“Try never mentioning your spouse, your family, your home, your girlfriend or boyfriend to anyone you know or work with — just for one day. Take that photo off your desk at work, change the pronoun you use for your spouse to the opposite gender, guard everything you might say or do so that no one could know you’re straight, shut the door in your office if you have a personal conversation if it might come up. Try it. Now imagine doing it for a lifetime. It’s crippling; it warps your mind; it destroys your self-esteem. These men and women are voluntarily risking their lives to defend us. And we are demanding they live lives like this in order to do so. Yes, Admiral Mullen. It is about integrity. It’s also about a minimum of human respect.”—Andrew Sullivan, responding to Rich Lowry who said it’s no big deal to live hiding one’s sexual orientation. (via canisfamiliaris, blackenedbutterfly) (via cardicloser)
Minneapolis’ city attorney’s office has agreed to pay a $165,000 settlement to seven people who dressed up as zombies to protest consumerism in 2006. Police had arrested the protesters for what they thought appeared to be a “weapon of mass destruction,” but hilariously was actually an iPod and some equipment to amplify this terrorist mp3 player. They were never charged and were later released to continue annoying the terrorism-hating Minnesota public with their disdain for the sale of fishing lures.
So how do anti-consumerists spend $165,000? We all need to eat healthy, and free-range organic human brains aren’t cheap.
FIRST WE GIVE MUSLINS THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, AND NOW WE ARE GIVING UNDEAD TERRORISTS THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London’s biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: “There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK.”
The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world’s crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “man would have only four years of life left”.
MoveOn.org unveiled an ad earlier this week going after Target for helping to pay for TV ads backing political candidates. The liberal group said Thursday that MSNBC has rejected its ad because it’s a direct attack on an individual business, an apparent violation of NBC policy.
In Southern California, the question is whether the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley should be granted a permit to build a mosque on land it owns next to two established churches. The Islamic Center presently holds prayer services in a warehouse next to a pipeline company, down the street from a smog-test station and masonry supply yard. And during Friday prayers on July 30, around 25 local conservative activists stood outside shouting slogans of hate through a bullhorn, carrying signs with messages such as “No More Mosques in America”, and brought along several dogs, hoping to offend Muslim sensibilities.
"We’ve never had a problem with anybody before this," said Iman Mahmoud Harmoush, the Center’s spiritual leader and a lecturer at California State University, San Bernardino. "It is common sense that you don’t disrupt a religious service by creating noise and bringing dogs."
But what would it look like to extend some of the special status of adolescents to young people in their 20s? Our uncertainty about this question is reflected in our scattershot approach to markers of adulthood. People can vote at 18, but in some states they don’t age out of foster care until 21. They can join the military at 18, but they can’t drink until 21. They can drive at 16, but they can’t rent a car until 25 without some hefty surcharges. If they are full-time students, the Internal Revenue Service considers them dependents until 24; those without health insurance will soon be able to stay on their parents’ plans even if they’re not in school until age 26, or up to 30 in some states. Parents have no access to their child’s college records if the child is over 18, but parents’ income is taken into account when the child applies for financial aid up to age 24. We seem unable to agree when someone is old enough to take on adult responsibilities. But we’re pretty sure it’s not simply a matter of age.
The founder and editor of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is wanted in Sweden after accusations of rape and molestation, a spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutor’s office told CNN Saturday.
Spokeswoman Karin Rosander said Assange was arrested in absentia Friday night, and faces charges in relation to two separate instances, but she didn’t have more detail about when the alleged crimes occurred or who the alleged victims are.
Assange denied the allegations in a posting Saturday on the WikiLeaks Twitter page, saying, “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.”
If you can’t get away with actually assassinating someone (I’ve been waiting for news of a plane crash), the next step is to ruin them.
Shrimp are a shy and retiring lot, living in shadows and dark crevices to hide from predators (and nurse their psychic scars?). But when they’re swimming in concentrations of Prozac (or, more specifically, the chemical fluoxetine) as those found in the water around some urban areas, they become five times as likely to swim toward light, making them easy prey.
Nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last year, according to the survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
I’m about to stop believing that any news I hear or read is actually real.
The president has given six speeches on faith issues, DuBois said, and has launched the first-ever White House advisory council for the faith-based office, composed largely of religious leaders.
"A lot of these facts are not necessarily what the public and the media are focused on everyday, which is not surprising given the issues we’re facing as a country: reforming health care, bringing the troops home from Iraq and the economic recovery," DuBois said in an interview.
This is his problem though, isn’t it? With everything. Of course no one knows about “the first-ever White House advisory council for the faith-based office”. The White House never “wins the day”, they never stand up for anything (with rare exceptions, like Obama coming out to defend the mosque, only to backtrack a day later of course) and they never stand up to anyone. The GOP “wins the day” constantly because they’re just flat-out better at it, and the Democrats are spineless, as always.
Yes, this is exactly what Harry Reid’s distant ancestor (Harold Reed-Smythe, 11th Earl of Pokington) would have said about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, with their ideas of replacing a monarchy with a republic and creating a country without a state church: that they were too conservative. Clearly their goal in breaking away from Britain was to keep the Lobsterbacks, with their abortion clinics and their progressive income taxation structure, off of American soil.
Here is the problem — or, one of the problems — with morons like Sharron Angle. They are completely unable to grasp the fact that the specific issues that cause them such rage today were irrelevant 200 years ago (and will be irrelevant 200 years from now), and that “liberal” and “conservative” are labels for the way people feel about the current political landscape, not convenient shorthand terms for an unchanging collection of policy proposals. Do you think the Tea Party people realize that the actual Boston Tea Party was about an excise tax, not the income taxes they pay every year, and that the colonists’ main complaint was not that it was too high but that it was imposed by a legislature they didn’t get to vote for? Do they even know what an excise tax is?
Although its unemployment rate sits at just 7.9 percent, about two percentage points below the national rate, Alaska has received $3,145 per capita in federal stimulus dollars, the most in the nation, according to figures compiled by Pro Publica, an investigative Web site. Nevada, by contrast, has an unemployment rate north of 14 percent and has received $1,034 per capita in recovery aid. Florida’s jobless rate is 11.4 percent, and the state has obtained $914 per capita.
More and more Alaskans, particularly of the Republican stripe, identify the federal government and pork-barrel spending as the enemy, although Alaska was built by both.
Alaska’s appetite for federal dollars has always been voracious and is not confined to the stimulus. A study by Prof. Scott Goldsmith of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, noted that an “extraordinary increase” in federal spending drove the state’s pile-driver growth of the last 15 years.
In 1996, federal spending in Alaska was 38 percent above the national average. Thanks to the late Republican Senator Ted Stevens, who was Senate appropriations chief for several years, and to the military, which keeps expanding its bases here, Alaska’s share now is 71 percent higher than the national average.
About one in 20 children experienced hearing loss in 1994, and that number jumped to about one in 5, or an estimated 6.5 million adolescents, by 2006.
“What we’re seeing is a big jump in the prevalence of hearing loss in a very short period of time, in less than one generation,” says Dr. Roland Eavey, an author on the study. “That means we’re on the front edge of an epidemic.”
The News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association this summer, the Bloomberg news service reported this week.
The donation makes News Corporation the Republican group’s single “biggest corporate donor,” according to Bloomberg.
Large contributions to so-called 527 groups like the governors’ association by media companies are relatively rare, said Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for OpenSecrets.org, a Web site operated by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.
Some progressives seized on News Corporation’s contribution as evidence of bias. Media Matters for America, the liberal media monitoring organization, claimed that “this large corporate donation to the G.O.P. underscores News Corp.’s role as an appendage of the Republican Party.”
Georgia scientists say their analysis shows that most of that BP oil the government said was gone from the Gulf of Mexico is still there.
The scientists say as much as 80 percent of the oil still lurks under the surface. The Georgia team said it is a misinterpretation of data to claim that oil that is dissolved is actually gone. The report from University of Georgia and other scientists came from an analysis of federal estimates.
Earlier this month federal scientists said that only about a quarter of the oil remained and the rest was either removed, dissolved or dispersed.
President Obama has abolished the position in his White House dedicated to transparency and shunted those duties into the portfolio of a partisan ex-lobbyist who is openly antagonistic to the notion of disclosure by government and politicians.
The controversy surrounding the project - new construction on an area overlapping the cemetery of Ma’man Allah (God’s Sanctuary) or Mamilla, as it is known in West Jerusalem - had simmered for years. That night, over 100 more graves in the ancient cemetery were demolished, further eroding what Palestinians see as a losing battle to preserve a sacred cultural landmark.
Mamilla, Jerusalem’s oldest Islamic cemetery, dates back to the early days of Islam in the sixth century AD. Many of the people buried in the cemetery are believed to have been Islamic scholars and others who knew the Prophet Mohammad, including Islamic warriors who fought the crusaders in Jerusalem.
In more recent years, the cemetery has been in the spotlight amid controversy over Israel’s plan to build a number of structures on top of the site, including the Museum of Tolerance, a parking lot, a park and an Israeli government building. The announcement of the construction plan outraged many Palestinians, who saw the project as one that desecrated holy land for the sake of a tourist attraction.
“What makes this particularly commendable is there is virtually no political gain to be had from doing it, and substantial political risk. Polls shows overwhelming opposition to the mosque nationwide (close to 70% opposed), and that’s true even in New York, where an extraordinary “50% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans, and 52% of ‘non-enrolled’ voters, don’t want to see the mosque built.” The White House originally indicated it would refrain from involving itself in the dispute, and there was little pressure or controversy over that decision. There was little anger over the President’s silence even among liberal critics. And given the standard attacks directed at Obama — everything from being “soft on Terror” to being a hidden Muslim — choosing this issue on which to take a very politically unpopular and controversial stand is commendable in the extreme.”—Obama defends “Ground Zero mosque” - Glenn Greenwald
I’d like to start by saying that I don’t get into belligerent shouting matches at the playground very often. The Tot Lot, by its very nature, can be an extremely volatile place—a veritable powder keg of different and sometimes contradictory parenting styles—and this fact alone is usually enough to keep everyone, parents and tots alike, acting as courteous and deferential as possible. The argument we had earlier today didn’t need to happen, and I want you to know, above all else, that I’m deeply sorry that things got so wildly, publicly out of hand.
Now let me explain why your son was wrong.
When little Aiden toddled up our daughter Johanna and asked to play with her Elmo ball, he was, admittedly, very sweet and polite. I think his exact words were, “Have a ball, peas [sic]?” And I’m sure you were very proud of him for using his manners.
To be sure, I was equally proud when Johanna yelled, “No! Looter!” right in his looter face, and then only marginally less proud when she sort of shoved him.
The thing is, in this family we take the philosophies of Ayn Rand seriously. We conspicuously reward ourselves for our own hard work, we never give to charity, and we only pay our taxes very, very begrudgingly.
“Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.”—Obama Speaks Out On Mosque Controversy