February 21st, 2011

movies | The Sound of Music

LIVE POST: Govnt Violence in N. Africa/Mid-East (Part II)

BACKGROUNDER(s): Notable Tools:

Separate submissions related to the protests may likely be rejected. Please link articles in THIS post for discussion/entry spotlights.
Stock - Pink Sakura

The world's biggest family: The man with 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren

* Ziona Chana lives with all of them in a 100-room mansion
* His wives take it in turns to share his bed
* It takes 30 whole chickens just to make dinner

He is head of the world's biggest family - and says he is 'blessed' to have his 39 wives.

Ziona Chana also has 94 children, 14-daughters-in-law and 33 grandchildren.

They live in a 100-room, four storey house set amidst the hills of Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram, where the wives sleep in giant communal dormitories.

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Source has some more pictures


Increased U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killing few high-value militants

CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed at least 581 militants last year, according to independent estimates. The number of those militants noteworthy enough to appear on a U.S. list of most-wanted terrorists: two.

Despite a major escalation in the number of unmanned Predator strikes being carried out under the Obama administration, data from government and independent sources indicate that the number of high-ranking militants being killed as a result has either slipped or barely increased.

Even more generous counts - which indicate that the CIA killed as many as 13 "high-value targets" - suggest that the drone program is hitting senior operatives only a fraction of the time.

After a year in which the CIA carried out a record 118 drone strikes, costing more than $1 million apiece, the results have raised questions about the purpose and parameters of the campaign.

Senior Pakistani officials recently asked the Obama administration to put new restraints on a targeted-killing program that the government in Islamabad has secretly authorized for years.

The CIA is increasingly killing "mere foot soldiers," a senior Pakistani official said, adding that the issue has come up in discussions in Washington involving President Asif Ali Zardari. The official said Pakistan has pressed the Americans "to find better targets, do it more sparingly and be a little less gung-ho."

Experts who track the strikes closely said a program that began with intermittent lethal attacks on al-Qaeda leaders has evolved into a campaign that seems primarily focused on lower-level fighters. Peter Bergen, a director at the New America Foundation, said data on the strikes indicate that 94 percent of those killed are lower-level militants.

"I think it's hard to make the case that the 94 percent cohort threaten the United States in some way," Bergen said. "There's been very little focus on that question from a human rights perspective. Targeted killings are about leaders - it shouldn't be a blanket dispensation."


The entire article can be found at the Washington Post

It's fairly long but worth reading. Further down, the article notes that nearly half of the people killed in Pakistan by US drones since the program began in 2004 were killed in 2010.

edit: a good link from the comments Do Targeted Killings Work?


WBC denied: No PR for you.

( Brought over from The Mothership. If I'm interpreting this correctly. It seems that WBC faked a letter to themselves from "ANON" in order to stir up publicity and perhaps to goad ANON into attacking them. This is the first response to WBC goons I've seen that feels like the perfect reply: Nothing. Give them nothing. The WBC's only god is Publicity and Money.

A source: press release at anon )

We got Rick Rolled - Anonymous ain't doin' shit to WBC

Dear Phred Phelps and WBC Phriends,

So we've been hearing a lot about some letter that we supposedly sent you this morning. Problem is, we're a bit groggy and don't remember sending it. Our best guess is that you heard about us on that newfangled TV of yours and thought we might be some good money for your little church.

You thought you could play with Anonymous. You observed our rising notoriety and thought you
would exploit our paradigm for your own gain. And then, you thought you could lure some idiots into a honeypot for more IPs to sue.

This is not so foreign to us; as you may have heard, we trade in Lulz. You just do not have enough to offer right now.

While Anonymous thanks you for your interest, and would certainly like to take a break and have some
fun with you guys, we have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment.

But, we will keep this application on file, and will certainly contact you if any openings become
available in future.

Next time, don't call us. We'll call you.
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Cheeseheads Welcomes Tea Baggers

A special 'greeting' for Tea Partiers and Fox News at the Wisconsin protests...heh heh

Stories abound about Saturday’s massive protest in Wisconsin. Don’t need to repeat. I’ll tell you a personal story.

We all knew the Tea Party was coming for a counter rally. What to do? “Ignore them,” said some. “Debate them,” said others. Above all be cool—that was universal.

I thought of a truly warm Wisconsin welcome in the spirit of the protests that had been ongoing throughout the week 24/7. Cookies and coffee to warm spirits and bellies, maybe? Logistically impossible given the sheer numbers expected. Authorities here were planning for 120,000 combined visitors.

I opted for Tea Party "welcome" flyers instead (see right). I typed up one quickly on my old clunky desktop, printed one original out of my old clunky printer, then jumped in my old clunky car, went to Office Depot, and printed up 100 slick, brand new copies, then off to Capitol Square with my dear hubby of a zillion years to join in.
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Earth could be 'unrecognisable' by 2050

Earth could be 'unrecognisable' by 2050

A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an "unrecognisable" world by 2050, researchers say.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach 7 billion this year, and climb to 9 billion by 2050, "with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia", John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council said.

To feed all those mouths, "we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the past 8000", said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognisable if current trends continue," Mr Clay said.

The swelling population will exacerbate problems, such as resource depletion, said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.

But incomes are also expected to rise over the next 40 years - tripling globally and quintupling in developing nations - and add more strain to global food supplies.

People tend to move up the food chain as their incomes rise, consuming more meat than they might have when they made less money, the experts said.

It takes about 3.4 kilograms of grain to produce half a kilogram of meat, and about 1.36 to 1.81 kilograms of grain to produce half a kilogram of cheese or eggs, experts said.

"More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet," Mr Clay said, urging scientists and governments to start making changes now to how food is produced.

Population experts, meanwhile, called for more funding for family planning programs to help control the growth in the number of humans, especially in developing nations.

"For 20 years, there's been very little investment in family planning, but there's a return of interest now, partly because of the environmental factors like global warming and food prices," Mr Bongaarts said.

"We want to minimise population growth, and the only viable way to do that is through more effective family planning," Mr Casterline said.



Vegetarianism is looking better and better these days, I used to feel good because I didn't eat that much meat (probably only two meals per week), but now, morally speaking I can't justify that anymore.

Bill Would Require Kan. Babies To Undego Paternity Test

A Wichita state representative is sponsoring legislation that would require every baby born in the state to undergo a paternity test to identify the newborn's father.State Rep. Melody McCray Miller is a Democrat. She said the measure's intended to help men who've been named as a child's father, or who want to know if they are biological father of the infant. And if a mom refuses, the proposed law would give the courts leave to intervene, demanding that a child be tested anyway.


China's violent crackdown on protests

State Stamps Out Small 'Jasmine' Protests in China
Austin Ramzy / Beijing Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

The anonymous call for a "jasmine revolution" in China's major cities was made online, first on a website run by overseas dissidents, then on Twitter, which despite being blocked is still widely used by activists in China. But unlike what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, where such efforts prompted massive street protests that eventually toppled both governments, the biggest response in China was from the state. Over the weekend the government rounded up lawyers, activists and dissidents, increased online censorship and deployed massive numbers of police to quash any demonstrations.

In Beijing, the protest was supposed to happen in Wangfujing, a busy shopping street in the center of town, a short walk from Tiananmen Square. On Sunday afternoon the crowds of shoppers met a massive police and media presence. Police in Beijing detained at least three people, including one man who placed a jasmine flower near a McDonald's restaurant near Wangfujing, and another three people were held in Shanghai, according to the Associated Press. Otherwise, there was little sign of protest.
(See pictures of the protests in Beijing.)

Even before the call for demonstrations emerged on Saturday, authorities had heightened the pressure they exert on China's domestic community of political activists. Last week, lawyer Tang Jitian was taken away by police in Beijing after a dinner to discuss Chen Guangcheng, a blind legal activist living under strict house arrest with his wife. That couple was severely beaten by police after they managed to smuggle out a video documenting the conditions they now endure in their Shandong village. Police also detained Jiang Tianyong, another lawyer who was at that Beijing dinner, during the weekend.

Over the weekend the crackdown expanded. Human-rights activists estimate that by Sunday evening about 80 people had been affected, forced to travel from their homes, put under house arrest or placed under some similar form of restrictions. They included Teng Biao, a lecturer at Beijing's University of Politics and Law, whose house was raided by police. China's restrictions on what information Internet users could access were also heightened. The term jasmine was blocked from searches on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging site. Some users also reported difficulties accessing services like Gmail, Google's Web-based e-mail.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2052860,00.html#ixzz1EcgUErcM


Remarks on Iran "Ultimately, "President Obama said, "these are sovereign countries that are going to have to make their own decisions. What we can do is lend moral support to those who are seeking a better life for themselves." That doesn't include China though, he added, don't talk about China.
Bad Girl Lust

HuffPo declares Kristi Noem "hottest freshman"; Noem responds "unfortunate"

Huffington Post: Kristi Noem Dismisses Her HuffPost Hottest Freshman Title As "Unfortunate"
Anya Strzemien

Well, this is unfortunate. It appears that Huffington Post's newest "Hottest Freshman," Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD), is not elated by the accolade.

In an interview last week with The Daily Caller, the ravishing rancher finally addressed the "Hottest Freshman in Congress" title she won in January: "I thought that was kind of an unfortunate distraction, I guess, when that came out. I don't think about that too much. I'd rather they were talking about my solutions for our country rather than that, but we'll get there."

We can--and always could--do both. When HuffPost's first-ever "Hottest Freshman" and fellow Republican Representative Aaron Schock won in 2009, the congressman graciously penned a blog post titled "Thank You, Readers," and turned the acceptance into an opportunity to discuss some of his key issues. No problemo.

The rest is history. Representative Schock has become one of the most recognizable faces in Washington, and a Huffington Post star in his own right. He even swung by the office last fall for a surprise visit. Some might call that going beyond left and right.

After being sworn in last month, Noem was up against seven other handsome congressional contenders for "Hottest Freshman." 10,000 votes later, our readers let it be known that they found Noem to be the fairest of them all.

HuffPost Style then contacted Representative Noem's office in Washington to ask if she'd be interested in blogging, and after a rather confused response, they asked us to email them the details. Heartbreakingly, we are still awaiting a response.
HuffPo, putting the "oh no they didn't" into ontd_political.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Mexico state congress asks ban of video game

Mexico state congress asks ban of video game

A shoot-em-up video game set in the border town of Ciudad Juarez has angered local officials who are busy fighting all-too-real violence.

Chihuahua state legislators said Sunday they have asked federal authorities to ban a the game, "Call of Juarez: The Cartel," which is based on drug cartel shootouts in Ciudad Juarez.

About 6,000 people died in drug-related violence in Ciudad Juarez in 2009 and 2010, making the city, located across from El Paso, Texas, one of the deadliest in the world.

The web site of game developer Ubisoft Entertainment SA says the title is due for release this summer. Screen shots from the game show three characters armed with a pistol, an assault rifle and a shotgun ready to open fire on a city street.

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WOW, CLASSY there, MAC cosmetics. UGH. I hadn't heard about that one. I was going, "Wow, classy" at Ubisoft's tagline for the game, but MAC took the cake.
  • chaya

PA Judge Accepts $$ to Incarcerate More Kids; Satan Raises Eyebrow, Admits Being Impressed

Pa. judge convicted in juvenile court kickback scheme
February 21, 2011

A former juvenile court judge defiantly insisted he never accepted money for sending large numbers of children to detention centers even after he was convicted of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of the for-profit lockups.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was allowed to remain free pending sentencing following his conviction Friday in what prosecutors said was a “kids for cash” scheme that ranks among the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history.

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CNN has been replaying a clip Fonzo shouting at Ciavarella outside of the courthouse, telling him he's responsible for her young son's suicide. Other links mention accounts of kids who stole change from unlocked cars getting months and months of time.

Also, apologies to the mods, who originally got this submission with an old-ass source.


Georgia Legislator Wants To Investigate Miscarriages, Create Uterus Police

First the attack on Planned Parenthood funding and now this: State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia introduced a bill in his state last week that, if enacted, would require proof that a miscarriage occurred naturally. If a woman can’t prove that her miscarriage–or spontaneous abortion–occurred without intervention, she could face felony charges.

From the Daily Kos, “Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can’t tell how it happened, then those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it.”

The bill is mostly aimed to make sure that any attempt to remove an embryo or fetus from a mother must be with the goal of a live birth. Ectopic pregnancy– which can be fatal to mother and fetus– is no exception. Maternal bleeding, cancer… no exceptions.


There is not enough rage in the world!
TV | Peggy Olson

ONTD_Political's PotD: February 21, 2011.

Hoor Hussain, 6, holds a poster with other anti-government protesters at the Pearl roundabout on Feb. 21 in Manama, Bahrain. Demonstrators continue to fill the square in a daily protest while opposition leaders hold talks with the government on the weeklong uprising.

John Moore |
Getty Images
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H/t: poetic_pixie_13