Saturday, June 02, 2007

Three Days in June

And 14 dead already:
Fourteen American soldiers were killed in three deadly days in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday, including four in a single roadside bombing and one who was struck by a suicide bomber while on a foot patrol southwest of the capital.


Kick 'Em Out

Homophobes shouldn't get a free ride:
The days of free rent on a city owned building may be coming to an end for the Philadelphia branch of the Boy Scouts of America.

City Council has voted 16 - 1 to direct the city to end the lease, or force the BSA's Cradle of Liberty Council to pay full market value for the site, unless the scouts sign a pledge not to discriminate against openly gay people.

The Cradle of Liberty Council, the third-largest scouting group in the country. It has been battling with the city for more than three years over the policy, which like the national Scouts organization forbids gays from being leaders.


We're Number One!

Even without Perry's insane coal-plant expansion, Texas is still the best at creating greenhouse gases:

The Associated Press analyzed state-by-state emissions of carbon dioxide from 2003, the latest U.S. Energy Department numbers available. The review shows startling differences in states' contribution to climate change.

The biggest reason? The burning of high-carbon coal to produce cheap electricity.

—Wyoming's coal-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide in just eight hours than the power generators of more populous Vermont do in a year.

—Texas, the leader in emitting this greenhouse gas, cranks out more than the next two biggest producers combined, California and Pennsylvania, which together have twice Texas' population.

—In sparsely populated Alaska, the carbon dioxide produced per person by all the flying and driving is six times the per capita amount generated by travelers in New York state.


Friday, June 01, 2007

International Catblogging

Cats everywhere know they're the boss.

Zora sitting on me, Austin, Texas:

Sessi atop Anja, Berlin, Germany:



And yet another tale of GOP weirdness:
Georgie Anne Geyer writes today in the Dallas Morning News about President Bush’s strange behavior during a recent meeting with “[f]riends of his from Texas.”

But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”


Giuliani: 9/11 Hero

Or liar. Y'know, whatever.
On Tuesday, members of a 911 truth activist group confronted former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a New York fundraiser about the fall of the World Trade Center.

"How come people in the buildings weren't notified?" asked one member of the group. "And how can you sleep at night?"

Giuliani's politely-phrased response, caught by WNBC newscameras filming the event, was "I didn't know that the towers were going to collapse."

That response contradicts remarks the former New York City mayor made about being warned about the collapse during a phone interview with onetime ABC anchor Peter Jennings on September 11, 2001, as shown in a transcript WNBC obtained from the Giuliani 2008 campaign.

Giuliani told Jennings, "I--I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the police commissioner, the fire commissioner, the head of emergency management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us."


The Meltdown Goes On

I swear, these GOP campaigns are going to provide boundless entertainment:

Two former aides hired to spearhead religious outreach for presidential candidate John McCain say that they were virtually ignored by the campaign and that McCain's top campaign strategists are intent on winning votes of religious voters without having to develop serious ties to faith communities. The aides, who were fired in early April after roughly three months on the job, said the campaign staff declined to return scores of their phone calls and E-mail messages, denied them access to leaders of the McCain campaign, and pressed them to collect church directories—a controversial tactic—as the centerpiece of a strategy to woo "values" voters.

"In the end, you came away with the strong sense that they had contempt for the faith-based community," says Marlene Elwell, one of those fired staffers.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Heating Up

Not a good situation at all:
Turkey's military massed more troops and tanks on the border with Iraq Thursday as the country's military chief said he was ready to stage a cross-border offensive to fight Kurds.



Bush nominates another bigot!
A civil rights group on Wednesday called for the Senate to reject President Bush's nominee for the Fifth Circuit.

A vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee was postponed earlier this month after Democrats said they needed more time to examine the record of Leslie Southwick who sat on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

People for the American Way say Southwick is unsuited for the federal court. The Fifth Circuit covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.


The court does not routinely consider the types of federal constitutional and civil rights matters that come before the Fifth Circuit, but Southwick’s judicial record is telling nonetheless, Neas said, pointing to two cases in particular.

In 2001, Southwick joined a ruling that upheld a lower court decision to take an eight-year-old girl away from her mother and award custody to the father, who had never married the mother, largely because the mother was living with another woman in a “lesbian home.”

Southwick's concurrence extolled Mississippi’s right under “the principles of Federalism” to treat “homosexual persons” as second-class citizens. The concurrence suggested that sexual orientation is a choice and suggest that mother might have held onto her child had she made a different "choice".

In 1998, Southwick joined a ruling in an employment case that upheld the reinstatement, without any punishment whatsoever, of a white state employee who was fired for calling an African American co-worker a “good ole nigger.”

The court’s decision effectively ratified a hearing officer’s opinion that the slur was only “somewhat derogatory” and “was in effect calling the individual a ‘teacher’s pet.’” The Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision.


Another Step

Well done, New Hampshire:
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed legislation Thursday establishing civil unions for same-sex couples.

The law will go into effect in January, making the state fourth to grant civil unions after New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont. Neighboring Massachusetts in 2004 became the only state to allow gay marriage.


Clinton Disses Indians

Yet another reason not to vote for her:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton has declined an invitation to speak at the first-ever presidential candidate forum in Indian Country, according to organizers of "Prez on the Rez" at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa.

And it appears as if a labor union dispute with California's gaming tribes is one reason why.

The forum is slated for Aug. 23 on the reservation of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.

Kalyn Free, president of the Tulsa-based INDN's List Education Fund, said Clinton was invited more than six months ago.

This "willingness to ignore Indian voters on the campaign trail has made it clear that she lacks the courage to change lives in Indian Country," Free said.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Good Works

Another bit of well-spent Gates money:
A non-profit family-planning group founded by Thailand's "Condom King" has won the $1 million Gates Award for Global Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Tuesday.

"The world needs more leaders like Mechai, who are willing to tackle taboo subjects like sex and HIV/AIDS directly in order to save lives."

As part of the message, Viravaidya's group runs the popular Cabbages and Condoms restaurant in central Bangkok, serving Thai cuisine in a leafy garden decked out with holiday lights.

The name refers to his goal of making condoms as common as the leafy vegetable.


The Delusional Bullshit Goes On

And on, and on...

Sen. Jim DeMint on Tuesday blamed Democratic “wimps” in Congress for American casualties in Iraq, and cited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for special censure.

During a luncheon speech to 100 constituents in Spartanburg, DeMint also took issue with the now widespread belief that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, saying the executed Iraqi dictator had “stockpiles of chemical weapons” that still exist.

DeMint devoted most of his comments to the current immigration debate in the Senate. But he spoke about the war when a woman in the audience stood and asked him how long U.S. troops will remain in Iraq.

“Al-Qaida knows that we’ve got a lot of wimps in Congress,” DeMint said. “I believe a lot of the casualties can be laid at the feet of all the talk in Congress about how we’ve got to get out, we’ve got to cut and run.”

Asked later who he had targeted in his comments, DeMint replied:

“To a large degree, the Democratic party and those who basically declared defeat like Harry Reid.”


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The New Cold War

Seems to be going similarly to the old Cold War on the military front:
Russia yesterday threatened a new cold war-style arms race with the United States by announcing that it had successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of penetrating American defences.

Russia's hawkish first deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov, said the country had tested both a new multiple-warhead intercontinental missile, the RS-24, and an improved version of its short-range Iskander missile.

He said the missiles were capable of destroying enemy systems and added: "As of today Russia has new missiles that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defence systems. In terms of defence and security, Russia can look calmly to the country's future."

But, no worries. It's not as though we've squandered massive resources on an unnecessary, illegal, and stupid war.


Boomtime in Syria

Just one more way that America is helping to create "free markets" in the Middle East:
With no jobs and no money, many female Iraqi refugees in Syria have turned to prostitution to survive, reports the New York Times.

"Many of these women and girls, including some barely in their teens, are recent refugees," writes Katherine Zoepf. "Some are tricked or forced into prostitution, but most say they have no other means of supporting their families."


Them As Know Him Don't Like Him

Poor little Rudy:

Here’s an unwelcome birthday gift for Rudy Giuliani, as he travels around the city raising money: protests from fire fighters and family members of September 11th victims.

They've shown up in the past at Giuliani's presidential events. Today, they’re gathering in Bay Ridge, and they have plans to follow him nationwide starting sometime around January, according to Jim Riches, a deputy chief with the fire department whose son was killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

“We have all the UFA, the UFOA, and the fire members are all behind us -- the International Association of Fire Fighters,” said Riches. “And we’re going to be out there today to let everybody know that he’s not the hero that he says he is.”


Monday, May 28, 2007

More Violent Homophobia

Gays seeking rights in Russia have to face neo-Nazi thugs and indifferent/violent cops:
Riot police used violence to break up a gay rights demonstration in Moscow yesterday and arrested several European parliamentarians in what critics say is the latest violation of human rights in Russia.

A group of gay rights activists came under attack from neo-Nazi thugs when they tried to present a petition asking Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, to lift a ban on a Gay Pride parade. He has previously dubbed gay rallies "satanic". Witnesses said riot police watched as far-right skinheads chanting "death to homosexuals" beat up several activists.



What can one say about this?
A Dutch reality television show in which a terminally ill woman is to select one of three contestants to receive her kidneys when she dies is to air this week despite criticism that it pushes the boundaries of the format too far.

The government has called for De Grote Donorshow (The Big Donor show) to be dropped because it is "unethical" and "wretched" but the broadcaster BNN said it would go ahead to highlight the difficulties of searching for kidney donors.

In the show, due to be broadcast on Friday, a woman identified only as Lisa, 37, will select a recipient based on their history, profile and conversations with their families and friends. Throughout the 80-minute show, viewers will be invited to send Lisa text messages to advise her.

UPDATE: It's a hoax.


The Dems Drive Sheehan Out

More power to her for all her hard work, and shame on the Dems:
Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq three years ago, said yesterday she was stepping down from her role as the figurehead of the US campaign against the war.

"This is my resignation letter as the 'face' of the American anti-war movement," she wrote in a sometimes bitter diary entry on the website Daily Kos. "I am going to take whatever I have left, and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children, and try to regain some of what I have lost."

Ms Sheehan, 49, rose to prominence when she voiced her discontent with President George Bush's policies when he met her and other grieving members of military families.

Announcing her decision on Memorial Day, the anniversary on which the US remembers its war dead, she said that her announcement had been prompted by the recent hostility she had faced from Democrats.

"I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican party," she wrote. "However, when I started to hold the Democratic party to the same standards that I held the Republican party, support for my cause started to erode, and the 'left' started labelling me with the same slurs that the right used."

On Saturday, in an open letter to Democratic members of Congress, she announced that she was leaving the party because she felt its leaders had failed to change the country's course in Iraq.


Poland Embraces the Wisdom of Falwell

What a laughing stock:
The Polish government has reportedly begun an investigation to determine if Tinky Winky and other Teletubbies are promoting homosexuality to children.

The Reuters news service reported Monday that the government's watchdog for children's rights has asked a panel of psychologists to investigate the popular children's television series.

Ewa Sowinska said she was concerned the popular show promoted homosexuality to unsuspecting minors.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Colorado Does the Right Thing Too

Good job:
Legislation making it illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sexuality has been signed into law by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.

It makes the Colorado the 20th state to enact LGBT civil rights.

Ritter's support for the measure ends a decade-long battle by Sen. Jennifer Veiga (D) to legislate and end to discrimination.


10 More

Happy Memorial Day Eve:
Ten more American soldiers have been killed in fighting in Iraq, the military announced on Sunday, on the eve of war-weary Washington's annual Memorial Day commemoration of its war dead.