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Chuck Norris: ’1,000 Years of Darkness’ if Obama Re-Elected

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*By the looks of things, it appears the republicans are running scared … literally

First,  we witness Clint Eastwood, rambling piteously, while making a chair’s day at the RNC; then Texas Judge Tom Head threatens the return of a civil war; and now 68-year-old Texas Ranger Chuck Norris, along with his 40-year-old-wife, Gena O’Kelley, are tag-teaming on a public service announcement that “warns” voters about the eminent dangers that abound if Barack Obama gets re-elected.

Wow.

On Norris’s planet, four more years of the Obama administration will result in pure and utter chaos.

“Our great country and freedom are under attack,” Norris announced. “We’re at a tipping point, and quite possibly, our country as we know it may be lost forever, if we don’t change the course our country’s in.”

Then O’Kelley jumps in, showcasing that she and her better half came up with an answer to how they can help America. Calling on the 30 million Evangelical Christians who didn’t vote in the 2008 election, thus causing Obama to win, the couple desperately announced a call to action to stop the “socialism, or something much worse” that is sure to occur. Throwing in a couple of Ronald Regan quotes for good measure, Norris said, “Our great president, Ronald Regan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’”

With his silent but obvious approval, O’Kelley went on to state that if  America doesn’t rise up and vote Obama out of office, our children face “1,000 years of darkness.”

…and all of this with a straight face. See for yourself:

Chuck Norris: ’1,000 Years of Darkness’ if Obama Re-Elected

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Pediatricians offer new support for circumcision

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The American Academy of Pediatrics Monday morning jumped into the controversial topic of circumcision, issuing a highly anticipated new report that offers more support for the procedure without fully recommending it for all boys.

The pediatricians say new research has shown more definitively that circumcision can help prevent future STDs. But, whether or not an infant should undergo the procedure, they say, is best made by informed parents.

The new statement, published online Monday in Pediatrics, is sure to exacerbate tensions between two factions that have emerged since the AAP last issued a more neutral report on the procedure in 1999 (reaffirmed in 2005).

The statement authors seemed to be fully aware of the atmosphere, since their conclusions walk a line between outright endorsing the procedure and staying on the sidelines.

It cites (and includes in an accompanying review of) new evidence that demonstrates the health benefits of infant circumcision. Still, the statement does not go so far as to recommend it.

A review of recent studies “indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure. Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections,” the statement says.

It also calls for the procedure to be covered by insurance.

It goes on to add, however, that the medical benefits are not great enough to outweigh some other personal family beliefs.

Susan Blank, the pediatrician who chaired the task force that produced the statement said in an accompanying commentary that, “ultimately, this is a decision that parents will have to make.”

The new statement will likely bolster those who have or plan to circumcise their male children, including many who consider it a religious prerogative.

It may also hearten many in the medical community who view circumcision as an important protective procedure. Just last week, a report published by Johns Hopkins researchers in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine say a decline in rates of circumcision in the United States could cost billions in avoidable health-care costs.

But it is sure to anger the growing ranks of activists, many of whom call themselves “intactivists,” who have become vocal in condemning circumcision, calling it a form of genital mutilation. Last year, an attempt to ban parents from circumcising their children in San Francisco received enough support to get on the ballot, but was withdrawn before it went to voters.

The divisive issue does not fit into any predetermined political framework. It often pits parents who might otherwise be on the same ideological team against one another.

Depending on the perspective, some say the decision to allow parents the choice to circumcise is a matter of religious freedom, others say it is a human rights issue, while still others say it is a personal family matter.

The cultural debate over circumcision became even more visible in recent months after a German regional court’s decision against a Muslim couple that ostensibly made it a crime to circumcise a child.

In Europe, circumcising boys tends to be less accepted, only about 10 percent of boys there undergo the procedure. In the United States, currently a bit more than half of boys are circumcised.

That’s a big drop from about 80 percent 20 years ago.

Experts say the drop is connected to cultural and religious shifts but may be even more attributable to finances. One of the points the Johns Hopkins researchers made in their report last week is that while the rates have fallen, so too has the likelihood of insurance covering the procedure.

 

Related Content:

Circumcision, the cut that divides

To cut or not to cut? Readers have feelings about circumcision

Pediatricians offer new support for circumcision

Russian Punk Band Is Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Anti-Putin Stunt

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MOSCOW — A Moscow judge handed down stiff prison sentences of two years on Friday afternoon for three young women who staged a protest against Vladimir V. Putin in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior last February and whose jailing and trial on hooliganism charges have generated worldwide criticism of constraints on political speech in Russia.

Members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot sat in a Moscow court on Friday.

While a guilty verdict against the three women, members of a band called Pussy Riot, was widely expected, suspense had built over how severe a punishment they would receive. Prosecutors had demanded three-year prison terms, but President Vladimir V. Putin had weighed in on the side of leniency.

But the judge, Marina Syrova, showed little sympathy for the trio, and it was not immediately clear whether the sentences would prompt a reaction on Moscow’s streets.

As the judge read the lengthy verdict, hundreds of demonstrators had gathered outside the courthouse and shouted, “Free Pussy Riot!”

Riot police officers arrested dozens of them, including the former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is active in the Russian political opposition. Mr. Kasparov fought with the police and appeared to be beaten as he was bundled into a police vehicle.

Near the start of the highly anticipated proceedings, the judge said that Pussy Riot’s so-called punk prayer in Moscow’s main cathedral had amounted to the crime of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. She repeated that charge today in her verdict. Because the women acted as a group, the maximum sentence under the law is seven years in prison.

  

Amnesty International condemned the sentences, which a spokeswoman said show “that the Russian authorities will stop at no end to suppress dissent and stifle civil society.”

The women have been in jail since March and a chorus of supporters, including some of the music world’s biggest stars, has demanded their immediate release. Rallies in support of the women were held in dozens of cities around the world on Friday.

The case has become a touchstone in the unfolding political drama that began in Russia after disputed parliamentary elections last December. That is partly because of the sympathetic appearance of the defendants — two are mothers of young children — partly because their group uses music to carry its message, and because it has pitted them against a united power-structure: the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church.

While the case has allowed opponents of Mr. Putin, the president, to portray his government as squelching free speech and presiding over a rigged judicial system, it has also handed the government an opportunity to portray its political opponents as obscene, disrespectful rabble-rousers, liberal urbanites backed by the West in a conspiracy against the Russian state and the Russian church.

The saga began in February when the women infiltrated Moscow’s main cathedral wearing colorful balaclavas, and pranced around in front of the golden Holy Doors leading into the altar, dancing, chanting and lip-syncing for what would later become a music video of a profane song in which they beseeched the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Mr. Putin.

Security guards quickly stripped them of their guitars, but the video was completed with splices of footage from another church.

Because of the support they have received from stars like Sting and Madonna, the women of Pussy Riot have become more famous, at least outside Russia, than the opposition figures who led large antigovernment street protests in Moscow throughout the winter and spring.

But while they have become minor heroes in the entertainment world, Pussy Riot is far more political than musical: Its members have never released a song or an album, and they do not seem to have any serious aspirations to do so.

On Thursday, with tensions rising in anticipation of the verdict and sentencing, the authorities said that threats had been made against Judge Syrova and that bodyguards had been assigned to her.

Mr. Putin, commenting on the case briefly while in London for the Olympics earlier this month, said he hoped that the women were not judged “too severely,” but that there was nothing good about what they had done and that the decision was the court’s to make.

As the trial opened, the women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, and Maria Alyokhina, 24 — apologized, saying they had never intended to offend the Orthodox Church but rather sought to make a political statement against Mr. Putin and against the church patriarch, Kirill I, for supporting Mr. Putin in his campaign for a third term as president.

But prosecutors and lawyers for religious people who where described as victims of the stunt said the women were motivated by religious hatred. The defendants were accused of committing “moral harm” and even of practicing Satanism.

Like defendants in almost all Russian criminal trials, the women were held in the courtroom in a glass enclosure.

As the trial continued, the women seemed emboldened by their mounting international support, including from Madonna, who paused a concert in Moscow to give a speech urging their release and later performed wearing a black bra with “Pussy Riot” stenciled in bold letters on her back.

In a closing statement, Ms. Tolokonnikova, the most outspoken of the defendants, railed against repression in Russia.

“To my deepest regret, this mock trial is close to the standards of the Stalinist troikas,” she said.

“Who is to blame for the performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and for our being put on trial after the concert? The authoritarian political system is to blame. What Pussy Riot does is oppositional art or politics.”

She added, “In any event, it is a form of civil action in circumstances where basic human rights, civil and political freedoms are suppressed.”

Russian Punk Band Is Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Anti-Putin Stunt

 

D. L. Hughley Says President Obama Needs to Grow Some You Know What

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d l hughley book cover

*D.L. Hughley got really real on President Obama recently when he addressed the leader’s top bullies.

The talk show host explains in his new book, “I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America,” how the president has really impacted the country as the first African American president.

“I think he was surprised that the right wing would actually let this country fall apart just to get the black guy out of office,” he said during an interview with the Daily Beast. “I don’t think he realized how we as a country have not gotten that far race-wise. White people are cool with black people at work, living in the neighborhood and having a few as friends. But let someone black marry their daughter or let a black man run the free world and you see the real feelings. I think Obama thought everyone would come together for the good of the country. He believed that people are basically patriotic. They are until there’s a black head of state.”

The comedian explained that Obama hasn’t done his due diligence with handling right winged critics and politicians.

“The day Rep. Joe Wilson yelled out ‘you lie’ while President Obama was speaking to congress defined his presidency as far as I’m concerned,” Hughley said. “Obama not addressing that situation gave a pass to people to keep disrespecting him. Had he just said, “You don’t have to respect me but you will respect this office,” and then said, “Guards, remove him,” a lot of things would be different now. Incidents like that show you he wasn’t raised by a black father because a black father would have taught him that you can’t let someone disrespect you but one time. You let someone take your lunch from you that one time without doing anything and they’ll be eating your lunch the rest of your life. That incident made it clear to me that he was raised by his grandparents from Kansas.”

D. L. Hughley Says President Obama Needs to Grow Some You Know What

Google sees ‘alarming’ level of government censorship

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Web giant says that in the past six months it received more than 1,000 requests from government officials for the removal of content. It complied with more than half of them.

Google reports it has seen an “alarming” incidence in government requests to censor Internet content in the past six months.

The Web giant said it received more than 1,000 requests from governments around the world to remove items such as YouTube videos and search listings. The company, which said it complied with more than half the requests, released a catalog of those requests as part of its biannual Global Transparency Report.

“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different,” Dorothy Chou, Google’s senior policy analyst, said in a blog post. “When we started releasing this data, in 2010, we noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not.”

Google said it had received 461 court orders for the removal of 6,989 items, consenting to 68 percent of those orders. It also received 546 informal requests, complying with 46 percent of those requests. The study doesn’t reflect censorship activity from countries such as China and Iran, which block content without notifying Google.

“Just like every other time, we’ve been asked to take down political speech,” Chou wrote. “It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — western democracies not typically associated with censorship.”

Among the take-down requests was a Polish demand for removal of an article critical of a development agency, a Spanish request for removal of 270 blogs and links to articles critical of the public figures, and a Canadian official’s request for removal of a YouTube video of a man urinating on his passport and flushing it down a toilet. All were denied.

However, the company said it complied with the majority of requests from Thai authorities for the removal of 149 YouTube videos that allegedly insulted the monarchy, a violation of Thailand law. The Web giant said it also granted U.K. police requests for removal of five YouTube accounts that allegedly promoted terrorism. Google also said it complied with 42 percent of U.S. requests for the removal of 187 pieces of content, most of which were related to harassment.

Google sees ‘alarming’ level of government censorship

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