Sunday, May 1, 2011

Headlines - Sunday May 1

Full version here.
I'm sure all our hearts and thoughts and condolences and prayers if we do that go out to all the folks affected by the death and injury and destruction across several southern states, but...

How come I ain't hearing the fundie televangeliars saying it's God's wrathful payback for their sins like Katrina was for...others?

I guess if you're black it's Heavenly justice and if you're white and southern it's just bad weather. Can't piss off the folks you pass the plate to.

This epic smackdown of Trump and the GOP is a must read:


So where will the GOP hero find this money? We haven't heard much from the previously-touted economic miracle governor but it must be because the state is doing so well thanks to his budget chopping. Drastically cutting spending always produces economic turnarounds, like we're seeing in the UK.

In a sharply worded letter, the U.S. transportation secretary said he was ordering New Jersey to repay $271 million after Gov. Chris Christie backpedaled on a plan to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

"The law is clear on this matter," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday. The state had only received the money on the condition that it complete the multibillion-dollar project, he wrote in the letter explaining his decision.

"After the initial contract was entered into and later expanded at Governor Christie's request, the state of New Jersey broke the terms," LaHood said. "The governor's unfortunate decision will affect the commuters in New Jersey and the entire Northeast region for generations."


And if this is true, it accomplishes what, exactly? "Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, the youngest son of the Libyan leader, and three of his grandchildren have been killed in a NATO air strike, a Libyan government spokesman said. Gaddafi and his wife were in the Tripoli house of his 29-year-old son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, when it was hit by at least one missile fired by a NATO warplane late on Saturday, according to Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim. "The house of Mr Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was attacked tonight with full power. The leader with his wife was there in the house with other friends and relatives. "The leader himself is in good health, he wasn't harmed," the spokesman said, adding that Muammar Gaddafi's wife was also unharmed but other people in the house were injured. "This was a direct attempt to assassinate the leader of the country", Ibrahim said." (That "IF" we qualified this with is a mighty big one in this instance. We put the odds that the report is true at 50/50, since it remained unconfirmed outside Gaddafi's inner circle at the time we went to post.)
In other news, the crash-strapped state of Texas is on its way to passing a tax break for people who purchase a Yacht worth $250,000 or more. Really.
You come for our Unions, we come for your corporate mega-church tax-dodges. Capiche? "An example of being on the offense would be a mass movement to take away the tax-free status of mega churches that are violating the electioneering rules - a coordinated effort across the country to go after these folks for taxes since they have been actively involved in politics and crossing state lines to do so for way too long. ... Churches are tax exempt under the principle that there is no surer way to destroy the free exercise of religion than to tax it; but tax exemption is a privilege, not a right and by accepting the tax exemption, the entity agrees to some oversight. The 1954 federal Johnson Amendment prohibits a pastor from talking about candidates from the pulpit. Furthermore, under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax. ... Tax exemption is a voluntary agreement and presumes no electioneering from the pulpit, and yet we have seen wide-spread electioneering from the pulpit, in both national elections and state legislation (Prop 8 for example). In part, tax exemption for non-profits was also based on the notion that these entities were providing private support for public good (food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, etc). The First Amendment does not specifically guarantee the tax exemption right either, though lawyers for churches have made the argument that it is implied or intended."
Lara Logan breaks her silence The war correspondent who was separated from her team and brutally sexually assaulted by a crowd of men in Tahrir square last February  returned to work last week, and breaks her silence on 60 Minutes Sunday evening. As Egypt erupted in the protests that led to the fall of the Mubarek regime, Logan was there to cover it. Then in an instant on February 11, she was separated from her team and attacked, gang-raped and beaten, and convinced that she was going to die a slow, brutal death, until a group of Egyptian women and soldiers rescued her from her attackers. She immediately flew home to New York where she was hospitalized for four days and has remained in seclusion ever since.
Evolution News of the Week "It is a true picture of contentment, and now a scientist is suggesting that a pig's love of mud is more than just a way to keep cool. A researcher in the Netherlands has looked at wallowing behaviour in pigs' wild relatives to find out more about what motivates the animals to luxuriate in sludge. His conclusions suggest that wallowing is vital for the animals' well-being .... "We all evolved from fish, so it could be that this motivation to be in water could be something that was preserved in animals that are able to do so." For many animals, this would be too dangerous, because watering holes are ideal places for predators to ambush their prey. "But pigs, like many carnivores, are relatively large animals with enlarged canine teeth, so they would be better able to fend off an attack." So rather than pigs needing to cool down in mud because they do not have [functional] sweat glands, Dr Bracke thinks that they "did not evolve functional sweat glands like other ungulates because they liked wallowing so much"."
Except the unfortunate ones living in factory farms. They have no sense of well being.

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