Daily Archives: November 13, 2011

In Light of Allegations, Cain’s Jokes Scrutinized

Herman Cain

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At the Republican Presidential debate Wednesday night, Herman Cain referred to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, as “Princess Nancy.”

His campaign sent the quip out on Twitter almost immediately, to drive home the point, but the public response was not as the campaign might have expected.

“Ay yi yi,” tweeted Dana Perino, who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. “Former Speaker Pelosi called a princess in the debate? Not fair. We may disagree on policy, but she earned the speaker title.”

Mr. Cain later called the remark “a statement that I probably should not have made.”

After battling accusations that he sexually harassed subordinates while he was chief of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s, Mr. Cain faces a new challenge: calibrating his behavior toward women in an atmosphere colored by the allegations.

This was not the first time Mr. Cain had called Ms. Pelosi a princess. On his radio talk show in Atlanta, he referred to her that way routinely.

With Mr. Cain’s campaign running a defense against the sexual harassment charges, any remark or photograph could create a PR problem if seen as rude, flirtatious or aggressive toward women.

Thursday, Mr. Cain was caught on tape joking about Anita Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of harassment decades ago during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Polls suggest that Republican women support Mr. Cain in numbers that are roughly equal to men, but flickers of discontent are emerging in crucial constituencies.

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 39% of Americans who have heard about the allegations against Mr. Cain think they are true.

At the moment, Mr. Cain does not seem to be making a pitch to the general electorate. He is appealing to his base, the energetic, conservative core of the Republican Party.

Women make up the majority of the electorate and tend to register and vote in greater numbers than men, but the Republican base tends to be disproportionately male.

A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month found that female Republicans were about equally supportive as men of Mr. Cain, within the poll’s margin of sampling error — 28% of women said they support Mr. Cain compared to 22% of men.

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Utah Mayor Wrote Happy News Stories Under Alias

KSL-TV downtown studios (Center) in Salt Lake ...

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Mayor Mike Winder promotes his community in an unorthodox style: He uses an alias and freelances upbeat articles about West Valley City, Utah.

He revealed himself this week, insisting the balance was needed. “I thought about all the people just reading about crime in our city and nothing better,” Mayor Winder said Friday. “I’m trying to stand up for us because we do get the short end of the stick — negative stories.”

Mayor Winder wrote under the name Richard Burwash, an alias he swiped from a real man (a professional tennis player from California) he found on the Internet. He said getting stories published by the Deseret News, KSL-TV’s website and a community weekly was as easy as setting up a Gmail account and Facebook page. He communicated with editors by email and phone, never showing his face.

As an unpaid writer, “Burwash” even quoted himself as mayor in some stories. In one piece, he wrote about the opening of a Buddhist Temple in his Salt Lake City suburb, quoting himself as saying, “We applaud any time a group builds a place to celebrate peace and to encourage people to live better lives.”

“I was an easy source,” he quipped Friday.

He maintains that the stories were “100 percent factually correct,” except for the byline.

Executives at the Deseret News were not amused.

The Deseret News published about 5,500 articles by 2,000 contributors in the past year. The paper began accepting contributions after cutting its staff and consolidating operations with television and radio stations. That’s when mayor Winder saw an opportunity. He complained that crime stories made up 56% of the coverage of West Valley City by the Desert News.

Eyeing a run for mayor of Salt Lake County, Mayor Winder decided it was time to come clean. “I’d rather disclose it on my own terms than by a political enemy,” he said.

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Victims Seek $750 Million for Fort Hood Shooting

U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, named as th...

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Accusing the Army, FBI and Justice Department of negligence, eighty-three victims and family members are seeking $750 million for the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood. The claim, filed last week, says the Army had clear warnings that the suspect, psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, “posed a grave danger to the lives of soldiers and civilians.”

The November 5, 2009, attack killed thirteen and wounded more than two dozen others. Hasan is to face a military trial in March. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

In February, a Senate investigation blamed the FBI and Army for failing to “connect the dots” to show that Hasan had become an Islamist extremist.

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Can There Be Justice for Gays in Uganda?

WSF 2007 - Sexual Minorities UgandaIn January, a Ugandan tabloid called The Rolling Stone (not connected to the American magazine) published a list of names, photos, and addresses of Ugandans it claimed were gay. The words “Hang Them” was on the tabloid’s front page, and the paper stated that the accused were infected with a fatal disease and were preying on children.

Soon after the list’s publication, prominent gay rights activist David Kato (who was included on the list) was found dead in his home in a pool of blood. Sidney Nsubuga Enoch, who had cooked Mr. Kato’s last meal, was arrested. Ugandan courts sentenced Enoch to thirty years in prison, but the case still doesn’t seem solved.

The killing represents the apex of a gay-rights struggle in the country. After collaboration between American evangelicals and Ugandan pastors and politicians, the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill was born; if enacted, all health programs geared towards gays would end; the government could punish activists “promoting” homosexuality; and homosexuals could be imprisoned for life. After international pressure, the legislation was shelved, but President Yoweri Museveni and the parliament vowed to keep it alive.

Mr. Kato, who was forty-six and described by friends as confidently out, was a co-founder of Uganda’s first gay-rights group, Sexual Minorities Uganda.

The Ugandan prosecutor drew a story of what police say took place that afternoon: Mr. Kato made advances to Mr. Enoch; Mr. Enoch agreed, then rejected Kato; Mr. Enoch returned to kill him. When the murder occurred, police refused to acknowledge the possibility that it was a hate crime. Officers blamed it on a supposed robbery, though no valuables were missing from his home. After an outcry over the killing, police apprehended Mr. Enoch, who pleaded guilty to beating Mr. Kato to death.

Last month, the country’s first gay bar was suddenly shut. Sappho Islands had been a haven for gay Ugandans; its owner arrived to the bar on a weekend to find a padlock on the door. Her landlord told her the bar was too noisy and attracted “strange” people. Weeks later, Ugandan parliamentarians voted to reopen debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including the provision that would sentence gays to the death penalty.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/11/justice-for-gay-ugandans.html#ixzz1ddS12EgM

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Pope Reaffirms Opposition to Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square, Rome ...

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Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed his opposition to embryonic stem cell research, saying it’s morally wrong to destroy an embryo no matter how beneficial the resulting treatment is.

Church teaching holds that life begins at conception, so the Vatican opposes embryonic stem cell research because embryos are destroyed in the process. The Church supports research using adult stem cells.

Via WaPo.

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Evelyn Lauder, Breast Cancer Awareness Proponent, Dies of Ovarian Cancer

These are some items given away to promote Bre...

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In Evelyn Lauder‘s career as an executive at Estee Lauder, the company founded by her mother-in-law, she worked with many colors, but pink was the one that changed her life.

In 1992, Ms. Lauder worked with her friend Alexandra Penney, the former editor-in-chief of Self, to create the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness. It started small with Lauder and her husband financing the bows given to women at department store makeup counters to remind them about breast exams.

That grew into fundraising products, congressional designation of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and $330 million in donations to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which Ms. Lauder also started. That money helped set up the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which opened in 2009.

Ms. Lauder died Saturday at her home from ovarian cancer at age seventy-five. Ms. Lauder was diagnosed with her cancer in 2007.

Last month, she reminisced about the early days of the breast cancer campaign. When it launched, it was so little known that some people thought it symbolized AIDS awareness.

Ms. Lauder’s other passion was photography, and she was the author of the book In Great Taste: Fresh, Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well.

Born Evelyn Hausner in 1936 in Austria, she fled Nazi-occupied Europe with her parents and settled in the U.S. She attended public schools in New York City and Hunter College. As a college freshman, she met her husband, the elder son of Estee Lauder and whose family owned what was then a small cosmetics company. The couple married in 1959. Leonard Lauder is now chairman emeritus of the company. Estee Lauder died in 2004.

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Kidnapped Baseball Player Found

Washington Nationals Wilson Ramos (3)

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Major league catcher Wilson Ramos has been found alive days after he was reported kidnapped.

Mr. Ramos, a rising star for the Washington Nationals, had returned to his native country to play in Venezuela‘s winter league, but before his first game with the Aragua Tigers, gunmen kidnapped him from his mother’s home in Santa Ines, a team spokeswoman said.

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Penn State G.A. Who Saw Abuse Placed on Administrative Leave

Mike McQueary coaching from the sideline

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The Penn State assistant who told head coach Joe Paterno about Jerry Sandusky‘s child sex abuse in 2002 has been placed on administrative leave.

Mike McQueary‘s leave is “indefinite,” said President Rodney Ericson. McQueary, a graduate assistant in 2002 and now the wide receivers coach, told a grand jury he had witnessed Sandusky, then the defensive coördinator, sexually assaulting a boy in a shower at the campus football complex.

The scandal has led to the departure of four top university figures, including Paterno, amid scrutiny over their perceived failure to contact police.

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Gingrich Campaign Awakens as Others’ Falter

Newt Gingrich

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With nearly all the Republican presidential candidates having seen their hopes of emerging as the alternative to Mitt Romney plummet, Newt Gingrich is getting another shot. A CBS News poll has him running near the front of the pack, alongside Mr. Romney and not far behind Herman Cain.

He is pulling in money that allowed him to open a state headquarters in New Hampshire. He is promising to campaign hard in Iowa, whose caucuses kick off January 3.

While his campaign feels intended to promote his ideas and media projects — his schedule the next two weeks is heavy with screenings of his documentary films and signings for a book written by his wife — his supporters say he is as credible a challenger to President Obama as Mr. Romney, and more so than any other Republican in the race.

Mr. Gingrich has challenges to overcome, starting with doubts about him among social conservatives, who take a dim view of his divorces. He has to face his history of undercutting himself, going back to when, as House Speaker, he lost showdowns with President Bill Clinton. This year, his campaign stumbled in the wake of disclosures that he had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry at Tiffany.

He lost fifteen aides who resigned in June, complaining that Mr. Gingrich would rather cruise in the Greek isles with his wife than stump in Iowa.

Today he regards that all as a temporary setback that opened “a vacuum” in the race that allowed other candidates to “audition” for the role of front-runner.

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