August 15th, 2012

Romney calls Obama ‘angry and desperate’ as campaign turns uglier

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Mitt Romney lashed out at President Obama with some of the harshest rhetoric of his campaign at a Tuesday night rally here, accusing Obama of leveling “wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency.”

The already divisive presidential contest took on an even uglier tone after Romney seized on the latest campaign-trail skirmish — a comment at a Virginia rally by Vice President Biden that Romney’s plans to loosen Wall Street regulations would “put y’all back in chains” — to go after his opponents.

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I'm not surprised that they've brought out the "angry black man" trope, I'm just surprised they brought it out this early.

George Zimmerman's Lawyer, Mark O'Mara, Pursuing Traditional Self-Defense

ORLANDO, Fla. — The attorney for the former neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said Monday he believes that the facts that will be argued in the case fall more under traditional self-defense.

Mark O'Mara, who is defending George Zimmerman against a second-degree murder charge in the fatal February shooting, said looking at the case through traditional self-defense circumstances is appropriate because the facts suggest his client couldn't retreat from a beating he was receiving from Martin.

Zimmerman's attorneys said last week that they would use Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force – rather than retreat – if they believe their lives are in danger.

"The facts don't seem to support a `stand your ground' defense," O'Mara said.

Still, he said Monday that the defense team will try to get the case dismissed during a `stand your ground' hearing.

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calling white people "white" is SO RACIST YOU GUYZ :( :( :(

‘White’ on the Brain
By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

The election of the biracial Barack Obama was supposed to usher in a new era of racial harmony. Instead, that dream is becoming a tribally polarized nightmare — by design, and intended to assist in the reelection of Barack Obama.

Consider the increasing obsession with the term “white” (as in versus “black”), along with the old standby charge of “racism” — nearly all of it emanating from the president’s surrogates and celebrity supporters. Upon the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, almost immediately Donna Christensen, the non-voting congressional delegate from the Virgin Islands, tweeted: “Wait a minute! Are there black people in Va? Guess just not w Romney Ryan! At least not seeing us. We know who’s got our back & we have his.”

“Got our back” — compare the Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith’s video appealing to African-Americans to cover the president’s back — of course implies that Paul Ryan is a veritable racist who by virtue of his skin color and conservative politics will stab blacks in the back. In that vein, Mia Farrow, viewing the initial Romney/Ryan rally, offers, “Camera pans crowd: whole bunch of white people.”

Here is what Melissa Harris-Perry, the weekend host of MSNBC’s Hardball, [uhhhh that is not what her show is called.] said of Paul Ryan’s referring to the Declaration of Independence: “The thing I really have against him is actually how he and Gov. Romney have misused the Declaration of Independence. I’m deeply irritated by their notion that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ means money for the richest and that we extricate the capacity of ordinary people to pursue happiness. When they say ‘God and nature give us our rights, not government,’ that is a lovely thing to say as a wealthy white man.” In the postmodern world of Ms. Harris-Perry, which is the world of Barack Obama, what we say has no innate meaning apart from our class, race, and gender.
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OH MY GOD I CAN'T EVEN. I'm sorry to inflict this shit on you all, but my head is about to explode from WTF and I need to share the pain.
Pride & Prejudice

Rather than pay 100k life insurance policy, Progressive defends woman's killer

Baltimore resident Kaitlynn Fisher, 24, was involved in an automobile accident which stole her life on June 19, 2010. She was struck at an intersection by Ronald Kevin Hope III, who ran a red light. Hope had minimal insurance, but Fisher's policy had a special clause which called for her insurer, Progressive Insurance, to cover the difference if and when she was involved in an accident with someone who was under insured. Rather than pay Fisher's $100,000 life insurance policy Progressive opted to aid in the defense of her killer, in hopes that if found innocent they would not be required to pay out her policy. This is despite a witnesses account that Hope struck Fisher.

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space jockey

Australia cigarette plain packaging law upheld by court.

Australia's highest court has upheld a new government law on mandatory packaging for cigarettes that removes brand colours and logos from packaging.

The law requires cigarettes to be sold in olive green packets, with graphic images warning of the consequences of smoking.

Leading global tobacco manufacturers, including British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, had challenged the law.

The new packaging rules are scheduled to be implemented from 1 December 2012.

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Source has some pics of the new packets that look pretty gruesome:

OP: As an ex-smoker I'd say this is about right. I don't begrudge smokers their cigarettes but if they have all the information of what they do to you then they can make a more informed choice.

The same goes for alcoholic and higher-calorie products lets have more visible warnings there too so we don't victimise smokers.

Anti-Gay Marriage Protestor Who Set Fire On General Mills Lawn Dies

Michael Leisner, the gay marriage opponent who received national attention after video of his failed protest at General Mills went viral, has died, according to police.

The pastor at Leisner's church in Minnesota told the Smoking Gun that the 65-year-old died of a heart attack in his car on Saturday "while waiting in his car for two of his children to finish playing tennis."

Leisner's protest, which was aimed at General Mills' support of same-sex marriage, was posted to YouTube on Aug. 5. It shows the man igniting a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios on the lawn at the corporation's headquarters in Golden Valley, Minn. However, the fire gets out of control, and he is forced to abort the demonstration and flee the scene.

Originally reported by Good as You blogger Jeremy Hooper, the video caused a sensation among the LGBT blogosphere and prompted a criminal investigation by police. Leisner's death brings that investigation to an abrupt end.

  • rebness

TW: Child abuse

'I wish my mother had aborted me.'

'The right would have us see abortion as women acting out of cowardice, selfishness, or convenience. But for many women, like my mother, abortion would be an inconvenient act of courage and selflessness. I am sad for both of us that she could not find the courage and selflessness...'

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A painful, heartfelt piece that I thought might interest you all here. We so rarely get to see the other side of the debate when the right are parading Rebecca Kiessling, Gordon Dalbey et al around to call women murderers.

Source - open thread, and as usual for The Guardian, you'll have equal parts reasonable and enlightened reaction and trollish mansplaining. Be warned.
do not want

Partisan Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Wrongly Upheld by Court

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, declined to issue an injunction against the state’s new voter ID law in a ruling today, despite the preponderance of evidence that the new law is unjust, unnecessary and discriminatory. (See my blog “Ten Takeaways From Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Trial” for background on the case.)

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The Nation
...because it is pathetic

GOP lawmakers question standards for teaching evolution in Kentucky

Kentucky's Senate Republicans pushed successfully in 2009 to tie the state's testing program to national education standards, but three years later, they're questioning the results.

Several GOP lawmakers questioned new proposed student standards and tests that delve deeply into biological evolution during a Monday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

In an exchange with officials from ACT, the company that prepares Kentucky's new state testing program, those lawmakers discussed whether evolution was a fact and whether the biblical account of creationism also should be taught in Kentucky classrooms.

"I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution," Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said Tuesday in an interview.

The new requirements — college-readiness testing, end-of-course exams and more national norms — are part of Senate Bill 1, a 2009 bill developed and pushed by Senate Republicans to marry Kentucky's testing program to national standards for better comparisons of student success.

"Republicans did want the end-of-course tests tied to national norms; now they're upset because when ACT surveyed biology professors across the nation, they said students have to have a thorough knowledge of evolution to do well in college biology courses," said Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, chairman of the House Education Committee.

Givens said he and other legislators have been contacted by a number of educators with concerns about Kentucky's proposed new science standards, which are tied to ACT testing and are scheduled to be adopted this fall.

"I think we are very committed to being able to take Kentucky students and put them on a report card beside students across the nation," Givens said. "We're simply saying to the ACT people we don't want what is a theory to be taught as a fact in such a way it may damage students' ability to do critical thinking."

Givens said he asked the ACT representatives about possibly returning to a test personalized for Kentucky, but he was told that option was very expensive and time-consuming.

ACT vice president Ginger Hopkins, who appeared at Monday's meeting, did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Another committee member, Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, said he had a problem with evolution being an important part of biology standards.

"The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up," Waide said. "My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny."

Givens said he was satisfied with the response by ACT officials and state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday that evolution was being taught as a theory.

State and federal courts have ruled that creationism is a belief, not science, and therefore should not be taught in science classrooms, but instead in comparative religion classes, Holliday said.

"I think the key is we could debate the science of this forever, but we hope our kids understand the theories behind evolution," he said. "We think our kids need to be critical thinkers to be able to reason between the two."

Last year, Holliday wrote a much-publicized letter to Hart County school superintendent Ricky Line, who complained that the new standards did not identify evolution as a theory.

"Referring to biological evolution as a theory for the purpose of contesting it would be counterproductive, since scientists only grant the status of theory to well-tested ideas," Holliday wrote.

Line said Tuesday that he still hadn't seen any change to the standards.

"When it says evolution as if there is no other option, then over time our students are going to assume that is the only option when there are other options out there," Line said.

The proposed science standards would require students to complete such tasks as:

■ Explain the biological definition of evolution.

■ Differentiate among chemical evolution, organic evolution and the evolutionary steps along the way to aerobic heterotrophs and photosynthetic autotrophs.

■ Discuss Darwin's principle of survival of the fittest and explain what Darwin meant by natural selection.

Vincent Cassone, chairman of the University of Kentucky biology department, served on the committee that developed the standards.

"The theory of evolution is the fundamental backbone of all biological research," he said. "There is more evidence for evolution than there is for the theory of gravity, than the idea that things are made up of atoms, or Einstein's theory of relativity. It is the finest scientific theory ever devised."

David Helm, president of the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, declined to comment, other than the official statement of the national group, which says:

"The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) strongly supports the position that evolution is a major unifying concept in science and should be included in the K-12 science education frameworks and curricula ... NSTA also recognizes that evolution has not been emphasized in science curricula in a manner commensurate to its importance because of official policies, intimidation of science teachers, the general public's misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, and a century of controversy. In addition, teachers are being pressured to introduce creationism, 'creation science,' and other nonscientific views, which are intended to weaken or eliminate the teaching of evolution."

What Does Paul Ryan Know About Foreign Policy?

What Does Paul Ryan Know About Foreign Policy?
The same as Mitt Romney: nothing.

By Fred Kaplan

By choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has sent out many messages, one of which is that foreign policy will not be a prominent (or, if he can help it, even a visible) element of his campaign. The few statements that Romney has made have been collages of sheer ignorance: His attacks on President Obama's New START treaty with Russia, for instance, amount to the most ill-informed articles on arms control that I've read in 40 years of following the nuclear debate. His recent European tour, usually a routine exercise for a presidential aspirant to establish global credentials, proved a disaster from start to finish. Had he wanted to challenge Barack Obama in this arena, he might have chosen a vice-presidential candidate with a strong foreign policy record, as Obama himself did when he picked Joe Biden. Instead, probably wisely (on political grounds anyway), he pretty much surrendered the realm, as Ryan also appears to know next to nothing about international affairs.Collapse )


Ahhhh, Paul Ryan. The more he talks, the less he seems to actually say. If Mittens is an empty suit, Ryan is a suit full of styrofoam peanuts. (Looks more substantial than mere air at first glance, but it's only an illusion.)

Mayor Mike Rawlings declares state of emergency over West Nile, requests aerial pesticide spraying;

Update at 1:16 p.m.: Dallas City Hall has just posted this link to its aerial-spraying information page. There, it requests you “STAY TUNED for specific days and times aerial spraying will occur.” A fine idea.

Original item posted at 9:12 a.m.: Mayor Mike Rawlings has declared a state of emergency in Dallas over the spread of West Nile virus. He also requested that Dallas County and the state provide aerial pesticide spraying in the city to control mosquitoes that spread the virus.

The virus has claimed 10 lives in Dallas County. Five of those were Dallas residents. Many of those who died were in frail health and had underlying medical conditions.

“I think this is the right thing to do. I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we didn’t take action,” Rawlings said.

The city has seen 111 reported infections that caused 65 hospitalizations. The majority of reported cases have been the more serious neuro-invasive strain of the virus.

Rawlings said that 25 percent of all West Nile virus cases reported in the country have been in Dallas County.

Cities throughout Dallas County have been asked to decide whether they want to participate in the spraying program. Late Tuesday, the city council of Sachse opted out of the spraying program. A list of where other cities stand is at the bottom of this item, but shortly after Dallas signed on Richardson said it too wants help from above.

“The evidence is very compelling that it is time to expand on mosquito control efforts in our region,” said Richardson Mayor Bob Townsend in a statement. “Health leaders from government agencies at the federal, state and local level, and third party medical groups all support expanded action to limit the risks to people from contracting this potentially deadly disease.”

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