February 14th, 2011


Osama's Worst Nightmare: Terrorism Is Not Cool Anymore!

How MLK Jr. Non-violently Bitch Slapped Osama Bin Ladden

The Real Loser in Egypt's Uprising

As the military dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution, Cairo’s fate remains unclear. But one thing’s certain: Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the revolution.

The fall of Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for almost 30 years, has sent a shockwave of both unease and hope throughout the Islamic world. Following the collapse of the Tunisian dictator, Ben Ali, the toppling of Mubarak in the largest Arab country is a major milestone in the modern history of the Middle East and beyond. For the last half century, since Mubarak’s predecessor Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk in 1952, regime change in the Arab world had come only via military coups or U.S. invasion. Now two dictators have been toppled by their own people, who forced their countries' reluctant generals to remove one of their own from power. Autocrats in Algiers, Manama, Sana, Riyadh, and Tripoli will be wondering if they are next, other oppositionists will be hoping they are next.
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CH War and Peace

Torture in Bahraini prisons, with children as its victims

25th October 2010
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the reports on the continuation of torture of about 300 Bahraini citizens, who were arrested since the beginning of the government security crackdown, which started on the 13th of August. The detainees include opposition activists, human rights defenders and shia clerics, and amongst those detained and tortured are children between the ages of 12 and 16, there is also news of more injuries amongst the detainees. All this comes with the approval of the Public Prosecution which has denied that the detainees have been subjected to torture and made justifications for not allowing them to meet their lawyers until now.
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British government ready to implement full marriage equality in United Kingdom

The British government is expected to announce full marriage equality for gays and lesbians under reforms to marriage laws expected to be announced later this week by the Liberal Democrat equality minister, Lynne Featherstone.

The announcement will also include the time table for civil partnerships to be held in religious buildings. The reported move will end the final major legal discrimination against gays and lesbians in Britain.

Pink News reports:

Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 and offer gays and lesbian couples similar legal rights to straight married couples. Differences include the grounds for dissolution, some insurance and pension rights and they are not recognised as having the same status as marriage abroad.

A consequence of the ban on gay marriage means that a married transgendered person must divorce their partner before being recognised in their new gender. In addition, couples are barred from having any religious elements in the civil partnership ceremony.

An amendment the Equality Act by Labour peer Lord Waheed Alli was passed just prior to the election, but the new government delayed the implementation of the changes. Religious institutions are not forced to host ceremonies if they do not wish to.

Should full same-sex marriage be codified in English law, the only other significant legal discrimination against LGBTQ persons will be the ban on donating blood, although the UK governments have previously signaled in the past that they will look to end this practice.

Last year, a poll for PinkNews.co.uk found that 98% of the LGBT population support full gay equality and that civil partnerships are not good enough.


(no subject)

Thailand, Cambodia Foreign Ministers to Face Off at UN

Thailand and Cambodia's are to make their case before the United Nations in New York over deadly border fighting that erupted a week ago. Cambodia wants U.N. peacekeepers sent to prevent further clashes. But Thailand rejects any U.N. involvement.

Thailand's Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong will address the United Nations Security Council on Monday

Cambodia requested the emergency meeting after the worst fighting with Thailand in years broke out near a disputed border area.

At least eight people were killed when soldiers exchanged artillery and machine-gun fire. Thousands of villagers fled for safety. Both sides say the other fired first.

By Monday, many had returned home but both sides are on full alert for any further clashes.

Cambodia calls the clashes a Thai invasion akin to war and wants the U.N. to send peacekeeping troops to the area.

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  • phookie

IRAN PROTESTS (2/14/2011)

There are reports in social media sites and non-state Iranian news sites of clashes between protesters and security forces in Tehran, the Iranian capital.

Thousands of demonstrators were marching on Monday on Enghelab and Azadi streets [which connect and create a straight path through the city centre], with a heavy presence in Enghelab Square and Vali-Asr Street, according to these reports.

Several clashes have been reported on Twitter, the micro-blogging site, with claims of some demonstrators being teargassed and others beaten and arrested.

Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, in Tehran, confirmed reports that security forces used tear gas, pepper spray and batons against the protesters.
She said up to 10,000 security forces had been deployed to prevent protesters from gathering at Azadi Square, where the marches, originating from various points in Tehran, were expected to converge.

The AFP news agency reported that police fired paintball bullets on protesters. One video, posted on Youtube (claiming to be from Monday's protests) shows people chanting, "political prisoners must be freed" when a woman cries that tear gas has been deployed, dispersing the crowd.

On the Facebook page used to organise Monday's marches, there were also reports of shooting in or around Enghelab Square as well as demonstrations in the cities of Mashhad, Shiraz and Kermanshah.

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source | source

I currently have family in Iran and I'm hoping they're safe. I don't know how effective the protests are going to be considering the amount of security and intervention administered by the government but I'm optimistic. Change takes time suppose (be it 18 days or a few years).
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Edison's Light by ParkeHarrison

Visualizing the Budget

The New York Times is hosting this really cool interactive treemap of the Obama Administration's 2012 Budget Proposal:


Drill in and see what's getting funded and what's getting cut.

This currently has all of the Interaction Designers and Information Architects in my office clustered around the giant touchscreen.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Melanie Phillips!

 Happy Valentine’s Day to Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips, who used the romance of February 14th to urge against giving gay couples the right to marry.

Obviously struck by one of Cupid’s sharper arrows, she took the occasion to suggest that gay marriage could soon lead to people marrying their hamsters.

Having booted Jan Moir off the Twitter naughty chair with last month’s tirade about gays brainwashing children, she sets about trashing gay relationships.

It comes down to the same tired old argument – that it’s all about sex and procreation.

Forget about the many different kinds of relationships people have, the ways they choose to live, how they raise their children – or not – and even the fact that they have sex in different ways.

Usually, no one is quite crude enough to point out that straight people might be doing many of the same things as gay couples but in any case, what does it matter?

Melanie says: “The argument – that people with different sexual lifestyles must be treated identically – is exactly the same [as the argument for legalising bestiality]“.

She claims that in some parts of America, campaigns are underway for zoophiles’ sexual rights and the implication is clear that this must be a slippery slope.

To be fair, a disclaimer is included: “Before the hate mail starts, I’m not suggesting gays are on a moral par with zoophiles.” Clever, that.

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Source: Pink News

We seem to be hearing quite a lot from this mad old bag recently...

Republicans Ready to Kill Red Menace: Is Elmo a Member of the Communist Party?

'Death Panel' for Elmo? Republicans Aim to Kill Public Broadcasting

What do Elmo and the Republicans have in common? And what’s this got to do with health? Well, first, if you have a toddler in love with the red fuzzy creature adored by millions of preschoolers in North America, brace yourself for the tantrums if the Republicans get their way -- a group of House Republicans called the Republican Study Committee has proposed to axe the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of the Spending Reduction Act of 2011. The Republicans are angling to kill Elmo and all his furry friends on Sesame Street. And if they do, we’ll lose one of the most successful television programs that has educated and entertained preschool kids since 1969.

Second, when we think health, we rarely remember that access to quality health information plays an important role in helping us build healthier lifestyles. Public broadcasting doesn’t immediately leap to mind when searching for health knowledge in the Internet age. But Google "health" and "public broadcasting" and you’ll discover the CPB supports numerous websites that feature health facts and public health messages for adults and kids alike. This in addition to public broadcasting’s funding of health forums and programs on National Public Radio and its network of affiliate stations across the country, plus health documentaries and features on PBS television.

And, of course, there’s Sesame Street. This critically acclaimed children’s television show was the first of its kind more than four decades ago. And it continues to lead the way in reaching American preschoolers with its educational messages on everything from basic spelling to -- you got it -- health. How to brush your teeth, what’s the most important meal of the day (breakfast), why eating veggies and fruits are good for you -- these healthy lifestyle messages reach the youngest Americans disguised as funny skits and catchy sing-alongs lead by Elmo and other characters beloved by their young fans.

Whether your preschooler will refuse ice cream for broccoli is another issue. But, at the very least, Sesame Street and other programs aimed at educating children about healthy habits offer an alternative viewing experience to the endless hours of cheesy toy commercials and junk food advertising to which our kids are exposed.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time Republicans have the knives out for Elmo. Newt Gingrich tried to do away with the CPB when Congress was controlled by the GOP in 1995. But Big Bird saved the day when the public was outraged at the idea of losing Sesame Street. Just last year the Republicans were at it again, taking advantage of the controversy surrounding NPR’s firing of correspondent Juan Williams as an excuse to abolish the CPB. Republicans are also angling to kill other public arts foundations, like the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities, they’ve long wished dead.

If you think that public broadcasting and the arts are worth saving for the health of this nation, make your voice heard and sign this Change.org petition.
...because it is pathetic

Forde convicted in killing of Arivaca man, daughter

A Pima County jury convicted Shawna Forde today of two counts of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009 deaths of Arivaca residents Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia.

The jury also convicted Forde of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Flores' wife, Gina Gonzalez, as well as related aggravated assault and robbery counts.

Gonzlez started crying as soon as the first guilty verdict, the killing of her daughter, was read just before noon in a packed courtroom at Pima County Superior Court.

The jury deliberated for seven hours over two days. Jurors will now be asked if the death penalty ought to be considered.

On the first day of the trial, which has gained national attention, Gonzalez testified her husband woke her to say the police were at the door. The woman at the door identified herself and the man with her as law enforcement officers looking for fugitives, Gonzalez said.

When her husband questioned the veracity of their story, Gonzalez said the gunman opened fire, shooting her husband and Gonzalez. As Gonzalez played dead on the floor, the gunman fired two bullets into their youngest daughter's head, despite the little girl's pleas. Their oldest daughter was spending the night at her grandmother's house.

Moments after the couple and two accomplices left, Gonzalez testified the woman returned to find her on the phone with 911 and called out to the gunman to finish her off. Gonzalez said she fled to the kitchen, armed herself and fired back when the gunman tried to kill her again. He then fled.

Forde, Jason Bush, 36, and Albert Gaxiola, 44, were arrested within two weeks of the slayings. Bush, the alleged gunman, and Gaxiola are scheduled to go to trial March 15 and June 1, respectively.

Prosecutors Rick Unklesbay and Kellie Johnson presented evidence they said showed Forde recruited Gaxiola, Bush and others to rob Flores because she suspected he was a drug smuggler and she needed a way to fund her Minuteman American Defense border organization.

They put a handful of witnesses on the stand who testified Forde either recruited them or spoke to them of their plans. The prosecutors also presented incriminating text messages and tape-recorded phone conversations.

After the slayings, Forde and Bush told various people Bush was shot by border bandits on May 30, 2009, but Bush's blood was found at the Flores' house, in the getaway vehicle and on a pair of woman's boots found at Gaxiola's house leading authorities to believe one of Gonzalez's bullets found its target.

Forde's DNA was also found on an item of jewelry belonging to Gonzalez and found in Forde's Honda Element after the slayings.

In addition, the prosecutors gave jurors letters Forde wrote while in jail encouraging her son and another man to testify they had given her the jewelry prior to the slayings.

Defense attorneys Eric Larsen and Jill Thorpe told jurors that while Forde may have bragged about taking down drug smugglers, the state had absolutely no proof she was in the house or getaway vehicle that night. There were no credible eyewitnesses, DNA, fingerprints, footprints or fiber evidence linking Forde to the crime, they said.

The attorneys suggested Gaxiola's girlfriend, Gina Moraga, was the woman
home invader.

Moraga had helped Gaxiola and another man steal between 400 to 500 pounds of marijuana from Flores a few months prior to his death, she wears the same size shoes as the bloody ones found at Gaxiola's house and she somewhat resembled the description provided by Gonzalez, the attorneys said.

Jurors must now decide if the facts of the case warrant the possibility of the death penalty.

If they unanimously say "Yes," both sides will begin presenting evidence as to why Forde should or should not be executed.


I looked up her profile on facebook. Her supporters are claiming she was ~framed~ and that a drug cartel committed the murders. The cojones, unbelievable.

'Life not worth living' for disabled people facing benefit cuts

For Ella Findlay, the £400 a month in welfare payments she receives from the state is the difference between life and death. With the money she is able to live alone, work as an employment adviser and pay for a specially modified car.

Diagnosed as a teenager with progressive multiple sclerosis, Findlay is among 1.8 million disabled people of working age that the government is targeting in its aim to reduce by a fifth the £5bn cost of disability living allowance (DLA).

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News you can use.

(no subject)


Scott Walker's state-provided SUV racked up more than 12K miles in two months

Scott Walker spent more than $6,400 of the taxpayers' money on his personal vehicle during the two-month period before he took office, Isthmus has learned.

Receipts provided by the state Department of Transportation show that Walker racked up more than 12,500 miles on a brand new 2011 GMC Yukon XL provided by the state for his personal use.

As reported in Isthmus ("Scott Walker's Rockin' New Ride," 12/24/10), the state leased the vehicle for 60 days, from just after the election to just after Walker's inauguration. The state was charged $1,596 per month plus 20 cents for every mile in excess of 3,000.

The receipts show the vehicle was driven 5,288 miles during the first 30-day period and 7,336 miles during the second, for a total of 12,624 miles (an average of 210 miles a day). The total cost was 4,517.80, not including gas, which DOT spokeswoman Peg Schmitt says was "paid for with a gas card issued by the state." Assuming an average of 20 miles per gallon (the Yukon XL is rated at 15 in the city and 21 on the highway), at $3 a gallon, that's an additional $1,894.

As a candidate, Walker ran an ad proclaiming: "I pack a brown bag lunch and drive my 1998 Saturn with over 100,000 miles to cut costs, and think government should do the same."

State officials and Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie say the Yukon XL was picked by the state's security staff. Since becoming governor, Walker has been using Gov. Jim Doyle's former ride — a 2010 Chevrolet Suburban, which the state leases for $935 per month, regardless of mileage.

Asked whether the car was used for others besides Walker, and why so many miles were logged, Werwie replies: "Gov. Walker has traveled extensively, and the only reason the vehicle was rented was to transport the governor. The security detail made all route-planning decisions on the vehicle that was provided to the transition team from Gov. Doyle."

Madison to Milwaukee by way of Green Bay?

declaration of independence

Shirley Sherrod sues Andrew Breitbart

Shirley Sherrod, the former U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who lost her job over a heavily edited video, has sued the website owner who posted it.

As a result of the video edited by Andrew Breitbart, Sherrod has suffered "enduring damage to her reputation, as well as emotional distress and financial damages from her loss of employment at USDA," according to the defamation lawsuit.

In the posted video, Sherrod appeared to be talking about discriminating against white farmers; but it turned out her comments were part of a longer speech in which she discussed overcoming her prejudices -- though by the time that was discovered, she had been fired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Vilsack and President Obama later apologized to Sherrod and offered her another job. She turned it down.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

In response, Breitbart's media company released a statement that said, in part: "The lawsuit ... does not name as co-Defendants President Barack Obama, the USDA and USDA head Tom Vilsack, even though it is they who fired [Sherrod], and who, according to [Sherrod] herself, denied her due process.

"Mr. Breitbart categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech and, to reiterate, looks forward to exercising his full and broad discovery rights. Mr. Breitbart is absolutely confident of being fully vindicated."

edit: Whoopsie, forgot to post the Source. Also, this would be a perfect time to use one of ladypolitik's "get it" gifs. 
king rad

Computer Starts Its Takeover Campaign By Picking Double Jeopardy

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IBM supercomputer Watson is set to square off tonight in a historic Valentine’s Day encounter against Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a landmark test of artificial intelligence.

Competing on a televised game show may seem like a trivial challenge for a multimillion-dollar machine, but for IBM scientists the competition represents the next evolution in the quest to design computers that can beat humans at their own game. The competition lasts three nights and concludes on Wednesday.

Watson is only the latest big idea to come out of Big Blue’s elegant Thomas J. Watson Research Center in suburban New York (pictured.)

In 1997, IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated chess world champion Gary Kasparoff in what one observer called “the most spectacular chess event in history.”

Tonight, when Watson tries to replicate Deep Blue’s success, this time against the best Jeopardy players in the world, viewers will see is a true-blue application of artificial intelligence at work in 2011.

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Source wants to know if we're going to hit singularity soon or if the computer will lose it all in the last round