Friday, August 27, 2010

Via Belirico: Reclaiming what's theirs

Filed by: Alex Blaze

August 27, 2010 1:00 PM

Several years ago people would have found it unseemly for a white millionaire to tell his mostly white audience that he wants to "reclaim" the Civil Rights Movement. It was just two short years ago that most LGBT people agreed that the "Gay is the new black" mentality was offensive; now millions of people tune in daily to someone who thinks that rich white straight men are the most oppressed people in America.
I still believe that people are generally good and that most Americans' values are generally in the right place even if the last year's event have shaken me a bit. Let me explain.
Continue reading "Reclaiming what's theirs" »

Via Turthout: Obama's Hard Stance on Guatemalan Labor

Alexander Brockwehl, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "On July 30th, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the U.S. would file a formal complaint against the Guatemalan government for violating labor standards under the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the announcement marks 'the first labor case the United States has ever brought against a trade agreement partner.'"

Read the Article

Via JMG: Today In Frivolous Lawsuits


A man who was performing ritual proxy baptisms of the dead for the Mormon Church is now suing the LDS for repetitive motion injuries. Apparently you need a living human stand-in when Magic Underpantsing a dead person against the wishes of their descendants.
The civil suit filed Wednesday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court claims Daniel Dastrup suffered severe back injuries, including a herniated disk, after performing about 200 baptisms at the LDS temple in Raleigh, N.C., on Aug. 25, 2007. The lawsuit contends the church was negligent in failing to warn Dastrup that the repetitive nature of the proxy baptisms - bending, lifting and twisting - could result in physical injury. "The church owed the plaintiffs a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury to the plaintffs from the services they performed to the church," the lawsuit states. Dastrup, who now lives in Las Vegas, claims he has suffered "a significant permanent injury that substantially changes his lifestyle," including damaging his relationship with his wife. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages to compenstate Dastrup to cover medical costs and loss of earnings.
RELATED: During the 2008 presidential campaign, the LDS Church posthumously baptized Obama's mother as a Mormon. The president has never commented on this.
reposted from Joe

Via Huffington: Obama's Religion: Christianity 101 For The Willfully Ignorant

The flap about President Obama's religious affiliation reveals our national ignorance about religion in general and Christianity in particular. Here are some facts we ought to understand about Christianity before we go around rating the Christian character of Obama or anyone else:


1. Much is being made of Obama's childhood years in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Obama attended a Catholic School and later a public school that he has described as "Muslim" where the Quran was part of the curriculum.

Praying to saints in Catholic school didn't make Obama Catholic; praying with friends inside a mosque didn't make him a Muslim, either.

I visited Indonesia in 1968, right after the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. During a talk to high school students about life in America, one student asked me, "If America is a Christian nation, why are you killing your leaders?"

I responded then as I would now, adding a local cultural twist: "Being born in a garage does not make you a car, being born in a rice shelter does not make you rice, and being born in America does not make you Christian."

Via Huffington: Queen Noor of Jordan: Ramadan Lessons for All of Humanity


While this verse clearly reminds Muslims of their priorities ahead in the holy month of Ramadan, I believe that these priorities apply to all individuals pursuing peaceful coexistence, social equity, and the protection of human rights. 

Via Huffington: Jim Wallis: Martin Luther King, Jr. Was a Social Justice Christian


2010-08-27-dreamspeech.jpg

Jim Wallis: My picture has graced the Glenn Beck blackboard a number of times over the past year. I am quite sure that if the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he would have been on Glenn Beck's blackboard long before I would have ever been considered. That is because King was clearly a Social Justice Christian -- the term and people that Beck constantly derides. Beck's mistake is to somehow think that social justice and equal justice can be separated.  

Click here to read more.

Bizarro via Sacbee:

Via JMG: The New MLK


Glenn Beck's Hate-O-Rama takes place in DC today. GOProud will be there!
reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Vintage Facebook


Fake vintage ads for Twitter, YouTube and Skype are here.
reposted from Joe

Thursday, August 26, 2010

via firedoglake:

Hi Daniel, 
Social Security is "a milk cow with 300 million tits."1 It's for the "lesser people of society."2
That's straight from Alan Simpson, the person President Barack Obama appointed to co-chair his deficit commission charged with cutting the budget. You can also call it the Catfood Commission; it's stacked with so many people who want to cut Social Security3 that senior citizens would be so poor they'd have to eat cat food.
Simpson's statements are vulgar and demeaning. But he shouldn't resign. The whole Catfood Commission should shut down completely. It's the only way to save Social Security.

Sign our petition to President Obama: it's time to can the Catfood Commission.
Click here: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/CanTheCatfoodCommission

Alan Simpson says in public what the Catfood Commission discusses behind closed doors: they want huge cuts to Social Security, the elderly be damned. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Catfood Commission is considering at least four types of benefit cuts to Social Security.4
We at Firedoglake first reported about the plan to cut social security in early 2009.5 We've been hounding the Catfood Commission since its creation. It's a huge threat to our country, and it's more dangerous now than ever.
We did the research and found that 14 of the 18 members appointed by President Obama to the Catfood Commission have advocated cutting Social Security in the past.6  It's a stacked deck. A scam. Alan Simpson just put it out in the open.
Social Security is on the chopping block. We need to save it from the Catfood Commission.
Tell President Obama the gig is up: the Catfood Commission's gotta go. Click here to sign the petition:
http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/CanTheCatfoodCommission
Simpson's childish outbursts, his clear contempt for those he patronizes as "the lesser people" he says he is trying to protect, and his ignorance about the program he is tasked with "fixing" are but symptoms of a greater problem.
The Catfood commission is not legitimate. It was stacked with people who knew their job was to fulfill corporations' dreams of rolling back the New Deal and waging war on the social safety net.7  It is a committee of oligarchs designed to circumvent electoral repercussions for those who oppose the will of the vast majority of the American people, both Republicans and Democrats, who don't want to see the federal budget balanced on the backs of the nation's senior citizens.
President Obama, it is not just Alan Simpson who needs to go. It's time to shut down the entire commission. Click here to sign the petition:
http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/CanTheCatfoodCommission
Thanks for your support.
Jane Hamsher
Firedoglake.com

----
Sources 
1.
"Alan Simpson: Social Security is 'A Milk Cow with 30 Million Tits."
The Huffington Post,
8/24/10.

2. "Alan Simpson:
Cutting Social Security Benefits to 'Take Care of the Lesser People of
Society." Firedoglake,
6/17/10.
3.
"Obama Packs Debt Committee with Supporters of Social Security Benefit
Cuts and Priviatization." Firedoglake,
5/10/10.
4.
"Social Security Cuts Weighed by Panel." Wall Street Journal,
8/20/10.

5. "Hedge Fund
Billionaire Peter Peterson, Key Speaker at Obama Fiscal Responsibility
Summit, Will Tell Us Why Little Old Ladies Must Eat Cat Food So Social
Security Can be Saved." Firedoglake,
2/18/09.
6.
"Obama Packs Debt Committee with Supporters of Social Security Benefit
Cuts and Priviatization." Firedoglake,
5/10/10.
7.  "Dear President Obama: Time to Can the Catfood Commission."
Firedoglake,

8/26/10.


Contribute to Firedoglake to support our activism. Click here:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Via JMG: Nate Silver's 2010 Senate Predictions


Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight makes its debut as part of the New York Times today, where he gives us the above predictions for this year's Senate races. It looks like Silver is predicting that the Democrats will lose about seven seats, yet retain a slim majority.
reposted from Joe

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Via TED: Jamil Abu-Wardeh: The Axis of Evil Middle East Comedy Tour

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

Via SacBee:


Researchers issued yet another grim statistic Monday on the toll of the recession: 2 million additional Californians – 85,000 of them in the capital region – lost their health care coverage during the recent economic slide. - Read More

Sunday, August 22, 2010

VIA NPR: Is This Your Brain On God?

Is This Your Brain On God? (300x90)

More than half of adult Americans report that a spiritual experience has changed their lives.

via NPR: On A Budget, U.S. Faces World As 'Frugal Superpower'

Michael Mandelbaum is the Director of the American Foreign Policy Program at Johns Hopkins University.
Michael Mandelbaum
Anne Mandelbaum
Michael Mandelbaum is the Director of the American Foreign Policy Program at Johns Hopkins University.
The Frugal Superpower
The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era
By Michael Mandelbaum
Hardcover, 224 pages
PublicAffairs
List price: $23.95
Read An Excerpt

August 22, 2010
Back in December, when President Obama announced he was sending additional troops to Afghanistan, he said something we don't hear very often from the White House.

"We can't simply afford to ignore the price of these wars," Obama said, referring to the actual financial cost of America's engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Michael Mandelbaum, a foreign policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, tells NPR's Audie Cornish that's a rare admission for an American president. And it could signal a new phase of foreign policy for the U.S.

Workshop Photos... muchas gracias!

Doors / Portas/ Puertas


Over  some years of traveling with a progression of digital cameras I amassed a collection of door pictures.  I give myself 25 points for a door with a bike.  There is something about the juxtaposition of an old door and a bike I really like. Maybe its because seeing a bike leaned up against someone's front door is something just not seen in the USA. If I can catch a VW bug, called a "fusca", in Brasil, well that is a full 50 pts... I'll et you keep score.

Via Truthout: Why Long Commutes Are Bad for the American Body and Mind

Suburban Sprawl and the Decline of Social Capital

by: Anthony DiMaggio, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
Suburban sprawl has long been criticized by urban scholars and intellectuals as damaging to the American mind and environment. On the psychological level, it is seen as damaging to communities, preventing the development of closer relations between residents of suburbs who spend more and more of their time commuting to jobs, and suffer from living within "subdivisions" with little in terms of civic cultural experiences.

Sprawl, simply defined, consists of the outward expansion of metropolitan areas, accompanied by the rise of communities with lower population density. These new communities (suburbs) are heavily car-reliant, and often characterized by large home lots and other expansive uses of land such as golf courses, corporate industrial parks, and large mall complexes.

Today's bilingual Double Post Quote:

Talvez, o meio da estrada (ou, meio caminho andado), é assegurar que as pessoas acreditem naquilo que elas fazem. Mas, acima de tudo, o que é mais motivador, mais valioso e mais poderoso para que nos tornemos conscientes de nossas responsabilidades, é saber que os outros acreditam em nós. Não há palavras que descrevam como nos sentimos sobre os sacrifícios que foram impostos àqueles que creram, não somente em nós, mas naquilo que nós cremos.

Perhaps the middle of the road (or the half way point) is to have people believe in what they do. But above all, what is most motivating, most valued and most powerful in making us conscious of our responsibilities, is to know that others believe in us. There are no words that describe how we feel about the sacrifices imposed on those who not only believed in us but believed in what we believed in.

- Albert Einstein
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