Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 16,417
Number of posts: 16,417
- 2013 (3715)
- 2012 (1333)
- 2011 (64)
- December (64)
- Older Archives
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's ultra-liberal capital city is a place where just about anything goes, from street parties to naked bike rides. But city officials say a business is pushing even Madison's boundaries by offering, of all things, hugs.
For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers.
Snugglers contend touching helps relieve stress. But Madison officials suspect the business is a front for prostitution and, if it's not, fear snuggling could lead to sexual assault. Not buying the message that the business is all warm and fuzzy, police have talked openly about conducting a sting operation at the business, and city attorneys are drafting a new ordinance to regulate snuggling.
"There's no way that (sexual assault) will not happen," assistant city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said. "No offense to men, but I don't know any man who wants to just snuggle."
Snuggle House owner Matthew Hurtado hasn't responded to multiple requests for an interview. His attorney, Tim Casper, said in an interview last month the business is legitimate and Hurtado has put precautions in place to protect clients and employees from each other.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 05:56 PM (4 replies)
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A federal bankruptcy court's decision in Detroit last week putting that city's constitutionally protected public pension on the table for cuts cracks the door open for pension reductions in New York.
The concern among unions is that the assurance that New York's public workers have operated under since 1938 - that pensions "shall not be diminished or impaired" - could now be threatened by local governments fighting off insolvency.
"It's a turning point. ... What has been sacred - pensions - are not sacred anymore," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who has been a leader in seeking action to save New York's distressed municipalities from insolvency. That has so far been avoided through higher taxes and layoffs and reducing services.
The Detroit decision could give struggling municipalities leverage in negotiating other concessions to avoid bankruptcy court.
Miner said Albany - where politicians' campaigns benefit greatly from organized labor's money, volunteers and votes - will also have to take notice. She and some other local leaders have long sought far more action from Albany, including relief from unfunded, state-mandated programs.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 05:54 PM (4 replies)
By Paul Richter
December 8, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
WASHINGTON — In a pointed rebuttal to President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Iran can be forced to shed its nuclear program and urged the imposition of new economic sanctions.
One day after President Obama argued that Iran can’t be compelled to give up its entire nuclear infrastructure, Netanyahu insisted that military threats and economic penalties can compel Tehran to surrender what it views as a national treasure.
“We shouldn’t assume that more and tougher sanctions won’t lead to a better deal,” Netanyahu said in an address by satellite link to the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum, a Mideast policy conference organized by Los Angeles businessman and Democratic fundraiser Haim Saban.
Netanyahu called for an intensification of economic penalties on Iran and a halt to the easing of pressure on the Islamic Republic that he said has followed a preliminary international deal to curb its nuclear program. “Steps must be taken to prevent further erosion of sanctions,” he said.
Obama appeared before the same group Saturday and said that it is unrealistic to expect foreign pressure will force Iran to give up its entire program. He argued that, instead, world powers should accept a “modest” Iranian civil program, and seek in upcoming negotiations to impose intrusive monitoring to ensure the program doesn’t give Iran bomb-making capability.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 05:30 PM (5 replies)
It didn't take one prominent neocon long to figure out that that the Iran deal -- and the prospect of ending the stalemate with Iran without recourse to war -- has put the Democrats in a box.
In the normal course of affairs, Democrats would be ecstatic about what Secretary of State John Kerry brought home from Geneva and not only for the most obvious reason. If it holds, the agreement will prevent development of an Iranian nuclear weapon and lead to normalizing of relations with a powerful Middle East state with whom we have been in a cold war for 44 years. Improved relations can help us in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even more significantly, Iran can work with us to confront the surge in Al Qaeda and its offshoots which, according to Wednesday's New York Times have "raised concerns among American intelligence and counter terrorism officials that militants aligned with Al Qaeda could establish a base in Syria capable of threatening Israel and Europe." The Iranian government (unlike the Saudis who back the jihadists) have helped us against them in the past (immediately following 9/11) and would, no doubt, do so again.
Above all, the agreement (if Congress allows it to be implemented) puts a brake on Iranian nuclear development, something that no other strategy the U.S. has tried has accomplished. (Sanctions? Before sanctions were imposed Iran had 160 centrifuges for advanced uranium enrichment; now it has 19,000).
But lay all that aside for a moment. And think only of the politics. At a time when President Obama's popularity may be at its lowest point since his 2009 inauguration (due largely to the problems with the Obamacare rollout) the administration has something truly magnificent to show off as a second term accomplishment: the Iran breakthrough. With the off year election looming, Democrats can go into the campaign with something tangible to show, something on a par with Nixon's opening to China. Congressional majorities are built on successes like the one in Geneva.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 05:28 PM (0 replies)
President Barack Obama has warned that Israel's vision of an 'ideal' nuclear agreement with Iran is unrealistic and put the chance of any acceptable final deal emerging at no more than 50/50.
But Obama argued that the best possible available agreement with Tehran was likely to be better than the alternatives, and it was therefore imperative to try to secure one.
Obama, speaking at the Brookings Institution's Saban Forum in Washington on Saturday, said a deal was possible that included enough verification safeguards to assure foreign powers Tehran could not build a nuclear bomb.
He indicated that could include a very 'modest' option for Iran to enrich uranium as part of a peaceful nuclear program under intense scrutiny by outside observers that would ensure Tehran was kept from 'breakout' capacity needed to race to build an atomic weapon.
'If we could create an option in which Iran eliminated every single nut and bolt of their nuclear program and foreswore the possibility of ever having a nuclear program, and for that matter got rid of all its military capabilities, I would take it,' Obama said.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 04:59 PM (0 replies)
Police officers don't respond kindly to being videotaped, yet law enforcement agencies on every level are tracking out comings and going via cameras that ID our license plate numbers. Here, PopMech contributor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds takes on the slow erosion of our privacy.
By Glenn Harlan Reyn
Here's a thought experiment: imagine that activists, concerned with official misconduct, install license-plate readers on private property to track the location of every car belonging to the police department or a politician and upload the locations to a public database. The result: a map of where the police go, and where they don't—along, perhaps, with politicians' visits to motels or strip clubs.
Given that police often respond with hostility to simply being videotaped, I expect that a venture like this would prompt an outcry, and probably some efforts to shut it down. But this is precisely what officialdom is doing to citizens.
We now know that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are using automated license-plate scanners, mounted on everything from telephone poles to police cars, to build a huge database of where people are driving. This might seem like a small intrusion compared with the electronic spying carried out by the NSA. But not all threats to privacy involve the tracking of emails and other communications.
Right now, the law suggests that license-plate scanners don't invade your privacy because they record only events that occur in public. After all, anyone could see you driving down the road or parked in front of a motel. But if officials add up enough bits of information like that, they gradually can construct what the ACLU has termed a "single, high-resolution image of our lives."
There's a legal term for this idea: the mosaic theory. The New York Times ran a story last year about how a man angrily confronted a Target store manager to complain that the company was sending his teenage daughter coupons for baby goods. Were they trying to encourage her to get pregnant? Nope. Target's data-mining operation had found a strong correlation between purchases of about 25 items—scent-free lotions, certain nutritional supplements, and so on—and different stages of pregnancy. The teenager's purchases had fit the pattern. The father apologized to Target a few days later, when it turned out that his daughter was, in fact, pregnant.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 04:57 PM (2 replies)
The Christie administration is holding on to records tracking the use of federal recovery money for Superstorm Sandy that were requested by watchdog groups and media outlets.
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
TRENTON, N.J. -- In advance of an expected 2016 presidential campaign, Chris Christie's administration is stepping up efforts to control the Republican governor's image at all costs — even skirting sunshine laws that permit public access to government records.
Getting the Christie administration to release its grip of records tracking use of federal recovery money for Superstorm Sandy has been particularly difficult for watchdog groups and media outlets, including the Asbury Park Press.
The Fair Share Housing Center recently received the first detailed information about housing recovery programs supported by federal grants — only after suing the administration for not complying with a public records request.
The Press has yet to receive Sandy recovery information the newspaper first sought four months ago. The Press asked for internal administration records from the contract bidding that resulted in Christie and his family starring in TV commercials for the $25 million "Stronger Than the Storm" tourism campaign.
In September, state officials told the Press a search had "identified hundreds of potentially responsive documents" and promised to begin sharing the information "on a rolling basis" starting in the second week of October.
For two months after the deadline, nothing was forthcoming — until some of the documents were released Friday, just hours after this story first appeared on the newspaper's APP.com website. State officials said more information would be available later this month.
Posted by Purveyor | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 02:21 AM (3 replies)
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has named William J. Bratton his Police Commissioner. In returning to the job he held under Rudolph Giuliani in the nineteen-nineties, Bratton will be in charge of fulfilling one of de Blasio’s most prominent campaign promises: to end the stop-and-frisk tactics that were such a prominent part of Michael Bloomberg’s record as Mayor.
But Bratton’s views on stop-and-frisk may be considerably different from those of his new boss. In May of this year, I profiled Shira Scheindlin, the federal judge who presided over the class-action lawsuit that challenged the N.Y.P.D.’s stop-and-frisk policies. In the course of reporting that piece, I interviewed Bratton, and we discussed stop-and-frisk in some detail.
Bratton emphatically endorsed stop-and-frisk as a police tactic. “First off, stop-question-and-frisk has been around forever,” he told me. “It is known by stop-and-frisk in New York, but other cities describe it other ways, like stop-question-and-frisk or Terry stops. It’s based on a Supreme Court case from 1968, Terry v. Ohio, which focussed very significantly on it. Stop-and-frisk is such a basic tool of policing. It’s one of the most fundamental practices in American policing. If cops are not doing stop-and-frisk, they are not doing their jobs. It is a basic, fundamental tool of police work in the whole country. If you do away with stop-and-frisk, this city will go down the chute as fast as anything you can imagine.”
We also discussed the current controversy over stop-and-frisk under Raymond Kelly, Bloomberg’s Police Commissioner. “What you have right now is a controversy in which nobody really understands what they are fighting about,” Bratton said. “Stop-and-frisk is not a tool solely to look for guns. Unfortunately, both the Mayor and the Police Commissioner refer to it that way, and that’s a problem because so few guns are recovered. But so what? The vast majority of stops are for a wide variety of things. Is someone drinking a can of beer on the corner? You want to stop that behavior. If somebody is aggressively panhandling on the street, urinating against a building. Is there somebody that you suspect is casing a building? Or is that two guys just locked out of their apartment? Police officers notice what may be a burglary. Of course they should be noticing and investigating. There are countless examples of what you want police to do.”
Posted by Purveyor | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 06:02 PM (8 replies)
An ice storm will continue to affect millions of people into Friday and threaten to cut power for hundreds of thousands from northern Texas to western Kentucky.
Travel by vehicle or foot will be dangerous during and after the storm, due to icy roads and falling trees and power lines. The power could be out for days in hard-hit areas. In some locations hit by ice, temperatures will dip into the single digits and teens in the storm's wake, causing wet and slushy areas to freeze solid and adding to the hardship for those without heat.
Metro areas from Dallas to Little Rock, Ark.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Evansville, Ind.; and Louisville, Ky.; will be affected by a period of freezing rain that will build up on exposed surfaces, including trees and power lines.
In some locations, the storm has the potential to allow one half an inch or more of ice to accumulate on the ground and accrue on elevated surfaces.
The storm is similar in size and may be similar in magnitude to a storm just several years ago.
Posted by Purveyor | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 05:56 PM (12 replies)
By Scott Kaufman
Friday, December 6, 2013 16:01 EST
The police officer arrested for refusing to remove his “Anonymous” mask at an anti-Obamacare rally gave an interview to Red Pill Philosophy and WeAreChange in which he said that “there’s a war coming” and “it’s time to fight.”
Ericson Harrell wore the Guy Fawkes mask, he said, because it’s a “symbol of protest.”
“I always keep my mask in my truck, my cape in the truck, the flag in truck and everything,” he said. “So I put on the mask and the cape, grabbed the flag, and I stood on the corner.”
Eventually a female police officer confronted him, at which point he asserted “my right to free speech,” and tried to convince the officer that the anti-masking statute didn’t apply to him, because that statute “was not put into place for peaceful protests, not for figures just standing on the side of the road trying to express their first amendment rights.”
After her supervisor showed up, he was arrested for refusing to remove his mask or identify himself.
Posted by Purveyor | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 05:41 PM (212 replies)