Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30 Years Ago Today

"When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down "happy."  They told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life."

--John Lennon

Friday, October 1, 2010

Closeted (?) Creep Obsesses About College Student

Wonkette's Josh Fruhlinger has introduced us to frustrated wingnut Andrew Shirvell.  Shirvell is a Michigan assistant attorney general,  a University of Michigan alum, and an absolutely 100 percent heterosexual, according to his Facebook page, which lists one of his interests as “Finding the Right Lady” and includes a picture of him touching a human female! While he’s not busy assisting the real attorney general, he does normal, straight-guy stuff, like “building up the kingdom” and maintaining his obsessive blog about Univ of Mich's student body president who is also gay.

Note: the day after this story hit CNN, the blog was shut down and available to invited readers only.  You can read a cached version of the blog here.  

If you like watching creepy, awkward dudes who may not be entirely comfortable with certain secret aspects of their lives squirm and roll their eyes a lot while a conversation with a handsome news anchor doesn’t quite go as planned, then check this out:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jan Brewer's Epic Fail

Shocking that Arizona voters would actually vote for this woman.  Politico's Ben Smith called out Jan Brewer for being either woefully unprepared or in a sheer panic when called upon to make an opening statement at last night's gubernatorial debate.  You be the judge:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Republicans are complaining that Obama is not giving credit to Bush for his role in the Iraq war.   As you can see below, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow doesn't hesitate to give Bush credit-- for both lying to get us into war and for failing to achieve a political solution (the justification for the surge).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Beckoning: An On-Site Report

Glenn Beck gave his "I Have A Scheme" speech at the Lincoln Memorial today, with 50,000-75,000 people attending.  The event did live up to its promise to be non-political.  Sister Sarah, the queen of the Teabaggers, told the crowd that she was appearing as the mother of a veteran-- speaking at length on how Americans should show appreciation and respect for how the military has served the country.
 

 Indeed, the crowd had a definite "Memorial Day" feel to it-- just replace the POW activists with a heavy dose of libertarians.  Demographically, the crowd most certainly skewed older, and was overwhelmingly white.


Beck's remarks were so bland, I can't imagine anyone having an real objections to what he said.  Unlike his radio and TV performances, there was no fear-mongering, no race-baiting, no hateful invectives, no shilling to either buy or sell gold.


Beck's remarks had strong religious themes-- though carefully avoiding any denomination-specific code words or phrases.  "For too long, this country has wandered in darkness, and we have wandered in darkness in periods from the beginning," Beck said, at times pacing at the memorial. "We have had moments of brilliance and moments of darkness. But this country has spent far too long worried about scars and thinking about the scars and concentrating on the scars.

"Today," he continued, "we are going to concentrate on the good things in America, the things that we have accomplished - and the things that we can do tomorrow. The story of America is the story of humankind."

That's it-- nothing specific, nothing controversial.  Just an over-sized "live" infomercial for Beck Incorporated.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wonkette Previews BeckPalooza

You can count on Wonkette to take the piss out of any GOP event . . .

Oh, ye Armies of the Night! Rise up … or, hell, just remain seated. Remain seated, ye lardbottoms, and also stick to daylight hours, so you don’t run into each other, on those ridiculous scooters paid for by Socialist Medicare. Wonkette’s photographic war correspondent Dana Ryan is already just cold shooting pictures of the most historical/miraculous event ever, which starts tomorrow we think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stoking Racist Fears

A wingnut website promoting Glenn Beck's upcoming rally at the Lincoln Memorial (to commemorate the anniversary of MLK's historic August 28, 1963) has some interesting tidbits on how to ride the DC metro system:
If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night. There is of course nothing wrong with many other areas; but you don't know where you are, so you should not explore them.

Following this advice, you would not be able to visit the U.S. Archives (where the constitution is displayed), see a DC United soccer game, visit Catholic University, go to the Convention center or attend mass at the nation's largest basilica (the Shrine to the Immaculate conception).  Coincidentally or not-- you be the judge-- you would also not be able to go to Alexandria, Howard University, Anacostia, Landover, and Prince George's County-- some of the largest population centers of Metro DC's African American community.  Be afraid, teabaggers, be afraid!

Friday, August 20, 2010

North Korea Joins Facebook & Comes Out Of The Closet At The Same Time

According to South Korea (who is in the habit of stalking its ex), North Korea has joined Facebook. One unexpected development, however-- North Korea is apparently gay. It lists itself as "male" as well as "interested in men".   You go girl!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

4415

That's how many American lives a lie can cost-- just ask George Bush.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Stain In The Bush-Gitmo Legacy

A federal judge has ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee imprisoned at the island facility for more than 8 1/2 years.

In a his ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy said the Government failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the Yemeni man was part of al-Qaeda or an associated force. The government alleged that an al-Qaeda recruiter encouraged the man to go to Afghanistan to receive military training.

The detainee, Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, says he went to the region after being promised free medical care for head injuries suffered in a car accident in his home country.

"The evidence shows that Latif did have an injury that continued to affect him in 2001 and for which he might therefore have sought treatment," wrote the judge. The detainee "has presented a plausible alternative story to explain his travel," the judge added.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Little Benny Quayle Running For Office

Remember how little boys often parade around the house in their fathers' over-sized shoes?  Well, it seems that Benny Quayle is doing a grown-up version of that-- only his dad's shoes aren't that big to begin with.  Anyway . . . he got a lot of shit on the net about his lame-ass political ad, so a new version hit the tubes this weekend that toughens up the message a bit. 


Friday, August 6, 2010

More Evidence That Bush Thumbed His Nose At The Judiciary

Not that this should surprise anyone, but the Associated Press has established how sneaky and despicable the Bush administration was in thwarting the efforts of the courts to continue its illegal practices of torture and renditioning.   According to the report, President Bush brought four of the most highly wanted al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo Bay years earlier than reported, in 2003—and then quickly sent them back overseas to CIA black sites when his administration began to fear that the Supreme Court would give them access to lawyers. Overseas, the men were subject to torture for two more years-- had they stayed at Gitmo, the court would have given them access to lawyers just three months later. "There was obviously a fear that everything that had been done to them might come out," says one of the alleged terrorist’s lawyers. Another law professor who has represented detainees says, "This was all just a shell game to hide detainees from the courts.”

If They Can Do It To Any Citizen, They Can Do It To You

And you thought things would get better post-Bush.  Think again.  Obama's Director of National Intelligence says that it can kill an American citizen at will, and his Treasury Department can punish your lawyer for trying to protect you.  Earlier this year, the New York Times reported:

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counter-terrorism officials said.

Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam, is in hiding in Yemen. . . . A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

The director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a House hearing in February that such a step was possible. “We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said. “If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

Obama approved Awlaki's assassination back in April, which was rubber-stamped by the National Security Council.  As for the Treasury Department angle, here's Glenn Greenwald from Salon.com:

Early last month, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights were retained by Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of Obama assassination target  (and U.S. citizen) Anwar al-Awlaki, to seek a federal court order restraining the Obama administration from killing his son (an American citizen) without due process of law.  But then, a significant and extraordinary problem arose: regulations promulgated several years ago by the Treasury Department prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with individuals labeled by the Government as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," and those regulations specifically bar lawyers from providing legal services to such individuals without a special "license" from the Treasury Department specifically allowing such representation.

In what is surely a coincidence, on July 16 -- two weeks after Awlaki's father retained ACLU lawyers for his son -- the Treasury Department slapped that label on Awlaki.  That action instantly made it a criminal offense for anyone to file suit on behalf of Awlaki or otherwise provide legal representation to him without express permission from the U.S. Government.  In effect, a U.S. citizen now has to ask permission from a bureaucrat to obtain his constitutional right to due process under the law.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not Helping The Cause Of Blondes


Elisabeth Hasselbeck thinks a lot of older lesbians would have turned out straight ... if they could only land a man.

The co-host of "The View" said older women who have lead heterosexual lives are choosing same-sex partners because men their age are chasing younger women.

"All the older men are going for younger women, leaving the women with no one," Hasselbeck said on her estrogen-soaked gabfest, "The View".

Joy Behar, a co-host of the show, immediately blasted the 33-year-old, calling her late-blooming lesbian claim "ridiculous."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are We Talking About Race or Economics?

Last night, I watched a discussion on the Chris Matthews show about a recent quote from Jim Webb in the Wall Street Journal:
Those who came to this country in recent decades from Asia, Latin America
and Africa do not suffer discrimination from our government, and in fact have been frequently the beneficiaries of special government programs.  The same cannot be said of many hard-working white Americans-- including those whose roots in American go back more than 200 years.   Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end.


On the heels of that reporting, comes a piece from the Wapo, which very now and then stumbles onto something-- although this time, the revelation comes from a financial reporter-- "Color of Money" columnist Michelle Singletary:
Sherrod said that while working with the white farmer, she realized that the social war we’ve been having isn’t about race but economic inequity.

“Y’all, it’s about poor versus those who have,” Sherrod said in her speech. “It’s really about those who have versus those who don’t, you know. And they could be black; and they could be white; they could be Hispanic. And it made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people — those who don’t have access the way others have.”

John Aravosis from Americablog recently blogged  these stunning facts about the vanishing middle class:
• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
• 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
• 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.    
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

It seems that we have a "new" form of "racism" in this country-- the treatment of the have-nots by those who do have.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Obtuse Angle

The day after walking out of her own campaign event when reporters were offered an opportunity to ask questions, Nevada GOP Senate nutjob nominee Sharron Angle on Thursday responded to a question from a reporter . . . to tell him she wasn’t answering the question.

At the beginning of the press conference, Angle's spokeswoman had told reporters that the candidate would take questions as long as those questions were related to the topic of Angle's event, which was focused on reducing taxes on a estates of multimillionaires.

When a reporter flouted the spokeswoman's strictures, Angle refused to answer. "Today we’re concentrating on one thing," she said.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Palin Failin' Geography

Perhaps geographically-challenged Sarah Palin should reconsider that Discovery Channel series.  On the heels of mis-identifying Kodiak Island as the largest island in the U.S. (that would actually be Hawaii), Sister Sarah has goofed again.  Here's what popped up on her Twitter feed today:



The problem? "Sweettooth" doesn't exist on Denali (aka, Mount McKinley).  She might mean "Sugartooth," but even then, climbers who know the area are scratching their heads. "Sugartooth" is a multi-day, highly technical climb on sheer rock.  The Alaskan outdoor blogosphere is understandably taking Palin to task for 1) claiming to be an Alaskan mountain woman without even knowing the names of the places she's going, and 2) exploiting their state in a selfish bid for spotlight.

Of course, she might "refudiate" her tweet.  But for me, it's just more proof of what a blithering idiot this woman is.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Banks Trying To Find A New Pound Of Flesh

Card issuers have long found their bread and butter in penalty fees and high interest rates paid by consumers who carry a balance. But that business model has been upended by the legions of consumers who were overwhelmed by debt when the recession hit, forcing the industry to write off billions of dollars in loans. In addition, new federal laws limit how much card companies can charge risky customers.

Now, frugal-minded consumers are charging less on their credit cards, paying down their balances and steering clear of penalty fees.  "The only true deadbeat customer is someone who has a card and never uses it," said Curtis Arnold, who runs the credit comparison site CardRatings.com. "Just having good credit alone in today's market is not enough for that customer to be profitable."

In a lawsuit filed last month, outdoor retailer Gander Mountain, based in Minnesota, claimed that its credit card partner, World Financial Network, was turning down shoppers with nearly perfect credit scores of 800 or above. Gander Mountain said the reason was that the issuer said it could not make money from those clients, which World Financial Network estimated as about a quarter of new applicants. That created "a negative customer experience" that could drive shoppers away, the suit said. Both Gander Mountain and the issuer's parent company, Alliance Data, declined to comment on the suit.

If you have outrage to spare, see the Wapo article for more details.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A New Angle On Campaigning

Nutjob teabagger candidate Sharron Angle invited local media to attend a press event in Reno Wednesday morning, but when members of the media tried to ask the candidate questions she didn't answer.

The Nevada Senate candidate staged the even to publicly signed a pledge to repeal the estate tax-or "death tax"- if she's elected, made a few brief statements and then ran away with several members of the local media in tow when reporters started asking her questions. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Andrew Breitbart: New Internet Assassin

If you want a rundown on all the shady "reporting" we've seen from Andrew Breitbart (the scumbag who did the hitjob on Shirley Sherrod), then check out this posting from Media Matters.  Breitbart was also instrumental in creating the fake Acorn scandal earlier this year.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hitler Hates That His Weed Was Stolen

GOP And Tax Cuts: Let The Middle Class Eat Asphalt

I've been reading more than a few articles recently on "peasant mentality"-- the kind of thinking where average people worship the very folks who are cheating them and taking food out of their mouth.  As they say-- a good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger.

Along those lines comes this Wall Street Journal story-- how paved roads, normally an upscale symbol of achievement in rural America, are being torn up and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling revenue.

In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as "poor man's pavement." Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.

"I'd rather my kids drive on a gravel road than stick them with a big tax bill," said Bob Baumann, as he sipped a bottle of Coors Light at the Sportsman's Bar Café and Gas.

But God forbid that we ever consider letting the Bush tax cuts expire!  It's amazing how uninformed these people are-- and why they don't realize that  when you give money to the rich, they simply just keep it and never give it back.   In the meantime, the rich sit on piles of tax money while the peasant folk do without paved roads . . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wonkette Holds A Nasty Spot In Her Heart For Darth Cheney

Gotta love the Wonkette-- every now and then she comes up with a nicely smart-assed classic.  Commenting today on Dick Cheney's recent medical procedure:

Some doctor man wrote about Dick Cheney’s Polly Pocket robot heart in the New York Times, and it turns out Dick Cheney no longer has a pulse, though he is stubbornly still alive. Dick Cheney’s blood now just flows continually, like the River Styx. He doesn’t need your lowly “pumping!” Cheney will probably be “urged to wear bracelets or other identifications to alert emergency room doctors” as to why he has no pulse, as it probably won’t be the first reason that comes to mind.

But here is the good news:  [Cheney's doctor] said he had implanted a total of 170 such pumps and of those, 24 were in patients 65 and older.  Nine of the 24 have died [and] six of the 15 survivors [eventually] received heart transplants. The remaining nine are living with the pump.

The odds are still in our favor.

Benny's Vatican Still Protecting Itself Instead of Children

The Catholic Church finally released its updated rules for dealing with clergy sex abuse, and if you were expecting anything a bit less neanderthal or misogynistic than the usual Pope Benny bullshit, then you were dead wrong.  And in a nice change of pace, the Duchess Dowd of the Royal House of the Times got it right-- so I'll just quote from her recent op-ed:

The church still believes in its own intrinsic holiness despite all evidence to the contrary. It thinks it’s making huge concessions on the unstoppable abuse scandal when it’s taking baby steps.

The [Catholic Church] did not issue a zero-tolerance policy to defrock priests after they are found guilty of pedophilia; it did not order bishops to report every instance of abuse to the police; it did not set up sanctions on bishops who sweep abuse under the rectory rug; it did not eliminate the statute of limitations for abused children; it did not tell bishops to stop lobbying legislatures to prevent child-abuse laws from being toughened.

There is no moral awakening here. The cruelty and indecency of child abuse once more inspires tactical contrition. All the penitence of the church is grudging and reactive. Church leaders are merely as penitent as they need to be to protect the institution.

Stupefyingly, the new Vatican document also links raping children with ordaining women as priests, deeming both “graviora delicta,” or grave offenses. Clerics who attempt to ordain women can now be defrocked.

Letting women be priests — which should be seen as a way to help cleanse the church and move it beyond its infantilized and defensive state — is now on the list of awful sins right next to pedophilia, heresy, apostasy and schism.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poachers Kill Last Female White Rhino In Kruger National Park

Fears are growing for the survival of the rhinoceros as the last female in the popular Krugersdorp game reserve near Johannesburg was killed, bleeding to death after having its horn hacked off by poachers.

Wildlife officials say poaching for the prized horns has now reached an all-time high. "Last year, 129 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. This year, we have already had 136 deaths," said chief game ranger Japie Mostert.



The gang used tranquilizer guns and a helicopter to bring down the nine-year-old rhino cow. Her distraught calf was moved to a nearby estate where it was introduced to two other orphaned white rhinos.

Wanda Mkutshulwa, a spokeswoman for South African National Parks, said poaching was rife in the 1,500-hectare Kruger park. Five men had been arrested there in the past week alone, four of whom were caught with two bloodied rhino horns, AK-47 assault rifles, bolt-action rifles and an axe.

Rhino horn consists of compressed keratin fiber which is similar to hair.  Continued high demand for rhino horn in many Asian cultures (where it is used as a fundamental ingredient in traditional medicines) drives poaching and illegal trafficking in Rhino horns.

Tiger Drops the "F" Bomb At The British Open

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tomb Raider: Venezuela Edition

Venezuela has exhumed the remains of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar and will test them to see if he was poisoned by enemies in Colombia.  President Hugo Chavez rejects the traditional account that Bolivar, a brilliant Venezuelan military tactician who freed much of South America from centuries of Spanish rule, died of tuberculosis in Colombia in 1830.

He insists Bolivar was murdered by Colombian general Francisco de Paula Santander and Venezuela's newly inaugurated state forensics laboratory is taking as its first case the death of the hero some call Latin America's George Washington.  Analysts have warned that revisiting the case could put more pressure on strained ties between the neighbors.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Racist Teabaggers: Update

A reader felt that my teabagger sign from last Tuesday did not contain an overt streak of racism in it.  The two signs below sure do:

No Shred Of Human Decency Left At BP (If There Ever Was Any)

What is with these pricks from BP?  It's bad enough that they have no regard for the environment or the livelihoods of those living and working around the Gulf of Mexico.  Now, it comes to light that they pressured the Scottish government to release a terrorist who murdered innocent Americans.  From the NY Post:

The oil  giant BP faced a new furor on Thursday as it confirmed that it had lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner-transfer agreement that the Libyan government wanted to secure the release of the only person ever convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing over Scotland, which killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans.

The admission came after American legislators, grappling with the controversy over the company’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, called for an investigation into BP’s actions in the case of the freed man, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.

The former Libyan intelligence agent was released and allowed to return to Libya last August after doctors advised the Scottish government that he was likely to die within three months of advanced prostate cancer. But nearly a year later, he remains alive, and free, in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

NY Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters that BP should freeze its operations in Libya because it “should not be allowed to profit on this deal at the expense of the victims of terrorism.” 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bristol and Levi Back On The Reality Circuit

I just love Wonkette's take on the Bristol Palin-Levi Johnston engagement news:

There is literally nothing hotter than talking to your dimwit ex about who is required to care for your mistake-baby at what times; it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, when the math and calendaring overwhelmed their feeble brains, they just fell to fuckin’. I bet grandma is psyched!

Such a classy move, too-- making the announcement via US magazine, and pimping your child for the cover photo.   But don't forget now-- just because Mom and Dad can exploit their child doesn't mean you mean nasty Liberal commie bastards can!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chupacabras Rear Their Ugly Heads Once Again

Chupacabras (literally "goat suckers") are legendary creatures said to roam Mexico and parts of southern United States.  Chupacabras were first characterized as "Latino bigfoots"-- but as more sightings are documented in incidents where livestock are killed and torn to pieces, the existence of the chupacabra has slowly gained credibility.  When one was last sighted in Texas in 2008, it was portrayed as either a cross between a dog and a wolf or perhaps a mangey coyote.

There have been many stories about these unidentified animals over the last several years (see 2006 clip below).  But the chupacabras are in the news again after two strange animals were killed recently in Granbury, Texas.  Animal Control Office Frank Hackett described the animal involved in the most recent sighting: "All I know is, it wasn't normal.  It was ugly, real ugly. I'm not going to tell no lie on that one."  DNA testing is being done to determine the animal's origin.


Monday, July 12, 2010

IMF Economists Think We Can Do With A Little Less Social Security

Last week, the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. Dean Baker, contributor to the HufPost, calls out the IMF on its hypocritical lecturing on two counts.

First, the IMF deserves a substantial share of the blame for the economic crisis that gave us big deficits in the first place. The IMF is supposed to oversee the operations of the international financial system, but failed miserably in sounding the alarms about the dangers of the real estate bubble in the U.S. While the IMF has no problem warning about retired workers getting too much in Social Security benefits, it apparently could not find its voice when the issue was the junk securities from Goldman Sachs or Citigroup that helped to fuel the housing bubble.

The collapse of this bubble not only sank the world economy, it also destroyed the main source of wealth and savings (home equity) of many near-retirees for whom the IMF wants to cut Social Security.  Maybe the IMF doesn't have access to data on housing prices and wealth, because if they did, it's hard to believe that they would advocate further harm to some of the main victims of their policy failure.

The other reason that the IMF's call for cutting Social Security benefits is infuriating is the incredible hypocrisy involved. The average Social Security benefit is just under $1,200 a month and no one can collect benefits until the age of 62. By contrast, many IMF economists first qualify for retirement benefits in their early 50s.  After turning 51 or 52, these hypocrite economists can begin drawing benefits of more than $100,000 a year.

This means that we have IMF economists, who failed disastrously at their jobs, who can draw six-figure pensions at age 52, telling ordinary workers that they have to take a cut in their $14,000 a year Social Security benefits that they can't start getting until age 62.   Shut your f**king trap, bastards!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Somali Militants To Ugandans: Watch Football And You Die

A Somali Islamist militant movement has claimed responsibility for a trio of bombings that killed at least 74 people at two venues in the Ugandan capital where crowds had gathered to watch the World Cup final.

"And the best of men have promised and they have delivered," said an Arabic statement issued by Al-Shabaab's press office. "Blessed and exalted among men -- (taking) full responsibility ...We wage war against the 6,000 collaborators; they have received their response."  The 6,000 is an apparent reference to African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. Uganda contributes troops to the peacekeeping effort.

"We are behind the attack because we are at war with them," Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage told reporters. "We had given warning to the Ugandans to refrain from their involvement in our country. We spoke to the leaders and we spoke to the people and they never listened to us."

"If you want to fight, why don't you attack soldiers or military installations instead of fighting innocent people watching football?" said Ugandan President Museveni, while on a visit to a rugby sports center where two of the blasts occurred.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another Racist Diatribe From Gibson Caught On Tape

RadarOnline.com has today posted audio of Mel Gibson's racist outburst--  a (not atypical) story about the "Apocalypto" director that has been making the rounds on the internet the past week, and which recently prompted his agent to drop him as  a client.

The tape begins with Mel berating Oksana (his soon-to-be ex-wife, with whom he has an 8-month old daughter) about her breast feeding because she has implants.   “So you’re not lying to me about fake tits?” he says. “I never have,” she answers.  Gibson gets enraged and tells Oksana that she lied to him. When she denies it, he says about her breasts: “They look ridiculous. Get rid of them why don’t you.”

But Oksana tells him it’s none of his business and Mel rants, “Keep them if you want, they look stupid. Keep  ‘em if you want. Look stupid. See if i give a fuck. They look like a Vegas whore. And you go around sashaying in your tight clothes. I won’t stand for that anymore.”  Oksana answers that she doesn’t walk around in tight clothes.

“You go out in public and it’s a fucking embarrassment to me. You look like a fucking bitch in heat. And if you get raped by a pack of niggers it will be your fault. Alright? Because you provoked it. You are provocatively dressed all the time with your fake boobs that you feel you have to show off. I don’t like it. I don’t want that woman. I don’t want  you. I don’t trust you. I don’t love you.”

Gibson is also under investigation for domestic violence by the L.A. County Sherriff’s Department. Oksana reported that Gibson punched her on January 6, knocked out two of her teeth and was violent with her on several occasions, according to the report on RadarOnline.com.  Oksana taped Mel because she was afraid for her life after he threatened to kill her.  On another part of the tape Mel tells her: "I am going to come and burn the fucking house down... but you will blow me first."

Mel has not commented publicly since this story broke last week.  He berates the mother of his child-- calling her a “whore” and a “cunt” and calls a Latino worker a “wetback.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Update: Octopus Oracle Tips Spain For Final

Sunday’s World Cup final seems too close to call-- but not for the world’s new favorite psychic animal.  Paul the Octopus, from Oberhausen, Germany, picked Spain for the second time in a row on live TV after correctly predicting his home country would be eliminated in the semi-finals.   In the now familiar routine, two boxes were lowered into Paul's tank, each containing a mussel and the flags of the two opposing teams.  The tentacled tipster went straight to the Spanish box, wrenched open the lid and gobbled the tasty morsel.

This new development no doubt increased Germans' appetite for octopus sushi nationwide.  Paul now stands 6-0 for the tournament, having correctly predicted the outcome of every German game, including its upset at the hands of Serbia in the group stage.  The psychiuc cephalopod even drew death threats for picking against Germany in the semi-finals, though Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero has promised the cephalopod state protection.

Soccer Star: "I'm Not The Father Of Your Baby, Alpo Bitch!"

The missing former lover of a top Brazilian football star was strangled and then fed to dogs, police say.  25-year-old Eliza Samudio  was a former girlfriend of Bruno Fernandes, goalkeeper for Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club.  The Flamengo captain is married with two kids-- and Samudio had claimed before her disappearance that the married footballer was the father of her baby.

Fernandes handed himself into police after a warrant was issued for his arrest over her disappearance nearly a month ago.  Fernandes has denied any wrongdoing, and said he has a "clear conscience".  But police say a teenage cousin of Fernandes has given evidence that the goalkeeper was involved in her kidnap and suspected murder.  More details at the Beebs . . .

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And Justice For None

An unarmed African-American man held face down in a San Francisco subway station was fatally shot in the back by a transit cop on New Year's Day 2009.  Oscar Grant had committed no crime; he was immobilized on the ground by another cop, who held his knee against the young man's neck.  Suddenly, Officer Johannes Mehserle pulls himself upright-- and drawing his weapon shoots Grant dead on the spot.  Officer Mehserle claimed that he accidentally drew his gun (located on his right side) thinking it was his taser (which he kept on his left).  Even if you believe that story, use of a taser was totally uncalled for-- was Mehserle really going to put a jolt through Grant as he lay prone on the floor for no reason at all?  The entire incident was caught on video;  seemingly a slam-dunk case of police brutality. 



But Oscar Grant was African-American and the officers were white.  Police lawyers were able to get the trial relocated to Los Angeles county, where prosecutors have not won a murder conviction in a police shooting since 1983.   Not a single juror was African-American.  After six hours of deliberation over two days, the jury rejected a verdict of second-degree murder and found Mehserle guilty of only involuntary manslaughter.  The maximum sentence Mehserle could receive is four years.  Four years for a cold-blooded killing with racial overtones.  If there is no justice for Oscar Grant, how can any of us expect justice?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

20,000 (Soccer) Leagues Under The Sea

A "psychic" octopus in Germany, which appears to have correctly predicted every World Cup game involving the national team so far, has picked Spain over Germany in the semi-final.

Paul, from the Sea Life Aquarium in the western city of Oberhausen, chose a mussel from a jar with the Spanish flag instead of one with a German flag.

The two-year-old cephalopod has become a national celebrity.  According to his owners, he has a record of predicting German results.  He correctly predicted all five of the team's previous World Cup games - including a shock defeat by Serbia in the group stages.  His prognosis ahead of the World Cup semi-final was broadcast live on German TV.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Doesn't Evolution Normally Punish The Stupid?

A panda at the Beijing Zoo accidentally crushed her new cub to death after abandoning its twin, Chinese media reported.  Eight-year-old Yinghua gave birth to female twin cubs but the mother nursed only one of them-- the abandoned cub was sent away to a research facility.

But tragedy struck soon thereafter-- the new mother, still clumsy and inexperienced, accidentally squashed her remaining cub to death in a corner of the pen after hearing it crying for milk. 

Why do we keep trying to perpetuate such a fucking stupid species of animal?  If they're so inept as to sit on their own children, shouldn't we try to focus resources on something else-- like  cleaning up massive oil spills or or feeding hungry humans?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Intellectual Torture Over The "Torture" Word

First, there was a study from the Kennedy School of Government that found that America's major newspapers, after decades of reliably and accurately referring to waterboarding as torture, suddenly stopped doing so around 2002, when America started waterboarding people like it was going out of style.  Adam Serwer of the American Prospect added his comments:
"As soon as Republicans started quibbling over the definition of torture, traditional media outlets felt compelled to treat the issue as a "controversial" matter, and in order to appear as though they weren't taking a side, media outlets treated the issue as unsettled, rather than confronting a blatant falsehood."

Incredibly, the New York soon thereafter admitted to being chickenshit over the issue-- but tried to rationalize their way out of it (quoted by Yahoo News):
"As the debate over interrogation of terror suspects grew post-9/11, defenders of the practice (including senior officials of the Bush administration) insisted that it did not constitute torture.  When using a word amounts to taking sides in a political dispute, our general practice is to supply the readers with the information to decide for themselves. Thus we describe the practice vividly, and we point out that it is denounced by international covenants and in American tradition as a form of torture."

What some people are forgetting is that waterboarding wouldn't be considered newsworthy if it weren't generally accepted as torture to begin with.   For years, the New York Times wrote stories about waterboarding specifically because it was torture (and actually used the term "torture") but it abandoned its journalistic principles because some dipshit president tried to change the rules midstream.  Isn't this what we expect journalists to do-- call elected officials on their BS?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Teabaggers Continue Their GOP Takeover

Teabaggers took over the Idaho Republican State Convention and predictably usurped the platform process.  Idaho GOPers now officially support the repeal of the 17th Amendment (the direct election of U.S. senators).

Getting rid of paper money so that everything can be purchased in precious metals,  is also a priority-- "Let free Idahoans pay taxes, and other fees due to the State, County and City in silver and or gold in any form."  This only applies to “free” Idahoans, not slaves, to be clear.

The platform also called for marriage to be limited to a “naturally born” man and woman, going the extra mile beyond conventional gay marriage bans and making sure to exclude transgendered folks, as well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Disagreement Between FIFA and Nigeria Reaches The Knockout Stage

Nigeria's president has suspended his nation's football team from international competition for two years after a poor showing at the World Cup.

Special presidential adviser Ima Niboro told reporters the decision by Goodluck Jonathan will enable Nigeria to reorganize its football.  He added: "This directive became necessary following Nigeria's poor performance in the ongoing World Cup."

FIFA, which has a marked dislike for political interference with its sport, has threatened Nigeria with a ban against all participation in FIFA meetings, clinics and officiating programs unless it backs down.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sexuality And The American Culture

Camille Paglia had a fantastic op-ed in the NYT the other day:

Although a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recently rejected an application to market the drug flibanserin in the United States for women with low libido, it endorsed the potential benefits and urged further research.

The implication is that a new pill, despite its unforeseen side effects, is necessary to cure the sexual malaise that appears to have sunk over the country. But to what extent do these complaints about sexual apathy reflect a medical reality, and how much do they actually emanate from the anxious, overachieving, white upper middle class?

The real culprit, originating in the 19th century, is bourgeois propriety. As respectability became the central middle-class value, censorship and repression became the norm.

Read the full essay for a free-wheeling discussion of sexuality within American culture.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

FIFA Agrees That Ball Sucks, But Won't Take Action

FIFA acknowledged there might be something wrong with the Jabulani World Cup ball, but won't act on any problems until after the tournament-- when it will be pointless to act.  Many players have likened the Jabulani to a "supermarket ball," saying it is too unpredictable and flies through the air too easily.

Scoring was down by 16 goals in the first round compared to 2006: 117-101. However, teams played a more defensive style in the opening group stage in South Africa, so whether the ball is a major factor is difficult to measure.

At this rate, the World Cup would set a low for average goals. In 1990, when teams again played defensively – even in the latter stages of the tournament – 2.21 goals were scored per game.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Heartless AirTran Hates Turtles

A caged, 2-inch turtle traveling with a 10-year-old girl caused a crew to turn around a taxiing plane, take the girl and her sisters off the flight and tell them they couldn't bring their pet along.

The little girls called their father, who told them he would immediately pick up the turtle from the airport.  However, the AirTran employees told the girls that they couldn't wait for the dad to come back to the airport-- so they were forced to throw the animal (cage and all) in the trash so that they could return to the aircraft.  Check out this link for more details and to see if this tragic story had a happy ending. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Seized By Fear And Foolishness

Venezuela will nationalize a fleet of oil rigs belonging to U.S. company Helmerich and Payne, the latest takeover in a push to socialism as President Hugo Chavez  struggles with lower oil output and a recession.  In recent years, Chavez has also taken over assets in telecommunications, power, steel and banking.

The 11 drilling rigs have been idled for months following a dispute over $49 million already owed by Venezuela to the Oklahoma-based company.  Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez said the rigs were being nationalized to bring them back into production.  He added that companies who refused to put their rigs into production were part of a plan to weaken Chavez's government,

Chavez has kept pressure up on the private sector in recent months, blaming a "parasitic bourgeoisie" for Venezuela's recession and 30% inflation rate.  He has also threatened to nationalize Polar, the nation's top brewer and food processor. The government has also seized a bank belonging to an owner of the leading opposition TV station and issued an arrest warrant for his partner, who is now on the run.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

'Tis Better For Dan Burton To Shut His Mouth and Let Us Wonder Whether He Is A Moron (Instead Of Opening His Mouth and Eliminating All Doubt)

Reps. Dan Burton (R-Ind) questioned whether George Soros, who backs a number of liberal causes and Democratic candidates for office, had invested in a Brazilian oil company, Petrobras, with the knowledge that President Barack Obama might temporarily ban deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (and thus benefiting deepwater drilling by Petrobras in Brazil).

“We don’t need to be spending Mr. Soros’s money in Brazil, so he can make more money by doing offshore drilling with our taxpayer’s money,” Burton said.  Burton’s implication was that Soros, an investor with Petrobras and a major Obama campaign donor, profited from a loan made by the U.S. Export-Import bank to Petrobras.

Problem #1: Bush appointees at the independent Export-Import Bank approved the loan by a vote of 5-0, not President Obama;

Problem #2: George Soros upped his investment in PetroBras in late 2008, some months before the bank made its preliminary commitment to the company-- even before Obama was elected to the Presidency, for that matter.

So where did Burton get these nutty ideas?  He copied them from Glenn Beck's show on Monday-- another fucking idiot (as if we needed yet another one).

Ethically-Challenged Sarah-- But We Already Knew That, Right?

Nearly a year after she quit her governorship of Alaska, Sarah Palin was found guilty today of another breach of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act involving her so-called Alaska Fund Trust (AFT), which she established as a private "legal defense fund" while governor.

Timothy Petumenos, independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board issued his findings from the Adventure Room of the Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage.  In an extremely detailed finding, Petumenos ruled that "the Trust itself, as ultimately conceived, violates the Ethics Act."

The finding is a stinging rebuke to Palin, who must now return more than $386,000 in contributions to the AFT.  It also forces her longtime political crony Kirstan Cole to be removed from serving as Trustee of the fund.  Perhaps most significantly, Petumenos demanded that "all donors to the Trust, whether they donated before or after the resignation, must be publicly disclosed."

Andree Mcleod, the Anchorage-based government watchdog who has filed five Ethics Act complaints against Palin issued a statement today:
    "I've spent more than two years trying to shed light on many of Palin's wrongdoings while governor. Her typical response: to vilify and deride Alaskans who only wanted to hold her accountable for her misconduct; this should give people pause.  Never has a governor lowered the bar as low as Palin has when she breached the public's trust over and over again. Her arrogance, sense of entitlement and recklessness while doing the people's business sets a very bad precedent."

Photoshop Fun With Right Wing Retards

Can you identify all the photo-shopped elements in the latest piece of moronic humor making the round of the wingnut blogs?  Answers are after the jump.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saudi Taxi Drivers Looking Forward To Legalized Titty Sucking

Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Nasser Al Obaikan, member of Saudi Council of Senior Scholars and adviser to the king, has unwittingly sparked an usual debate.  The renowned scholar said Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to become their sons and brothers to their daughters.

Under this relationship, foreign drivers would then be allowed to mix freely with all members of the family without breaking the Islamic rule which does not allow mixing of genders.  Breast milk kinship is considered to be as good as a blood relationship in Islam.

"A woman can breastfeed a mature man so that he becomes her son. In this way, he can mix with her and her daughters without violating the teachings of Islam," the scholar said.

A number of Saudi women initially condemned the fatwa. Fatima Al Shammary was quoted by the local Arabic daily Al Watan as saying the fatwa was "ridiculous and weird.  This fatwa has become a hot topic of debate among women. Is this is all that is left to us to do: to give our breasts to the foreign drivers?" she said.

Another Saudi woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, questioned: "Does Islam allow me to breastfeed a foreign man and prevent me from driving my own car?  I have not breastfed my own children. How do you expect me to do this with a foreign man? What is this nonsense?" she said.

Another woman said the fatwa should also apply to the husbands who should be breastfed by housemaids. By doing so, all will be brothers and sisters," she said.  Saudi writer Suzan Al Mashhadi sarcastically asked: "Do the women have to breastfeed the driver in the presence of their husbands or can they do this alone?  Who will protect the wife if the husband entered the house unexpectedly and found his wife breastfeeding the driver?" she asked.

But in an even more bizarre twist, other Saudi women are using the controversial fatwa in their long-running campaign to obtain the right to drive cars.   If the demand to drive automobiles is not met, women are threatening to actually follow through on the fatwa which gives them the permission to breast-feed their drivers and turn them into their sons.  The campaign will be launched under the slogan: "We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Somali Militants Winning Fans With Ban On World Cup Viewing

Somali militants have threatened football fans they will be publicly flogged - or worse - if they are caught watching the World Cup on TV.  Gangs of Islamists are reported to be patrolling the areas they control looking for people watching games.


Dedicated fans have been forced to watch matches in secret, or in the few areas controlled by government forces.  Militants recently killed two people as they attacked a house where people were watching a game.  Militant group Hizbul-Islam also arrested 10 others at a house north-east of the capital Mogadishu where fans were watching the game between Argentina and Nigeria.

A spokesman for the group, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Aros said the rest of Somalia should respect their ban on the World Cup.  "We are warning all the youth of Somalia not to dare watch these World Cup matches. It is a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down," he said. 

One Mogadishu football fan told the BBC, "I have one eye on the TV and the other on the door, and the sound turned down."  One broadcaster went so far as to move their operations inside the fortified airport to protect their equipment from attack during the tournament.

Monday, June 21, 2010

African Leaders Suck, Apparently

In a sad commentary on the state of African leadership, the world's most valuable individual prize is not being awarded for a second year because no-one is deemed worthy of winning it

Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim has established a $5 million  prize for African ex-leaders to encourage good governance on the continent.  After receiving the initial award, winners also receive $200,000 a year for life.

"The standards set for the prize-winner are high," Ibrahim said, adding that no new candidates had emerged since last year.  Winners must have been democratically elected and agreed to leave office.  South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Ghana's John Kufuor are among those who qualified for last year's prize after stepping down in the previous three years.

Botswana's former President Festus Mogae won the prize in 2008 after two terms at the helm of one of Africa's least corrupt and most prosperous nations.  The inaugural prize was given to Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique's former president, who has since acted as a mediator in several African disputes.

Lego Football - U.S. vs. England

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hitler Hates Vuvuzelas

French Soap Opera Unfolding In South Africa

The French national soccer team is in utter chaos as it faces early elimination from the World Cup.  It all started at halftime of the match against Mexico (eventually losing 0-2).  Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka, star of the French team, was criticized behind closed doors by coach Raymond Domenech for straying out of position during a goalless first half.

According to French sports newspaper L'Equipe, Anelka exploded in rage in the dressing room, verbally abusing the coach. He is reported to have said, "Go fuck yourself you son of a whore."

L'Equipe claim Domenech responded by substituting another player for Anelka.  The 57-year-old coach, who has already announced his departure from the team effective with the end of the World Cup, had been facing great pressure over his leadership of the squad.  However, the entire incident would have likely gone unnoticed had it not been for an unknown member of the French contingent, who leaked details of the incident to the press.  At that point, French team officials had no choice but to demand that Anelka publicly apologize-- and when he refused, he was dismissed from the team and sent home.

The soap opera got into full swing the next morning.  Just a few minutes after taking the practice field for a public training session, team Captain Patrice Evra and fitness coach Robert Duverne became involved in an argument.  Domenech stepped in and Duverne stormed away, as the players walked off the practice field and boarded the team bus.  After a few minutes at the bus, Domenech returned to the practice field and released a prepared statement from the players (which read in part):
"With this statement, all the players in the France squad without exception want to declare their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad.

"If we regret the incident which occurred at half-time of the match between France and Mexico, we regret even more the leak of an event which should have remained within the group and which is quite common in a high-level team.

"For its part, the French Football Federation has at no time tried to protect the squad.  It has made a decision (to send Anelka home) without consulting all the players, on the basis of the facts reported by the press.  Accordingly, and to mark the opposition to those at the highest level of French football, all the players decided not to train today.

"For our part, we are aware of our responsibilities as those wearing the colours of our country.   We will do everything individually and also in a collective spirit to ensure that France regains its honor with a positive performance on Tuesday."

Back at the French team headquarters, France team director Jean-Louis Valentin announced he would be resigning. "It's a scandal for the French, it's a scandal for the federation and the French team," he said. "It is a shame. As for me, it's over. I'm leaving the federation. I'm sickened and disgusted.  Under these conditions, I've decided to return to Paris and to resign."

Seemingly not wanting to be left out of the action, the French Football Federation swiftly condemned the action of the boycotting players.  They released a statement saying, "This is an unacceptable consequence of the eviction of Nicolas Anelka, which they feel is injustice.  Contrary to what the players said, this sanction was taken following a long conversation with the person in the presence of the captain.  The FFF apologise to the country for the unacceptable conduct of the players that are representing our country."

The refusal of the France squad to train following striker Nicolas Anelka's exclusion from the squad is arguably the most dramatic bust-up in the history of the World Cup.  The incident is just the latest in what has been a string of rumors about unrest within the France camp and claims Domenech has lost the support of his players. The under-fire Domenech has also brushed aside concerns rivals Uruguay and Mexico may manufacture a draw in their final Group A match to ensure they progress to the knockout stages at the expense of the French.

French midfielder Jeremy Toulalan (who is suspended for Tuesday's South Africa game) has confirmed that dressing-room disharmony is at the heart of France's problems.  But he admits it is time for the players to start delivering after two woeful and goalless performances.  Stay tuned-- the outcome of Group A will be resolved once and for all on Tuesday morning.

Chavez Feeds Off Power; Starves His Country In The Process

Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.

Venezuelan army soldiers swept through the working class, pro-Chavez neighborhood of Catia in Caracas last week, seizing 120 tons of rice along with coffee and powdered milk that officials said was to be sold above regulated prices.  "The battle for food is a matter of national security," said a red-shirted official from the Food Ministry, resting his arm on a pallet laden with bags of coffee.

Chavez supporters are grateful for a network of cheap state-run supermarkets and they say the raids will slow massive inflation.  Critics accuse him of steering the country toward a communist dictatorship and say he is destroying the private sector. They point to 80,000 tons of rotting food found in warehouses belonging to the government as evidence the state is a poor and corrupt administrator.

Much of the wasted food, including powdered milk and meat, was found last month in the buildup to legislative elections in September. The scandal is humiliating for Chavez, who accuses wealthy elites of fueling inflation and causing shortages of products  such as meat, sugar and milk by hoarding food.

A string of expropriations and buyouts of companies during the last couple of years has left the Chavez government now controlling between 20 percent and 30 percent of the distribution of staple foods.  Chavez  rushed to give public support to Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who as the boss of PDVSA  is also responsible for food unit PDVAL, over the case of the rotting food.  To further fight off criticism over the food scandal, Chavez revived threats to take over the country's largest private food processor, miller and brewer, Polar.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

77 Million Bangladeshi Poisoned By Arsenic In Drinking Water

Amid the unfolding Gulf oil disaster comes another shocking story to remind us yet again how precious a resource clean water is.

In Bangladesh, up to 77 million people have been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic from drinking water in recent decades, according to a report.  A research study assessed nearly 12,000 people in a district of the capital Dhaka for over a period of 10 years.

More than 20% of deaths among those assessed were caused by the naturally occurring poisonous element.  The World Health Organization said the exposure was "the largest mass poisoning of a population in history".

It began after hand-pumped wells were installed in the 1970s to tap groundwater from.  Scientists say even small amounts of arsenic over a long period can cause cancer of the bladder, kidney, lung or skin.

Reality Not In The Curriculum

A Rhode Island boy is attracting a lot of attention after his school banned a hat he made because the toy soldiers  on it carried tiny guns.

8-year-old David Morales was assigned to make a hat last week for a project at the Tiogue School in Coventry. He chose a patriotic theme and glued plastic Army figures to a camouflage baseball cap. But school officials said the hat ran afoul of their no-weapons policy because the Army men held tiny guns.

The school said David was offered the chance to wear the hat if he replaced the toy soldiers holding weapons with ones that didn't have any. A local veteran came to his defense, saying that didn't make sense because soldiers are armed, and met with school administrators-- but to no avail.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union then sent a letter to School Superintendent Kenneth DiPietro saying the school's policy was an unconstitutional violation of students' free speech. It called on the district to revise the policy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Australia To Eliminate Any Remaing Vestige Of Privacy

This is absolutely shocking if true.  Sources are reporting that the Australia government (who is already proposing North Korea-style censorship of the internet) is now looking into a proposal to make ISP's retain a log of every website its citizens ever visit.  What's even more disturbing is they will also want ISPs to link that information to other personal data like your passport number.

Ben Grubb over at ZDNet broke the original story, and has now followed it up with a deeper insight into the proposed scheme. While the government is denying it would capture individual browsing histories, unnamed sources from ISPs are saying that the original data set sent to ISPs from the government said that they’d require allied personal information, including passport numbers.

For all you folks that condemned the Bush administration's strong-armed tactics to deny visas to foreign visitors-- this goes far beyond that.  Potentially, Australia could deny its own citizens the very right to even leave the country if it believes that they have committed questionable acts.  We all know what happens when you entrust the government to pass judgment on moral issues-- everyone gets held to standards developed by bureaucrats to satisfy the most prudish interests.  Imagine if you had surfed some soft-core porn-- but somebody else might think the models on the site were possibly 17 years old.  So you find yourself branded a child pornographer and denied the right to board a flight to go on vacation.  Or perhaps you visited the site of Sharron Angle (who is currently talking up a storm on "second amendment remedies") and an airport official decides that you may be guilty of sedition or pose a threat to stage an armed rebellion-- so you are denied the right to board a plane.

You may think that I am over-reaching here-- but just think about the things that are going on right now in this country and then stop for a minute.  Would you have imagined just five years ago that we would be where we are now?  Don't you wish people would have stood up and objected five years ago to the powers we have granted the government over our private lives?  Wake up, dudes-- we still have time to stand up and make some noise before we all end up governed and controlled by a xenophobic, paranoid, and militaristic society.  It's not too late.

What Exactly Are "Second Amendment Remedies"?

Sharron Angle -- the tea party nutjob who wants to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid --seemed to raise the specter of armed rebellion against the government in three interviews in the past six months, suggesting that some would seek "Second Amendment remedies" if Congress isn't reined in:
"Our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason, and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government," Angle told conservative talk show host Lars Larson in January. "In fact, Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that's not where we're going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies."

Later that month, she told talk show host Bill Manders, "I'm hoping that we're not getting to Second Amendment remedies.  I hope that the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems." 
In May, Angle told the Reno Gazette-Journal: "The nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn't that they are so distrustful of their government? They're afraid they'll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways. That's why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don't win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?"

Harry Reid's spokesman Jon Summers said, "Her rhetoric that if she doesn't win at the ballot box people should go to the bullet box undermines the Democratic process."

Helen Is At It Again-- Busting on the GOP

One of my enduring favorites-- 82-year-old Helen (of Margaret and Helen fame) blogged recently:
A few years back, millions of people across this nation and across the globe marched for peace.  George Bush ignored us and we had to endure his lazy ass being in the White House for eight years.

So now a black man named Barack Obama, elected by the will of the people, has decided to fight for the poor, and work for world peace… and a bunch of white guys who think Fox really is News just can’t stand it.  Well, they can kiss my ass because I am tired of their belly aching.

But let’s be honest - this bunch of idiots  doesn’t like that a black man is the most powerful man on the globe.   I wonder if they know that, while 78%  of  the world is not white, only 13% of the United States is black.   So they can relax.  Barack and Michelle most likely will not be buying the house next door.

Tea Party members should listen up.  You honestly want me to think that your  biggest issue is the cost of healthcare reform?  You sat idly by while Bush squandered billions on a failed war, but all children having health insurance is too much to handle?  That’s your beef?  You realize, of course, that some of those children are white, don’t you?

Trust me.   It’s going to be eight long years for you Tea Party members.  But we survived Bush and  you’ll survive Obama.  I mean it.  Really.

Go get 'em girl!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What Kind Of Lowlife Scumbag Thinks We Owe BP An Apology? A Republican, Of Course!

Gay People Are Icky?

Our Lady Of Fornication

Jarretta Hamilton is out of a job; not because of poor performance, but because she sinned.  That's right--  according to her former employer, Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, Fla., being sinful is cause for termination.  And Jarretta's sin is fornication — having sex before they got married.

Jarretta Hamilton and her husband of 16 months, Samuel Treftz, recently told NBC that the termination violated federal anti-discrimination laws.  In addition, they allege in a pending lawsuit, the school’s principal, Jon Ennis, invaded Hamilton’s privacy by telling other teachers and the parents of her students the exact reason she was fired.  And all of this because Hamilton admitted to her boss that she conceived her 8-month-old daughter before she was married.

“When they let me go, they told the entire staff in a staff meeting that I had been fired and the reason why they let me go. And then they called all of my parents to my fourth-grade students and told them as well,” Hamilton said.

For the record, all of the acts of sexual abuse and pedophilia committed by Catholic priests is also technically fornication (since Catholic priests aren't allowed to marry)-- and hardly any of those creepy bastards lost their jobs, did they?  Three cheers for the Nazi Pope! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MSNBC Reaction To Obama Televised Address

Keith Olbermann: "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days."

Chris Matthews compared Obama to Carter.

Olbermann: "Nothing specific at all was said."

Matthews: "No direction."

Howard Fineman: "He wasn't specific enough."

Olbermann: "I don't think he aimed low, I don't think he aimed at all. It's startling."

Howard Fineman: Obama should be acting like a "commander-in-chief."

Matthews: Ludicrous that he keeps saying [Secretary of Energy] Chu has a Nobel prize. "I'll barf if he does it one more time."

Matthews: "A lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue ribbon talk."

Matthews: "I don't sense executive command."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chatroulette Pioneers Penis Software

Now comes news that the 17-year-old founder of Chatroulette wants to turn it into a more legitimate venture-- and apparently the first order of business is cutting down on the number of disgusting things one witnesses there.

According to TechCrunch, the rawness that drew millions to Chatroulette in the early days is beginning to scare users and investors away.  (Who woulda thought that Chatroulette would be the one place on the web that people aren't looking for naked pictures?)

TechCrunch reports that Chatroulette founder Russian Andrey Ternovskiy has been trying to cut down on the number of penises.  Being introduced soon will be features that will try to send all those pesky penises to the background. Also in the works is new software that can quickly scan video to determine if a penis is being shown.  Users that are consistently quickly skipped over (presumably because they are exposing themselves or otherwise being disgusting) can be flagged as well.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

NYT To Obama: Elevate Your Game, Dude

The New York Times took Obama to task today in an editorial-- and it's about time that someone synthesized the vague dissatisfaction we've had with our President into a coherent critique:

A year and a half into this presidency, the contemplative nature that was so appealing in a candidate can seem indecisive in a president. His promise of bipartisanship seems naïve. His inclination to hold back, then ride to the rescue, has sometimes made problems worse.

It certainly should not have taken days for Mr. Obama to get publicly involved in the oil spill, or even longer for his administration to start putting the heat on BP for its inadequate response and failure to inform the public about the size of the spill. (Each day, it seems, brings new revelations about the scope of the disaster.) It took too long for Mr. Obama to say that the Coast Guard and not BP was in charge of operations in the gulf and it’s still not clear that is true.

He should not have hesitated to suspend the expanded oil drilling program and he should have moved a lot faster to begin political and criminal investigations of the spill. If BP was withholding information, failing to cooperate or not providing the ships needed to process the oil now flowing to the surface, he should have told the American people and the world.

These are matters of competence and leadership. This is a time for Mr. Obama to decisively show both. 

After 18 years, we're over the incompetence of Bush and very glad that we have a capable leader on our hands-- so Barack, how 'bout you step up your game a bit?

Guatemala In Deep Shit


Ran across this incredible picture of the recent Guatemalan sinkhole that swallowed a three-story commercial building and a house.  Guatemala is basically built on pumice fill (from volcanoes), and once a heavy stream of water comes into play, who knows what will happen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How Soon They Forget District Six

In the lead-up to the World Cup, human rights campaigners say South African authorities have forcibly moved thousands of the impoverished to settlements in order to present a good image of the nation. Cape Town city council officials deny the allegations.  From the Wapo article:
Shirley Fisher says she was evicted from a hostel near a stadium where soccer's biggest stars train. Natasha Flores says she was driven out of squatters' quarters near a new $450 million stadium in one of Cape Town's busiest tourist areas.

Both ended up in Blikkiesdorp, a settlement of corrugated-iron shacks ringed by a concrete fence, home to hundreds of evicted families. Many residents say there is only one reason they wound up in this bleak place, which in Afrikaans means "tin-can town."  "The World Cup," said Fisher, without hesitation.

"Why can't they take the money they spent on the stadiums and use it to build houses, not the dollhouses we now live in, but proper houses?" demanded Margaret Bennet, 45, who lives with eight relatives in a shack the size of a walk-in closet. "The World Cup may be important for the high-powered people, but it means nothing for us on the streets. We are living in a concentration camp," said Padru Morris, 47, another resident.

President Jacob Zuma's government argues that the billions it has spent on building stadiums and improving infrastructure will create jobs, raise the standard of living and showcase South Africa's progress. Many of the poor, though, say the government has misplaced its priorities. They expect their lives to change little as a result of their nation holding the world's most-watched sporting event.

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