February 7th, 2012

CH War and Peace

Massacare in Syria

The situation has grown more dire since Assad's regime began a violent crackdown last March—including reports of hundreds massacred on Friday.

Update, Feb. 4: On Saturday morning, the UN Security Council held a meeting to vote on a draft resolution that would demand an end to Syria's violent crackdown on protesters and civilians. Thirteen countries voted in favor of the measure, but Russia (facing its own mass protests today) and China vetoed.


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The media blackout of this situation is unbelivable. I really hope the U.S doesn't go into another ME country. I hope there is another solution. I have heard of some of the videos on other sites like tumblr which show vividly horrifying videos of what exactly is happening in Homs, on AJ one of the activists described Homs as a "war zone that the world doesn't know about".
normal

Witchcraft Times: Christine O'Donnell's Money Evaporates Like Magic!!

Christine O'Donnell's Political Action Committee Nearly Broke

In 2010, Christine O'Donnell was a Tea Party favorite and fundraising powerhouse. Two years later, the former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware is nearly out of money and under fire from her former allies on the grassroots right.

The News-Journal of Delaware reported on Sunday that ChristinePAC, O'Donnell's political action committee, had only $10,260 cash on hand in December. In the six months before that, according to the group's financial disclosure forms, only 16 people donated more than $200 dollars to ChristinePAC.

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Iran detains alleged BBC Persian journalists - reports.

Reports from Iran say several people have been detained for alleged links to the BBC's Persian Service, which is banned in the country.

The Mehr news agency says they were involved in newsgathering, recruiting and training for Iranian journalists and had arranged trips abroad for them.

On Friday, the BBC accused the Iranian authorities of intimidating those working for its Persian service.

Iran accused the BBC of inciting unrest after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. Tehran also accuses the BBC of operating as a cover for the British intelligence service.

BBC Persian broadcast online videos and interviewed protesters, who described deaths, injuries and arbitrary arrests carried out by security forces.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16922285

OP: Could this be some kind of reaction to the banning of Press TV by Ofcom in the UK a couple of weeks back?
funny

Torture is OK, according to Vic Toews

CSIS may use intelligence derived from torture, Toews says

'Exceptional circumstances', urgent threats require sharing 'most complete information available'

The federal government has directed Canada's spy agency to use information that may have been extracted through torture in cases where public safety is at stake.
The order represents a reversal of policy for the Conservative government, which once insisted the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would discard information if there was any inkling it might be tainted.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has quietly told CSIS the government now expects the spy service to "make the protection of life and property its overriding priority."
A copy of the two-page December 2010 directive was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
It drew swift condemnation from Amnesty International Canada, which said information obtained under torture "has no place in the justice system, full stop."
The directive from Toews expands upon a May 2009 ministerial order that states CSIS must not knowingly rely upon information derived from torture, and have measures in place to identify such tainted information.
The latest directive says in "exceptional circumstances" where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to "share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment."
In such rare circumstances, it may not always be possible to determine how a foreign agency obtained the information, and that ignoring such information solely because of its source would represent "an unacceptable risk to public safety."
"Therefore, in situations where a serious risk to public safety exists, and where lives may be at stake, I expect and thus direct CSIS to make the protection of life and property its overriding priority, and share the necessary information -- properly described and qualified -- with appropriate authorities."
The directive says the final decision to investigate and analyze information that may have been obtained by methods condemned by the Canadian government falls to the CSIS director or his deputy director for operations -- a decision to be made "in accordance with Canada's legal obligations."
Finally, it says the minister is to be notified "as appropriate" of a decision to use such information.
In spring 2009, a senior CSIS official ignited controversy when he told a Commons committee the spy service would overlook the origin of information if it could prevent another Air India jetliner bombing or a terrorist attack along the lines of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings in the United States.
The government quickly moved to extinguish the public flareup.
Peter Van Loan, then public safety minister, said CSIS had been clear about rejecting information extracted through coercion.
"As a practical matter, they get intelligence from all kinds of sources, a myriad of sources. An important part of their process is to try and identify how credible that is," Van Loan said at the time.
"If there's any indication, any evidence that torture may have been used, that information is discounted."
Neither the Public Safety Department nor the minister would agree to an interview Monday.
In an emailed statement, the department said the 2010 directive "provides greater clarity to CSIS" and that "all CSIS activities, including sharing information with foreign agencies, comply with Canada's laws and legal obligations."
Added Mike Patton, a spokesman for Toews: "Our government will always take action that protects the lives of Canadians."
Canadian law enforcement and security agencies should focus on getting rid of information that bears the taint of torture, not on carving out exceptions for when it can be used, said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
"The bottom line is that as long as torturers continue to find a market for the fruit of their crimes, torture will continue," he said. "Firmly rebuffing torturers when they offer up information extracted through pain and suffering is a critical plank in the wider campaign to eradicate torture once and for all."
CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti had no comment.
However, the spy agency has said previously -- including before the 2010 directive was issued -- that it would use torture-tainted material.
Canadians would not forgive the intelligence service if it completely ignored information that could have been used to investigate and prevent a terrorist attack because that tip came from a country with a suspect human rights reputation, CSIS said in 2010 briefing notes.
In addition to sharing such information with Canadian police, CSIS would pass it to relevant foreign agencies after taking steps to ensure it would be used appropriately, the notes said.
A federal inquiry by Justice Dennis O'Connor into the Maher Arar torture affair recommended in 2006 that policies include specific directions "aimed at eliminating any possible Canadian complicity in torture, avoiding the risk of other human rights abuses and ensuring accountability."
Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was jailed in Damascus in 2002-03 and tortured into giving false confessions about terrorist links.
CSIS maintains it has implemented all of O'Connor's recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
Recently it became public that former CSIS director Jim Judd balked in 2008 at a proposed legislative change that would have prevented the spy agency from using information suspected of emerging through torture.
Judd said the change could spell the end of the security certificate -- an immigration tool for deporting alleged foreign-born terrorists.
"It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the service to confirm whether information is derived from mistreatment or torture," he wrote.

Source is CBC

I can't even begin to articulate how bothered I am by the fact that my government would even think of accepting information gained through torture as reliable. Torture is morally reprehensible and a violation of international law, Even if you don't morally have a problem with torture, its generally thought to be unreliable because people will tell you what you want to hear to make it stop.

Mmmm coffee

And then there were none.

End of an era as last surviving First World War veteran dies just days before her 111th birthday
Florence Green signed up to the WRAF two months before the end of Great War

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Source

She sounds like she was an awesome lady and may she rest in peace. It seems surreal to know that no more men and woman who experienced The Great War are no longer with us. I didn't bold any part of the article because I thought the entire thing is important. Also Mods, please let me know if I need to add any other tags.
Ren - snow
  • lunchy

Komen vice president Karen Handel resigns

The Susan G. Komen Foundation confirms that Karen Handel, its vice president for public policy, has resigned. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has obtained a copy of Handel’s resignation letter. A few key paragraphs shed some light on how Komen came to defund Planned Parenthood, a decision that has since been reversed:

“At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.

What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

Just as Komen’s best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.”

In a statement on Handel’s resignation, Komen Foundation founder and CEO Nancy Brinker says “We have made mistakes in how we have handled recent decisions and take full accountability for what has resulted.”

Handel has gotten a lot of attention in the past week over what role she played in Komen’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood. She joined the Foundation in January 2011, after running for Georgia governor on a platform of defunding the organization.

Multiple, former Komen employees have told me that she was also a driving force behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood - a claim that John Raffaelli, a Komen board member, has pushed back against.

“Questions about the issue of our involvement with Planned Parenthood significantly ramped up at the time Komen decided to hire Karen,” John Hammerly, a former senior communications advisor at Komen, told me in an interview yesterday. He left the Foundation in August 2011.

Why did Handel resign? More details will likely become clear in the coming days, but one thing she does speak to in her letter is how the Komen policy quickly became embroiled in a political controversy. And Handel was at the center of a lot of that, with petitions for her resignation circulating on liberal politics sites. That pressure could have made it difficult for Handel to do her work going forward, and for Komen to regroup from the back lash it faced last week.

Source
tin man - glitch/cain (friends of doroth
  • kseda

One step closer to SCOTUS (probably)

Prop 8: Gay-Marriage Ruling Expected Today
By AP / LISA LEFF

(SAN FRANCISCO) — Supporters and opponents of California's ban on same-sex marriage were anxiously awaiting a federal appeals court decision Tuesday on whether the voter-approved measure violates the civil rights of gay men and lesbians.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that considered the question plans to issue its long-awaited opinion 18 months after a trial judge struck down the ban following the first federal trial to examine if same-sex couples have a constitutional right to get married.


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Source

UPDATE: Prop 8 declared unsonstitutional!
Text of the decision on Scribd, thank to crossfire for both these links.
"Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort."

I'll update the post when a decision comes out, but keep in mind it'll be appealed either way ETA: that was quick. Meanwhile I can't believe it's been two years since the Walker trial!

And yes it will totally be appealed but meanwhile I call for a gif party.
misc - cake - strawberry cake

Sexual assault: the power of words

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT and TRIGGERING PICTURES AT BOTH SOURCES

19 year-old Grace Brown is a student. She photographs victims of sexual assault as they hold posters showing the words their assaulters told them. Her blog, Project Unbreakable, started last October, is already the talk of the town. Time has included it in their 30 Tumblrs to watch list - troubling.

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Project Unbreakable @ Tumblr

Source in the original french, translated by me - please excuse if it gets choppy at places, I'm not professional.
Please suggest other tags.
leviathans in the womb

Gay marriage: U.S. Supreme Court may not hear Prop. 8 appeal

Until Tuesday, it looked like California's Proposition 8 gay marriage case would be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. But that looks less certain now.

The narrow California-only approach adopted by the 9th Circuit means the high court might choose to steer clear of the dispute.

If so, that would leave for another day — perhaps several years in the future — a national ruling on same-sex marriage.


"The opinion holds that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional only in a case where the state had already granted full legal rights to same-sex couples," said University of Minnesota law school professor Dale Carpenter.

The decision "is specifically looking at the role of Proposition 8 in the California context," said Santa Clara University law professor Margaret M. Russell. Because it is limited to California, the Supreme Court may not be as concerned about reviewing it as it would a ruling that would have affected the entire country, she said.

Several state courts have struck down bans on same-sex marriage based on their state constitutions, but the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on whether such a ban denies gays and lesbians the "equal protection of the laws" under the 14th Amendment.

Indeed, the 9th Circuit's opinion reads as though its intended audience was one -- Justice Anthony Kennedy -- and its message was that there was no need for the Supreme Court to decide the California case.

Appeals court judge Stephen Reinhardt, a staunch liberal, did not say gays and lesbians have an equal right to marry under the Constitution. Instead, he said California's voters violated the Constitution by "taking away from them alone" the right they had won to marry under a state Supreme Court decision.

More at source.

Any law-talking people have any ideas when we'll know if SCOTUS wants to hear the case or not? The article doesn't say

For Romney and Paul, a strategic alliance between establishment and outsider

RENO, NEV. — The remaining candidates in the winnowed Republican presidential field are attacking one another with abandon, each day bringing fresh headlines of accusations and outrage.

But Mitt Romney and Ron Paul haven’t laid a hand on each other.

They never do.

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Source

I don't see how Paul is an "outsider" for having one or two policy views different from everyone else in the party - he's one of the most earmark-happy members of Congress and he's as socially conservative as anyone else in the GOP. But I'm interested in a horrified way to see what Romney would promise Paul besides a spot at the convention. And on a side note, I'm astounded that Mittens is able to make a friend, tbh, I didn't realize robots had developed that capability yet.
Fractal

(no subject)

Miss Deaf America upset she's unseen at Super Bowl

During the Super Bowl, television cameras showed everything from Eli Manning's young family to hip-hop singer M.I.A.'s obscene gesture.

Yet, they didn't for one second show the National Association of the Deaf's Miss Deaf America Rachel Mazique — an Arlington Heights native and Hersey High School alumna — as she signed the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”

Mazique doesn't believe she appeared on the stadium's Jumbotron, either; wasn't invited to stay for the game; and wasn't placed near singers Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.

Even though she says she was never promised television exposure (but was told to smile the whole time, just in case), her treatment at the big game has upset many people in the deaf community, especially those in the suburbs. Now her supporters are rallying for an apology from NBC and the NFL through an online petition at change.org.

As of Monday night, more than 1,000 people had signed the petition, including some from as far away as New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

“We are very upset by this,” said Angie Kubiak of Mount Prospect, who is deaf and whose husband and three sons also are deaf. “We waited and waited to see Rachel appear to perform, only to be disappointed. Everyone of all ages in the deaf community across the country was expecting to see Rachel Mazique appear on TV, even if only for a few seconds. We thought we would see something even go on the Internet. She has nothing from NBC.”

No one from the NBC or NFL could be reached for comment Monday night.

Mazique said she was grateful to sponsors PepsiCo and EnAble for allowing her to sign at the game as the NAD ambassador but was “very disappointed” about the missed opportunity to show the world American Sign Language. She questioned the point of her appearance, since her signing wasn't visible to an audience.

“The hope was to bring national visibility to songs signed in ASL. It would have been wonderful to showcase ‘America the Beautiful' and the national anthem in ASL on television,” she said. “I truly hope that this becomes a teachable moment for everyone involved, and that American Sign Language renditions of these iconic songs are broadcast in future Super Bowls rather than being a token gesture.”

Mazique, who now is teaching and working on her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, is hailed as a role model for the deaf community. By keeping her out of the spotlight on what turned out to be the most watched television show in history, NBC and the NFL missed a chance to show the world that deaf people can be successful and that sign language is beautiful, said petition creator Kate Spencer, a former college classmate.

“What an insult,” Kubiak said.


Source

Side-eyeing the article's title, tbh. Sounds like they're trying to imply that she's complaining about something petty, when inviting someone to sign and then not showing them is a completely pointless gesture. Could've been a great opportunity to include Deaf sports fans for once. I don't really follow sports but I did watch the Superbowl and had no idea she was even there.
The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Two more heroes of Black history

Jon Hochschartner tells the story of two important African American figures.
---

IN HONOR of Black History Month, I'd like to briefly highlight two courageous black socialists, Lucy Parsons and A. Phillip Randolph, whose commitment to justice should inspire a resurgent Occupy movement.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lucy Parsons (c. 1853-1942)

Lucy Parsons was born in antebellum Texas, likely into slavery, according to a number of historians. In 1871, she married a white Confederate veteran, Albert Parsons, and after living in post-Civil War Texas and other states for a time, the pair moved to Chicago, where they threw themselves into the working-class movement.


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model: dusky
  • myrana

SeaWorld sued over 'enslaved' killer whales

Five killer whales have been named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which argues they deserve the same constitutional protection from slavery as humans.

A US judge is considering a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) against SeaWorld.

It is reportedly the first time a US court has heard legal arguments over whether animals should enjoy the same constitutional protections as humans.



The five wild-captured orca "plaintiffs" are based at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego.

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source: BBC News

Sorry about the source the first time mods, fixed it! Oh, PETA...
gwash2

Santorum wins Missouri; running strong elsewhere

Rick Santorum will win Missouri's primary, CNN projected, and was running strong in the Minnesota caucuses on a night that could reshape the Republican presidential race.

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It's still pretty early in the night, yes, but someone on my FB posted this and I'm just so sad as I'm from St. Louis. Hoping the predicted low turnout though means good things to come in Nov; maybe the more moderate Repubs have given up and will be fine with waiting until 2016 *pipe dream, I know*...also, has there been a post about the President deciding to raise money with the Super PAC? I'm disappointed, but I understand it's kind of a necessary evil...