January 2nd, 2012

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Families overcome hardships for babies born on March 11

Families overcome hardships for babies born on March 11
Mothers recall events on fateful day in hard-hit Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi prefectures

Atsuto Shinagawa (top), born on March 11, 2011, smiles with his mother, Chiharu, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

Around 20,000 lives were lost in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan. On the same day, there were also babies born in the three prefectures hardest hit by the disaster.

One of them is Shion Naganuma, who was born in Ishinomaki, the second-largest city in Miyagi Prefecture.

Part of his name was taken from that of his great-grandfather Shiro Tsuda, who was found dead in rubble more than two months after the March disaster. Shion's 28-year-old mother, Chihiro, regrets that her son was unable to see her grandfather.

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Because babies.

New Directors Flesh Out Black America, All of It

EARLY in Dee Rees’s film “Pariah” it journeys into a Brooklyn strip club where scantily clad young black women gyrate to a sexy, foul-mouthed rap song. Lascivious customers leer, toss money and revel in their own unbridled lust. It is a scene that could have been in any of “the hood movies” that once proliferated or even a Tyler Perry melodrama in which Christian values would be affirmed after this bit of titillation.

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Farscape frell

Ron Paul Claims Sexual Harassment Shouldn’t Be Illegal

Ron Paul Ups The Ante And Claims Sexual Harassment Shouldn’t Be Illegal
January 1, 2012
By Jason Easley

On Fox News Sunday Ron Paul upped the ante on his opposition to sexual harassment laws by claiming that there should be no federal laws against sexual harassment.

Here is the video:

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ETA: html should be fixed now... Sorry about that!
Josh Donna looking up
  • fickery

The 12 Kinds of Undecided Voters

Just over one-half of the Iowa Republicans surveyed by Time/CNN this week said they would “definitely support” the candidate they backed at the time of the poll. Among the remainder, opinions are still fluid—by any measure, a staggeringly high share of likely voters. A much higher percentage of voters appear to make late decisions in the caucuses than in presidential general elections: While 10 percent of voters nationwide in the fall of 2008 told exit pollsters they made up their minds in the race’s final week, 40 percent of Republican caucus-goers in Iowa that year did. Seventeen percent said they made up their mind on the day of the caucuses.

This presents a serious challenge for the Republicans vying for votes in this year’s Iowa caucus. To make matters worse, many voters who tell pollsters they’re undecided are actually anything but—they’ve made up their mind, but for one reason or another, don’t care to share their feelings with pollsters. What’s more, studies have shown that many undecided voters don’t ever show up to vote in elections at all, making efforts to win them over doubly doomed. But the candidates do have some strategies for dealing with this squirrely segment of the electorate. Campaigns know, for instance, that undecided voters are not all the same. Here are a dozen different types of self-described undecided voters, and how the Republican presidential candidates are dealing with them in the final days before the Iowa caucus. N.B.: Some voters likely fit into more than one category.


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Lesbian kisses

Montana supreme court says Citizens United doesn't count there

Montana’s Supreme Court has issued a stunning rebuke to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 that infamously decreed corporations had constitutional rights to directly spend money on ‘independent expenditures’ in campaigns.

The Montana Court vigorously upheld the state’s right to regulate how corporations can raise and spend money after a secretive Colorado corporation, Western Tradition Partnership, and a Montana sportsman’s group and local businessman sued to overturn a 1912 state law banning direct corporate spending on electoral campaigns.

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as seen on alternet

glor here: I found this incredibly interesting to read. I think it's very telling that the dissenting judge only did so because he believes the state has an obligation to uphold the original ruling by the SCOTUS, and said exactly as much in his statement. I don't know if this will cause more pushback to CU, but it's a [very goddamn impressive] start. also, I kinda had fun with the tags. >.> <.<
SW - Teacup Vader

When does he have to return it to the school?

Reality TV Stars the Duggars Campaign for Rick Santorum in Iowa, Bring a Campaign Bus

The patriarch of the reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting,” Jim Bob Duggar, turned up in Iowa today with 12 of his 19 children to rally for Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate who has surged in polls ahead of the Iowa caucus.

At an event in Polk City, Iowa, Duggar, a former state representative in Arkansas, fired up the crowds and rallied for the former senator.

Republicans are “not going to find a perfect candidate, unless it’s Jesus Christ,” Duggar said.

He took a shot at Mitt Romney for his Massachusetts health care plan that, he said, included a ”$50 co-pay for abortions.”

Duggar and the 12 kids showed up at Santorum’s first event of the day in a bus wrapped with “Rick Santorum for President” signage. All week long, Santorum has been chauffeured around the state in a pick-up truck driven by one of his top Iowa supporters.

Michelle Duggar is said to be recording robocalls for Santorum, who himself has seven children.

The event went over capacity as crowds stormed in to watch Santorum give his pitch with his wife and three of his children. A sign on the wall noted the room’s capacity was 49, but there were at least 100 people in the restaurant.

One attendee was even overheard saying, “We love the Duggars but they aren’t gonna fit.”

Duggar endorsed and campaigned for Mike Huckabee in the same state in 2007.

All week long, Santorum has been chauffeured around the state in a pick-up truck driven by one of his top Iowa supporters.

Pretty sure the GOP would never give the nomination to a socialist Middle Eastern Jew, even if his name were Jesus. Especially if his name were Jesus, really, since that sounds suspiciously Mexican.
Jesse Pinkman wardrobe

Many Iowans still don’t know who they will caucus for

By Jason Horowitz, Published: December 31

DES MOINES — Early last week, a postcard advertising a rally for Mitt Romney arrived at the home of Pam Arnold Powers and her husband, Kelly. As undecided voters, the couple had grown accustomed to such invites. They regularly received mail from Rick Perry and Ron Paul, and Romney himself called several times a week, clogging up their voice mail with automated messages that began “Pamela, this is Mitt.”

“They use our names!” said Ms. Powers, a gregarious 47 year old who, likewise, considers herself on a first-name basis with Mitt, Newt, Rick and the other Republican hopefuls.

The Powerses started concentrating on the Iowa caucuses about a month ago, spending $200 on tickets to a Dec. 10 debate. They have spent days and weeks warming and cooling to candidates.

They are trying to recapture the electricity they felt four years ago when Michelle Obama took Ms. Powers’s arm in front of the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair, the first step in their journey off the Republican rolls and into the fold of Obama voters.

Now, political disappointment and personal progression have led them back to the GOP, but the Powerses are scrambling to find someone who possesses the attributes on their checklist — electability, passion, depth and strong moral values. Like the vast ranks of their ambivalent brethren who will determine the winner of the Iowa caucuses and possibly the Republican nominee, the Powerses are still having a tough time.

“I’ve got to figure it out by Tuesday,” Ms. Powers said.

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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Progressives and the Ron Paul fallicies


As I’ve written about before, America’s election season degrades mainstream political discourse even beyond its usual lowly state. The worst attributes of our political culture — obsession with trivialities, the dominance of horserace “reporting,” and mindless partisan loyalties — become more pronounced than ever. Meanwhile, the actually consequential acts of the U.S. Government and the permanent power factions that control it — covert endless wars, consolidation of unchecked power, the rapid growth of the Surveillance State and the secrecy regime, massive inequalities in the legal system, continuous transfers of wealth from the disappearing middle class to large corporate conglomerates — drone on with even less attention paid than usual.

Because most of those policies are fully bipartisan in nature, the election season — in which only issues that bestow partisan advantage receive attention — places them even further outside the realm of mainstream debate and scrutiny. For that reason, America’s elections ironically serve to obsfuscate political reality even more than it usually is.

This would all be bad enough if “election season” were confined to a few months the way it is in most civilized countries. But in America, the fixation on presidential elections takes hold at least eighteen months before the actual election occurs, which means that more than 1/3 of a President’s term is conducted in the midst of (and is obscured by) the petty circus distractions of The Campaign. Thus, an unauthorized, potentially devastating covert war — both hot and cold — against Iran can be waged with virtually no debate, just as government control over the Internet can be inexorably advanced, because TV political shows are busy chattering away about Michele Bachmann’s latest gaffe and minute changes in Rick Perry’s polling numbers.

Then there’s the full-scale sacrifice of intellectual honesty and political independence at the altar of tongue-wagging partisan
loyalty. The very same people who in 2004 wildly cheered John Kerry — husband of the billionaire heiress-widow Teresa Heinz Kerry — spent all of 2008 mocking John McCain’s wealthy life courtesy of his millionaire heiress wife and will spend 2012 depicting Mitt Romney’s wealth as proof of his insularity; conversely, the same people who relentlessly mocked Kerry in 2004 as a kept girly-man and gigolo for living off his wife’s wealth spent 2008 venerating McCain as the Paragon of Manly Honor.

That combat experience is an important presidential trait was insisted upon in 2004 by the very same people who vehemently denied it in 2008, and vice-versa. Long-time associations with controversial figures and inflammatory statements from decades ago either matter or they don’t depending on whom it hurts, etc. etc. During election season, even the pretense of consistency is proudly dispensed with; listening to these empty electioneering screeching matches for any period of time can generate the desire to jump off the nearest bridge to escape it.

Then there’s the inability and/or refusal to recognize that a political discussion might exist independent of the Red v. Blue Cage Match. Thus, any critique of the President’s exercise of vast power (an adversarial check on which our political system depends) immediately prompts bafflement (I don’t understand the point: would Rick Perry be any better?) or grievance (you’re helping Mitt Romney by talking about this!!). The premise takes hold for a full 18 months — increasing each day in intensity until Election Day — that every discussion of the President’s actions must be driven solely by one’s preference for election outcomes (if you support the President’s re-election, then why criticize him?).

Worse still is the embrace of George W. Bush’s with-us-or-against-us mentality as the prism through which all political discussions are filtered. It’s literally impossible to discuss any of the candidates’ positions without having the simple-minded — who see all political issues exclusively as a Manichean struggle between the Big Bad Democrats and Good Kind Republicans or vice-versa — misapprehend “I agree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I support Candidate X for President” or I disagree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I oppose Candidate X for President.” Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.

So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite. But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted.

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