Hezbollah agrees to Lebanese peace plan, officials say
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Hezbollah representatives and Lebanese cabinet ministers have reached an agreement in general -- but with some major reservations -- on a proposal to end the crisis in the Middle East, high-ranking Lebanese government officials say.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- expected to arrive in the region later Saturday -- said it initially appeared the Lebanese plan included "some very good elements."
Israel on Saturday rejected a request by the U.N. for a three-day cease-fire in Lebanon to deliver humanitarian supplies and allow civilians to leave the war zone, The Associated Press reported.
Avi Pazner, a government spokesman, said Israel already had opened safe corridors across Lebanon for such shipments and that Hezbollah guerrillas were blocking them to create a humanitarian crisis.
The Lebanese cease-fire plan, reached at a meeting on Friday night, calls for an immediate cease-fire, the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and the return of two Israeli soldiers held by Hezbollah.
The plan also calls for the return of displaced Lebanese to their homes, negotiations between Israel and Lebanon concerning the disputed Sheeba farms now under Israeli control, the disclosure of maps showing Israeli minefields near the Lebanese border, the deployment and strengthening of the Lebanese army and the expansion of the U.N. force in the south.
While Hezbollah agreed to a cease-fire with Israel and an increased international presence in southern Lebanon, the group objected to "a robust force" of international peacekeepers in the region, the sources said.
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Minimum wage increase passes House
Sen. Reid decries move as attempt to 'blackmail' working class
Sen. Reid decries move as attempt to 'blackmail' working class
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House of Representatives early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.
Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure to cause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likely to die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts.
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.
Still, Republican leaders saw combining the wage and tax issues as their best chance for getting permanent cuts to the estate tax, a top Republican priority fueled by intense lobbying by farmers, small business owners and super-wealthy families such as the Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.
"This is the best shot we've got; we're going to take it," said House Majority Leader John Boehner, a Republican. The unusual packaging also soothed conservatives angry about raising the minimum wage over opposition by Republican business allies.
The House passed the bill 230-180 before leaving for a five-week recess.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid vowed Democrats would kill the hybrid bill, along with its 10-year, $300 billion-plus cost.
"The Senate has rejected fiscally irresponsible estate tax giveaways before and will reject them again," Reid said. "Blackmailing working families will not change that outcome."
Republicans countered that Democrats opposed the bill to keep the issue alive for the November elections.
But Republicans also reveled in putting moderate Democrats in the uncomfortable position of voting against both the minimum wage increase and the estate tax cut -- and an accompanying bipartisan package of popular tax breaks, including a research and development credit for businesses and deductions for college tuition and state sales taxes.
The Republican package would increase the wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the next three years.
Under current law, the estate tax is phased out completely by 2010, but jumps back to 55 percent on estates larger than $1 million in 2011.
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Voters can see through McKinney
In a few precincts of American politics, voters still applaud the utterly futile gesture of defiance, the confrontational rhetoric that pleases only true believers, the fist shaken in the face of an opponent who neither notices nor cares. Apparently, such empty gestures — signs of impotence, really — have come to be seen as "speaking truth to power."
That helps to explain the remaining, if faltering, appeal of U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), whose supporters are nothing if not naïve. They have turned Theodore Roosevelt's maxim — "Speak softly and carry a big stick" — upside down.
McKinney speaks loudly but has accomplished little in her 12 years in Congress. That's because her outrageous rhetoric and loopy antics distance her not only from the Republican majority, but even from many of her Democratic colleagues. She has few allies.
That number grew yet smaller after her most recent controversy, a very public imbroglio prompted by a March skirmish with a Capitol police officer. He says he didn't recognize her; she was wearing a new hairstyle but was without the lapel pin usually worn by members of Congress. When he stopped her, the officer said, she slugged him with her cellphone. She denounced him for alleged racial profiling and "the inappropriate touching and stopping of me — a female, black congresswoman."
While the regrettable episode further endeared her to that dwindling population which sees such incidents as proof of her cojones, it reminded many colleagues — and constituents — that she is a public official who tends more toward cheap theatrics than common sense. It's no wonder she finds herself struggling to retain her 4th District seat, consigned to an Aug. 8 runoff with former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson.
Elected as the first black congresswoman from Georgia in 1992, the so-called year of the woman, she started out well enough. She picked her battles wisely, attended to the needs of her district and took up a long-neglected cause or two, including working-class Georgians who had been exploited by the kaolin industry.
But she frittered away her promise, recklessly playing the race card and picking fights not only with opponents but also with those who should have been allies. In 1997, when she was challenged by John Mitnick, a Jewish Republican, she allowed her father, a spokesman for her campaign, to engage in blatant anti-Semitism. In 2000, her Web site posted her inflammatory analysis of Al Gore as having a low "Negro tolerance level."
But it was in the aftermath of the terrorist atrocities of Sept. 11 that she gained national prominence with reckless and paranoid pronouncements. She suggested that President Bush had known in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks but did nothing to stop them so his friends could profit from the ensuing war. That proved too much for her constituents, who dumped her for Denise Majette, a former judge. McKinney won the seat back two years ago, after Majette chose not to seek re-election but to try for the U.S. Senate, instead.
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Thanks to Betty Bowers, homosexuals' sneaky little secrets are now revealed to the godly:
THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA!
THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA!
As every Christian knows, there is only one enemy that threatens our entire civilization. And I am, of course, not talking about Satan. I'm talking about those damned homosexuals! Yes, they give otherwise dull hair radiant highlights and our imperfect décor those fabulous flourishes that elude our more predictable heterosexual sensibilities, but at what price? In exchange for a little panache, we allow homosexuals to steal our children and destroy our Christian marriages. And how do they do this? With their secret masterplan -- The Homosexual Agenda!
Many a well-intentioned person has asked me, "Betty, what exactly is The Homosexual Agenda?" Well, if you have to ask, you are probably already under its pernicious influence and blithely hop-scotching your way straight to Hell. Nevertheless, the details of The Homosexual Agenda have -- up until this day -- been kept more secret than the nature of John Travolta's and Tom Cruise's marriages. But I am pleased to announce that through innumerable free vodka sea-breezes and some artful Christian skullduggery, I have gotten my hands on an authentic copy of The Homosexual Agenda. Praise the Lord!
I have had my secretaries, Miss Anne Thrope and Anita Priceczech, transcribe The Homosexual Agenda from the back of a used cocktail napkin (the original is to be placed in the Smithsonian Institute) for your convenient reference. Never again shall we be surprised by what these malevolent Nancy Boys are up to. While they may still be able to surprise us with a cunningly perfect piece of Chinese porcelain for our Biederimeier end-table, they will never again be able to surreptitiously take over our culture, families and prime-time television without God-fearing Christians being one step ahead of them! Praise the Lord!
The Homosexual Agenda
8:00 a.m. Wake up. Wonder where you are.
8:01 a.m. Realize you are lying on 100 percent cotton sheets of at least a 300 count, so don't panic; you're not slumming.
8:02 a.m. Realize you are actually in your own bed for a change. Wake stranger next to you and tell them you are late for work so won't be able to cook breakfast for them. Mutter "sorry" as you help him look for his far-flung underwear. You find out that you tore his boxers while ripping them off him last night, so you "loan" him a pair of boxer-briefs, but not the new ones because you never intend to see him again.
8:05 a.m. Tell the stranger, whose name eludes you, "It was fun. I'll give you a call," as you usher him out the door, avoiding his egregious morning-breath.
8:06 a.m. Crumple and dispose of the piece of paper with his telephone number on it when you get to the kitchen.
8:07 a.m. Make a high protein breakfast while watching the Today show. Wonder if the stories you've heard about Matt Lauer are true. Decide they must be.
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For more information, visit Betty's B.A.S.H. (Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals) website, the only ex-gay ministry I wholeheartedly endorse, where you will also find information on the ex-negro ministry. The truth is out there, all ye nonbelievers! Everytime those damned homosexshuls and Labetians claim that their 'struggle for civil rights' is akin to that of the negro, they forget that there is no way of comparing the two. If you see brown folks walking down the street, it is not likely you'll mistake them for Koreans or Meskins - but the minute a sissified man asks you "Excusssssse me, do you know what time it isssss?" and you catch the distinct smell of penis on his breath, there is no question - you're about to face a moral decision as to whether or not you're going to smite this agent of the Devil where he stands, or turn your back on God and reply "It's about 10:30." The point is, anyone walking down the street can go either way and you'd never know - but he who clearly has just smoked a pickle and asks you for the time, you will know. This is not to say that being a negro is without sin, as Sister Betty shows in this .PDF file here. Compare it to the Focus Group On The Family's ex-gay ad here. NOTHING dispels ignorance like information, people.
All Hail Betty!!
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Anyone But Cynthia McKinney? - At this point, pretty much that would be YES. I don't give a flying shit if she is a Democrat, matter of fact, my standards of Democrats are considerably higher than that of Republicans. You never know what a Liberal might get accomplished, but you can count on a Neocon fucking it up.
- Movie Mix: Soldiers Wage Battle Against War - The director of the new film 'Sir, No Sir!' speaks up about GI resistance to war -- and why it's absolutely essential now.
- Nearly 2/3 of Army's combat brigades not ready for wartime missions because of Bush incompetence - Great, now the Republicans' incompetence is destroying our military readiness.
- Religious right suing to put porn star in public school as teacher - Yeah, but she's a CHRISTIAN porn star. Don't be fooled, they're still working on the time and date for the gay/atheist pogroms that will be carried out in Jesus' name.
- Christian right hero Mel Gibson arrested for drunk driving, 0.12 alochol level - Who's to blame? Why "THOSE FUCKING JEWS!", naturally. Just read it. The Huffington Post has more. so does Talk Left.
- The New Pro-Life Movement - *wretch*
- Wanker of the Day - Lee Siegel, a New Republic writer who blames bloggers for the ongoing war in Iraq. I killed JFK, too. True story. Ezra Klein has more.
- Letterman: Clinton responds to Coulter–parody - Take THAT, ya crazy nutstain!
- Bush: “Manage the Calm” = Destroy the World? - Bush’s neocon philosophy is putting us on the brink of destruction. The Iraq war has been a catastrophe and has ushered in more anti-American sentiment around the world.
- Read this and try not to have a nosebleed. - Some people in America have to work three jobs just to put food on the table and pay the bills…but, thanks to the Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives, Paris Hilton’s trust fund return just went up another $91 million (at 2 AM ET). Basically, House Republicans tacked a cut in estate taxes onto a bill to raise the minimum wage. Yeah, you read that correctly: The economically distressed would get an additional $2.10 an hour, whereas the Walton kids and the Hilton sisters would get untold millions. Must be that compassionate conservatism we’ve heard so much about.
- Bush proposing new legislation that would permit him to throw any American in jail, forever, without a trail or attorney - Looks like we're redecorating Gitmo.
- Widespread Heat Waves "Very Strongly Connected" To Global Warming... - Liberal consipracy my frying ass!
- Gunman Shoots 6, Kills One At Seattle Jewish Center - But what about all of the GOOD done in the name of religion?
- Armageddon's upside - Just. Fucking. GAH!!
- Ya'll believe in Jesus, right? - Families Challenging Religious Influence in Delaware Schools
- The New Pro-Life Movement - Feel the 'Culture of Life".
- Aryan Brotherhood Leaders Convicted of Murder - Take THAT, you peckerwood bastards!
- Elderly Driver Faces Trial for 2003 Deaths - Maybe he'll get Andrea Yates' lawyer.
- GOP strategist slams Bush, McCain, DeLay - The dog that bites the hardest always comes from your own kennel.
- Church: Priest spent $1.4m on luxuries - So much for that vow of poverty, it (like the whole "Don't fuck children thing" was way overrated.
- DeLay goes broke as legal bills rise - But my birthday isn't until December!
- Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist - Big deal, it's not like we really needed military personnel who speak Arabic, I mean REALLY.
- Lewis Black Tackles Gay Divorce - Lewis Black was back on the Daily Show on Wednesday satirizing the debate over gay marriage. After playing a clip of Congressman Phil Gingrey, in which the lawmaker said, "In my opinion, marriage isn't just any kind of love. It's a love that can bear children," Black quipped, "Hey Congressman, take my word for it. A one-night stand with no love, a Quaalude and three beers can also bear children."
- Buckley: Bush Should Have Resigned - *watches Rush The Vulgar Pigboy Limbaugh swallow his own tongue*
- A Harris-Shaped Hole in our Hearts - THIS is interesting!
I've never seen anyone go after the Phelps cult quite like this, and it was AWESOME!