We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for December, 2010

What Will Happen to Economy in 2011?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 31st, 2010 5:31 am by HL

What Will Happen to Economy in 2011?
Robert Reich, Huffington Post

Why Americans Oppose Rule by Bureaucrats
Merrill Matthews, Forbes
Last week we saw a troubling new pattern: The Obama administration is embracing an “unreasonable” standard – pun not necessarily intended, but it fits – for deciding if it likes what private sector companies are doing.The unreasonable standard is being applied to both private sector health insurers and companies that provide Internet service.  But expect the White House to impose the standard on a lot more industries as the Obama blob continues to absorb every aspect of the economy.

Islamic Radicals Still Targeting Cartoonists
Michael Moynihan, Reason
Michael C. Moynihan | December 29, 2010One of the least surprising revelations to come out of the latest tranche of WikiLeaks cables is that the Syrian government, led by the supposedly secular Baathist Bashar al-Assad, helped arrange anti-Danish and anti-Norwegian riots in 2006 in response to the publication of the now-infamous "Mohammad cartoons."  According to a cable from the U.S. embassy in Damascus, the Assad government "allowed these demonstrations to occur and almost certainly helped to facilitate them at the beginning," a point…

Russia’s Twisted ‘Rule of Law’
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer
By Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion ColumnistBy Trudy Rubin


We’ve replaced this Repressive Regime with Massive Death, Great Expense, and perpetual Civil War, USA! USA!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

We’ve replaced this Repressive Regime with Massive Death, Great Expense, and perpetual Civil War, USA! USA!
Iraqi goes from Hobbesian Nightmare to perpetual low-level civil war. And it’s the best we could do in the end. So you see, we’re winning after all.

photo via the U.S. Army at flickr.com — so see your tax dollars at work!

I guess the Fred Hiatts of the world will always have their fantasies.

Watch Fred jump on a portion of this sentence like the NRA and the last clause of the Second Amendment:

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in violence in Iraq this year fell to its lowest level since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion…

The operative word, of course, is “since”, but more importantly to the all-knowing beltway, the second part of the full sentence will be left unacknowledged:

…but the decline is slowing as low-level conflict takes root, a study showed on Thursday.

Let’s just shorten this to what it is. The bloodbath we enabled led to the ethnic cleansing we sponsored and we leave (sort of) a damaged people to their perpetual resentments — and a LOT of weapons. Oh we got rid of that asshole we helped make, for the prettied-up rubble. And it only injured or killed somewhere around a million and cost a few trillion bucks.

So really how dare we castigate Bill Kristol’s nearly decade-long victory lap. We’re clearly the crazy ones.


Truthdig Radio: Save the Internet, Enlist the Gays, Movies of the Year

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Truthdig Radio: Save the Internet, Enlist the Gays, Movies of the Year
Truthdig editors, contributors and collaborators share their insights into the corporate takeover of the free and fair Internet and the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. Plus: Richard Schickel’s picks for the best movies of the year.

Truthdig editors, contributors and collaborators share their insights into the corporate takeover of the free and fair Internet and the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. Plus: Richard Schickel’s picks for the best movies of the year.


Related Entries



Critical House Republican Takes Aim At EPA

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Critical House Republican Takes Aim At EPA
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently indicated that he will be a visible and powerful opponent…

The Worst Political Clichés: From ‘Tax-And-Spend’ To ‘Maverick’
Sure, you can write hymns to bipartisanship and prattle on about compromise in politically divided Washington, but please stop pledging to “work across the aisle.”…

White House Revokes Venezuela Ambassador’s Visa
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States on Wednesday in a tit-for-tat diplomatic response to Venezuela’s…

Departing Democrat Warns Of Rise Of ‘Fascism’
Rep. John Hall (D-N.Y.), who is leaving Capitol Hill after being defeated by Republican challenger Nan Hayworth, recently warned that with the massive changes to…


Eight?Out?Of Nine Countries Allowing Same-Sex Marriage First Allowed Gay Soldiers To Serve Openly

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Eight?Out?Of Nine Countries Allowing Same-Sex Marriage First Allowed Gay Soldiers To Serve Openly

Following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Equality Matters finds that most countries to legalize same-sex marriage first allowed gays soldiers to serve openly. Of the nine countries that allow same-sex marriage and have a standing military, eight of them first allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in their militaries.

Nine Countries in the World With Standing Militaries Have Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

Ten Countries Have Legalized Same-Sex Marriage. According to Lambda Legal, an organization that advocates for same-sex marriage, the following ten countries passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry:

2000 – The Netherlands 
2003 – Belgium 
2005 – Canada, Spain 
2006 – South Africa 
2009 – Norway, Sweden 
2010 – Argentina, Iceland, Portugal [Lambda Legal, 7/19/10]

Iceland Legalized Same-Sex Marriage In 2010, But Has No Standing Military. Iceland’s parliament voted unanimously in June 2010 to legalize same sex marriage. However, the country has no standing military force. According to 2010 CIA World Factbook: 

Iceland has no standing military force; under a 1951 bilateral agreement – still valid – its defense was provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik; however, all US military forces in Iceland were withdrawn as of October 2006; although wartime defense of Iceland remains a NATO commitment, in April 2007, Iceland and Norway signed a bilateral agreement providing for Norwegian aerial surveillance and defense of Icelandic airspace (2008) [2010 Cia World Factbook, Accessed 12/23/10] [Reuters, “Iceland passes Gay Marriage Law In Unanimous Vote,” 6/11/10]

Netherlands: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 1974, Same-Sex Marriage 2001

Netherlands Became The First Country In The World To Allow Openly Gay Soldiers To Serve In 1974. A March 19 post on the website for Radio Netherlands Worldwide said:

Gays have been allowed to serve in the Dutch army since 1974. Before that, there were gays in the military under a version of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. [Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 3/19/10]

In a review of various countries’ policies on allowing gays to serve openly, a 2004 report on the Palm Center website said:

In the 26 years since the Dutch military became the first to lift its ban in 1974, no countries that have decided to allow known homosexuals to serve have reported a decrease in military performance. [“Homosexuality And The Israel Defense Forces,” Aaron Belkin and Melissa Levitt, 6/1/04

Netherlands Became First Country In The World To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Due To Law Passed In 2000, Enacted in April 2001. The Dutch parliament passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on September 12, 2000. From a BBC article written at the time:

The Dutch parliament has enacted a bill legalising fully-fledged marriages between same sex couples.

The move was approved by a large majority and supporters say the Netherlands now offers rights for gays beyond those of anywhere else in the world.

[…]

Two weeks ago a poll carried out by the reformist Daily newspaper showed that 62% of Dutch people have no objection to gay marriages. [BBC News, 9/12/00]

The law was enacted on April 1, 2001. From an article on CBS News World:

The Netherlands’ gay community rejoiced with tears and whoops of exultation Sunday over the world’s first same-sex marriages recognized under a new law.

Amsterdam’s mayor wed four gay couples at the stroke of midnight Saturday, immediately after the legislation enacted last year went into effect. The couples – three male and one female – nervously held hands and exchanged vows to fulfill the duties of matrimony set out in Dutch law. [CBS News World, 4/1/01]

Sweden: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 1976, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2009

Sweden Has Allowed Gay Soldiers To Serve Since 1976; Banned Military From Disqualifying Recruits Due To Sexual Orientation In 1984. According to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report prepared in 1993, when the U.S. government was considering lifting the military’s ban on gays serving:

Sweden modified its military policies over a period of 11 years before arriving at the current policy of not discriminating against homosexuals. The military had automatically exempted homosexuals from military service until 1976. In 1979, when the National Board of Health and Welfare removed homosexuality from its Classification of Illnesses Handbook, the military stopped considering homosexuality as an illness. The military, however, continued to annotate the file records of homosexual individuals. This practice was halted in 1984 when a Parliamentary commission concluded that homosexuality must not disqualify an individual from serving in the armed forces. In 1987, Sweden passed its law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals. The law also applies to the armed forces. [pg. 8, GAO report, “Homosexuals in the Military: Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries,” June 1993]

Sweden Legalized Same-Sex Marriages In April 2009. On April 1, 2009, Sweden legalized same-sex marriage. From a BBC article published on April 2, 2009:

Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to recognise same-sex marriage, becoming the fifth country in Europe to do so.

Sweden was one of the first countries to give gay couples legal “partnership” rights, in the mid-1990s, and allowed them to adopt children from 2002.

The new law lets homosexuals wed in either a civil or religious ceremony, though individual churches can opt out.

The law was passed by 226 votes to 22 and will come into force on 1 May. [BBC News, 4/2/09]

Norway: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 1979, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2008

Norway Has Allowed Gay Men And Lesbians To Serve Openly Since 1979. According to the book Gay Rights, Military Wrongs, published in 1996:

Two decades ago, the Netherlands became the first country to eliminate a formal policy of lesbian/gay exclusion from military service. Exclusion policies were also dropped or amended in…Norway in 1979. [p. 7, Gay Rights, Military Wrongs, edited by Craig A. Rimmerman, 1996]

Norway Legalized Same-Sex Marriage In June 2008. On June 11, 2008, Norway’s parliament legalized same-sex marriage. From an Agence France Press article:

Norway’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a new marriage law that allows homosexuals to marry and adopt children and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.

After a heated debate, the members of parliament adopted the text by a vote of 84 to 41.

[…]

Among other things, the new legislation replaces a so-called “partnership law” adopted in 1993 which gave Norwegian homosexuals the right to civil unions. [Agence France Presse, 6/11/08]

Spain: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 1985, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2005

Spain Allowed Gay Men And Lesbians To Serve Openly Starting In 1985. According to the 1993 GAO report, Spain revised its civilian laws in 1985 to allow gays to serve openly in their military. [pgs. 23-24, “Homosexuals in the Military: Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries,” June 1993]

Spain Legalized Same-Sex Marriage In June 2005. Spanish parliament approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on June 30, 2005. According to an article in the Washington Post:

The vote was held after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero unexpectedly took the floor of parliament to speak in its support. “We are expanding the opportunities for happiness of our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends and our relatives,” he said. “At the same time, we are building a more decent society.” [The Washington Post, 7/1/05]

Canada: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 1991, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2004

Canada Has Allowed Gay Men And Lesbians To Serve Openly Since Oct. 1992. According to the 1993 GAO report, Canada repealed its prohibition on gays in their military in October 1992. From the report:

Until recently the Canadian Forces prohibited homosexuals from serving in the military. Its former policy stated: Service policy does not allow homosexual members or members with a sexual abnormality to be retained in the Canadian Forces. The policy also required military personnel to report to their superiors other soldiers whom they suspected or discovered were homosexual.  DND began to reevaluate its policy in 1986, and the policy was amended in 1988. In 1992, the Federal Court of Canada declared that the Canadian Forces’ policies restricting the service of homosexuals were contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a result, the Canadian Forces revoked its policies and removed all restrictions on homosexuals. Civilian anti-discrimination laws now apply to the military. [pgs. 29-30, GAO report, “Homosexuals in the Military: Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries,” June 1993]

Canadian Supreme Court Ruled Same-Sex Marriages Constitutional In 2004; Canada Passed Same-Sex Marriage Bill In July 2005. Canada’s Supreme Court declared same-sex marriages constitutional on December 9, 2004. According to a December 10, 2009 Washington Post article, “The court gave the go-ahead to Parliament to legalize gay marriage nationally” and noted that it would be “a step that has strong public support.” [The Washington Post12/10/09]

On July 20, 2005, Canada’s legislature passed a bill granting full legal rights to same-sex couples. According to an article in The Globe and Mail:

Although the Tories in the Commons have promised to revive the issue on the hustings [on the stump], and in Parliament should they win election, a recent poll shows most Canadians do not want the pending law changed.

The poll, conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV, showed that 55 per cent want the legislation to stand; 39 per cent want an attempt made to repeal it and 6 per cent are uncertain. [The Globe and Mail, accessed via Nexis, 7/20/05]

South Africa: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 1998, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2006

South Africa Has Allowed Gay Men And Lesbians To Serve Openly Since 1998. According to a Palm Center report called “Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer”:

When the apartheid regime fell in 1994, the new democratic government committed itself to addressing human rights considerations, including the status of gays and lesbians.  After the South African Constitution adopted a provision of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 1996, the South African military followed suit.  In 1998, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) implemented an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action policy that formally declared that there would no longer be discrimination against gays and lesbians in the armed services and that the military was officially uninterested in the sexual orientation of any of its service members, gay or straight. [Palm Center, “Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer,” February 2010]

South Africa Legalized Same-Sex Marriage In Nov. 2006. Same-Sex marriage became legal in South Africa on November 30, 2006. From the Washington Post:

South Africa on Thursday became the first country in Africa, and the fifth in the world, to legalize same-sex marriages.

The Civil Union Act went into effect a day ahead of a Dec. 1 deadline set by the country’s Constitutional Court, which required that the marriage law be changed to ensure equality for gay men and lesbians. [The Washington Post12/1/06]

Argentina: Openly Gay Soldiers Since 2009, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2010

Argentina Has Allowed Gay Soldiers To Serve Openly Since March 2009. Argentina ended its prohibition on gays and lesbians serving openly on March 2, 2009. From a Huffington Post article written at the time:

Earlier this morning, the government of Argentina, an increasingly welcoming South American country when it comes to lesbians and gays, officially ended its prohibition on open service in the armed forces. Under the leadership of President Cristina Kirchner, the country rolled out a welcome mat for gay troops with an official policy of open service. “[W]ith this new system, gay men or lesbian women who wish to train in the forces should encounter no impediment, nor any military retaliation areas,” AG Magazine reported today. [The Huffington Post, 3/2/09]

Argentina Legalized Same-Sex Marriage In July 2010. Argentina’s legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage on July 15, 2010. From The Washington Post:

It was 4:05 a.m. and frigid outside the Congress building in Buenos Aires as Argentine lawmakers voted Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage…

[…]

The Senate voted 33 to 27 in favor of the bill, which the lower house had approved in May with strong backing from President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The vote — which also made Argentina the second country in the Americas, after Canada, to approve marriage for gay men and lesbians — prompted thousands of supporters to whoop in the streets and shout, “We made history!” [The Washington Post, 7/16/10]

Belgium: Openly Gay Soldiers, Same-Sex Marriage Since 2003

Belgium Allows Gay Soldiers To Serve Openly, Limits Some Assignments. According to the 1993 GAO report:

Belgium has no laws or regulations regarding the service of homosexuals into the military. Embassy officials stated that in practice homosexuality does not constitute grounds for exclusion or dismissal from the Belgian armed forces unless there is evidence of a psychopathic disorder such as sexual perversion. During recruitment, the military does not ask an individual’s sexual orientation. If homosexuality is discovered after enlistment, however, commanders may restrict the individual’s duty assignments. For instance, limitations may be placed on the person’s access to classified information, or the person may be excluded from certain tasks or units. In addition, we were told improper sexual conduct among members of the armed forces is not tolerated. [GAO report, “Homosexuals in the Military: Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries,” June 1993]

Only Portugal Allowed Same-Sex Marriage, But Did Not First Allow Gays To Serve Openly

Portugal Legalized Same-Sex Marriage In May 2010. Portugal’s legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage in January 2005, and conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced he would sign the bill on May 15, 2010. From an article on CBSNews.com:

Portugal’s conservative president announced Monday he is reluctantly ratifying a law allowing gay marriage, making the predominantly Catholic country the sixth in Europe to let same-sex couples wed. 

President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he would not veto the bill because majority liberal lawmakers would only overturn his decision. The country must focus instead on battling a crippling economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty, he said. 

[…]

Portugal lifted a prohibition on homosexuality in the early 1980s. In 2001, it passed a law allowing “civil unions” between same-sex couples, which granted couples certain legal, tax and property rights. However, it did not allow couples to take a partner’s name, nor inherit his or her possessions or state pension. [CBSNews.com, 5/17/10]

Portugal Does Not Currently Allow Gays To Serve Openly In The Military. The February 2010 Palm Center report said, “Presently 25 nations allow open gays to serve in their militaries, including all the original NATO countries besides Portugal, Iceland and the U.S.” [Palm Center Report, “Gays In Foreign Militaries,” 2/2010]


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

Presented By:

Megyn Kelly: Calling Aliens ‘Undocumented’ Like Calling Rape ‘Non-Consensual Sex’ (VIDEO)
Plenty of conservatives are pretty upset over a campaign by a journalism organization to convince reporters to stop using the terms “illegal aliens” and “illegal immigrants” in favor of “undocumented immigrant.” But none are as livid as perpetually outraged Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who on Wednesday afternoon asked if journalists were going to start calling rapists “non-consensual sex partners” next.


The Tattlesnake – East Coast Blizzard Buries Snow-Job Political Futures Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – East Coast Blizzard Buries Snow-Job Political Futures Edition
Your Tattler remembers well the Chicago blizzard of 1979 that buried the city under several feet of the stuff, along with the political future of Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic. Days after the snow stopped, the side streets were still not plowed, main arteries were narrow two-lane ruts in the snow, and parking was a matter […]


Study: Conservatives Have Larger ‘Fear Centers’ in Their Brains

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Study: Conservatives Have Larger ‘Fear Centers’ in Their Brains
British study shows conservatives’ brains tend to have larger amygdalas, which responsible for primitive emotions.

2010: The Year the Tide Turned Against AIDS?
A number of new medical breakthroughs, a slightly softened stance from the Vatican and a vigorous new generation of activists offer new hope–but huge challenges remain.

The Soy and Other ‘Natural’ Food Products in Your Cabinet May Contain a Dangerous Neurotoxin
All too often it’s the companies playing the "natural" card that are doing the most unnatural things to your food.


Marty Peretz Pays The Price

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Marty Peretz Pays The Price
New York magazine has a terrific piece on what has become of Martin Peretz since he was exposed as a racist. He is ostracized at Harvard, pushed out at the New Republic, mocked in the Jewish community, even his Muslim-bashing…


Christmas Eve Prediction: Obama Easily Re-Elected
It came to me as if in a dream. A year from now, President Obama’s re-election will be assured. The GOP primary battle will be amusing, but — like the GOP primaries in 1996 — it will be clear that…



Does Incoming House Judiciary Chairman Believe In Admitting Torture-Tainted Evidence?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Does Incoming House Judiciary Chairman Believe In Admitting Torture-Tainted Evidence?
Our guest blogger is Elon Green, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. During George W. Bush’s presidency, it was not uncommon for terrorism suspects to be tried, convicted and receive lengthy sentences in American courts. These numbers include Mohammed Jabarah, Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber,” Bryant Neal Vinas, Mohammed Junaid Babar and Shahawar Matin Siraj […]

Our guest blogger is Elon Green, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn.

lamarDuring George W. Bush’s presidency, it was not uncommon for terrorism suspects to be tried, convicted and receive lengthy sentences in American courts. These numbers include Mohammed Jabarah, Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber,” Bryant Neal Vinas, Mohammed Junaid Babar and Shahawar Matin Siraj — all of whom will be imprisoned for decades.

It is therefore disappointing to see Rep. Lamar Smith, the incumbent chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, act as if trying terrorism cases on American soil is an idea devised by the Obama Administration. In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Smith suggests the conviction of Ahmed Ghailani is an unfortunate precedent and a reason to favor military tribunals over the courts:

HH: In terms of other oversight issues, Congressman Smith, with the border, with Gitmo not closing, and that fiasco we had in New York City, do you think your committee will be looking at stopping additional trials of terror suspects in the United States?

LS: Well, as you say, they tried a terrorist in New York City. That was supposed to be their best case, they had their best witnesses. That was the one that they were going to use as an example and say you know, here, yes we can conduct a trial of a terrorist in the United States. And even if they get some rights as citizens, we’re still going to be able to find them guilty on all counts. Well as you know, this individual was found guilty on one count of, I think, 254. And even though he was found guilty of building the explosives, he wasn’t found guilty of killing, I think, 254 innocent people who were killed, among them several dozen Americans. So in that situation, it clearly did not work as the administration had planned, and it kind of blew up in their face, and the judge didn’t allow some of the evidence and some of the testimony that would have been allowed if this individual had been tried at Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the so-called Gitmo.

It’s certainly true that Judge Lewis Kaplan excluded evidence and testimony. Unmentioned by Rep. Smith — rather conveniently — is Judge Kaplan’s reason for doing so: the evidence was obtained after Ghailani was allegedly tortured, rendering it fruit of the poisonous tree.

Furthermore, the notion that the excluded evidence would have been admissible in a military tribunal setting is misguided. Experts across the political spectrum, including former Bush assistant attorney general Jack Goldsmith, disagree.

Rep. Smith displays a similar lack of awareness of current court cases. In addition to the convictions listed above, New York has been awash in terrorism cases for some time. As the Daily News noted nearly a year ago:

Pending right now in the Southern District of New York is a list of terrorism cases from around the world: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, North Africa.

In fact, a week ago, Manhattan’s 2nd Circuit upheld the conviction of Hassan Abu-Jihaad, “a former member of the U.S. Navy of leaking classified ship movements to a jihadist organization.”

The Ghailani case was not “an example” for future terrorism trials; it was simply one of many.