Sunday, August 29, 2010

Google Releases New PC to Phone VOIP Calling Feature for Gmail Account Users in the U.S.

By Jessica Dolcourt

With Google's rollout Wednesday to Gmail, the built-in Google Talk chat app is finally getting its own voice. Specifically, a plugin that lets you surface a dial pad so you can launch VoIP calls from the in-box, or from within iGoogle. The big caveat is that the service is currently being rolled out only to U.S. Gmail users.

We've been expecting something like this to happen since Google snapped up VoIP company Gizmo 5 last November, and there's even been speculation that this could have been a desktop app. But no, on Tuesday we discovered the online feature in-house and on Wednesday, Google made the VoIP news official. We buckled down to review the new service as soon as we got our online update.

Calling from Gmail

We tested the Google Talk VoIP capabilities on a Windows desktop, a Windows laptop, and a Mac laptop. You'll see the "Call phone" button in the Google Talk sidebar just under your name and status bar. In some cases, clicking to activate Google Talk's VoIP service will prompt you to install the Google Talk voice and video plugin before you can begin dialing. The plugin is requisite, but you may have already done so to try out video calls, an existing feature.

It may go without saying, but we'll say it anyway--you will need to have a microphone handy, either in the computer itself, or in a headset, in order to hear your caller from your computer.

The VoIP interface itself is plain, in typical Google fashion, with just a dial pad on the bottom right of the screen. One extra tab shows your call history. Making outbound calls is straightforward--just type the digits. Since the new VoIP chat feature is integrated with your Google address book, you can also type a contact's name to get their number to appear; then call, call away.

Jessica's review continues here.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Spirit of Israel Lives On

Palestine Post Announces Israel's Birth on May 14, 1948
By Amil Imani

Sixty-two years ago, May 14, 1948, was the rebirth of one of the oldest nations in history, Israel. She is a unique and diverse Jewish state with a young viable democracy, in an unstable region. The circumstances surrounding Israel's re-birth was anything but simple. Regrettably, Israel’s journey from her early beginning to the present has been fraught with great suffering. It is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Jewish people that they persisted in their valiant struggle to re-gather again in the land of their birth. Some even go as far as saying that Israel's renaissance -- after 2,000 years or so-- was nothing short of miraculous.
The rebirth of Israel, in reality, is a culmination of thousands of years of gestation during which the Jewish people, dispersed throughout much of the world, endured immense degrees and varieties of suffering. The Nazi murderers and their collaborators capped the crimes committed against the Jewish people by brutally slaughtering six million innocent men, women and children.

When we delve into history books, we can hardly find people or countries that have gone out of existence for as long as 2,000 years and then reappeared and been reborn. Thus, it is indeed accurate to say that the rebirth of this beautiful culture, people and the land was truly a miracle.

In the ancient days, a noble and just Persian king, Cyrus the Great, rescued tens of thousands of Jewish people from captivity in a foreign land and empowered them to return home and build their sacred temple. By his action of freeing an entire people from captivity and restoring their rightful dignity, Cyrus the Great, the author of the first code of Human Rights, cemented a bond of friendship between the Jews and the Persians. It was the Just King’s way of setting the world on a course of freedom, equality, and justice for all people, irrespective of any and all considerations.

Israel has welcomed many Jews across the world, including the Iranian Jews who could no longer tolerate the rule of the oppressive venomous mullahs. These mullahs are indeed traitors to the lofty long-standing tradition and values championed by Cyrus the Great and revered by Persians throughout the ages. Israel also must be commended for affording millions of Israeli Arabs opportunities denied to them in many other lands.

The world has come to understand that the Islamic Republic is not Iran and Iranians are peace-loving, freedom seeking and a highly sophisticated people. Under the yolk of Islamism, the clerical regime in Iran has become the world's most notorious state sponsor of terrorism. Sadly, a very small number of Iranians are hoodwinked into supporting these leeches and believing in their pie-in-the-sky promises. For more than three decades, this illegitimate fantasy government of the Islamic Republic has been waging a brutal war against the entire population of Iran who has been fighting for individual and religious freedom for many years. We must always make a distinction between the people of Iran who want freedom and those who have made life intolerable and miserable for the entire population.

Regrettably, the sworn enemy of the Iranian people and the Persian heritage also supports terrorism abroad. The Islamic regime increased its support for groups that seek the destruction of Israel. These include the Lebanese Hezbollah and such Palestinian groups as Hamas, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Israel has the right to defend herself from these brewing factions who want nothing short of obliteration of the Jewish state.

“We should consider the rebirth of the Jewish State to be a  blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided the opportunity to show the world the results of the Jewish state of mind in action...a mind that yearns to be free, and a mind that longs to see that all humanity enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Iranian people are immensely grateful for Israel’s fair treatment of the Iranian Baha’is in Israel. This is a further testimony to their ability and willingness to live in harmony with any and all people. In Iran, the birthplace of the Baha’i faith, Baha’is are ruthlessly subjected to a form of gradual genocide by the cruel mullahs. Some Baha’is are executed for their faith, Baha’i children are denied university studies, Baha’i holy places destroyed and even their cemeteries are bulldozed, just to cite a few examples. By contrast, Israel has provided the Baha’is freedom to care for their holy places which were established in the Holy Land during the 19th century, long before Israel’s rebirth.

“The Jewish community of Iran is one of the oldest in the Diaspora, and its historical roots reach back to the 6th century B.C.E., the time of the First Temple. Their history in the pre-Islamic period is intertwined with that of the Jews of neighboring Babylon. The Jewish colonies were scattered from centers in Babylon to Persian provinces and cities such as Hamadan and Susa. The books of Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel give a favorable description of the relationship of the Jews to the court of the Achaemids at Susa.”

To this day, traditional Jews pray three times a day for the Temple's restoration. During the centuries the Muslims controlled Palestine and two mosques were built on the site of the Jewish Temple. (This was no coincidence; it is a common Islamic custom to build mosques on the sites of other people's holy places.) Since any attempt to level these mosques would lead to an international Muslim holy war (jihad) against Israel, the Temple cannot be rebuilt in the foreseeable future.

“Next year in Jerusalem being the wish of Diaspora Jews, dispersed from their homeland yet acknowledging their spiritual and historical home is Israel, specifically, Jerusalem. Psalm 137 referred to as the well-known lament of the Babylonian Jews who wept 'by the rivers of Babylon' and declared, 'If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.”

The perennial prayer, “Next Year in Jerusalem” has finally been answered. We, the spiritual children of Cyrus the Great pray that Israel succeeds in taking the steps necessary for making the New Jerusalem a place of hope and lasting safety for the Jewish people as well as people of all religions and those with no religion at all.

Although Israel was reborn in 1948, the Israelis were unable to settle down for long in their own homeland, to worship their God as they wished, and to live in peace. They were assaulted once again by the forces of destruction that sent them scurrying for the relative safety of other lands. These challenges continue to this day.

Now, Israel is a sovereign state but hardly safe. She is surrounded by nations and peoples who are bent on her destruction. It is tragic that her neighbors and she have not been able to find an equitable way of living side-by-side with mutual respect and in peace. I earnestly hope that ways can be found for a peaceful resolution to this destructive impasse.

A thorny issue of great concern to Israel is the Mullahs’ gallop to join the nuclear club and use the bomb as a club over the head of any nation, near or far, that stands in their way or does not accede to their demands. And it is here that some advocated a pre-emptive action by Israel, the U.S., or both to postpone, if not prevent the Mullahs from achieving their objective.

For example, attacking the soon to be online Bushehr nuclear facility alone would be a nightmare, releasing radiation into the atmosphere. "To attack Iran's nuclear facilities will not only provoke war, but it could also unleash clouds of radiation far beyond the targets and the borders of Iran," Elias Tuma, of the Arab Internet Network, told the Federal News Service last March. In addition, it is almost a certainty that the Islamic Republic would retaliate by hitting Israel's Dimona nuclear complex. No one wins.

The best strategy that stands the greatest chance of success and entails the least risk of starting a cataclysmic chain reaction is for a “coalition of the willing,” to borrow a phrase, to rally behind the Iranian opposition. It is the democracy-seeking secular Iranians who are thoroughly capable of dislodging the tyrannical Mullahs.

We should also keep in mind that Iran sits on many large and active fault lines. Of the major earthquakes that do occur in Iran, a good many are stronger than magnitude 6 on the Richter scale. Should, say, the Bushehr plant be hit by an earthquake, it will be catastrophic , not only to the entire region, but beyond.

Today, Israel has reunited Jerusalem and provided unrestricted freedom of religion. Access of all faiths to the Holy Places in the unified City of Peace is assured. The story of the rebirth of Israel is truly a miracle, yet challenges have remained, challenges that threaten the existence of this tiny ancient country filled with rich a culture. As we watch, we pray for Israel and the Jewish people, for an everlasting peace and prosperity.  Let’s face it, if Israel goes down, we all go down.

Source Amil Imani's Blog 

See Video:  Israel, Denying All Odds (


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange accused of rape and molestation

By David Batty

Swedish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on suspicion of molestation and rape.

The warrant was issued late yesterday, said a spokeswoman at Sweden's prosecutors' office in Stockholm.

She said Assange should contact the Swedish police for questioning about the accusations of molestation and rape in two separate cases "so that he can be confronted with the suspicions".

Assange has denied the charges, which were first reported by the Swedish tabloid Expressen, on Wikileaks' Twitter account.

He implied that they were linked to the release by the whistleblowers' website of a huge cache of US military records on the Afghan war, which were published in collaboration with the Guardian and two other newspapers.

Assange wrote: "The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing."

Earlier postings on the Twitter account implied the accusations were part of a dirty tricks campaign against the Wikileaks founder, who has been strongly criticised by the Pentagon.

"Expressen is a tabloid; No one here has been contacted by Swedish police. Needless to say, this will prove hugely distracting.

"We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks'. Now we have the first one."

Last month Wikileaks released around 77,000 secret US military documents on the war in Afghanistan.

US authorities criticised the leak, saying it could put the lives of Nato troops and Afghan informants at risk.

Assange has said that Wikileaks intends to release a further 15,000 documents in the coming weeks - a pledge condemned by the Pentagon, which has demanded the deletion of the files from the website.

Story continues here


Friday, August 20, 2010

Baha'u'llah's Words on Billboards in Isfahan

Baha'u'llah was a mid-19th Century Iranian Prophet who said that announced that He was the reappearance of the Sun of Truth, the return of Christ and Imam Husayn, and the Promised One whose advent had been foretold in the scriptures of various religions. His ministry began with his announcement on April 22, 1863, from the city of Baghdad (Now Iraq). Despite this mild religion's Iranian origin, Baha'is have been persecuted in Iran from the faith's beginning.  ~Madison Reed

April 3rd, 2009

In Isfahan, a couple of billboards now display the words of Baha’u’llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, from the “Hidden Words”. On one it says, “In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love” and the other says, “Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee”. The billboards are placed on the main city circle  by Sazman Farhang Tahrifi Shahrdari Isfahan (Isfahan’s municipality’s Organization for spread of culture)  Source: Iran Press Watch


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

'Mosque-Issippi Burning': The Ground Zero Mosque and a 9/11 Muslim-American Hero

9/11 American Hero, Salman Hamdani's Funeral Procession
By Amy Goodman

Salman Hamdani died on Sept. 11, 2001. The 23-year-old research assistant at Rockefeller University had a degree in biochemistry. He was also a trained emergency medical technician and a cadet with the New York Police Department. But he never made it to work that day. Hamdani, a Muslim-American, was among that day's first responders. He raced to Ground Zero to save others. His selfless act cost him his life.

Hamdani was later praised by President George W. Bush as a hero and mentioned by name in the USA Patriot Act. But that was not how he was portrayed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. In October, his parents went to Mecca to pray for their son. While they were away, the New York Post and other media outlets portrayed Hamdani as a possible terrorist on the run. "MISSING-OR HIDING? MYSTERY OF THE NYPD CADET FROM PAKISTAN" screamed the Post headline. The sensational article noted that someone fitting Hamdani's description had been seen near the Midtown Tunnel a full month after 9/11. His family was interrogated. Hamdani's Internet use and politics were investigated.

His parents, Talat and Saleem Hamdani, had been frantically searching the hospitals, the lists of the dead and the injured. "There were patients who had lost their memory," his mother, Talat, said. "We hoped he would be one of them, we would be able to identify him."

The ominous reports on Hamdani were typical of the increasing, overt bigotry against Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans and people of South Asian heritage. Talat, who worked as a teacher, told me how children in her extended family had to Anglicize their names to avoid discrimination:

"They were in second grade ... Armeen became Amy, and one became Mickey and the other one became Mikey and the fourth one became Adam. And we asked them, ‘Why did you change your names?' And they said ‘because we don't want to be called terrorists in the school.' "

Salman Hamdani
On March 20, 2002, the Hamdanis received word that Salman's DNA had been found at Ground Zero, and thus he was officially a victim of the attacks. At his funeral, held at the Islamic Community Center at East 96th St. in Manhattan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Rep. Gary Ackerman all spoke.

Which brings us to the controversy around the proposed Islamic community center, slated to be built at 51 Park Place in lower Manhattan. The facility is not, for the record, a mosque. And it is not at Ground Zero (it's two blocks away). The Cordoba Initiative, the nonprofit group spearheading the project, describes it as a "community center, much like the YMCA or the Jewish Community Center ... where people from any faith are allowed to use the facilities. Beyond having a gym, the Cordoba House will house a pool, restaurant, 500-person auditorium, 9/11 memorial, multifaith chapel, office and conference space, and prayer space."

Opposition to the center started among fringe, right-wing blogs, and has since been swept into the mainstream. While the hole at Ground Zero has yet to be filled, as billionaire developers bicker over the plans, the news hole that August brings has been readily filled with the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy.

There is another hole that needs to be filled, namely, the absence of people in the U.S. in leadership positions in every walk of life, of every political stripe, speaking out for freedom of religion and against racism. As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."  Amy Goodman's article continues here

Related articles:
Clearing Salman's Name  (


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mountain Kingdom of Nepal Unites Gay British Indian Muslim and Indian Hindu in Marriage

Sunil Babu Pant, Founder of BDS, with Winston Wilde (2009)

They met in Mumbai, fell in love and sought to marry. However, there were several obstacles in the way. The 42-year-old, a social worker of Indian origin from the UK, and his 30-year-old love, a sales executive from Ahmedabad, belong to different religions. One is a Hindu and the other a Muslim. Also, both are men.

Fearing an outcry in conservative Gujarat, they packed their bags and drove from Surat to Kathmandu last week. On Tuesday, the couple will wed in a Hindu temple in Kathmandu under the aegis of Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s first gay rights organisation that campaigned successfully for same-sex marriages and has now won fame for the former Himalayan kingdom as a haven for same-sex lovers.

“We read on the Internet that Nepal’s Supreme Court has approved of same-sex marriages,” said the 30-year-old, identified only as S Khan. “Since they are still not legal in India, we decided to come to Nepal to get married.”

Khan said he and his partner came to know about BDS last year when Indian papers carried the news about BDS founder and Nepal’s first openly gay MP Sunil Babu Pant opening a travel agency, Pink Mountain, to help gays and lesbians travel to Nepal to get married or honeymoon. After an exchange of vows, rings and garlands Tuesday evening, the pair will be issued a certificate by BDS declaring them man and wife.

“Though Nepal’s apex court has approved same sex marriages and instructed the government to enact laws in accordance, the actual laws are yet to be formulated,” Pant told TNN. “We were hoping the new constitution would be promulgated in May and legally validate same-sex marriages. (Since the constitution was not ready by May) we hope the marriage laws will now be ready when the constitution comes into effect in May 2011.”

As Khan is planning to join his partner in the UK, Pant advised them to consult the British Embassy in Kathmandu. The embassy, though sympathetic, however pointed out that they could have helped had Khan been a Nepali instead of Indian. Accordingly, they asked the pair to get a certificate from BDS and seek the help of the British Embassy in New Delhi.

Pant, who has begun a weekly television show, is upbeat. “We have two more weddings scheduled in 2011, celebrated as tourism year in Nepal,” he says. “An American lesbian couple and a Filipino-Arab couple have already confirmed.” From the $200 charged by BDS to issue the wedding certificates, Pant hopes to generate funds for training sexual minorities in Nepal. BDS, in collaboration with several western donors, provides beauticians’ and tailoring training to gays. Pant and BDS have also offered to host a spectacular wedding in Nepal for Manvendra Singh Gohil, the only openly gay scion of an erstwhile royal family in Rajpipla in Gujarat.


'Ground Zero Mosque' Imam Helped FBI With Counterterrorism Efforts

By Sam Stein

In March 2003, federal officials were being criticized for disrespecting the rights of Arab-Americans in their efforts to crack down on domestic security threats in the post-9/11 environment. Hoping to calm the growing tempers, FBI officials in New York hosted a forum on ways to deal with Muslim and Arab-Americans without exacerbating social tensions. The bureau wanted to provide agents with "a clear picture," said Kevin Donovan, director of the FBI's New York office.

Brought in to speak that morning -- at the office building located just blocks from Ground Zero -- was one of the city's most respected Muslim voices: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The imam offered what was for him a familiar sermon to those in attendance. "Islamic extremism for the majority of Muslims is an oxymoron," he said. "It is a fundamental contradiction in terms."  Sam's story continues here


The Tyranny of the Majority

By Philip Bump

In the two most frequently and passionately debated political issues of the past few weeks -- the rejection of California's Proposition 8 and the planned mosque and cultural center in lower Manhattan -- there is a common thread: claims by those in disagreement that those decisions are counter to the will of the people.

Such claims are understandable. Proposition 8, after all, was passed by a majority of those Californians who voted, and polling consistently demonstrates that, outside of Manhattan, the Cordoba House project is highly unpopular.

But what is without merit is the assumption that such popular support is the same as being right.

It should be taken as a point of fact that a majority opinion is not always correct. There have often been moments in our history in which the will of a majority was necessarily set aside for the long-term benefit of the nation and its inhabitants.

The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation was one such moment. Brown v. Board of Education was another. In each case, the civil rights of a minority were upheld in the face of a tyrannical majority.

And contrary to claims that such actions undermined our system of governance, each is a reflection of how the American government is intended to run. Indeed, the system of checks and balances the country's founders enshrined in the Constitution were established specifically to protect against the tyranny of the majority.

It wasn't the people's legislative branch that enacted the Emancipation Proclamation -- it was signed unilaterally by Abraham Lincoln. (The legislature tried majority decision-making on the issue of slavery, and scores were killed in the violent events known as Bleeding Kansas.) Likewise, Brown v. Board of Education was an act of the Supreme Court, abolishing segregated education. (If Sarah Palin were alive at the time, one wonders if she would have said it was "frustrating" to see "that third branch of government undoing the will of the people," as she did following the Prop 8 repeal.)

The Congress may directly represent the people, but proper government of the country necessarily extends beyond those 535 individuals and the majority of their constituents.  Americans have always tried to undermine the opposition by claiming popular support. In the struggle for racial equality, it was common to declare the precedence of states' rights over federal action -- a strategy intended to constrict the applicable majority for decision-making. In the late 1960s, President Richard Nixon introduced a difficult to identify Silent Majority, who provided the president with political cover in the years preceding his 1972 re-election.

Story continues here


Russian Orthodox Christian Fanatic Tycoon Ordering People to Get Right With God or Be Fired

By Lauren Frayer

A Russian tycoon has told 6,000 workers at his private dairy company that they'll be fired if they've ever had an abortion, or if those who are "living in sin" don't get married within two months.

Vasily Boiko, who officially changed his name to Boiko-Veliky, which means "Boiko the Great," has set a deadline of October 14 -- a Russian Orthodox Church holiday -- for any of his unmarried employees who live with a partner to get married, or get fired.

"We have about 6,000 employees, most of whom are Orthodox, and I expect them to be faithful and to repent," Boiko told Reuters last week. His order came in an internal memo to workers at Russkoye Moloko, which means "Russian milk" and whose products are sold in many Russian supermarkets.

Boiko told Ekho Moskvy radio that a woman who's had an abortion "can no longer be an employee of our company ... We don't want to work with killers," according to Reuters.

The ultimatum also comes amid Russia's worst drought and wildfires on record, in which suffocating heat and smog have doubled the normal summertime death rate in Moscow. More than 2,000 homes have been destroyed by fires, and a third of Russia's wheat crop has succumbed to the drought. The government has banned grain exports for the rest of the year, and promised subsidies to farmers and agriculture businesses like Boiko's.

The tycoon blames Russia's extreme weather this summer on what he called a lack of ample religious faith. "Such an extreme situation is punishment for the Russian people's sins," he told daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, according to The Daily Telegraph. "I need to take extreme measures including looking at the way my employees treat God."   Story continues here


Millions of Dying Marine Mollusks Washing Up Daily on Pakistani Beach

I just found this video report from a local resident of Karachi, Pakistan, describing the millions of marine mollusks and other creatures that are appearing in daily waves on Clifton Beach.  Not known, is how widespread this could be, or what is causing it.  The videographer notes that not a single private TV channel has covered this alarming manifestation of Nature.  Last year, in March 2009 he said that Dolphins beached themselves on Pakistani beaches.


Friday, August 13, 2010

President Obama Forcefully Backs the Right of Gays to Marry

If only this were today's news headlines, a gigantic wave of change would already be propagating itself throughout the world, giving new hope to hundreds of millions of the world's gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people.  But it isn't the news.  Like the President's stand for religious freedom in America today, in his defense of Muslims ' right to build an Islamic center in New York City near Ground Zero, the LGBT community of the United States hopes that his next courageous stand will be to demand our full equality.   ~Madison Reed

By Erica Werner

President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed allowing a mosque near ground zero, saying the country's founding principles demanded no less.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and the nation.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

Obama made the comments at an annual dinner in the White House State Dining Room celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The White House had not previously taken a stand on the mosque, which would be part of a $100 million Islamic center two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people perished when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Press secretary Robert Gibbs had insisted it was a local matter.

It was already much more than that, sparking debate around the country as top Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich announced their opposition. So did the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group.

Obama elevated it to a presidential issue Friday without equivocation.

While insisting that the place where the twin towers once stood was indeed "hallowed ground," Obama said that the proper way to honor it was to apply American values.

"Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us — and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today," he said.

Story continues here

Related news:
'Ground Zero Mosque' Imam Helped FBI With Counter-terrorism Effort (
Dear President Obama, Happiness is a Powerful Force  (
Obama Keeps Faith: President Stands By Downtown Mosque


Infamous Defense of Marriage Act-Section 3 Permanently Repealed in Massachusetts

By Ari Ezra Waldman

As some of you might remember, as as reported here, a federal district judge in Massachusetts ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment, which protects the prerogatives of the States, and the 5th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.  Judge Joseph Tauro's opinions are available here and here.

No, I'm not bothering you with old (but still good) news.  Lost in a frenetic day dominated by the Left Coast was that "back east", Judge Tauro entered final judgment in both cases, captions Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services.  Final judgment is a little archane:  It is the written determination of a lawsuit by the judge who presided at trial, which makes rulings on all issues and completes the case.  It's like hitting the "Send" button on your email.  The moment you send it, the email is out there and you can bet someone is going to read it.  But, only after those few seconds when you can still hit "Unsend" or "Recall" is the email officially (and in some cases, unfortunately) out there.  Though it is a little more complicated than that, you get the idea.

This case was not appealed to the First Circuit, the appellate court sitting in New England.  This means that, as to Massachusetts, certain parts of DOMA, and its enshrined discrimination against same-sex couples, are officially unconstitutional.  No delays, no stays, no injunctions.  Just equality.

Thanks to loyal reader, Jason C., for making sure I'm on the ball.  And, to any Eli's out there, excuse the Cambridge-centered post.

Ezra Waldman's article is from

GLAD's Mary Bonuato Explain More about the Gill, et al vs. Office of Personnel Management Lawsuit  (


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CONFIRMED: Russian Chernobyl Contaminated Radioactive Areas Are Burning!

The Russian state forest protection service Roslesozashchita has confirmed reports that forests that were radioactively polluted by the Chernobyl disaster have been affected by forest fires this summer.

"As of August 6, twenty-eight fires on an area of 269 hectares had been registered in the Bryansk region alone, including 12 fires on an area of nine hectares in the southwestern part of the region," a Roslesozashchita spokesman told Interfax on Wednesday.

"There are pollution maps and fire maps. Anyone can compare them. How can such information be denied?" he said.

Story continues here


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

American Bar Association Backs Gay Marriage

The American Bar Association, the nation’s leading legal organization, today passed the following resolution:

“RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial, and tribal governments to eliminate all of their legal barriers to civil marriage between two persons of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry.”

“With this action, the American Bar Association has affirmed the principles upon which this nation was founded—that every American is vested with certain inalienable rights and that all Americans are created equal,” said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “The ABA’s action is significant in that it represents a broad consensus among scholars and practitioners of the law. The ABA is the nation’s leading legal organization and is the one charged with recommending judges and setting national standards for attorneys. This case is not about ideology or politics, and the ABA’s resolution underscores that. Rather, Perry v. Schwarzenegger is a case grounded in fundamental constitutional law and precedent, including equal protection under the law and due process.”  Story continues here


Gay Bar Serving Muslim Homosexuals to be Opened Next to Ground-Zero Mosque

By John Bershad

No, this is not a joke. In fact, it is instead one of the most brilliant pieces of provocations in recent years. Greg Gutfeld from Fox News’ Red Eye announced today via his blog that he is actively speaking to investors and plans on opening a gay bar next to the controversial mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York. To make matters worse (better?) the bar will be specifically designed to cater to homosexuals of the Islamic faith. God, this is going to be an exciting block.

Here’s Gutfeld’s entire post which he will expand upon during tonight’s Red Eye:
“So, the Muslim investors championing the construction of the new mosque near Ground Zero claim it’s all about strengthening the relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.
As an American, I believe they have every right to build the mosque – after all, if they buy the land and they follow the law – who can stop them?
Which is, why, in the spirit of outreach, I’ve decided to do the same thing.
I’m announcing tonight, that I am planning to build and open the first gay bar that caters not only to the west, but also Islamic gay men. To best express my sincere desire for dialogue, the bar will be situated next to the mosque Park51, in an available commercial space.
This is not a joke. I’ve already spoken to a number of investors, who have pledged their support in this bipartisan bid for understanding and tolerance.
As you know, the Muslim faith doesn’t look kindly upon homosexuality, which is why I’m building this bar. It is an effort to break down barriers and reduce deadly homophobia in the Islamic world.
The goal, however, is not simply to open a typical gay bar, but one friendly to men of Islamic faith. An entire floor, for example, will feature non-alcoholic drinks, since booze is forbidden by the faith. The bar will be open all day and night, to accommodate men who would rather keep their sexuality under wraps – but still want to dance.
Bottom line: I hope that the mosque owners will be as open to the bar, as I am to the new mosque. After all, the belief driving them to open up their center near Ground Zero, is no different than mine.
My place, however, will have better music.”
 Story continues here


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear Madame Rahnavard...

Madame Rahnavard, this morning I was having some coffee and reading various news about the waves of defenseless people on death row in Iran.

Then, the thought came to me that the institutions of mankind's religions are not at all where we can find the presence of the Creator's Spirit or Heart.

Except for a very tiny remnant, they've become palaces filled with ignorant, heartless, women-fearing executioners, the world's most ridiculous hypocrites, and closeted pedophiles and rapists.

Don't you agree that our progress and evolution as a whole is being held back because billions of people, for whatever reason, are still feeding into the false myth that these spiritually hollow, love-vacant institutions are speaking with divine authority?

Until humanity, and Iran, resolves this, the same patterns will keep repeating themselves. I am reminded of the Gospel story about Jesus leaving the House of God in Jerusalem, and saying that it was desolate.

From eight centuries ago, Mowlana Jalal'uddin Rumi still calls upon us to go beyond the outer rigid shell of human-altered religion, and find the beautiful face of the Beloved in our hearts.

I send this to you with love!

Madison Reed


Russian Scientists Believe Large Hadron Collider is a Time Machine

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Russian physicists seriously believe that the Large Hadron Collider can be used for time travel. However, it will only happen when it starts working at full capacity and stops breaking down

If earlier time travel was considered science fiction, now it suddenly turned into the favorite pet project of theoretical physicists. Renowned physicist Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology once said in one of his lectures:

“Once upon a time, time travel was the exclusive prerogative of writers. Serious scientists were shunning it like the plague, even when they were writing novels under a pseudonym or were secretly reading them. The times have changed! Now in serious scientific journals you can find a scientific analysis of time travel, authored by outstanding theoretical physicists. Why this change? Physics simply understood that the nature of time is too important to give it to the mercy of writers.” 

Today, there are many different schemes of devices designed for time travel. The main one is the Large Hadron Collider. It was launched in the fall of 2008. This is the most powerful particle accelerator in history located on the border of Switzerland and France. In its 27-kilometer ring scientists are trying to collide beams of protons accelerated to nearly light speed. As expected, this device will provide new information about particles and forces acting in space, as well as will reproduce conditions that existed immediately after the Big Bang gave birth to the universe.
After launching the collider, people were scared of the giant black hole capable of swallowing the Earth. Yet, scientists quickly calmed the population saying that in case of a collision of particles in the collider, the holes that may appear would be microscopic, or so large that they can be used as a handy tool for time travel.

This sensational proposal was made by two doctors of physical and mathematical sciences, Professors of Institute of Mathematics named after Steklov, Irina Arefyeva and Igor Volovich.

“Modern principles of theoretical mathematical physics allow the possibility of time travel,” explains Volovich, a member of RAS. “One of the admissible models of working time machine is the so-called wormhole, that is, a space-time tunnel leading to another time or space. And the probability of formation of a wormhole in the LHC is comparable to the probability of occurrence of the black hole itself, which can occur when particles collide with high energy.  Story continues here

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

GAO Sting: For-Profit Colleges Use Deceptive Marketing

By Andrea Stone

An undercover government probe of for-profit colleges that reap billions in taxpayer money found fraudulent, deceptive or otherwise shady marketing practices in an industry that is coming under increasing congressional scrutiny.

In a report to be released at a Senate hearing Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office's investigation of 15 for-profit colleges found:
  • Four colleges encouraged fraudulent practices, and all 15 made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements to the GAO's undercover applicants.
  • Incognito applicants were encouraged by college personnel to falsify their financial aid forms to qualify for federal aid. In one case, an admissions representative at a privately owned college in Texas told an applicant to fraudulently remove $250,000 in savings despite federal regulations requiring students applying for aid to list all their assets. In another case, an applicant was encouraged to falsely increase the number of dependents in the household on a federal aid form to qualify for grants.
  • College representatives exaggerated the amount of money applicants could earn after graduation. One said barbers can earn $150,000 to $250,000 a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 90 percent of barbers make less than $43,000 annually.
  • College recruiters failed to provide clear information about the length of programs, costs or graduation rates despite federal regulations requiring them to do so. Many applicants were misled by being told they would attend classes for 12 months a year, but were told only the cost of attendance for nine months.
The GAO, which focused its sting on colleges that got 89 percent or more of their revenue from federal student aid, found some instances in which undercover applicants "were provided accurate and helpful information by college personnel, such as not to borrow more money than necessary."

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