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Have you heard it all yet?  No?  OK, then here is something to put in your pipe and smoke for yucks.  Via Huffington we have this bit of idiocy:

Israeli Selfie From Miss Universe Contest Causes Stir In Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Israeli beauty queen's selfie has caused a stir in Lebanon, with some Lebanese saying their country's contestant at the Miss Universe pageant should be stripped of her title for consorting with the enemy.

Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a photo of herself and Miss Lebanon Saly Greige smiling together at pageant preparations in Miami, where the winner will be picked on January 25.

The two countries are technically at war, although the border has been largely quiet since their 2006 conflict. The Lebanese risk prison if they call or travel to Israel and all Israeli products are banned in Lebanon.

Some Lebanese have demanded on social media that Greige lose her title for contacts with a citizen of the enemy state…...

Can there be anything sillier in this silly season than a pair of beauty pageant contestants causing a diplomatic brouhaha over a selfie?  What a microcosm of idiocy and failure to connect.  When geopolitics reaches into the make-believe world of beauty pageants, then we know we are doomed.
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Sat Dec 27, 2014 at 03:55 PM PST

Quitting smoking in 2015?

by Radiowalla

Of course you are!  At least you are thinking that you will or thinking that you should.  Isn't it odd how smokers are always wishing they could quit and former smokers never say to themselves "Gosh, I wish I had never quit smoking!" ?

I came across this little gem as I was cleaning out some old files yesterday and am sharing it here because it once helped me in my tortuous journey to becoming nicotine-free.  All of the statements are framed in the positive and emphasize what the quitter is gaining rather than losing.  

If you are a wannabe non-smoker, jump over the little cloud of orange smoke rings and see this list of Reasons for Becoming A Non-Smoker.  Print it up and keep it with you as you embark on your own journey.  Add your own reasons to it.  Or roll it up and smoke it! Whatever the case, a freshly-issued year is upon us and you might as well make it a smoke-free one.  

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Uh-oh.  The brouhaha over the August invitation to Bill Maher to address UC Berkeley's December commencement has just taken a new turn.  

Long known as a critic of all organized religion, Maher's outspoken criticism of Islam has not set well with Berkeley's Muslim community.  His selection as a commencement speaker drew over 4,000 signatures demanding that the invitation be rescinded.

The student group that selected comedian Bill Maher to be the commencement speaker at the University of California at Berkeley has attempted to rescind the invitation after student backlash over some of Maher’s statements, but the university won’t allow it, school officials said Wednesday…..Graduating senior Taliah Mirmalek, 20, who has been participating in organizing against Maher’s appearance said today that she does not think students should be forced to listen to Maher speak if they think he is prejudiced against their religion.
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/...
The UC admins are having none of it:
For many years it has been the responsibility of UC Berkeley undergraduates, through a committee known as the “Californians,” to select speakers for the university’s commencement ceremonies. In August the “Californians” chose Bill Maher as the speaker for the December commencement ceremony. However, last night the “Californians” reconvened without administration participation and came to a decision that the invitation should be rescinded.

The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech. For that reason Chancellor Dirks has decided that the invitation will stand, and he looks forward to welcoming Mr. Maher to the Berkeley campus. It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them. More broadly, this university has not in the past and will not in the future shy away from hosting speakers who some deem provocative.

...
http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/...

We have surely not heard the end of this.  Will he speak or won't he?  Or will the student protesters prevail?  Is free speech threatened?  Or should Bill Maher be shunned?
Poll

Should Bill Maher be allowed to speak at Berkeley's graduation?

66%142 votes
14%31 votes
17%38 votes
0%2 votes

| 214 votes | Vote | Results

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Run that by me once more, please, Rand.  I fell out of my chair when I heard you the first time.  

"Young people aren't so wedded to party," Paul, 51, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The kids are probably adrift somewhat. And I don't think someone who is an authoritarian, or comes from a much more authoritarian point of view like Hillary Clinton, will attract them."

Talkingpointsmemo

An authoritarian like Hillary Clinton?   You mean the person who has always worked for a woman's freedom to make her own choices about when or if to have a child?  The woman who believes government has no business in anyone's uterus?

Rand, Rand, Rand…are you even aware of what you are saying?  Your support of The Personhood Amendment makes you the most vicious and invasive of all authoritarians  when it comes to women's bodies!  You believe that every fertilized ovum must be carried to term, never mind about the wishes of the woman.  Your voting record is filled with authoritarian votes to insure that women have no say in the control of their bodies.  Your authoritarian voting record is so bad that NARAL gives you a ZERO rating.

You have so little respect for American woman that you would put (your) government in charge of their most personal decisions.  

I don't know about the rest of you ladies and gentlemen out there in Voter Land, but I think Rand is the Prince of Authoritarians.  

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Outrage upon outrage.  Here's the latest scoop from the War Against Women, ISIS-style:

An Iraqi lawyer known for her work promoting women’s rights has been killed by Islamic State fighters, the head of the United Nations human rights office said on Thursday, continuing a pattern of attacks on professional women.

The lawyer, Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, was seized from her home by Islamic State fighters last week and tortured for several days before a masked firing squad executed her in public on Monday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights commissioner, said in a statement.

The New York Times  brings us this grisly report of yet another outrageous act of barbarism by the deranged Islamist mobsters known as ISIS.

Women (and their children) often bear the brunt of military hostilities, but the present situation is particularly vicious.

United Nations monitors in Iraq have received numerous reports of executions of women by Islamic State gunmen, some after perfunctory trials, the organization said. “Educated, professional women seem to be particularly at risk,” it added.

These killings, together with abductions and the enslavement of women and children, illustrate the “utterly poisonous nature” of the extremist group, Mr. Zeid said, drawing attention to the plight of hundreds of women and girls of the Yazidi religious minority and other ethnic and religious groups sold into slavery, raped or forced into marriage after the group overran large areas of northern Iraq.

So, there you have it.  Women who dare to venture out of the veil, out of the kitchen, out of enslavement are targeted and murdered by the men who would enslave them.  It's the Neanderthal Age, déjà vu all over again.  Who would have imagined that such a thing could occur in 2014?  

We are all Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy.  May her soul rest in peace.

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It's Labor Day and time to think about the workers who toil in the factories and the fields and the Wal-Marts and the Chevron stations and the Safeways and… just everywhere.

It's also a good time to think about one's own life in the working world.  

So I got wondering about my own work history and was trying to resurrect some memories.  I started wondering "What was the worst job I ever had?"

Hands down, it was a translation contract for a company in France that manufactured TOILET SEATS!  The CEO of the company was worried that the new American owners would cast him aside and he didn't speak or write much English.  So he hired me to translate some work documents about TOILET SEATS!  I toiled over his documents for about two full days, plunging myself deep into the arcana of the loo.  Then I submitted my translations and my bill  and then waited and waited and waited to get paid.  

I'm still waiting, many years later.  Clearly, I had been dumped upon.

So what was YOUR worst job?  

Discuss

Wannabe candidate Rand Paul has been bobbing and weaving around his positions so much lately that I've been getting ready to pass out the sea sickness pills.

So it was somewhat of a surprise that I came across evidence on The National Memo that he is sticking by his viciously anti-choice positions.  A recent interview at the American Liberty Association reaffirms every woman's nightmare:  Rand Paul is plotting a government take-over of her uterus and plans to tell every American woman how to manage her reproductive life.  

In the interview, Paul reiterated his strong support for fetal personhood bills — and suggested that failing to pass them could bring about the end of civilization.

“I’ve introduced legislation called the Life at Conception Act, to define when life begins: at conception. I’ve also probably co-sponsored 20-some-odd pro-life bills, I have a 100 percent voting record for pro-life,” Paul said during the interview. “But I also have taken the time to go to the March for Life. When I was there, I was the only senator who showed up for the March for Life.”

“So I do think it’s important,” Paul added. “I often say in my speeches, that I don’t think a civilization can long endure that doesn’t respect the rights of the unborn.”

In all his ghastly splendor, Rand Paul tells women what he has in store for them:

Don't say you weren't warned!
 

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A recent article in the SF Chron detailed the names of several of California's major political donors.  The top dude was Tom Steyer who is known for his support of environmental causes and Democratic Party candidates, but another, albeit smaller, donor caught my eye.

Jordan Winery owner Thomas John Jordan of Healdsburg, who gave $2.1 million, entirely to Republicans and conservatives.
Wait!  Wait!   I have often purchased Jordan Wines!  I have unwittingly been supporting a business that gives millions to conservative causes and to Republicans!  Oh, my.

Open Secrets lists the contributions of Thomas John Jordan for the recent election cycle

Contributor    Amount    Date    Recipient
JORDAN, JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $300,000    05/05/14    New Republican PAC
JORDAN, JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $285,000    04/24/14    New Republican PAC
JORDAN, THOMAS JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $-1,311    11/19/13    Americans for Progressive Action
JORDAN, THOMAS JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $-270,986    06/27/13    Americans for Progressive Action
JORDAN, THOMAS JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $450,000    06/19/13    Americans for Progressive Action
JORDAN, THOMAS JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $500,000    06/14/13    Americans for Progressive Action
JORDAN, THOMAS JOHN
HEALDSBURG, CA    $750,000    06/10/13    Americans for Progressive Action
Based on data released by the FEC on July 21, 2014.

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center.

And don't be fooled by the "Americans for Progressive Action."  Ain't nothing progressive about it.

Jordan Winery is known for its chardonnay and its cabernet sauvignon.  

If you don't like your dollars going to enrich Republican donors and their conservative causes, then please join me in refusing to buy Jordan Winery wines.

(I like gin better, anyway)

Discuss

Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 04:04 PM PDT

I hate my index finger….

by Radiowalla

I hate my index finger.

It wanders out of control from time to time and, in spite of itself, it clicks into an I-P diary.  How many times have I told it to STOP! Stay away!?  

My index finger keeps forgetting that it is connected to a body that has high blood pressure and can ill afford the provocation.  My index finger keeps forgetting about all the posters I usually admire who totally lose their common sense and humanity when they type away with fury in I-P diaries.

Dear Zeus, please deliver me from my errant index finger and keep me the hell away from this.  Amen.  

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What to do when you run across a diary that sets your teeth on edge when you only have your puny iPhone keyboard for responding?  That happened to me while traveling last week when this blow-out diary rocketed to the Rec List and garnered over a thousand comments.  There were over 300 Recs and one HR.

The HR was mine.  I blew my stack and received my first red ink warning from the Help Desk in over 10 years of posting here.

Now that I am back at a proper keyboard, I will try to succinctly explain, for the record, my objections to this diary.  Please note that I am not interested in rehashing the Hillary Rox-Sux issue, but in simply explaining, below the fold, why my finger was driven inexorably to the Hide Button on that fateful day.  

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Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:40 PM PDT

Brian Schweitzer said WHAT????

by Radiowalla

It wasn't the only time Schweitzer was unable to hold his tongue. Last week, I called him on the night Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in his GOP primary. "Don't hold this against me, but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this … men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he offered when I mentioned the stunning news. When I asked him what he meant, he added, "They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think, so I don't know. Again, I couldn't care less. I'm accepting."
http://www.nationaljournal.com/...

Clearly not ready for a presidential run.  

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The recent announcement that the Koch brothers are worth 100 billion dollars drew me into a state of revery.

What if I were the one with that amount of money?  What would I do with it?  First, I started counting on my fingers to try to come up with some idea of the scope of my new wealth. One million, two million, three million, four million… no, no, no, that wouldn't do.  I realized that I won't live long enough to complete the counting.

So I then moved on to making a list of what I would do with that kind of money burning in my pocket.  

That part was easy! I'd give most of it away!  I'd become the Biggest Checkbook Democrat in the country and funnel tons of money to pro-choice, pro-environment candidates.  I'd buy up radio stations and give Rush and Hannity their walking papers.  I'd fund charities for the homeless, for children's education and nutrition, for reproductive services. I'd fund major solar initiatives.  I'd fund independent artists and save the NY City Opera.  I'd give so much money to Lincoln Center that they would have to remove the Koch name from their buildings.

Oh, how sweet it would be!  And I'm just getting started here…  

So what would YOU do with 100 billion dollars?    Would you spend any on yourself?  What charities would you fund or would you start your own?  What the hell would you do with all that $$$$???

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