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You got DADT, now STFU


One Battle Won, Gay Rights Activists Shift Sights

As gay people around the country reveled on Sunday in the historic Senate vote to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a liberal media watchdog group said it planned to announce on Monday that it was setting up a “communications war room for gay equality” in an effort to win the movement’s next and biggest battle: for a right to same-sex marriage.

[...]

Mr. Obama ran for office promising to be a “fierce advocate” for the rights of gay people, and he pledged his support for goals deeply important to them.

Obama and the Democrats threw LGBT’s a bone, and they better be happy gnawing on it because that’s all they’re gonna get for a while.


Monday: Does anyone in the Democratic party know how to play this game???

Pathological prions crack the whip

Let’s recap the last couple of days:

  • Republicans get just about everything they ever wanted in tax cuts and then some.  They managed to get the president and most of the rest of the Democratic caucus to agree to extend tax cuts for the rich and stick all future Social Security recipients with the bill.  Check!
  • The Republicans have put the repeal of DADT on Obama’s desk to approve or reject.  This is after two years of Obama doing his best to fuck over the gay community, avoid doing ANYTHING on their behalf and using the justice department to actively oppose the rulings of federal judges.  And his brave opposition in the ace of overwhelming odds- oh, sorry, for his passivity in the face of overwhelming pressure, we are supposed to praise him and treat him like a frickin’ hero.  By the way, how did that Paycheck Fairness thing go that he worked so diligently for last month? Oh, yes, the Republicans blocked it.  The cloture vote failed by 2 votes, meaning it is OK to screw women and their families out of the additional income they are entitled to instead of giving it to them during a prolonged recession where the extra money could have been used to stimulate the economy.
  • After negotiating so well on the “tax cuts for the wealthy; misery for everyone else bill”, Obama and the Democrats fail to hold Republican feet to the fire to get them to ratify the new START treaty.

Brilliant.  Just Brilliant.

This is just so bad I can’t believe it happened.  Why didn’t they try, “If you don’t ratify START now, you get no tax cuts later”?  Actually, this thing kinda flew under the radar, didn’t it?  Well. except for the fact that the Big Dawg brought it up during his press conference- er, Obama’s press conference that he couldn’t be bothered to finish.  Remember the press conference where Clinton said passing the new START treaty was important?

The first two paragraphs of the article on the START treaty in the NYTimes must have been fun to write:

WASHINGTON — The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session.

With some prominent Republicans angry over passage of legislation ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, the mood in the Senate turned increasingly divisive and Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers scrambled to hold together a coalition to approve the treaty.

So much Kabuki, so little face paint.

So, after the repeal of DADT passes the senate with a vote of 65-31, presumably with the aid of 8 Republican senators, the Republicans are going to throw a hissy fit.  Let’s be clear about this: if 5 Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats on DADT, it’s because the Republican leadership gave them permission to do it.  The repeal of DADT passed because REPUBLICANS wanted it to.

But what does their outrage over the passage really say?  That they are upholding the moral values of their segment of the country’s voters that objects to the possibility that gay soldiers *might* proposition straight soldiers and force them to take showers with them.  The remote possibility that someone straight might be hit on by someone gay while both are serving in the military was enough to deny gay men and women the right to serve their country and deprive them of any semblance of a normal family life.

It’s funny how the Republicans aren’t getting their knickers in a twist over the fact that female soldiers have to run a gauntlet of male gropers on their way to the latrine when they are deployed overseas.  This very real phenomenon is  just part of the package.  Women soldiers are expected to suck it up.  But straight guys have to have their feelings protected from fantasies of a phalanx of gay men gawking at them and feeling them up when they drop the soap.

In summary, Barry once again fails to make any argument to the American people as to why repeal of DADT is important.  He fails to fight for fairness for women as well.  He fails to get the best deal for the American people when it comes to our economic future, first by asking for too little in stimulus money last year and now by shafting them on their future Social Security benefits.  And finally, he fails to use whatever influence he has to get the new START treaty ratified.

You don’t have to be a Republican to be totally disgusted by Obama and the Congressional Democrats.  Their failure is going to become legendary.  Historians centuries from now will be puzzling over the ineptitude and passivity of the Democrats during this period of time.  This was a Congress and a party that had everything going for them in 2008 and they threw it all away for the $28,000 donations to the party apparatus from the wealthy and well connected during the 2008 election year.

I’m sorry but I am not going to praise incompetence.  What the Democrats have achieved by repealing DADT, which was the right thing to do, is that they have handed the Republicans a cudgel which will be used to bash them in the next election. They have failed to make the moral argument for fairness and equality.  Republicans thrive by using social issues to trick their voters to go to the polls to vote for their real agenda: making sure that the working class guy has no power to fight back against big business.  The Democrats have left us high and dry.

Podcast du jour: Digby and Susie Madrak got together last night and talked about the payroll tax cut and California libertarianism, among other things, on Virtually Speaking.  Try to ignore the references to “Teabaggers” and the gratuitous bashing of Sarah Palin.  They still don’t get it that they’re alienating the very voters they need to come over to our side.  Seriously, ladies, just stop.  You’re just digging a deeper hole.  Susie is pretty good on these shows.  Digby just talks too much.

In science, those of us interested in the mechanisms of protein folding have a new challenge.  It turns out that prions, those little bits of infectious protein that cause stuff like mad cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, are capable of adapting to their hosts by changing their folds.

Prions, which are composed solely of protein, are classified by distinct strains, characterized by their incubation time and the disease they cause. In addition to BSE/mad cow disease in cattle, diseases caused by prions include scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Prions have the ability to reproduce, despite the fact that they contain no nucleic acid genome.

Mammalian cells normally produce cellular prion protein or PrPC. During infection, abnormal or misfolded protein — known as PrPSc — converts the normal host prion protein into its toxic form by changing its conformation or shape. The end-stage consists of large sheets (polymers) of these misfolded proteins, which causes massive tissue and cell damage.

“The infectious prion protein can fold in different ways, and depending on the fold, a different prion strain results,” Weissmann said. “As long as prions are maintained in the same host, they retain their characteristic fold, so that strains breed true.”

When prions multiply, however, that fold is not always reproduced correctly, so a prion population contains many variants, albeit at low levels.

The new study found that when a prion population is transferred to a different host, one of the variants may replicate faster — an evolutionary advantage — and become the dominant strain. This new population also contains variants, one of which may be selected over others when transferred to a different host.

“The result is that prions, although devoid of genetic material, behave similarly to viruses and other pathogens, in that they can mutate and undergo evolutionary selection,” Weissmann said. “They do it by changing their fold, while viruses incur changes in their nucleic acid sequence.”

Cue the Twilight Zone music.  Seriously disturbing.  On the other hand, a Republican prion jumping species would explain a lot of the current Democratic party weirdness…

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for a prion infection, like Mad Cow disease.  Usually, you have to get rid of the whole herd.

 

Curb your enthusiasm


It looks like DADT will finally be repealed. It was a bad law, a compromise to prevent something worse. I’ll remain skeptical until it is dead and buried and gays and lesbians are serving openly in our military.

But lets not get too excited. When Truman desegregated the military it didn’t end segregation in the rest of the nation, and it also meant that young black men could be used as cannon fodder in the jungles of Vietnam.

Despite what Rachel Maddow and others might think, Obama didn’t cover himself in glory on this issue. He fought court challenges against DADT and when he lost he appealed. Even now the White House won’t commit to ending discharges of gay and lesbians:

Saying that they had been “focused” on the vote, a senior White House aide intimately familiar with the administration’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal efforts was unwilling to say whether President Obama agrees with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that DADT-releated investigations and discharges should be halted immediately.

But even if gays and lesbians can now serve openly they still can’t get married.

DADT only affects a minority of the LGBT community. Repealing DOMA and legalizing gay marriage affects all of them.

BTW – What is to stop another Congress and POTUS from reinstituting the ban on gays in the military?

The court ruling that is under appeal said that DADT was unconstitutional. The repeal of DADT doesn’t affect it’s constitutionality.


An unusually busy lame-duck session

Somebody is getting screwed here


Politico:

A repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell?” Don’t bet on it.

The window for action on reversing the ban on gays in the military is quickly closing, and the path to undoing the 17-year-old law is riddled with roadblocks: a crowded lame-duck calendar, Democratic defectors, and emboldened Republican senators who have no desire to hand a legislative victory to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Democrats fail to pass the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” next month — before Republicans take control of the House in January — it could be years before they get another shot.

“Unless Democrats completely neglect the tax-hike issue and everything else they’ve been talking about lately, like the DREAM Act, the START treaty and controversial nominees, they won’t be able to finish it,” said one senior Senate GOP aide.

The repeal of “don’t ask” has been attached to the defense authorization bill, and Senate Republicans have already blocked the bill once before over this issue.

DADT, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), the START treaty, the Paycheck Fairness act, retroactive immunity for mortgage fraud, the extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich and the Catfood Commission report are all on the table of the 111th Congress.

This Congress has been in session for almost two years and several of the items before them have been languishing the entire time. START has been waiting a Senate vote since last Spring and the only thing of recent development is the discovery of massive mortgage fraud.

So why with less than two months left to go are all these items suddenly urgent?

I can’t recall any prior lame-duck session with such a full agenda of important legislation. Some of these items might have helped the Democrats energize their base for the election earlier this month. Yeah, those bills might have helped some GOPers too, but it wasn’t like the Democrats were expecting to gain seats on November 2nd.

If they couldn’t pass them before, what makes them think they can pass them now?

Maybe it’s just my Reynold’s Wrap beanie, but I get the feeling the Democrats aren’t being fully honest with us. Either that or they’re not playing with a full deck.




Miss Cleo says “Don’t hold your breath”


New York Birdcage Liner:

Reid to Push to Allow End of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

In a direct challenge to Republicans who support the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said he would push ahead with a military policy bill that includes language authorizing the Pentagon to repeal the ban.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, led his colleagues in blocking consideration of the bill in September in part because it allowed the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Mr. McCain has not changed his position, and Democrats had been considering stripping the provision to advance the legislation.

But the White House on Wednesday repeated President Obama’s commitment to repealing the ban. In a statement later in the day, Mr. Reid said he would bring the bill to the floor, with the repeal language in place. “We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so,” Mr. Reid said.

Gee Harry, why don’t you just ask President Obama TO DROP THE FUCKING DADT APPEAL?

It doesn’t take a psychic to figure out that the Democrats don’t really want to repeal DADT, but they want the Republicans to take the blame.

I hope the Senate Republicans let just enough enough of their senators vote in favor of cloture to bring the DADT repeal to an upperdown floor vote.

Then the Democrats can’t posture anymore.



Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

We start off the morning with a real stunner. Virginia Thomas called up Anita Hill and left a message that it’d be just find and dandy if Anita would admit she’s a liar and apologize:

A spokesman for the university confirmed that Hill turned the message over Monday to the school’s Department of Public Safety.

“And they in turn informed the FBI,” said Andrew Gully, senior vice president of communications and external affairs. “They felt it was appropriate thing to do.”

At the university, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies. Hill became a household name and the subject of a national conversation about sexual harassment after her explosive testimony at Thomas’ contentious confirmation hearings in 1991. On Tuesday, Hill said she had nothing to apologize for.

“I certainly thought the call was inappropriate,” Hill said in a statement. “I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony.”

Thomas’ message was first reported by ABC News, which obtained a transcript:

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”

Virginia Thomas confirmed the message.

“The offer still stands,” she told ABC News in a statement.

Apparently WTF week continues. What nerve. That sadly brings back all those memories of the intense sexism and misogyny surrounding that incident and how shocking it was that most in the media and government sided with the sex offender, now justice Thomas. I bet Harry Reid likes him too. Maybe he’s one of his pets as well.

As mentioned by myiq last night, the big story being pushed of late is O’Donnell’s disbelief that the separation of church and state can be found in the First Amendment. You could interpret that to mean she was asking if that particular phrase was in there, of course it’s not, or if the discussion were more broad. O’Donnell now is of course siding with just the particular phrase. Here’s more:

During Tuesday’s debate, O’Donnell and Coons were arguing over the teaching-of-Creationism thing when Coons said that one of the “indispensable principles” of the Founding Fathers was “separation of church of state.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” said O’Donnell in reply, drawing gasps from a crowd composed largely of law students and professors.

A few minutes later, Coons returned to the subject, saying the First Amendment establishes the separation between church and state.

“The First Amendment does?” said O’Donnell. “You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

After the debate, O’Donnell did not respond to reporters asking her to clarify her remarks. Her campaign manager, Matt Moran, later issued a statement saying that she was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state. “She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution,” Mr. Moran said.

We report, you decide. OK, couldn’t resist that. To me it looks like she didn’t mean that exact phrase but instead thinks the state can impose religion, hence being for teaching creationism. Here’s a bit more:

O’Donnell is not the only conservative Republican Senate candidate with “tea party” support who has raised the issue of what the First Amendment means. In Nevada, Sharron Angle has taken a point of view similar to that of her Delaware compatriot.

In an interview earlier this year, Ms. Angle said that Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father credited with originating the phrase “separation of church and state,” has been misunderstood on this matter.

“Thomas Jefferson was actually addressing a church and telling them through his address that there had been a wall of separation put up between the church and the state precisely to protect the church from being taken over by a state religion,” said Angle to Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston. “That’s what they meant by that. They didn’t mean we couldn’t bring our values to the political forum.”

It sounds like some of the justifications that make their way around the circuit for teaching creationism and for pushing religion on us through the government.

Because of the recent ruling that DADT is unconstitutional, the military is now forced to consider openly gay recruits. Of course Obama is moving fast to stop this as we all know:

The military is accepting openly gay recruits for the first time in the nation’s history.

The historic move follows a series of decisions by US District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, who ruled last month that the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ law targeting openly gay service members violates their equal protection and First Amendment rights. Yesterday, Phillips rejected the government’s effort to delay her order that halted enforcement of the 17-year policy.

Government lawyers are expected to appeal her decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.

In the meantime, the Defense Department has said it will comply with Phillips’s order and had frozen discharge cases. Cynthia Smith, Pentagon spokeswoman, said recruiters had been given top-level guidance to accept applicants who say they are gay.

At least two service members discharged for being gay began the process to reenlist after the Pentagon’s announcement yesterday.

Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium on enforcement of the policy could be reversed at any time, if the ruling is appealed or the court grants a stay, she said.

Still, supporters of gay rights hailed the military’s decision.

“Gay people have been fighting for equality in the military since the 1960s,’’ said Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, a think tank on gays and the military at the University of California Santa Barbara. “It took a lot to get to this day.’’

The White House has insisted its actions in court do not diminish President Obama’s efforts to repeal the ban. In their request for a stay, government lawyers argue Phillips’s order would be disruptive to troops serving at a time of war.

They say the military needs time to prepare new regulations and train and educate service members about the change.

Phillips has said her order does not prohibit the Pentagon from implementing those measures.

So on the one hand, it’s great that the judge ruled that way and for the most part it appears the military will comply. But it’s very sad that Obama is working to overturn the ruling. Of course it’s not at all surprising Obama would want to do this given the people he has surrounded himself with for many years, esp. religious leaders, but also senior staff and advisors who think it’s only a lifestyle choice.

It appears we have some interesting activity between the FED and the banks, and perhaps the recent stock market drop has to do with some of that:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has joined a group of investors demanding that Bank of America buy back billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities that are plagued with shoddy documentation and lending standards, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some of the most powerful investment groups in the country as well as the New York arm of the central bank are accusing one of Bank of America’s major mortgage divisions of cutting corners when it was issuing mortgages during the housing boom and as it has been foreclosing on struggling borrowers during the bust.

If Bank of America refuses to comply, these investors could end up suing, a person familiar with the matter said.

The demand from the New York Fed and other investors sets up an unusual and high-stakes confrontation, pitting an arm of the federal government against the country’s biggest bank. It also illustrates conflicting policy priorities, because it could put the Fed at odds with a bank the Treasury Department has been helping through the financial crisis over the past two years.

With this new confrontation, the government finds itself in the awkward position of being an unhappy private investor pressing for its rights to be enforced. The New York Fed holds roughly $16 billion of mortgage securities that it acquired after it bailed out American International Group.

On Tuesday, Bank of America dismissed concerns that investors will drag the bank into court for years with costly lawsuits.

“We don’t see the issues that people [are] worried about, quite frankly,” chief executive Brian Moynihan said in a conference call Tuesday as the bank reported a $7.3 billion third-quarter loss.

Sure, nothing to worry about. Nothing to see here. Go about your business. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Business Week has some coverage of this as well:

The action follows a foreclosure freeze that drove bank stocks lower this month as shareholders reconsidered the risks of home loans sold before the housing crash. The New York Fed acquired mortgage debt through its 2008 rescues of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc., and the Fed’s participation may raise the odds of prevailing against Bank of America, said Scott Buchta of Braver Stern Securities LLC.

“Individual investors have been trying for years to get these big banks to buy back loans at par, and haven’t had a lot of luck,” said Buchta, head of investment strategy for the New York-based securities firm. The New York Fed “in your corner, that adds weight and might give you a better chance for success.”

Buckle your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

And speaking of a bumpy ride, the undeniable story about how much better for candidates Big Dawg is than Oprecious is still being told:

Former President Bill Clinton is more effective than President Obama at motivating both Democrats and Independents, a new Gallup Poll indicates.

Both President Obama and former President Clinton have been traveling the country campaigning to prevent a Republican landslide in November’s elections. Clinton has headlined more than 80 events for hard-pressed Democratic candidates, and some observers think he could complete 100 appearances by election day.

In a poll conducted October 14-17, Gallup asked registered voters whether having Clinton or Obama campaign for a candidate would be a plus, minus, or make no difference. From those responses, Gallup calculated a “net impact” by subtracting the percentage who said campaigning would make them less likely to vote for a candidate from the percentage who said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate.

“Clinton does modestly better than Obama among Democrats,” writes Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport. The net positive impact of Clinton’s campaigning among Democrats is 48 percent, while for Obama it is 42 percent.

Where the former president dramatically outshines Obama is with independent voters. Among independents, “Clinton’s impact breaks about even,” Mr. Newport writes. Some 21 percent of independents are more likely to support a candidate if Mr. Clinton works for them, while 23 percent are less likely, leaving the net result at a negative 2 percent.

But independents in the poll react in a much more negative fashion to Obama. While 12 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a person Obama supports on the stump, a whopping 39 percent say they would be less likely. That produces a net impact from Obama campaign appearances of a negative 27 percent among independents. Since independent voters are often the key to winning elections, that negative impact is a major problem for Democrats.

Unfortunately for the world, the analysis then proceeded to give an opinion as to why this might be. And of course we hear the usual mythologies and Obama pampering:

Why the gap in campaign performance? Gallup’s Mr. Newport argues that it “almost certainly reflects the fact that Clinton has been out of office for 10 years, and thus has become a more benign figure to those who are independent or who identify with the Republican Party.” Obama, he argues, as sitting president is “more likely to generate strong feelings at this point in his career.”

Another likely factor in the poll results is that Bill Clinton is a gifted campaigner, whatever one thinks of his politics. Politico columnist Annie Groer aptly refers to the former president as a man “who never saw a rope line he didn’t want to work.” At an event in New Mexico, the former president said he planned to do “about one stop for everybody that helped Hillary run for president.”

Yes, we see yet again the myth that Clinton is only popular now because he’s been out of office for so long and we’ve forgotten how much we hated him when he just left office. Never mind the facts and what those numbers were. We can’t have facts getting in the way of our mythologies. Notice they also can’t help by pushing the “whatever one things of his politics” bit. Really, you guys are going there. I think most Americans quite like his politics, it’s inside DC that they don’t like it. Nothing changes. WaPo has a related story, but hold your nose, there’s some heavy spinning there as well. But even with their spin, what’s obvious in these contrasts comes through. (In the voice of Dana Carvey doing an impression of HW Bush) Clinton good, Obama bad.

Esquire has an interesting article pointing out that given that Obama is mostly an echo of MA Gov. Patrick, watching the governors race now might be a good indication of how Obama’s will be. And perhaps that’s it’s a bit of a referendum of Obama as well. I think there’s something to that. Definitely a race to watch for a number of reasons.

Let’s change gears here and look at a few things going on in the privacy world. The first item is about how the US Gov. is watching you on Facebook, and in some cases is pushing being “Friends” with some to even more closely monitor your activity:

According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the U.S. government is busily tracking social networks in a number of ways, including using sites like Facebook to monitor people who are applying for U.S. citizenship.

According to a May 2008 memo by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of “friends” link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know. This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS [Office of Fraud Detection and National Security] to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.”

In other words, social networking sites give the government an opportunity to reveal potential fraud by friending people who are applying for citizenship, then monitoring their activity to see if they are being deceptive about their relationships. “In essence,” says the memo, “using MySpace and other like sites is akin to doing an unannounced cyber “site-visit” on a petitioner and beneficiaries.”

The other item is about traffic and street cameras monitoring citizens. This story has a twist in that some of these cameras are being opened up to the public, so anyone can watch, and also monitor the police as well:

Back in 1996, writer and scientist David Brin wrote “The Transparent Society,” a tale of two fundamentally similar yet very different 21st-century cities. Both were littered with security cameras monitoring every inch of public space, but in one city the police did the watching, while in the other the citizens monitored the feeds to keep an eye on each other (and the police). These days, many UK police forces monitor their city streets with cameras mounted on every corner. Now, for a fee, a private company is crowdsourcing security surveillance to any citizen willing to watch, fulfilling Brin’s prophecy in a sense.

Devon-based Internet Eyes offers businesses a surveillance service in which private citizens eager to earn cash rewards can log on and view video streams remotely, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. If a viewer spots a shoplifter, a text is sent to two mobile numbers of the owner’s choosing, alerting store personnel of the matter. The viewer can earn rewards of up to 1,000 British pounds if the tip turns out to be accurate (that’s roughly $1,600). The business pays 75 pounds per month for the service.

If it sounds a bit Orwellian, it is and it isn’t. After all, it’s not the actual government accessing the feeds but regular civilians with no law enforcement power. And steps are taken to keep things secure; the feeds swap every 20 minutes and are completely anonymous, so a viewer doesn’t know the location of the camera. If a viewer does report a crime, the feed switches immediately afterward. In short, any kind of voyeuristic fun you might want to have via the service is seriously limited.

And one last update as we’re going to press. The DADT Judge refuses to stay her decision:

The federal judge who declared “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional denied the Obama administration’s request Tuesday to let military authorities resume discharging openly gay and lesbian troops while the government appeals her ruling.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside rejected Justice Department arguments that she should suspend her decision to prevent disruption to military operations during the appeal.

In fact, she said, courtroom testimony showed that halting the “don’t ask” policy would help the armed forces by retaining service members, including many with exceptional skills.

The trial showed that the law “harms military readiness and unit cohesion, and irreparably injures service members by violating their fundamental rights,” Phillips wrote.

The administration, which has appealed her ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, has said it would immediately ask that court for a stay if Phillips refused to issue one.

A stay would remain in effect at least until a hearing, which might not be before next spring.

Phillips’ order “brings us one step closer toward ending once and for all this unconstitutional policy, which President Obama and Congress seem incapable or unwilling to end themselves,” said Dan Woods, lawyer for the Log Cabin Republicans, a 19,000-member gay rights group that sued to overturn the law in 2004.

And so it goes. Chime in with what you’re reading and seeing.

Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

Let’s dive right in, so to speak. It looks like the deep water drilling band is lifted:

The U.S. is back in the deep water oil-drilling business. The question now is when work will resume. The Obama administration, under heavy pressure from the oil industry and Gulf states and with elections nearing, lifted the moratorium that it imposed last April in the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill.

The ban had been scheduled to expire Nov. 30, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday he was moving up the date because new rules imposed after the spill had reduced the risk of another catastrophic blowout. Industry leaders warily waited for details of those rules, saying the moratorium wouldn’t be truly lifted until then.

“The policy position that we are articulating today is that we are open for business,” Salazar declared.

The reality is more complicated. While the temporary ban on exploratory oil and gas drilling is lifted immediately, drilling is unlikely to resume for several weeks at least as oil and gas companies struggle to meet a host of new safety regulations. For example, the CEO of a company responsible for a well would have to certify it had complied with all regulations. That could make the person at the top liable for any future accidents.

“Operators who play by the rules and clear the higher bar can be allowed to resume,” Salazar said.

And as we heard yesterday, a judge ordered the Pentagon to put a stop to DADT:

US District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in California issued the injunction a month after she ruled that requiring gays in the military to keep their sexual orientation secret is unconstitutional.

The ruling permanently bars the Department of Defense from enforcing the law and goes a step further by compelling Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to suspend any ongoing investigations or discharge proceedings.

The injunction may be appealed within 60 days. If the Obama administration decides to appeal, it would be in the uncomfortable position of defending a law it has opposed. An appeal, however, might allow the administration and the Pentagon to implement a repeal of the policy in a more orderly manner.

Alternatively, the administration could decide to let Phillips’s ruling become law, acknowledging that the court was able to accomplish what the policy’s opponents in Congress and the administration have yet to do.

The Justice Department said yesterday that it had not yet decided how to respond. “We’re reviewing the ruling,’’ Tracy Schmaler, a department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Several legal observers, however, predicted the Obama administration would seek a stay of the judge’s order from the US Court of Appeals, a request they said would probably be approved as that court reviews the case.

So next is a simple test of the Obama administration. They could either stand by their word and campaign promise and let the ruling stand and allow it to become law, or they can go back on their word and do the stay or worse, appeal, so that they can proceed in a “more orderly manner”. You know, most every time we’ve pushed for more equality in our rights, we’ve been told to slow down and do things in a more orderly manner. We will soon see in the most clear way possible what Obama is made of. What kind of character the man has. I will give him praise and be happy if he does the right thing here. We’ll see.

As of this writing, the miners in Chile are being pulled out. Sometime later in the morning they will hopefully be all out. Here’s a write up as it started to happen:

The first of 33 gold and copper miners entombed half a mile below ground for more than two months were hauled into the frigid Chilean desert air early Wednesday morning, emerging from a cramped, life-saving haven and into the embrace of family members once forced to confront the likelihood of their deaths.

Foreman Florencio Avalos, 31, was the first of the miners to ride up the shaft that rescuers hope will serve as the lifeline for all. Wearing sunglasses to protect his eyes from aboveground lights, Avalos squeezed into a specially fitted, bullet-shaped capsule only a shade smaller than the 28-inch diameter of the tunnel and was winched to the surface over 14 agonizing minutes.

As myiq posted last night, the last debate between Brown and Whitman leaves some looking for third party candidates:

One of the most aggressive segments of the hour-long debate began with Brown responding to moderator and former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw’s question about a Brown campaign staffer caught on voice mail calling Whitman a “whore.”

Brown apologized to Whitman for the first time and called the remark “unfortunate,” but also chafed at Brokaw’s suggestion that to women the word is as offensive as the “n-word” is to African Americans.

“Women know exactly what’s going on here,” retorted Whitman, calling the word a “slur.”

That’s right Jerry, as we all know, bigotry towards women doesn’t count as much as bigotry towards most any other group. I mean come on, it’s only women. What a let down. But wait, there’s more:

On the Brown staffer’s use of the word “whore,” Whitman went on the offensive, saying that “slurs and personal attacks are … not what California is about.”

Brown retorted that “we’ve heard no outrage from you” regarding her campaign chairman former Gov. Pete Wilson’s use of the term “whores” to describe public employees unions.

Whitman’s comeback: “You know better than that Jerry, that’s a completely different thing.”

That’s pretty lame from Jerry. Just own up to it and apologize without that crap. What’s sad is Jerry is ahead by a bit, and if he just did something reasonable here, he’d move ahead. But he’s scared and feels the need to go this path. And what’s particularly tough with the path Jerry is on, is he’s opening unhealed wounds of misogyny within the Democratic party. From a state that chose to rise above misogyny in 2008.

But not to worry, he’s bringing out Obama to take care of that. Sigh.

Speaking of complete idiots out of touch, Paladino finally got word that he may have stepped in it, and now apologizes:

Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino apologized to the gay community Tuesday for what he called his “poorly chosen words” over the weekend as he sought to steer his troubled campaign back to the tax issues that won him the GOP nomination in September.

“I am neither perfect, nor a career politician,” Paladino said in an e-mail distributed by his flagging campaign. “I have made mistakes in this campaign — I have made mistakes all my life — as we all have. I am what I am — a simple man who works hard, trusts others, and loves his family and fears for the future of our state.”

He apologized and said he should have edited more of the phrasing out of a speech he gave to Orthodox Jewish leaders on Sunday. His speech did include opposition to what he said was schools’ “brainwashing” of students into thinking the gay lifestyle is just another choice. He also said being gay is “not the way God created us” and the gay lifestyle is “not the example that we should be showing our children.”

Ah yes, the old poorly chosen words excuse. So was he lying then or is he lying now? You decide. Hey, he’s a horribly hateful bigot, maybe he can write for the Washington Post (see yesterday’s post by BB).

OK, now for a bit of comedy relief. Turns out Obama and Palin and Limbaugh are related. Somehow I’m not surprised:

President Barack Obama is distantly related to two of his most outspoken critics — Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh — as well as to former President George W. Bush, according to a genealogy website.

Family trees revealed Obama and Palin, the former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, are 10th cousins through common ancestor John Smith, according to Ancestry.com Inc. Smith was Obama’s and Palin’s 12th-great- grandfather. Smith, a Protestant pastor, was an early settler in Massachusetts and was criticized by the ecclesiastical community for supporting Quakers, said Anastasia Tyler, a genealogist for the website.

Obama and Limbaugh are 10th cousins once removed through shared connections to Richmond Terrell, a Virginia settler who came to America in the mid-1600s, Tyler said.

Palin and Obama have ties to Bush, both through links to Samuel Hinckley. Maybe leadership “runs in the family,” the website said, because Hinckley’s son, Thomas, became the governor of Plymouth Colony before it united with Massachusetts.

“Despite political differences, they do have similarities,” Tyler said. “We are all tied together; we are all part of America.”

OK, I’ll admit it. That’s a very nice sentiment at the end. They got me on that one.

WaPo’s trail mix has a round up of a few political goings on:

Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle announced Tuesday that she raised $14.3 million in the third quarter of the year – apparently a record amount for a Senate candidate who is not self-funding.

With three weeks to go until Election Day, Democrats have canceled all of their ad reservations in at least six districts where their odds of winning appear to be shrinking.

Christine O’Donnell turned heads with her “I’m not a witch” ad. But that attention hasn’t translated into votes for Delaware’s Republican Senate nominee: A new Monmouth University poll shows her Democratic opponent, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, leading 57 percent to 38 percent among likely voters in the race for Vice President Biden’s former Senate seat.

As recently as several months ago, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) thought he’d have no trouble winning a fourth term. But recent polls have shown the incumbent facing a surprisingly tough challenge from millionaire businessman Ron Johnson (R). The latest survey, conducted by Reuters/Ipsos, shows Johnson now leading among likely voters 51 percent to 44 percent.

Nice run down of a few items. Looks like O’Donnell is going nowhere fast. Good. And sadly Feingold isn’t either. Not good. But neither are surprising.

Now for some more fun news. First, because some folks seem to have an irrational obsession with the Palins, even young Palins, Bristol managed to survive another week on DWTS. Turns out “The Situation” wasn’t so lucky.

And in sports news, the Giants and the Phillies will be playing in the National League Championship Series. It looks to be a great pitcher matchup:

In the year of the pitcher, what else should dominate the National League Championship Series, which begins in Philadelphia on Saturday?

Much of the national chatter has the Phillies with an edge because of their experience, as it should be. They have won the last two NL pennants. Also, in sweeping Cincinnati in their Division Series, Philadelphia’s Big Three starters choked off a Reds lineup that produced the league’s best offensive numbers during the regular season.

However, anyone who predicts another Philly massacre in the NLCS must consider how well the postseason novices on the Giants’ staff pitched against the Braves.

The Giants’ modus operandi in the best-of-seven series will not be a state secret: They must keep the games low-scoring and hope to get one or two good pitches to hit, a mistake here or there, and convert them into the decisive runs.

Hopefully it will be a good one. And of course hopefully the Giants will win. Your mileage may vary of course.

And finally, the Nobel prize for physics went to some scientists that came up with Graphene:

Two Russian-born scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, won the 2010 Nobel Physics Prize Tuesday for pioneering work on graphene, touted as the wonder material of the 21st century.

Both laureates began their careers as physicists in Russia but now work at the University of Manchester in Britain. Geim holds Dutch nationality and Novoselov is both a British and Russian national.

The Swedish Academy of Sciences hailed graphene — “the perfect atomic lattice” — for its glittering potential in computers, home gadgets and transport.

It lauded Geim, 51, and Novoselov, 36, for having “shown that carbon in such a flat form has exceptional properties that originate from the remarkable world of quantum physics.”

The prize honors a breakthrough that paved the way to graphene, a form of carbon touted as the next-generation super-material.

Just one atom thick, it is the world’s thinnest and strongest nano-material, almost transparent and able to conduct electricity and heat.

As a result, graphene is described as the candidate material to replace silicon semi-conductors.

It’s a big thing. A really big thing. Though small. It’s nice to know, amongst all the corrupt politics and mega corporate control, some cool things keep going on, and progress can still happen.

That’s a bit of what’s happening. Chime in with what you’re reading.

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