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    This is Pastor Max Villatoro, his wife Gloria, and their four kids. Gloria is a legal resident and all four children are American citizens. Max, a native of Honduras, is not. And because of a desperate (and common) mistake he made soon after arriving illegally in this country many years ago, he sits tonight in a jail cell awaiting imminent return to Honduras--a place where he has no one and nothing to return to, far from his family, his church, and the community he greatly enriched.

     I know this is is an all-too common story, that there are many millions of families who have been torn apart or are under threat of being capriciously separated at any time. But it would be difficult to find a clearer example of the brokenness and depravity of our immigration system than the story of this pastor, who has dedicated his life to serving man and God, being wrenched from his loving family and church.

For that reason, I hope you all will help us publicize and fight Max's deportation. It seems to me that even the rightiest of right wingers would be touched by the story of this man of God being cast out so cruelly. And if even a crack of light shines in the darkness, well, it's worth it.

A bit of background over the jump (I refuse to name the orange thing).

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There has been a lot of talk here today about whether we should stand with "Charlie," the French weekly satirical magazine that delighted in holding no one sacred, and basically offending everyone on an equal opportunity basis.

I stand with those defending free speech, no matter how distasteful it may appear to our American eyes, for several reasons.

First of all, I simply must as a journalist. I respect those who found some of the cartoons offensive, and I understand the reasons why. It's fine to question the tastefulness or effectiveness of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, especially as seen through an American lens (I do!) with our own particular histories and points of cultural reference.

But is frustrating to see these satirical cartoons, intended for a very politically aware leftist French audience (who would have immediately recognized the skewering of Le Pen and his ilk), presented out of context, without the relevant history and back story, as if this were a magazine run by French RWNJs.

I've lived in both France and the UK, and humor didn't always translate very well even between British and American sensibilities. Social and political satire translates even less effectively...and the Charlie Hebdo stuff is not subtle. It is shocking and 'in your face.' It is meant to be.

I think most people in France, including my North African friends, would be mystified to learn that CH was a 'racist' publication, given that it has a long, long history of just the opposite. I also see how these cartoons 'look' to casual observers here in the States and it breaks my heart. I think it would break the artists' hearts as well from what I have read about them.

That is just my take, though, and I thought it might be relevant to reproduce the words of slain editor Stephane Carbonnier here, in defense of racism charges (by a rag paper) in 2013.

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UPDATE 3: Well, it looks like this story continues...The Huffington Post now reports it was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) who allegedly told President Obama he could not bear to look at him at a meeting earlier this month.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) let his Democratic caucus know last week in a private meeting that a top House Republican told President Barack Obama, "I cannot even stand to look at you," according to two Democratic senators who were present, and confirmed by two Senate Democratic aides who said they independently learned of the exchange from two other senators.
One of the two Democratic senators who spoke to HuffPost said that Reid told the caucus about the incident last Tuesday and named Sessions. He also told the caucus that he was "sorry" to have to tell them about it, per this senator, but gave Obama credit for his "dignified" response to Sessions. Reid reportedly told the caucus that Obama responded to Sessions by saying he understood they disagreed on many issues and he respected their differences.
Sessions' office is denying the charge and the WH is attributing the kerfuffle to a "miscommunication" made during the reading back of the meeting's transcript.

UPDATE 2: Chad Pergram of FOX is tweeting that he contacted Durbin's office and the Senator is sticking with his story:

Durbin's office says the sen stands by his comments that Hse ldrshp R said they can't stand to look at Obama, even after Carney debunked it
TPM has it, too (h/t eztempo) as does Huffington Post, which included this tidbit in an article earlier this evening:
But two Democratic aides, both of whom requested anonymity, told The Huffington Post that the incident was relayed to members during a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting shortly after it allegedly happened. And Durbin isn’t backing down from the claims he originally made on his Facebook page on Sunday.

“Sen. Durbin stands by his comments,” Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told The Huffington Post.

Thanks for the find, PorridgeGun. The fact that Durbin discussed the incident with others just after it happened seems to indicate the story is legit.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  Thanks to hulibow and Paleo for pointing out WH spokesman Jay Carney denied Durbin's account at today's briefing. Here is the text:

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that. In terms of the president talking to Republicans, can you rule out -- there was the number two Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, said on his Facebook page that someone in recent exchange with the president said he can't even stand, this member of Congress, that he can't even stand to look at the president. Can you say whether that happened?

JAY CARNEY: I will say this, I spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen.

QUESTION: Did the White House speak to Senator Durbin about this?

CARNEY: I don't know. My understanding is that, again, from participants in the meeting that that didn't happen.

QUESTION: Did anything like it happen that would --

CARNEY: Not that I'm aware of, Jackie.

This is just a quick diary to call attention to a story published tonight on The Hill's blog site.

To put it short, this story, if true, turns my stomach, and says a lot about why Obama needs to continue to stand strong against House Republicans and FOR Democratic priorities. And why we all need to stand with him.

Summary under the jump...

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As a former reporter on the local and state government beat in Virginia (among other places), tonight's royal fuck-up by the Associated Press really pisses me off.

Just over an hour ago, the "esteemed" AP breathlessly reported this campaign-busting scoop:

Documents in a federal fraud case allege that Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe lied to a federal official investigating a Rhode Island estate planner now imprisoned for receiving death benefits on annuities secured on terminally ill people without their knowledge.

A 2011 fraud, conspiracy and identity theft indictment against Joseph Caramadre and an aide, Raymour Radhakrishnan, also alleges that McAuliffe misled a federal postal inspector who was inquiring about a $2,000 check Caramadre had sent him.

Wow, that's it for old Terry, I thought to myself when I saw the story break. Just when it looked like he had this thing wrapped up.

Those thoughts were echoed by throngs of reporters and right wing blogs, who eagerly pounced on the story--the latter gleefully chortling that this article would change everything in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Breaking: AP: McAuliffe lied to federal investigator in fraud case was one headline at right-wing fruitcake blog Hot Air.

The only problem was, as the AP has now conceded, the story was completely untrue. The AP has further more or less admitted their only evidence tying McAuliffe to the case was mention of a certain "T.M." in the body of a court filing.

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You know the Republicans have really stepped in it when even folks in Utah
(where President Obama garnered just under 25 percent of the vote in 2012) begin to turn against you.

According to a new Deseret News/KSL poll, 56 percent of Utahns disagreed it was worth shutting down the government over Obamacare and just 37 percent agreed. The poll also showed that almost half of those surveyed disapprove of the tea party's influence on the shutdown, and more than one-third disapprove of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who won his 2010 race with 62 percent of the vote.

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Wed May 22, 2013 at 11:30 PM PDT

Is anyone else allergic to the sun?

by kat68

Apparently this is an allergy that afffects 10-20 percent of us. More if you grew up way north in Minnesota or Sweden or even Northern China.

It affects fair-skinned people. Mostly women. Especially women in their 30s and 40s, as something about menopause stops the allergen.

For the past two days, as the weather has been nice, I've walked to school and back with my child. Today, for the second time this spring, I've broken out into itchy hives and did a bit of research:

Polymorphous light eruption is an itchy rash caused by sun exposure in people who have developed a sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity). The rash usually appears as red, tiny bumps or slightly raised patches of skin.

Polymorphous light eruption occurs most often during spring and early summer when a person's exposure to sunlight increases. Repeat episodes are less likely as the summer progresses, but polymorphous light eruption often recurs each year after the first incident.

Although polymorphous light eruption usually resolves on its own without treatment, medications may be needed to treat severe or persistent cases. Measures to protect the skin from sun exposure or light therapy may help prevent recurring episodes of polymorphous light eruption

I'm kind of curious if I'm alone in developing these rashes in the sun. I went through this years ago when the Internet was not much, and am curious if I'm just a weirdo or this is widespread.


Since the re-election of our President, Barack Obama, I haven't posted here very much. I'm doing other projects, volunteering in my community and trying to get a home-based copyediting business going.

The reduced time I spend online is mostly spent drinking in the sweet schadenfreude of watching the right split into fractious factions. I haunt Hot Air, Redstate, Brietbart, NRO Online and other sites where the RINO vs. winger wars are playing out big time, where at least one out of every three posters nowadays blares they will never, EVER again vote for a Republican Party traitor.

I believe them. The Republican Party is a mess these days and losing more each day with every Rick Scott capitulation or Rubio immigration plan. Republican politicians these days can't win for losing: one step to the left and they lose the baggers, and win very few jaded moderates; one step to the right and they lose everyone but the crazies. This is a party stuck between a rock and a hard place, so when all of my "favorite" sites blared the same headline today: "Rush Ashamed to Be An American," I worried that their defacto leader was finally leading them to sanity.

Perhaps he had finally realized the error of his ways, that by dragging so many stupid people too far right, he had rendered his beloved party unelectable.

Or that maybe calling women sluts and blaming rape victims for getting pregnant wasn't such a good idea electorally-speaking.

Or that fomenting racism Magic Negro-style and alienating every single group outside of old and middle-aged white guys hadn't been such a great strategy.

Was Rush finally confronting reality? Had he finally hit bottom and found shame?

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Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:29 PM PST

Virginia finally called for the President

by kat68

I kept telling y'all that our blue vote (NoVa) comes in late. Now it has.

Every election here looks like a R blowout until the last ten minutes. Virginia countryside is deeply red. All of us in the DC area have quite a different opinion.

My 270towin map had us winning every swing state but NC. Too bad, so sad for me Kos wasn't giving away the iPad this time. Oh well, glad to be right!

O-bama! O-bama!


Sorry for the incendiary title folks, but tonight's shenanigans courtesy of Drudge. Hannity and Mr. Bowtie, Tucker Carlson, have me incensed.

 It's clear the Romney campaign is desperate.

They are down in nearly every swing state. The national polls all favor Obama. The margins may ebb and flow, but they are all consistent in the fact that President Obama is ahead. However they may wish to "unskew" the polls by rewriting them entirely or declaring that the race is a "statistical tie" (with the willing help of some of our MSM pundits), the chances of Willard Mitt Romney springing a zinger--I'm picturing Romney "Bart Simpson" telling President Obama to eat his Mormon undergarments--that's good enough to turn the race on its head fall somewhere between slim and none.

These are desperate times for the GOP. They've tried and failed to rev up a Benghazi scandal (truly their best option), and tonight, on the eve of the all-important first debate, they went for broke, electing to throw up a deck of race cards into the air, hoping they would fall in a favorable pattern.

They did not. And boy are the Romney operatives, who swear they weren't behind this smear, no sir, ready to reap what meager rewards may come of this race baiting.

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This is just a quickie. I read a lot of right wing blogs (for punishment and hilarity in equal measure) and for days, they've been pushing the meme that Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a "c--t," so why shouldn't it be fine and dandy for Rush to call a college student a slut and a prostitute.

A wing-nut colleague of my husband texted him all night yesterday about this and I keep reading this ridiculous defense wherever I go.

Tonight, Maher threw fuel on the fire and obscured the issue entirely by tweeting this self-serving bon mot:

Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout
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OMG, I haven't been this scared since Larry "No Quarter" Johnson claimed Republican operatives planned to release the infamous "Whitey" tape of Michelle spouting all sorts of anti-white rhetoric as an October surprise. In some tellings of this fable, Michelle was speaking in front of Jeremiah Wright's "God damn America!" congregation...all in the service of making Obama seem scary and "other" and not just plain un-American, but crazily, vehemently, militantly anti-American.

Of course, the tape never materialized (mostly, because it never existed) and Obama went on to a landslide victory.

But it's four years later, and somehow Brietbart and the right think Obama as radical is a winning message. Nevermind that it didn't work the first time around and Americans have had four years to appreciate (or not) Obama's straining for bipartisanship and cautious--too cautious, some say--measured approach to governing.

Oh no. They're going to run the very same playbook...Ayers, Dohrn, pot-smoking, coke-sniffing, Larry Sinclair-limo-driving, "pallin' around with terrorists"  bullshit.

Insert the "OMG, ONoez" guys here (I don't know how to post anything but videos) and follow below the curlicue for Brietbart's latest CPAC rantings.

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Right wing blogs are abuzz tonight with news that Marianne Gingrich, Newt's second wife, has sat for an "explosive" two-hour interview with ABC that could very well end his career.

Speculation began earlier this afternoon when Matt Drudge put up his famous siren and the headline "Network Holds Bombshell Campaign Interview," and later updated it with "Civil War at ABC News." Finally, a little over an hour ago, Drudge gave up the goods:

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