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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 48,348

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"The Ice Bear"

WASHINGTON (Dec. 19, 2013)—Proof, National Geographic’s online photography experience, has announced the winners of the 2013 National Geographic Photography Contest. A stunning photograph of a polar bear peering up from beneath the melting sea ice on Hudson Bay as the setting midnight sun glows red from the smoke of distant fires has captured the grand prize. The photographer of “The Ice Bear” is Paul Souders of Seattle, Wash. He has won $10,000 (USD) and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2014.


"The Fluffer" The Guy Who Created "Duck Dynasty" Starred In A Movie About Gay Porn

A decade before Scott Gurney created Duck Dynasty, he starred as a gay porn star in a 2001 movie called The Fluffer, an unmentioned but delightful fact in the background of the show’s recent conflagration over Phil Robertson’s homophobic comments to GQ. But it’s not a secret either; The Fluffer, which was an independent film that played at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival, is right there on Gurney’s IMDb page.

I called Gurney Productions — which Gurney founded in 2005 with his wife, Deirdre — to ask for a comment. I was told no one gets connected to Scott on the phone, and I should send an email. (I did.) A spokesman for A&E also didn’t immediately return an email requesting a comment.

Gurney’s character in The Fluffer is gay-for-pay and a meth addict. He becomes the object of obsession for a male film student who gets a job as his on-set fluffer. It’s dark! It was directed by Wash West and Richard Glatzer.


Geraldo Rivera: ‘C*cksucking f*ggot’ is not an anti-gay slur if you grew up with it

In an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday night, Geraldo Rivera defended actor Alec Baldwin’s use of the epithet “c*cksucking f*ggot” in an angry confrontation with a photographer.

Rivera was agreeing with host Sean Hannity that A&E is making a mistake by suspending “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson for his anti-LGBT and racist statements in an interview with Drew Magarry of GQ magazine.

The people criticizing Robertson, he said, are the same “fundamentalist gay activists” who criticized Baldwin for his insults to the photographer.


Rivera countered that the offensive phrase doesn’t count as a slur because such utterances were “commonplace,” default insults when Baldwin was younger and growing up.


Eugene Robinson | Ending the 9/11 Panic Mentality at the NSA Once and For All

Eugene Robinson | Ending the 9/11 Panic Mentality at the NSA Once and For All


In plain language, the panel lays out just what the NSA has been doing: obtaining secret court orders compelling phone service providers to "turn over to the government on an ongoing basis call records for every telephone call made in, to, or from the United States through their respective systems."

That is a jaw-dropping sentence. No less stunning, however, is the panel's assessment of the program's worth as a tool to fight terrorism: from all available evidence, zero.


Somehow, the NSA has transformed itself from an agency whose mission was overseas surveillance to one that vacuums and stores massive amounts of information about our private communications. This isn't mission-creep; it's more like mission-gallop.

Unless we want to accept an Orwellian future in which privacy is a distant memory -- and I don't -- we need to limit the NSA's authority to surveillance of legitimate foreign targets.



Phil Robertson's America (by: TA-NEHISI COATES)

The Milwaukee Journal, January 27, 1935
Phil Robertson's America

I've yet to take in an episode of Duck Dynasty. I hear it's a fine show, anchored by a humorous and good-natured family of proud Americans. I try to be good natured, and I have been told that I can appreciate a good joke. I am also a proud American. With so much in common, it seems natural that I take some interest in the views of my brethren on the history of the only country any of us can ever truly call home:

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field .... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word! ... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

That is Robertson responding to a reporter's question about life in Louisiana, before the civil-rights movement. I am sure Robertson did see plenty of black people who were singing and happy. And I am also sure that very few black people approached Robertson to complain about "doggone white people."


The belief that black people were at their best when they were being hunted down like dogs for the sin of insisting on citizenship is a persistent strain of thought in this country. What it ultimately reflects is inability to cope with America that is at least rhetorically committed to equality. One can quickly see the line from this kind of thinking, to a rejection of the civil rights movement of our age


There Are Two Americas, And One Is Better Than The Other

There Are Two Americas, And One Is Better Than The Other


In one America, it's O.K. to say this of gays and lesbians: "They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil." In the other America, you're not supposed to say that.

There's one America where it's O.K. to say this about black people in the Jim Crow-era South: "Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues." There's another America where that statement is considered to reflect ignorance and insensitivity.

In one America, it's O.K. to attribute the Pearl Harbor attacks to Shinto Buddhists' failure to accept Jesus. In the other America, that is not O.K.

There are two Americas, one of which is better than the other. And it's instructive who's sticking up for the worse America.

the rest:


tee hee, hee:

To: America.....From: 113th Congress

Pope Francis Gives Christmas Presents To 2,000 Immigrants

Two thousand immigrants at the Dono di Maria shelter near the Vatican were thrilled to receive Christmas presents from none other than Pope Francis. He sent them useful gift packages to allow them to connect with family over the holiday season, including a Christmas card signed by the Pope, postage stamps, a pre-paid international calling card, and a free day-pass for the Rome metro, reports Catholic News Agency.

Papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski personally helped the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity hand out the gifts. Sister Michelle told CNA that "the immigrants received the presents with love and were thankful for the opportunity to call and write their loved ones during the Christmas season."

As an advocate for the poor and marginalized, Pope Francis has specifically spoken out on behalf of immigrants. On the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in September he condemned "slave labor" and human trafficking. "Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity," he said. "They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more."

The Dono di Maria home was founded by Mother Teresa 25 years ago under Pope John Paul II's blessing, according to Patheos.


"NONE of this would have happened without the revelations by Edward J. Snowden"

Whatever you think of Snowden, this affair really has reminded us that journalistic revelations, combined with sustained pressure from a small but persistent group of lawmakers and advocates, can bring us to the cusp of reform.



The administration expects to accept “a good number” of the advisory group recommendations, the official said, and will “perhaps reject others.”

While few in the White House want to admit as much in public, none of this would have happened without the revelations by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor now in asylum in Russia. While Mr. Obama has said he welcomes the debate about the proper limits on the N.S.A., it is not one he engaged in publicly until the Snowden revelations began. Now the president has little choice — this week alone a constellation of forces is pushing for change: A federal judge called the bulk-collection program “almost Orwellian,” while some in Congress, many of his allies and Silicon Valley executives demanded change.

Those represent very different pressures. Mr. Obama has already said that bulk collection of telephone records should continue. The unresolved question is whether he agrees with the advisory committee that the records should remain in private hands — either the telecommunications companies or a private consortium — and that individual court authorizations should be required for every use of metadata.

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