I would have loved to remain in those (those!) cathedrals, but I am called back to the Front.
Its hard to think of what is happening with the Southland's media, as anything less than a War when stuff like this happens.
What has happened is, two of the biggest journalism awards, have been given (or almost given) to the Pasadena Weekly, which is "only" the most unethical publication in the Southland.
One is by the Association of Alternative Weeklies, no less, which awards the hypocritical PW for crappy sex comics and its cover-up piece on "hate-speech" (something they do all the time): written by that thug Joe Piasecki no less!:
"The winning pieces range from the irreverence of Fast Forward Weekly?s Christmas Sex Stories Contest (pdf) to the disturbing account of a letter sent to the Pasadena Weekly which threatened to assassinate then President-elect Barack Obama."
The piece was "disturbing" alright, thug Joe wrote this inflammatory piece (see above) that did nothing but fan the flames of fear in the community (something at which he excels).
And, the fantastic Ketchup Capers by Nick Schou, is left off the list entirely. (??) What is going on here?
And it is not like AAN did not know about the Pasadena Weekly and what it has been up to (one example of which is below). They did and still, made these decisions.
The Pasadena Weekly published a profane letter about Superintendent Edwin Diaz written by Aaron Proctor, their new columnist and good friend (and crazy Troll).
That letter is now offline but her are excerpts from An Aaron Proctor Sampler, published on Pasadena New Progressive on Friday, August 1, 2008.
? He published obscenities in the Pasadena Weekly* and on his blog about our Superintendent:
Diaz could have simply contacted me directly to air his grievance. Maybe I should have added ?arrogant? to ?stupid mother fucker?.
Edwin Diaz, you?re the 2nd Ham And Egger of the week. I think I?ll actually write ?You?re a fucking dumb ass? on the award, too.
* In the crazy world of Pasadena media, our Alternative Weekly, is a supporter of Proctor's. Here he openly admits to having Pasadena Weekly's (who gave him a column!) full support:
I also find it hilarious how people think going to reporters at the Weekly to complain about my blog are going to accomplish anything. (Not that Diaz sought out a reporter - I know I just came up in conversation?this time). Maybe they think I?ll get in trouble or something?
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As Jerry Jeff Walker sang -- "When I get screwed, I like to be kissed." Following is our connection: David Carney, a consultant for Gov. "Goodhair" Rick Perry of Texas, warned against turning the Republican Party into a "whorehouse" with the aim of casting a wider tent for voters. Here's a link to an Associated Press story.
This raised the ire of proper Republican women across the Lone Star State. But another group should be equally pissed: practicing whores.
I confess that, despite macho posturing among fellow Texas men, I passed on any and all opportunities with those practicing the oldest profession, and therefore have no firsthand experience. But I have heard this on good authority: Good ones, the real pros, will kiss you first.
Not so with Republicans. And this remark by Perry's strategist is actually a bigger insult to a group seldom quoted by the mainstream media.
The Iraq war, tax breaks for the rich, overseas tax havens for corporations, Enron, the subprime mortgage debacle, abuse of credit card holders, assaults on civil rights and liberties, incentives for polluters and corporations that export jobs, neglect of returning veterans, whittling away at Medicare and Medicaid ... I never got kissed before any of those mind-boggling travesties.
So, it seems like a worse insult of all to those hardworking women who are, well, honest enough to be hookers out in the open. They are at least above-board, and I doubt that they would put you at risk for diseases much worse than the ones Republicans have already inflicted upon us.
The standard political response to all this, of course, is that "Governor Goodhair" is in trouble yet again, not long after his infamous secession remark. And this gives plenty of cannon fodder to U.S. Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison, a "moderate" Republicans who is almost certain to be his challenger in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary.
But I'm honestly concerned about the aspersions cast herein upon the hardworking crack whores of our mean streets. They're a skanky bunch, to be sure. But, to even suggest that the current stalwarts of the Republican Party, especially in this state that spawned the likes of Il Doofus, are a lot better than them? Well, it's a "stretch." (No double-entendre intended -- really!)
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MATLOCK!!! types again[...]
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A note to Washington Central Casting: Now that the President has signed on for a 9/11 Commission to investigate the economic downturn, let's skip the usual suspects to head it and, as in the 1930s, find a fresh face for the role of shaking up Wall Street.
Back then, ethnic outsider Ferdinand Pecora was the new star. This time, Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren looks like the best choice for a gender change in taking on the old-boy network that brought the country to the brink of ruin.
As Congressional watchdog for the bank bailout, Warren has been rehearsing for the part by showing a rare directness in calling for a clean sweep at the top. "The very notion that anyone would infuse money into a financially troubled entity without demanding changes in management is preposterous," she has said.
Along with her other qualifications, Warren has a public presence that inspires confidence, last weekend leaving Bill Maher in dumbstruck admiration.
In the past, she has proposed a new agency modeled on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to protect the public in buying financial merchandise.
"It is impossible," she has written, "to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house. But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street.
"Why are consumers safe when they purchase tangible consumer products with cash, but when they sign up for routine financial products like mortgages and credit cards they are left at the mercy of their creditors?"
If she were to ask questions like that and get beyond the usual mealy-mouthed answers, Elizabeth Warren would play the 21st century version of Pecora to perfection.
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Fox NewsBecause SometimesYou Can’t Handle The Truth
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One thing Obama will not back off from is Health Care.
Most readers here would like to see single payer on the table, but getting anything from this Congress is like pulling teeth, though congressional leaders have set the end of June as a deadline for getting reform through.
From Obama's e-mail message on health care:
The chance to finally reform our nation's health care system is here. While Congress moves rapidly to produce a detailed plan, I have made it clear that real reform must uphold three core principles -- it must reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality care for every American.
As we know, challenging the status quo will not be easy. Its defenders will claim our goals are too big, that we should once again settle for half measures and empty talk. Left unanswered, these voices of doubt might yet again derail the comprehensive reform we so badly need. That's where you come in.When our opponents spread fear and confusion about the changes we seek, your support for these core principles will show clarity and resolve. When the lobbyists for the status quo tell Congress to hold back, your personal story will give them the courage to press forward.
Join my call: Ask Congress to pass real health care reform in 2009.
After adding your name, please consider sharing your personal story about the importance of health care reform in your life and the lives of those you love.I will be personally reviewing many of these signatures and stories. If you speak up now, your voice will make a difference.http://my.barackobama.com/HealthCareOrganizing
American families are watching their premiums rise four times faster than their wages. Spiraling health care costs are shackling America's businesses, curtailing job growth and slowing the economy at the worst possible time. This has got to change.I know personal stories can drive that change, because I know how my mother's experience continues to drive me. She passed away from ovarian cancer a little over a decade ago. And in the last weeks of her life, when she was coming to grips with her own mortality and showing extraordinary courage just to get through each day, she was spending too much time worrying about whether her health insurance would cover her bills. She deserved better. Every American deserves better. And that's why I will not rest until the dream of health care reform is finally achieved in the United States of America.Please add your name to join my call. Then share your personal story about why you too will not rest until this job is done.
Last November, the American people sent Washington a clear mandate for change. But when the polls close, the true work of citizenship begins. That's what Organizing for America is all about. Now, in these crucial moments, your voice once again has extraordinary power. I'm counting on you to use it.
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We all know that the security service recruit informers and that this is a vital part of the way in which they keep ahead of the game. However, a group of five Muslims have gone public stating that MI5 threatened them in order to attempt to force them to become informants against their will.
And the lengths that MI5 went to in order to recruit these men was simply extraordinary.
The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas.
They have made official complaints to the police, to the body which oversees the work of the Security Service and to their local MP Frank Dobson. Now they have decided to speak publicly about their experiences in the hope that publicity will stop similar tactics being used in the future.
Three of the men say they were detained at foreign airports on the orders of MI5 after leaving Britain on family holidays last year.
After they were sent back to the UK, they were interviewed by MI5 officers who, they say, falsely accused them of links to Islamic extremism. On each occasion the agents said they would lift the travel restrictions and threat of detention in return for their co-operation. When the men refused some of them received what they say were intimidating phone calls and threats.
In the exact same way as one was able to tell that the US policy of torture existed because of the uniformity of the claims from different people in different parts of the planet, so the use of postmen here becomes a theme which one wouldn't expect these men to have come up with on their own.
Two other Muslim men say they were approached by MI5 at their homes after police officers posed as postmen. Each of the five men, aged between 19 and 25, was warned that if he did not help the security services he would be considered a terror suspect. A sixth man was held by MI5 for three hours after returning from his honeymoon in Saudi Arabia. He too claims he was threatened with travel restrictions if he tried to leave the UK.
An agent who gave her name as Katherine is alleged to have made direct threats to Adydarus Elmi, a 25-year-old cinema worker from north London. In one telephone call she rang him at 7am to congratulate him on the birth of his baby girl. His wife was still seven months' pregnant and the couple had expressly told the hospital that they did not want to know the sex of their child.
Mr Elmi further alleges: "Katherine tried to threaten me by saying, and it still runs through my mind now: 'Remember, this won't be the last time we ever meet.' And then during our last conversation she explained: 'If you do not want anything to happen to your family you will co-operate.'"
Madhi Hashi, a 19-year-old care worker from Camden, claims he was held for 16 hours in a cell in Djibouti airport on the orders of MI5. He alleges that when he was returned to the UK on 9 April this year he was met by an MI5 agent who told him his terror suspect status would remain until he agreed to work for the Security Service. He alleges that he was to be given the job of informing on his friends by encouraging them to talk about jihad.
Mohamed Nur, 25, a community youth worker from north London, claims he was threatened by the Security Service after an agent gained access to his home accompanied by a police officer posing as a postman.
"The MI5 agent said, 'Mohamed if you do not work for us we will tell any foreign country you try to travel to that you are a suspected terrorist.'"
Mohamed Aden, 25, a community youth worker from Camden, was also approached by someone disguised as a postman in August last year. He alleges an agent told him: "We're going to make your travelling harder for you if you don't co-operate."
I think we can all agree that the security services are operating under enormous pressure, but, reading these stories, it's impossible not to think that they have gone way overboard in these cases and that their actions are bordering on harassment.
In a letter to Lord Justice Mummery, who heads the tribunal, Sharhabeel Lone, the chairman of the KTCO, said: "The only thing these young people have in common is that they studied Arabic abroad and are of Somali origin. They are not involved in any terrorist activity whatsoever, nor have they ever been, and the security services are well aware of this."
Mr Sharhabeel added: "These incidents smack of racism, Islamophobia and all that undermines social cohesion. Threatening British citizens, harassing them in their own country, alienating young people who have committed no crime other than practising a particular faith and being a different colour is a recipe for disaster.
"These disgraceful incidents have undermined 10 years of hard work and severely impacted social cohesion in Camden. Targeting young people that are role models for all young people in our country in such a disparaging way demonstrates a total lack of understanding of on-the-ground reality and can only be counter-productive.
"When people are terrorised by the very same body that is meant to protect them, sowing fear, suspicion and division, we are on a slippery slope to an Orwellian society."
"I was taken to pick up my luggage and then into a very discreet room. 'Richard' walked in with a Costa bag with food which he said was for me, my breakfast. He said it was them who sent me back because I was a terror suspect." Mr Hashi, a volunteer youth leader at Kentish Town Community Organisation in north London, alleges that the officer made it clear that his "suspect" status and travel restrictions would only be lifted if he agreed to co-operate with MI5. "I told him 'This is blatant blackmail'; he said 'No, it's just proving your innocence. By co-operating with us we know you're not guilty.'The rest of the stories are of a similar nature and every bit as outrageous. You can read them all by clicking the title.
Big speech by Obama today on national security. Creepy speech from Cheney today on national security. Watch how frenzied the cable news talking heads get.
Would that Cheney and Bush paid as much attention to national security and terrorism during the first months of their administration. Instead, Bush and Cheney ignored the threats -- and left us unprepared for the attacks of September 11th.
Okay, a pop culture thing: Adam Lambert got ripped off. He was such a better performer than that kid from Arkansas.
Thread the news...
It really is a sign that Gordon Brown lacks a populist touch that this row has been allowed to rumble on for as long as it has before Brown and his party have come around and decided to do the right thing.
Perhaps Brown thought that this would be seen by the UK public as an immigration issue, and if he did he was being dumb, as the vast majority of people in the UK, of every political persuasion, can recognise that, if someone risks their life fighting for the UK, then they ought to automatically have the right to live here.
Gurkha veterans who have served four years with the historic regiment will be told tomorrow that they will be allowed to settle in the UK. The home secretary is expected to reverse government guidance issued last month that made the obstacles to entry almost insurmountable for ordinary Gurkha soldiers traditionally recruited from Nepal.
It is understood that Jacqui Smith will announce rules that will allow entry into the UK for Gurkhas previously excluded because they retired from the regiment before 1997, provided they have fought for the British army for at least four years.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, wrote to the prime minister on Tuesday saying the government should immediately approve the 1,400 outstanding applications for settlement, whether they meet new criteria established by the Home Office or not.
In a reprimand to the government, Vaz said: "The figure of 100,000 ex-Gurkhas including dependants publicly cited by the government as likely to take up settlement is clearly much overblown."
The prospective turnaround in policy came after the Labour government suffered its first big defeat last month by 21 votes, as 27 Labour rebels joined the Tories and Liberal Democrats in demanding equal residency rights for all Gurkha soldiers after a high-profile public campaign.
In an indication of the imminent policy volte face, Gordon Brown said at prime minister's questions that he had a "great deal of sympathy and support" for Gurkhas who wished to live in the UK. He said: "I believe it is possible for us to honour our commitments to the Gurkhas and to do so in a way that protects the public finances. That will be part of the announcement that is made tomorrow."Thank God. The real tragedy is that it took him so long to do the right thing, as this allowed the Tories, once again, to get in front of him on an issue which carried huge public support.
Click title for full article.Tags: Brown, Cameron, Gurkhas, UK politics