year ago ... has been closed," he said.

"The latest reports of the Italian authorities say they have identified at least another 10 boats that are expected on the island between midnight and 7am local time on Sunday."

Navarra said that up to 10,000 migrants were expected in the next week.

"So we have 4,000 migrants on an island with 5,000 inhabitants, and a structure that has a capacity to welcome not more than 800 migrants. So you can imagine the situation over there," he said.

"Throughout the night, thousands of migrants have been kept on the harbour keys, and also in the village squares. So we have a situation which is really out of hand at the moment."

Navarra said that many of the migrants say they are ultimately trying to reach France, where some of their family members are based.

Formal request
The Italian authorities have organised an airlift and put a ferry into service to take some of the people off Lampedusa, transporting them to identification centres in southern Sicily.

Italy made a formal request on Friday for aid from the European Union to combat what it warned was a looming humanitarian crisis, saying that the EU's justice and home affairs council should meet immediately to discuss the matter.

In a joint statement, Maroni, the Italian interior minister, and Franco Frattini, the foreign minister, also requested "the immediate deployment of a Frontex mission for patrolling and interception off the Tunisian coast", referring to the EU's border security agency based in Warsaw.

Maroni has blamed the influx on the Tunisian authorities, saying they were unable to enforce bilateral accords on curbing illegal immigration after the weeks of protests and political turmoil in the country.

TAP, the official Tunisian news agency, said a young Tunisian migrant had drowned, and another was reported missing, when a boat carrying 12 people sank on Saturday off the coast of Tunisia, en route to Europe.

' enough of this shit
  • schmiss

It must have been hard narrowing the list down to 10

10 Historical 'Facts' Only a Right-Winger Could Believe
Facts, including historical ones, are 'biased' against the right's worldview.

As you may have noticed by following their writings, conservatives are not sticklers for historical accuracy, especially when they have a point to defend and not a lot of evidence to support it. Get a load, for example, of John Podhoretz explaining how the pro-choice Rudy Giuliani reduced abortions in New York City (though, um, not really) because he cut crime, which is one of "the spiritual causes of abortion."

Yeah, deadline pressure's a bitch. But there are some bizarre notions of American history in which conservatives have become so invested they've adopted them into their worldview. The best-known example is probably Jonah Goldberg's notion of "Liberal Fascism"; nowadays anytime a conservative talks about, say, Woodrow Wilson or Hillary Clinton, you may expect him to mention their resemblance to Benito Mussolini. They don't even have to think about it, even when normal people are gaping at them open-mouthed like audience members at "Springtime for Hitler" -- it's part of the folklore that helps them understand the American experience.

There are plenty of others. I've picked out 10 such ideas that are widespread enough to qualify. (In the nomenclature I have treated "Republican" and "conservative" as synonyms because, come on.)

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The author is the author of alicublog which is a daily must-read for me. No one understands the conservative underbelly like he does.

Music → Makes such an almighty sound
  • freege

Police Brutality at the University of Puerto Rico

Hey, ONTD_P. I honestly wasn't sure how to go about this post, but here goes, and hopefully this post will be okay with the mods. I'm a longtime lurker, sometimes commenter, who'd like to direct your attention to a certain situation that's really not getting much coverage at all, aside from in the local news. Honestly, it doesn't surprise me that it's gotten so little coverage, as that's nearly always the case when it comes to events in Puerto Rico, but well, a few of us are tired of it and would like to try to spread the word a little. Yeah, we mad.

toriningen's made a pretty excellent post about the University of Puerto Rico and the abuses being carried out by the police in our main campus (along with information on the situation in general, such as how very little the government seems to care), a good amount of which has been stationed inside the university by the government after protests and a student strike started up due to our fees being more than doubled recently. This was after the campus Chancellor prohibited any type of manifestations inside it, which is against the Puerto Rican constitution, I should mention.

Clicking on the image should take you to the post.

GOProud Member Doesn't Like Gays

A 22-year-old college student attending the CPAC conference with the gay conservative group GOProud took time out from the event to tell Metro Weekly he doesn't much care for gay people and that only "straight acting" gay people are normal.
Matt Hinsey told Metro Weekly's Ebone Bell: "I don't really like gay people that much. Gay people frustrate me, the stereotypical gay people, it frustrates me...someone who puts on a total act. I understand that some guys are feminine, which is fine. But some guys, at some point, are normal, straight-acting, whatever and the next minute they're jumping up and down. It just frustrates me. The whole conservative thing is just be yourself, be an individual and just don't be someone you're not. If someone does or does not accept you, that's fine but don't change who you are to look different to others."

Hinsey also says he wants Sarah Palin to run for president in 2012 because she reminds him of his mother.

Watch the video here.


I am probably going to get shit for saying this but that guy is clearly a self loathing homosexual. I can't articulate into words the rage I felt reading/watching this. He and people like him are setting the movement back at least 20 years, tbh
  • xerox78

Randy Forbes (R-VA): Passport forms assault traditional families

Forbes slams same-sex 'parent' fields on passport forms

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes is accusing the State Department of conducting an assault on "traditional American family relationships" by changing how citizens can refer to their parentage on passport applications.

Forbes is upset that passport forms that now require applicants to provide information about their mother and father will change so that applicants are asked to list two people as "mother/father/parent."

The change would allow applicants to list a mother and father, two mothers, or two fathers.

Initially, the State Department announced in December that it was going to nix the titles "mother" and "father" altogether and simply require applicants to provide information for two parents.

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton heard about it, she insisted that the designations of mother and father be included, said John Echard, a State Department spokesman.

That led to the new "mother/father/parent" labels, which are set to be used on new applications starting March 1.

"It's a change that relates to today's parents," Echard said.

But Forbes said that change isn't sufficient.

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It must be nice to have a life so perfect that acknowledging someone else's same-sex relationship is a personal threat to you.
comedy | Hipster Mermaid

ONTD_P's Photo of the Day: February 13, 2011.

High-Dynamic-Range Imaging | In image processing, computer graphics, and photography, high-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight. The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple photographs, the latter of which in turn are individually referred to as low dynamic range (LDR) or standard dynamic range (SDR) photographs.
Samples of retina-gasmic HDR photos under the cut.

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