May 10th, 2011

shock-me-gray, bored, apathy

Govt rounds up hundreds of anti-regime activists

Latest update: 10/05/2011

Syrian authorities rounded up hundreds of opposition activists and anti-regime protesters in house-to-house searches across the country on Monday in the latest government effort to end weeks of protests.

By News Wires (text)

AP - Syrian security forces arrested hundreds of activists and anti-government protesters in house-to-house raids across the country Monday, part of an escalating government crackdown aimed at stamping out a revolt engulfing the country.

The government’s punishing response triggered new international sanctions Monday, as the European Union imposed an arms embargo. The measure, which followed U.S. sanctions, also prohibits 13 Syrian government officials from traveling anywhere in the 27-nation EU and freezes their assets.

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Remember When Republicans Joined the Tea Party and There Was No Way They Would Ever Regret It?

Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans

Poor Paul Ryan and John Boehner.

Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, proposed budget cuts so severe his plan has been described as a suicide note. Boehner, the House speaker, rushed the budget to passage before Republicans grasped the potential fallout from their vote to replace Medicare.

Yet even this was not enough for the tea party.

On Monday morning, tea party leaders from around the country gathered at the National Press Club for a news conference denouncing Boehner and Ryan in terms normally reserved for that most loathsome of creatures, the Democrat.

“Instead of a fighter for U.S. taxpayers, Mr. Boehner has been a surrenderist, if that’s a word,” proclaimed William Temple, chairman of the Tea Party Founding Fathers. “It seems House Speaker John Maynard Boehner and his fellow RINOs — Republicans In Name Only — like to spend other peoples’ money just as much as the Democrats.”

Temple mocked the “tearful” speaker and vowed to give him “something really to cry about” this fall: “As the GOP primary season opens, if House freshmen and others elected by the tea party caved to Obama, we will find replacements for them.”

The threats carried extra oomph because the event was endorsed by Rep. Michele Bachmann, (R-Minn.), tea party doyenne and presidential hopeful. After the event, Bachmann’s office circulated a statement telling the tea party activists “I hear you and I agree.” She backed their call to reject an increase in the debt ceiling without undoing health-care reform, and she said her colleagues had “squandered” an opportunity to cut spending.

Bachmann’s colleagues won’t be pleased with some of the sentiments expressed by her tea party friends. Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, a conservative Web site, accused Boehner of “capitulating to business-as-usual in Washington.”

The Rev. C.L. Bryant preached: “We send this message to John Boehner and every RINO on Capitol Hill, that we did not get you the gavel of the House of Representatives to play nice with the liberal Democrats.”

As for Ryan, economist Brian Wesbury asked, “What is he? Is he for bigger government?” Wesbury suggested that Republicans should show some “adult kind of behavior.”
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aurora // once upon a time

Weapons manufacturers can process your census forms too!

Why the 2011 [Canadian] census calls for some civil disobedience

When I yanked the beige census form from my overstuffed mailbox last week, two thoughts crossed my mind: damn you, flyer deliverers who ignore my homemade “no junk mail” sign; and poor Munir Sheikh.

When Lynn Marie Murphy opened her census form, she thought of bombs and fighter planes. She knew something I didn’t know — that the federal government has paid Lockheed Martin about $81 million for “optic recognition” software to process the mailed-in census forms.

That’s right, Lockheed Martin — the world’s largest weapons manufacturer, which is building Canada those F-35 fighter jets at a price tag still unknown.

I did some research and discovered Murphy was right.
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Catherine Porter @ The Toronto Star

What do you think of some of her conclusions? Is she reaching when she says it's a "creeping militarization" of Canada? I'll probably use Roman numerals to fill out the census, I enjoy making life difficult.
DW - Amy reading

Spanish cancer scientist rages at government in funding row

Mariano Barbacid says red tape is stopping him from developing a possible cure for lung cancer

As one of the country's leading oncology researchers, Mariano Barbacid has always bemoaned the lack of financing for cancer research. So when the government recently prevented private funding for one of his projects - which could open a new battle front in the fight against lung cancer - Barbacid went on the attack.

He called the media to alert them to the Spanish government's decision to cancel an important experimental program at the National Center for Cancer Research (CNIO), including the work it was undertaking in the hope of developing advanced lung cancer treatments.
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oh holy shit
  • chaya

Hockey Bigwig D-bags Shit on a Player's Marriage Equality Video, Non-Apology Imminent

Sports agent criticizes NHL player for supporting marriage equality

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New York Rangers forward Sean Avery, who recorded a video in support of marriage equality, was criticized Monday by a Canadian sports management executive, who took to Twitter with a series of posts knocking gay marriage.

Todd Reynolds, vice-president of Uptown Uptown Sports Management, which represents a handful of NHL players, tweeted that it was “very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage’. Legal or not, it will always be wrong.” Later in the day, his father compared gay marriage to bestiality. [NOTE: Reynolds's father, not Avery's.]

As criticism began to come in, Reynolds attempted to clarify what he was saying by tweeting that his opinion “is not intolerance in any way shape or form.”

“I’m a little disappointed in some of the response,” Reynolds said, speaking to TSN Radio:

“If you oppose a viewpoint, you’re immediately targeted by some people as a hater, a bigot, intolerant, homophobic and many other terms. That’s obviously not the case for people who know me… I don’t hate anyone, and I’m certainly not a bigot, but I believe in marriage between one man and one woman.

Company founder Don Reynolds, and Todd’s father, told the National Post on Monday evening, “The majority, I think, of Canadians would say that they don’t agree with gay marriage -– that man and woman were created to be married, not man and man or man and horse, you know?”

First of all - several points to Avery, because this, to me, is what being an ally to the gay community means. Speaking out despite the flak you know you're going to get. I'm sure there are loads of fans who are going to imply that he's gay for doing this, just as grown-ass men in the public eye have already made the marrying-a-horse comparison. Fuck them. I don't even like the Rangers, but Avery and his tilty glasses have won me over here. Other heteros, please take note.

migrant boat sinks, 600 presumed dead. :(

Almost everyone on an overcrowded ship carrying some 600 African migrants to Europe is believed to have died when the vessel broke apart within sight of the Libyan capital, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The UN accused the Libyan government of complicity in a rising number of deadly smuggling incidents, many involving workers from sub-Saharan Africa who had moved to Libya to find work before war broke out there in March.

International agencies say some recent migrants report being forced onto dangerously packed ships at gunpoint by Libyan soldiers.

A spokesman for Moammar Gadhafi suggested that increased illegal immigration was the price European nations would pay for their military and political support of the rebels trying to topple Libya's strongman.

"Because of the NATO aggression against our country and because our coastal border guard is being hit daily … we are unable to deal with this situation and that is why Europe is being flooded with illegal immigration," government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said. "We cannot be the guards of Europe at this moment."

Migrants trapped below deck

The UN painted a horrifying picture of Friday's sinking, which left migrants, many from Somalia, trapped below deck and drowning within sight of the shore of Tripoli.

"We do know that there were some survivors who did know how to swim and managed to get to the beach but we believe that there were only a few," UN refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

She said a Somali diplomat in Tripoli told the agency that 16 bodies, including those of two babies, had been retrieved since the sinking.

Italy and Libya struck a 2008 deal to return would-be migrants intercepted at sea to Libya without screening them first for asylum. The agreement, criticized by refugee rights groups, reduced the number of migrants arriving in Italy from 36,000 in 2008 to 4,300 in 2010.

The UN said migrants' boats started leaving Libya for Europe again on March 25, the day NATO took over military operations. About 14,800 since have made the gruelling journey across the Mediterranean in rickety ships run by smugglers who rarely provide enough food and water.

At least 800 people had been lost at sea in three boat sinkings before the latest ship went down with 600 aboard off Tripoli on Friday, the UN said.

This is so, so awful.
Somebody please tell me that Italy isn't *still* returning refugees without asking questions.
And DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS. they're full of racist, islamophobic bullshit.

(just curious, why is there not a refugee tag?)

Homosexuality is a curable sin, Salvation Army says

The Salvation Army’s all-inclusive congregation policy does not extend to homosexuals, Swedish broadcasters TV4 claimed on Sunday evening.

During an undercover news report broadcast on one of Sweden's biggest channels, Salvation Army leaders told a covert journalist working for news programme “Kalla Fakta” (Cold Facts) that he, being a gay man, could not join the army originally formed in London in 1865.

Instead, an officer offered to “cure” him through prayer.

The programme also claimed that the Salvation Army was involved in an agreement with Africa's Malawi Council of Churches, which comprised of voting for the imprisonment of gay men.

Despite Sweden being the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as an illness, local SA officers told the journalist that homosexuality is “fundamentally wrong”.

“The Salvation Army’s basic position is that homosexual sex is a sin. The Bible says a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman,” one chapter leader told the TV4 reporter.

“Anatomically we are not shaped that way, so in that sense I do think it is wrong,” another soldier said.

The Salvation Army now accuses the Swedish TV programme of infringement.

“There is no revelation, there is no surprise, there is just a cheap but costly straining after sensationalism,” a Salvation Army spokesperson in Sweden said.

“We interpret the Bible in a way that defines sex as something that should happen within marriage and as something between a man and a woman.”

The top officer of The Swedish Salvation Army appeared live in the programme on Sunday, ignoring questions about whether homosexuals were included in their “all inclusive” policy. She claimed no knowledge of the MCC agreement.

The Salvation Army was founded by William and Catherine Booth in London in 1865 and are although describing themselves as “mainstream protestant” considered to be practising Biblical literalism.


The Donald's Numbers Plummets Just Like His Past Business Ventures.

Consolation Prize: At Least He is No Tim Pawlenty

Poll: Trump's Support Implodes, Drops Him To Fifth In GOP Primary

Donald Trump's brief run as the "frontrunner" in the Republican primary is over, according to a PPP poll released on Tuesday.

One month ago, a handful of surveys showed Trump trouncing the GOP field, leading all comers by as much as a nine-point margin. But now, after a month of bruising press coverage, the latest PPP poll shows that Trump's support has quickly dried up, as he's dropped back to a tie for fifth place.

In the poll, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney paced the GOP field at 19% and 18%, respectively. Newt Gingrich took third at 13%, followed by Palin (12%), Trump (8%), and Ron Paul (8%.)

That's a stunning turnaround from one month ago, when Trump led PPP's national survey with 26% to Huckabee's 17%.

But since then, Trump has taken a beating in the media. NBC questioned Trump about his his failed business ventures and bankruptcies -- questions which Trump brushed off by saying he was paid millions, "for his genius."

Also perhaps contributing to Trump's sudden downfall is the fact that the birther population, a group Trump heavily courted by insisting that Obama release his long form birth certificate, was cut in half once Obama released that documentation.

The PPP poll was conducted May 5-8 among 610 Republican registered voters nationwide. It has a margin of error of 4.0%.

Late Returns: If Trump Has 'Collapsed,' Where Does That Leave Pawlenty?

The news today is that it's looking like the Donald Trump boomlet is all but done, with a new round of numbers from Public Policy Polling finding that whatever support he once enjoyed among Republican primary voters has all but "collapsed." But when you look at these numbers, it sure looks to me like the reality teevee host is still stealing focus from even more dire polling news:
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are at the top of the GOP race with 19% and 18% respectively. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are further back at 13% and 12%, followed by Trump and Paul at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 7%, and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.
Yes, let's note that Ron Paul fans are probably feeling some satisfaction today, as it was their guy that Trump dubbed a "loser" during his Conservative Political Action Conference speech earlier this year. With a minimum of effort, Paul's now level with Trump, and likely to be trending in the opposite direction.

But, wow: Tim Pawlenty is at 5 percent? That's bad news for TPaw, who has worked harder than anyone at this "running for president" game, with next to nothing to show for it. Pawlenty likely hoped that making an appearance at that South Carolina debate would establish him as an electable conservative, but he's best remembered for being made to grovel over his previous support for cap and trade. With Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson standing onstage giving a loud voice to stances from which they've never wavered, it was a bad look for TPaw.

The best thing Pawlenty could have achieved by now is to have put down his marker as the "next-best Mitt Romney." As it stands, he's not even competing well as an alternative to fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann. This means that the people Pawlenty would most like to court are going to continue to cross their fingers for Mitch Daniels.

There's obviously still time to make up ground, but at the moment, Pawlenty is looking like this cycle's Jim Gilmore. At least Donald Trump can lay claim to being more than an afterthought.

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Presbyterians Approve Ordination of Gay People

After 33 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.

The outcome is a reversal from only two years ago, when a majority of the church’s regions, known as presbyterys, voted against ordaining openly gay candidates.

This time, 19 of the church’s 173 presbyterys switched their votes from no to yes in recent months. The Twin Cities presbytery, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday. The vote was 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions.

Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the church’s General Assembly, its highest legislative body, said in a phone interview from Minneapolis after the vote: “Everyone was civil. There was no applause, no cheering. It was just reflective of the fact that we are moving forward one other step.”

Although by the time the vote was taken in Minneapolis the outcome was expected, Presbyterian church officials said that even a few months ago they would not have predicted that the church was ready to change its policy.


Read more at the New York Times

I was raised Presbyterian, and remember hearing these debates even when I was a teenager (I'm 30 now), and the attitude towards gay people were always very negative. While I am no longer a member of the church, it warms my heart to see this happen.

Jon Refugee

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles belies its name

The 32-year-old choral group welcomes two openly straight members

By Karen Wada, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Near the end of last month's three-concert run at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles paused to share some quiet time and recognize those who contributed to the shows' success.

The tribute session took an unexpected turn when one of the group's newest singers raised his hand to speak. "I want to thank everyone for welcoming me," said tenor Chris Yraola, a 24-year-old music teacher from Eagle Rock. "It means a lot because, No. 1, I'm a little shy. And, No. 2, well, I'm a straight guy."

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