February 23rd, 2012

First ten members of US Congress pose for NOH8

Ten Democrat members of Congress have posed for the NOH8 campaign this week, the first elected national representatives to do so.

NOH8 was founded as a silent protest against the passing of Proposition 8 in 2008, the ballot measure which took marriage rights away from gay couples in California.

The campaign now includes 20,000 faces. Four of the those photographed on Capitol Hill are representatives for California.

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mus | like a bird in a cage

Toronto police officer charged with murder

A Toronto police officer has been charged with second-degree murder — the first time a member of the force has faced a murder charge for his actions on duty.

Crown prosecutors laid the charge against Const. David Cavanagh in a Toronto courtroom Thursday, after an investigation involving Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit.

Cavanagh had originally been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of 26-year-old Eric Osawe in late 2010.

Osawe was shot in the early hours of Sept. 29, 2010, during a police search at an Etobicoke apartment near Dundas West Street and Kipling Avenue that led to the arrest of Osawe's younger brother, Ebony, on firearms-related offences.

The SIU alleges Cavanagh fatally shot Eric Osawe during that search. Osawe was taken to St. Michael's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The SIU, an independent civilian agency, investigates whenever a citizen is seriously injured or killed during incidents with police.
Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General brought in Ottawa lawyer Robert Morrison to prosecute this case. He has been working closely with the SIU.

The murder charge implies that the Crown believes there is evidence the accused intended to kill the victim. A homicide committed without intent to kill is considered manslaughter.

Cavanagh has been out on bail since being charged in December 2010. He has been suspended with pay.

Cavanagh was also in the public spotlight in 2005 for the armed takedown of two suspects who fled from Yonge Street following the Boxing Day killing of teenager Jane Creba.

The arrest by Cavanagh and three other officers helped secure arrests and the conviction of one of the accused in the Creba case.

  • ook

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Oscars Controversy

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has not been banned from the Oscars, but he’s not welcome to show up as his character from “The Dictator.”

A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences denied that Cohen’s tickets had been pulled for Sunday’s ceremony following a report that he intended to show up as the title character in his new comedy.

“We haven’t banned him,” an Academy spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re just waiting to hear what he’s going to do.”

The Hollywood Reporter first reported that Cohen — who had been invited to the Oscars as a cast member for the nominated film “Hugo” — was planning to arrive at the event dressed as his “Dictator” character, a Saddam Hussein-like ruler. The Academy does not want Cohen to walk the red carpet as his Dictator character.

The web site Deadline.com said: "'The Dictator' is a spoof about the “heroic story of a Middle Eastern dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy never comes to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” Whether the fact that the 84th Academy Awards will be beamed into 200 countries had anything to do with this ban is unclear. But it is highly unusual for the Academy to pull a member’s tickets. An Oscars spokesperson acknowledged to Deadline yesterday: ”We would hope that every studio knows that this is a bad idea. The Red Carpet is not about stunting.” Oh really? Then why did Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park crossdress down the Red Carpet as J-Lo and Gwyneth Paltrow in evening gowns in 2000? Or Ben Stiller appear as an Oscar presenter in full blue "Avatar" makeup and hair in 2010?"
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Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson says Frothy is "Rigid and Homophobic"

In a recent episode of "Face to Face" with Bob Schieffer, former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY)calls Rick Santorum "rigid and...homophobic" [at 4:40] and goes on to talk about how he's alarmed that Republicans are focusing on social issues:
"I am convinced that if you get into these social issues and just stay in there about abortion and homosexuality and even mental health they bring up, somehow they're going to take us all to Alaska and float us out in the Bering Sea or something. And here's a party that believes in government out of your life, the precious right of privacy, and the right to be left alone, how then can they be, the hypocrisy of fiddling around in these social issues? We won't have a prayer." [at 3:10]
Said Simpson of Santorum:
"He said, 'I want a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage,' and they said, 'Well, what about the people who are already married?' And he said, 'Well, they would be nullified.' I mean what is, what's human, what's kind about that? We're all human beings, we all know or love somebody who's gay or lesbian so what the hell is that about? To me it's startling and borders on disgust." [at 5:04]

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I also love how Simpson says that he's tired of Republicans giving each other the saliva test of purity and then loosing and "bitching for four years." Simpson was always too conservative on social issues for my liking, but even so he is a refreshing reminder that not all Republicans are contributing authors to the Everyone Thinks We're Insane-Os Home Journal.

Mods: Sorry about the previously-borked submission, if it pleases the comm I would like to plead insufficient caffeine.

Ghastly Images Flow From Shattered Syrian City

[Warning: As the title suggests, article discusses the carnage from the attacks on Homs in detail.]

CAIRO — During a terrifying two minutes on Wednesday morning, 11 rockets slammed into a single apartment building in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the city in Syria that has been besieged by government forces for 19 days.

When the barrage stopped, the surviving occupants stampeded down the building’s narrow concrete staircase, hoping to escape to the street. Then suddenly the bombardment resumed. More rockets splattered masonry and scattered shrapnel, blowing holes in walls and staircases, and leaving a trail of the dead and the dying from the fifth floor on down.

At least 22 bodies, including that of 6-year-old Mohammad Yahia al-Wees, were recovered from the scene, according to accounts and videos compiled by activists. And on the stairwell of the ground floor, 10 yards from the door and possible safety, amid the rubble, lay two foreign journalists, Marie Colvin, a veteran war correspondent, and Rémi Ochlik, a noted photojournalist. Both had been killed. They were among the few outsiders able to reach Homs, taking great personal risks and defying a government determined to hide its repression from the world. In the end, they died trying to reveal what was happening there.

As hundreds of homemade videos pouring out of Homs have made clear, the bombardment of the apartment building was just one episode in the Syrian Army’s daily and sustained assault on the city. Heavy weaponry has been used to devastating effect against civilian neighborhoods that have virtually no defense, beyond a few army defectors and lightly armed activists.

One video distributed Wednesday shows a group of men laid out on blankets, their grisly wounds as visible as the anguish on the faces of onlookers. Another captures doctors lamenting their lack of supplies as they treat the wounded. Buildings are so pockmarked that they seem to be on the verge of collapse. The scenes are accompanied by eerie audio with cries of despair, explosions and activists’ commentary about the scenes before them.

“This is the first YouTube war,” said Rami Jarrah, co-director of the Activists News Association, a Cairo-based group that collects information from inside Syria and distributes it.

the rest of the article can be read at the source

(no subject)

Washington — Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke was given her chance to talk to Congress Thursday, even though lawmakers were on a break and just a few Democratic allies were there to cheer her on.

But what a difference a week makes.

Last Thursday the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee rejected Democrats' request that Fluke testify on the Obama administration's policy requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to health insurance that covers birth control.

This week she received almost rock-star treatment as the lone witness at an unofficial Democratic-sponsored hearing. While the rest of the Capitol was mostly empty, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, three other Democrats and dozens of mainly young women supporters crowded into a House office building room to applaud Fluke as she spoke of the importance of reproductive health care to women.

Prominently displayed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., was a photo of five religious leaders, all men and all appearing at the invitation of the Republican majority, testifying last week with Fluke visible in the background, sitting in the visitors' section.

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Fluke, a third-year law student, said that Georgetown Law, a Jesuit institution, does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan and that contraception can cost a woman more than $3,000 during law school. She spoke of a friend who had an ovary removed because the insurance company wouldn't cover the prescription birth control she needed to stop the growth of cysts.


Fluke was interviewed right after on MSNBC, they asked basically if it was the student's fault that they chose to attend a religious university that opposes birth control. She didn't blink and stated(to the best of my memory) "I chose the university that was the best for my education. Women should not have to choose between education and healthcare." Rock on. How horrible is congress that she had to speak during a break when everyone was gone.
oh holy shit
  • chaya

Glenn Beck's "Goldline" Ordered to Refund Millions - Internet ODs on Popcorn

Goldline Customers Get $4.5 Million Refund

SANTA MONICA (CN) - A Los Angeles county judge signed an injunction Wednesday that orders one of America's largest precious metal dealers, Goldline International, to pay up to $4.5 million in customer refunds.

The Santa Monica city attorney had just sued Goldline in Superior Court, claiming that it dupes people into buying overvalued gold coins under the pretext that Uncle Sam could seize gold bullion at any time.

Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie filed The People of State of California v. Goldline International in Superior Court.

California claims that Santa Monica-based Goldline, "one of the country's largest precious metal dealers," targets elderly victims by using "false and misleading sales techniques" to persuade them to buy marked-up gold coins.

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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

The debate about how much to cut

Both mainstream parties are devoted champions of the politics of austerity.

THE U.S. political and media establishment love to portray Republicans and Democrats as bitter enemies, constantly at war over every issue.

This picture helps the politicians themselves, by giving them a reason to rally their base supporters. And the media get to fill acres of newsprint and hours of airtime with analysis and speculation about the horse race between the parties, without ever considering ideas from outside the mainstream.

But the great unspoken truth about the U.S. political system is this: The differences between Republicans and Democrats, while real, are dwarfed by their much larger areas of agreement on one issue after another.

The unveiling of the Obama administration's budget proposal for next year provided another example of this truth. Once you look past the war of words over the budget, you realize that the two parties differ only about details--and that both are committed to an austerity agenda that puts the interests of Corporate America and Wall Street ahead of working people.

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

THE MEDIA conventional wisdom about the budget at least recognized that the Obama proposal was designed primarily for campaign propaganda purposes, and didn't stand a chance of passing a Republican Congress.

But it was still generally portrayed as a "progressive" alternative to the Republicans. According to the Guardian's account, for example, "Barack Obama set out the battles lines over the economy in this year's presidential election by proposing a budget that favors stimulus spending over austerity, and commits to the increasingly popular demand to raise taxes on the rich."

Not exactly.

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Sherlock: Opening Theme

At contraception hearing, Dems accuse GOP of ignoring women

Democratic House leaders used a Thursday hearing to again accuse House Republicans of silencing women in the debate over contraception coverage — and keep the controversy going for another week.

“In the current debate, nothing could be more critical than hearing the voices of our nation’s women,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who convened the unofficial hearing of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in response to last week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, which featured an all-male panel to discuss the new contraceptive coverage rule.

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jiyoung ► ok

9-year-old dies after running punishment

ATTALLA, Ala. (AP) — Roger Simpson said he looked down the road and saw a little girl running outside her home but didn't give it another thought. Police, however, said the man witnessed a murder in progress.
Authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin died after being forced to run for three hours as punishment for having lied to her grandmother about eating candy bars. Severely dehydrated, the girl had a seizure and died days later. Now, her grandmother and stepmother who police say meted out the punishment were taken to jail Wednesday and face murder charges.
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