July 10th, 2012


Obama makes us cross a dangerous line

The late Christopher Hitchens noted that "George Orwell begins his book '1984' with 'It was bright cold day in April and all the clocks were striking thirteen'. Right away you know you are in different world."

That's how I find myself after reading a New York Times front page article titled "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will." It reveals how President Obama keeps a list of terror suspects and personally approves their elimination with unmanned predator drones.

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What In The Absolute Fuck?

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney thanks himself in a petition posted on his website

By Andy Radia | Canada Politics – 3 hours ago

Petitions are often used by interest groups or members of the public to lobby the government about a specific issue.

Strangely, immigration minister Jason Kenney is using one to thank himself.
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Source: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/immigration-minister-jason-kenney-thanks-himself-petition-posted-153544794.html

OP Says: The arrogance of this move is breathtaking. Even on the extremely remote chance that he isn't responsible for this petition, having it on his website is a horrible PR move.
oh holy shit
  • chaya

'Depraved' sex acts by penguins shocked polar explorer

Accounts of unusual sexual activities among penguins, observed a century ago by a member of Captain Scott's polar team, are finally being made public.

Details, including "sexual coercion", recorded by George Murray Levick were considered so shocking that they were removed from official accounts.

However, scientists now understand the biological reasons behind the acts that Dr Levick considered "depraved".

The Natural History Museum has published his unedited papers.

Mr Levick, an avid biologist, was the medical officer on Captain Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910. He was a pioneer in the study of penguins and was the first person to stay for an entire breeding season with a colony on Cape Adare.

He recorded many details of the lives of adelie penguins, but some of their activities were just too much for the Edwardian sensibilities of the good doctor.

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Jan Brewer Asks Supreme Court To Overturn Ruling Allowing Benefits For Same-Sex Partners

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has requested that the Supreme Court overturn a ruling that allows state employees to keep their same-sex partners on their benefits, including health insurance.

Brewer filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on July 2, requesting that the high court overturn the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's September 2011 ruling in Diaz vs. Brewer. The pushback comes three months after the Ninth Circuit denied a request by Arizona state lawyers to re-hear the case with an 11-judge panel.

Last September, the Ninth Circuit's ruling prevented Arizona from implementing a law that would have barred state employees' same-sex partners from remaining on their health plans. The ruling affirmed a lower court's decision to place a preliminary injunction on the law.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time:

The 3-0 ruling upheld a federal judge's injunction against a law that was signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in 2009 and was scheduled to take effect [in 2011]. Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, had authorized health benefits for state employees' domestic partners in April 2008 before leaving to become President Obama's Homeland Security secretary.

"The district court found that the plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits, because they showed that the law adversely affected a classification of employees on the basis of sexual orientation, and did not further any of the state’s claimed justifiable interests," read the opinion.

In the initial complaint, the nine plaintiffs -- all state employees in same-sex domestic partnerships -- stated that if enacted, the loss of health coverage for their partners would cause "serious financial and emotional harm." The Ninth Circuit affirmed this complaint, acknowledging that there was a high likelihood of "irreparable harm" if the law were to go into effect.

As Chris Geidner notes, the Diaz plaintiffs have until August 6 to respond to Brewer's latest petition.



Funds for Rape prevention? Don't be ridiculous! That's totally a waste of money.

South Carolina Gov Vetoes Abuse And Rape Prevention Funding, Calls It A Distraction

Late last week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) vetoed nearly half a million dollars that was slated to go toward domestic violence and sexual assault prevention.

Haley defended the veto, according to the Charleston City Paper, saying that rape and sexual assault prevention programs “distract from” the Department of Health’s mission, and that sexual assault victims are “only a small portion” of South Carolinians who need help:

Haley explained these vetoes in the Department of Health and Environmental Control budget by writing, “Each of these lines attempts to serve a portion of our population for which we extend our sympathy and encouragement, but nevertheless, it is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused. Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”

Sexual assault and domestic violence victims often feel totally alone in the world, so Haley’s consolation that they are only a small portion probably does little good.

That’s not to mention the fact that South Carolina ranks seventh in the country for number of women killed by men, and has had a rate of sexual violence higher than the national average since 1982.

source: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/07/10/513736/south-carolina-gov-vetoes-abuse-and-rape-prevention-funding-calls-it-a-distraction/


Race, Racism and the Quebec Student Movement

By rosalind hampton

(Translation: It's not a student strike, it's a society waking up)
Action guided by anti-racist and anti-colonial analysis is essential to imagining and building liberating alternatives to our current social order. The experience of the inspiring movement ignited by Quebec students this year confirms this belief, as questions about its diversity and about incidents of racism have increasingly emerged.

Anthony Morgan’s March 2012 “La grève et les minorités” (“The strike and minority groups”) was one of the first articles published about issues of race in the movement. Morgan challenged the movement discourse of accessibility, highlighting how education has always been a site of struggle for Indigenous and Black learners in Quebec. The article appeared the week after a group of about five white people at the massive March 22 demonstration in Montreal chose to paint their faces black and pull an enormous papier-mâché head of Quebec Premier Jean Charest throughout downtown Montreal.The racism embedded in this “blackface” performance gave some observers the confirmation they needed to dismiss the movement as essentially “white” and racist, composed of privileged white kids concerned only about themselves.

For myself and for other racialized students who had been participating in campus and student movement activism, the March 22 incident and responses to it by Morgan and others highlighted the importance of asserting our presence, ideas and experiences of education and activism as students and people of colour. Several of us had been meeting and organizing together after forming the Students of Colour Montreal collective in January. We felt that the dismissal of the movement as “white” erased the presence and contributions of a growing number of racialized activists.

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source 1

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smh at these people at the protest... poc and aboriginal people need to be included in the strike movement. so far, all the leaders are white, and I must say that the protests I've been to are pretty white too. it's a bit disheartening, especially since you consider the multicultural aspect of Montreal... (where most of the protests are)

Wildland firefighters will get health insurance

Obama directs that wildland firefighters get health insurance

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has directed federal officials to offer seasonal firefighters the option of purchasing federal health insurance coverage, White House officials told The Denver Post Tuesday.

On a a recent trip to Colorado Springs, the president was apparently moved by the men and women firefighters he met, senior administration officials said in an interview Tuesday. When he returned to Washington, he told his cabinet that he wanted to "find a solution" for the hundreds of workers toiling in dangerous conditions without the option to buy in to federal insurance.

The temporary seasonal workers who descend into fire zones are usually young people who work sundry outdoor jobs, depending on the season. Some pick up contract work removing trees in the fall or they work at ski areas in the winter. Many are college students.

But because they are not full-time U.S. Forest Service employees, they previously did not have the option of purchasing federal health insurance.

Under a directive that will be made in the "near future" from the Office of Personnel Management, this group will get that option by the end of this month, White House officials said.

Not yet known is how many people are eligible and how long they will be able to qualify for the federal insurance program, since many move on to other jobs by the time the first snow falls.

The announcement from the White House comes the same day GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is stumping around Colorado, Grand Junction and then Colorado Springs.

Details of the president's directive was shared with The Denver Post with an agreement that details weren't shared with others until publication.

This is the most recent example of Obama sidestepping Congress in order to get policy accomplished.
Jesus Horses

Effects of climate change?

As many of you know, Colorado has has record warmth this year (like many other places). Yesterday, a pretty big sinkhole opened up on US Highway 24 high in the mountains between Leadville and Minturn, CO. Kind of speaks to climate change, doesn't it?

Sinkhole on U.S. 24 near Leadville determined to be railroad tunnel

A giant sinkhole that closed a stretch of U.S. 24 north of Leadville Monday has been determined to be a century-old railroad tunnel that collapsed decades ago and was exposed when the soil thawed.

A variety of engineers, maintenance supervisors and geological experts examined the sinkhole and now estimate its depth to be about 100 feet, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation news release. Much of the soil deep in the collapsed tunnel was still frozen until recently; when it thawed, the hole was exposed.

Stacey Stegman, a CDOT spokeswoman, said the sinkhole was along the Denver and Rio Grande Railway over the Tennessee Pass near Leadville.

"It seems that it was constructed as part of the Royal Gorge (Railroad) route in 1880," Stegman said.

Stegman said the line was constructed to help tap into the mining boom around Leadville at the time.</b>

Additional source
Gryffindor corgi

State voter ID laws cause catch-22

State Facing Voter ID Hurdles

By Vergie Redmond

State officials are running into problems with the new voter-identification law even before the federal government has approved or rejected it. Voters without a photo ID are facing a circular problem: They need a certified birth certificate to get the voter ID, and they need a photo ID to get the birth certificate.

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State voter id laws continue to prevent many people from registering and being able to vote.

This is exactly what the people who implemented these laws want.

Rich elderly should lose benefits, says David Cameron ally.

althy pensioners should stop receiving free bus passes and prescriptions, an ally of the prime minister is expected to argue later.

In a speech, Conservative MP Nick Boles is set to urge an end to universal benefits such as winter fuel allowance and free public transport.

He wants such benefits to be means-tested after the next general election, in 2015.

David Cameron has said he will not touch the benefits in this parliament.

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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18778359

OP: I know it sounds absurd to pay millionaires a winter fuel allowance and give them free bus passes but I wouldn't change it under normal circumstances. A universal benefit should be just that. People paid into the system so they should expect something back out, regardless of wealth.

However, I'd rather money was cut from people that don't need it than from people that do. So I'd support this for that reason all day long. And why not add on a bit more for those that do need it once you've taken it from those what don't?
red corset

Politically vulnerable Democrats plan to back Obamacare repeal

The House's planned vote Wednesday to fully repeal Obamacare ultimately amounts to little more than political theater, given that House Republicans have made 30 previous attempts to repeal all or part of the law, all of which have gone nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate. But this week's vote does offer several politically vulnerable members a new chance to distinguish themselves on this hot-button issue.

Ahead of Wednesday's vote, at least two House Democrats have indicated plans to side with a majority of Republicans to reject portions of the law. Both face uncertain re-election odds.

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Luka Rocco Magnotta Fans Profess Support, 'School-Girl Crush' On Alleged Killer

MONTREAL — Luka Rocco Magnotta had sought fame his entire life, but it always eluded him. Despite TV auditions, pornographic films and innumerable suggestive photos on the Web, the young man of 29 could not break through the media clutter.

Now charged with the murder of Chinese student Jun Lin — amid allegations he posted a video of the killing and dismemberment online — Magnotta may have at last succeeded in his pursuit of fame.

The alleged killer has attracted a group of admirers on the Internet following the widespread circulation of his photo during an international manhunt before his arrest in Germany.

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sailor kiss

Farm Bill Threatens to Increase Child Hunger

The 2012 Farm Bill, which passed the Senate last month, is going to be voted on in the House tomorrow. Known (in that special government way) as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, it's still incomplete, and many non-profits concerned with hunger and homelessness are particularly concerned about the $16.5 billion in cuts to SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps. There are a lot of stereotypes about SNAP recipients that make it easier for them to be targets for conservative lawmakers, and these groups are doing their best to dispel them. In particular, Share Our Strength wants to remind lawmakers and voters that children are the real victims of cuts to SNAP.

Hunger is a real problem, especially in the current economic crisis. If you want to see the numbers brought a bit closer to home, check out this interactive graphic by Feeding America, which lets you see county-by-county exactly how many people (or children) are food insecure. The national map for children is particularly troubling, as almost no counties in the US have less than a 15 percent food insecurity rate for kids. Almost 45 million Americans receive some amount of SNAP benefits, and it is one of the only benefits in the entire welfare system that is available just because someone is poor. No proof of disability required - just proof that you can't afford food. A $16 billion cut (20 percent of total SNAP funding) would be devestating.

What is SNAP, really? Check out the video and infographic below and read about some common myths. Our favorite? That SNAP is a welfare program to help out lazy permanently-poor people. Actually, more than half of SNAP recipients receive benefits for less than 10 months—just enough to find a new job and get their feet under them again.
Feeding America has declared today National Call-In Day. If you want to contact your representatives and urge them to oppose cuts to SNAP, they make it easy. Just call their toll-free hotline and enter your zip code, and they'll connect you to the right place.

Awesome interactive infographics and video at the source

I personally know a lot of people are going to be calling their reps tomorrow about this, but IDK if that's going to work. This is scary. Some other Farm Bill articles say that as many as 280,000 kids might be kicked off SNAP, never mind the adults who will go hungry.

Occupy not to blame for West Tampa blight

Community leaders in West Tampa should think twice before blaming the Occupy Tampa camp for the blight on Main Street and the surrounding neighborhoods. The camp is many things — an eyesore, a waning display of a muddied political message — but it is hardly the cause of the sorry state of this promising gateway into downtown. Blaming Occupy will only distract the civic effort toward beautification and ease the pressure on the city to start addressing the larger hurdles to redevelopment.

The Tampa Bay Times' Justin George reported Sunday on the tensions between Occupy protesters and neighborhood activists. In December, after repeatedly clashing with police at the original protest location at downtown's Curtis Hixon Park, Occupy moved to a park on Main Street owned by businessman Joe Redner. But some neighborhood leaders are tired of the camp. They say the protesters are causing a mess and taking business away from area stores and restaurants. A petition making the rounds calls for the protesters to leave, and neighborhood leaders are set to bring the matter to the Tampa City Council on July 19.

The tent camp looks tacky, but Main Street has long been an eyesore. It is unfair to blame the Occupy group for bringing down the area when the real problem in the district has been with run-down commercial properties, open trash, public drinking and drug sales and loitering. Occupy didn't create this environment, and moving the protesters won't change it. If anything, Occupy is about the most passive activity on the street. And the protesters are not keeping customers away from Main Street businesses.Collapse )



I'm not from Florida, but I saw this on twitter and thought it was interesting, and relevant to this recent conversation in here this community. Are there any other cities with camps still? What do the Occupy protests look like in your area? The biggest group near me (Occupy Detroit) stopped camping last fall, but is still pretty active protesting on various local issues, and still holds general assemblies fairly regularly. Several smaller groups in various suburbs seem to have fizzled out (at least, I can't find any activity from them)