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Archive for September 30th, 2011

Iranian Faces Death for Being Christian

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Iranian Faces Death for Being Christian
An Iranian pastor faces execution in the country for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. Youcef Nadarkhani, 32, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, a provincial court has ruled. Nadarkhani, a pastor in the 400-member Church of Iran, has been held since October 2009 — when he protested to local education authorities that his son was forced to read from the Koran at school.

More are coming

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

More are coming
While they were mocked and ignored until Tony Bologna decided to be a minor-league Bull Connor the protests on Wall Street are gathering momentum – here come the veterans.

picture by editrrix via flickr.com

While they were mocked and ignored until Tony Bologna decided to be a minor-league Bull Connor the protests on Wall Street are gathering momentum – here come the veterans:

…as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board. They are motivated perhaps by a sense of solidarity and a desire to tap into its growing success, but undoubtedly by something else too—embarrassment that a group of young people using Twitter and Facebook have been able to draw attention to progressive causes in a way they haven’t been able to in years.

Well, the right-wing and media mockery will flow now that the unions are getting involved…I guess protests that aren’t underwritten by the Koch Brothers — $11 billion richer the couple years as they laid off thousands, those job creators — are not very “Murican”.

Meanwhile, the Greeks, if not their government, know how to do a protest as well.

International experts with the task of compiling a crucial review of Greece’s fiscal progress ran into trouble before they could even start the job as public-sector workers protesting against wage cuts, layoffs and higher taxes locked them out of office buildings.

Well, I hope Antonius Bolognius was ready with the pepper spray.

Chris Christie Teases

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Chris Christie Teases

By Nate Beeler, Cagle Cartoons, The Washington Examiner

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Wall Street Protests

By Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Could Model Airplanes Be Used As Terrorist Weapons?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Could Model Airplanes Be Used As Terrorist Weapons?
BOSTON — Model airplanes are suddenly on the public’s radar as potential terrorist weapons. A 26-year-old man from a Boston suburb was arrested Wednesday and…

Jeff Biggers: BUSTED: Why Did House Committee Censor Appalachian Testimony on Mountaintop Removal? (VIDEO)
The House Natural Resources Committee has some explaining to do. A press release summary from the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources completely deleted any mention of the official testimonies by Appalachian coalfield leader.

New Dem Super PAC To Focus On Latino Voters
WASHINGTON — In a sign that unions too are looking to make the most of the Citizens United decision, labor groups on Thursday launched a…

Robin Koerner: Jon Stewart’s Liberal Challenge to Ron Paul
Ron Paul’s Constitutional America is the very opposite of the corporatist dystopia that Jon Stewart fears: it is rather more like the world that Jon would like to see were the government to be doing its job.

“Communist-Trained” Obama’s “Massive” “Conspiracy”: Extremist NRA Goes Over The Edge

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

“Communist-Trained” Obama’s “Massive” “Conspiracy”: Extremist NRA Goes Over The Edge

Over the past two weeks, leaders of the National Rifle Association have embarked on a campaign of extremist rhetoric and wild conspiracies. They have called federal law enforcement agents “jack-booted thugs,” referred to President Obama as “Communist-trained,” and described a “massive Obama conspiracy” in which the administration plans to push for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The organization has also pushed a radical legislative agenda during that period, calling for a national concealed carry reciprocity bill that law enforcement groups call “dangerous” and pushing for concealed firearms on college campuses.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre

LaPierre: “Massive Obama Conspiracy” To “Deceive” Gun Owners, Repeal Second Amendment. In a September 23 speech at Florida’s Conservative Political Action Conference, LaPierre said:

LaPIERRE: [I]n public, [President Obama will] remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the old Clinton [assault weapons] gun ban, he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws, and he’ll even say he looked the other way when Congress passed a couple of minor pro-gun bills by huge majorities. The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment.

But it’s a big fat stinking lie, just like all the other lies that have come out of this corrupt administration. It’s all part — it’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country. […]

Before the President was even sworn into office, they met and they hatched a conspiracy of public deception to try to guarantee his re-election in 2012. […]

And Obama himself is no fool.  So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep, and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools, and we are not fooled. We see the president’s strategy crystal clear: get re-elected, and with no other re-elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms freedom. Erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and exorcise it from the U.S. Constitution. That’s their agenda. [LaPierre speech, 9/23/11, via Media Matters]

LaPierre: ATF’s Operation Fast And Furious Was Intended To Push Gun Control. In a column for the NRA’s publications, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre wrote:

In one of the best descriptions of “Fast and Furious,” Robert Farago wrote in the Washington Times that  ” …The agency’s motive for creating a program that violated Mexican sovereignty and put innocent lives at risk: inflating the number of American firearms recovered at Mexican crime scenes. The more blood-soaked American guns in Mexico the ATF could identify for its congressional paymasters, the more compelling its case for increased federal funding and new agency-enforced gun-control regulations. In short, ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ was an anti-gun-running gun-running program.”

All of this was done to bring about Barack Obama’s promised “under the radar” gun control. The BATFE/Justice response to getting caught in this bloody scandal is to double down. Breathtaking. [NRAPublications.org, accessed 9/28/11]

For the truth about Operation Fast and Furious, click here. 

LaPierre: Gun Owners Should Respond By “Marshalling Our Collective Power” To “Unelect” Obama And “His Anti-Gun-Owner Axis In Congress.” In his column LaPierre wrote:

With President Obama ignoring the law and the Constitution, and with his total lack of cooperation with Congress in the oversight of “Operation Fast and Furious,” the only way we will truly change this continuing outrage is to change the regime this coming election year.

Gun owners must begin marshalling our collective power to unelect not only Obama and his crowd, but to unelect his anti-gun-owner axis in Congress.” [NRAPublications.org, accessed 9/28/11]

NRA Board Member Ted Nugent

Nugent: Federal Law Enforcement Officials Are “Jack-Booted Thugs.” In a September 15 appearance on NRA Radio’s Cam & Company, Nugent referred to the Fish and Wildlife Service officers who raided Gibson Guitars on suspicion that company had illegally imported Indian hardwood as “jack-booted thugs”:

CAM EDWARDS (HOST): And you didn’t have anyone from the Obama administration come to try to confiscate your Gibson Birdland?

NUGENT: No, but we welcome them on a nightly basis because I had about 30 magnificent Gibson on display. This is before the jack-booted thugs decided to do an armed raid on Gibson for wood questions. [NRA Radio, Cam & Company, 9/15/11]

  • LaPierre Forced To Apologize In 1995 After NRA Fundraising Letter Called Law Enforcement “Jack-Booted Thugs.” From a 1995 Associated Press article:

 The National Rifle Association has apologized for a recent fund-raising letter that described some federal agents as “jack-booted thugs.”

“I really feel bad about the fact that the words in that letter have been interpreted to apply to all federal law-enforcement officers,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a telephone interview from Phoenix.

“If anyone thought the intention was to paint all federal law-enforcement officials with the same broad brush, I’m sorry, and I apologize,” LaPierre said yesterday. […]

LaPierre’s apology comes after a week of steadily mounting criticism of the NRA. It began May 10 when former President Bush revealed he had resigned from the group to protest the letter. Earlier this week, President Clinton joined the critics and praised Bush. [AP, 5/18/95]

Nugent: Obama Is “Communist-Raised, Communist-Educated, Communist-Trained.” In his NRA Radio appearance, Nugent further stated:

NUGENT: You know who I blame, Cam?

CAM EDWARDS (HOST): Who’s that?

NUGENT: The American people. We talk about this every year before we do the NRA annuals, and I’ve always condemned the curse of apathy. And of course, the curse of apathy has a name, and it’s we the people. We have bent over so far as a citizenry in this country that we’ve allowed a communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-trained, a church-goer to the hate-America church, we’ve allowed him to become the president of the United States of America, because we bent over that far. We’ve allowed our federal agents to get away with this kind of jack-booted thuggery. [NRA Radio, Cam & Company, 9/15/11]

Nugent’s Theory Of Law Enforcement: Officials Should Have Called Gibson And Asked To Come Look At Their Receipts. In Nugent’s September 20 appearance on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight, he said of the Gibson raid:

NUGENT: What they did to Gibson Guitars is so illogical, so anti-American, so contrary to the claims of creating jobs, they shut down a globally-revered American craftsman, Gibson Guitars. And you know, Lou, I’m just a guitar player, but let me know how I would have done it if I heard that maybe Gibson had some illegal wood. I wouldn’t get an armed raid like I was going after some child rapist or murderers or drug runners, of course, then we’d have to arrest the ATF. What I would do is I would call Gibson and say, “Hey, can I come down and look at your receipts? I hear you got some bad wood.” Can you believe the depth of abuse and the outrageous assault on freedom and positive forces in this country? [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/20/11]

Nugent: “Modern-Day Economic Slavery” Is A “Hallmark Of The Democratic Party.” In his September 21 Washington Times column, Nugent wrote:

The Democratic fear-mongering machine is on a full-tilt boogie to scare the elderly into believing that Mr. Perry wants to throw them out in the street. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth, but no one with an ounce of brains has ever thought truth was a core value of the Democratic Party or its media. Dishonest scare tactics and modern-day economic slavery are the hallmarks of the Democratic Party.

When elected president, Mr. Perry won’t order the Treasury Department to stop mailing out Social Security checks to the elderly. What he is going to do is revamp the program so that future generations of Americans aren’t subjected to the same Ponzi-scheme-like fraud that has been forced on retirees. [Washington Times, 9/21/11]

“The Real Architects Of The Destruction Of Black America Are Democratic Party Members.” In his September 27 column, Nugent wrote of actor Morgan Freeman:

If Mr. Freeman could further remove his racist blinders and study the historical condition of black America, he would find the black community was vibrant and strong 60 years ago. This is not the case today. Instead of leaping to ugly and unfounded charges of racism, Mr. Freeman should ask some fundamental questions about what has happened to black America and who is responsible for the destruction.

The real architects of the destruction of black America are Democratic Party members who have lied to and manipulated black Americans into believing that the federal government is the answer to improving their condition when, in reality, it is the destroyer of black America. [Washington Times, 9/27/11]

NRA’s Radical Legislative Agenda

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity. From a September 23 NRA press release:

As we reported last week, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security recently held a hearing on H.R. 822, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.”

This critically important bill, introduced earlier this year by Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and cosponsored by more than 240 of their colleagues, would enable millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states.

There is currently only one remaining state (Illinois) that has no clear legal way for individuals to carry concealed firearms for self-defense.  Forty states have permit systems that make it possible for any law-abiding person to obtain a permit, while most of the others have discretionary permit systems. (Vermont has never required a permit.) 

H.R. 822 would mark a major step forward for gun owners’ rights by significantly expanding where those permits are recognized. [NRA release, 9/23/11]

For the truth about the reciprocity bill, including complaints from law enforcement groups that it would be “dangerous” for their members, click here.

Concealed Weapons On Idaho College Campuses. From a September 25 AP article:

A National Rifle Association lobbyist says the guns-right lobby will attempt to persuade Idaho lawmakers next year to allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses without a permit.
The Idaho State Journal reports that Matt Dogali of the NRA at a meeting at Idaho State University last week said people should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and to bring that weapon onto campuses.  

Earlier this year lawmakers decided to leave it to university leaders to decide how to regulate firearms.
The House passed a measure that would have prohibited schools from banning firearms anywhere on campus except in undergraduate residence halls, but state senators killed the bill, arguing “there are times and places where guns are not appropriate on campus.” [AP, 9/25/11]

Fining Local Florida Officials For Not Taking Gun Laws Off The Books. From the September 28 edition of Florida Today:

Kate Latorre’s law firm, which represents a dozen Central Florida cities and towns, has been scrambling in recent weeks. She and other lawyers at the firm have been working with city officials to hunt down and wipe out references to guns in municipal codes.

Such changes are popping up this month on government meeting agendas throughout the county and state. That’s because, starting Saturday, county, city and town officials will be personally liable for knowingly having gun-control rules in their ordinances, under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature.

The law places new penalties in Florida law that says the state – and not counties, cities and towns – is solely responsible for regulating guns. That includes, for example, fines of up to $5,000 for each appointed or elected local government official who violates the law.

For the public, that means a city no longer can restrict someone with a concealed weapons permit from taking a handgun into a park or public building, except in specific cases. Restrictions, however, still apply at courthouses and schools.

The National Rifle Association said fining public officials was necessary because local governments had “thumbed their noses” at earlier laws aimed at limiting gun-control ordinances.

Eliminating local gun-control rules was “intended to stop local governments from making criminals out of law-abiding citizens, just because they simply crossed a city limit or county line,” the NRA said. “It was intended to provide uniform gun laws, so that no matter where in the state you live and no matter where in the state you travel, the same gun laws apply.” [Florida Today, 9/28/11]

Trying To Stop Doctors From Asking Patients About Guns In Their Homes. From a September 14 Tribune Media article:

In a first-of-its-kind battle over gun rights, a federal judge in Miami has temporarily blocked Florida from enforcing a controversial new law designed to prevent doctors from asking patients whether they have firearms in their homes.

The temporary injunction issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke says the law runs afoul of the Constitution’s right to free speech.

“The law directly targets protected expression by restricting it,” she wrote.

“A practitioner who counsels a patient on firearm safety, even when entirely irrelevant to medical care or safety, does not affect or interfere with the patient’s right to continue to own, possess or use firearms,” she added.

The law, nicknamed “Docs vs. Glocks,” was signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June and was strongly backed by the National Rifle Association. It would require that doctors, emergency medical personnel and other health care providers refrain from asking about gun ownership unless they “in good faith (believe) that this information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.” [Tribune Media, 9/14/11]

  • Expert: Bill Causes Doctors To Chose Between Following Law And Their “Moral Obligation.” Matt Miller, physician and associate director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, said of the bill:

Talking to patients about safety issues is the professional and moral obligation of doctors, especially pediatricians, whose patients need to be protected from the two leading causes of death among is most likely to kill and injure them: motor vehicles and guns. After all, children and adolescents are more likely to die from preventable firearm injuries (including suicide, unintentional firearm injuries, and homicide) than from anything other than motor vehicle injuries.

It is immoral and completely political for the NRA to intimidate physicians from fulfilling their Hippocratic obligation to protect their patients. Just as doctors must talk to their patients (and to the parents of their patients when their patient is a minor) about seat belts use, they must also talk to their patients about the risks of a gun in the home, especially when kept unlocked and loaded. The legislature must also be called to task for abetting this unhealthy interference with the doctor-patient relationship –at the cost of many lives, especially among those who don’t have a voice themselves, our nations children. [Political Correction, 9/28/11]

Undercover Sting Nabs Boeing Military Aircraft Factory Workers Buying, Selling Fake Drugs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Undercover Sting Nabs Boeing Military Aircraft Factory Workers Buying, Selling Fake Drugs
Boeing thought a lot of employees who work on military aircraft at their factory in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania were on drugs. So they brought in the feds.

Rezwan Ferdaus: The Drummer Accused Of Plotting ‘Drone’ Attack On D.C.
The last time Rezwan Ferdaus, the 26-year-old Massachusetts man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon with C-4 loaded model airplanes, had a run-in with the law was when he and two other students poured concrete in front of 10 doors to his high school in 2003.

Watchdogs Ask IRS To Probe Non-Profits Affiliated With Karl Rove And Obama Aides
Two good government groups have formally asked the IRS to investigate the actions of Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect, who they say should be inelligible for tax exempt status.

Seven Reasons Why Chris Christie Won’t Be the GOP Nominee

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Seven Reasons Why Chris Christie Won’t Be the GOP Nominee
1. He’s a Media Darling. Aside from the fact that Christie keeps saying ‘NO’ to a presidential run and the Beltway Punditocracy keeps looking at it upside-down and seeing ‘ON,’ the chattering classes apparently have missed one salient fact: they are not popular with the GOP base who regard them, at best, as the ‘liberal […]

Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed
American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has been killed in Yemen, CNN reports.

“The U.S. regards al-Awlaki, who was believed to be hiding in Yemen, as the biggest threat to its homeland security. Western intelligence officials believe al-Awlaki is a senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates.”

Christie Seriously Considering Bid
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “is seriously rethinking his months of denials and may launch a campaign for the White House after all,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

“In the last week, Christie has been swayed away from his earlier refusals to run by an aggressive draft effort from a cadre of Republicans and donors unhappy with the GOP field, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.”

Reading the Tea Leaves on Wall Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Reading the Tea Leaves on Wall Street
For a group initially dismissed as fair-weather warriors, the September 17 “occupiers” of Wall Street are now set to spend a sixth soggy night in the Financial District’s Zuccotti Park. And while this particular action is riddled with flaws –…

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Mr. President: Play Jujitsu With The U.N. Vote
The most frustrating thing about Gershom Gorenberg’s smart letter to President Obama in The American Prospect is that there is nothing in it that its recipient does not already know: Abbas is going to the U.N. Security Council because bilateral…

Video Game Movies For Non-Gamers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Video Game Movies For Non-Gamers
Via io9, Forbes has an interesting piece about David Maisel, the former Marvel executive who helped engineer the DNA that animates the current crop of superhero movies, and his turn to video game movies, asking if he can mainstream them in the same way. I hope this is the case. I’m continuing to play my […]

Via io9, Forbes has an interesting piece about David Maisel, the former Marvel executive who helped engineer the DNA that animates the current crop of superhero movies, and his turn to video game movies, asking if he can mainstream them in the same way.

I hope this is the case. I’m continuing to play my very pokey way through Portal, but given how low my skill level is and how long it’s taking me, it’s going to be ages before I’m remotely ready to play something like World of Warcraft or Halo in a way that would actually allow me to enjoy it and get something out of it. But I’m incredibly interested in the mythologies of those worlds, Halo in particular, to the extent that I’ve actually considered buying some of the novels set in that universe (if anyone’s read them, give a holler and let me know if they’re good). And I’d love an alternate path into them. Because I mean, seriously: theocratic aliens? A souped-up United Nations? A futuristic Africa? This stuff is so right up my alley it hurts.

I understand there are a lot of challenges to making these good movies. There are big complex continuities that have to be dealt with, high special effects costs that will have to be made back by bigger sales at lower prices. But it would be nice for folks to figure out video game movies, and for some day, for the funding for a Neill Blomkamp Halo movie to hold together. Big mythologies that start in books, like Harry Potter, generally end up in game space sooner or later, even if it’s only to give players the option to explore the world rather than to extend the core narrative. I’d love to see that dynamic work in the opposite direction, too. These are big, powerful stories if they’re leaching into the collective imagination of even those of us who are terrible at video games.