Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy Oakland Calls for a General Strike - Nov. 2, 2011

Occupy Oakland calls for a general strike -- November 2, 2011 -- to shut down the 1%.

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Lesbian Couple Wins Homecoming King and Queen

How long before sanity spreads to the rest of the nation's high schools?

Two California high school students became one of the first lesbian couples crowned homecoming king and queen in the nation this weekend.

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Cain Evasive About Sexual Harassment Allegations

Cain's campaign has since invoked the "high-tech lynching" defense and issued the obligatory denial. Cain himself is still not talking:

He was then asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?”

He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

. . . In one case, POLITICO has seen documentation describing the allegations and showing that the restaurant association formally resolved the matter. Both women received separation packages that were in the five-figure range.

On the details of Cain’s allegedly inappropriate behavior with the two women, POLITICO has a half-dozen sources shedding light on different aspects of the complaints.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jon Huntsman's Daughters Spoof Cain Ad (Video)

via CNN

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Occupy Protesters Call for Robin Hood Tax (Video)

In various parts of the world today, the 99% are calling for a Robin Hood tax (on fatcat financial transactions) which would be used to fund benefit programs for the 99%, without which the 1% would be destitute.

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Occupy Nashville: Vet Injured During 2nd Round of Arrests

The charges were dismissed after a whole lot of drama, time and money was wasted while the State of Tennessee violated the constitutional rights of its citizens and injured 2 of them:

Two of the 26 Occupy Nashville protesters arrested early this morning were injured, says Karl Bolton of Franklin, who says he is part of the movement's legal team. One man, a veteran, was taken to the hospital. His condition is unknown. A woman also received minor injuries, and her camera was broken.

After the Night Court magistrate dismissed their warrants, the protesters were planning to march back to Legislative Plaza.

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Occupy Nashville: Cops Arrest Nashville Scene Reporter Along With 26 Protesters

For the second night in a row, eager beaver cops swarmed down on the peaceful Occupy Nashville protesters at the People's Plaza, this time 26 arrests were made. In case anyone was wondering what the hell there is to protest about, the not so great state of Tennessee is busily making the protesters case by perpetrating serious constitutional violations against its citizens.

According to the repressive state of Tennessee, not only do we not have the right to peaceful assembly, we don't even have the First Amendment right to a free press at that peaceful assembly. The first arrests were carefully staged at 3am to avoid press coverage and now in what appears to be an effort to intimidate the press, a reporter has been arrested for the crime of covering the police state tactics of bully Governor Bill Haslam.

Keith Olbermann is gonna love this story.

The reporter works for the Nashville Scene:

Among those under arrest is evidently Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, who has been covering the protests. A fellow reporter asked the trooper arresting Meador if he really intended to lock up a journalist there to cover the events. According to the reporter, the trooper replied, "You want to be next?"

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy Nashville: Countdown with Keith Olbermann (Video)

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Occupy Nashville: Released from Jail, Protesters Reclaim People's Plaza (Video)

You have no lawful basis to arrest and charge those people (Night Court Commissioner) Nelson said to state troopers.

The Live stream from last night was really bad. This from CNN is much better.

Nashville Scene:

A dozen Occupy Nashville protesters, undeterred by their arrests and five hours in detention, have marched back onto the Legislative Plaza this morning claiming victory in their cause.

“Whose plaza? Our plaza!” they yelled as they arrived in the rain.

Enforcing a new 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew on the Capitol grounds, state troopers arrested 29 demonstrators at 3 a.m. and hauled them away in buses to jail, ending the three-week occupation of the Plaza.

The magistrate of the court refused to hear the charges, saying the state didn't give the protesters enough notice of the curfew, which was announced only yesterday afternoon. The judge advised the Highway Patrol to free the protesters. But instead troopers detained them at the jail and began issuing citations for criminal trespass. They finally went free at around 8 a.m.

615-741-2001 - Governor Bill Haslam

615-862-6000 - Mayor Karl Dean

#OccupyNashville Press Release – Oct. 28th, 2011 @ 4AM CST

TN Gov. Bill Haslam signed off on plan to arrest Occupy Nashville protesters: Occupy Nashville released a statement this morning saying that the new state policy--under which 29 protesters were arrested soon after 3 a.m. Friday--is in direct violation of U.S. and state constitutional rights, and that as "free people of Tennessee" they intended to protect their constitutional right to assemble.

"We intend to resist this illegal action by the state in a peaceful and dignified manner," the group said in its press release.

Occupy Nashville Arrested At 3 Freaking AM (Livestream Video)

Police Raid Occupations in Nashville and San Diego

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POLL: Did Gov. Haslam overstep his bounds?

Vote here. Currently at:

Yes 83.51%
No 15.55%

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Book of the Month: Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings

Title: Mary Boleyn, Mistress of Kings
Author:  Alison Weir
Pub. Date: October 2011

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover , 400pp

Synopsis: Sister to Queen Anne Boleyn, she was seduced by two kings and was an intimate player in one of history’s most gripping dramas. Yet much of what we know about Mary Boleyn has been fostered through garbled gossip, romantic fiction, and the misconceptions repeated by historians. Now, in her latest book, New York Times bestselling author and noted British historian Alison Weir gives us the first ever full-scale, in-depth biography of Henry VIII’s famous mistress, in which Weir explodes much of the mythology that surrounds Mary Boleyn and uncovers the truth about one of the most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age.

With the same brand of extensive forensic research she brought to her acclaimed book The Lady in the Tower, Weir facilitates here a new portrayal of her subjects, revealing how Mary was treated by her ambitious family and the likely nature of the relationship between the Boleyn sisters. She also posits new evidence regarding the reputation of Mary’s mother, Elizabeth Howard, who was rumored to have been an early mistress of Henry VIII.

Weir unravels the truth about Mary’s much-vaunted notoriety at the French court and her relations with King Fran├žois I. She offers plausible theories as to what happened to Mary during the undocumented years of her life, and shows that, far from marrying an insignificant and complacent nonentity, she made a brilliant match with a young man who was the King’s cousin and a rising star at court.

Weir also explores Mary’s own position and role at the English court, and how she became Henry VIII’s mistress. She tracks the probable course of their affair and investigates Mary’s real reputation. With new and compelling evidence, Weir presents the most conclusive answer to date on the paternity of Mary’s children, long speculated to have been Henry VIII’s progeny.

Alison Weir has drawn fascinating information from the original sources of the period to piece together a life steeped in mystery and misfortune, debunking centuries-old myths and disproving accepted assertions, to give us the truth about Mary Boleyn, the so-called great and infamous whore.

My thoughts:  I know this the end of the month, but there have been so many excellent books out there, it was hard to choose just one as Book of the Month.  In the end, I had to go with Alison Weir's new book on Mary Boleyn. If you haven't read any of Alison Weir's books before, be warned, that it can be a little hard going at first.  Weir's research is exhaustive, she not only reads all the original source material, but pretty much every book ever written about Henry, Mary and Anne. She goes through the myths of Mary's life, methodically debunking each one.  Weir's writing style is more academic than elegant, she doesn't weave the known facts of Mary's life like a story. Because of this, I found the book easy to put down at times. I preferred to dip into the book, reading a little at a time, rather than trying to read it all the way through. In the end, you are left knowing about as much about Mary Boleyn as you did when you started the book. Frankly, I learned more about Francis I of France, Thomas Boleyn and Mary's husbands than I did the elusive lady herself.  She did however create a plausible case for Katherine Carey Knollys being Henry VIII's daughter, and the reasons why a child of Henry and Mary's could never be acknowledged, especially after Henry fell for Anne.
Here is an excellent in depth-review by Claire at The Anne Boleyn Files which pretty much expresses my thoughts exactly about the book.

Occupy Nashville Arrested At 3 Freaking AM (Video)

One hundred plus State Troopers and SWAT and police dogs are currently evicting peaceful protesters from the People's Plaza here in Nashville. Protesters are being arrested and hauled onto buses headed for the city jail. It's 3:00am in the freaking morning. The old catch them when they're most vulnerable tactic. Watch It! Global Revolution has now picked up the livestream.

Nashville Mayor (615) 862-6000 / Gov (615) 741-2001 Fax: (615) 532-9711 Demand 1st Amendment Rights.

Watch live streaming video from occupynashville2011 at

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Nashville Prepares for Arrests - Livestream

UPDATE: (7:16PM) More than 200 300 Occupy Nashville protesters are currently awaiting the promised forced eviction, i.e. arrests, when they refuse to obey the order to vacate the People's Plaza (aka Legislative Plaza) by 8pm tonight. Watch it! Apparently Keith Olbermann covered the imminent standoff at Occupy Nashville on Current TV tonight.

Occupy Nashville protesters say they’ll be arrested rather than call off their 24/7 protest. They've been ordered to leave by 8 p.m. today.

Watch live streaming video from occupynashville2011 at

State Threatens to End Occupy Nashville Tonight

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Photo of Elizabeth Warren Volunteer Meeting Goes Viral

A few [sarcasm] volunteers turn out to help Elizabeth Warren take back Ted Kennedy's senate seat. Maybe Scott Brown should go ahead and quit now.

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Colbert Makes His Own 'Smoking' Herman Cain Ads (Video)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Occupy Oakland Gassed and Shot in the Face with Rubber Bullets by Rioting Police: The Video

This is not what democracy looks like.

I've just spoken to Keith Shannon, roommate of Scott Olsen, the Iraq veteran who is in hospital after apparently having been hit in the head by a police projectile. Shannon said doctors told him Olsen has a "skull fracture and swelling of the brain".

AnonymousWiki Anonymous ✔
The world needs to know that Oakland PD is tear gassing the elderly, the disabled, children, and the press. #PoliceState #OccupyOakland #OWS

Occupy Tennessee

Note From Nashville, TN to Oakland, CA Mayor Jean Quan: The world is watching your strategy of attacking peaceful protestors, including women and children, with chemical weapons. I mourn your lack of empathy and statesmanship. You are committing a political suicide, as is any elected official siding with violence. Our mayor here in Nashville is considering providing us port-a-potties. Why not engage in benevolence instead of violence? These folks are advocating for restoring true democracy, and you are responding with fascist, violent action. Remember, the WORLD is watching. This is not a local event. You can call city of Oakland: 510-444-CITY

Oakland Mayor Takes Heat on Facebook After Police Fire Tear Gas at OWS Protesters

Occupy Oakland: Mayor Jean Quan in Big Trouble After Riot

Tension remains after "Occupy Oakland" clashes

Recall Jean Quan Effort Begins in Oakland

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Anna Nicole Smith - The Opera

Watch the trailer for the world premiere of Anna Nicole, Mark-Anthony Turnage's new opera commissioned by the Royal Opera House.

The trailer highlights some key moments in her provocative life. Please note the music in the trailer is not the music from the opera.  I really wanted to see this at Covent Garden but I missed it. The same people who did Jerry Springer, the Opera are involved in this production.  Perhaps the Metropolitan Opera House will pick it up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laugh of the Day: Right-Wing Anti-Feminist Extremist Calls GOP Candidates "Extreme"

Right-wing anti-feminist extremist Pat Robertson is too funny:

Televangelist Pat Robertson Calls GOP Field Too ‘Extreme’ To Win General Election

The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. -- Pat Robertson

Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating. -- Andrea Dworkin

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Elizabeth Warren Embaces Occupy Wall Street Protest

Embracing the Occupy Wall Street protest is nothing more than Elizabeth Warren being Elizabeth Warren, something that drives the GOP tribe even more insane than it is on any given day:
Warren was asked by the Daily Beast for a comment on the protests. She said: “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do.”

Now the NRSC has opened fire on Warren for the comments, blasting out an email containing links to stories about protesters in Massachusetts battling with cops. Said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh: “Warren’s decision to not only embrace, but take credit for this movement is notable considering the Boston Police Department was recently forced to arrest at least 141 of her Occupy acolytes in Boston the other day after they threatened to tie up traffic downtown and refused to abide by their protest permit limits.”

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The Herman Cain Bad Boy Ad (Video)

The ad everyone's talking about because it's really bad.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Fabulous and Flamboyant Life of Lady Meux

I adore historical fiction, not just because I find history endlessly fascinating but because it leads me to fascinating women which I can then share with my readers. With Tasha Alexander’s new mystery, A Crimson Warning, I’ve discovered not one, but two fascinating and Scandalous Women. We’ve already met author Sarah Grand. This week, I introduce you to Valerie, Lady Meux.

She was born Valerie Susie Langdon in 1847. According to what little I could find on her, she was a butcher’s daughter from Devon who worked as an actress before her marriage. According to her obituary in the New York Times, she met Sir Henry while performing in Brighton. However, tongues wagged at the time that she had worked under the name of Val Reece at the Casino de Venise in Holborn and that she may even have been a prostitute. It was reported in the magazine Truth (love the title) that she had even lived in sin with a Corporal Reece. In her defense, Valerie wrote, “I can very honestly say that my sins were committed before marriage and not after.” You go girl! At the age of 31, she married Sir Henry Meux, 3rd Baronet (1856 - 1900), (pronounced “Mews”) in secret. Her husband‘s family had become rich through trade, they owned a brewery Meux and Co. (located where the Dominion Theatre now sits). Sir Henry’s father, the 2nd baronet, had married Lady Louisa Caroline Brudenell-Bruce, the daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury.

Needless to say, her husband’s aristocratic relations were none too pleased at Sir Henry’s marriage to the bold and flamboyant beauty. Valerie was never accepted by them or by polite society. Thumbing her nose at the ton, Valerie flaunted her indifference by driving herself around London in a high phaeton, drawn by a pair of zebra. What I would give to time-travel back to the Victorian era to see that! While she may not have been accepted by polite society, she certainly wasn’t sitting at home knitting or crying into her soup. She attended meetings of the Theosophical Society, when Madame Blavatsky was still living in London. She was a familiar figure at art openings and first nights. Rumor has it that she even attended more than one prize fight in disguise.

Valerie improved and enlarged their country home at Theobalds in Hertfordshire with a swimming pool, and an indoor roller skating rink. She also created a stone circle at Dauntsey Park, one of their other estates (they owned several including a house in Park Lane and the Chateau de Sucy in France) that was used for theatrical productions. The parties at their country house must have been fun! At her request, her husband purchased Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar (one of the eight gates that surrounded the old City of London) from the City of London and installed at their country estate as a new gateway. It cost them a whopping £10,000 to install. There she entertained guests such as the Prince of Wales and Sir Winston Churchill in the upper chamber. The Temple Bar remained on the estate until the 1990’s when it was finally returned to the City of London.

Lady Meux commissioned James McNeil Whistler to paint her portrait in 1881. It was his first commission in London after his return from exile on the Continent (he had famously sued John Ruskin in 1877 for libel. Although he won, he was awarded only a farthing and the court costs were split, and Whistler had to sell his work and his house to pay for them. The damage to his reputation lasted for years). One portrait soon turned into three for a total cost of 1,500 guineas. Whistler however proved to be too demanding and difficult for Lady Meux, requiring too many sittings for her taste. She got tired of standing around wearing her fur coat and muff while he redid portions to his satisfaction. When she complained, he went ballistic. According to Stanley Weintraub in his biography of Whistler, Valerie warned, “See here Jimmy Whistler! You keep a civil tongue in that head of yours, or I will have in someone to finish those portraits you have made of me!”

Well that went over like a lead balloon! He apparently went into a rage, muttering “How dare you, how dare you,” paint brush quivering in his hand. Valerie Meux never sat for Whistler again. He destroyed the third portrait of her, Portrait of Lady Meux in Furs, although Henry Meux, Valerie’s husband had paid for it. However, Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux can be seen today at the Frick Museum in New York, and Arrangement in Black: Lady Meux belongs to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. In a bid to gain his wife a place in polite Victorian society, Henry bought Lady Meux the diamonds that Whistler portrayed her wearing in this painting.

Not shy about spending her husband’s money, she once spent £13,000 at the jewelers. She also owned a string of race horses, winning the Derby in 1901, and was an ardent collector of Egyptian artifacts, owning over 1,700 items including 800 scarabs and amulets. A frequent visitor to the British Museum, her intention was to leave the collection to them, but they didn’t want it (because they were apparently idiots) and it was sold after her death. Sir Henry died in 1900, leaving Valerie an income of $300,000 a year which was a great deal of money back then.

She didn’t spend all her husband’s money frivolously. During the Boer War, Valerie was impressed by the heroics during the Battle of Ladysmith. Feeling patriotic, she donated artillery that was sent straight to South Africa, because the war office refused them (again what is their problem?). According to Wikipedia, they were known as the ‘Elswick Battery,’ and were used in action several times during the war. When Sir Hedworth Lambton, the commander of the Naval Brigade at Ladysmith, returned to England, he called on Lady Meux to thank her for her generosity. She was so taken with him, that she made him the chief beneficiary of her estate, provided that he change his last name to Meux (she and Sir Henry never had any children) which he did after her death by Royal Warrant.

She died in 1910, at the age of 63.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paul Krugman On Occupy Wall Street (Countdown with K. Olbermann)

Paul Krugman reports on Occupy Wall Street and Keith O. has lots more Occupy movement news including Cornel West was arrested at Occupation Harlem.

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Sexism Watch: New York City Bus Makes Women Sit In Back

[Bump] Yep, you read that right. Not in Afghanistan, not in Saudi Arabia, but in New York City, women ride in the back of a sex-segregated city bus. In 2011, religion is used to treat women like sub-human second-class citizens on a city bus in New York City!

On the morning of October 12, Melissa Franchy boarded the B110 bus in Brooklyn and sat down near the front…. as the bus began to fill up, the men told her that she had to get up. Move to the back, they insisted.

‘Back of bus’ furor

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"Miss Representation" - Official Trailer: 'Media (Men) Create Consciousness' (Video)

These are the young women we meet in Miss Representation—a haunting new documentary, from first-time filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, about girls’ body image, self-confidence and leadership aspirations, and how they are intertwined with the way women are portrayed on television and in media. Making its debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network this Thursday, the film tackles Hollywood, TV news, advertising, politics—all against a backdrop of the young women who consume all of it.

Juxtaposing images of cat-fighting reality television stars with women’s-rights leaders; lip-plumped Housewives with “in” political leaders—and peppered with powerful interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, Nancy Pelosi, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and a dozen other women—Miss Representation makes the case clear: “We are teaching young women that their worth lies in their youth, their beauty and their sexuality,” says Newsom. “Not in their capacity to lead.” Ultimately, she says, the gap between women in media and women in real life is huge, and growing.

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Janis Joplin - Get It While You Can Live (Dick Cavett Show Video)

June 25, 1970. Janis Joplin performs Get It While You Can live on the Dick Cavett Show.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seperated at Birth?

I'm in the midst of reading Alison Weir's new biography of Mary Boleyn (which I will review once I've finished it).  While flipping through the photos in the middle of the book, I noticed a curious thing; how much Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard resemble each other, at least in their portraits.

This is a portrait of Anne of Cleves, probably the same one that Henry VIII saw, that charmed him. Of course, we know from history that Henry felt that he had been duped when he finally met his new bride in the flesh, and discovered that she didn't exactly look like this portrait!

This is a potrait that is assumed to be of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife and Anne Boleyn's cousin. If you look closely at the eyes, nose and mouth, they are remarkably similar in both paintings! Both portraits were painted by Hans Holbein the Younger, which probably explains why there is such a similarity in their looks.  Apparently Holbein wasn't as good at faces as he was at painting everything else!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Talk with Philippa Gregory (and some other people)

Yesterday I went downtown to the Times Center to hear Philippa Gregory talk as part of The New York Times Great Literary Conversation. Her other panelists included Lee Child (author of the Jack Reacher novels which I now have to read), Rita Mae Brown (who has written a great historical fiction novel about Dolly Madison) and Sapphire, author of PUSH (made into the film 'Precious') and the sequel THE KID.  Although the other panelist were great, I really plunked down my $30 bucks to hear Philippa Gregory talk.  Which is crazy when you think about it because I could have just heard her speak for free at Barnes and Noble!

Ladies and Gentleman, I think I'm in love! I was pretty harsh about her new book THE LADY OF THE RIVERS, and as I have stated before I loathe and despise THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. After hearing her speak, and discovering how witty and charming she is, I now have to continue to read her backlist (I've been wanting to read A RESPECTABLE TRADE for a long time now).  She went through the top 5 myths about Philippa Gregory and one secret. I don't remember all of the myths but the two I do remember are that a) people believe that she's from the lost island of Atlantis (no, seriously they do) and b) there are people who think she has a TARDIS in her garden by which she time travels to the past in order to write her books. You know, instead of spending a year on research, reading over a 100 books, why not just pop into a box and time travel instead! God, if only it were that easy!

And get this, she rescues ducks! She told an adorable story about how every year she takes abandoned duck eggs and keeps them warm in her study so that they can hatch.  One they mature, they either fly away or stay on her farm where they get free food twice a day.  Apparently her new duck, Rasta, needed an operation that cost 60 pounds, and she cleverly hid the news from her husband until he got the bill.  Come on, how can you not like someone who rescues duckies! And she wears groovy shoes!

Here's a video I found on You Tube of Gregory talking about LADY OF THE RIVERS.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Herman Cain Proposes Killing Mexicans With Electric Border Fence

So now the leader of the GOP pack proposes killing women, children and men for the misdemeanor of entering the country without documentation. Why is this thug allowed on the debate stage? Oh, but now Herman Cain is back-pedaling by claiming that he was only joking about killing women, children and men. (!)

Clearly the bizarre man is too sick to lead the not-so-free world:

Speaking to a rally sponsored by the Roane County Tea Party, Mr. Cain said that part of his plan would be to “secure the border for real” with a fence.

“It’s going to be 20 feet high. It’s going to have barbed wire on the top. It’s going to be electrified. And there’s going to be a sign on the other side saying, ‘It will kill you — Warning.’” At an earlier rally, on the campus of Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn., he added that the sign would be written “in English and in Spanish.”

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Close Your Account At Citibank And Get Arrested By NYPD Thugs - The Video


NYPD Arrests Woman For Closing Her Citibank Account (VIDEO)
Citibank Customers Arrested for Closing Accounts in Protest

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Occupy Nashville - Oct. 15 - Video

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Citibank Customers Arrested for Closing Accounts in Protest

Citibank customers were arrested moments ago at Citibank, 555 LaGuardia, NYC. This is via the Occupy Wall Street NYC live feed.

Some 20 protesters were locked inside the bank after attempting to leave the bank per Citibank officials' request. A number of the protesters, or all, (this is a developing story) attempted to close their Citibank accounts. At least 2 of the Citibank customers who closed (or attempted to close) their accounts managed to leave the bank but were forced back inside by Citibank security. They were then locked inside and subsequently arrested. Welcome to America folks.

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