neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Drudge makes Oak Park's "War on Veggies" go viral

Here's a story I've been following on my blog since July 30th, when I posted Oak Park Woman plants vegetable garden; city objects. In it, I summarized the situation.
the Bass family of Oak Park lost their lawn when the sewer line running under their front yard was replaced. Instead of replacing it with a lawn, they replaced it with a vegetable garden. Their neighbors complained to the city and the city has cited them with a criminal violation of city ordinances. The Basses and the city have a court date on July 26th.
...
Mrs. Bass posted a more complete summary after I wrote (and she read) the above. Please read it.

As someone familiar with the area, I'm not surprised this is happening in Oak Park. )
Beginning Friday, July 8th, the number of hits on that post began climbing dramatically. When I investigated how that happened, I found out that Drudge happened.

A couple of days ago, Matt Drudge placed a link to The Agitator's post on his front page with the headline "Woman faces 93 days in jail for planting garden in front yard..." Since then, the story has spread like wildfire. Here is a list of the media sources I've found covering this story with links to their articles )

As for how Drudge was indirectly responsible, he drove traffic to The Agitator, which drove traffic Julie Bass's blog OakParkHateVeggies, where she has a link to my post. Even from three steps away, Drudge increased my readership. Behold the power of Drudge.

In case you're wondering what you can do about it, there is a petition. 4,400 people signed it by Friday, less than a week after it was put up.

China eases trade rules, allows U.S. fund sales

The pledges were made in two days of talks between the world's two biggest economies which ended with both sides hailing progress in their often tense relationship.

The difficulties in relations, particularly in human rights issues, were underscored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who described Beijing's rights record as "deplorable" in a magazine interview. China's current crackdown on dissent, she said, amounted to "a fool's errand".

But on economic matters, officials were upbeat after talks.

"We are seeing very promising shifts in the direction of Chinese economic policy," U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said.

The annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue yielded more results on economic issues than some analysts had expected, although many remained skeptical China's market-opening vows would translate into concrete benefits for U.S. business.

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When I first heard China call the United States out on some of its own problems with human rights and discrimination, I was euphoric. Finally, a superpower who can stand up to the United States! But it's clear to me now that this is the same situation as the Cold War, where both sides go back and forth calling each other names and things progress as usual, if not slower, just so one side doesn't lose face. Case in point, it looks like China's going to stand firm with this yuan reevaluation stuff for a while, because there's no way Xi Jinping is going to "back down" to the US within the first three years of his presidency.

The New Jim Crow

“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander told a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library this past Wednesday, the first of many jarring points she made in a riveting presentation.

Alexander, currently a law professor at Ohio State, had been brought in to discuss her year-old bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness More Black Men Now in Prison System than Were Enslaved. Interest ran so high beforehand that the organizers had to move the event to a location that could accommodate the eager attendees. That evening, more than 200 people braved the pouring rain and inevitable traffic jams to crowd into the library’s main room, with dozens more shuffled into an overflow room, and even more latecomers turned away altogether. Alexander and her topic had struck a nerve.

Growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain the skyrocketing numbers of black — and increasingly brown — men caught in America’s prison system, according to Alexander, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice  Harry Blackmun after attending Stanford Law. “In fact, crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now at historical lows.”

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1,500 protest US occupation in Iraq, Libya

Marking the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, protesters rallied Saturday against continued American involvement there in Chicago.

The protesters also spoke out against the U.S. military getting involved in Libya.

Their message is simple. They want U.S. military involvement in the Middle East to end.

"We cannot continue to spend billions of dollars on war," said protester Julie Harley.

Many peace activists in Chicago took to Michigan Avenue Saturday to mark the 8th anniversary of the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.

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Op-Ed: Fiddling While Libya Burns

PRESIDENT Obama says the noose is tightening around Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. In fact, it is tightening around the Libyan rebels, as Colonel Qaddafi makes the most of the world’s dithering and steadily retakes rebel-held towns. The United States and Europe are temporizing on a no-flight zone while the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council and now the Arab League have all called on the United Nations Security Council to authorize one. Opponents of a no-flight zone have put forth five main arguments, none of which, on close examination, hold up.

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The United States should immediately ask the Security Council to authorize a no-flight zone and make clear to Russia and China that if they block the resolution, the blood of the Libyan opposition will be on their hands. We should push them at least to abstain, and bring the issue to a vote as soon as possible. If we get a resolution, we should work with the Arab League to assemble an international coalition to impose the no-flight zone. If the Security Council fails to act, then we should recognize the opposition Libyan National Council as the legitimate government, as France has done, and work with the Arab League to give the council any assistance it requests.

Any use of force must be carefully and fully debated, but that debate has now been had. It’s been raging for a week, during which almost every Arab country has come on board calling for a no-flight zone and Colonel Qaddafi continues to gain ground. It is time to act.

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NPR CEO Resigns After VP Criticizes Tea Party

NPR's president and CEO resigned Wednesday in an effort to limit the damage from hidden camera footage of a fellow executive deriding the tea party movement as "seriously racist." Conservatives called the video proof that the network is biased and undeserving of federal funds.

NPR's board had pushed for the resignation of Vivian Schiller, whom conservatives also criticized in October for firing analyst Juan Williams over comments he made about Muslims. She was not in the video, which was posted Tuesday by a conservative activist, but she told The Associated Press that staying on would only hurt NPR's fight for federal money.

"We took a reputational hit around the Juan Williams incident, and this was another blow to NPR's reputation. There's no question," she said.

The timing of the video was exceptionally bad from NPR's perspective, with Republicans in the new House majority looking to cut all federal funding of public radio and television. Public broadcasting officials say that would force some stations to fold.

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This is some bullshit.

Military chaplain: Soldier’s rape ‘must have been God’s will’


WASHINGTON – A lawsuit targeting the Pentagon contains an astonishing anecdote about a retired Sergeant's experience after being sexually assaulted by a colleague during a deployment to Afghanistan.

The lawsuit, available here, was filed by 17 military women against Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld in Virginia. It assails "the military's repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights."

Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla alleges in the complaint that in 2006, after her military supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her, she was raped by a colleague she was working with at the time.


"He pulled her into his bed, held her down, and raped her. He also photographed the rape," it reads. Havrilla reported the incident within a month.

In February 2009, she reported for active duty training and, upon seeing her rapist, went into shock.

"She immediately sought the assistance of the military chaplain," the lawsuit reads. "When SGT Havrilla met with the military chaplain, he told her that 'it must have been God's will for her to be raped' and recommended that she attend church more frequently."

The complains adds that "SGT Havrilla suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression."

Havrilla's harrowing story, and the broader lawsuit, sheds light on the ongoing and widely reported problem of sexual assault in the military.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said it was "a command priority" to "ensure all of our service members are safe from abuse" and pledged to commit more resources to the goal.

"Sexual assault is a wider societal problem and Secretary Gates has been working with the service chiefs to make sure the U.S. military is doing all it can to prevent and respond to it," Morrell told NBC News.

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Newt Gingrich: EPA Should Be Scrapped


WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is criticizing President Barack Obama's policies as a "war on American energy."

Gingrich, who is weighing a bid to challenge Obama in 2012, used an appearance Thursday at a conservative meeting to pitch his own energy alternative. Gingrich says a revised energy policy could help create jobs and increase national security.

He told the Conservative Political Action Conference, the unofficial start to the 2012 White House campaign, that he would scrap the Environmental Protection Agency and its regulations and replace it with an Environmental Solutions Agency that rewards innovation.

Gingrich warned that hundreds of thousands of jobs are in danger if Obama is allowed to continue his environmental policies.

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Israel: Curb criticism of Egypt's Mubarak

Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.

Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West's interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime. The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak's ouster.

Israeli officials are keeping a low profile on the events in Egypt, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even ordering cabinet members to avoid commenting publicly on the issue.

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Could there be any stronger indication that the United States' alliance with Israel is little more than a Cold War relic? When it is in the United States' "genuine interests" to prop up a massively unpopular president-for-life, maybe it's time to reconsider some priorities.

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THE VATICAN ARE DOUCHECASTLES, NO ONE IS SURPRISED

Tussling Over Jesus
By Nicholas D. Kristof

The National Catholic Reporter newspaper put it best: "Just days before Christians celebrated Christmas, Jesus got evicted."

Yet the person giving Jesus the heave-ho in this case was not a Bethlehem innkeeper. Nor was it an overzealous mayor angering conservatives by pulling down Christmas decorations. Rather, it was a prominent bishop, Thomas Olmsted, stripping St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix of its affiliation with the Roman Catholic diocese.

The hospital's offense? It had terminated a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. The hospital says the 27-year-old woman, a mother of four children, would almost certainly have died otherwise.

Click for the full story. )

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Please read Manson's original column and the National Women's Law Center report; they're linked within the body of the article and are worth the read!

I've really disapproved of the direction that the Vatican has been going, and this just makes me so happy that it's not just non-Catholics who are fed up with the bullshit from the higher-ups. And a million kudos to Sister McBride for doing what she did, and another million kudos for St. Joseph's for unifying behind her.

The closing quotation and paragraph made me tear up.

Protest March Marks Martin Luther King Day In South Carolina

Carrying signs that read "Don't stop until the flag drops" and "It's not about heritage," 1,000 people marched to the grounds of the state capitol building on Monday to protest the Confederate battle flag on the Capitol grounds.

The march was organized on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to protest the continuing commemoration of the Confederate role in the Civil War.

Organizers said it was also to protest the threat of state education budget cuts, a proposal for a state identification card and talk of stricter immigration laws in South Carolina.

Linda Pearson, 61, of Columbia said she was proud to march on Martin Luther King Day.

"I come every year and I usually try to bring my grandchildren. It's still all about the flag, really," she said.

The Confederate flag hung from a flagpole atop the Capitol building until 2000
, when it was moved to a monument to Confederate dead elsewhere on the grounds. The flag was moved only after an NAACP economic boycott of the state.

Dr. Lonnie Randolph Jr., president of the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, said the organization wants the flag completely removed from the grounds.

It also condemned South Carolina's ongoing commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, which it views as celebrating slavery.

In December, the NAACP organized protest marches in Charleston around a "Secession Ball" that marked South Carolina's secession from the United States 150 years ago.

The ball was sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and featured period dress and the singing of "Dixie."

In an interview, Randolph said he was sure the United States would not allow a commemoration of the Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota, when Indians were killed by U.S. cavalry in December, 1890; or a party celebrating the dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima; or a party celebrating the Holocaust in which millions of Jews died.

"They would not allow it and the NAACP is not going to allow South Carolina to do it," he said, referring to the state's commemorations of the Civil War.

South Carolina, in December 1860, was the first state to secede from the United States after the election of Abraham Lincoln, leading to the formation of the Confederacy.

The crowd listening to speeches after the march included the state's new attorney general, Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, who shocked a joint session of Congress in September, 2009, when he shouted "You lie!" at President Barack Obama as he spoke to Congress.

"I'm here to offer support as a private citizen," said Alan Wilson, also a Republican. "Our state has come a long way but we have a long way to go. We have got to look for common ground wherever we can."

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Senate Passes 9/11 Health Bill as Republicans Back Down

By Raymond Hernandez

WASHINGTON -- After years of fierce lobbying and debate, Congress approved a bill on Wednesday to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others who became sick from toxic fumes, dust and smoke after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

The $4.3 billion bill cleared its biggest hurdle early in the afternoon when the Senate unexpectedly approved it just 12 days after Republican senators had blocked a more expensive House version from coming to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

In recent days, Republican senators had been under fire for their opposition to the legislation.

Click for the full story. )

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WELL, IT'S ABOUT TIME. This is an awesome follow-up to a previous post on this community regarding the matter. Anthony Weiner, I hope you're not angry anymore. :)

Venezuela acquires 1,800 antiaircraft missiles from Russia

Russia delivered at least 1,800 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009, U.N. arms control data show, despite vigorous U.S. efforts to stop President Hugo Chavez's stridently anti-American government from acquiring the weapons.

The United States feared that the missiles could be funneled to Marxist guerrillas fighting Colombia's pro-American government or Mexican drug cartels, concerns expressed in U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and first reported in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

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Senate Dems Vow to Pass DREAM Act Immigration Measure By Year's End

Senate Democratic leaders vowed to pass the controversial immigration bill known as the DREAM Act by the end of the year, after delaying a vote on Thursday because they couldn't advance a House-approved version past Republican opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the upper chamber, said in a joint statement that they will work with House leaders and the administration to ensure that the bill, which would carve out a path to legalization for hundreds of thousands of foreign-born youngsters brought to this country illegally, will be law by the end of the lame-duck session.

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You can tell this was written for Fox News by the number of times the word "illegal" is used. The language in the last couple of paragraphs rubs me the wrong way as well.   And I just noticed the original headline, in the URL: "Senate Punts DREAM Act Vote House Passes Different Version"

In my eyes, there's not much "controversial" about this bill. Human decency aside, we would entice people who have a *college education* to stay in America.

DREAM Act: I'm an Illegal Immigrant at Harvard

I was a little girl who hadn't even learned the alphabet when I overstayed my visa. If the DREAM Act doesn't pass, I might have to take my degree and go back to a country I never knew.

I'm a senior at Harvard and I'm undocumented. I’ve spent most of my life keeping my immigration status a secret, but in retrospect it seems that I could have been more discreet at times.

I watched September's live vote of the DREAM Act—the controversial legislation that would pave the way toward amnesty for illegal immigrants who have grown up and gone to college here—as I pretended to take notes in one of my political science seminars. Classmates on either side of me, who may have suspected my secret, shot me glances that alternated between the confused and the sorry as I fumbled with my laptop and watched the C-Span live stream on mute. It didn't look to be going well. Harry Reid looked flustered. And then I saw the news ticker flash announce what I already knew—the DREAM Act was not going in for a vote.

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New York Times: DEBT IS OVER (If You Want It)

The New York Times has afforded you the opportunity to balance the budget!  Check boxes to enact that reform.  Haven't had a chance to do my own version (busy busy busy) but I thought you guys might have fun with this!

The game can be found here.

White House Gives In On Bush Tax Cuts


WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.
That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.

"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."

"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."

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POLITICS!!!!!!

I suppose this shouldn't be surprising.  There are plenty of moneyed interests and individuals on both sides of the aisle. The Democrats talked a big game in the run up to the election, but had no problem waiting until afterwards to "compromise."


Keith Olbermann suspended from MSNBC indefinitely

Keith Olbermann suspended over political donations

Msnbc TV host Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely on Friday for making campaign donations to three Democratic congressional candidates, apparently in violation of NBC News ethics policy.

The announcement came in a one-sentence statement from msnbc TV President Phil Griffin: “I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

The donations were first reported by the Politico website earlier in the day.

Olbermann acknowledged the donations in a statement to Politico, saying he gave the maximum legal donation of $2,400 to Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who waged an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Tea Party standard-bearer Rand Paul.

Like most news organizations, NBC News, parent of msnbc TV, prohibits political contributions by its journalists without prior approval of the president. (Msnbc.com, a joint venture of NBC Universal and Microsoft, also has a policy against its journalists contributing to political campaigns.)


What do you think? Is it fair to ban journalists from donating to political campaigns, or are there better ways to (try to) ensure a lack of bias?

([personal profile] treesahquiche, can we get a pundit: keith olbermann tag?)

People's Daily: China urges US to end embargo against Cuba

China on Tuesday urged the United States to terminate as soon as possible its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.

Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, made the appeal as he spoke at a UN General Assembly plenary meeting.

Wang said the General Assembly has adopted resolutions by an overwhelming majority for eighteen consecutive years on the necessity of ending the US embargo against Cuba which has been imposed since 1961.

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Translation: China can't really boss the United States around and neither can the UN, but it is fun to pretend that the US will get their heads out of the sand and update their foreign policy from the 1970s.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Lots of midterms.  Hope everyone is excited for the election!