January 31st, 2012

Pushing Daisies (Chuck) Peeking

Fox News Channel set to make ratings milestone with 10 years atop the Nielsen charts

Shepard Smith says the station can stay No. 1 as long as it takes care of its product

Amid the day-long coverage of the Florida primary vote Tuesday, there also will be a little cheering in the halls at Fox News Channel.

Not because of the vote, but because in the morning, when Nielsen releases ratings for Sunday, the network will notch its 10th consecutive year as the most-watched cable news network.

“The boss said we’d be able to do this, and it’s happened,” says recently slimmed-down anchor Shepard Smith.

Smith says being on top is great because that means he — and everyone else there — can simply focus on the product.

“The pressure to stay there is greater than anything else,” he says. “If we take care of the product, everything else will take care of itself.”

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Newt Gingrich sued for using 'Eye Of The Tiger'.

Newt Gingrich, who is among the frontrunners to become the Republican candidate for the US Presidency, is facing a lawsuit over his use of 'Eye Of The Tiger'.

The track was recorded by the band Survivor and was first released in 1982, but is perhaps best known for its appearance in the classic boxing film Rocky III.

According to TMZ, Rude Music Inc, a firm which is owned by a member of the band Survivor, filed a lawsuit yesterday (January 30) in Illinois and claims that Gingrich has used the song as his intro music at various events since 2009, despite never having sought permission from the band to do so.

The lawsuit demands that Gingrich stop using the track immediately and also pays Rude Music Inc an unspecified amount of damages.

Source: http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/61741

OP: And I thought 'Stuck In The Middle With You' would be the perfect Republican candidate song.
  • lyssna

Swedish "upper class safari" under fire

The so called “upper class safari” that has been recently running in Stockholm has come under extreme criticism from residents of [an] elite suburb, and has even evoked several protest attacks.

“Everything for Everyone” (Allt åt alla) is the organization behind the venture, which aims to give tourists a peek behind the curtains of the rich and famous living in glamorous parts of Stockholm.

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Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

Thousands of vocational qualifications to be stripped out of GCSE league tables

Thousands of vocational qualifications – including courses in fish husbandry and nail technology – are to be stripped out of school league tables, the government has announced.

More than 3,000 qualifications regarded as equivalent to GCSEs in current league tables – and said to be used by some schools to improve their rankings – will be reduced to 125. Just 70 will count towards the main performance measure of five A* to C grades at GCSE. The first league tables to reflect the changes will be published in January 2015, based on results from the previous summer.

The qualifications being ditched include the City and Guilds level 2 diploma in horse care, currently worth four GCSEs in the league tables.

A Btec in fish husbandry, worth two GCSEs, a level 2 certificate in nail technology and a level 2 award in travel and tourism are among those being dropped.

Schools will still be able to offer these courses, but they will no longer boost their position in league tables.

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Thoughts? I'm baffled, aside from thinking that League Tables continue to be more trouble than they're worth. 

Tennessee Senator Thrown Out of Restaurant for Antigay Stance

A restaurant has refused to serve Stacey Campfield, the antigay Tennessee state senator leading the charge behind the state’s “don’t say gay” bill, due to his recent string of homophobic comments.

The Knoxville eatery Bistro at the Bijou has received an outpouring of support on its Facebook page after posting that it had asked Campfield to leave after showing up for brunch.

Aside from Campfield’s backing of the bill, which would prohibit any teacher from referencing homosexuality from kindergarten through eighth grade, the senator made a slew of antigay comments during an interview this month with XM Satellite Radio’s Michelangelo Signorile.

“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men,” Campfield said. “It was an airline pilot, if I recall. ... My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex ... very rarely [transmitted].”

Jesus Horses

Year of the Bible

Is this even legal?

PA House Unanimously Declares 2012 “Year of the Bible”
On Tuesday, the PA House decided it made sense to declare 2012 the “Year of the Bible”—and unanimously passed a resolution doing just that, 193-0.

The resolution, primarily sponsored by state Rep. Rick Saccone, of Allegheny and Washington Counties, is about a page long and according to some bloggers, is probably a violation of Church and State. And if not, it should be. Here’s an excerpt:
WHEREAS, Deeply held religious convictions springing from the 
holy scriptures led to the early settlement of our country; and

WHEREAS, Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil 
government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence
 and the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Many of our great national leaders, among them
 President Washington, President Jackson, President Lincoln,
 President Wilson and President Reagan, paid tribute to the 
influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as 
exemplified by the words of President Jackson that the Bible is 
“the rock on which our Republic rests”; and

WHEREAS, The history of our country clearly illustrates the
 value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the scriptures in 
the lives of individuals, families and societies; and…
You get the idea. All your favorite Philly pols, like Reps. Taylor, Josephs, O’Brien and the Boyles signed onto this. As noted at Americans United, “One of the great ironies of this situation is that Pennsylvania was founded as a refuge for those seeking religious tolerance. In his “holy experiment,” William Penn famously welcomed religious dissenters of many different stripes to his colony. He thought God, not government, was the ‘only Lord of Conscience.’”

It’s a resolution. It holds no real power. Which is probably the worst part about it. Because it’s more fodder to the idea that the state government is taking its sweet time writing resolutions such as this one, instead of focusing on the economy. It’s nothing new—they bizarrely used the power of prayer and the shame of the dead to tighten abortion restrictions last year. Declaring 2012 the “Year of the Bible” is sort of just the naked face of a state system being rebuilt on the backs of the beaten down by religious fanatics using the middle finger as their bargaining chip.

Destroyer ship HMS Dauntless set for Falklands.

HMS Dauntless is to be deployed off the coast of the Falklands Islands in the South Atlantic, the Royal Navy has confirmed.

The Ministry of Defence said it was a routine deployment and HMS Dauntless would replace a frigate currently stationed there.

He added that the deployment had nothing to do with increased tensions between the UK and Argentina about who owns the Falklands Islands.

The move comes ahead of Prince William's deployment to the region as an RAF search and rescue pilot, and the 30-year anniversary of the start of the Falklands conflict.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16810417

OP: As a Brit, I don't really see the point of hanging on to the Falklands. Why not sell them to Argentina for a few hundred million and pay down the deficit?

Canada: Costly federal appointments commission has nothing much to do

Canada: Costly federal appointments commission has nothing much to do 
(From CBC News)

In the six years since the Harper government came to power, Canadian taxpayers have spent millions of dollars on supporting a federal appointments commission that doesn't exist.

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More on this at the SOURCE...
I hope I have chosen appropriate tags...

This is truly pathetic. This right-wing government is intent on destroying our system of social protections for the poor (far from perfect but better than nothing), as well as eliminating any and all recognition of basic human rights and democracy. Aside from these issues however, this government which campaigned on the idea that they would be more 'accountable' than their Liberal Party predecessors whose leadership of Canada ended in large part as a result of a corruption scandal (i.e. the 'sponsorship scandal' for those who remember).

Looks to me like they don't practice what they preach... 

Me - I hate Christmas

Goodbye ‘Birth Control Glasses’

The standard-issue spectacles, S9s, most widely known as “Birth Control Glasses,” or BCGs, are soon to become a thing of the past.

In the coming months, recruits from all branches of service will be issued 5As, a more modern, hipster-chic pair of glasses. While the 5As are inarguably more aesthetically pleasing, they offer very little help as a contraceptive. Also PFLGs (Perfectly Fine-Looking Glasses), or TIGTABCYTPNGs (These? I Got Them At Boot Camp. Yeah, They’re Pretty Nice Glasses) doesn’t have the same ring as BCGs.

Birth Control Glasses, labeled lovingly so because they’re so ugly you don’t stand a chance of finding a partner while wearing them, have always been the great equalizer. Even the most Handsome Harry and Sexy Sally are humbled by their wear. At boot camp, there are many things that break down individual identity and reinforce a unit mentality, but the BCGs do this exceptionally well. Recruits forced to wear them share the bond of constantly thinking, “I look like an idiot in these things.” Meanwhile, all the other recruits are thinking, “Look at those idiots,” and, “I hope my drill instructor didn’t just see me scratch that itch.”

The BCGs are like reverse beer-goggles. They can turn even a 10 into a two. Certainly you’ve heard of Brad Pitt, movie star and former sexiest man alive. And you more than likely know of Drew Carey, television star and former Marine. Here’s a little known secret, that’s the same guy. His real name is Hans Vandersmit. He’s a woodworker from Oregon who wanted to make it big in Hollywood and figured he’d have better chances if he created two distinct personas — surprisingly he found success with both alter egos. One you know as the global star, philanthropist and heartthrob. The other wears mock BCGs and hosts The Price Is Right.

As ugly as the BCGs may be, they always got the job done. They are sturdy, they are reliable, and they are ugly see-through. They have provided clarity for Marines on Iwo Jima just as they have for Marines in Fallujah. They will be missed.

Just as the sun shines through after a heavy rain, all is not dark after the loss of the BCGs. The nation as a whole, and the military especially is looking to cut spending, commit to cleaner energy and find ways to save. With the use of the newer glasses the savings will be tremendous. With the same amount of plastic and glass it takes to make one pair of BCGs, you can make six pairs of the new glasses. Unfortunately all of that money will not be saved, but redirected to TRICARE to compensate for the spike in pregnancies by service members who are no longer wearing BCGs.

As with any good eulogy, let us remember the legacy of the BCGs with a poem. Unfortunately my Robert Frost book of poems is loaned out, so here’s a haiku:

Too thick frames appear
Taking their place on my face
Women are repulsed


Talk of 'tornado tourism' stirs anger in Joplin, MO

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Eight months after a tornado laid waste to much of this city, Joplin is wrestling with an emotional question: Should the community market its devastated neighborhoods to tourists?

When the convention and visitors bureau recently discussed offering guided bus tours and even a smartphone app, storm victims bristled, imagining that their shattered homes could be put on display for legions of curious sightseers.

But the bureau director says he wants to promote Joplin's recovery to outsiders, insisting that the effort is "not about busted-up homes or destroyed cars or body parts."

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Huh?  From cail
  • sesmo

Taking them off my list of acceptable charities: Susan G. Komen Halts Grants To Planned Parenthood

The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates — creating a bitter rift, linked to the abortion debate, between two iconic organizations that have assisted millions of women.

The change will mean a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, mainly for breast exams.

Planned Parenthood says the move results from Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists. Komen says the key reason is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress — a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups.Collapse )Seriously? A politically motivated "investigation" with no timeline is enough to screw a lot of women who get their healthcare from PP? Hating on Komen at the moment.


Indiana Creationism Bill Is Amended

Background: Indiana Senate Bill 89 is a bill in the Senate of Indiana for the second regular session of the 117th general assembly. It is just one of a number of pro-creationism bills in American legislatures in 2012. If passed, it would be effective July 1, 2012

The whacked out creationism bill we last wrote about here: Indiana Creationism Bill Moves Forward has just been amended.

The original bill, which passed the Senate’s Education Committee by an 8-2 vote, said this:

The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.

The amendment (by Senator Simpson) can be located at this page of the legislature’s website. By following this link we see the proposed amendment, which says:

I move that Senate Bill 89 be amended to read as follows:

Page 1, delete lines 4 through 5 and insert “offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.”

We don’t see a marked-up version showing the end result, but looking at the original bill, Senate Bill 0089, we think the effect of the amendment is this (deleted language is struck through, and the new language is in bold):

The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.

If we’re reading the effect of the amendment correctly, this bizarre curriculum change won’t be mandatory unless a school teaches “theories of the origin of life” — which the Senate thinks means evolution. If that’s taught, then the curriculum must also include “theories” from multiple religions, an exotic mix that will surely include creation science. In their supreme ignorance, the Senate’s Education Committee doesn’t know the meaning of evolution or theory. What they’ve crafted is basically an “equal time” law, which has already been declared unconstitutional (see Edwards v. Aguillard). But this bill is designed to assure less than equal time for evolution.

In an attempt to “cure” their original crazy bill, which has generated a storm of criticism, the legislative geniuses in the Indiana Senate have gone from mandatory creation science (which is crazy enough) to that plus creation myths from several other religions, including Scientology. They imagine that by tossing in stuff like Hinduism, their abominable bill can’t be criticized for promoting Christianity. It’s equal opportunity creationism.


Commentary: They keep trying to craft something that will pass by Kitzmiller and Edwards and they keep failing. I wonder who accepted enough donations that Xenu made the grade, though.
Laughing Amy

Virginia Senate Rejects Unnecessary Medical Procedures for Viagara, Does Not See the Irony

In a tongue-in-check effort to add "some gender equity" to a mandatory ultrasound bill proposed in Virginia, state Sen. Janet Howell proposed an amendment requiring men to undergo a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before getting prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Well, apparently not in this case. Legislators rejected Howell's amendment Monday by a rather slim 21 to 19 margin. The original bill, which is expected to pass the full Senate on Tuesday, requires women to have an ultrasound and be offered an opportunity to view the image—despite the fact that a routine ultrasound is not considered medically necessary for a first-trimester abortion (PDF). Explaining her amendment on the Senate floor, Howell said, "It’s only fair, that if we’re going to subject women to unnecessary procedures, and we’re going to subject doctors to having to do things that they don’t think is medically advisory, well, Mr. President, I think we should just have a little gender equity here."

Many states have such so-called "informed consent" laws (PDF), which, as MoJo's Kate Sheppard has pointed out, are based on the premise that "women don't know what's in their uterus." While abortion foes argue that ultrasounds are necessary to ensure that women fully grasp the consequences of their decision to abort, there's no evidence to suggest that women don't understand that abortion ends a pregnancy. Indeed, the Texas Tribune/New York Times recently reported on the effect of Texas' similar new law, which was allowed to go into effect earlier this month even though its constitutionality is being challenged in court. The law has resulted in a "bureaucratic nightmare" but, according to both clinic directors and abortion opponents, it hasn't caused a single woman to change her mind about getting an abortion.


Heath smoking

Prudie's defense of rape culture

  So, this isn't the usual political stuff, but it speaks to rape culture and I thought it might still be appropriate here. Prudie has a weekly advice column/live chat in Slate magazine and today, a woman's friend wrote in and said she doubted her friend had been raped. The rest is...not good. A WORLD of not good.

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Source Urg, I really can't. Like, really. can't.
Huh?  From cail
  • sesmo

Birth control pills recalled, may not prevent pregnancy

This is more of an FYI post. The tl;dr: Placement of extra placebos means the pill you take might not be contraceptive. If you use Lo/Ovral-28 tablets, Norgestrel, or Ethinyl Estradiol tablets, be aware!

Pfizer Inc. (PFE), the world’s biggest drugmaker, recalled 1 million packs of birth-control pills after discovering a packaging error that may cause women to take the wrong dosages and put them at risk for unintended pregnancies.Collapse )

Sarah Palin tries Mavericky Maneuver, Drives Tea Party Bus Over a Volcano.

On Sarah Palin's Facebook Page, a Revolt Against Newt Gingrich
His bid is dividing her fans, some of whom object to his character problems and big-government tendencies. Beware, Tea Partiers.

When Newt Gingrich proclaimed in early December that he would be the GOP nominee, I argued that his success would doom the Tea Party. How could the movement survive a standard-bearer who once favored bank bailouts, No Child Left Behind, an individual mandate in health care, a guest-worker program, the costly prescription-drug benefit, and the nomination of Harriet Miers? Or a politician who lobbied for Freddie Mac? Tea Partiers once pledged that if they had their way, the GOP would never again have as its champion a federal-government-enlarging, entitlement-expanding Bush Republican, nor a career politician who sells influence to D.C. insiders. Elevating such a man would split the coalition's earnest reformers from its tribal partisans.

As ever, Sarah Palin failed to heed my advice. In South Carolina, she urged voters to cast a ballot for the former House Speaker. And on her Facebook page Friday, she attacked his critics in "the GOP establishment" for employing against him the always dreaded "tactics of the left."
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Julian Assange to host Kremlin-funded TV show

MOSCOW, Russia - Kremlin-funded English language channel Russia Today has given WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange his own TV talk show, the station said this week.

Filming for Assange's television debut is already underway from Britain, where he remains under house arrest outside London while appealing an extradition order to Sweden, it said.

Russia Today - considered a Kremlin exercise in image enhancement by critics - said Assange will invite 10 "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries" for interviews on a show dubbed "The World Tomorrow," due to air in mid-March.

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