Russia's opposition has vowed to continue protests alleging widespread irregularities after a tearful Vladimir Putin claimed victory in an election that will see him return for a third term as president.
With more than 90 per cent of votes counted on Sunday night, the tally for the former spy who has dominated Russian politics for the past dozen years stood at 65 per cent. That represents a comfortable victory with no need to go into a second round of voting.
Later blaming the wind for the tears in his eyes, Mr Putin wasted no time in declaring victory, addressing thousands of Russian flag-waving supporters at a victory rally outside the Kremlin walls.
“I promised we would win. And we did win!” Mr Putin said, to cheers from his supporters. “We won an open and honest battle.”
The making of Santorum, a man of moral profundity:
... As [Karen Garver and Rick Santorum] made plans to marry and he decided to enter politics, she sent him to her father for advice.
Dr. Kenneth L. Garver was a Pittsburgh pediatrician who specialized in medical genetics. The patriarch of a large Roman Catholic family, he had treated patients considering abortion but was strongly opposed to it.
“We sat across the table and the whole evening we talked about this issue,” Mr. Santorum told an anti-abortion group last October. He left, he said, convinced “that there was only one place to be, from the standpoint of science as well as from the standpoint of faith.”
The utterances of Santorum, a man who can't keep his mouth on message:
“The Blunt amendment was broader than that,” Santorum told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday. “It was a conscience clause exception that existed prior to when President Obama decided that he could impose his values on people of faith, when people of faith believe that this is a grievous moral wrong.”
This editorial about Rush Limbaugh's latest orgy of public awfulness gets a few things very, very wrong, but it contains at least one delightful turn of phrase:
Inadvertently, Rush also helped advance the argument from the left that Republicans are waging a war against women. After referring to Fluke as a "slut" and a "prostitute," he offered the following proposition:
"So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives ... we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
The image suggested is equally degrading to Limbaugh given his obvious familiarity with "watching," and invites unflattering speculation. To wit: It is entirely possible that Limbaugh himself never needed contraception in college, but virtue in the absence of opportunity is hardly a moral triumph.
... and despite overwhelming public disapproval, misogynists and sexophobes just keep digging themselves deeper.
The best thing to hit the web this weekend: a collection of terrifying children's drawings.
Christian schools in Texas don't want to play basketball with Muslims.
Dear God, what's Quick serving to French people? (That's Quick, not McDonald's, contrary to previous reports. Thank you, readers, for pointing out this knuckleheaded error.)
"Blacks and gays: The shared struggle for civil rights."
It was just over two years ago -- on February 6th, 2010 -- that the youngest son of Toronto Maple Leafs owner Brian Burke died in a weather-related car accident in Indiana. That young man, Brendan Burke, had publicly come out of the closet just three months earlier. At the time, the elder Burke told ESPN:
I had a million good reasons to love and admire Brendan. This news didn't alter any of them. I would prefer Brendan hadn't decided to discuss this issue in this very public manner. There will be a great deal of reaction, and I fear a large portion will be negative. But this takes guts, and I admire Brendan greatly, and happily march arm in arm with him on this. There are gay men in professional hockey. We would be fools to think otherwise. And it's sad that they feel the need to conceal this. I understand why they do so, however. Can a gay man advance in professional hockey? He can if he works for the Toronto Maple Leafs! Or for Miami University Hockey. God bless Rico Blasi! And I am certain these two organizations are not alone here. I wish this burden would fall on someone else's shoulders, not Brendan's. Pioneers are often misunderstood and mistrusted. But since he wishes to blaze this trail, I stand beside him with an axe! I simply could not be more proud of Brendan than I am, and I love him as much as I admire him.
After Brendan's death, the elder Burke vowed to take up the cause of ending homophobia in hockey. To that end, Brian and another of his children, Patrick -- a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers -- have initiated the "You Can Play" project.
Take a look at the first of the project's video offerings, featuring a line-up of NHL All-Stars, which premiered during the intermission of yesterday's Rangers-Bruins game, AFTER THE JUMP...
Or visit the project's website. I think Brendan would be pleased.
The formerly Cummunist Belorussian strongman Alexander Lukashenko has always been a uniquely childish presence on the world stage -- he is, for example, the only European leader who enjoys being called "daddy" by his subjects -- but never moreso than this weekend. Responding to a recent EU censure, in which Lukashenko was referred to as a "dictator" by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Lukashenko told a crowd gathered at a ski event in Minsk: "Better a dictator than gay."
It wasn't the first time Lukashenko had gone after Westerwelle. From Raw Story:
Lukashenko last year said he had once told Westerwelle, who is openly gay, during a meeting that “he must lead a normal life”.
He later apologised for his remarks but added that he “did not like gays.”
The 57-year-old former collective farm boss — once identified as Europe’s last dictator by Washington — has left his ex-Soviet nation in growing diplomatic isolation over his nearly 18-year rule.
Recent months have seen a withdrawal of Belarussian representatives from EU states and European ambassadors booted from Minsk, the Belarussian capital, in protest over EU sanctions against the formerly Soviet "republic."
Did you miss the livestream of last night's staged reading production of '8', Dustin Lance Black's play based on the closing remarks of the trial challenging Proposition 8?
Have no fear. You can watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
George Clooney and Martin Sheen play plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, the all-star attorneys who notably faced-off in Bush v. Gore. Christine Lahti and Jamie Lee Curtis play plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a lesbian couple together for eleven years and the parents of four boys. Matthew Morrison and Matt Bomer play plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a gay couple together over ten years.
Jane Lynch plays despicable opponent of same-sex marriage Maggie Gallagher, co-founder and former chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. Rob Reiner directs and plays David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values. Additional cast includes Emmy Award-winning journalist Campbell Brown, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, prominent gay rights activist Cleve Jones, Rory O’Malley, Chris Colfer, Emmy Award-winner Yeardley Smith, and acclaimed Star Trek television and film star George Takei.
Brad Pitt plays Judge Vaughn Walker. Enjoy, AFTER THE JUMP....
Equating marriage equality with slave ownership is apparently the coming thing among Roman Catholics. First there was the bizarre newsletter at St. John Neumann, in Maryland. Now, the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has articulated the identical idea in the Telegraph, in a long, unlettered screed against David Cameron's recent advocacy of marriage equality. He's apoplectic:
Since all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples, it is clear that this proposal is not about rights, but rather is an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists.
... can we simply redefine terms at a whim? Can a word whose meaning has been clearly understood in every society throughout history suddenly be changed to mean something else?
If same-sex marriage is enacted into law what will happen to the teacher who wants to tell pupils that marriage can only mean – and has only ever meant – the union of a man and a woman?
Will that teacher’s right to hold and teach this view be respected or will it be removed? Will both teacher and pupils simply become the next victims of the tyranny of tolerance, heretics, whose dissent from state-imposed orthodoxy must be crushed at all costs?
... As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by governments and should not be changed by them. Instead, recognising the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society, they should act to protect and uphold marriage, not attack or dismantle it.
This is a point of view that would have been endorsed and accepted only a few years ago, yet today advancing a traditional understanding of marriage risks one being labelled an intolerant bigot.
... Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.
Disingenuously, the Government has suggested that same-sex marriage wouldn’t be compulsory and churches could choose to opt out. This is staggeringly arrogant ... Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave”.
What's up with that?
Having read O'Brien on the subject, it's worth revisiting David Cameron's rationale for supporting marriage equality in the first place:
To anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it's about equality. But it's also about something else. Commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other, and we support each other. So I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.
Cardinal O'Brien's screed was well over 1,000 words long -- many times longer than the Cameron quote above -- but nowhere in it does he even attempt to rebuff the Prime Minister's point.