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From Liv Films, an editorial about gay marriage, fat marriage, eating lobsters, and more. Mona of Liv Films was the “Ron Paul Girl,” but most of their recent work has been non-political. LMFAO (laughing my fat ass off)….

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originally posted by GE at IPR. Headline by Fred Church in the comments.

In response to House GOP leader John Boehner’s comments to Reason‘s Dave Weigel — that conservatives considering a vote for Bob Barr “might as well vote for Barack Obama” — the LP has issued a press release with harsh words for the GOP and its leadership.

Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis said that Boehner’s comments “reflect the same fallacy of thought that has put America in its current situation, with neither Republicans or Democrats offering the solutions voters want to hear.”

Davis also said Boehner’s comments were “a symptom of the same delusion that cost Republicans control in 2006.”

Read the entire release here.

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Disturbing medical marijuana case involving an AIDS patient

Tom FaltynowiczTom Faltynowicz, a 43-year-old gay rancher in Meade County, South Dakota, was diagnosed with Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1990, and is currently facing criminal charges for possessing and growing marijuana for medicinal usage.For those of you unaware of the specifics of that disease, a patient infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may or may not develop AIDS. Once infected with HIV, the disease damages the CD4 cells (T-Cells), and in fact uses those cells to replicate within the body; CD4 cells can be replaced through normal process in the early stages of the disease, but eventually the counts start to fall as the cells are overcome by the virus. A CD4 count between 700 and 1000 is considered normal in a non-HIV infected person; while a CD4 count of about 500 is considered normal when the virus is present. A CD4 count below 200 is indicative of AIDS, since it is at that point that the body loses its ability to fight off opportunistic infection.

Opportunistic infection is any infection which, under normal circumstances, the body could easily fight off. However, due to the lack of CD4 immune cells, AIDS patients are at very high risk of contracting diseases which they would never contract were it not for the virus destroying their immune system. Some diseases are so common in AIDS patients, and so uncommon in non-AIDS patients, that they are considered to be AIDS-defining diseases. Examples of AIDS-defining diseases include Pneumocystis Pneumonia (a fungal infection of the lungs) and Kaposi’s Sarcoma (once believed to be a rare form of cancer, now believed to be caused by Herpes Virus HHV8); these diseases are normally not seen in patients with a normal immune system. While there is viable treatment for many opportunistic diseases, they must be treated swiftly in an AIDS patient due to the patient’s body being unable to fight infection on its own.

Another important way of measuring HIV is by measuring the viral load. The viral load is the amount of HIV in the body. So while a CD4 count measures the amount of damage HIV has done, a viral load count will measure how much of the virus is actually in the body. In this way, doctors are able to measure whether drugs are working to halt the spread of the virus.

AIDS is a pandemic first identified in 1981 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to Pneumocystis Pneumonia being identified in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. The disease did not take over worldwide as quickly as it is generally believed, though. AIDS has been identified in tissue samples of patients who died of unknown causes as early as 1959; one postmortem case identified the virus in a tissue sample from a 15-year-old boy who died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969, though it is still unknown how the boy may have contracted the virus. Some scientists suggest the virus could have first infected humans sometime during the end of the 19th Century, while other scientists suggest it first infected humans during the early 20th century, between 1915 and 1930. Regardless of whether it started during the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, it took many decades for it to even become prevalent enough to be noticed. Since the virus is slow to overtake its host, the window for inadvertent infection of others is years, rather than days or weeks as with most viruses.

It is unclear exactly how the virus started, but it seems clear that it crossed species from primates (which can carry a disease known as the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) into humans, likely when humans came into contact with the bodily fluids of monkeys, possibly during consumption, hunting or butchering the animals (monkey meat is a delicacy in some areas of the world, and is regularly eaten in some areas of Africa). The virus spread due to a number of factors, including vaccines given with unclean needles in developing countries. While AIDS is now generally viewed as a disease of gay men and intravenous drug users, the truth is far more chilling, since the virus is not contained only within a particular population. Many women and children are infected with the virus, and in some areas of the world, particularly Africa where infected patients do not have access to proper health care, the number of deaths has become catastrophic.

At this time, there is no cure for HIV, or for AIDS, nor is there a vaccine to prevent transmission. However, scientists have designed a number of drugs inhibit the virus’s replication. To understand how these drugs work, a short primer on the virus is necessary.

HIV takes over CD4 cells, changing their molecular structure by inserting its own ribonucleic acid (RNA). The virus itself, which is too small to be seen except with an electron microscope, consists of an outer envelope containing the virus and the proteins and enzymes necessary for replication; the envelope has about 72 spikes on its surface. When the virus bumps into a cell coated by the CD4 protein, the spikes stick into the cell and fuse, at which time the inner contents of the HIV envelope is released into the CD4 cell.

Once inside the cell, the HIV enzyme called reverse transciptase converts the viral RNA into DNA, which is compatible with human genetic material. This DNA is transported to the cell’s nucleus, where it is spliced into the human DNA by the HIV enzyme called integrase. Once it is spliced into the human DNA, the HIV DNA is known as provirus. The provirus may lie dormant within a cell for quite some time. However, when the cell becomes activated, it treats HIV genes in almost the same way as human genes. First it uses human enzymes to convert HIV genes into messenger RNA. The messenger RNA is transported outside the cell nucleus, and is used as a blueprint for producing new HIV proteins and enzymes, much in the same way as the human body normally produce replacement cells.

Complete copies of HIV genetic material is contained among the strands of messenger RNA produced by the cell. These copies combine with newly made HIV proteins and enzymes to form new viral particles, which are then released from the cell. The enzyme protease plays a vital role of the HIV life cycle, as it chops up long strands of protein into smaller pieces, which are then used to construct mature viral cores. At that point the newly matured HIV particles are ready to infect another cell, and begin the replication process all over again. In this way the virus quickly spreads through the human body, and causes its host to become infectious. HIV is passed to others through bodily fluids; some fluids contain more of the virus than others.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not die of HIV, or of AIDS. They die of the opportunistic infections which accompany the complete loss of their immune system. Patients therefore must take a strong cocktail of medications to stop the virus from replicating and destroying their immune system. Some common drugs prescribed for AIDS patients, to stop the virus from replicating, include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which prevent the viral RNA from being converted into human DNA; protease inhibitors, which prevent the virus from creating new mature viral cores; and integrase inhibitors, which prevent the viral DNA from being spliced into the human DNA within the cells.

Unfortunately, with those life-saving treatments for the virus come life-threatening side effects, from lethal liver damage to an overwhelming nausea which results in starvation and dehydration; when this occurs, it only worsens those same symptoms which can be caused by the virus itself. Over the years many drugs have been discovered to combat the side effects (those same side effects are found in many other medical conditions as well), and to increase the quality of life for those who are infected with the virus; some of those drugs and treatments are pharmaceutical in nature, and some are natural.

One of the non-pharmaceutical drugs, which has proven very helpful in battling the anxiety, overwhelming nausea and physical wasting which comes with the virus and its treatment, is marijuana. So effective is marijuana that scientists have even made a pharmaceutical version of the drug, used in chemotherapy patients as well as AIDS patients, which contains synthetic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, many patients believe that the natural THC in marijuana works better than the synthetic version in Marinol, and science supports this belief. In studies of marijuana usage for medicinal usage, it was found that other chemicals found in marijuana have additional medicinal effects which complement the effects of THC. Furthermore Marinol is extremely expensive (Tom’s Marinol costs about $2200 per month, so severe is his nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms), and thus the drug is far beyond the financial reach of most patients; and for that reason they cultivate and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the black market cost of marijuana can be high, the plant can be cultivated at home from seeds, at very little cost to the patient.

In some states, it is legal for patients with a valid medical prescription to possess certain amounts of dried and cultivated marijuana for personal medicinal use. However, even in those states, the US Government – which has declared that marijuana is an illicit and therefore illegal drug – refuses to permit patients to use the cultivated form of THC. Patients are regularly arrested for merely possessing the substance which allows them to live a more normal life, and which in cases of extreme wasting seen in AIDS, is actually life-saving. This occurs nationwide, including in the states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use.

I do not advocate the casual use of marijuana (or any other drug, prescription or otherwise) to get “high”. I do strongly advocate the right of physicians and patients to determine the best course of treatment, and I believe the government has no right to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship when the patient is not being placed in untoward danger.

Enter Tom Faltynowicz. When Tom was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990, he was given “maybe a few years” to live. Eighteen years later, he is in a fight for his life, but it’s a fight of a very different kind.

In September 2007, law enforcement officials in his native Meade County received an anonymous call, stating that Tom had between 75 and 100 marijuana plants growing behind a metal building on his property. It is believed that the anonymous call came from Tom’s daughter, who was angry with him because he had recently stated his disapproval of her relationship with a particular man.

When Meade County Investigator Michael Walker and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agent John Griswold arrived at Tom’s home the next day, there were not 75 to 100 plants on the property, or even anywhere near that many; in fact, there were no plants out in the open at all. However, when asked by those officers about the accusation, Tom immediately admitted to growing marijuana to treat his medical condition. He even invited the officers into his home, so they can see where he was growing it, and he was completely cooperative at all times, even according to the police report regarding the incident. All told, the officers found five plants, and about four ounces of dried marijuana. There was never an allegation that the marijuana was being used for anything but his medical condition, and never an allegation that he was selling the marijuana. It remains undisputed that Tom was using the marijuana to treat AIDS, and the side effects of the many potent medications he takes to fight the virus.

Tom takes a total of four antiretroviral drugs to combat the HIV infection: Combivir (a combination of Retrovir and Epivir), Sustiva, and Viread. Each of these drugs, by themselves, come with potentially fatal side effects. All of these drugs can cause severe nausea, and can result in extreme anxiety as an additional side effect. In addition, Tom has been prescribed Marinol, the synthetic THC drug to combat nausea and vomiting, so there is no question that he suffers the side effects which are treated by marijuana, and there is no question that his side effects are severe based upon his dosage. However, Tom says that the marijuana is far more effective than the Marinol, since Marinol makes him so tired that he cannot function; and his physician is aware of and supports his use of marijuana to treat his symptoms.

Tom, though he has no prior criminal record with the exception of two prior misdemeanor convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana – both of which occurred after he was diagnosed with AIDS – pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, and a maximum fine of $4000; he could also be given probation. His sentencing date has been set for April 21st, before the Honorable Jerome Eckrich, Circuit Judge. Tom’s Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Traub, will speak at the sentencing hearing. The State Attorney has already said that he will not object to anything Dr. Traub might say. It appears that no one is interested in punishing Tom Faltynowicz; at the same time, under the law, his possession of marijuana – regardless of the reason why he possessed it – is a felony in the state of South Dakota.

Tom, however, is an exception to the reason that law was written. It was written to stop people from abusing the drug to get high, and to stop them from selling or otherwise providing it to others for the same illicit purpose. It is extremely doubtful the legislature was aware of the medicinal effects of marijuana when that law was passed, and it’s extremely doubtful the legislature ever intended to punish patients with a deadly disease. It’s even possible that the medicinal effects of marijuana were unknown to them when that law was passed, since it is hardly a new law. Nevertheless, since the law exists, it will be enforced, even against people like Tom who are using marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes.

This raises a number of questions. Even if Tom is merely placed on probation, and even if he stopped smoking marijuana altogether, using Marinol to control his symptoms would result in violation of probation, since he would test positive for THC during required drug tests. If he fails a drug test while on probation, he will be incarcerated.

If he is incarcerated, he will not only not have access to the drug which he needs to survive without excessive suffering due to overwhelming nausea, vomiting, physical wasting, and extreme fatigue; but the South Dakota Department of Corrections will be forced to pay for the extremely expensive antiretroviral drugs which fight the virus as well as the Marinol, at a cost of thousands of dollars per month to the taxpayers, in addition to the increased cost of incarceration for a man with an infectious deadly disease. As you should understand after my explanation of how those drugs work, and how the virus works, missing even one dose of his antiretroviral drugs could be catastrophic for his health, since it would allow the virus to replicate until the drug was again built up to a therapeutic dosage. Yet in a prison environment there is no guarantee that he will receive his life-sustaining medications at all, much less receive them on the schedule those drugs demand.

Tom has said that he will not stop using marijuana, because it allows him to live a relatively normal life. Without it, his body is wracked with pain, nausea, and vomiting; he is unable to eat or drink, and thus his body becomes even more weakened, even more unable to fight the virus, and even more prone to the many opportunistic illnesses, any one of which could easily end his life. This is especially true if he is confined in a jail or prison facility, given that there are large numbers of inmates living in close approximation.

To incarcerate Tom Faltynowicz would therefore place his life at severe risk, and as such would clearly constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. Furthermore, it would serve no purpose to incarcerate him, since his crime is merely possession of a drug which allows him to live with his disease and to continue take the cruel medications which literally keep him alive. He poses no threat to anyone and he is not selling or otherwise distributing the marijuana, nor has it even been suggested that he is selling or distributing the marijuana. Rehabilitation is also not a valid cause for his incarceration, since he merely uses the drug for medicinal purposes, and thus he is not in need of rehabilitation.

Society would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz. The interests of justice would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz.

As such, justice demands that the court show mercy by giving Tom Faltynowicz a suspended sentence, no probation, and whatever fine the court sees fit, as long as it is within Tom’s ability to pay said fine.

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Carmen Kontur-GronquistVoters in Arlington, Oregon, are very, very angry. That’s not unusual, since there are very angry voters everywhere these days.

What is unusual is the reason why they are angry.

Apparently their Mayor, Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, had some photos taken to send in for a fitness magazine, and in them she was dressed in her bra and panties. This all happened before she became Mayor, incidentally. A relative posted the photos on MySpace, hoping to find the single mother a date.

I didn’t see a thing in the world wrong with the photos; the most controversial of them is posted at top left. Basically, she’s showing off her rock-hard abs, and if I had abs like hers, I’d be showing mine off too. So what. Those photos are no different from any other photos for a woman’s fitness magazine, because I used to read some of those periodicals myself, back when I was into bodybuilding and fitness. In fact, her photos actually showed a lot less than they usually show in those magazines. Those types of photos are not at all sexual in nature, though, because they are intended only for other women to see, as inspiration in their fitness routines.

The people of Arlington, however, are absolutely outraged over those photos, and they actually threw her out of office for it.

When I first heard this story back when it first broke I thought, no way would a town actually recall their Mayor for posing for a fitness magazine. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his living as a bodybuilder, and even posed fully nude multiple times, and he’s the Governor of California.

I was wrong, because they did recall her. The vote was 142-139 in favor of throwing her out of office.

If we are still so backward in this country that we’d throw a woman out of elected office merely for posing for a fitness magazine, covering more than the average bathing suit covers, are we really ready for a female president? Or would Congress impeach her the first time they see a picture of her in a bathing suit?

What do you think? Is it just that one town, or is most of American that narrow-minded? Given this, are we ready for a female president?

______________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Plastic eggsThis, I wouldn’t have believed had I not read it in a print newspaper’s online edition. Honestly, it reads more like an April Fool’s Day joke:

An Elizabethtown man was charged Saturday with possessing a weapon of mass destruction after police said he ignited a device filled with plastic pellets inside Saturday’s Market in Londonderry Twp., hitting at least five people and causing alarm in the building.

The device looked like a plastic Easter egg

No one was taken to a hospital, Beckley said.

I bet that’s the very same weapon of mass destruction that Bush claims was in Iraq.

Read the entire article here.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Duct Tape BanditOkay, nobody else touched this one, so I guess I will.

Kasey Kazee of Ashland, Kentucky tried to hold up a liquor store, with duct tape wrapped around his face as a disguise. (Wouldn’t masking tape work better for that purpose? Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

The store manager had some duct tape of his own, though, wrapped around a club he kept in the store for just this sort of occasion. He chased Kazee outside, and an employee held the would-be bandit in a neckhold until police arrived. EMTs removed the tape, though there doesn’t seem to be any footage of that process, unfortunately; apparently Kazee got lucky because he had been sweating so much that the tape didn’t stick well. Not surprisingly, he was quickly nicknamed “The Duct Tape Bandit”.

Hilarity ensued when, in an interview from the jail with a local television station, a very animated Kazee proclaimed “I’m not no Duct Tape Bandit”. This, you have to see to believe.

Not at all surprisingly, folks on YouTube have been having a ball. Some of them do reenactments. Another made a photoshop overlay proving that Kazee is indeed the Duct Tape Bandit (as if there was ever really a question about it) to the tune of “Photograph” by Nickelback (“look at this photograph, everytime I do it makes me laugh, how did our eyes get so red, and what the hell is on Joey’s head?”). Someone else made a fake news story about a copycat robber who wrapped his head in invisible scotch tape. One even made a very funny rap song using actual media interviews about the case, which can be heard and downloaded on zShare.

Most interestingly for our purposes, though, is that some people who actually live in Kentucky have said it won’t be long before the state enacts a law requiring a five-day waiting period and a background check for the purchase of duct tape. Also interesting is that, in a state where many are avid hunters, the store manager didn’t have a shotgun behind the counter instead of a club. Kasey Kazee really needs to be thankful he’s still alive.

So, what will happen to the Duct Tape Bandit? He faces 20 to life for robbery, and the judge and jury is likely to be unmoved though amused by his claim that they have the wrong man, given that he was caught on the scene with the duct tape still on his face. I smell an insanity defense.

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Road To GuantanamoAccording to this article, we’re supposed to believe that prisoners being held at Gitmo are being treated as if they’re merely guests of the goverment, while the only real abuse is directed at the guards.

However, it’s far more likely that the government is sending military members back to the states with strict orders to report that all is well at Gitmo. It’s easy to get them to do that, after all, especially if the person in question is an officer with a pension on the line, as with the person who gave the information for this story. It’s even easier when the military member knows that they, too, can be declared an enemy combatant and simply disappear if they dare to speak the truth about the atrocities they have witnessed. There is also the fear that they will be discharged due to a nonexistent “personality disorder”, and thus shamed and stripped of the civilian benefits of having served voluntarily and honorably in the armed forces.

That’s nothing new, incidentally. The military was discharging soldiers on the basis of alleged preexisting personality disorders in the early 1980s, when I served in Air Force Intelligence Operations. Those airmen were not mentally ill, and in fact were extraordinarily good at their specialties; however, they had committed the unspeakable crime of not remaining silent against what they perceived to be wrong, and branding them mentally deficient is the military’s way of silencing them. Once they are so categorized, the military can easily discount anything they may later say against the military’s interest. But, I digress.

Like so many in the current administration, this Brigadier General (for those unfamiliar with military ranks, that’s a one-star General) believes it’s acceptable to hold people in a lawless prison environment long-term with no charges, and no hearing, because they’re “enemy combatants” …… and he really and truly thinks there’s a difference between enemy combatants and prisoners of war, which causes Geneva Convention protections to not apply to enemy combatants. Yet the only real difference is that prisoners of war are captured while engaging in war, while enemy combatants are, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped. In other words, while he is willing to toe the military line and is quite successful in that position, in the civilian world his brainwashing would render him, for all intents and purposes, useless.

If prisoners at Gitmo are specifically classified as not being prisoners of war, for whom torture is forbidden under the Geneva Convention, does the government actually expect us to believe that these men are not being tortured? It’s quite obvious that the only reason to classify them differently is so that they can be tortured without violating the Convention.

What’s most sickening about this particular article, beyond the brainwashing aspect, is that it is being distributed and touted as truth on a discussion list for paralegals, who should definitely know better than to mindlessly accept what the government says. Or maybe, just maybe, these particular paralegals know just enough to be dangerous. (more…)

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ONDCP

From Cannabis News:

California — The nation’s top anti-drug official said people need to overcome their “reefer blindness” and see that illicit marijuana gardens are a terrorist threat to the public’s health and safety, as well as to the environment.John P. Walters, President Bush’s drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn’t hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties. Walters made the comments at a Thursday press conference that provided an update on the “Operation Alesia” marijuana-eradication effort.

“Don’t buy drugs. They fund violence and terror,” he said.

After touring gardens raided this week in Shasta County, Walters said the officers who are destroying the gardens are performing hard, dangerous work in rough terrain. He said growers have been known to have weapons, including assault rifles.

“These people are armed; they’re dangerous,” he said. He called them “violent criminal terrorists.”

Walters, whose official title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said too many people write off marijuana as harmless. “We have kind of a reefer blindness,’ ” he said.

No arrests have been made so far in the four days of raids, the opening leg of what Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has promised will be at least two straight weeks of daily raids.

He said suspects have been hard to find because their familiarity with their terrain makes it easy for them to flee quickly.

Although crews doing the raids are using Black Hawk and other helicopters to drop in on some of the gardens, Bosenko said they don’t want to give the growers any warning of a raid.

“We try to move in under stealth,” he said.

As of Thursday morning, Operation Alesia raids had resulted in the yanking of 68,237 young marijuana plants from public lands in Shasta County. Raids already have been conducted in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, as well as on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service north of Lake Shasta and other public land near Manton.

The operation is being led by the sheriff’s office and has involved 17 agencies, including the California National Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s believed to be the largest campaign of its kind in the state, Bosenko said.

The operation is named after the last major battle between the Roman Empire and the Gauls in 52 B.C. That battle was won by the Romans.

With the blitz of marijuana gardens around Shasta County, Bosenko said officials hope to not only get rid of the pot, but also win back the land for the public that owns it.

“These organizations are destroying our lands and wildlife,” he said.

Bernie Weingardt, regional forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, said the 28,000 acres believed to house illegal marijuana grows on national forest land throughout the state would cost more than $300 million to revive.

“These lands must be cleaned and restored,” he said.

His estimate is based on a National Park Service study that found it costs $11,000 per acre to pull the plants, clear irrigation systems, reshape any terracing and replant native vegetation, said Mike Odle, Forest Service spokesman.

While Walters didn’t give specific goals for Operation Alesia, he said anti-drug agencies aim to cripple the organized crime groups that he said are behind the marijuana cultivation.

“This business we intend to put into recession, depression and put its leaders into jail,” Walters said.

Note: Federal official calls marijuana growers dangerous terrorists.

Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Author: Dylan Darling
Published: July 13, 2007
Copyright: 2007 Record Searchlight
Contact: letters@redding.com
Website: http://www.redding.com/

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This is actually pretty funny. When confronted about her previous statements, first by Edwards’ wife Elizabeth, then by Chris Matthews of Hardball, Coulter plays dumb, pretending like she doesn’t remember saying, just the day before this interview, that she wishes John Edwards would be killed in a terrorist attack, and pretending like she doesn’t know what Matthews is talking about when he quotes some very personal insults about Hillary Clinton from her book. I have a pretty good hunch that, in a debate where Coulter isn’t allowed to talk over others and actually has to defend her abhorrent behavior, she’d lose in record time, and quite embarrassingly so.

I knew she had called Edwards a “faggot”, but I had no idea that she had made cracks about the death of one of John Edwards’ children. In fact, I didn’t even know the Edwards had lost a child. So, I decided to look it up, since it apparently happened about three years ago, and I have never followed Republicans, much less Republican loudmouths in mini-skirts.

Lo, and behold, I found the exact quote, wherein she made a crack about the death of Edwards’ 16-year-old son, Wade, in a car accident. How horrific for them, to lose a beloved child so unexpectedly. So I can only imagine the hurt they felt when they read the following trash from Coulter:

Edwards has talked about his son’s death in a 1996 car accident on “Good Morning America,” in dozens of profiles and in his new book. (“It was and is the most important fact of my life.”) His 1998 Senate campaign ads featured film footage of Edwards at a learning lab he founded in honor of his son, titled “The Wade Edwards Learning Lab.” He wears his son’s Outward Bound pin on his suit lapel. He was going to wear it on his sleeve, until someone suggested that might be a little too “on the nose.”

If you want points for not using your son’s death politically, don’t you have to take down all those “Ask me about my son’s death in a horrific car accident” bumper stickers? Edwards is like a politician who keeps announcing that he will not use his opponent’s criminal record for partisan political advantage. I absolutely refuse to mention the name of my dearly beloved and recently departed son killed horribly in a car accident, which affected me deeply, to score cheap political points.

My God. There are no words to describe anybody who would sink that low to insult political rivals. Well, there are a few, but those are words I would never use. Has this coldhearted bitch any idea what it’s like to lose a child? Apparently not. That’s Darwin’s fault, though, since he correctly predicted that scum-sucking bottom feeders like her could never breed.

I have to say, I loved seeing that loudmouth Coulter on the hot seat for once, since she usually mouths off about people who aren’t there to defend themselves against her vicious personal attacks. Note the brainwashing of an innocent child going on over her right shoulder. This entire sick scene reminds me why I have never supported a Republican candidate.

Incidentally, Coulter once wanted to run for Congress as a Libertarian, and the Connecticut LP turned her down flat. Smart thinking on their part, because she’s just another wackjob who wants to pretend to be a libertarian.

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Here, Ron Paul compares Ed and Elaine Brown to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here, Ron Paul claims he never said what we just watched him say.

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[TiGirl is unavailable right now, so at her suggestion I'm updating one of her previous entries by posting a new article from my blog - ENM]

By now, most people have probably heard about the case involving Roy Pearson, a Washington, DC administrative law judge, who sued a dry cleaner for $54 million, over a missing pair of pants. Today, a judge ruled that he not only doesn’t get a dime from the dry cleaner, he will also have to pay the dry cleaners’ legal fees and costs.

Much more interesting, however, is what happened in the courtroom. Here’s a description from ABC News:

The trial proved nearly as dramatic — and unusual — as the plaintiff’s claims. On the witness stand, Pearson broke down in tears and had to take a break from his testimony because he became too emotional while questioning himself about his experience with the missing trousers.

In his opening statement, Pearson came out swinging, telling the court, “Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices.”

Repeatedly referring to himself as “we,” Pearson sought to present himself as the leader of a class of tens of thousands, if not a half million people, consisting of local residents he believes are at risk of falling for such insidious business practices as posting “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” signs. Pearson said at one point in court filings that he planned to call 63 witnesses.

“Mr. Pearson, you are not ‘we.’ You are an ‘I,’” Bartnoff told him.

As Pearson explained the details of the missing pants, he struggled to get through his hour and a half of testimony, most of which concerned his credentials and his background.

He became visibly emotional when he reached the point in the story in which he recounted a confrontation with Soo Chung from the dry cleaning store.

“These are not my pants,” he testified, and said he told her, “I have in my adult life, with one exception, never worn pants with cuffs.”

Pearson testified that Chung insisted, saying, “These are your pants.”

Pearson then rushed from the courtroom, overcome with emotion.

From that description, I think it’s pretty obvious that Pearson is more than a little off in the head. I’m not saying the pants presented were his pants, because I’ve had a lot of dry cleaners screw up on my stuff so it’s very possible they made a mistake; but at the same time, $54 million over a lost pair of pants? Give me a frickin’ break.

Obviously, it was a frivolous lawsuit which should never have been brought in the first place (after all, the Chungs at one point offered him $12,000, which is more than enough to make up for his lost pants). It has damaged the Chungs’ reputation, their credit rating, and generally destroyed their lives. One of the Chungs said that they just want to go back to Korea after this fiasco.

So I think paying the Chungs’ attorney fees and court costs just is not enough. Allow them to amend their counterclaim, if necessary, then grant them major damages for what they’ve endured. That not only will be a step in the direction of making this right again for a couple of hardworking immigrants who have suffered greatly at the hands of a man who intentionally abused our system of justice, it will also serve to warn others who might be tempted to do something that stupid.

Then again, I think you really need to be crazy in order to think you’re entitled to that much money just because your pants were lost at the drycleaner’s, so even that probably won’t serve as a deterrent to other crazies who think something that small is worth zillions.

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I1connect News: Ralph Nader and Daniel Imperato “More Voices and More Choices”

In what has been one of the busiest weeks for independent political activity, corporate activist and former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, has indicated that he is exploring another run at the White House in 2008.

During a televised interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, Nader stated that America needed “More Voices and More Choices.”

Nader has gained some significant media coverage since New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, announced that he is splitting from the Republican Party and declaring himself as an independent. The move was widely seen as a precursor to a 2008 Presidential run.

Thus far, leading the independent charge has been Florida businessman, Daniel Imperato. Imperato has been consistently the most active independent campaigner, and has recently started working with Libertarian Party in an effort to gain ballot access.

Imperato has openly stated that he is interested in working with members of the Green, Libertarian, Constitution, and Reform Party as well as other independents for a 2008 Presidential bid.

Now, with Ralph Nader in the presidential fray, perhaps an Imperato Nader collaboration could be a possibility.

Imperato brings a strong corporate background, and a no-nonsense style of governance, and straight talk that could be very appealing in the upcoming election.

Nader is a corporate whistleblower who brings an activist philosophy to a potential President-Vice Presidential ticket, and already has previous presidential election experience.

Both candidates are grass-roots oriented and rely very heavily upon strong organization.

Also a potential Green and Libertarian Party collaboration would increase the voter base, viability, and ballot access status of any third party presidential ticket.

So with Imperato, Bloomberg, and now, Ralph Nader on the table for the American public, America may now have more voices, and more choices for the 2008 presidential election.

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Okay, let’s start with their physical appearance. No, I have not altered these photos in any way, with the exception of scaling down the Chapman photo to fit the space:
Daniel Imperato Gene Chapman

Hmmm …… well, they sure do look alike.

Both also seem to have a proclivity for shameless self-promotion (almost everything you’ll find on either of them was written by them – Chapman on blogs, and Imperato in self-published “press releases”). Both also seem to exaggerate their accomplishments tremendously, starting with claims about advising Fortune 500 companies.

It gets better (or worse, depending on how you view it). Chapman claims to have been tutored in economics by none other than billionaire investor Warren Buffett who, he claims, he can out-do in the stock market (yet he can’t seem to rise above driving trucks or changing oil for a living; and Buffett says he doesn’t know Chapman but he’d definitely remember if he knew somebody who could out-do him in the stock market …. you do the math). Imperato claims to actually be a multi-millionaire, though there is no evidence that it’s true except his claims in the endless self-published (literally, he owns the website which puts them out) press releases. However, according to the SEC filings for his corporation, Imperiali, Inc., the company had an accumulated deficit of $11,172,386.28 on November 30, 2006, operated on deficit for the quarter (and it appears most of that money went to him), and almost all of the company’s worth appears to be in unsold stock. [Click here to see the SEC documents.]

Imperato, in a self-published press release, boggles the mind with his claim (or is it a claim?) to own (or not to own?) a $5 billion undersea telecommunications cable, and another claim that he somehow suffered (or did he suffer?) a $3 trillion loss when Osama bin Laden caused 9/11, not as a purely terrorist act against America, but so he could short the stock market to his own financial advantage.

Wow. Just, wow. I’ve never heard that 9/11 conspiracy theory before. But, speaking of stocks, I need to buy stock in Goody’s Headache Powders if I’m going to keep following the lunatic fringe candidates.

Chapman states he never got even one donation, and gives that as his reason for dropping out of the presidential race (and while that is a legitimate reason, it appears it wasn’t the real reason given that some very serious anonymous accusations were leveled against him on several blogs less than 24 hours before he dropped out). Imperato doesn’t appear to have received any donations either, although he loans money to his own campaign (which looks more than a little like funds on paper only; for example, according to the FEC, he spent $125,000 in January – money his campaign didn’t have – then loaned his campaign $250,000 in March). Click here to see the FEC documents. (more…)

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Jimmy CarterCRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) – The White House on Sunday fired back at former President Jimmy Carter, calling him “increasingly irrelevant” a day after Carter described George W. Bush’s presidency as the worst in history in international relations.Carter, a Democrat, said on Saturday in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that “as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.”White House spokesman Tony Fratto had declined to react on Saturday but on Sunday fired back.“I think it’s sad that President Carter’s reckless personal criticism is out there,” Fratto told reporters. “I think it’s unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.”Carter has been an outspoken critic of Bush, but the White House has largely refrained from attacking him in return. Sunday’s sharp response marks a departure from the deference that sitting presidents traditionally have shown their predecessors.In the newspaper interview, Carter said Bush had taken a “radical departure from all previous administration policies” with the Iraq war.“We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered,” Carter said.In a separate BBC interview, Carter also denounced the close relationship between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.“Abominable. Loyal, blind, apparently subservient,” Carter said when asked how he would characterize Blair’s relationship with Bush.”I think that the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world,” Carter said.Carter, who was president from 1977-1981 and won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his charitable work, was an outspoken opponent of the invasion of Iraq before it was launched in 2003. [Source: Reuters.com]

Across the blogosphere, conservatives are now making the rather shocking claim that 9/11 occurred as a result of Jimmy Carter’s policies. In a way, it’s amusing, since most of those bloggers are too young to even remember the Carter presidency. As a middle-aged left Libertarian, I remember it well. Jimmy Carter was the first president I ever voted for, although he lost that time around to Ronald Reagan. I voted for Carter because he is a humanist who believes in a strict policy of non-military intervention in international affairs, opting instead for diplomacy, except if our national security is directly threatened. After all, I was alive during Vietnam, and during the height of the Cold War, so that was (and will always be) an extremely important issue for me.

At the same time, it’s typical that conservatives would find a way to blame the actions of George W Bush – decades after Jimmy Carter left office – on a liberal. After all, they can’t blame themselves for re-electing a known warmonger who openly advocates torture and the erosion of our civil rights …. can they?

Let’s compare the two presidents.

Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize. George W. Bush couldn’t even win second prize in a beauty contest on Monopoly.

Jimmy Carter is known as a peace-advocating diplomat, and a humanitarian. George W Bush is known as a lying, draft-dodging, bloodthirsty warmongerer.

Don’t blame a man, who advocated peace, for a war that started decades after he left office. And don’t just dismiss him because he dared to say what many, if not most, politically active Americans are already thinking.

Put the blame where the blame is due. This is a war based on lies and deceptions, all of which are directly traceable and attributable to the Bush administration. There were no WMDs, folks, and Bush knew there were no WMDs; but he attacked Iraq anyway because they might one day get WMDs. Huh? I’m still scratching my head about that one. Now, Bush wants to attack even more countries, and the Democrats have already backed off the promises they made when they were elected, to end the war in Iraq. Is it therefore any wonder that third parties are more attractive than ever to voters during the 2008 presidential election cycle? (more…)

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Despite what a certain milk shake would like you to believe, Rudolf Giuliani Mussolini is As Far From Libertarian As Possible (click on the link to read about his early history as a psychotically deranged persecutor of victimless white collar “criminals”).

Even some of Giuliani’s admirers admit he has fascist tendencies. The amazing record of corruption and perfidy simply boggles the mind. Giuliani even had the incredible temerity to
try to stay on as mayor after his term was over.

Check out the comments at Serf City. Giuliani abused his mayoral office to go after cabbies, artists, street vendors, porn,
sex-related businesses, and anyone who did business without a license. His phony tax cuts were merely deficit spending – putting the tax bill on future victims, plus interest, while ducking the responsibility for his out of control spending, a favorite ploy of scumbag Rapepublicneoconartists.

Ron Moore reports,

Let’s take the pot smokers. One study points out that under Rudy’s Broken Windows policy, public-toking arrests rose 2000% from about 2000 in 1994 to over 50,000 by 2000 ( Harcourt & Ludwig, Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing and Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests in New York City, 1989-2000 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=948753). The study also finds that this had no measurable effect on violent crime.”

Furthermore,

Unfortunately, Rudy’s broken windows policy didn’t apply to Rudy’s buddies in the New York Police Department. An April 1999 article in Crime and Delinquency (Zero Tolerance: A Case Study in Police Policies and Practices in New York City, Judith Greene) points to a 75% increase in new civil rights claims against the police for abusive conduct. The article also points to a sharp increase in the number of complaints which resulted in no arrest and no summons and where there was no suspicion of criminal activity. Um – just why were people being stopped? What was Mayor Rudy’s response to growing concern about police misconduct? According to the article the new Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) funding was cut 17% compared to the agency it replaced.

Victim disarmament? According to Mike Blessing, Giuliani said on one of the

morning empty-talk shows that “We shouldn’t just try one of these [”gun control”] plans, we should try them all.”

Giuliani libertarian?

King George Dubai-ya Dubai-ya III Bush has gone a long way towards creating a fascist Amerikkka. Rudolf the coke nosed Fascist would go all the way. No libertarians should even remotely consider being fellow travellers in helping Ayatollah Giuliani set up his gulag regime.

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

-Rudy

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Via Brad Spangler

Dana Rohrabacher wants me dead. Well, not just me. Dana Rohrabacher wants a whole bunch of Americans dead.

“I hope it’s your family members that [sic] die,” said US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to American citizens who questioned the Bush administration’s unlawful extraordinary rendition policies.

Rohrabacher, bring it you fucking traitor.

“But in 1969-71, Dana Rohrabacher was the most successful and most beloved libertarian activist… he was a close friend of mine until he crossed the line with his campaign for Congress. — Samuel Edward Konkin III

This reminds me. I’ve been trying to get confirmation as to whether Rohrabacher was a warmonger during the Vietnam War. As a former anarchist and follower of an actual pacifist, Robert LeFevre, it would have been illogical, but I would like independent reports from those who actually knew Rohrabacher back then.

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