Friday, April 29, 2011

The Best Of Anthony Weiner Being Awesome

The background music is cheesy, but the rest is golden:


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birther Movement Is About Money

I hope this is the last video I ever have to post about the birther movement, but it's good:


Birthers Were "Liberals Pretending To Be Conservatives"

I recently posted my shock that I agreed with Ann Coulter. That definitely didn't last long:


Obviously she's being ridiculous as usual, but if you'd like some proof here's a great post that shows Fox news embracing bitherism as recently as a few days ago.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Donald Trump Show

Does anybody else hope Donald Trump will just go away? The more he talks the more I can't stand him. Even Bill Cosby is annoyed. And that's quite a feat.


I found myself seething as I was watching this video:


Do people really buy into this shit? Even Karl Rove and Glenn Beck don't like this guy. Trump thinks this is a pissing contest and I can't see how we can have any kind of international relationships in good faith with his overall attitude. Trump says people criticize him for attention, but is there anything he does without the hope of attention?

But if that wasn't enough, Trump goes on to try and say Obama got into college basically because of affirmative action. This video highlights how racist what he's saying is:


I don't care if he's doing well in the polls. Trump is a joke and Stewart says it best:



I can't wait for this train wreck to be over. Seriously Trump, you're ruining one of my hobbies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rep. Giffords Cleared to Attend Shuttle Launch

Time for some good news. Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is well enough to travel to Florida to watch her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, lift off. Giffords is also able to speak short phrases and words. Even though "outpatient rehab is far off" apparently, it's still great news.


WikiLeaks's Guantanamo Bay files

Last night, media outlets all over the world published hundreds of classified files on more than 700 past and present Guantanamo detainees. The leak was allegedly provided to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning. Here's a roundup of what different people are saying:

The Guantanamo Files from WikiLeaks:
In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo -- 758 out of 779 in total -- are described in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

These memoranda, which contain JTF-GTMO's recommendations about whether the prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred to their home governments, or to other governments) contain a wealth of important and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example, and, in the cases of the majority of the 171 prisoners who are still held, photos (mostly for the first time ever).

They also include information on the first 201 prisoners released from the prison, between 2002 and 2004, which, unlike information on the rest of the prisoners (summaries of evidence and tribunal transcripts, released as the result of a lawsuit filed by media groups in 2006), has never been made public before. Most of these documents reveal accounts of incompetence familiar to those who have studied Guantánamo closely, with innocent men detained by mistake (or because the US was offering substantial bounties to its allies for al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects), and numerous insignificant Taliban conscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
WikiLeaks: The Uses of Guantánamo from The New Yorker:
Here are some of the reasons we’ve held people at Guantánamo, according to files obtained by WikiLeaks and, then, by several news organizations: A sharecropper because he was familiar with mountain passes; an Afghan “because of his general knowledge of activities in the areas of Khost and Kabul based as a result of his frequent travels through the region as a taxi driver”; an Uzbek because he could talk about his country’s intelligence service, and a Bahraini about his country’s royal family (both of those nations are American allies); an eighty-nine year old man, who was suffering from dementia, to explain documents that he said were his son’s; an imam, to speculate on what worshippers at his mosque were up to; a cameraman for Al Jazeera, to detail its operations; a British man, who had been a captive of the Taliban, because “he was expected to have knowledge of Taliban treatment of prisoners and interrogation tactics”; Taliban conscripts, so they could explain Taliban conscription techniques; a fourteen-year-old named Naqib Ullah, described in his file as a “kidnap victim,” who might know about the Taliban men who kidnapped him. (Ullah spent a year in the prison.) Our reasons, in short, do not always really involve a belief that a prisoner is dangerous to us or has committed some crime; sometimes (and this is more debased) we mostly think we might find him useful.
Wikileaks: Many at Guantanamo 'not dangerous' from the BBC:
There are now just under 180 detainees at the US naval base in Cuba. Most are deemed to pose a high risk threat to the US if released without adequate supervision. But the files show that US military analysts considered only 220 of those ever detained at Guantanamo to be dangerous extremists. They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.

Another 380 detainees were deemed to be low-ranking guerrillas. At least 150 people were revealed to be innocent Afghans or Pakistanis - including drivers, farmers and chefs - rounded up during intelligence gathering operations in the aftermath of 9/11.
WikiLeaks discloses new details on whereabouts of al-Qaeda leaders on 9/11 from The Washington Post:
Regardless of how detainees are currently assessed, many of the documents shed light on their histories, particularly those of the 14 high-value detainees whose assessments were made available. When pieced together, they capture some of the drama of al-Qaeda’s scattering in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. They also point to tensions between certain members of the terrorist group.

Among other previously unknown meetings, the documents describe a major gathering of some of al-Qaeda’s most senior operatives in early December 2001 in Zormat, a mountainous region of Afghanistan between Kabul and Khost. There, the operatives began to plan new attacks, a process that would consume them, according to the assessments, until they were finally captured.
Military Documents Detail Life At Guantanamo from NPR:
As a general matter, the Obama administration has been hesitant to return detainees to countries that can't guarantee that they will either keep the detainees locked up or keep a close watch on them. That's why nearly 60 Yemenis at Guantanamo are in a kind of purgatory, awaiting the day when the Yemeni government is stable enough to manage their return. As a general matter, in the Obama administration, each detainee's background is considered as much as the country to which he will be sent. Sending a "high-risk" detainee to Europe, for example, would be preferable to sending him to Afghanistan.

For detainees who will not be sent to third countries and are not slated for prosecution, the Obama administration introduced new rules that require a detainee's status be reviewed every three years to determine whether or not he remains a threat, should be scheduled for a military trial or should be transferred. That's the executive order that essentially codifies indefinite detention, though the administration was careful not to use that language.

It's also interesting to see the stark difference in the way international and American news sources are reporting on the leaked information.

Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison from The Guardian:
Obama's inability to shut Guantánamo has been one of the White House's most internationally embarrassing policy failures. The files offer an insight into why the administration has been unable to transfer many of the 172 existing prisoners from the island prison where they remain outside the protection of the US courts or the prisoner-of-war provisions of the Geneva conventions.
 The range of those still held captive includes detainees who have been admittedly tortured so badly they can never be successfully tried, informers who must be protected from reprisals, and a group of Chinese Muslims from the Uighur minority who have nowhere to go.
Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees from The New York Times:
The government’s basic allegations against many detainees have long been public, and have often been challenged by prisoners and their lawyers. But the dossiers, prepared under the Bush administration, provide a deeper look at the frightening, if flawed, intelligence that has persuaded the Obama administration, too, that the prison cannot readily be closed.
Glenn Greenwald sums it up perfectly as usual:
The idea of trusting the government to imprison people for life based on secret, untested evidence never reviewed by a court should repel any decent or minimally rational person, but these newly released files demonstrate how warped is this indefinite detention policy specifically.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to

I love this quote by Chris Rock about race and wealth in his neighborhood. unfortunately I couldn't find a clip that has the whole thing, but I guess you'll just have to use those awesome reading skills you all have.

"I will give you an example of how race affects my life. I live in a place called Alpine, New Jersey. Live in Alpine, New Jersey, right? My house costs millions of dollars. [some whistles and cheers from the audience] Don’t hate the player, hate the game. In my neighborhood, there are four black people. Hundreds of houses, four black people. Who are these black people? Well, there’s me, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy. Only black people in the whole neighborhood. So let’s break it down, let’s break it down: me, I’m a decent comedian. I’m a’ight. [applause] Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the Earth. Jay-Z, one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Eddie Murphy, one of the funniest actors to ever, ever do it. Do you know what the white man who lives next door to me does for a living? He’s a fucking dentist! He ain’t the best dentist in the world…he ain’t going to the dental hall of fame…he don’t get plaques for getting rid of plaque. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist. See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to."

Wordless Wednesday

















Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pentagon Inquiry Clears McChrystal of Wrongdoing

Three videos in a row, but the Pentagon inquiry into the Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal has cleared him of wrongdoing:


Obama as a Chimpanzee

When will people understand that comparing black people to monkeys is racist? It's not rocket science. "Transparent stupidity" is exactly right.


This is exactly why saying you're from a racially diverse (or liberal) place doesn't mean you are somehow about racial privilege or issues. This doesn't really help the Tea Party's insistence of not being racist either.

Gov. Brewer Vetoes 'Birther Bill'

I love when people surprise me:


I disagree with Governor Brewer on most things, but kudos to her on this. I think I was more surprised that people are still giving Orly Taitz interviews than the veto though. That woman is insane and definitely doesn't help people like Donald Trump look good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roundup

It's that time again. I think I'm gonna start doing these weekly again as soon as I'm done with school. Two more weeks!

Random Picture:

via unknown
Articles:

1. Do Women Lie About Rape?
So what’s the answer? Do women lie about rape? According to Joanne Archambault, a former sex crimes unit supervisor, the answer is fairly simple: “[False reports] are not a problem. They happen, but they’re not a problem.” Research has shown that only roughly 2 to 8 percent of rape reports are untrue, (for car thefts, another felony offense, that number is about 10 percent [pdf].) Two to 8 percent is a pretty small number to justify the climate of fear around false rape reports.
2. PBS, NPR Funding Spared In Budget Deal:
Despite efforts to strip government funding for public broadcasting, PBS chief Paula Kerger said the federal budget deal retains most of the money that President Barack Obama had set aside for public television and radio stations.
3. Slide Show: The 10 Worst Members of Congress You've Never Heard Of

4. Privatize those liquor stores:
Privatizing the sale of liquor in the state of Utah is a great idea. It would have been a great idea when prohibition was lifted almost 80 years years ago, but heck, better late than never. We support Top of Utah Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, with his efforts to get socialism out of the spirits business.
5. Two-Thirds Of Voters Unimpressed With Potential GOP Prez Candidates:
In the poll, 65% of respondents said they were to some degree unimpressed with the Republicans who have made noise about possible White House bids, including 38% who said they were "not at all impressed" with the GOP field. At the same time, only 31% said they were "very" or "somewhat" impressed with the GOP field.
6. Would Donald Trump have passed a budget?
But that anyone could seriously imagine Trump as president of the United States — the actual president, living in the real White House, making fateful decisions about war and peace — must reflect something deeper and more significant than the weakness of the Republican field. I mean, really. Trump doesn’t even qualify as a wing nut on the political fringe, although that’s what he’s pretending to be, with all his “birther” blather. He’s a caricature, a cartoon, a “candidate” only in the wink-and-nod sense.
7. Jailed for a Suicide Attempt:
Bei Bei Shuai was so depressed last Christmas, she chose a punishing way to die: rat poison. When her friends swooped in and saved her life, the Chinese restaurant owner’s story might have ended happily, except for one detail about Shuai's condition: she was 33 weeks pregnant.

While Shuai survived the suicide attempt, her fetus ultimately did not. The state of Indiana responded not with continuing mental health services, but by incarcerating the 34 year-old on charges of murder and attempted feticide. Today, a judge will determine if she’ll be released on bail.
Videos:

Colbert Counters Quran Burning By Staging Quran Befriending:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Koran's Best Day Ever
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Barack Obamayan:

Special STFU:


This video highlights how a little information and a lot of ignorance can be a very bad thing. Just wow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Obama to Boehner on Planned Parenthood Funding

President Obama to Speaker Boehner about how much he would be willing to cut from Planned Parenthood funding (via):
“Nope. Zero,” the president said to the speaker. Mr. Boehner tried again. “Nope. Zero,” Mr. Obama repeated. “John, this is it.” A long silence followed, said one participant in the meeting. “It was just like an awkward, ‘O.K., well, what do you do now?’”
Don't let it be said the President never comes through.

For Some the Niqab is Freedom

France had been talking about banning the burqa for a while now and on Monday it became the first Eurpean country to officially ban "wearing of the Muslim niqab face veil in public." (via) The debate in this clip is one of the most interesting I've seen on the subject:


I can definitely sympathize with the complexity of this issue. Even though I have a visceral reaction to the niqab, I think Hebah makes an excellent point. Telling women they can't dress a certain way under the guise of being concerned reeks of sexism. Of course no one should be forced to wear anything, but if a woman freely chooses to wear the niqab then they should be allowed. It's really rather simple.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Obama on America's Fiscal Future

Here's President Obama's speech about the budget yesterday in case you missed it:


I thought it was actually pretty good. Or as Rachel Maddow said, "Unexpectedly satisfying." Everyone on MSNBC had a major hard on for the speech and here's a clip from Maddow's show that highlight some of the best parts in case you don't want to watch the whole thing:


People often mention how Obama often seems calm or "sedate." I think it's amusing because I really think that's just his demeanor. And I like it. I don't care if it's just a run up to the 2012 elections either. It's still refreshing to see some backbone in the Democratic party.

Boy With Pink Nail Polish Makes the World Go Crazy

I wanted to post about a J. Crew ad that features a mother painting her son's toenails pink (or at least just finished painting them), but Jon Stewart beat me too it. As usual he perfectly captures the ridiculousness of this non issue.

From Fox:
“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad.

Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

“Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna’s indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. “J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.”
Stewart's perfect response:


Once again we see the inanity of trying to define children's experiences through adult understandings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I've got so many of these waiting to be posted that I've been picking half from the oldest cartoon and half from the newest to try and keep them somewhat relevant. That's why there's a bunch Christmas ones in case you were wondering.


Rep. Weiner Calls Out Republicans For Hypocrisy On Medicare

Rep Anthony Weiner on the "Ryan Plan."


I listened to an interview of two economists, Paul Krugman and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, talking about Ryans budget plan and here's how Krugman described the Medicare problem Weiner is discussing:
"...the Medicare plan, which is to replace Medicare with a system of vouchers that will be well below the actual cost of health insurance for senior Americans. The part of the plan that's real is a plan to take about $3 trillion from the neediest Americans and give it to wealthy Americans and corporations."
Listen to the whole thing (only about 8 mins) here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Which Ann Coulter and I Actually Agree About Something

Apparently we both think Donald Trump's birther nonsense is ridiculous. I guess this is where that saying "even a broken clock is right twice a day" comes from.


See the wondrous things that can happen when one pulls their head out of their ass? I'm even going to ignore the comment about Obama being a bad person.

Male Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma

A while ago I posted a paragraph from an article about homelessness among female veterans that I thought was interesting. It was about "military sexual trauma" and how women are routinely sexually harassed and assaulted in the military.
"Women are more likely to leave the military with a few less reasons to trust the system than men," said Eaves, who herself is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. "It's still true, today, that women suffer from humiliation, intimidation and sexual harassment."

A VA report from 2005 indicated that more than half of all female National Guard and Reserve military members report having been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped while serving in uniform. The problem is so pervasive and so psychologically debilitating that the armed forces have a name for it: "military sexual trauma."
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, "Both women and men can experience sexual harassment or sexual assault during their military service. VA refers to these experiences as military sexual trauma, or MST. Like other types of trauma, MST can negatively impact a person's mental and physical health, even many years later." This video does a good job highlighting the enormity of the problem in the military as well.


While women continue to be sexually harassed at such a great number that they're more likely to be assaulted by a fellow soldier than killed in combat, the sexual assault of men in the service is also on the rise.

From Newsweek:
Greg Jeloudov was 35 and new to America when he decided to join the Army. Like most soldiers, he was driven by both patriotism for his adopted homeland and the pragmatic notion that the military could be a first step in a career that would enable him to provide for his new family. Instead, Jeloudov arrived at Fort Benning, Ga., for basic training in May 2009, in the middle of the economic crisis and rising xenophobia. The soldiers in his unit, responding to his Russian accent and New York City address, called him a “champagne socialist” and a “commie faggot.” He was, he told NEWSWEEK, “in the middle of the viper’s pit.” Less than two weeks after arriving on base, he was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, he says they told him, “It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them.”

What happened to Jeloudov is a part of life in the armed forces that hardly anyone talks about: male-on-male sexual assault. In the staunchly traditional military culture, it’s an ugly secret, kept hidden by layers of personal shame and official denial. Last year nearly 50,000 male veterans screened positive for “military sexual trauma” at the Department of Veterans Affairs, up from just over 30,000 in 2003. For the victims, the experience is a special kind of hell—a soldier can’t just quit his job to get away from his abusers. But now, as the Pentagon has begun to acknowledge the rampant problem of sexual violence for both genders, men are coming forward in unprecedented numbers, telling their stories and hoping that speaking up will help them, and others, put their lives back together. “We don’t like to think that our men can be victims,” says Kathleen Chard, chief of the posttraumatic-stress unit at the Cincinnati VA. “We don’t want to think that it could happen to us. If a man standing in front of me who is my size, my skill level, who has been raped—what does that mean about me? I can be raped, too.”
The article goes on to talk about how women coming forward may be making easier for male survivors to also tell their stories and how the repeal of DADT may make it easier for victims to come forward without fear of being labeled gay and kicked out of the military. I'd definitely recommend reading the whole thing. The experiences of these men parallel those of women survivors, but there is also an extra stigma that surrounds male survivors of sexual assault that makes it even more difficult for men to come forward. It's another high cost of rape culture and it's completely heartbreaking.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eric Cantor and How a Bill Becomes Law

About a week ago Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wanted to make a bill that would essentially bypass the Senate votes and Presidential signature that the pesky constitution requires before a bill can become law. I know this is old news, but the bill states that "if the Senate fails to pass a measure before April 6, 2011 providing for the appropriations of the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, H.R. 1 (as passed by the House on February 19, 2011) becomes law."


The only reason I'm posting this is so I can share the awesomeness that is Rep. Anthony Weiner responding to GOP craziness:


Of course a little schoolhouse rock could have done the job as well:


I'm over a week behind, but kudos to Weiner once again!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Christina Aguilera Tops Gay-Empowering Song Poll

It looks like "Born This Way" isn't the gay anthem of our generation. But guess what is? That's right, it's Christina Aguilera's "I am Beautiful." According to Digital Spy, "Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' has been named the most empowering pop song of the last decade for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in a new poll."
Equality charity Stonewall polled more than 1,000 online supporters to find out which song they thought had the most empowering message. Aguilera's 2003 hit achieved 33% of the vote, ahead of the 25% achieved by Boyzone's 'Better' in second place.

The Irish group became the first boyband to feature a gay couple in a music video, when the late Stephen Gateley was shown with a male partner. Lady GaGa's 'Born This Way' placed third with 17%, followed by Gossip's 'Standing In The Way Of Control' and Katy Perry's 'Firework' in fourth and fifth position respectively.

Responding to the news, Christina Aguilera said: "I'm delighted to have been voted the most inspirational pop act by Stonewall's supporters - my gay fan base is so important to me and this continues my special relationship with them."
The song was written by Linda Perry and I can definitely see what people like about it. I feel like a message that "I'm beautiful no matter what they say" is a lot more empowering than "God makes no mistakes." Then again, I'm totally biased.


The video is cheesy, but totally awesome. It's like what Katy Perry's "Firework" video was trying to do.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011