May 15th, 2012


(no subject)

Maine man who cared for famed old tree dies at 103

Frank Knight's decades-long battle to save New England's tallest elm served as an inspiring tale of devotion, so it is fitting that he will be laid to rest in a coffin made from the tree he made famous.

Knight, who died Monday at 103, had affectionately referred to the 217-year-old elm nicknamed Herbie as "an old friend." The massive tree succumbed to Dutch elm disease and was cut down two years ago.

Wood from the tree was made into a casket, a secret that was kept from Knight.

"To have them together like that is a wonderful thing. I feel like Frank took good care of Herbie. Now Herbie will take good care of Frank," said Deb Hopkins, a close friend who succeeded Knight as the town's tree warden.

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The Gang

A summit to represent us

Eric Kerl reports on the People's Summit--an event designed to provide an alternative vision to the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.

MORE THAN 800 activists from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East gathered in Chicago for the People's Summit over the May 12-13 weekend to kick off a week of action before the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) planned for May 20-21.

During the summit, government leaders will review their plans for maintaining control of war-torn Afghanistan, Africa and Kosovo; dramatically increasing weapon deployments in allied countries; and implementing new surveillance technologies under the American-led "war on terror."

Initially, the Group of Eight (G8) club of the world's dominant countries planned to host its summit in Chicago at the same time as NATO, but the venue was abruptly changed to Camp David in early March. The stated reason was to provide a more "intimate" setting, in the words of Obama's National Security Office. But the real motivation certainly included avoiding a significant mobilization against the program of austerity in the service of corporate greed.

The People's Summit was hosted by Occupy Chicago and the Coalition Against NATO and G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) at Occupy Chicago's headquarters--an early 19th-century warehouse a few miles from the location of the NATO summit a week later.

Activists planned the People's Summit to educate larger numbers about the G8 and NATO, and to mobilize for a mass march during the opening of the NATO summit on May 20--as well as a week of activities in between, with each day devoted to a different theme, ranging from education to immigrant rights to housing and homelessness and more.

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Murasaki Shikibu

Oi assembly says yes to restarting reactors

Oi assembly says yes to restarting reactors
Vote to reboot Kepco plant tied to economy, jobs

The municipal assembly of Oi, Fukui Prefecture, said Monday it will endorse the restart of two idled reactors at Kansai Electric's local nuclear plant.

The assembly made the decision in consideration of the economic damage that a prolonged suspension could cause and conveyed its view to Oi Mayor Shinobu Tokioka later in the day.

The mayor will make a decision on whether to approve the restarts after reflecting on the assembly's conclusion and the results of the appraisal made by Fukui's nuclear safety commission and other matters. The decision will then be conveyed to Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa.

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This doesn't mean restarting the Oi reactors is a done deal, but it's a lot closer to being so and I think it's just formalities at this point. I fully expect the Kyoto and Osaka governments (especially Hashimoto) to raise a stink about restarting the reactors if it happens. But, being realistic, even borrowing from the nearby EPCOs (who are also facing deficits, but nowhere near as badly as double-digit KEPCO), KEPCO is facing a 14% energy deficit even with energy savings instituted, and need to have at least a 5% surplus of energy to avoid blackouts. Japan doesn't have the infrastructure to go non-nuclear like this, and the Japanese government has been putting pressure on Oi to restart.
  • chaya

Teen Expelled In Stun Gun Flap Attacked At Mall

Darnell "Dynasty" Young Pushed, Punched

INDIANAPOLIS -- An openly gay Indianapolis teen who was expelled after he brought a stun gun to school to defend himself against bullies was attacked at Circle Centre Mall over the weekend.

Darnell "Dynasty" Young, 17, was walking through the food court Friday evening when a man started yelling homophobic slurs and confronted him, police said.

According to the police report, Khyran Delay, 34, pushed Young and punched him in the face.

Delay, who told police he recognized Young from news coverage, was arrested on a preliminary charge of battery with injury.

Young suffered a bruised eye.

Young was expelled from Indianapolis Public Schools' Arsenal Technical High School earlier this month after he pulled the stun gun on a group of students he said was calling him names and threatening to beat him up because he is gay.


Am I the only one that finds this extra-gross because the attacker is a 34-year-old attacking a high schooler? Regardless, bring on the table-flipping gifs. This poor kid.

How Texas sent an innocent man to his death

A few years ago, Antonin Scalia, one of the nine justices on the US supreme court, made a bold statement. There has not been, he said, "a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred … the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops."

Scalia may have to eat his words. It is now clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit, and his name – Carlos DeLuna – is being shouted from the rooftops of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. The august journal has cleared its entire spring edition, doubling its normal size to 436 pages, to carry an extraordinary investigation by a Columbia law school professor and his students.

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Clearly, Antonin Scalia is unable to Google 'people wrongly executed'.
you could cut ties with all the lies

President Obama cashing in on gay marriage stance, selling LGBT merchandise on

President Obama is banking on his endorsement of gay marriage to fill his campaign coffers.

His team is selling a slew of LGBT merchandise on, just days after his historic backing of same-sex couples tying the knot.

The items include “I'm out for Obama" T-shirts, beer koozies that read "LGBT for Obama" and even baby onesies with messages like "My two moms support Obama.” The items cost anywhere from $10 to $40.

It's not clear how much the president has raised since making the announcement on Wednesday, but his re-election team brought in a cool $1 million in the first 90 minutes after Obama revealed his new stance.

His campaign staffers also have been sending out emails asking for donations and touting Obama's "direct answer" to the question of same-sex marriage.

His campaign raked in $15 million at a star-studded fundraiser at actor George Clooney's Los Angeles mansion on Thursday, where Obama brought up gay marriage.

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he believes "marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman" and that he will continue to hold that view.

Romney, however, has largely steered clear of the issue and has argued Obama is merely trying to distract voters.


This entire post is really just an effort to post images of a few of my very favorite things from the Obama store (I am NOT advertising or suggesting you purchase these items, FYI. 99% aren't even related to the LGBT campaign; they're just kind of awesome and the Biden stuff - oh, the Biden stuff! - I felt obligated to share.) Check out the store if you want to see the actual campaign merchandise.

So here is the requisite LGBT merchandise image:


(But ... if it's so simple, then why did it take him so long to announce it?)

And here are my favorite things:

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Stock - Pink Sakura

Coat Hanger Abortions Are Fine, Says Mississippi Lawmaker, Because ‘Hey, You Have To Have Moral Valu

Mississippi state Rep. Bubba Carpenter (R) said that it’s OK for women to have coat hanger abortions because it’s for a greater good.

A video obtained by Rachel Maddow’s blog captures Carpenter saying he is proud of Mississippi’s attempts to outlaw abortion outright, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled abortions legal in the United States.

And what about women who will perform self-induced abortions because they cannot afford to go out of state to get the procedure? “Hey,” he says, “you have to have moral values”:

"It’s going to be challenged, of course, in the Supreme Court and all — but literally, we stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi, legally, without having to– Roe vs. Wade. So we’ve done that. I was proud of it. The governor signed it into law. And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger. That’s what we’ve learned over and over and over."

"But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do. This became law and the governor signed it, and I think for one time, we were first in the nation in the state of Mississippi."

Mississippi recently passed a law meant that legislators claimed was meant to stop self-induced abortions, known as “coat hanger abortions,” which are generally extremely unsafe and dangerous to a woman’s health. At the same time, this law will likely force the state’s only abortion clinic to close.

Source has a video to increase your rage

ETA men suck tag.

Congressman Maintains It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Gay

During an interview last week, Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) told ThinkProgress that he doesn’t believe that LGBT people should be protected from being fired because of their sexual orientation.

But yesterday, Lankford went on Oklahoma local television to say that we misrepresented his comments. According to Lankford, he wasn’t saying employers should be allowed to fire someone for being gay — just that being gay is a choice and LGBT people should not be protected from workplace discrimination.

Did you notice the distinction? Neither did we.

According to the station, Oklahoma News 6, Lankford reaffirmed that being gay is a choice and shouldn’t be protected while simultaneously denying that he thinks it should be legal to fire someone for it:

After an impromptu interview with Rep. Lankford, the liberal blog “Think Progress,” reported Lankford said he believes an employer should be able to fire someone for his or her sexual orientation.

Lankford said the blog misrepresented what he said. He said he told the interviewer being gay is a choice and should not be protected from workplace discrimination. He said he believes the distinction lies in a person’s choice to act on their sexual orientation.


Source still hates straight people.
leviathans in the womb

Strauss-Kahn sues New York maid for $1m

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is filing a $1 million countersuit against the New York City hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault, saying she seriously damaged his reputation with what he calls a bogus allegation.

The disgraced French politician and former head of the IMF said in court papers filed on Monday that the Guinean-born Nafissatou Diallo made a "malicious and wanton false accusation" when she said he assaulted her one year ago after she arrived to clean his hotel suite.

Prosecutors later dropped charges amid concerns about Diallo's credibility.

She then opened a civil suit for undisclosed damages against the former French politician.

Strauss-Kahn, 63, says whatever happened was consensual, and he has denied doing anything violent.
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Young boy stages WBC counter-protest


By The Capital-Journal

The way Patty Akrouche tells the story, her Mother’s Day gift arrived a day early Saturday when her young son mounted a quiet counter-protest to the pickets of the Westboro Baptist Church.

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There's a picture at the site of the young man with his sign facing off with a WBC protester.
Huh?  From cail
  • sesmo

Scalzi nails it, or the best metaphor: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not theirword. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.
So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?

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So that’s “Straight White Male” for you in The Real World (and also, in the real world): The lowest difficulty setting there is. All things being equal, and even when they are not, if the computer — or life — assigns you the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, then brother, you’ve caught a break.
Source.  Comments are likely pretty good, because Scalzi uses the banhammer freely.  (Also, no privilege tag?)
  • qable

OraQuick, Take-Home HIV Test, Backed By FDA Panel

WASHINGTON — American consumers may soon be able to test themselves for the virus that causes AIDS in the privacy of their own homes, after a panel of experts on Tuesday recommended approval of the first rapid, over-the-counter HIV test.

The 17 members of the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously that the benefits of the OraQuick HIV test outweigh its potential risks for consumers. While the test, which uses a mouth swab to return a result in 20 minutes, does not appear to be as accurate as professionally-administered diagnostics, panelists said it could provide an important way to expand HIV testing.

The FDA will make its final decision on whether to approve the product later this year, weighing the opinion of the panel.

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Stevie J

Miami-Dade Fire Captain Demoted Over Facebook Post Blaming Trayvon Martin's Death On Parents

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue official who wrote on Facebook that "failed, shitbag, ignorant" parents are to blame in cases like the shooting death of unarmed Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin has been demoted.

Captain Brian Beckmann, who has been with Fire Rescue since 1997, was demoted two rungs to the lowest rank of firefighter during a Monday morning administrative hearing and will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation and undergo diversity training, as first reported by CBS Miami.

Though the firefighters union said it would appeal the ruling, WSVN reports Beckmann submitted an apology to Fire Chief William Bryson, stating in part:

"I promise that I will try harder than ever to be a decent and professional public servant to the citizens of Miami-Dade County... My family has suffered tremendously and this has been punishment beyond anything I ever imagined."

A screencap of Beckmann's comments was first published on when its source expressed concern at "the thoughts of someone who responds to the homes of the very people" disparaged on his Facebook page, which cites Metro-Dade Firefighters Local 1403.

The rant was reportedly published April 11, the same night special prosecutor Angela Corey announced second degree murder charges against George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who shot Martin after he spotted the black 17-year-old walking through his father's gated community in Sanford, wearing a hoodie. Wrote Beckmann:

"Listening to Prosecutor Corey blow herself and her staff for five minutes before pre-passing judgment on George Zimmerman. The state seeks reelection again, truth aside. I and my coworkers could rewrite the book on whether our urban youths are victims of racist profiling or products of their failed, shitbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents, but like Mrs. Corey, we speak only the truth. They're just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn't have anything to do with why people wonder if they're about to get jacked by a thug."

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Haha that's what your ass get.