July 17th, 2011


Military members march for San Diego gay pride


A group of U.S. service members marched in a San Diego gay pride parade on Saturday, in a demonstration organizers touted as an unprecedented step for gay and lesbian military personnel under the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

The military contingent in the parade numbered about 250 people, and the former Navy operations specialist who brought the group together said many are currently in the military, while the rest are veterans. They dressed in civilian clothes.

Marine Corporal Will Rodriguez-Kennedy is on active duty and said he looks forward to next year's parade, when he believes it will be possible to march in "dress blues."

"One of my friends here has been back from Afghanistan for three days, and when he heard about the parade he said he served in uniform and he should be able to march in uniform," said Rodriguez-Kennedy, 24.

It was unclear exactly how many members of the San Diego gay pride parade's military contingent were on active duty. Several participants who spoke to Reuters had recently left the armed services.

Under the military's existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, service members are barred from saying they are gay or lesbian, and that has until now discouraged some members of the military from participating in gay pride parades.

Organizers said the San Diego contingent, which included straight supporters also in the armed services, represented the largest group of members of the military to ever march in the city's gay pride parade, or any similar U.S. event.

Gay service members have been known to march in other pride parades, but usually in a low-key manner without calling attention to themselves.


The march came a day after a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays, but blocked the Pentagon from penalizing or discharging anyone for being openly gay. The decision marked a reversal from an earlier order to immediately end the policy.

President Barack Obama signed legislation in December to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but the bill gave the Pentagon an unlimited time frame to implement the change, leading up to a final "certification" of the repeal.

That certification is expected within weeks.

In a parade that featured drag queens costumed as nuns and men dressed as pirates with G-strings, the military contingent of mostly men in their 20s and 30s marched in markedly more conservative clothing.

They wore green or grey t-shirts emblazoned with their military branch, and each carried in hand a small U.S. flag.

"This is my first time here, out as who I am: a gay man in the Army Reserves," Dale Smith, 50, told Reuters. "It's a great day for me and for all the gay people who've chosen to serve their country."

A Pentagon spokeswoman said U.S. Department of Defense regulations do not prohibit marching in parades while wearing civilian clothes, and that participation "does not constitute a declaration of sexual orientation."

The military contingent in the San Diego parade was organized by Sean Sala, an openly gay 26 year-old man, who left the Navy in June after six years.

"When we were walking, every step of the way it was standing ovations from the crowd," Sala said. "My mom was with me and it made her cry."

San Diego, California's second-largest city, has a large military presence. The nearby Camp Pendleton is the largest Marine Corps base west of the Mississippi River.

TWA Flight 800 - 15 Years Later

Source - AP News
LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press
Updated 12:49 p.m., Saturday, July 16, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Families and friends of some of the 230 people killed when a Paris-bound jumbo jet mysteriously exploded in the sky off the Long Island coast are planning to mark the early evening moment with a quiet beach gathering Sunday.

The destruction 15 years ago of TWA Flight 800 off east Moriches just 12 minutes after takeoff from Kennedy International Airport set off a mammoth FBI investigation amid fears that a bomb or a missile had downed the plane and introduced sky-based international terrorism to U.S. shores.

The unity of family members after the July 17, 1996, crash — and the impact of an organization formed by one of them for those who lost loved ones in disastrous circumstances — are an enduring legacy of the crash.

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If you can't communicate in the courtroom, you don't have access to justice

Feds, states in dispute over court interpreters
Source - AP News
By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Annie Ling understood little of what was being said in a Georgia courtroom where she was put on trial, convicted by a jury and sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing her two young children.

The Malaysia native speaks Mandarin but little English, and there was no interpreter for her during the 2008 proceedings in Spalding County, an hour south of Atlanta. Just after she was sentenced, she thought she was going home and asked probation officials when she had to return to their office. She had no idea she was about to be hauled off to jail.

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The Most Incredible Thing Fox News Has Ever Done

 Or at least the most amazingly brazen I can think of at this moment.

Via Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, the simply unbelievable Fox and Friends segment below. It's about the News of the World hacking scandal.

To the good: they treat hacking as a problem and scandal. To the incredible/bad: they present their (now closed) UK sister publication News of the World as a victim of the hacking problem, rather than as a perpetrator.

Watch, if you can stand to. They roll out some expert, Bob Dilenschneider, to say how hacking is a big problem. It's happened at the Pentagon. It's happened at Citibank. It's happened at the News of the World. When are we going to get serious about it?

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!!! Citibank and the Pentagon were the hackees -- the objects of hacking, by criminals or spies. Murdoch's News of the World was the hacker -- the perpetrator, the criminal-or-spy counterpart.

I submit that this could not happen at any other news organization. Rather, it could not happen at any news organization. It happened at the agitprop operation known as Fox News.

Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

Rebekah Brooks arrested by hacking police

Ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating phone hacking and bribery at the News of the World.

The 43-year-old was arrested by appointment at a London police station and remains in custody.

She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption allegations.

She quit News International on Friday as pressure mounted over her role.

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You know about the three major US credit bureaus but what that "fourth bureau"?

Atlanta entrepreneur Mike Mondelli has access to more than a billion records detailing consumers’ personal finances — and there is little they can do about it.

The information collected by his company, L2C, comes from thousands of everyday transactions that many people do not realize are being tracked: auto warranties, cellphone bills and magazine subscriptions. It includes purchases of prepaid cards and visits to payday lenders and rent-to-own furniture stores. It knows whether your checks have cleared and scours public records for mentions of your name.

Pulled together, the data follow the life of your wallet far beyond what exists in the country’s three main credit bureaus. Mondelli sells that information for a profit to lenders, landlords and even health-care providers trying to solve one of the most fundamental questions of personal finance: Who is worthy of credit?

The answer increasingly lies in the “fourth bureau” — companies such as L2C that deal in personal data once deemed unreliable. Although these dossiers cover consumers in all walks of life, they carry particular weight for the estimated 30 million people who live on the margins of the banking system. Yet almost no one realizes these files exist until something goes wrong.

Federal regulations do not always require companies to disclose when they share your financial history or with whom, and there is no way to opt out when they do. No standard exists for what types of data should be included in the fourth bureau or how it should be used. No one is even tracking the accuracy of these reports. That has created a virtually impenetrable system in which consumers, particularly the most vulnerable, have little insight into the forces shaping their financial futures.

Arkansas resident Catherine Taylor didn’t learn about the fourth bureau until she was denied a job at her local Red Cross several years ago. Her rejection letter came with a copy of her file at a firm called ChoicePoint that detailed criminal charges for the intent to sell and manufacture methamphetamines. The information was incorrect — she says the charges were for another woman with the same name and birth date — but it has haunted her ever since.

Taylor said she has identified at least 10 companies selling reports with the inaccurate personal and financial information, wrecking her credit history so badly that she says she cannot qualify to purchase a dishwasher at Lowe’s. Taylor must apply for loans under her husband’s name and has retained an attorney to force the firms to correct the record. She has settled one case, and a trial in another is expected next week.

“Everything went to hell in a handbasket from then on out,” Taylor said. “I can’t be the watchdog all the time.” MORE
Pride & Prejudice

The rape of men

Of all the secrets of war, there is one that is so well kept that it exists mostly as a rumour. It is usually denied by the perpetrator and his victim. Governments, aid agencies and human rights defenders at the UN barely acknowledge its possibility. Yet every now and then someone gathers the courage to tell of it. This is just what happened on an ordinary afternoon in the office of a kind and careful counsellor in Kampala, Uganda.

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Herman Cain: Communities should be able to ban mosques

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that communities have a right to ban Islamic mosques.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," the former Godfather's Pizza CEO said protests and legal challenges to a planned mosque in Tennessee city are an example of local residents pushing back. Cain said his view doesn't amount to religious discrimination because he says Muslims are trying to inject Shariah law into the U.S. Shariah is a set of core principles that most Muslims recognize and a series of rulings from religious scholars. It covers many areas of life and different sects have different versions and interpretations of the code. Asked if his view could lead any community to stand up in opposition to a proposed mosque, Cain replied, "They could say that." He pointed to opposition to the planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., as an example.

"Let's go back to the fundamental issue that the people are basically saying that they are objecting to," Cain said. "They are objecting to the fact that Islam is both religion and (a) set of laws, Shariah law. That's the difference between any one of our other traditional religions where it's just about religious purposes. "The people in the community know best. And I happen to side with the people in the community."

Cain's comments were denounced as "unconstitutional and un-American" by a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's clear that Herman Cain has decided that he will score political points every time he bashes the Muslim community or its constitutional rights," council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a phone interview.

Cain previously stirred controversy by saying that he would not want a Muslim bent on killing Americans in his administration. Campaigning in Murfreesboro last week, Cain sided with mosque opponents. "I happen to also know that it's not just about a religious mosque," he said Sunday. "There are other things going on based upon talking to the people closest to the problem. It's not a mosque for religious purposes. This is what the people are objecting to."

Hooper called the remarks "utter nonsense," saying Cain "seems to have hitched his wagon to the most extreme anti-Muslim bigots out there." He called on Republican leaders to repudiate Cain's comments. "Each time you have someone who is regarded as a mainstream political leader expressing these kind of hate-filled views, it just fans the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry nationwide," he said. "And it gives legitimacy to intolerance and hatred. And he, of all people, should realize this, being African-American."

In Murfreesboro, the future new mosque has been the subject of protests and counter-protests in the city about 35 miles southeast of Nashville. Opponents have used the hearings to argue that the mosque is part of a plot to expand Islamic extremism in the U.S.

Stephen Fotopulos, executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said Cain's comments "demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the U.S. Constitution." "And it's baffling that a man with designs on becoming the leader of this nation would so callously alienate over 3 million of its citizens," Fotopulos said.

SOURCE: www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/nation/20110717_ap_hermancaincommunitieshaverighttobanmosques.html


Chile miners sue government for negligence


The Chillean miners who endured 69 days trapped underground when their mine collapsed last year are suing the government for negligence saying there was a lack of safety measures.

The miners were trapped underground from 5 August to 13 October after a cave-in at the San Jose gold and copper mine in the north.

Thirty-one of the 33 miners in the group have joined the lawsuit against the government, which requests $540,000 in compensation for each of the miners.

The miners allege that the National Geology and Mines Bureau had failed to carry out proper inspections of the mine's safety and working conditions.

One of the plaintiffs, miner Claudio Yanez, said the mine had had accidents in the past and at one time had been closed.

"Everyone knows that in 2005 and 2007 there were two deaths in this mine, and that since then it had always been a dangerous mine," Yanez told CNN Chile.

"We want what we went through at the bottom of that mine to be recognised. We are here to say that the 31 of us wish that all our suffering, and the suffering of our families, is recognised," miner Luis Urzua told reporters.

Folowing a spectacular rescue operation, watched around the world, the miners were finally hauled to safely one by one from 700 metres below ground.
Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

#hackgate: Continuation of the fustercluck

The resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is a shocking blow to David Cameron’s credibility as Prime Minister. There’s a sense now of a tidal wave of scandal surrounding the entire British establishment. The flood waters are slowly rising and it doesn’t seem there’s a damn thing anyone can do about it. Here’s blogger Ian Dale putting into words what many people are thinking:

I can’t believe I am even writing this, but it is no longer an impossibility to imagine this scandal bringing down the Prime Minister or even the government. OK, some of you reading this may think that last sentence is a deranged ranting, and you may be right. Indeed, I hope you are. But Sir Paul Stephenson launched a thinly veiled attack on David Cameron in his resignation statement and the Prime Minister is already on the ropes about the propriety of his relationship with Andy Coulson.
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