May 27th, 2011


Hordes of Bankers Ignored Law. Seized Homes from Military Families to Drink their Bitter Tears.

Improper Military Foreclosures: U.S. Settles With Two Firms

Amid blistering heat and thunderous bombing in central Iraq during summer 2005, U.S. Army Sgt. James Hurley suddenly found it difficult to reach his wife back home in Michigan.

For four days straight, he called and got a troubling message that the line had been disconnected. Eventually, Hurley tracked her down through his uncle.

"She tells me, 'We got kicked out of the house, we're foreclosed,'" Hurley recalled. "I was so pissed off. If it wasn't for my roommate and my sergeant who was over me, I think I would have gone nuts."

As his wife removed every stick of furniture from their home, cramming it in her parents' house and in a nearby garage, Hurley was left to stew halfway around the world. He asked for extra-long shifts and additional mechanic assignments, just to keep his mind off things.

It would be another six months before he could return home to sort out the mess, beginning a years-long court battle with Saxon Mortgage Services over the loss of his home while deployed overseas.

Prompted in part by Hurley's case, the Justice Department on Thursday announced a $22 million settlement with Saxon and a unit of Bank of America to provide relief to more than 170 active-duty military members who experienced improper foreclosures over the past few years.

Active-duty military are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a law that provides a slew of consumer protection measures designed to protect military personnel from financial distress. Among other things, the law prohibits foreclosure on a servicemember's home unless there is a court order.

The Government Accountability Office hinted at the investigation in a report earlier this month.

The Justice Department alleged that the Bank of America unit, formerly part of Countrywide Financial, improperly foreclosed on 160 military personnel between January 2006 and May 2009 and didn't check whether the borrowers were active-duty military.

They also alleged that Saxon Mortgage Services Inc., a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, foreclosed on 17 servicemembers without obtaining court orders.

Bank of America agreed to pay $20 million, and Saxon Mortgage Services, of Fort Worth, Texas, agreed to pay $2.35 million. If additional military members come forward, the companies have agreed to compensate them beyond those amounts.

"I feel quite confident in the thoroughness of the investigation to date," said Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez. "However, if we identify other victims in the course of our review, or if the servicers identify other victims, we will of course compensate them."

On average, Perez said victims in the Saxon case will receive an average of $130,555, while the Countrywide victims will receive about $125,000 each.

JPMorgan Chase has also disclosed in recent months that it improperly foreclosed on 18 servicemembers. Perez said he could not comment on other mortgage servicers that the Justice Department may be investigating for violations of military consumer laws.

He said he hopes that all other servicers "will take a very careful look at these settlement agreements."

Victims included soldiers who returned home severely paralyzed and suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Hurley settled with Saxon Mortgage Services separately in March, but the Justice Department initiated the investigation in response to his case, Perez said.

For six months after he heard the news in 2005, Hurley was burdened with both the mental strain of a war zone and concerns about the fate of his wife and home on the other side of the world.

Since returning home to Michigan in early 2006, he and his wife have moved into a small cabin where her parents lived.

He did receive some money earlier this year -- he couldn't disclose the amount based on the terms of his settlement -- but he said his only real wish was to get his house back. The court case in Michigan ultimately came down to one missed payment while he was overseas.

A longtime handyman, Hurley has done his best to expand the place and make it more comfortable. But after the foreclosure, his prior home of more than a decade remains in the hands of someone else.

"To this day I still don't understand why," Hurley reflected. "They took it illegally; why can't I get it back? I didn't want any money. All I wanted was my house back."

He suffers from pinched nerves and major back and neck problems, the result of injuries sustained while driving around in tanks. He has major difficulties hearing out of his right ear.

Hurley said he was happy to hear that others are getting restitution, and he hopes that more come forward.

"These banks know they can't do it, but they turn around and they do it anyway,"
he said. "Because they're the people who are in power, and they think all the government's going to do is slap their hands."

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Murasaki Shikibu

Japan's government suggests workers wear Hawaiian shirts to cut down on a/c

Japan's government suggests workers wear Hawaiian shirts to cut down on air con

Japan's Ministry of Environment has suggested workers wear Hawaiian shirts rather than suits.

The Super Cool Biz plan is aimed at reducing the amount of energy companies use in air conditioning.

Richard Lloyd Parry, Tokyo correspondent for The Times newspaper, told BBC Radio 5 live: "One of the big consumers of energy in the summer in Japan is the use of air conditioners.

"They decided they would turn the air conditioners down, let the temperatures rise," Lloyd Parry explained to Rhod Sharp on Up All Night.

"They're encouraging office workers to... take off their ties and to swap their long-sleeved shirts for those loose Hawaiian shirts."


lulz. The source has audio, since it's BBC Radio.

Normally it's just "cool biz", where they try to get business people to wear cooler clothes in summer so the A/C doesn't have to be put up so high, but I'm guessing they're pushing the "super cool" because of the anticipated power shortages.

One problem with why the "cool biz" doesn't actually work as well as they'd like is because it's hard to get all the companies in on it--they all say they will, but the problem is, if one company doesn't, then anyone from a different company meeting with people from said company looks underdressed (and therefore less professional). Since no one wants to be the underdressed ones, no one really does it. :/ However, I'd say that there's actually a chance for the super cool biz plan to work, because of the whole pulling-together thing. Maybe.

And for the record, the place I work technically does the cool biz thing, but lololol, we're a research place and everyone is a programmer. People here walk around in T-shirts, shorts and slippers normally, and anyone showing up in a suit normally gets asked where their business trip is. XD
helmetkid wtf

Water is wet etc

Japanese-Americans not surprised by internment lies
By Paula Lloyd / The Fresno Bee

Tuesday's revelation that the World War II internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans was based on lies by a top U.S. official was not actually news to some local Japanese-Americans.

"For me, it confirms what we knew back in the 1940s," said Kerry Yo Nakagawa of Fresno, whose grandparents and parents were interned in Jerome, Ark.

"It's so unbelievable that just a handful of people could do that by suppressing the truth."
The admission also "was not surprising" to Marsha Auchard of Fresno, whose mother was interned at the Gila River camp near Phoenix. "But it's sad because [the internment] didn't have to happen."

Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said Tuesday that the internment of Japanese-Americans was based on lies and deliberate deception by the wartime solicitor general.

Katyal said it was time to "set the record straight."
He said Charles Fahy, solicitor general appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, purposely withheld an intelligence report that concluded Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were not a military threat.

As the U.S. government's top attorney, Fahy was duty-bound to be impartial and truthful, Katyal said. Instead, Fahy lied to the Supreme Court, saying the government and the military had concluded just the opposite – that Japanese-Americans were a threat and interning them was a "military necessity."

Based on Fahy's testimony, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Roosevelt's Executive Order No. 9066 to exclude Japanese-Americans from "military areas" in the West. The internment lasted until the war ended in 1945.

Nakagawa's grandparents lost a restaurant and general store they ran in Fresno's Chinatown. When his grandfather returned to Fresno, the lease on his store had changed hands. Also, his grandmother had died while they were interned in Arkansas.

"They got their civil liberties and homes and businesses taken away. Once they came back, they couldn't start over," Nakagawa said. "A lot of people [at the time] said it was a land grab.
"I hope the new generation and students who read about it will appreciate their civil liberties and Constitution and never take them for granted."

Japanese-Americans from throughout California, Oregon and Washington were held at two assembly centers in Fresno – one in Pinedale and the other at the Fresno Fairgrounds – before being sent to internment centers in other parts of California, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

Today, memorials have been built to honor the more than 10,000 Japanese-American citizens held at the two centers from May to July, 1942.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda, who served on the memorials committees, said Katyal's admission provides "further vindication."

Ikeda's grandparents and parents were held at the Fresno Fairgrounds before being interned at Jerome, Ark. After the war, his father served in military intelligence under Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Japan.

Although Fahy's deception was discovered in the 1980s, Katyal's acknowledgment "is very welcome, even though it is long overdue," Ikeda said.

"Nevertheless, a sincere apology is very much appreciated by the Japanese-American community and is deserving of praise," Ikeda said.

Roberta Barton of Fresno, the daughter of an internee, called the news "a great milestone, but it's such a shame that it took the government so long to admit their wrongdoing. Maybe it's a testament that persistence eventually pays off."


Resubmitted with tags added
Pride & Prejudice

Three days left to tell Andrew Lansley what you think about the NHS reforms

There are just three days left of Andrew Lansley’s NHS listening exercise. That means we have 3 days left to flood it with our comments, concerns, and objections.

We can make sure that when the figures are released in a couple of weeks, the headlines are clear: the bulk of the submissions to Lansley’s listening exercise opposed his plans.

It’s easy and fast to make a personal submission to the listening exercise using the 38 Degrees website. It only takes a couple of minutes, and there are hints and suggestions for what to include.

You can send a message to the “listening exercise” right now here. It will take only a couple of minutes. You can be as brief or detailed as you like, and there are links below to useful facts & figures that you can include in your message.

Here are some of the big issues 38 Degrees members are concerned about:

- Decisions being taken behind closed doors
- The threat to the Government’s duty to provide a comprehensive health service
- Competition versus co-operation
- “Cherry-picking” by private healthcare providers
- The Government not listening to patients and medical experts
- Huge changes are being proposed without proper trials first

You might find some of the information on the NHS Action Centre useful. The British Medical Association has lots of useful information at their campaign centre here, and the Guardian's NHS reforms blog is also worth a look.

The Save The NHS petition can be found here, and the Department of Health page on the subject is here.

(Mods, I know this isn't news per se, but it's so so so important.)

MOD POST: My Resignation Speech

Please read the entire post before commenting. Chances are your questions/concerns will be addressed. Also, Shenanigans Friday has been postponed until tomorrow. Please don't leave off topic comments in this post.

In light of recent events both online and in real life, I have decided to step down as moderator. This will become effective once new mod elections are held.

This thread and the fallout from it started off the path to my resignation.

I realize now that I can't be an active community member and an unbiased moderator at the same time. When I was elected moderator in June 2008, the community was okay with having an active member and an outspoken Conservative on the mod team. Now it is apparent that I can't be a mod and express my views at the same time. My actions when commenting were never executed with the intent to actively troll the community. My often contrarian leanings, supporting ideas and people that were unpopular, and gut reactions were designed to make sure that the community knew what the other side was thinking. Reflecting back, I see that I did a bad job of this. Instead of making more people understand the other side, all my words did was to polarize the situation even more. Although I kept my politics out of the behind the scenes details of moderating, my words as a member reflected poorly on the entire mod team. For far too long, the entire mod team has been burdened from the fallout of my actions. The callout was a wake-up call for me and as a result, I am deeply sorry for anyone who was offended or angered by that specific thread.

In addition, the stress of the position has become too much for me to deal with. Resigning is ultimately the best thing I can do for my future emotional and mental health. Offline stress and commitments are also affecting my ability to mod effectively. I also don't have the time to spend on community management due to applying for grad school/finding a full time job/working part time.

This resignation does not mean that I have been banned from the community. It also should not be interpreted as a "silencing of those with different opinions". All it means is that a successful mod of this community is better off watching things from a distance. I will still be around offering my opinions during my free time. However, I will be more careful in the future to avoid coming across as a troll. I will also comment with an eye towards providing proof to back up my points. As always, there will be tons of fandom gifs involved.

Before I leave, I want to thank everyone who voted for me and everyone who has supported me since then. I especially want to thank the entire mod team for helping me through the good times and all of the bad times. For all of the stress being a mod has caused, it has also been a lot of fun. I've met so many people through this community, and I look forward to more positive discussions when I don't have the burden of the Mod Hat. I wish the current mod team and those elected to the position in the future the best of luck.

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The mod team will do our best to reply to as many questions/concerns left in this post. If there is a delay, it's because we're not online. As always, you can reach us at ONTDPolitical at gmail dot com or leave a comment on this post.

Andrej Pejic Voted 98th Sexiest Woman, Called "Thing" By FHM

I'm not sure if anyone was following the "Andrej Pejic Topless Cover" story (article here) but here is some more fuckery.

The other night, male model Andrej Pejic chatted with The Cut about the whole Dossier Journal censorship situation, and although he agrees it's silly, he sees how booksellers could be confused about his gender, seeing as how he was just named the 98th sexiest woman in the world by FHM.

I am not sure how I hadn't heard about this before, but I was intrigued since, you know, he's a man, and has made it perfectly clear in interviews that although he enjoys being androgynous, he has no plans to become a woman. When I headed over to FHM's website and clicked on Andrej's page, his article had mysteriously disappeared.

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Brb vomiting forever.

US judge rules against corporate contribution ban

(AP) – 5 hours ago

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A U.S. judge has ruled that the campaign finance law banning corporations from making contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United decision last year in his analysis.

In a ruling issued late Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Cacheris tossed out part of an indictment against two men charged with illegally reimbursing donors to Hillary Clinton's 2006 Senate and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Cacheris says that under the Citizens United decision, corporations enjoy the same rights as individuals to contribute to campaigns.

The ruling from the federal judge in Virginia is the first of its kind. The Citizens United case had applied only to corporate spending on campaign activities by independent groups, such as ads run by third parties to favor one side, not to direct contributions to the candidates themselves.

Cacheris noted in his ruling that only one other court has addressed the issue in the wake of Citizens United ruling. A federal judge in Minnesota ruled the other way, allowing a state ban on corporate contributions to stand.

"(F)or better or worse, Citizens United held that there is no distinction between an individual and a corporation with respect to political speech," Cacheris wrote in his 52-page opinion. "Thus, if an individual can make direct contributions within (the law's) limits, a corporation cannot be banned from doing the same thing."

In court papers, federal prosecutors defending the law said overturning the ban on corporate contributions would ignore a century of legal precedent.

"Defendants would have the court throw out a century of jurisprudence upholding the ban on corporate political contributions, by equating expenditures — which the Court struck down in Citizens United — with contributions. This is, however, equating apples and oranges," prosecutor Mark Lytle wrote in his argument to keep the indictment intact.

In the count that was tossed out, defendants William P. Danielczyk Jr. and Eugene R. Biagi were charged with helping funnel a corporate contribution to Clinton's presidential campaign.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Alexandria, which is prosecuting the case, said Friday that the office is reviewing the ruling. Prosecutors have the option to appeal the ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

Defense lawyers, though, said the implications of the Citizens United case are clear.

"Corporate political speech can now be regulated, only to the same extent as the speech of individuals or other speakers," Biagi's lawyer, public defender Todd Richman, wrote in court papers. "That is because Citizens United establishes that there can be no distinction between corporate and other speakers in the regulation of political speech."

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a Washington-based group that supports campaign finance reform, said Friday that Cacheris overstepped his bounds and ignored Supreme Court rulings issued before Citizens United that explicitly upheld the ban on corporate contributions. If the Supreme Court had wanted to overturn the ban, it could have done so directly in Citizens United.

"This decision ought to be appealed, and it ought to be overturned," Wertheimer said.

University of Virginia law professor Daniel Ortiz said the ruling "pushes the outer limits of the Citizens United logic." He said he does not expect it to stand.

The Citizens United case makes a distinction, Ortiz said, between independent expenditures by corporations that are not coordinating with a candidate's campaign, and direct campaign contributions.

As a practical matter, Ortiz said that even if Cacheris' ruling stands, its practical effect may be negligible because corporations would be subject to the same contribution limits imposed on individuals — $2,500 per candidate per election. Cacheris himself makes a similar point in his ruling, saying in a footnote that "this finding hardly gives corporations a blank check."

On the other hand, individuals can form an unlimited number of corporations, which could create a significant loophole in the law if unchecked.

Under existing law, corporations that want to contribute directly to candidates must form a political action committee — 1,683 corporate PACs existed at the start of the year, according to the most recent count from the Federal Election Commission. PACs are allowed to contribute to a candidate at twice the amount of an individual — $5,000 per election instead of $2,500 — but those PACS must use segregated funds, and face strict limitations on how much they can raise and from whom.

In the pending case, Danielczyk, 49, and Biagi, 76, who live in the Washington suburb of Oakton, Va., allegedly reimbursed $30,200 to eight contributors to Clinton's 2006 New York Senate campaign, and reimbursed $156,400 to 35 contributors to her 2008 presidential campaign.

Cacheris, in his ruling, allowed most of the indictment against Danielczyk and Biagi to stand. If the government does not appeal Cacheris' ruling on the constitutionality of corporate contributions, the case is scheduled to go to trial in July.

Matthew Barakat can be reached at

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


The corporate coddling in the wake of Citizens United has only just begun, really. I feel sick.
Murasaki Shikibu

Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish

Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish

Scientists aiming their gene sequencers at commercial seafood are discovering rampant labeling fraud in supermarket coolers and restaurant tables: cheap fish is often substituted for expensive fillets, and overfished species are passed off as fish whose numbers are plentiful.

Yellowtail stands in for mahi-mahi. Nile perch is labeled as shark, and tilapia may be the Meryl Streep of seafood, capable of playing almost any role.

Recent studies by researchers in North America and Europe harnessing the new techniques have consistently found that 20 to 25 percent of the seafood products they check are fraudulently identified, fish geneticists say.

Labeling regulation means little if the “grouper” is really catfish or if gulf shrimp were spawned on a farm in Thailand.

Environmentalists, scientists and foodies are complaining that regulators are lax in policing seafood, and have been slow to adopt the latest scientific tools even though they are now readily available and easy to use.

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Murasaki Shikibu

Hashimoto stalks anthem foes

Hashimoto stalks anthem foes

Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto has stepped up his long-running feud with teachers opposed to the "Kimigayo" national anthem by pushing his political group to propose an ordinance that would force them to stand when the song is sung at school ceremonies.

With Osaka Restoration holding 57 of the assembly's 109 seats, the proposal is expected to be approved by the end of this month.

It would by the first time a prefectural government has passed such an ordinance.

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Republican Lawmaker Hires Jobless Constituent To Work In His Yard For $8 An Hour

Kathryn Treadway of Goldsboro, N.C., lost her job doing medical transcription work for a hospital early last year. The 35-year-old hasn't had an income since April 16, when an impasse between Republicans in the state legislature and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue halted her unemployment benefits.
On Friday, she finally found a job -- doing yard work for a statehouse Republican who thought Treadway couldn't find work because she had a bad attitude.
Stephen LaRoque, the Republican who represents Treadway in the lower chamber of the North Carolina General Assembly, said he'd pay her $8 an hour to deal with dirt and debris in his three-and-a-half acre yard in nearby Kinston.
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People I don't feel bad for: Ratko Mladic

Mladic May Seek to Use Poor Health to Avoid The Hague

BELGRADE, Serbia — Life on the run has not been kind to Ratko Mladic, a fugitive in his own land from war crimes charges. His mouth droops sideways and his skin is bluish and mottled red, the pallor of poor hygiene, bad nutrition and self-imposed prison, according to his longtime friend and defense lawyer, Milos Saljic.When Serbian investigators arrested the former general, 68, in his cousin’s house on Thursday they found $800 in cash and a sack of medicine, with prescription drugs for skin treatment and various maladies over the years that included two heart attacks and three strokes that at one point left him completely paralyzed, the lawyer said.
Bruno Vekaric, the deputy war crimes prosecutor, conceded that Mr. Mladic was receiving medicine, but that he “responds very rationally to everything that is going on.” Mr. Vekaric, the target of Mr. Mladic’s wrath in the first day of the extradition hearing on Thursday, said that the prisoner had already been examined by doctors and that he appeared to be moving his hand during the second 45-minute court hearing on Friday afternoon.
The haggard state of Mr. Mladic — who eluded Serbian authorities for more than 15 years — may offer him one more chance to evade a prison cell. His family and lawyer are now angling to seek a team of what they call “neutral” doctors who could evaluate him and deliver an opinion on whether his physical and mental health is fragile enough to place him in a hospital or nursing home.
“If he goes to The Hague, he won’t last three years. He will come back in a coffin,” said Mr. Saljic, who has known Mr. Mladic since he was a military judge in 1967. “If you put a bird in a cage you can give them whatever it wants, but it’s not going to be happy.”
To drive that point home, Mr. Mladic’s son, Darko, stood in front of the steps of a special courthouse in Belgrade on Friday to deliver a statement about his father’s poor health. Inside the court, Mr. Mladic was facing the second day of a closed extradition hearing to transfer him to The Hague to face genocide charges for his role in the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.
His son said that his right hand was partially paralyzed and that he could barely speak. Mr. Saljic noted that Mr. Mladic’s responses to basic questions about his education and military career wandered from subject to subject and that in his present state he should not be moved.
But the investigating judge on the case made a preliminary finding that Mr. Mladic should be transferred to The Hague, although Mr. Mladic still has the right to challenge the decision. Mr. Saljic said that he would lodge a complaint on Monday and that he would press for a broad medical evaluation by doctors who are free of government influence. The family said that a team of doctors had volunteered for that role from Russia, which historically has been a Serbian ally.
After an appeal, a three-judge panel must make a ruling within three days that then must be signed by the Serbian justice minister.
Mr. Mladic’s arrest has been trumpeted by the Serbian government as a victory that qualifies the nation, once a pariah, for European Union membership and a Western embrace.
But his supporters now are defining him as a spent old man who in his final days on the run was protected by a cousin and lived in a moldy house with dusty, unopened windows that was strewn with clothes and the remains of pizza. It is an image at odds with his wanted posters that show the burly commander of the Bosnian Serb Army during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, which killed more than 100,000 people. Thousands of Muslims and Croats were killed, tortured or driven out in a campaign to purge the region of non-Serbs.
Over two days of hearings, Mr. Mladic has showed different sides of his personality. On Thursday, the hearing was abruptly halted after Mr. Mladic gave wandering answers to basic questions about his education and military background and said scornfully that he did not like Mr. Vekaric, the deputy war crimes prosecutor. But by Friday, the former general displayed some of his old charisma, inviting one prosecutor to join him for a chess game in prison and apologizing to another for his brusque manner a day earlier.
According to several people at the hearing, including his lawyer, he refused to read the war crimes indictment, saying he did not recognize the authority of the tribunal in The Hague. He also made a number of specific requests for his prison cell: Russian classics by Tolstoy and Gogol, a television set, fresh strawberries and a photograph of his grandchildren. “You’ve taken enough money from me. At least I can get some strawberries,” he said in court, according to several witnesses, a quip that prompted Mr. Vekaric to offer to bring the fruit.
He also asked to pay a visit to the Belgrade grave of his daughter, Ana, who apparently committed suicide in 1994.
Mr. Mladic has been having reunions with his family, including two visits on Thursday. When Mr. Saljic saw him, for the first time in 10 years, he said he was struck by his appearance. But he still showed traces of the old general, quipping about the lawyer’s tactic late last year to try to have him legally declared dead.
“What the hell were you thinking,” the lawyer said Mr. Mladic mocked him. “Was this some kind of a distraction?”

"He's an old man, leave him alone." I don't care how old or sick he is. He helped contribute to the unnecessary suffering of a great many people. He deserves to rot in a cell for the rest of his life as far as I'm concerned.

Mods, may I please request a tag for the International Criminal Court for future use?
the fountain

Wheelchair attack by Police was 'lawful'

Police officers were justified in pulling a student fees protester from his wheelchair and "inadvertently" hitting him with a baton, an inquiry has found.

Jody McIntyre, 21, was attacked by officers during a demonstration on December 9, but the police actions were "justifiable and lawful given the volatile and dangerous situation", Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards said.

Mr McIntyre claimed he was the victim of an unprovoked attack, complaining that an officer tipped him out of his wheelchair onto the ground, then dragged him across the road onto the pavement.

He said the treatment amounted to discrimination on the basis of his disability.

But a statement from the force said: "The investigation, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), did not find evidence to substantiate any of the complaints made by Jody McIntyre regarding two separate incidents at the demonstrations.



My thoughts: not only is this yet another case of blatant police brutality, but a reminder that the IPCC clearly can't be acting in an 'independent' manner surely? Will the British police force ever be held accountable for their actions or will we always see news like this justifying them?
P.S This is my first post, hope I did everything right?
[Other] Bill Hader

Are They Serious?

The Walleyed, Rock-Stupid, Egomaniacal, Inadvertently Hilarious Flock of Nattering Republican Boobs Who Think They Can Beat Barack Obama in 2012

Spoiler alert: Mitt Romney is going to win the Republican nomination for president. I'm 95 percent sure that's what's going to happen. Sure, the teabaggy base will make some crazy noise, but the Republican nomination process is nothing if not orderly: Romney was the runner-up to John McCain last time around, so he'll probably be at the top of the ticket this year. Team Romney is reportedly preparing for a very long nomination battle—something akin to Barack Obama's They Live–style fight with Hillary Clinton in 2008—but barring an enormously entertaining flameout, he's the guy to beat.

Then again, this is hardly a normal campaign year. Candidates seem to be actively fleeing from the race. Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Mitch Daniels have already pulled out. And the two candidates the Republican media most wants to run—Chris Christie and Jeb Bush—have outright refused. (It's hilarious that the party's greatest hopes rest on a Bush and the teabaggy governor of New Jersey, who can't even poll higher than President Obama in his own state.)

By the time you read these words, someone else might have collapsed in a puddle of self-regard or sexual impropriety or idiocy. It's the lamest field of candidates in recent memory.

This is a race to the bottom, which is why it's taken so long to get started. Most of these candidates—the few who aren't totally delusional—are desperately trying to wind up as the nominee for vice president. That's the best advertising in the world for their eventual 2016 presidential race. So the question is, who's gonna bottom to Romney's top? Who is the second-best candidate in this field of used-car salesmen and wrinkly faced toddlers?

And so, here we are, handicapping the handicapped.

Where did this lady come from?
She's a congresswoman from Minnesota and queen of the teabaggers.
What's her problem?
She's a fucking nutjob is her problem. A complete list of the stupid things she's said and done would not fit in this newspaper.
Is she serious?
Unfortunately, amazingly, yes. When Jared Loughner knocked out Sarah Palin's presidential aspirations by taking her violent rhetoric way too literally, Old Crazy-Eyed Bachmann saw an opening and she's going for it.

Read the rest at the full article at the source, The Stranger. It's pretty funny, but some of the language used may be...disagreeable to some (I don't understand the crossdressing comment about Giuliani and there's casual sexism and ableism). It details the following people: Michelle Bachmann, John Bolton, Herman Cain, Jim DeMint, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Guliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum.


The problem with Christine Lagarde

by Simon Johnson

Ms. Christine Lagarde, French finance minister, is the nominee of the European Union for the recently vacant position of managing director at the International Monetary Fund. The EU has just over 30 percent of the votes in this quasi-election; the US has another 16.8 percent and seems willing to keep a European at the fund if an American can remain head of the World Bank. It should be easy for Ms. Lagarde to now travel round the world engaging in some old-fashioned horse trading, along the lines of: Support me now, and I or the French government will get you something suitable in return, either at the IMF or elsewhere.

The contest to run the IMF seems over before it has even really begun. But Ms. Lagarde has a serious problem that may still derail her candidacy, if there is ever any substantive, open, or transparent discussion of her merits. There is major design flaw in the eurozone and Ms. Lagarde is the last person that non-European governments should want to put in charge of helping sort that out.

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Don't know who I want as IMF Managing Director... Stanley Fischer? Kemal Dervis? Agustin Carstens?

PSA against the use of the r-word

"Not Acceptable" is a powerful and compelling 30 second television PSA which gives voice to a variety of diverse communities each of whom expresses that it is not acceptable to call them by what were once common words, but are now recognized as offensive slurs. It culminates in actress and self-advocate Lauren Potter from "Glee" stating that it is not acceptable to use the word 'retard' and she and "Glee" co-star Jane Lynch make a call to action to stop using the word and to promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to make their pledge online at

The PSA was launched by the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, an on-going initiative from Special Olympics and Best Buddies to eradicate the derogatory use of the word "retard(ed)" from everyday use and promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"Not Acceptable" was executive produced by Jim Serpico and Tom Sellitti of New York based Apostle, and shot, produced and edited by Spot On Productions from City Island, NY.

The PSA is supported by several national advocacy organization including the Anti-Defamation League, Special Olympics, Best Buddies, GLAAD, The Hispanic Federation, National Puerto Rican Coalition, The Asian-American Foundation, and the NAACP.