February 16th, 2011

jon & stephen thumbs up

(no subject)

Madison schools will close Wednesday due to 'excessive staff absences'
(update to this article I posted earlier tonight)

Madison [Wisconsin] school district officials have canceled school Wednesday.

"Due to substantial concerns of excessive staff absences, the Madison School District is forced to close all of our schools to students on Wednesday, February 16, 2011," according to an e-mail from the Madison School District sent at 11 p.m. Tuesday. "We regret having to make this decision, but with the significant percentage of staff members reporting absences for Wednesday we can not assure the safety of all students."

According to the district, as of Tuesday night 40 percent of the 2,600 members of the teacher bargaining unit called in sick.

"It is expected that this number will continue to increase through Wednesday morning," the e-mail said. "At this ratio we have serious concerns about our ability to maintain safe and secure school environments."

Officials said despite a substantial number of substitute teachers, there are not enough available teachers to come close to filling the need for Wednesday.
movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: February 15, 2011.

Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange awaits outside court to give a statement to the media in Belmarsh Magistrates court in London, Britain on 11 February 2011. Assange appeared in a London court for the final day of his extradition hearing, in which his lawyer argued that Swedenës premier had damage his chances of a fair trial in his country. 'He has effectively been denounced as an enemy of the people,' Assangeës lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, told the court. Assange is wanted in Sweden on three counts of sexual assault against one woman and one count of rape against a second. The 39-year-old Australian denies the allegations.

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Inside Egypt's Series of Tubes

Egypt Leaders Found ‘Off’ Switch for Internet

Epitaphs for the Mubarak government all note that the mobilizing power of the Internet was one of the Egyptian opposition’s most potent weapons. But quickly lost in the swirl of revolution was the government’s ferocious counterattack, a dark achievement that many had thought impossible in the age of global connectedness. In a span of minutes just after midnight on Jan. 28, a technologically advanced, densely wired country with more than 20 million people online was essentially severed from the global Internet.

The blackout was lifted after just five days, and it did not save President Hosni Mubarak. But it has mesmerized the worldwide technical community and raised concerns that with unrest coursing through the Middle East, other autocratic governments — many of them already known to interfere with and filter specific Web sites and e-mails — may also possess what is essentially a kill switch for the Internet.

Because the Internet’s legendary robustness and ability to route around blockages are part of its basic design, even the world’s most renowned network and telecommunications engineers have been perplexed that the Mubarak government succeeded in pulling the maneuver off.

But now, as Egyptian engineers begin to assess fragmentary evidence and their own knowledge of the Egyptian Internet’s construction, they are beginning to understand what, in effect, hit them. Interviews with many of those engineers, as well as an examination of data collected around the world during the blackout, indicate that the government exploited a devastating combination of vulnerabilities in the national infrastructure.
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do not want

Class acts give lie to race card

Here we go again. In a winter ritual as familiar as snow, the results of specialized high-school admissions are sparking the usual hand-wringing and finger-pointing about a shortage of "minorities" and a lack of "diversity" at the best city schools.

With the announcement that black eighth-graders make up only 5 percent of students accepted to eight specialized schools next year and Hispanic students only 6 percent, fevered accusations run the range from prejudice to prejudice. New Yorkers once again are being lectured by the media and others that the results prove the deck is stacked in favor of the privileged, which is another way of saying "white."

But facts are stubborn things, and they put the lie to those race-baiting claims.

The professional pot-stirrers can reach their conclusions only by dismissing the incredible phenomenon of Asian success. Last time I looked, Asians are nonwhite minorities, too, yet they are the superstars of New York education.

Many are also immigrants who come from poor families who do not speak English. All of which means city educrats should be celebrating their achievements and trying to duplicate them among other students.

Instead, there is only silence about Asian success, as though it is no big deal. It may not be news, but it is certainly a big deal.

Though they represent only 15 percent of city students, Asian students, including those from China, Korea, India and Pakistan, already account for upwards of 60 percent of the population at top high schools, such as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science. The pattern continues with the latest test results.

Asians were 26 percent of the 28,211 students who qualified to take the 2011 competitive high-schools exam, but were 47 percent of those scoring well enough to get accepted.

Non-Hispanic whites were 15 percent of test takers, and 23 percent of those accepted. Blacks were 23 percent of test takers, and 5 percent of those accepted. Hispanics were 21 percent of test takers and 6 percent of those accepted.

The numbers are incomplete because the city doesn't know the race and ethnicity of 18 percent of those accepted.

Still, we know enough to say there is a double standard when it comes to the reaction. In a more honest world, Asian success would be hailed as proof the American dream still lives. But to do so would be to demolish the "white privilege" argument, and so their success is an inconvenient fact to be ignored.

Indeed, the failure to celebrate Asian success carries more than a whiff of bias. As an educator friend says, "Asians are the new Jews," meaning their disproportionate success brings mostly resentment from others.

That's a travesty, because the Asian experience in New York schools mirrors what is happening in many top colleges across the nation. And President Obama cites Chinese and Indian progress in education as something America must surpass to expand our prosperity and protect our national security.

Yet Chancellor Cathie Black put out only a bland statement saying that all the 5,404 students who received offers to specialized schools "admirably pushed themselves, and we look forward to watching them succeed in high school and beyond."

Make no mistake -- the lopsided results show that too many black and Hispanic students are lagging their classmates. The consequences for the city could be dire because Hispanics, of different nationalities, now make up 40 percent of all students, and blacks 30 percent.

But lagging students of any racial group won't be helped if we pretend their failure makes them victims of an unfair system. We should instead embrace the Asian educational miracle as an enduring testament to the merit of competition and the need to keep raising the bar for all students. After all, if they can overcome their many obstacles to make it here, why can't others?


My morning was ruined reading this crap, couldn't suffer alone. Because if asians can do it, don'tcha know, white privilege doesn't exist. Thank you Michael Goodwin for mansplaining that for us.

Colorado and Washington lawmakers submit same-sex marriage and civil union bills.

Colorado state senator introduces same-sex civil unions bill

A Colorado lawmaker on Monday introduced legislation that would legalize civil unions for same-sex couples.

Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver), who is openly gay, said the bill “is a method of recognizing committed relationships between two people, and allowing them to access the full scope of protections in Colorado law.”

The Colorado Independent reports:

The bill comes after weeks of anticipation … After the legislative session began in January, Steadman allowed bill drafters time to pour through the hundreds of instances where statutes address the rights and responsibilities of married couples.

He plans to have lawmakers opposed to the bill articulate exactly which of those rights and responsibilities they would keep from gay Coloradans.

Washington state lawmaker introduces marriage equality legislation

In what may be a mostly symbolic move, one Washington state lawmaker thought Valentine’s Day an appropriate day to introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in the Evergreen State.

It was on Valentine’s Day in 1998 that lawmakers passed the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

But today, 13 years later, Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) introduced Senate Bill 5793, which would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil marriage in Washington.

The Spokesman-Review reports:

“We’ve made tremendous progress since 1998,” Murray said.

“Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy — except for the name ‘marriage’.

“The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the Legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step.”

Source for Colorado, source for Washington.
franklin sherman

US Gvt shuts down 84,000 websites "by mistake," & accuses them all of being child pornographers.

The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains belongs to a free DNS provider, and that 84,000 websites were wrongfully accused of links to child pornography crimes.

As part of “Operation Save Our Children” ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center has again seized several domain names, but not without making a huge error. Last Friday, thousands of site owners were surprised by a rather worrying banner that was placed on their domain.

“Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes that carry penalties for first time offenders of up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution,” was the worrying message they read on their websites.

As with previous seizures, ICE convinced a District Court judge to sign a seizure warrant, and then contacted the domain registries to point the domains in question to a server that hosts the warning message. However, somewhere in this process a mistake was made and as a result the domain of a large DNS service provider was seized.

The domain in question is mooo.com, which belongs to the DNS provider FreeDNS. It is the most popular shared domain at afraid.org and as a result of the authorities’ actions a massive 84,000 subdomains were wrongfully seized as well. All sites were redirected to the banner below.

This banner was visible on the 84,000 sites

The FreeDNS owner was taken by surprise and quickly released the following statement on their website. “Freedns.afraid.org has never allowed this type of abuse of its DNS service. We are working to get the issue sorted as quickly as possible.”

Eventually, on Sunday the domain seizure was reverted and the subdomains slowly started to point to the old sites again instead of the accusatory banner. However, since the DNS entries have to propagate, it took another 3 days before the images disappeared completely.

Most of the subdomains in question are personal sites and sites of small businesses. A search on Bing still shows how innocent sites were claimed to promote child pornography. A rather damaging accusation, which scared and upset many of the site’s owners.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Veterans say rape cases mishandled

Veterans say rape cases mishandled

More than a dozen U.S. veterans who say they were raped or assaulted by comrades filed a class-action suit in federal court Tuesday attempting to force the Pentagon to change how it handles such cases.

The current and former service members — 15 women and two men — describe circumstances in which servicemen allegedly got away with rape and other sexual abuse while their victims were ordered to continue to serve with them.

The suit names Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld. The plaintiffs say individual commanders have too much say in how allegations are handled and that they want reforms in the system.

The alleged attackers in the lawsuit include an Army criminal investigator and an Army National Guard commander. The abuse alleged ranges from obscene verbal abuse to gang rape.

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i was born cool

russisreadybutisyou.png | Feingold Launches 'Progressives United' To Combat Corporate Influences

WASHINGTON -- When some senators retire, they decide to take lucrative lobbying jobs. Others go straight to Wall Street. But Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, who lost his re-election bid in November, is continuing on his principled -- and often lonely -- path by starting an organization to combat corporate influence in politics, an effort he hopes will spark "a new progressive movement" that will truly hold elected officials accountable.

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This is my first post, but wow this is something to excited about. The site actually got overwhelmed with how many people have went to it.

TV Series Tries to Revive Civil Rights Cold Cases

The murder has never been solved: On Feb. 27, 1967, Wharlest Jackson, a father of five and the treasurer of the Natchez, Miss., branch of the N.A.A.C.P., was killed by a car bomb, making him just one of dozens of victims of racial violence during the civil rights era. To add an element of horror, Mr. Jackson’s 8-year-old son heard the explosion, bicycled to the scene and discovered his own father.

The younger Mr. Jackson remembers the moment in “The Injustice Files,” a new series about civil rights era “cold cases” beginning on Friday on the Investigation Discovery channel.

“When I made it to him, he was lying in the street,” Wharlest Jackson Jr. says. “His shoe was blown off. And the truck was all mangled.”

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  • calixti

(no subject)

Nebraska would join five other states in banning private insurers from paying for abortions unless the customer buys a separate rider for the extra coverage, under a bill being pushed by a state lawmaker.
The bill (LB22), by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, also would restrict insurance coverage of abortion in policies offered through the health insurance exchanges that will be established by the federal health care reform law. The law allows states to opt out of such coverage.
"We are an overwhelmingly pro-life state, and for that, I am very proud," McCoy said before his measure was discussed Tuesday by the Legislature's Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee.
The committee also heard another bill (LB132) by Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton that also would prohibit health exchange coverage of abortions.

Under both measures, an abortion would be allowed to protect the life of the mother. Neither makes an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

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I just...wtf, Nebraska. We've got, what, two abortion clinics in the whole frakkin' state, at least one is perpetually protested, and you're making it *more* difficult for people to get abortions? I can't even.

ETA: Source.
i like CHOcolate milk.

Teacher may get fired for speaking truth

Pa. teacher strikes nerve with 'lazy whiners' blog

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press Patrick Walters, Associated Press

FEASTERVILLE, Pa. – A high school English teacher in suburban Philadelphia who was suspended for a profanity-laced blog in which she called her young charges "disengaged, lazy whiners" is driving a sensation by daring to ask: Why are today's students unmotivated — and what's wrong with calling them out?

As she fights to keep her job at Central Bucks East High School, 30-year-old Natalie Munroe says she had no interest in becoming any sort of educational icon. The blog has been taken down, but its contents can still be found easily online.

Her comments and her suspension by the middle-class school district have clearly touched a nerve, with scores of online commenters applauding her for taking a tough love approach or excoriating her for verbal abuse. Media attention has rained down, and backers have started a Facebook group.

"My students are out of control," Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post. "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."

And in another post, Munroe — who is more than eight months pregnant — quotes from the musical "Bye Bye Birdie": "Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS."

She also listed some comments she wished she could post on student evaluations, including: "I hear the trash company is hiring"; "I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son"; and "Just as bad as his sibling. Don't you know how to raise kids?"

Munroe did not use her full name or identify her students or school in the blog, which she started in August 2009 for friends and family. Last week, she said, students brought it to the attention of the school, which suspended her with pay.

"They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative," Munroe said of her students in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The students are not being held accountable."

Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration — and of a feeling that many kids today are being given a free pass at school and at home.

"Parents are more trying to be their kids' friends and less trying to be their parent," Munroe said, also noting students' lack of patience. "They want everything right now. They want it yesterday."

One of Munroe's former students, who now attends McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., said he was torn by his former teacher's comments. Jeff Shoolbraid said that he thought much of what Munroe said was true and that she had a right to voice her opinion, but felt her comments were out of line for a teacher.

"Whatever influenced her to say what she did is evidence as to why she simply should not teach," Shoolbraid wrote in an e-mail to the AP. "I just thought it was completely inappropriate."

He continued: "As far as motivated high school students, she's completely correct. High school kids don't want to do anything. ... It's a teacher's job, however, to give students the motivation to learn."

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association declined to comment Tuesday because he said the group may represent Munroe. Messages left for the Central Bucks School District superintendent were not returned.

Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said school districts are navigating uncharted territory when it comes to teachers' online behavior. Often, districts want teachers to have more contact with students and their families, yet give little guidance on how teachers should behave online even as students are more plugged in than they've ever been.

"This is really murky stuff," she said. "When you have a teacher using their blog to berate their students, maybe that's a little less murky. But the larger issue is, I think, districts are totally unprepared to deal with this."

Munroe has hired an attorney, who said that she had the right to post her thoughts on the blog and that it's a free speech issue. The attorney, Steven Rovner, said the district has led Munroe to believe that she will eventually lose her job.

"She could have been any person, any teacher in America writing about their lives," he said, pointing out that Munroe blogged about 85 times and that only about 15 to 20 of the posts involved her being a teacher. "It's honest and raw and a little edgy depending on your taste. ... She has a deep frustration for the educational system in America."

Rovner said that he would consider legal action if indeed Munroe loses her job.

"She did it as carefully as she could," he said about her blog. "It's so general that it applies to the problems in school districts and schools across the country."


Associated Press writer Dorie Turner in Atlanta contributed to this report.


I used to work in a elementary school as a lunchlady (grades Kinder thru 6th) and there were times when I thought that some many of the little beasts needed someone to tell them the same thing. At the time I worked there, an employee was fired for mildy swearing ("Hell")at some 6th graders who were bullying another kid and for the rest of the year the bolder students would tell the adults that they could get them fired if they told them "anything." Kids are beasts.


At least 44 journalists killed in 2010

At least 44 journalists were killed worldwide because of their jobs last year, with Pakistan the deadliest country to work in.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) listed 44 journalists either murdered or killed while covering dangerous situations.

Another 31 deaths took place in circumstances that may have been connected to work.

Leading the death toll was Pakistan with eight slain, followed by Iraq with five, Honduras, Mexico and Indonesia with three each, and Somalia with two.

The total number of reporters killed was much lower than in 2009, when the record figure of 72 worldwide was skewed by a one-off massacre in the Philippines.

In an introduction to the annual CPJ report, Al Jazeera host Riz Khan said the explosion of online and digital media has made old-fashioned censorship much more difficult to achieve, but that violence continues.

"More and more, intimidation has become the tool of choice: scare journalists into staying away from a story; make sure they understand their interference is not welcome. A few dead bodies along the way should help," he said.

Mr Khan says the most vulnerable reporters are local employees rather than famous international correspondents.

"International correspondents are often visitors who don't file on a daily basis and aren't as deep into the stories or issues," he said.

"They can simply be refused an entry visa into a country. The true champions, resisting the threats and pressures every day, are the local reporters."


Mubarak to Spend more Time Oppressing his Family in Red Sea Resort

Mubarak Has 'Given Up,' Wants To Die At Sharm: Saudi Official

Egypt, Feb 16 - Egypt's ousted president has given up and wants to die in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he has been living since a popular uprising ended his rule, a Saudi official said on Wednesday.

Hosni Mubarak, 82, has suffered from health problems in recent years and travelled to Germany for gall bladder surgery in March last year. Reports of a further decline have increased since he stepped down on Friday after three decades in power.

An official in Saudi Arabia said the kingdom had offered to host Mubarak but he was determined to see out his days in Egypt.
Official confirmation could not immediately be obtained from the Saudi government.

"He is not dead but is not doing well at all and refuses to leave. Basically, he has given up and wants to die in Sharm," said the Saudi official, who asked not to be named.

Mubarak vowed to die in Egypt when he addressed the country's 80 million people last week while still clinging to power.

A source with links to the Mubarak family said on Tuesday that the former president was "fine," and had been taking telephone calls.

Mubarak spent more and more time at his residence in Sharm el-Sheikh near the end of his time as leader, retreating to the clean air and sea breeze to recover from ailments.

Across the sea, visitors can see the shores of Saudi Arabia, where Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled after he was toppled last month. The Tunisian experience inspired the Egyptian protest movement that forced Mubarak's resignation.

Mubarak also received world leaders in the city at the tip of the Sinai peninsula and it became a stage for international summits and years of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Many of those disillusioned with Mubarak's heavy-handed rule point to his fondness for Sharm el-Sheikh as a sign of his estrangement from the everyday problems that plague ordinary Egyptians.

Is it too late for a "Let Them Eat Cake" tag?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich calls police officer "an idiot" for giving him a traffic ticket

Gov. John Kasich emphatically referred to a police officer who ticketed him for a driving violation last month as "an idiot."

The Republican governor was ticketed on Jan. 11, 2008 for "approaching a public safety vehicle with lights displayed" on Route 315 in Columbus and later paid an $85 fine. But Kasich was not happy about it.

During a speech late last month to Ohio EPA workers, the governor recounted how he was given the ticket well before announcing his eventual run for governor. In telling the story, Kasich referred to the Columbus police officer who ticketed him three times as an idiot as seen in this video.

"Have you ever been stopped by a police officer that's an idiot," Kasich asked the seated audience, pausing his speech as he moved around the room. "I had this idiot pull me over on 315. Listen to this story. He says to me, he say uh, he says you passed this emergency vehicle on the side of the road and you didn't yield."

"I said, officer I, are you kidding, I didn't, I didn't see any, I didn't even see any, where the heck was it," a stammering Kasich recalls, using incomplete sentences. "The last thing I would ever do would be to pass an emergency, are you kidding me?"

"He says, 'well I understand that. Give me your license,'" Kasich continues. "He goes back to the car, comes back, gives me a ticket and says you must report to court, if you don't report to court we're putting a warrant out for your arrest."

Then Kasich stills himself and bellows, "He's an idiot! We just can't act that way. What people resent are people who are in the government who don't treat the client with respect."

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God, I love to hate this man.
Fuck This Bullshit

Justin Bieber: Anti-choice and rape apologist.

TORONTO — Canuck heart-throb Justin Bieber has told Rolling Stone magazine that he'll never become a U.S. citizen because he cherishes Canada's health-care system.


In the story, Bieber also offers his views on sex.

"I don't think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them," he told the magazine.

Asked if he believed in abstinence before marriage, Bieber said: "I think you should just wait for the person you're ... in love with."

The "Baby" singer is reportedly dating teen star Selena Gomez.

Rolling Stone reporter Vanessa Grigoriadis also asked Bieber about his stance on abortion.

"I really don't believe in abortion," he told the magazine. "It's like killing a baby?"

When asked if it was acceptable in cases of rape, he told Rolling Stone: "Um. Well, I think that's really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."



Source has the full article.

I chopped out some parts of the article that had nothing to do with the above section, but you can read the full thing at the source.

Six Pregnancy Tests in One Week -- Christian run 'pregnancy care centers' and the lies they tell.

My first pregnancy scare happened when I was 19. The night before leaving for a six-month trip to France, I had farewell sex with my boyfriend using a novelty condom of Gene Simmons's tongue. Long story short, Gene Simmons's tongue broke. (I've always hated KISS.) Early the next morning, I boarded a plane and prayed to the merciful loins of sweet baby Jesus—like atheists sometimes do when they're scared shitless and circumstances are spinning beyond their control—that I wouldn't get pregnant.

Three weeks later, my period was two weeks late. I didn't want to tell my boyfriend or mother—there was little they could do for me besides worry along. I didn't feel comfortable confiding in my devoutly Catholic host family (also, I was in France, so I was functionally mute and only semiliterate). I scoured the small supermarché in the tiny town where I lived but saw nothing resembling a pregnancy test. What I needed to find was the French equivalent of Planned Parenthood.

So I looked up the French word for "pregnant" in a phone book and jotted down a business in a neighboring town with a question mark in the ad. After class, I took a bus 20 minutes through the French countryside to a slightly larger tiny town to see if I could get a pregnancy test. When I entered the establishment, three women looked up and greeted me kindly. One spoke perfect English. I teared up. She shuffled me into a small room, where on one wall I noticed a cherubic baby Jesus smirking at me from high atop a cloud. She closed the door and asked me to take a seat. Jesus, the woman, and I sized each other up, and I wondered, What fresh hell is this?

I'd accidentally walked into a Christian adoption center instead of a medical clinic. When I told the woman that I wouldn't be giving any potential babies up for adoption—because I'd be getting an abortion—she refused to direct me to a doctor who could administer a pregnancy test.

Luckily, I found a pharmacy in town after I left the adoption center. After a macabre game of charades that involved mangling the French words for "pregnant," "baby," and "blood" while gesturing enthusiastically at my vagina, I was able to locate and buy a pregnancy test. I took it in a public restroom.

It came back negative.

For that woman at the Christian adoption center, it was more important to deny medical access that might conflict with her religious views than to help a scared teenager with no support system find the services she needed. That was the Christian thing to do.

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Police officer will *not* be charged in the shooting of first nations man

Officer who shot B.C. native won't be charged

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | 3:06 PM PT Comments63Recommend3

CBC News
The Seattle police officer who shot native carver John Williams, above, will not be charged in connection with the shooting.The Seattle police officer who shot native carver John Williams, above, will not be charged in connection with the shooting. (CBC)

A Seattle police officer won't be criminally charged, but he could be out of a job, following the fatal shooting of a B.C. man.

Officer Ian Birk shot John T. Williams in downtown Seattle in August 30, 2010.

Birk "committed serious tactical errors" in the confrontation, but did not act with malice or criminal intent, King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Wednesday.

However, Seattle police chief John Diaz reiterated after the prosecutor's announcement that there was no justification for the shooting and that the force would start internal proceedings that could result in Birk being fired.

In a video of the shooting, Birk could be heard telling Williams before shooting him to drop his knife.

Williams was a woodcarver and a First Nations member from Vancouver Island.

Satterberg acknowledged that he was troubled by Birk's decision to confront Williams in the first place and also by the officer's quick decision to open fire.

Native groups and others held several demonstrations following the incident, protesting against what they described as racism in the police force.

Source : http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/02/16/bc-seattle-police-native-shooting.html#socialcomments#ixzz1EB7ltbtl

Uh. apparently the cop responsible has resigned - article about that here : http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014247418_birk17m.html

If you're not a cop, and you shoot someone for no reason (instead of self-defense) you will most likely be charged with murder. However, if you shoot someone for what appears to be no reason, and you *ARE* a police officer, then its just a 'serious tactical error'. not a crime.
OK then...

Suzumiya Haruhi

CA Surpeme Court will (kind of) rule on prop 8 appeals case

California high court to rule on key Prop. 8 issue

(02-16) 14:59 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- The state Supreme Court re-entered the battle over same-sex marriage today, agreeing to decide whether sponsors of a voter-approved measure banning gay and lesbian weddings have the right to defend it in court.

The answer could decide whether California continues to enforce Proposition 8, a November 2008 initiative that halted same-sex marriages six months after the state's high court had legalized them.

The justices said they would hear arguments as early as September.

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Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Another article from the Los Angeles Times with some additional information.

See also the ever-helpful Prop 8 Trial tracker

tl;dr: Prop 8 is going back to court to decide if it can go back to court, shit never ends.

Americans want more government than they are willing to pay for, news at 11

The federal government's mounting debt is often blamed on a failure of leadership. But the leaders may not be the only ones at fault.

As unhappy as Americans claim to be about the government's red ink, surveys show most voters want more government than they're willing to pay for.

If We Build It, Who Will Pay?

Even as he proposes budget cuts in some areas, President Obama wants to spend more federal money to update and improve the country's overstretched roads and bridges.

Traffic-weary commuters can only honk in support when the president calls for stepped-up investment in infrastructure, as he did in Michigan last week.

"If we want new jobs and businesses here in America, we've got to have the best transportation system. And the best communication network in the world," he said. "It's like that movie Field of Dreams. If we build it, they will come. But we've got to build it."

A survey for the Rockefeller Foundation found overwhelming support for infrastructure investment. Pollster Jay Campbell, who conducted the survey, says that backing cuts across party lines.

"In a time and place when Republicans almost pride themselves on disagreeing with everything that President Obama stands for," Campbell says, "66 percent of Republicans said that they agreed with this approach."

But even the most ardent supporters of highway spending hit the brakes when pollsters started asking if they would be willing to help pay for it.

"Where support did start to drop off — and did so quite dramatically — is when voters themselves are asked to help foot the bill," Campbell says.

Survey respondents rejected the idea of paying for roads with higher gasoline taxes by a better than 2-to-1 margin. Additional toll charges were almost as unpopular.

In other words, if you build it, Americans will come, so long as they don't have to pay for it.

Change But No Change, Please

"The overarching problem is people want everything to change, and they want nothing to change at the same time," Campbell says. "It puts elected leaders in a really tough position."

For years now, elected leaders have dealt with that challenge by indulging Americans' desire for services, without trying to collect. That's one reason we're now staring at a $1.6 trillion deficit.

While congressional Republicans are proposing dramatic cuts in discretionary spending, most Americans are hard-pressed to identify specific parts of the government they are willing to do without. A survey by the Pew Research Center found the only government program that got anything close to a cutting consensus was foreign aid.

"Foreign aid is the least popular aspect of the budget typically. And you see that in this survey as well," says Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center. "But even here, you still get less than 50 percent saying, 'Cut it.' It's not overwhelming. Even though that's the largest area on our list."

Foreign aid accounts for about 1 percent of the budget.

Doherty says for the most popular programs, like Medicare and education, only about 1 in 10 people favors cuts.

'Sinking In'

Still, there are some signs the growing deficit is making people more careful about what they wish for. Fewer survey respondents now ask for more government spending in areas like defense and health care than they did just two years ago.

"I think it's a recognition that the government can't spend as it has been," Doherty says. "I think that's sinking in on the public. But taking that next step and really applying the knife to these programs is a more difficult thing."

So when political leaders seem timid about cutting the biggest government programs or asking people to pay more for them, they're simply taking their cues from the people who elected them.



First, they came for the trade unionists...

MADISON, Wis. — As four game wardens awkwardly stood guard, protesters, scores deep, crushed into a corridor leading to the governor’s office here on Wednesday, their screams echoing through the Capitol: “Come out, come out, wherever you are!”


[I'm in that crowd!]
Behind closed doors, Scott Walker, the Republican who has been Wisconsin’s governor for about six weeks, calmly described his intent to forge ahead with the plans that had set off the uprising: he wants to effectively cut the take-home pay of many public workers by around 7 percent by requiring them to pay more for their health insurance and pensions.

He also wants to weaken most public-sector unions by sharply curtailing their collective bargaining rights.

Mr. Walker said he had no other options, since he is facing a deficit of $137 million in the current state budget and the prospect of a $3.6 billion hole in the coming two-year budget.

“For us, it’s simple,” said Mr. Walker said, whose family home was surrounded by angry workers this week, prompting the police to close the street. “We’re broke.”

For months, state and local officials around the country have tackled their budget problems by finding trims here and there, apologetically resorting to layoffs, and searching for accounting moves to limp through one more year.

Events in Wisconsin this week, though, are a sign of something new: No more apologies, no half-measures. Given the dire straits of budgets around the country, other state leaders may be forced to take similarly drastic steps with state workers, pension and unions.

“I’m sure we’re going to hear more from other states where Republican governors are trying to heap the entire burden of the financial crisis on public employees and public employees unions,”
said William B. Gould IV, a labor law professor at Stanford University and a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board.
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Photo my Hubs took today says it all. The fact we're even back here... I can't even.

I'll fuck you up

ONTD_P's favorite son

Rahm Emanuel Puts Up Reward for Twitter Impersonator

Rahm Emanuel Puts Up Reward for Twitter Impersonator

Jim Newell - Chicago's likely new mayor, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, is well aware of his Twitter impersonator, MayorEmanuel, and wants to know the motherfucker's real identity. And he'll pay to find out.
The mysterious typist behind MayorEmanuel registered the account shortly after Emanuel left the White House to run for mayor of Chicago, the primary for which is next Tuesday. The account follows him on the campaign trail by approximating his inner monologue. A sample sequence from yesterday:


  • Motherfucking coffee, you're all I fucking need today.
  • 50 Wards, 50 hours. Whoever the fuck thought of this is most definitely going on the cock-punch list.
  • I just visited my hundredth motherfucking El stop. One fucking week more of this shit and then all the pain goes away.
  • This would be a lot more tolerable if it was 50 wards in 50 minutes. Just gun the fucking Civic and fly through all of them.
  • Upside of this fucking 50 Wards concept: Pretty much every goddamn stop is a coffee shop. 50 motherfucking cups, let's go.

Because Rahm Emanuel is famous for cursing! Now you get it.

Fortunately for this tweeter, Emanuel won't resort directly to beating him or her with a lead pipe when he finds out who it is. He has a peace offering first. From HuffPo:

"After the election, I am offering a donation to the charity of that gentleman or woman's choice if they would come forward and identify themselves," Emanuel said on the show.

Emanuel said he would offer a $2,500 or $5,000 "personal contribution" to the charity of that individual's choice if they identify themselves publicly. He also said the tweets always make him smile.

Charity! Who gives a crap about charity? Rahm Emanuel should be cynical enough to know that you have to pay off the source directly. This is called "monetizing the Internet."


Ohio statehouse filled with opponents to anti-collective bargaining bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Hundreds of union workers showed up at the Ohio Statehouse to demonstrate opposition to Senate Bill 5, but the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee listened to proponent testimony in a room than held roughly 100 people.
"This has nothing to do with jobs and so I think the politicians need to go and find the solution for jobs," said Mark hill, a teacher in Worthington. 
The overflow crowd could only listen to audio from the testimony in the Statehouse atrium and rotunda. Supporters of SB 5, which would end collective bargaining for state employees and limit how local public service workers negotiate contracts, testified that cities need a change to keep costs down and shift power back to management.
"Make employees pay at least 20 percent of their health care costs and give management greater discretion in selection affordable plans," suggested Steve Herwat, deputy mayor of Toledo. "We're not going to pave any residential streets this year because we're going to use that money to pay for employee costs... we have to lay off 75 street cops before we can lay off one sergeant."
State employees, public college and university workers could lose their right to collectively bargain under SB 5. Local police and firefighters could lose binding arbitration as a dispute resolution option.
"They're trying to fix something that isn't broke, " said KJ Watts, a Lancaster firefighter. "It's illegal to strike right now because of binding arbitration. We have an end result to any dispute. You lift that off of there, who knows what could happen."
Teachers and other local employees could lose the ability to negotiate health insurance coverage. They may have to pick up a greater percentage of their health care costs, and automatic pay increases could give way to merit pay.
"Automatic pay increases that are based on longevity should be eliminated. Salaries should be market-based," testified Chris Kershner, who serves as vice president of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce.
"I have a great fear that we are losing that working class. We are losing that middle America," said Jean Fightmaster, a retired state worker.
Opponents are scheduled to testify on Thursday.


Summary: this bill aims to kill collective bargaining for all state employees, including cops, firefighters, teachers, professors, and medical professionals. Ohio has had collective bargaining rights since the 1980s, to give you some context. A very large turn-out is expected at Thursday's hearings, which are believed to be critical, as the only hope of killing this bill lies in public protest ASAP. (As proponents are trying to rush the bill through the state government. Our governor is the one who just called a cop an "idiot" on Youtube, so he's all for this, of course.) Because Ohio's state government is in the hands of the Republican party, this bill unfortunately stands a good chance of passing. If you are an Ohioan and disagree with this bill, the time to let your state officials know is NOW. You can find your senators at their website (http://www.ohiosenate.gov/) and you can call Governor Kasich's office (614) 466-3555.)

More links:

Think  Progress report
The Daily  Record
Dispatch Politics gives an overview of what's going  on
A study which  demonstrates public employees actually earn *less* than private  employees

Edited: Because apparently the font was coming off as small for some folks. (It's not on my screen, so I'm a baffled, but eh, it doesn't take much to confuse me these days.) My apologies and let me know if it is still teeny!


Birther Issues A Challenge To The Lamestream Media!


A Question To My Gullible Colleagues by Joseph Farrah

I've been getting static from my journalistic colleagues for more than two years because I believe someone assuming the office of the presidency should have to prove he or she is constitutionally eligible – nothing more, nothing less.

What everyone from Bill O'Reilly to Anderson Cooper say is that I'm some kind of lunatic nutjob for pursuing said story.


Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

However, your opinion means a lot more if you are willing to stake your reputation on it.

And I actually think we are nearing a potential resolution to this debate in the not-too-distant future.

So, I'd like to offer a challenge to the following members of the media establishment – and any others who care to take me up on it. If you are so sure this obsessive paper chase of mine is nothing more than some kind of gimmick or fantasy with no basis in reality, I have one simple question for you all to answer on the record, publicly, on your show or in your columns. And I'm throwing down the gauntlet to O'Reilly, Cooper, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Glenn Beck of Fox News, Keith Olbermann, now, apparently, of what I call "AlGorezeera," Brian Williams of NBC, Shepherd Smith of Fox News, David Gregory of NBC and Chris Matthews of MSNBC.

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Batshit SOURCE

Please point and laugh at this shit!

Security Forces Attack Sleeping Protesters in Bahrain - At least 2 confirmed dead

 Bahrain authorities launch surprise attack on protesters
Tear gas canisters bombard sleeping protesters in Manama's Pearl Square. At least two men are reported killed by rubber bullets.

Reporting from Manama, Bahrain, and Amman, Jordan —

Security forces in tiny but strategic Bahrain launched a brutal assault early Thursday against at least 1,000 defiant anti-government protesters, including women and children, camped out in tents in the capital's Pearl Square.

A barrage of tear gas canisters thundered across the square about 3 a.m. as dozens of police cars, armored security vehicles and ambulances converged on a makeshift tent city in the center of Manama that was beginning to resemble a smaller version of Tahrir Square in Cairo, where Egyptian protesters this month were successful in overthrowing their president.

Most of the protesters in Pearl Square were asleep when the assault began, witnesses said, noting that no steps had been taken to guard the area against the security forces, even though two people had been killed in earlier clashes with them.
"They told us we had three days in the square," said one man as he ran from the scene. "And then they attack us on the second day."

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This is absolutely disgusting. WTF! The king of Bahrain needs to be taken down.  And mods can we get a Bahrain tag?  Shit is likely to get ugly.

Santorum Talks About Longtime Google Problem

Rick Santorum has a Google problem.

The former Pennsylvania Senator might be well-known on Capitol Hill, but his name more regularly produces blank stares in places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, if recent polling is any guide. The likely Republican presidential candidate knows he needs to expand his name identification.

Santorum can only hope voters don’t turn to Google, the world’s most popular Internet search engine, to learn more about him.

Try it for yourself: Enter “Rick Santorum” into Google. In a fraction of a second you’ll have hundreds of thousands of results. But two of the top four cite a graphic definition for a sexual neologism. In this case, the neologism is a reference to anal sex.

This, of course, is no accident.

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More fuckery from the Dairy State

In addition to the protests over Scott Walker's union-busting "I hate public workers and they don't deserve living wages" bill, he and the GOP are pulling some more shit here.

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Good idea. The collective bargaining rights loss and severe paycuts to the unionized state workers aren't enough damage, now he needs to fire 37 more people to put his own people in their jobs.

Oh. There's more.

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Okay...are the Republicans unhappy about a proposed .25 cent tax increase to be put to voters to improve services? Are they upset that public transit even exists? Where the hell did this even come from?

Words cannot express how much I hate the Walker administration.

Republican Discovers Cheat Code for Unlimited Resources!

Jeremiah 2:7 - I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.

GOP Lawmaker Mike Beard Claims God Will Provide Unlimited Natural Resources

Mike Beard, a Republican state representative from Minnesota, recently argued that coal mining should resume in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, in part because he believes God has created an earth that will provide unlimited natural resources.

"God is not capricious. He's given us a creation that is dynamically stable," Beard told MinnPost. "We are not going to run out of anything."

Beard is currently in the midst of drafting legislation that would overturn Minnesota's moratorium on coal-fired power plants, an effort that he backs due to his religious belief that God will provide limitless resources while ensuring that humans don't destroy the planet trying to get them.

Drawing on his family's childhood property in Pennsylvania, Beard explained to MinnPost his belief that while resource extraction might cause temporary agitation to the landscape, the effects wouldn't be longterm.

"Our farm was mined for coal three times," Beard said. "And, now we stand on a point and look over barley and wheat and pines. Did we temporarily disrupt the face of the earth? Yes, but when we were done, we put it all back together again."

This observation appears to be indicative of Beard's larger religious belief that God acts as the tireless custodian of the planet.

"It is the height of hubris to think we could [destroy the earth]," Beard told MinnPost, before saying that even devastating nuclear events shouldn't cast doubt on his theory that the earth can always be repaired.

"How did Hiroshima and Nagasaki work out? We destroyed that, but here we are, 60 years later and they are tremendously effective and livable cities. Yes, it was pretty horrible. But, can we recover?" Beard asked. "Of course we can."

Canadian minister admits she had CIDA document (not) altered

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda told Parliament Monday that she was the person who directed that a recommendation from her staff be altered to deny funding to a church-backed aid group.

The minister was backtracking on previous statements in which she said Kairos had lost its funding because the group's work no longer fit with the Canadian International Development Agency's objectives — suggesting she was acting on her department's recommendation.

The agency had recommended that Kairos should get $7 million, and the fact the document was "doctored" — a "not" was inserted to change its meaning — drew a strong rebuke from Speaker Peter Milliken. Oda's reversal came just before the House foreign affairs committee voted to find the matter a point of privilege. It is writing a report on Oda's earlier testimony, will discuss it Wednesday and then send to the House.

"I wish to clearly inform the House of the matter and clear up any misunderstanding that exists," Oda said Monday. "… The 'not' was inserted at my direction.

"… The CIDA officials did forward a document in which they sought approval of the recommendation for funding of the Kairos proposal. But ultimately the decision to provide funding was mine — or, to not provide funding — was mine as minister of international co-operation," she said.
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Behind the aid group at the heart of the Oda controversy

The religious aid organization at the centre of the controversy surrounding International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda’s order to insert the word “not” into a government document that ended the group’s funding says it still hasn’t received an explanation for the cut nearly a year and a half later.

KAIROS is a faith-based ecumenical joint venture of 11 Canadian churches and organizations that promotes democratic human development and ecological sustainability in some of the world’s poorest countries. It has tried to get a comprehensive explanation for the federal government’s 2009 decision to slash $7 million in funding but has come up empty-handed.


Other partners affected by the funding cut include Héritiers de la Justice, a women’s legal clinic in the Congo; the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence, an Indonesian human rights group that pressures the government to investigate past military abuses and compensates victims; and Organizacion Femenina Popular, a grassroots women’s organization in Colombia that promotes community development, education and health and legal services.

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comedy | This chibi is now DIAMONDS.

"Ann Coulter's Valentine's Day Surprise".

Back on New Year's Day, after seeing "RedEye" host Greg Gutfeld talking to Old Spice spokesman Isaiah Mustafa in Times Square on New Year's Eve as part of Fox News' coverage, Hot Cuppa TV put out the call for the realization of the long-awaited "RedEye" in-person meeting between Mustafa and political commentator Ann Coulter.

Months earlier, the two had a brief TV flirtation while Coulter was in-studio for the FNC pop-culture/politics roundtable in New York City and Mustafa appeared on a remote from Los Angeles.

Coulter even picked up the HCTV post on her blog, claiming Bill Schulz of "RedEye" was responsible for causing her to miss Mustafa's New Year's Eve appearance on FNC.

On the Monday, Feb. 14, Valentine's Day edition of "RedEye," Coulter -- who apparently had regained her voice after blaming the "'RedEye' boys" for keeping her out late last Friday night at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington, D.C. -- was in-studio with author/wrestler Chris Jericho and Blink 182 frontman Mark Hoppus.

To her surprise, Mustafa appeared during Andy Levy's Halftime Report and handed Coulter a rose.

[ Wont embed, click here to view. ]

Sparks flew [and] while Coulter momentarily threatened to abandon her seat in the camera-facing "leg chair," she did stick around for the end of the show.

Click here for Mustafa's latest Old Spice commercial.



  • I...I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS. But because I actually possess warmth, empathy and other mortal emotions (HEY, ONE OF US HAS TO), there was a fleeting moment where I found Coulter's utter surprise and flustered-ness *somewhat* endearing.
  • Greg Gutfeld's closing comment about "tanning" struck me as such appropriately inappropriate and awkward fail. Only on FoxNews!