Saturday, October 25, 2008


Bill McKibben, whose 1989 book "The End of Nature" was one of the first to warn of the threats of climate change, has helped launch a 90-second clip that puts the spotlight on global warming and where we need to be if human civilization is going to survive. The clip does not have words and it is assumed that this is because, global warming is a problem transcends language, culture and country.

Once upon a time, long ago, before industrialization, before coal-fired power plants spewed carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that's precipitated climate change, there was a number. That number, 275, was the parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Flash forward more than 150 years later, that number has risen. The earth is hotter and we are in serious trouble. We're up to about 387 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Based on the most up-to-date science, the goal to avoid any kind of global catastrophe and to get our carbon dioxide number down to 350 parts per million.

“We now in the last year have that number,” McKibben says, “and it's probably the most important number in the world.”

If you feel like taking action and inviting the next US President to attend the UN Climate Meetings this December in Poland and rejoin the world's fight against the climate crisis, then please go here or visit

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tomboy Fatwa.

The AP is reporting that Malaysia's main body of Islamic clerics has issued an edict today banning tomboys in the Muslim-majority country, ruling that girls who act like boys violate the tenets of Islam.

The National Fatwa Council forbade the practice of girls behaving or dressing like boys during a meeting Thursday in northern Malaysia, said Harussani Idris Zakaria, the mufti of northern Perak state, who attended the gathering. Harussani said an increasing number of Malaysian girls behave like tomboys, and that some of them engage in homosexuality. Homosexuality is not explicitly banned in Malaysia, but it is effectively illegal under a law that prohibits sex acts "against the order of nature." Harussani said the council's ruling was not legally binding because it has not been passed into law, but that tomboys should be banned because their actions are immoral.

"It doesn't matter if it's a law or not. When it's wrong, it's wrong. It is a sin," Harussani told The Associated Press. "Tomboy (behavior) is forbidden in Islam." Under the edict, girls are forbidden to sport short hair and dress, walk and act like boys, Harussani said. Boys should also not act like girls, he said. "They must respect God. God created them as boys, they must behave like boys. God created them as girls, they must act like girls," he said.

Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin said the ruling was prompted by recent cases of young women behaving like men and indulging in homosexuality, according to the national news agency Bernama. He did not elaborate. Malaysian media have reported on recent incidents of school bullying among girls, which have been caught on film and circulated on the Internet. In one film, some girls are seen beating up another girl in a bathroom. A well-known Malaysian Muslim actress caused an uproar last year when she shaved her head bald for a film. Harussani and other muftis urged Muslims not to watch the movie, arguing that the actress had violated Islam by making herself look like a man.

Muslims make up some 60% of Malaysia's 27 million people, and are subject to Islamic laws and the council's edicts, even if the rulings have not been enshrined in national or Shariah law. As was noted, it was not immediately clear what kind of punishment awaited those who violate the tomboy edict.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spaceships for Obama.

These “superhuman black men” will be coming on October 31st to support Barack Obama, according to Prophet Yahweh, Seer of Yahweh, Master UFO Caller.

He claims that these space beings are the Angels of Yahweh, the Creator of all things. And, they are talking to him, on a daily basis, via a sophisticated form of telepathic, non-verbal, none-talk, brain-to-brain communication. Most of the time, when they contact him, he is asleep.

Further, he notes that: 'Unless I am misinterpreting my visions, it’s very likely that Yahweh’s angels are going to descend down from space, in one of their spaceships, on two different occasions, in a different, single ship, each time, and hover over my school, in Las Vegas, NV for three days so the media can film them.'

When asked why the spaceships will appear, Prophet boldly says that:

One of the many reasons why they will do this is to show support for Presidential candidate Barack Obama. This will be done so people will know that Obama is the best choice to lead America through the troublesome times to come.

However, he admits he might off about the date and the details. But really, they’re going to help Obama save the USA from Iran and Russia. Video of Prophet Yaweh below:

You can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I ♥ Digby.

Video from the Gala Dinner at Take Back America 2007 in Washington, DC - June 19, 2007

That is all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Come back to work — and life."

Today the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz is reporting that Fox News has hired former New York Times reporter Judith Miller as an on-air analyst and to write stories for Fox’s website.

Miller, one of many of the sales team for the Iraq war, was a key player in pushing false intelligence that led the public into the Iraq war and was central to the Valerie Plame leak scandal.

As Think Progress notes:

On Sept. 7, 2002, she and fellow New York Times reporter Michael Gordon reported that Iraq had “stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.” As proof, she cited unnamed “American intelligence experts” and unnamed “Bush administration officials.” Subsequently, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld all pointed to Miller’s story as justification for war. On April 22, 2003, she told PBS’s Newshour that WMD had already been found in Iraq: “Well, I think they found something more than a ’smoking gun.’”

In 2005, Miller went to jail for refusing to testify in the Valerie Plame scandal and reveal her conversations with Scooter Libby. Miller was often criticized for becoming too close with her Bush administration sources. While she was in jail, for example, Libby wrote to her about how much he admired her and urged her to “Come back to work — and life."

Yep - Miller is nothing if not controversial.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Order of Canada...

After the culmination of months of heated debate, today in Quebec City, Dr. Henry Morgentaler received the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour in the country, recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement and dedication to community.

In a statement released Thursday, Governor General Michaëlle Jean said that Morgentaler has had "a major impact" on Canadian public policy. "A Holocaust survivor, he has not hesitated to put himself at risk in his determined drive to increase health-care options for Canadian women," the statement reads.

"He has been a catalyst for change and important debate, influencing public policy nationwide. He has heightened awareness of women's reproductive health issues among medical professionals and the Canadian public."

After it was announced in July that it would bestow the award on Morgentaler, some past recipients, angry at the decision, gave back their medals in protest. ‘If the majority have decided this is OK and a good thing, the minority has to accept it and understand that not all laws and rights will agree with our own personal beliefs.’ Jean said. Among those who returned their medals were Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor Gilbert Finn and B.C. priest Lucien Larré.

Born in Poland in 1923, Morgentaler and is a Holocaust survivor that lived in the Łódź ghetto until 1944, after which he was detained and sent to Auschwitz. Morgentaler immigrated to Canada from Poland after the Second World War and opened a clinic in Montreal in 1969, where he performed thousands of what were then illegal abortions.

Morgentaler gave up his family practice and began openly performing illegal abortions in his private clinic in 1968. At the time abortion was illegal except for cases in which continuing a pregnancy threatened the life of the pregnant woman. On August 26, 1969, an amendment to the Criminal Code legalized abortion in Canada if performed in a hospital after approval of a Therapeutic Abortion Committee which was a three-doctor hospital abortion committee. Morgentaler's abortions remained illegal under that new law; they became legal in January 1988 as section 251 of the Criminal Code (now known as section 287) was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

A family physician, Morgentaler argued that access to abortion was a basic human right and that women should not have to risk death in order to end their pregnancies. Morgentaler's clinics were often raided by police, and one in Toronto was firebombed.

Morgentaler was arrested several times and spent months in jail as he fought his case at all court levels in Canada.

"Canada is one of the few places in the world where freedom of speech and choice prevail in a truly democratic fashion," he said, reading from a statement. I'm proud to have been given this opportunity coming from a war-torn Europe to realize my potential and my dream - that is to create a better and more humane society."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Last week the government owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) pulled the column "A Mighty Wind Blows Through the Republican Convention" by writer Heather Mallick. Written on September 5, the article in question goes after Sarah Palin and crosses a line that does way beyond political analysis and refers to Palin's supporters as "white trash".

Some of Mallick's more incendiary comments include:

“It’s possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she’s a woman.”

“Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by this decade’s woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the “pramface.” Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal father would want Levi “I'm a fuckin’ redneck” Johnson prodding his daughter?"

“I know that I have an attachment to children that verges on the irrational, but why don't the Palins? I’m not the one preaching homespun values but I’d destroy that ratboy before I’d let him get within scenting range of my daughter again, and so would you. Palin’s e-mails about the brother-in-law she tried to get fired as a state trooper are fizzing with rage and revenge. Turn your guns on Levi, ma’am.”

On September 28, CBC publisher John Cruickshank issued an apology stating "we erred in our judgment".

More than 300 people have taken the trouble this month to complain to the CBC ombudsman about a column we ran on about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Sept. 5.

The column, by award-winning freelance writer Heather Mallick, was also pilloried by The National Post in Canada and by Fox News in the U.S. Despite its age — it is three weeks old, several lifetimes in web years — this posting remains a subject of fascination in the blogosphere.

Vince Carlin, the CBC ombudsman, has now issued his assessment of the Mallick column. He doesn't fault her for riling readers by either the caustic nature of her tone or the polarizing nature of her opinion.

But he objects that many of her most savage assertions lack a basis in fact. And he is certainly correct.

Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan.

And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the site.

After Mallick's column began to garner attention both online and on Fox News, Greta Van Susteren, the host of “On the Record,” condemned the column as “beyond vicious” and during the segment repeatedly referred to Mallick as “a pig."

I guess hate begets hate... On a brighter note, CBC included a journalistic pledge in its report that is promising.

We failed you in this case. And as a result we have put new editing procedures in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear. We are open to contentious reasoned argument but not to partisan attack. It's a fine line. Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, displays a very narrow range on its pages.

In this, Carlin is also correct. This, too, is being immediately addressed. will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country. We erred in our editorial judgment. You told us in no uncertain terms. And we have learned from it.

No wonder I have been spending less time online.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that Mallick's piece is online at her blog HERE.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Arnold Vetoes Bill Honouring LGBT Icon.

Yesterday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that “would have made the birthday of LGBT political icon Harvey Milk a statewide ‘day of significance.’” Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978.

Schwarzenegger, who opposes efforts to ban same-sex marriage in the state, explained his veto by saying that he believes Milk should “be recognized at the local level.” The AP notes that conservative groups had lobbied the governor to oppose the measure:

In his veto message issued Tuesday, the governor said that while he respected the measure’s intent, he thinks Milk’s “contributions should continue to be recognized at the local level.”

Conservative groups had lobbied Schwarzenegger not to sign the legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco.

Milk, was the first openly gay man to hold a prominent political office in America. In November, Gus Van Sant’s upcoming biopic of of the icon will be released. Click here to watch the trailer.