Monday, December 8, 2008

Studies Show Dogs Have Sense Of Fairness (

Studies Show Dogs Have Sense Of Fairness

WASHINGTON - No fair! What parent hasn't heard that from a child who thinks another youngster got more of something? Well, it turns out dogs can react the same way. Ask them to do a trick and they'll give it a try. For a reward, sausage say, they'll happily keep at it. But if one dog gets no reward, and then sees another get sausage for doing the same trick, just try to get the first one to do it again. Indeed, he may even turn away and refuse to look at you.

Dogs, like people and monkeys, seem to have a sense of fairness.

"Animals react to inequity," said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, Austria, who led a team of researchers testing animals at the school's Clever Dog Lab. "To avoid stress, we should try to avoid treating them differently."

Similar responses have been seen in monkeys.

Range said she wasn't surprised at the dogs reaction, since wolves are known to cooperate with one another and appear to be sensitive to each other. Modern dogs are descended from wolves.

Next, she said, will be experiments to test how dogs and wolves work together. "Among other questions, we will investigate how differences in emotions influence cooperative abilities," she said via e-mail.

In the reward experiments reported in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Range and colleagues experimented with dogs that understood the command "paw," to place their paw in the hand of a researcher. It's the same game as teaching a dog to "shake hands."

Those that refused at the start - and one border collie that insisted on trying to herd other dogs - were removed. That left 29 dogs to be tested in varying pairs.

The dogs sat side-by-side with an experimenter in front of them. In front of the experimenter was a divided food bowl with pieces of sausage on one side and brown bread on the other.

The dogs were asked to shake hands and each could see what reward the other received.

When one dog got a reward and the other didn't, the unrewarded animal stopped playing.

When both got a reward all was well.

One thing that did surprise the researchers was that - unlike primates - the dogs didn't seem to care whether the reward was sausage or bread.

Possibly, they suggested, the presence of a reward was so important it obscured any preference. Other possibilities, they said, are that daily training with their owners overrides a preference, or that the social condition of working next to a partner increased their motivation regardless of which reward they got.

And the dogs never rejected the food, something that primates had done when they thought the reward was unfair.

The dogs, the researchers said, "were not willing to pay a cost by rejecting unfair offers."

Clive Wynne, an associate professor in the psychology department of the University of Florida, isn't so sure the experiment measures the animals reaction to fairness.

"What it means is individuals are responding negatively to being treated less well," he said in a telephone interview.

But the researchers didn't do a control test that had been done in monkey studies, Wynne said, in which a preferred reward was visible but not given to anyone. In that case the monkeys went on strike because they could see the better reward but got something lesser.

Range responded, however, that her team did indeed do that control test as well as others in which food was moved or held in the hand but not given to the dog being tested.

In dogs, Wynne noted, the quality of reward didn't seem to matter, so the test only worked when they got no reward at all.

However, Wynne added, there is "no doubt in my mind that dogs are very, very sensitive to what people are doing and are very smart."

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, November 28, 2008

China Blasts Guns N' Roses

China's ruling Communist Party is outraged at the newest Guns N' Roses album, calling it a "venomous attack" on the Chinese nation.

The album, called Chinese Democracy, was delayed since recording started in 1994, and will most likely not be legally sold in China. But downloads are tough to police, hence the strong rhetoric.

A Communist Party's newspaper, Global Times, published an article entitled "American band releases album venomously attacking China," and claimed that unidentified Chinese Internet users believe the album to be part of a plot by some in the West to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn."

The article adds that the album "turns its spear point on China."

As an example of its apparent subversive qualities, the record's title track refers to the Falun Gong meditation practice, that was abolished by China and dubbed an "evil cult", and warns "if your Great Wall rocks blame yourself," no doubt referring to China's authoritarian government.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sarah Palin Hates Verbs

This may surprise you, but the cringe which adds hundreds of irreversible wrinkles to your face when you hear Sarah Palin speak doesn't come from her inane policy proposals. (Or not totally.) For the most part, it comes from witnessing Palin desecrate our most precious resource: verbs.

Remember verbs? They're the valuable action words which come between subjects. They're awesome! They tell you exactly what happened and when. But Sarah Palin hates verbs. She twists them, snips them, and hides them from us. The result is a tangle of decontextualized ideas and dizzying logic collapsing in onto itself. When you are confronted with the sentences of Sarah Palin, you are confronted with the abyss. Like so:

Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're going to find ourselves in another Great Depression. But, there has got to be action—bipartisan effort—Congress not pointing fingers at one another but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.


He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

So much hostility against verbs! It almost seems personal, like she was once raped by a verb and found the entire ordeal—which perhaps included having to pay for her own Strunk and White kit to clean things up—so unpleasant that she vowed to spend the rest of her days eradicating the cursed parts of speech. But there's a much more likely explanation.

Palin belongs to a not-so-secret order of mercenaries who have been staging a ruthless 20-year war against grammar: TV newscasters. Palin had a stint as a TV sportscaster in 1988, and it's fair to assume that the gritty, cut-throat newsrooms of Alaska inculcated in Palin the lethal art of obfuscation.

You are surely familiar with this linguistic genocide. In order to keep the content fresh and urgent, TV newscasters gut the tenses from headlines the way experienced hunters gut moose. Past, present, and future all melt together so that everything sounds like an up-to-the-minute exclusive. Here's an example from an NBC News transcript: "Less resilient, local business. Dwight's concession stand, in the family three generations. Sales this summer off 75 percent."

Here's one from grammar's Archangel of Death Lou Dobbs: "Top government officials today adding their voices to the call for Americans to remain vigilant."

See where this is going? Not a verb to be heard. The only sound is the shudder of a thousand English teachers.

Your turn again, Sarah: "I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people."

Yes! Just like that.

So she's adamantly pro-gerund, you say. In the scheme of things, is it really that big a deal? Indeed. In fact, it's far more nefarious than you might imagine. It all speaks to her emphasis on the visceral over the cerebral, sensation over reason, emotion over thought, the immediate over the past. It reveals her murderous disdain for context and nuance.

George Orwell, the patron saint of political rhetoric, made it very clear: "...[I]f thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better."

We should know better. Let's hope we do.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ed McMahon: Rapper

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Ed McMahon has an unexpected new job title: rapper.

The 85-year-old former "Tonight Show" sidekick will star in two viral rap videos for, a financial Web site owned by credit bureau Experian.

The videos feature McMahon wearing a tracksuit, being chauffeured around Los Angeles in a Cadillac Escalade golf cart and waxing lyrical about his very public financial troubles.

"I knew I could sing the blues, but I didn't know I could rap," McMahon said Wednesday.

The videos will appear online in October.

Charles Harris,'s vice president of strategic marketing, said the company sought out McMahon to star in the humorous spots after seeing him openly discuss his finances on "Larry King Live." Harris said McMahon represents "a man who is taking charge."

In the first video, McMahon -- who once pitched the American Family Publishing sweepstakes -- and a bodyguard are cruising through a neighborhood looking for sweepstakes winners to ask for some money back, but McMahon doesn't actually go through with it. In the second spot, McMahon dons a new suit after undergoing a financial and emotional makeover.

"When I retired, I was famous," McMahon raps in the video. "I had money and glory/I bought a house for 6 mill/I thought nothing could touch me/Until my credit went south, and debt started to crunch me/Next thing I know, instead of playing gin rummy, I was scrambling just to make ends meet/It wasn't funny."

After being joined by two scantily clad women, McMahon continues: "Got a bump from the media chumps, but that was temporary/Wife with bad credit was scary, so I got wise/I may have fallen, but I got back up/Now I'm back on the attack, like a ninja swinging nunchucks/I told the haters, 'Go on, take a hike'/It's my show now, and I can do what I like."

McMahon said he spent one day in the studio recording the rap. He said he hopes his participation will inspire viewers to learn from his mistakes and become more aware about their finances.

When asked if he would consider releasing a full-length rap album, McMahon said: "Not immediately."

In June, the former "Star Search" host revealed he was fighting foreclosure after falling $644,000 behind on mortgage payments on his Beverly Hills home. Last month, he agreed to a deal with a private buyer.

McMahon said Wednesday the deal has not been completed, and he's not sure what he and his wife, Patricia, will do after the sale.

"We're in this together," said McMahon. "We're a team. We're going to solve it together. We're going to work this out. I'm very optimistic. I'm an old Marine. I've been in two wars and have 85 combat missions under my belt. I've got a background of looking for the good stuff, going for the best way. My wife is with me 100 percent."

It's not the first job for McMahon following his money problems. In July, the former "Tonight Show" sidekick reprised his role as pitchman with commercial segments alongside talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

One of the spots featured McMahon teaching Kimmel how to sell a product. Another had the duo preparing for a road trip to Mexico.

Last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that McMahon's lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and two physicians he claims failed to properly diagnose and repair his broken neck laid out adequate legal ground to pursue claims that include negligence, elder abuse, battery, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brother Says He Was Stabbed Over Hot Pocket

SOUTH BEND – A 20-year-old man told police he was stabbed by his younger brother Sunday night after a fight broke out over a Hot Pocket.

St. Joseph County police were called to an apartment in the 3600 block of Generations Drive just after 7 p.m. Sunday, where they found a man bleeding from a cut on his side.

Although the man was initially uncooperative with police, he admitted that he got into a fight with his 18-year-old brother over the microwave sandwich.

The victim told police the two began fighting over who got to eat the Hot Pocket, pushing and grappling with each other into a hallway. He said his younger brother then grabbed a steak knife off the kitchen counter and stabbed at his brother, cutting him on his left side.

Police said the victim was able wrestle the knife away from his brother, who then left on foot.

Officers searched the area with a police dog, but were unable to locate him.

The man was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, where he was treated and released

WSBT - South Bend, Indiana

Thursday, September 18, 2008


It's a timeless story: Boy attends political convention, boy meets "beautiful woman" at RNC party, boy takes woman back to hotel, boy gets date rape-drugged, boy wakes up with $50k worth of jewelry and electronics missing. And if you think the story is somehow funny because the boy in question happens to be the kind of person who thinks bragging about war is a laughing matter, shame on you. There are plenty of other reasons it's funny.

Every "That's what she said" from The Office

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin: The Hypocrisy Clock Goes Tic-Tock

Now this is embarrassing. It seems that John McCain's soulmate has also made his anti-earmark "pork list".

Three times in recent years, McCain's catalogs of "objectionable" spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town, requested by its mayor at the time -- Sarah Palin.

Oops. But hey, it's not like Palin was the first Wasilla mayor to go after federal money, right?

Wasilla had received few if any earmarks before Palin became mayor. She actively sought federal funds -- a campaign that began to pay off only after she hired a lobbyist with close ties to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who long controlled federal spending as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He made funneling money to Alaska his hallmark.

Yeah, she's quite the anti-pork, anti-lobbyist maverick. It's too bad the McCain campaign is now refusing to answer questions about the vetting process because it would be nice to know if they knew about this.

Via Kos

Monday, September 1, 2008

Diddy halts private jet flights over fuel prices

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Fuel prices have grounded an unexpected frequent-flyer: Diddy.

Sean "Diddy" Combs complained about the "... too high" price of gas and pleaded for free oil from his "Saudi Arabia brothers and sisters" in a YouTube video posted Wednesday. The hip-hop mogul said he is now flying on commercial airlines instead of in private jets, which Combs said had previously cost him $200,000 and up for a roundtrip between New York and Los Angeles.

"I'm actually flying commercial," Diddy said before walking onto an airplane, sitting in a first-class seat and flashing his boarding pass to the camera. "That's how high gas prices are. I'm at the gate right now. This is really happening, proof gas prices are too high. Tell whoever the next president is we need to bring gas prices down."


On the Net:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dead Shark Found in Lake Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- There's no telling what might turn up in Lake Michigan.

Rich Fasi of Traverse City says he found a dead 2-foot shark in the water while fishing on West Grand Traverse Bay on Wednesday.

The saltwater fish was a juvenile blacktip shark, said Mark Tonello, a fisheries biologist from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Tonello said someone might have caught the shark off the Atlantic Coast and kept it on ice while bringing it to northern Michigan.

Another possibility is that the dead shark was dumped by someone who had kept it as a pet, Tonello said.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Billboard Near MSP Airport Welcomes Republicans to Town

In honor of the upcoming Republican National Convention, Comedy Central has a billboard welcoming the attendees to town near the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport (Near I-494 and Hwy 77 to be more specific)

For those of you scratching your head about what an Oligarch is....

Oligarchy is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family, military powers or spiritual hegemony). The word oligarchy is translated into "rule by few." Compare with autocracy (rule by one person) and democracy (rule by the people).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Giant Inflatable Turd Terrorizes Swiss Town

Flash! An inflatable catastrophe second only to the Hindenburg disaster has occurred in Bern Switzerland at the Paul Klee Center art museum. A house-sized inflatable turd designed by American artist Paul McCarthy broke free from its moorings in high winds after the security system designed to deflate the installation failed.

Townspeople fled in terror as the work entitled "Complex Shit" cut a swath of destruction that included downed power lines and a broken window at a children's home. At this point we can confirm that there were no poop related injuries, but it is a scene that the townspeople (and this reporter) will not soon forget. They will be forced to relive it every time they drop a deuce. Oh, the humanity!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Hottest Radio Station in Los Angeles

Click Here for AiRadio 530 AM

Another Smear Debunked

More bullshit from the right has surfaced this week as small minded conservative blowhards have been blowing up the blogosphere with some bullshit about how Obama removed the flag from the tail of the plane he is leasing for his campaign. Why did he have such a thing get done? Is it because he is dangerous and not patriotic and not in love with his country?


The plane is being leased from a company called "North American Airlines" and the "flag" on the tail of the plane that was removed is THE COMPANY'S REGISTERED TRADEMARK. So, the reason the "flag" design was removed is because it is THE REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES! The flag next to the plane's tail number is still there in plain sight....

So all you close minded small thinking conservative assholes can shut the fuck up!!

Oh, speaking of campaign aircraft, I don't even see a flag or anything resembling a flag or the colors that are on the U.S. Flag ANYWHERE on McCain's plane!!!???
And since when are an aqua-ish blue, gold, and white patriotic colors? Ah... McCain must be colorblind in his old age.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Man Calls 911 To Report Slot Machine Stole His Money

FLORIDA IS ON A ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A second Hillsborough County man has been arrested on charges of making false 911 calls in as many days. An arrest report says 47-year-old Carlos Gutierrez was at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino early Monday and called 911 to say the slot machine stole his money. The report says Gutierrez left the casino to place a second 911 call to say the same thing. He was arrested and charged with making a false 911 call. He's being held with no bail set.

On Sunday another man was arrested after calling 911 five times during an argument with his brother. He demanded that dispatchers send deputies to help sort things out. And in northern Florida last week, a Jacksonville man called 911 to complain that a Subway left the sauce off a spicy Italian sandwich.

WFTV - Orlando


Police: Man Calls 911 Over Incorrect Sandwich

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chinese Restaurant Used An Online Language Translator to Name Restaurant and.....

not sure what kind of dishes they serve up at "Translate Server Error" - but I have no doubt it would be a smorgasboard of "404 page not found" fried rice, and "A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer" with Honey Soy Chicken.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Vi setter pris på våre norske besøkende!

Takk for at du besøker Daglig Desultory. Vi setter pris på våre norske besøkende! Vi er nå en blogg med over 200 innlegg! Gratulerer til oss!

'Tween' Gangs: America's Next Epidemic

Groups of young people are vandalizing, intimidating, terrorizing and assaulting neighbors. Even worse, they're only 10 to 14 years old. It's a growing summer problem in some Minneapolis neighborhoods.

The 8th Street Block Club spent years creating and expanding their "Peaceful Patch Garden."

"The most important thing I think is it's really brought us together, these four blocks," said club leader Marge Magnuson.

A gang of mostly young teen girls tore the neighborhood apart.

"They would just operate in marauding groups I guess I would say, of between 10 and 15," said Bill Bryant, another club leader.

"They'd be walking down the sidewalk, and if you were coming their way, you could not, they would, you had to step aside," said Magnuson.

They used the same intimidation tactics on drivers in the street. The garden became anything but peaceful.

"(They) would vandalize and we'd try to put things back and then it would, (a) couple days later maybe the same thing would happen again," he added.

Then they started assaulting people, including Magnuson.

The block club enlisted help from police, parole officers, social service leaders and others to help combat the problem. Its behavior police have battled before.

"I think you'd find a lot of kids that aren't getting any supervision at home that have got a lot of problems of their own, and they join up with other kids," explained Don Greeley, a Community Crime Prevention Specialist.

The neighborhood refused to let the gangs take over, and it steered them in a more positive direction.

"We actually were able to have the kids interacting with the residents and the community in a respectful way," said V.J. Smith, a founder of Mad Dads.

Last year the 11th Street Block Club was so discouraged about the young teen gang violence and destruction in their neighborhood, they skipped it. This year it will proceed as planned to celebrate their accomplishments.


91 Nørwegiån råcing spectåtørs struck by lightning. Øuch

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A lightning bolt struck 91 auto racing fans at a racetrack in Norway Sunday, and 45 people were taken to hospital with minor burns, police said.

"No one was seriously injured," police officer Hans Eng told the Associated Press. "But some of them will stay in the hospital for observation."

The lightning hit a hill where spectators at the rallycross were sitting. Rallycross is a form of sprint-style automobile racing on a closed circuit.

The race, a national championship, was called off after the incident.

Eng said 16 ambulances and three medical helicopters were brought to the scene at Flisa, about eight kilometers from the Swedish border.

The injured fans were taken to four different hospitals.

"I've never seen anything like it; spectators fell off their seats," a witness, Roar Bringaker, was quoted as saying on the Web site of Norwegian paper Verdens Gang. "People got scared and ran. It was chaotic."

Even Wiger, another spectator, went to the racetrack with his 14-year-old son and some friends.

"It was a raining and suddenly the lightning hit the stand," he was quoted as saying to the Norwegian News Agency NTB. "We all tried to get down from the hill. Many screamed and cried. The situation was dramatic. I've never experienced anything similar."

The thunderstorm knocked out telephone service in the area, police said.


Police: Man Calls 911 Over Incorrect Sandwich


JACKSONVILLE, FL -- An unhappy Subway customer called 911 not once, but twice to complain to police that his sandwich was not made to his liking.

Reginald Peterson called the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office in hopes that police could have his sandwich made to his satisfaction.

A short time later, Peterson contacted JSO again to complain that police still had not shown up.

When police did arrive Peterson told the officer he had ordered two sandwiches, checked out, and then walked outside to find the subs did not have "everything" he ordered.

He told police he became "very upset" and "belligerent" because the employee making the sandwich was not doing it correctly.

Witnesses inside the store say Peterson eventually started screaming at everyone inside. When Peterson went outside to call police. Employees closed the store and locked the door to keep him from returning.

According to the report, the officer tried to calm Petterson and explain to him the proper way to use 911, but he would not cooperate.

Peterson was arrested and at his request the sandwiches were thrown away.

First Coast News

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is Snoop Dogg A Future Rotarian?

Hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg surprised LSU football coach Les Miles (right) with a guest appearance at the July 30 Rotary Club of Baton Rouge weekly meeting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Claims to See Jesus in Cat's Fur

You could call her a holy cat or a feline with Jesus on her side... An Indiana family says if you look closely at their pet, you can see the face of Christ.

"In this window well down here was 4 baby kittens... stuck together."

Lori Johnson couldn't help but take in two kittens, she found abandoned outside her house on mother's day.

"Oh no, i couldn't imagine giving them away now. I've worked too hard. They are a part of me now. I love being a mom."

The two kittens, brother and sister, now named sissy and bubby -- could also be called opposites... the female has striped fur. The male is all black.

"Maybe one's an angel.. and the other one' is not. Yeah, we have the good and evil." Recently, lori's husband was petting sissy when he noticed...

"He says 'i swear that looks like jesus with a shroud on' and i'm like 'ok,' and then my son took that picture, and it was like 'wow!'"

"After looking at the picture and stuff, it was like 'oh, there it is.'"

"See the eyes beard. here's the shroud."

After a closer look, you might see the "shroud of turin." And even if you don't... "then they might think we are weird crazy or something."

Something this family is fine with. To them, sissy's fur is a sign from above of joy and blessings to come.

"We've had a lot of things happen in our lives. This was a good sign that uh..
everything's ok and got somebody looking after us."

ABC 2 - Baltimore

MSNBC: Fox News does it again...

Once again... The Fox and Friends morning show staff needs to be fired....

This racist bullshit Fox News Channel keeps pulling needs to stop.

Good Lord, Dana Perino Is Full Of It

From yesterday's White House press briefing:

MS. PERINO: Also at the end of this week, Congress is expected to go on their August recess, and at that same time many families across America are making tough decisions about whether or not they can go on their summer vacations, due to the high gasoline prices.

God, this woman is full of it. Yes, across America families putting off vacation plans until congress votes on offshore drilling...drilling that wouldn't affect prices for years to come. This administration obviously thinks Americans are stupid.

As for what she's full of, you make the call.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Partiers mistake police for strippers

BERLIN — Police say two officers who responded to complaints about a raucous weekend party in western Germany were mistaken for male strippers by the female guests.

Simmern police spokesman Bernd Hoffmann says neighbours called police around 12.45 a.m. Sunday to complain about noise from a birthday party in their building.

A round of applause from the apartment resident — who had just turned 30 — and her friends greeted two officers who went to investigate.

Hoffmann said today that “they thought the policemen were dressed like that because they were strippers.

It took them a while to realize they were real police officers.”

Hoffmann says the women had not ordered strippers but thought someone had sent them as a birthday surprise.

The incident resulted in no arrests.

24 Hours Vancouver

Monday, July 28, 2008

Police Blotter of the Day - 7/28/08

Saint Cloud, Minnesota 7/28/08:

Police were called at 10:03 a.m. to Go For it Gas, 1000 Ninth Ave. S. A man robbed the store with a large-framed semi-automatic handgun, Sgt. Jeff Janssen said. The robber got an undisclosed amount of cash and a carton of Newport brand cigarettes.

The man ran south from the store and was last seen running through Southside Park, Janssen said.

Police describe the suspect as being a 30-year-old, light-skinned black man. He his about 6 feet tall and has a slim build.

Go Breast, Young Man

LIKE-MINDED TODDLER Not the kid in question, assorted boobs

Everything is bigger in Texas, right? Well, it looks like that even extends to the cojones of their toddlers. A five-year-old boy escaped his daycare center just outside of Dallas, Texas, earlier this week by saying he had to go to the bathroom. He then proceeded to sneak out through an unlocked fire exit, walk to a RaceTrac gas station to buy himself snacks and soda, and then stroll nearly a half-mile to the local Hooters, presumably to pick up a couple chicks and power a few hot wings. Nappy hour, if you will?

Embrace The Majesty Of The Bear. EMBRACE IT!

Here's how it's done: Take one video of a bear being released into the wild from the fine folks at KRQE News 13, place it in the dexterous hands of someone with too much time on their hands, sit back, and let the summertime enjoyment cascade down upon you. It will be 5 o'clock before you know it, people; we'll get through it together.

Whale taught to blow bubble rings

The whales have delighted thousands of visitors since being taught the impressive trick by scuba divers in a pool.

They are given a breath from the diver's regulator to give them enough air to blow the big bubbles.

Man Drowns During Baptism

RIO VISTA (CBS13) ― Rescuers have called off the search for a 22-year-old man feared drowned during a baptism in the San Joaquin Delta.

The Hispanic man disappeared under the water late Sunday afternoon near the Brannan Island State Recreation Area, northeast of the San Francisco Bay, according to Coast Guard officials.

A Sacramento County Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) joined the underwater search for the missing man, whose identity has not been released.

Officials called off the search Sunday night.

CBS 13 - Sacramento

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama's Private Prayer 'Leaked'

Senator Barack Obama probably thought that the prayer he penned in the solitude of his King David hotel room in Jerusalem would remain between him and the Almighty. But an Orthodox Jewish student had other ideas.

Following Jewish tradition, Obama donned a yarmulke and went to the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, where shortly before dawn on Thursday he stuffed his prayer into a crevass between the giant white stones, hewn over 2,000 years ago. Traditionally such prayers, and there are over a million every year, some arriving by fax and email, are collected twice a year and buried on the Mount of Olives. It is considered taboo to read the prayers.

But after Obama and his entourage left the sacred site, an orthodox seminary student went to the Wall, fished out Obama's personal note and delivered it to Maariv newspaper, which duly printed the senator's prayer.

The newspaper's decision to publish Obama's private words was "an outrage", said Rabbbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, supervisor of the Western Wall. "It damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves," the rabbi told Army Radio. "The note placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make use of them."

Obama didn't pray for an election victory, a lottery win to help pay for his campaign, or for his Republican rival Senator John McCain to be felled by lightning or a pecadillo. On the contrary; his prayer hints at the struggle within, how Obama is seeking divine guidance to surmount the obstacles that lie ahead of him in his lonely, awesome challenge to become the next president of the United States. On hotel stationary, he penned the following prayer, according to Maariv, which ran a photo of the note:

"Lord, protect my family and me," Obama wrote. "Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."

Obama, now finishing up the European leg of his tour, has not commented on his private prayer being made public in Jerusalem.


Man Charged with Shooting His Own Lawnmower

More: Click here to read the criminal complaint

A man from Milwaukee is facing criminal charges after he solved a problem with his lawnmower by shooting it.

According to a criminal complaint, on Wednesday Keith Walendowski got drunk early in the morning. He decided to mow his lawn on the 3500 block of South Austin Street in Milwaukee.

He couldn't get the lawnmower to start. His solution? Prosecutors say Walendowski went to his basement and grabbed a sawed off shotgun, and he fired twice at the lawnmower.

"I'll tell you the truth. I got p---ed because my lawn mower wouldn't start, so I got my shotgun and shot it," Walendowski said to an officer. "I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want."

If convicted, Walendowski faces up to six years and 90 days behind bars and fines of $11,000.

A local lawnmower repairman tells the Journal Sentinel that Walendowski may have trouble fixing the mower noting that anything not factory recommended voids the warranty.


Fox gets called out for it's racist behavior by 620,000

Nas and Color of Change deliver 620,000 petitions to Fox News calling it out for its racist behavior.

Send your own message to Fox now

Driver Reaches For Handgun After Request For 'Grey Poupon'

SANDY - A wiseguy who asked another Utah driver whether he had any Grey Poupon -- in a reference to a world famous commercial -- found himself looking down the barrel of a semiautomatic handgun instead, authorities said.

A vehicle containing three people was traveling near 900 East Winchester Street (6600 South) on June 18, when one of the occupants decided to crack a joke to the driver next to them.

"Excuse me, sir... do you have any Grey Poupon?" asked passenger Stephen Cox.

The quip was a reference to the world famous commercials that advertise the dijon mustard -- in which a sophisticated older gentleman asks a limousine passenger to roll his windows down, and asks the same question. (Watch the commercial)

However, police say when Cox posed the question to 22-year-old Vitaly Alex Kovtun, of Sandy, the driver was not amused.

Instead of reaching for a bottle of the mustard, Kovtun allegedly pulled a semiautomatic handgun from the glove box, cocked it, and pointed it at the inquiring passengers in the other vehicle.
A man offers some Grey Poupon dijon mustard to another motorist in a famous TV commercial by Nabisco. (Nabisco)
A man offers some Grey Poupon dijon mustard to another motorist in a famous TV commercial by Nabisco. (Nabisco)

Kovtun then allegedly said, "Here's your Grey Poupon! Roll your [expletive] windows up."

Those inside of the car managed to record Kovtun's license plate number before he left, which authorities later used to track him down.

According to court documents, Kovtun later admitted to pulling the handgun, cocking the slide and pointing it at those in the other vehicle.

No one was injured in the incident, but Kovtun has been charged with a count of aggravated assault, which is a third-degree felony.

The charge, according to Utah Code 76-5-102, alleges that Kovtun used a dangerous weapon likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.


TV Commercial: "Excuse me... do you have any Grey Poupon?"
TV Commercial: "Would you have any Grey Poupon?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama is in Berlin, so McCain Visits a German Village.... German Village, OHIO

So, Barack Obama was in Germany today giving a speech in Berlin, so it was only right that John McCain speak to people in a similar venue........... Schmidt's Sausage House, a German restaurant in GERMAN VILLAGE, OHIO....

Hmm... So, if Obama goes to Mexico I guess McCain will go to a Taco Bell in, oh, Kalamazoo, Michigan perhaps???

Work those swing states good, Grandpa John!!! Oh, and I hope you do choose my state's governor, Tim Pawlenty, as your running mate... He will help guide you deeper into obscurity as the campaign goes on and you will be retiring to Sun City, Arizona by November 5th.

My stations meteorologist's fauxhawk is better than your station's

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

McCain Crying Over Attention on Obama in Iraq

John McCain and his campaign aides are frosted at the media for giving so much attention to Barack Obama's overseas trip, and they accuse reporters of being in love with the Democratic candidate. Apparently no one told them that, as Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once advised, you should never complain about your problems, because most people don't care, and the rest are happy you have them.

Whining is not a reassuring habit in a political candidate. One thing all presidents and presidential candidates have in common is that sometimes the press coverage won't go their way. Stoic indifference is the best way to respond. If McCain gets in a snit over what The Washington Post does, how will he react when he has to deal with truly aggravating adversaries, like Kim Jong Il?

Besides, it's his own fault that Obama is getting so much attention. For weeks, McCain has been practically taunting his opponent into visiting Iraq--making it that much more newsworthy when Obama actually did.

McCain thought it was important for Obama to see the war firsthand. Now the media is treating the trip as important, and McCain acts as though they shouldn't.

The Arizona senator may be especially resentful because, in past campaigns, he was seen as the media darling--and even jokingly referred to reporters as "my base." But given that experience, he should know that if the press is treating Obama favorably now, it won't last.

Rest assured, if Obama makes a major gaffe while abroad, the media will swarm like piranhas around it, and McCain will be grateful for the coverage. We in the journalism business are like what Churchill said of the Germans: Always at your feet or at your throat.

Anchorman Part Deux!

Grab your Sex Panther cologne!!!!

Ron Burgundy—back in action?

"Anchorman" writer Adam McKay told that he and Will Ferrell have started working on a sequel that may take Ron Burgundy and his news posse into the 1980s.

Dreamworks told Entertainment Weekly that it had not yet talked to Ferrell and McKay, about a Part 2 for the cheesy, flute-playing, smooth-talking San Diego news anchor. But the possibilities are intriguing.

The audience will now allow us to do even crazier stuff," McKay told EW, "and that's really all we're looking for in our careers."

Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

During a segment on education, Fox News misspells the word ‘education.’

Spelling now joins geography on the list of subjects in which Fox News needs a lesson.

'Wall Street got drunk'

(CNN) — In case you're wondering why our economy is in the toilet, President Bush had the explanation at a closed Republican fund-raiser in Houston last week:

”Wall Street got drunk – it’s one of the reasons I asked you to turn off your TV cameras. It got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is: how long will it sober up.”

The depth of the intellect at the very top of our nation's government is staggering, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

But... But... But... He Brought Hockey Back

Norm Coleman has been running a television ad that has a guy in a bowling alley spewing all these great things that Coleman has supposedly "got done" during his tenure in the U.S. Senate... In the ad, voices off screen yell "He brought hockey back!!" after the guy on camera finishes a sentence (as if that is such an important thing... and on a side note, Norm Coleman was the mayor of St Paul when the NHL announced a return to Minnesota and the arena was built, so even if it were important to mention, it is completely irrelevant when it comes to Coleman's Senate tenure)

Anyway, Al Franken has shot back with an ad that spoofs the dumb Coleman "Bowling and Hockey ad... The ad features a man in a bowling alley discussing Norm's many failings as Senator, like voting for giant cuts in student aid, selling out to Big Oil, and rubber-stamping the Bush policy in Iraq. As he hears about more of Norm's record, he realizes that although hockey will always be Minnesota's favorite pastime, Norm Coleman hasn't represented Minnesota well in Washington.:

Robber Nabbed After Writing Note on Back of His Personal Checks

In another strange but true moment from the great state of FLORIDA of course.....

MARION COUNTY, Fla. -- A bank robber was captured pretty quickly Monday after police noticed that the note he handed a teller demanding cash was written on the back of his own personal check.

The incident began at a Bank Of America on SW 34th Street in Ocala just before 10 am.

Police said a man walked in and handed the teller a note that said he had a .45 caliber pistol and demanding money. After the teller complied and gave the man cash, he fled. Witnesses saw the man jump into a gold compact car driven by another man.

Not content with the first robbery the suspect pulled the same crime at another Bank Of America not far away several hours later. In that robbery the man also gave the teller a note, was given cash and fled. This time witnesses saw the man jump into a taxi and flee.

Police located the taxi soon after along with the suspect was in the back. They arrested 33 year old Patrick Johnson.

Investigators were then able to link Johnson to the crimes when they observed that the notes he had written his demands on were both checks from his personal checking account.

Johnson was transported to the hospital and checked out fine before being transported to jail.


Monday, July 21, 2008

John McCain is paying for that sandwich with a check

John McCain wears sneakers with velcro

John McCain gets confused by his remote control

John McCain would remember where he put it if you would just shut up for a few minutes, Dolores

John McCain is winking at that blond mannequin in the store window

John McCain won't make phone calls during thunderstorms

See these and many more by clicking on over on the internet (you just learned how to get on it too, right?) to

Ambitious McCain Already Redrawing Middle East

Here's John McCain on Good Morning America, discussing the situation in Afghanistan and noting that it's going to be a "very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border." Unfortunately, as others were quick to point out, the border between Iraq and Pakistan is actually what the rest of us call Iran, which puts a good thousand or so miles between those two nations. Still, I'm not inclined to be too hard on the man; my grandpa could barely find Pakistan on a map, and McCain is almost as old as him.

NBC Sets Leno's Last Day On 'Tonight'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Conan O'Brien will take over the "Tonight" Show next June -- and what happens to deposed host Jay Leno after that is anybody's guess.

Leno's last show will be Friday, May 29, and O'Brien will start the following Monday, June 1, NBC executives told a Television Critics Association meeting Monday.

NBC is angling to keep Leno with the network but the late-night king has indicated he's ready to jump ship. Eager NBC competitors, including other networks and syndicators, are eager to help him make the leap.

Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff, NBC Entertainment co-chairmen, were asked about the specter of Leno being hired by ABC and overpowering O'Brien in the ratings.

"We really believe in the decisions we've made with our partners, including Jay" and are standing by them, Silverman replied.

Jimmy Fallon is poised to take over O'Brien's "Late Night" in March or April of 2009, after honing his approach in brief Internet shows, Silverman and Graboff said.

O'Brien will wrap his "Late Night" run sometime in the first quarter of the year, with exact dates to be determined, the executives said. O'Brien reruns will fill the gap until Fallon takes over.

11 Alive

Some disappointed after cops bust strip club that let you have sex with porn stars, cocaine, and had a free cold-cut buffet. "It was fucking awesome"

Stripper "Janiella," (above) in a photo on the Hot Lap Dance Club’s Web site, was one of 21 employees, including Falynn Rodriguez rounded up in a raid on the nightspot, where officials said patrons could score a lap dance, drugs or sex.

Sex with a porn star? $5,000.

Cocaine? Negotiable with the "house dealer."

Booze and Viagra? Bring your own.

The cold-cuts buffet? Gratis.

Lawyers and Wall Streeters could get pretty much anything they wanted at Big Daddy Lou's Hot Lap Dance Club on West 38th Street, officials said yesterday after a vice raid netted 21 of the swanky but illegal club's personnel.

Those hauled out in cuffs from the plush, red-velvet-upholstered alleged bordello include Andrew Rosa, a cop from the private police force of Sea Gate, Brooklyn, who was charged with a misdemeanor, promoting prostitution, for allegedly working there.

Then there's Louis Posner, 52, a Manhattan-based civil lawyer accused of owning the club, a 7,000-square-foot loft on the fifth floor of 344 W. 38th St. that featured live sex shows, big-screen porn movies and a suite of curtained "VIP" bedrooms.

"It was f- - -ing awesome!" one disappointed young customer told a reporter after showing up outside the padlocked club last night. "This was the greatest establishment."

Posner went by "Big Lou" among the customers and "Daddy" among the 40 to 50 women who worked there on any given night, according to law-enforcement sources and the criminal complaint charging him with money-laundering and promoting prostitution.

One dancer called him "sleazy, disgusting and very unloyal" boss who often cajoled the girls into giving him freebies.

His wife, Betty, 56, was charged with helping him launder the proceeds, which the sources said totaled more than $1 million a year.

Two other alleged managers were charged with felony promoting prostitution. Four women, including porn star Alexia Moore, were charged with prostitution after allegedly getting caught having sex with customers behind VIP-room curtains.

Another 13 employees were busted on misdemeanor promoting-prostitution charges, cops said.

Former customers, law-enforcement sources, court papers and the club's Web site paint a portrait of a swinging scene where customers could get anything from sandwiches to sex shows - some involving machines - to outright sex.

Moore, who's real name is Cassandra Malandri, and dancer Falynn Rodriguez, who prosecutors said offered an undercover cop a menage-a-trois sex romp for $5,000, were released last night after posting $1,500 bail.

NY Post

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Little Girl Expresses Entire Nation's Sentiments

Yeah, I know I already posted this a few days ago... But it was classic enough to warrant a re-posting under a new headline.

If you haven't yet seen this video of a little girl crying and running away from George W. Bush at the White House T-ball game, you're in for a treat. And if America's editorial cartoonists are as vapid and unimaginative as has been suggested, expect to see a raft of scribblings with a jug-eared president standing alone as Uncle Sam (helpfully labeled "America") flees his embrace. Hell, it's what I'd do if I could draw.

COMING SOON: Black Dynamite

When this cat's not busy stickin' it to The Man, he's all about tappin' top-shelf foxy ass. With Michael Jai White.

Visit the website for this upcoming film by clicking HERE.

It looks like a sweet fucking movie by the looks of the trailer

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New target in Colombia’s drug war: ecofriendly US users

Maybe upscale American cocaine users would quit if they knew what growing coca leaves does to the environment?? :)

Bogotá, Colombia

Millions of Americans use cocaine, but few of them consider the millions of acres of forest that have been cleared by coca growers in all corners of Colombia or the blue-billed curassow, a turkey-sized bird that is losing habitat to coca farming.

Ana Maria Caballero believes that many recreational cocaine users are well-educated professionals who also recycle, drive hybrid vehicles, and buy fair-trade products, but that they just don’t understand what cocaine is doing to Colombia’s environment.

Ms. Caballero works for Shared Responsibility, the Colombian government’s effort to raise consumer awareness of cocaine’s impact on one of the world’s most biodiverse nations. The project is led by Vice President Francisco Santos Calderón, who has more than a passing interest in narco-traficking – he was once kidnapped and held for months by Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel.

Colombia’s decades-old, drug-funded, armed conflict is complicated, says Caballero, but environmental devastation is apolitical. “When you talk about deforestation, when you talk about a specific species being threatened because coca is encroaching upon its sole habitat, there’s no political argument there,” she says. “It’s absolutely black and white. You are destroying natural treasures that belong to the world.”

According to Shared Responsibility, 43 square feet of forest are cleared to produce one gram of cocaine, and coca growers have cleared an area the size of New Jersey – nearly five million acres – within Colombia over the past 20 years.

Clandestine cocaine laboratories, which use an array of toxic chemicals, pollute once-pristine waters in remote areas. And slash-and-burn clearing for coca farms is one of the country’s largest sources of air pollution. The clearing also accelerates global climate change, which is shrinking Colombia’s mountaintop glaciers.

Now coca farmers are moving further south and west, into remote areas in the upper Amazon basin and along the border with Ecuador that are havens for many rare plants and animals.
Shared Responsibility and the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime have produced a series of maps labeled “Incidence of Illicit Crops in the Habitats of Endemic Species in Danger of Extinction” that illustrate the problem. Four critically endangered magnolia species, for example, are native only to southwestern Colombia, where coca growers are clearing thousands of acres of land.

Colombia has more bird species than any other country, 1,870 at last count. But rare endemic birds – such as the gorgeted puffleg, a hummingbird discovered just three years ago in southwest Colombia – are losing habitat within their limited ranges to coca cultivation.

Alonso Quevedo, president of the Colombian bird conservation group ProAves, says that in addition to deforestation, there are secondary effects. The coca farmers open previously wild, forested areas to settlement, and others follow to hunt and log.

Shared Responsibility took its photographic exhibit to London’s Trafalgar Square in May and Alex James, bassist for the British band Blur, is a high-profile spokesman in England. But it has not yet made a splash in the United States, which consumes the vast majority of Colombian cocaine.

According to a US Embassy official in Bogotá, the United States is the top cocaine consumer in the world, and Colombia produces 90 percent of that cocaine, likely 600 tons annually. Despite aggressive US-funded eradication efforts, coca fields remain abundant. A recent United Nations report estimated that 250,000 acres of Colombian coca fields were harvested in 2007; US estimates are considerably higher.

Will the Shared Responsibility message actually change the behavior of the estimated six million Americans who use cocaine?

“It’s probably not something that would influence me,” says one environmentally minded, occasional cocaine user who did not want her name used. She says she would rather see a more holistic approach to addressing drugs in society. And she says there are some times when she wants to turn her environmental filter off. “We all have our vices,” she says, “and you don’t want to think about this.”

But Caballero believes increased awareness can cut cocaine use, and she’d like to make connections with governments, universities, and environmental organizations in the United States and elsewhere. “It’s an international problem,” Caballero says. “People don’t understand where their drugs are coming from and that they are feeding this entire process that is not only socially destructive, but very environmentally destructive.”

We Support: Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Consciousness + Commitment = Change: How and why we are organizing...

CIW Worker The CIW is a community-based worker organization. Our members are largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.

We strive to build our strength as a community on a basis of reflection and analysis, constant attention to coalition building across ethnic divisions, and an ongoing investment in leadership development to help our members continually develop their skills in community education and organization.

From this basis we fight for, among other things: a fair wage for the work we do, more respect on the part of our bosses and the industries where we work, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws and stronger enforcement against those who would violate workers' rights, the right to organize on our jobs without fear of retaliation, and an end to indentured servitude in the fields.

From the people, for the people: Who we are...

Picking Melons Southwest Florida is the state's most important center for agricultural production, and Immokalee is the state's largest farmworker community. As such, the majority of our more than 2,500 members work for large agricultural corporations in the tomato and citrus harvests, traveling along the entire East Coast following the harvest in season. Many local residents, and thus many of our members, move out of agriculture and into other low wage industries that are important in our area, including the construction, nursery, and tourist industries. The community is split, roughly, along the following ethnic/national origin lines: Mexican 50%, Guatemalan 30%, Haitian 10% and other nationalities (mostly African-American) 10%.

We are all leaders: Our history...


We began organizing in 1993 as a small group of workers who met weekly in a room borrowed from a local church to discuss how to better our community and our lives. In a relatively short time we have managed to bring about significant, concrete change.

Combining community-wide work stoppages with intense public pressure -- including three general strikes, an unprecedented month-long hunger strike by six of our members in 1998, and an historic 230-mile march from Ft. Myers to Orlando in 2000 -- our early organizing ended over twenty years of declining wages in the tomato industry.

By 1998, we had won industry-wide raises of 13-25% (translating into several million dollars annually for the community in increased wages) and a new-found political and social respect from the outside world.

Those raises brought the tomato picking piece-rate back to pre-1980 levels (the piece-rate had fallen below those levels over the course of the intervening two decades), but wages remained below poverty level and continuing improvement was slow in coming. At the same time, the phenomenon of modern-day slavery was establishing a foothold in Florida's fields. While continuing to organize for fairer wages, we also turned our attention to attacking involuntary servitude in our state. From 1997-2001, we helped bring three modern-day slavery operations to justice, resulting in freedom for over 500 workers from debt bondage.

Since then, our Anti-Slavery Campaign has earned national and international recognition, based on its innovative program of worker-led investigation and human rights education, and a track record of real success. Our latest victory against indentured servitude came in January of 2007, when a crewleader by the name of Ron Evans was sentenced to 30 years in prison. You can read more about the Evans case and the CIW's work against the most extreme forms of farm labor exploitation by clicking on the following link: "Labor camps keep workers in servitude with crack cocaine," Naples Daily News 9/06. The Evans case was the sixth major servitude case in the past ten years in which the CIW has played a key role in the discovery, investigation, and prosecution of the operation, helping to liberate well over 1,000 workers.

The CIW is a co-founder of the national Freedom Network USA to Empower Enslaved and Trafficked Persons. We are also co-founders and Southeastern US Regional Coordinator for the Freedom Network Training Institute, conducting trainings for law enforcement and social service personnel in how to identify and assist slavery victims, as well as advocating for the full prosecution of all traffickers, including corporations and their sub-contractors. At the state level, we are members of the US Attorneys Anti-Trafficking Task Forces for Tampa and Miami, as well as Florida State University’s statewide Working Group against Human Trafficking through its Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.

In 2001, we turned a new page in our organizing, launching the first-ever farmworker boycott of a major fast-food company -- the national boycott of Taco Bell -- calling on the fast-food giant to take responsibility for human rights abuses in the fields where its produce is grown and picked. The fast-food industry as a whole -- including industry giants such as McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and Wendy's -- purchases a tremendous volume of fruits and vegetables, leveraging its buying power to demand the lowest possible prices from its suppliers. Through this unprecedented market power, the fast-food industry exerts a powerful downward pressure on wages and working conditions in its suppliers' operations.

The Taco Bell boycott gained broad student, religious, labor, and community support in the nearly four years since its inception, including the establishment of boycott committees in nearly all 50 states and a fast-growing movement to "Boot the Bell" from college and high school campuses across the country. Large scale national actions helped move the boycott forward. For example, in 2003 we organized a 10-day hunger strike outside of Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, CA -- one of the largest hunger strikes in US labor history, with over 75 farmworkers and students fasting during the 10-day period -- galvanizing the support of national religious, labor, and student organizations and thousands of individuals. During that strike we posed Taco Bell’s executives one question: “Can Taco Bell guarantee its customers that the tomatoes in its tacos were not picked by forced labor?” The company had no answer. In 2004 and 2005, we organized cross-country tours featuring marches and actions in Louisville, KY, and Irvine, CA, lifting the campaign to new heights.

In March 2005, amidst growing pressure from students, churches, and communities throughout the country, Taco Bell agreed to meet all of our demands to improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers in its supply chain. The boycott victory was celebrated by observers including former President Jimmy Carter, former guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello, and the 21 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Hispanic Caucus said of the accord, "This is a truly historic agreement, marking perhaps the single greatest advance for farm workers since the early struggles of the United Farm Workers. To the the workers and organizers of CIW, we express our deepest gratitude for their determined work for their own dignity and their historic contribution to advancing the cause of labor rights." Click here to read a detailed analysis of this historic agreement.

Following the successful conclusion of the Taco Bell boycott, the national network of allies that had helped carry that campaign to victory consolidated to form the Alliance for Fair Food, signalling the fast-food industry that the Campaign for Fair Food would not stop at Taco Bell. Since its birth in March of 2006, the AFF has become a powerful new voice for the respect of human rights in this country's food industry and for an end to the relentless exploitation of Florida's farmworkers.

And in April of 2007 -- following a two-year battle with the largest restaurant chain in the world, McDonald's -- the Campaign for Fair Food took an important new step forward. With an announcement at the Carter Center in Atlanta (President Jimmy Carter's center for conflict resolution), McDonald’s and the CIW reached a landmark accord that not only met the standards set in the Taco Bell agreement, but also committed the fast-food leader to collaborate with the CIW in developing an industry-wide third party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields and investigating abuses. You can read more about the details of the McDonald's agreement by clicking here.

Over the past several years, through the Campaign for Fair Food and our anti-slavery work, Immokalee has evolved from being one of the poorest, most politically powerless communities in the country to become today a new and important public presence with forceful, committed leadership directly from the base of our community -- young, immigrant workers forging a future of livable wages and modern labor relations in Florida's fields. In recognition of their work, three CIW members were recently presented the prestigious 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the first time the award has gone to a US-based organization in its 20 years of existence. In recent years, the CIW and the Campaign for Fair Food have been recognized by several other institutions, including the World Hunger Year's 2006 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award, the Freedom Network's 2006 Wellstone Award, and the 2005 Business Ethics Network's BENNY Award.

We Support: Freedom To Marry

Marriage is not a monolithic, unchanging institution, even though many people define it that way (or believe that God has defined it that way). Civil marriage and religious marriage are different institutions, but are often confused with each other because states allow the religious ceremony to double as the state ceremony.

There are different marriage laws in all the states and different definitions of marriage in every religious tradition. In addition to this diversity, civil marriage rights in the U.S. have been significantly broadened during the last fifty years.

Civil vs. Religious Marriage

Unlike some religious definitions, civil definitions of marriage do not usually mention childbearing, sexual relations, living arrangements, or religious beliefs or observance.

When clergy or congregations marry couples it is a religious rite, not a civil ceremony, although the government may recognize it. Clergy and congregations choose whom they marry. They aren't compelled to accept the state's marriage definition, and indeed, many religious institutions don't accept it. Many religious institutions are more restrictive than the state, rejecting interfaith marriages or remarriages after divorce. And some have a broader definition, blessing the unions of same-gender couples.

Religious Diversity

There are a variety of views of the purpose of marriage in the religious community; some think gender is irrelevant. Many religious organizations and people of faith have definitions that are probably different from yours.

Some faiths consider marriage an aid to religious instruction. Some call it an expression of committed love. Others say it is mainly for raising children. In some Christian faiths marriage is a sacrament, in others it is not. But whether one agrees with someone else's definition of marriage (or baptism, or sacrament, or communion) one must respect everyone's Constitutional rights of free speech and free exercise of religion.

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, Ecumenical Catholic Church, Church of God Anonymous, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist Judaism,
Reform Judaism, and Unitarian Universalist Association bless same-gender relationships as a matter of policy.

The United Church of Christ, and various Quaker groups leave the decision to clergy, congregations or local governing bodies.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) allows the blessings of same-gender unions with terminology restrictions.

Entanglement and Discrimination

The federal government and 49 state governments refuse (on what appear to be purely religious grounds) to grant the same legal recognition to same-gender couples that is available to mixed-gender couples who meet the same qualifications. State governments generally let religious ceremonies double as state ceremonies (in some states it is illegal to call a religious blessing a marriage without benefit of a marriage license from the state); the civil definition of marriage covers almost all religious definitions. (Some are more restrictive than the government.) Same-gender relationships are blessed in houses of worship by clergy and congregations from a wide range of religious traditions. The Constitution guarantees religious liberty. but same-gender marriages are still not recognized by almost all U.S. governments.

Civil marriage law has historically been used to legally encode segregation and majority privilege; it was forbidden to members of certain ethnic groups; and forbidden between people who were not members of the same ethnic group (blacks and whites still could not marry each other in some states until the Supreme Court overturned those laws in 1967). Denying legal marriage recognition on the basis of a single characteristic makes it easy to discriminate against everyone who shares that characteristic.

Without civil marriage, families are not legally recognized. In situations involving child custody, medical decisions, burial, and inheritance, preference is given to legally-recognized family members. There are thousands of local, state, and federal laws in which legal marital status determines government treatment of two consenting adults in a relationship. Without legal marriage recognition it is difficult or impossible to legally establish and maintain families(especially when facing opposition from relatives), contrary to the Constitutional right of free association.

Today, many see marriage as the last line of defense for encoding the supposed supremacy of heterosexuality. Only same-gender couples are legally discriminated against in civil marriage in the U.S. States have different requirements for marriage (such as residency and waiting periods, age of consent, kinship restrictions, and blood tests), and different procedures for obtaining a license, but all states and the federal government automatically recognize all marriages and divorces from all states, except those of same-gender couples. Within the last few years "Defense of Marriage" acts have been passed by Congress and more than half the state legislatures. But civil marriage isn't jeopardized by opening it up to more people. There aren't a limited number of licenses; people who support civil marriage for same-gender couples are not asking the state to stop recognizing mixed-gender marriages.

Religious Support for Equal Rights

Many religious organizations, including some that do not recognize religious same-gender marriage, either directly support civil marriage for same-gender couples, support equal rights for same-gender couples, or are opposed to the denial of equal rights for same-gender couples. These include ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, American Friends Service Committee, California Council of Churches, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Church of Religious Science, Ecumenical Catholic Church, Hawai'i Council of Churches, Interfaith Working Group, Pacific Congress of Quakers, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Unitarian Universalist Association, and Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.

The reasons religious organizations support equal rights for same-gender couples are varied. But it is fair to say that most see it as a matter of love, justice, basic fairness, and civil rights. Many agree that legal recognition of same-gender marriage would make very positive moral and social points--that we as a people value committed, caring relationships and do not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation or religion.

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement. Freedom to Marry brings the work of its partner organizations and their many approaches — litigation, legislation, direct action, and public education — into a larger whole, a shared civil rights campaign that fosters heightened outreach to non-gay allies.

Freedom to Marry encourages dialogue with Americans thinking through the need to end discrimination in marriage, provides support to targeted state and local efforts, and promotes fairness for all families, including same-sex couples and the children raised by gay parents. By working to secure equal access to marriage, we help reinforce our country's historic commitment to freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and equal justice for all.

As we advance toward full marriage equality, we promote gains along the way for all families, including same-sex couples and the children raised by gay parents. By working to end the exclusion of same-sex couples and their families from marriage, we help reinforce our country's historic commitment to freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. By ending sex discrimination in marriage, much as we ended race discrimination in marriage a generation ago, we are building a better America, protecting and supporting families, children, and the freedom of choice for all.

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