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Barack Obama: Charisma Machine

Barack Obama: Charisma Machine

Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home

Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home - washingtonpost.com

A quick note: it may seem that we are hammering hard here on Palin's record and character. And we are. But we're doing this because she is an unknown quantity, one breath from the White House. Obama, McCain and Biden have been in the public eye for a very long time. They've been examined and investigated and vetted many times over. Palin has not.

ANCHORAGE, Sept. 8 -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

. . .

She wrote some form of "Lodging -- own residence" or "Lodging -- Wasilla residence" more than 30 times at the same time she took a per diem, according to the reports. In two dozen undated amendments to the reports, the governor deleted the reference to staying in her home but still charged the per diem.

She also brought her kids along (and charged taxpayers for their flights) frequently on government trips, a practice eschewed by former Alaskan governors as kids rarely accomplish much business.

Photo Gallery: Seven Years of 9/11

Seven years since -- looking back and forward on 9/11 - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Matt Damon sums up the Sarah Palin situation

Matt Damon on Sarah Palin | J.P.DeFillippo

Photo Gallery: Russian Weddings

English Russia -- The Wedding

Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman -- rainy day fight in the mud

Zatoichi (2003) - Rainy day fight scene

This is a very weird and fantastic film. Under appreciated, is what I'd call it. It had interesting moments where the rhythm of daily life would burst into song, which I can never decide if it meant to give us understanding of Zatoichi's way of hearing the world, of it's just playfulness from the director. Possibly both?

We ar enow the proud owners of a $407 Billion Deficit

National Briefing - Washington - Budget Office Forecasts $407 Billion Deficit - Brief - NYTimes.com

Do you remember back 8 years ago when a Democrat was in the White House and we had a budget surplus. Those were good days.

The federal government will run a deficit of $407 billion this fiscal year, according to the latest Capitol Hill estimates. The Congressional Budget Office also predicted that the deficit would reach a record $438 billion in the next fiscal year, and could go even higher if Congress adjusts the alternative minimum tax and the government takes over the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The budget office figures for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, are slightly worse than the White House predictions released in July. The White House foresees a $389 billion deficit for 2008, growing to $482 billion in 2009.

Zero Punctuation reviews Too Human

September 09, 2008

On the barely concealed homosexual subtext in John Carpenter's They Live

The Hooded Utilitarian: They Live

By dear friend of the Almanack Noah Berlatsky.

Or, to put it another way, John wants Frank to be able to distinguish those who are straight from those who are just passing. The glasses are a kind of gaydar, bound up with violent homosexual panic. After putting them on for the first time, the formerly rather mild-mannered John starts blasting away with a machine-gun, shooting down all the aliens he sees. Similarly, the fight in the alley is all about Frank's refusal to put the glasses on. When Frank does lose and wear the glasses, the two quickly reconcile and check into a seedy hotel together, where, looking at the bed, John makes a homophobic/homoerotic crack (if I remember rightly, he says, “So this is love.”)

There is one female character in the movie; Meg Foster the putative romantic interest. But she’s hardly onscreen, appearing only long enough to establish her deep (and almost completely unmotivated) untrustworthiness. The real emotional tie is between the two men; an emotional tie which can only be expressed through violence and then end, inevitably, in tragedy. The movie itself ends with the aliens exposed for all to see. The last image, in fact, is of a nude woman copulating with the standard porn-star exhalations; she looks down and sees she’s riding an alien. The anxiety about concealment is an anxiety about sexuality — what is passing as who, and how can we keep them from fucking us?

Local Alaska news fact-checks Palin while network news are afraid to

Talking Points Memo | Pretty Sad

While mayor Sarah Palin charged women for their own rape kits

Wasilla Police Billed Sexual Assault Victims for Their Own Rape Kits -- Op-Edna

This was pretty unique to her own town, as most other municipalities covered the cost of the kits. The democratic governor Tony Knowles eventually signed legislation preventing mayors like Palin from doing this.

While Sarah Palin was serving as the Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, the city charged victims of sexual assault between $300 and $1200 for their own rape kits. A rape kit is a sexual assault forensic evidence kit, used to collect DNA that can be used in criminal proceedings to assist in the conviction of those who commit sex crimes. The kit is performed as soon as possible after a sexual assault or attack has been committed. It is usually humiliating and uncomfortable for the victim–imagine enduring that and then paying $1200 just so that the criminal who assaulted you might be caught.

( Politic(k)s. Posted by Mojo at 12:42 PM |

Stephen Fry's Guilty Pleasure

Stephen Fry: Guilty (2007)

"What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick"

What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick | Salon

Juan Cole, perhaps the most well-informed man in the world on the situation in Iraq and a professor at the University of Michigan takes aim at Palin's religious beliefs and finds them familiar from his study of the middle east.

Sept. 9, 2008 | John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the "transcendent challenge" of the 21st century, "radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God's will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.

McCain pledged to work for peace based on "the transformative ideals on which we were founded." Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language. She tried to fire the librarian for defying her. Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."

Palin argued when running for governor that creationism should be taught in public schools, at taxpayers' expense, alongside real science. Antipathy to Darwin for providing an alternative to the creation stories of the Bible and the Quran has also become a feature of Muslim fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia prohibits the study, even in universities, of evolution, Freud and Marx. Malaysia has banned a translation of "The Origin of the Species." Likewise, fundamentalists in Turkey have pressured the government to teach creationism in the public schools. McCain has praised Turkey as an anchor of democracy in the region, but Turkey's secular traditions are under severe pressure from fundamentalists in that country. McCain does them no favors by choosing a running mate who wishes to destroy the First Amendment's establishment clause, which forbids the state to give official support to any particular theology. Turkish religious activists would thereby be enabled to cite an American precedent for their own quest to put religion back at the center of Ankara's public and foreign policies.

As the bard says, more at the link dear fellows.

Get Your War On! video roundup

I love Rees' work. He combines an in-depth knowledge of the issues with an irrelevent sense of humor that I find refreshing. Plus, Voltron.

More videos after the jump.

Get Your War On! looks at McCain's cross story

American Samizdat: Rebel Scum Since 2001

Trailer: The Sarah Jane Adventures, Season 2

Trailer Reveals 'Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane (Adventures)' | The Underwire from Wired.com

The Sarah Jane Smith Adventures is the "child-friendly" spin-off of Dr. Who. The first season was fun and goofy and enjoyable. It's a charming concept: ex-companion to the Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, continues to fight the good fight as a journalist on Earth and befriends two neighborhood kids and adopts a genetically-engineered boy genius. They investigate and fight aliens.

At times it manages to be even more angsty than Dr. Who and scarier. The heroes here have no real powers, no Time Lord experience to fall back on. So the stakes often feel higher.

I'm excited for season 2.

Photo Gallery: The ruins of Abkhazia

English Russia -- The End of the Empire

This is an abandoned railway station in Abkhazia, former Russian territory. It stays untouched since the collapse of USSR - the railway connection of Abkhazia and Russia stopped and railway station left out of demand so nature could take over the left-overs of Soviet architecture. In my opinion it reminds somehow the Prince of Persia video game scenes or scenes from the movie of the abandoned civilization after some major disaster.

More shots at the link.