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Sebelius was confirmed last night, sworn in this morning and set right to work on our swine flu

9th Circuit Rejects Obama/Bush State Secrets Argument In Mohammed
A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Mary Schroeder, William Canby and Michael Hawkins, has firmly rejected the vile cover up attempted against several detainees/former detainees led by Binyam Mohamed. The full decision is here.
I would like to note two things quickly; first off this is a wonderful panel (they are all from Arizona and I have known all of them) and I really expected no less from them. Secondly, it appears from a skimming of the decision that they did not dismiss the ability of the government to assert state secrets, rather indicated the time was not ripe for it. Do not be mistaken, however, this is a big blow to the government and a win for the rule of law.

Glenn Greenwald gives more context:
Major defeat for Bush/Obama position on secrecy
The first sign that the Obama DOJ would replicate many of the worst and most radical arguments of the Bush DOJ was in the Jeppesen case, a lawsuit brought by five victims of the CIA's rendition and torture program (including Binyam Mohamed). The Bush administration had argued that the entire "subject matter" raised by the lawsuit (the rendition program) was such a gravely important "state secret" that the court could not consider any lawsuit relating to that issue. That argument was a by-product of one of the Bush DOJ's most controversial actions: its radical expansion of the "state secrets" doctrine. Whereas that privilege was once an evidentiary privilege enabling the Government to declare specific documents too secret to use in litigation, the Bush DOJ converted it into an all-purpose shield allowing them to have entire lawsuits dismissed even where the lawsuit alleged that the President's conduct was illegal.
The District Court in Jeppesen had accepted the Bush DOJ's argument and dismissed the lawsuit, and on appeal in February, the Obama DOJ -- to the obvious surprise of the judges and in a reversal of everything Democrats claimed they believed during the Bush presidency -- told the Ninth Circuit panel that they embrace the Bush DOJ "state secrets" position in full (a position they've since repeated in other cases).
Today, in a 26-page ruling (.pdf), the appellate court resoundingly rejected the Bush/Obama position, holding that the "state secrets" privilege -- except in extremely rare circumstances not applicable here -- does not entitle the Government to demand dismissal of an entire lawsuit based on the assertion that the "subject matter" of the lawsuit is a state secret. Instead, the privilege only allows the Government to make specific claims of secrecy with regard to specific documents and other facts -- exactly how the privilege was virtually always used before the Bush and Obama DOJs sought to expand it into a vast weapon of immunity from all lawsuits challenging the legality of any executive branch program relating to national security.MORE
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Briana Davis, 14, holds her brother, Aedaughn Spann, two months, as their parents, Kentaindra Scarver, 33, and her partner, Veronica Spann, 24, wait to get married on Monday at the Dubuque County Courthouse

More than 380 couples applied on Monday

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Concord - By a single vote, the New Hampshire House today reversed itself and passed a bill that bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The proposal was dubbed the "bathroom bill" by its opponents. The bill, House Bill 415, allows individuals to bring actions at the Human Rights Commission when they feel they have been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual identity, or the way they express it, such as with their clothing or makeup.
After more than three hours of debate that opened today's session, the House voted 188-187 to pass the bill.
Early in the debate, Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, took the unusual step of leaving her podium and speaking in favor of the bill. She said she was disappointed in debate two weeks ago, and by "the muddying of the waters" on the issue.
"New Hampshire and the New Hampshire General Court has always stood against discrimination. Somewhere along the way, that message got lost on this bill," she said. "We're not asking you to open up bathrooms to sexual predators. We're asking you to stand tall against discrimination."MORe

Washington Oks Inclusion of transgender in Hate Crimes Laws

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Attacks against transgender people could be prosecuted as hate crimes under a bill approved Wednesday by Washington's Legislature.

The state's hate-crime law says it's a felony to threaten, damage the property of, or physically injure someone because of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.

At present, the hate-crime definition of sexual orientation covers gay, straight or bisexual people. The bill approved Wednesday adds "gender expression or identity" to that definition, making the law apply to attacks on transgender people.MORe
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DC will recognize samesex marriages from elsewhere in the US.

the following post was originally flocked. I asked for it to be unlocked, and as a courtesy, the poster allowed it. As a result, just as a reminder: No obnoxiousness. No rudeness. No defensiveness. Be adult, please. No wank allowed.

Something to think about


Apr. 7th, 2009 11:46 am
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Breaking: Vermont passes gay marriage, legislature overrides Governor’s veto

As expected the Vermont state Senate easily exceeded the required 2/3rds requirement for a veto override, voting 23 to 5 shortly after 10 a.m. this morning. This vote reflected the earlier 26-4 vote in favour of the measure in the Senate. (One Senate Republican – Bill Doyle - who had voted for the bill switched to support the Governor’s veto – presumably in solidarity with his governor, while 2 of the bills supporters were not able to be there for the vote, including Ed Flanagan, the only openly gay member of the Senate, and Phil Scott, one of the Republican supporters.)

The real drama was in the House of Representatives which just after 11 a.m. (eastern) voted 100 to 49 to override, barely exceeding the required 2/3rds.

The House vote was in question up to the last minute, following last week’s 95-52 vote in favour of the bill – short of the 2/3rd s margin. The final margin came when 3 of Democratic representatives who had voted against the bill the first time around sided with the majority and supported the override, while another Democratic opponent was absent

The override action happened quickly – after the House gave initial approval last Thursday and final approval on Friday, the Senate met in special session on Monday afternoon to approve changes that the House had made. The Governor vetoed immediately after final passage on Monday. The Senate and House both took up the override on Tuesday morning.MORE

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From :Jack and Jill Politics and The Black Snob
Dressing Michelle: Major Designers Wait for First Lady's Call


Oscar de la Renta:


"American fashion right now is struggling," says Oscar de la Renta. "I think I understand what [Obama and her advisers] are doing, but I don't think that is the right message at this particular point....I don't object to the fact that Mrs. Obama is wearing J. Crew to whatever because the diversity of America is what makes this country great. But there are a lot of great designers out there. I think it's wrong to go in one direction only."

He also took a jab at the outfit the first lady wore to meet Queen Elizabeth: "'You don't...go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater.'"

Donna Karan:

"I hope and believe that this is just a moment," says Karan. "And I hope to be able to dress her, and not only dress her but address her, sit down -- I'm interested in her totality as a woman."

Vera Wang:

"I love seeing young designers and their vision and how they grow and all of that," she says. "On the other hand, of course, I wish she would consider some of us, because I think we also have contributions to make."

'Whites-Only' Designers Reap What They 'Sew' w/Mrs. O? (POLL)

The coolest thing about being African-American and bilingual Italian is that when you go to a model casting in Milan and are pointed to the sign that reads “no ragazze di colore” (no colored girls), you can: a) understand it; and b) get sent right back to thhttp://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/4/4/716393/-Whites-Only-Designers-Reap-What-They-Sew-w-Mrs.-O-(POLL)e casting as a Brazilian and instructed by your agent not to speak English to anyone.

Today, in an article titled “Dressing Michelle: Major Designers Wait for First Lady’s Call,” Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) posted the outrage of American designers like Oscar de la Renta, who stated, “I don’t object to the fact that Mrs. Obama is wearing J. Crew to whatever because the diversity of America is what makes this country great. But there are a lot of great designers out there. I think it’s wrong to go in one direction only.”

Um. EXACTLY.  So where is that sentiment decade after decade as U.S. designers send all-white models down their runways?  I don’t know whether to shake with laughter or with disbelief!In Feb 2009, New York’s Fashion Week featured 116 labels and 3,697 runway spots.  668 of those spots - 18% - went to models of color.  Not 668 models, mind you, because three of the top ethnic girls took up half of those spots with repeat appearances).  That’s right, 18% women of color - ANY COLOR - on the runways and 82% white models.  In New York City.  So the real question should be “Donna, Ralph and Calvin, where in the world are your ethnic models?”  And the answer is…


Calvin Klein: showed 1 look with an ethnic model out of 35 he sent down his runway.

Donna Karan: showed 3 looks with ethnic models out of 45 she sent down her runway.

Ralph Lauren: Nearly 50% of his looks were worn by Black, Latina and Asian models.  That explains why WWD’s Photoshopped look of Mrs. Obama wearing a Feb 2009 U.S. runway design was from Ralph Lauren’s show - where they could actually find someone with brown arms and legs.  (As for the above quote from Oscar de la Renta, comme d’habitude, his runway diversity was nearly 50%).

Understand that Feb 2009 marks a 50% increase over the year before, due to the concerted efforts of model-turned-agent Bethanne Hardison and designer Dianne von Furstenberg to diversify U.S. runways.  As stunning examples, in 2008, Donna Karan cast 1 ethnic model out of 23Calvin Klein cast 1 out of 21, and Jill Stuart had NONE (Paris’s entire 2008 Fashion Week - 40 designers - also had NONE - but they’re not demanding that the President’s wife wear their clothes). Two years earlier in 2007, 1/3 of the U.S. runways (101 shows) had no models of color whatsoever.  We know that because WWD reported it…so how can they now champion the cause of the same designers to be represented by our African-American First Lady?

Click for list of American designers that didnot use One POC model this 2009 season
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"The court reaffirmed that a statute inconsistent with the Iowa constitution must be declared void even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion," said a summary of the ruling issued by the court.


The state Supreme Court's ruling upheld an August 2007 decision by Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson, who found that a state law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of equal protection.
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March 4, 2009 CNBC gives financial advice

March 9, 2009In Cramer we trust

Jon Stewart on Dave Letterman

March 10, 2009Basic cable personality clash

Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Part 1

Jim Cramer Part Two

Jim Cramer Part Three

Stock Market Manipulation - Jim Cramer

Battle of the Network Stars: Street.com CEO Quits; MSNBC Told to Downplay Stewart - Cramer Interview
Thomas Clarke, who has been CEO of financial news website The Street has announced his departure “effective immediately.”

Clarke’s abrupt departure comes less than a day after The Daily Show aired tape of The Street’s co-founder, Jim Cramer, explaining in a Street.com webcast how he, as a hedge fund manager, manipulated value to serve some publicly traded companies and investors at the expense of others.

If you have just crawled out from under a rock, Cramer was a guest on Jon Stewart’s show last night, and the general consensus is Stewart took Cramer, CNBC, and financial “journalism,” in general, to the cleaners.

Or, maybe you haven’t just crawled out from under a rock—maybe you have only been getting your news from MSNBC. The 24-hour news channel—and CNBC partner—was reportedly told by its corporate bosses that this was, you know, not of interest to its viewers:

A TVNewser tipster tells us MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today. In fact, the only time it came up on MSNBC was during the White House briefing, when a member of the press corps asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if Pres. Obama watched. Gibbs wasn't sure if the president had, but Gibbs did. "I enjoyed it thoroughly," the Press Secretary said.

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Note to the colorblind: BE LESS BLIND

In the good things dept.:
[livejournal.com profile] verb_noire, a new publishing venture focused on POC, disabled, LGBT fiction is fundraising. If you can contribute, can you click "Chip In"?
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Of good things that have come out of race fail 09

[livejournal.com profile] verb_noire



And save up cash for buying!
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via: [livejournal.com profile] liz_marcs

Polifact, a project of the St. Petersberg Times has up the Obameter, which is tracking 489 of his promises, to see if he keeps them.

PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter. We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.
Click through to see the graphic

So far on the kept side

No. 13: Require taxpayers to report more detail on capital gains taxes

No. 125: Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq

No. 240: Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials

No. 241: Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.

No. 427: Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
Again, click through for the full details. Wee!!! I LOVE being able to see my government at work!!1

They have also got their Truth-o-meter up and running!
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Cool Stuff One

Now we are in a new era with a new President and it looks like he is open to taking our governments mindset out of the 90s and bring them into the new millennium when it comes to software choices:
The secret to a more secure and cost effective government is through open source technologies and products.
The claim comes from one of Silicon Valley's most respected business leaders Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.
He revealed he has been asked to prepare a paper on the subject for the new administration.
"It's intuitively obvious open source is more cost effective and productive than proprietary software," he said.
"Open source does not require you to pay a penny to Microsoft or IBM or Oracle or any proprietary vendor any money."
You can hear lobbyists from companies like Microsoft flocking on D.C. already to try and stop this. Hopefully they fail, because open source software is the way to go. Supporting a growing industry like this is something synonymous with economic stimulus. Small start up companies that specialize in different open source applications could see themselves grow by receiving support and development requests from the U.S. government.MORE

Cool stuff two

In a symbolic and unprecedented move, President Obama today announced that he would be freezing the pay of White House employees who make over $100k a year.


President Barack Obama announced on his first day in office Wednesday that he is freezing the pay of the about a hundred White House employees who make over $100,000 a year.
The freeze would hold salaries at their current levels. It is part of a presidential memorandum being issued Wednesday when Obama attends a swearing-in for staff at the White House.

In a statement, Obama said "families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington."

Aides making above $100,00 include the high-profile jobs of White House chief of staff, national security adviser and press secretary. Other aides who work in relative anonymity also fit into that cap, if Obama follows a structure similar to the one George W. Bush set up.

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Ashbury Heights-Christ

FOr some reason, the lyrics fill me with glee:

Devilgod - Paralyzed
By unreasonable fear high
On expectations, drunk on Perriér

Devilgod - Analyzed by the best
And the beast a sovereign of
Madmen, at the very least

Make my day, my world my Silverchair
Make your way, all through my faux despair

Clap your hands you motherfuckers
Buy the record sing along
The moment that you dig this song
I will become your newborn Christ

Clap your hands you motherfuckers
Buy the record sing along
I'm coming now, it won't be long
Before I am your Antichrist

Devilgod - Demonesque
Apalling deity deteste
Vanity incarnate, malicious manifest

Devilgod - Desperate to retain his
Cheap glamour we're all paper stars,
At point de non retour

Make my day, my world my silverchair
Make your way, all through my faux despair
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via:[livejournal.com profile] karnythia

Obama halts all regulations pending review

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Barack Obama's first acts is to order federal agencies to halt all pending regulations until his administration can review them.

The order went out Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Obama was inaugurated president, in a memorandum signed by new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. The notice of the action was contained in the first press release sent out by Obama's White House, and it came from deputy press secretary Bill Burton.

via: [livejournal.com profile] cofax7

A bit of transparency

I'm going to be totally geeky and point to a really understated but telling change in how the government operates, as an example of how different things could be after 20 January 2009.

The way search engines operate, they go into your website directories and index information in advance, so they know what to provide when people type in queries. If you don't want the information on your website indexed, you use a robots.txt file to tell the search engine not to index your stuff. (Like the way I have robots blocked on my LJ so it isn't indexed.)

The Bush Administration had a robots.txt file that was 2400 lines long, and it forbade search engines from making it easy for people to find information on the Whitehouse website relating to such things as earmarks, 9/11, or the Office of Management and Budget.

The new Obama Administration robots.txt file is two lines long, and allows everything to be indexed.MORE
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"My country tis of thee" Aretha Franklin

Oath of Office Barack Obama

Rev. Lowery Benediction (sorry but I won't stain my page with Warren)

Inaugural Poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander (I HAte the way she read this, I think I would like it better if I actually read it to myself. she reads it to stiffly and precisely for my taste)


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