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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 45,523

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Women of DU -- No matter how much you lurve your fiance...

If he claims the Clintons, the Obamas, the Putins, the Sarkozys are going to show up at the ceremony as honored guests, and the FREAKIN' POPE WILL OFFICIATE THE WEDDING(!), you should probably be suspicious...

The Celebrity Surgeon Who Used Love, Money, and the Pope to Scam an NBC News Producer


What Russia's been doing in Ukraine since you stopped paying attention

It didn't take long for western media to lose focus. After Russia began its military campaign to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the world largely stopped paying attention to Ukraine. It shouldn't have.

Over the last few months, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been busy trying to deepen the quagmire he created in Eastern Europe. A United Nations' report released in November detailed the degree to which his proxy war in Ukraine has turned the country into Russia's killing field. More than 9,000 people have died since the spring of 2014 after Russia-backed rebels began fighting Kiev for independence, with some 20,000 people wounded. Between Aug. 16 and Nov. 15 alone, 47 civilians were killed and 131 were injured. At 9,000, the death toll in Ukraine is approaching the 13,000 killed during the war in Kosovo.

Though Putin has long claimed Russian ground troops are not supporting rebels, the UN and other organizations have proven otherwise. And Russian fighters, ammunition, and weaponry continue to flow into Donetsk and Luhansk, the UN report shows. Even after two Minsk Agreements that were supposed to end fighting between the rebels and Ukrainian forces, Russia has failed to convince its side to end violence in the territories it controls.

That's because with strong political support at home that seems impervious to sanctions levied by the West, Putin has no incentive to see tensions ease in eastern Ukraine. What he wants is to keep the conflict frozen so that Ukraine becomes economically weak and politically unstable.

With the eastern part of the country still in tatters, Ukraine teeters on the brink of bankruptcy — and Russia is more than willing to nudge it over the edge. This fall, Putin ordered his finance minister to sue Kiev in court over a $3 billion bond loan the government has failed to repay. Referring to Kiev as "swindlers," Russian Prime Dmitry Medvedev accused Ukraine's government of stealing from his country. "We'll got to court. We'll seek default on the debt and we will seek default on all of Ukraine's obligations." Of course, Putin and Medvedev won't admit that prolonged war in Ukraine caused the country's GDP to contract nearly 5 percent nor did they mention that Russia refused to back a $17 billion IMF restructuring deal that would have given Ukraine much-needed relief.


This is why I'll never understand The Daily Mail...

To recap:

Cricketer makes knuckleheaded flirting/sexist comments to female sports reporter, another female sports reporter comes to her vehement defense, and yet in a story about fighting sexist stereotyping, the DM still crams in a bunch of cheesecake pics of the two reporters?? Talk about two differing messages...


Oh, come the hell on! It's just a rock!

World's largest blue star sapphire 'found in Sri Lanka'

The gemology institute in the capital Colombo has certified that the gem weighs 1404.49 carats and say they have not certified anything larger.

The gem is valued at at least $100m and the current owner estimates that it could sell for up to $175m at auction.

Sri Lanka's gem industry, for which sapphire is the main export, is worth at least £70m ($103m) annually.

Blue star sapphires are so named because of the distinctive mark found at their centre.

"The moment I saw it, I decided to buy," the current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BBC World Service's Newsday programme.

"When the stone was brought to me I suspected that it might be the world's largest blue star sapphire. So I took a risk and bought it."

The owner said it was "absolutely confidential" how much he paid for it. The previous record holder weighed 1,395 carats.

The new gem was mined in the city of Ratnapura, in southern Sri Lanka, which is known as the City of Gems.


Missing Hong Kong bookseller 'in Chinese detention'

A Hong Kong bookseller who went missing several days ago is thought to be in detention in mainland China.

The wife of Lee Bo said her husband had called her from a telephone number in Shenzhen to say he was helping with an investigation.

Mr Lee is the fifth person linked to the same bookshop to go missing in the past two months. The case has raised fears that China is undermining Hong Kong's legal independence. Demonstrators held a small rally outside Beijing's representative office in Hong Kong on Sunday to protest at Mr Lee's disappearance.

One of protesters, Raphael Wong, said: "Freedom of person is inviolable. If the central government arrest a Hong Kong resident and back to mainland China, this is a threat to our freedom of press and also freedom of speech."


Glenn Greenwald was going to speak out about this, but he's too busy re-tweeting apologia for those rednecked pieces of shit in Oregon...

Is this the single most "Florida" story ever??


It appears that a Florida man has taken the recent “Back to the Future” celebrations a step too far. Last week a man in Pensacola, Fla. reportedly drove and crashed his Dodge Challenger through the wall of a small office in an attempt to time travel.

According to Pensacola news station Channel Three, the unidentified man was uninjured and was taken to the hosipital for evaluation. So far, the driver has been charged with reckless driving. The report doesn’t state if the car was traveling 88 mph at the time of the collision.

But based on the photos, the Challenger was likely travelling fairly fast. The report states that the Challenger crashed through the front wall of Advanced Tax Services and finally came to a stop halfway through the back wall. Since the accident occurred on a Sunday, no employees were in the office. However, much of the furniture and computers suffered extensive damage.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” Emanuel Mores, General Manager of Advanced Tax Services, told Channel Three. “I was mad, then eventually I was happy no one was hurt.”

A casket business next door also suffered extensive damage and was deemed unsafe to enter. Both businesses stated they will move to new offices.



Since the Chally is white we would have also accepted "The driver was trying to reenact the ending scene of Vanishing Point"

Dr. Robert Hayling, Florida civil rights leader, dies at 86

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Dr. Robert B. Hayling, a dentist and influential civil rights activist in Florida during the 1960s, has died. He was 86. Hayling died Sunday at home in Fort Lauderdale, his sister, Yvonne Hayling-Clarke, told The Associated Press. No cause of death has been determined.

A member of a group known as "The St. Augustine Four," Hayling spent six months in a Florida jail and reform school in 1964 after he and three other members of the NAACP Youth Council asked to be served at a Woolworth's lunch counter.
They were released only after protests by Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson and others popularized their predicament, according to the ACCORD Civil Rights Museum.

"He motivated us. He made us feel like we were doing something right, and he backed us up a hundred percent in that," Audrey Nell Edwards, one of the St. Augustine Four, said in a museum news release. Hayling also got the attention of Vice President Lyndon Johnson in 1963. Hayling protested St. Augustine's plan to celebrate its 400th anniversary and status as the oldest city in the U.S. with an all-white event.

Hayling's objection opened the event, and resulted in two tables being set aside for black people, according to the museum.
"Robert was a wonderful person because he loved to give," Hayling-Clarke said from her home in Sarasota. "He was always giving someone something, looking out and doing the best for everybody."

Still, Hayling's deeds also stoked anger in the community. He was beaten at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1963, and his home was shot in 1964, killing his dog. The events in St. Augustine are cited alongside other influential moments in the civil rights movement as key moments that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today Hayling's house is a stop on the Freedom Trail civil rights tour of important historical landmarks in the city, along with his old dental office, which today is a civil rights museum.

A public service is being arranged in St. Augustine in January, Hayling-Clarke said.


Seymour Hersh turns Uyghur refugees into “would-be fighters”

Seymour Hersh’s latest piece on Syria seems to contain quite a few questionable claims, but I was most curious about what he says about the two “rat lines” funnelling Uyghur jihadists from Xinjiang into Syria via Turkey, one running through Southeast Asia, the other through Central Asia. Among other pieces of evidence that he provides for this claim, Hersh writes that: “IHS-Jane’s Defence Weekly estimated in October that as many as five thousand Uighur would-be fighters have arrived in Turkey since 2013, with perhaps two thousand moving on to Syria.”

Even by the standards of punditry on the Xinjiang – Syria connection, this figure of five thousand struck me as high. And what is a “would-be fighter” anyway? How do you distinguish a “would-be fighter” from the rest of the “wouldn’t-be fighters” among the Uyghurs living in Turkey? Apparently the border between Turkey and Syria isn’t particularly hard to get across. If they “would be” fighters, what’s stopping them?

I have an institutional subscription to all of the IHS-Jane’s publications, including Defence Weekly, so I scoured their website for Hersh’s source, but couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. When I posted a query about this to colleagues in the Xinjiang field, a contact of Victor Mair helpfully turned up this piece by IHS-Jane’s analyst Anthony Davis, which was published in the Bangkok Post on October 27, titled “How China’s Uighur abuse fuels terrorism.” Of course I can’t be 100% sure about this identification, but it’s a much better fit for Hersh’s description than anything on the IHS-Jane’s website itself. It’s the right month, right organisation, and it also gives a figure of 5,000 Uyghurs arriving in Turkey since 2013. I think it’s highly likely that this is the piece that Hersh is referring to. Notably, though, it does not, as Hersh does, characterise these Uyghurs as “would-be fighters”. Davis writes:

The flip-side for Beijing in pre-empting the threat of domestic terrorism is stemming the flow of Uighur migrants fleeing the suffocating lock-down imposed by the security forces in Xinjiang. Once a trickle through the Central Asian -stans, by last year the exodus became a flood through Southeast Asia. Numbers are imprecise but conservative estimates put Uighur refugee arrivals in Turkey over the past two years at 5,000-6,000 with more on the road.

It couldn’t be clearer: this 5,000 is an estimate of the number of Uyghur refugees to have reached Turkey in recent years, a figure that the author directly links to Chinese repression in Xinjiang. Yet in Hersh’s hands, these Uyghur refugees have all become “would-be fighters” travelling the “rat line” to Syria. It’s a crude distortion that entirely parrots the Chinese position that every Uyghur who tries to flee the PRC is on their way to the jihad in the Middle East. If the London Review of Books, or anyone else, can point me to an IHS-Jane’s source that actually talks about “five thousand Uighur would-be fighters” in Turkey, I’ll happily stand corrected. Otherwise they really should do something about this slur against Uyghur refugees that they’ve just published.


Sy has lost his fucking mind...



The Death of Jacqueline Smith

On Christmas Eve 1955, Jacqueline Smith died from an illegal abortion at the apartment of her boyfriend, Thomas G. Daniel.

Jacqueline Smith was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in 1935. She graduated from high school in 1953 and moved to New York City, where she intended to become a fashion designer. In June 1955, Smith began to date Daniel, a sales trainee in a riding equipment shop. Although Smith spent most nights in Daniel’s apartment, the stigma surrounding cohabiting and having premarital sex was so great that she kept an apartment with three other women in order to maintain appearances. (Unless otherwise noted, primary source information in this piece is based either on contemporary newspaper accounts or on district attorney files and transcripts from the 1956 trials of Daniel and Leobaldo Pijuan; these records can be found in the New York City Municipal Archives.)

In November 1955, Smith discovered she was about six weeks pregnant. When she shared the news of her pregnancy with Daniel, she hoped that he would marry her. At that time, unmarried pregnant women faced harsh consequences for their sexual activity, including job loss and stigmatization. Unwed mothers, pilloried and pathologized, faced limited prospects for marriage, and their children had the word illegitimate stamped on their birth certificates. Many young women went to maternity homes in other towns, where they would have their babies and then give them up in closed adoptions, all done in secrecy. Upon returning home, these women were expected to pretend that the pregnancies never happened and to make the most out of a second chance at respectability.

Daniel did not want to marry Smith and began looking for a means to terminate her pregnancy. Over the next month, he asked colleagues and friends if they knew how to cause a miscarriage. Daniel persuaded Smith to take abortifacient pills, but these did not work. In the meantime, Smith went to her OB-GYN twice for examinations, made plans for future checkups, and made arrangements to deliver the baby.

On Christmas Eve 1955, Daniel paid Pijuan, a hospital attendant, $50 to perform an illegal abortion. Legal abortions, done at hospitals, required approval from a committee of doctors, which acted as deterrents for women seeking elective abortion. Hospitals usually authorized abortions in rare cases when a pregnancy endangered the health of the woman. Those unable to obtain hospital abortions would turn to underground abortionists, some of whom were skilled and some of whose lack of medical training physically endangered women. Pijuan was one of the latter.

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