January 27th, 2009

TWW | the whole board

Ahoy there, Polar Bear

January 26, 2009

Polar bear 'stranded' on The Thames

A life-like 16ft high sculpture of an iceberg featuring a stranded polar bear
Joanna Sugden

If you went down to the Thames today you were sure of a big surprise.

This giant sculpture of a polar bear stranded on a block of ice floated 7.5 miles from Greenwich towards the centre of London to highlight the problem of melting ice caps. The bear was also promoting the launch of a new television channel dedicated to natural history.

A total of 15 artists spent two months constructing the 20ft by 20ft square structure, which was launched at 6:30am before travelling up the Thames, stopping besideTower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. The structure weighing, 1.5 tonnes, was winched into place.

The event coincides with the Eden Channel's Fragile Earth series, presented by Sir David Attenborough.

Melting ice caps threaten the existence of polar bears as their habitat disappears. There will also be serious consequences for the two billion people who depend on glacial meltwater to feed rivers.

Sir David said: “The melting of the polar bears’ sea ice habitat is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time. I commend Eden for highlighting the issue; we need to do what we can to protect the world’s largest land carnivores from extinction.”

The polar bear will also be touring other cities, including Glasgow and Birmingham.

Adrian Wills, head of the Eden channel, claimed it would address issues like climate change in an informative and entertaining way: "The Earth is a fragile place and we were keen to launch with a message that would draw attention to the uncertain state of our finely balanced environment."

The Thames is accustomed to unusual visitors. In January 2006, a seven-tonne bottle-nosed whale became trapped in shallow water near Battersea Bridge. Crowds gathered as the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) attempted to save its life. But despite the team’s efforts to move it into deeper water, the whale died.

Other mammals which have strayed into The Thames include a family of Harbour Porpoises, which were spotted near Vauxhall Bridge in December 2004. Another bottle-nosed dolphin was discovered swimming past Tower Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge in 2001.

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I think this is an excellent way to raise awareness about just how dire the global climate crisis is.  The sculpture is supposedly 100% recyclable, too.  I will go to the Thames sometime this week to take pictures of this.  Also, how precious is the cub?!


Torture Is Not Good Interrogation Technique, says professionals

Interrogators are lauding President Obama for signing an executive order that will shut down secret CIA prisons and place the use of coercive interrogation techniques completely off limits.

"[The order] closes an unconscionable period in our history, in which those who knew least, professed to know most about interrogations," said Joe Navarro, a former special agent and supervisor with the FBI.

"Some die-hards on the right -- who have never interrogated anyone -- are already arguing that forcing interrogations to be conducted within army field manual guidelines is a step backward and will result in 'coddling' dangerous terrorists," retired Colonel Stuart Herrington, who served for more than 30 years as a military intelligence officer, said soon after the order was signed. "This is a common, but uninformed view.

Experienced, well-trained, professional interrogators know that interrogation is an art. It is a battle of wits, not muscle. It is a challenge that can be accomplished within the military guidelines without resorting to brutality."

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"The challenge we face does not have to do with so-called 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' " said Nelson. "We don't want those. What we do need is to build a world-class interrogation corps. To do that, we need to pay more attention to recruiting, training, and managing interrogators. President Obama's executive order is an important first step but there is still more to do."

Source: Huffington Post

* * * * * *

I seem to remember reading a post similar to this on one ontd_political in the past -- some mention was made of giving a suspect a Harry Potter book and that was what broke him. Anyone know where to find that one? I'm trying to build a collection.
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WKRP--Johnny Bitch Please

WW II Vet freezes to death inside his own home

93-year-old froze to death, owed big utility bill

BAY CITY, Mich. – A 93-year-old man froze to death inside his home just days after the municipal power company restricted his use of electricity because of unpaid bills, officials said.

Marvin E. Schur died "a slow, painful death," said Kanu Virani, Oakland County's deputy chief medical examiner, who performed the autopsy.

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Okay, I posted this because I really don't agree with the guy from the city. Yes, you should keep an eye on your neighbors, but even if you had contacted the city, what were they going to do? They had no qualms about shutting off the heat. It just makes me want to cry to think about how he died...he deserved better. And BELOW THIRTY TWO INSIDE???? That's insane. And I'm guessing being 93 and a vet, he had a limited income as it was, which I'd surmise would be why he racked up that big bill.

Edited: I found more articles from the Michigan papers:
Looks like he had the cash, just probably couldn't get out in the weather to pay it.
The Michigan Attorney General is looking into this.
he lied in every word, cupcakes of mass destruction, happiness is a warm gun, childe roland to the dark tower go
  • biichan

HuffPo: Tell me again why we gave these fuckers all our money?

Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill

Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community's top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call -- including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG -- were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the Employee Free Trade Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.

"This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it."

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garf tired

Nobody should listen to the rethuglicans

Op-Ed Columnist

The Same Old Song

Published: January 26, 2009
What’s up with the Republicans? Have they no sense that their policies have sent the country hurtling down the road to ruin? Are they so divorced from reality that in their delusionary state they honestly believe we need more of their tax cuts for the rich and their other forms of plutocratic irresponsibility, the very things that got us to this deplorable state?

Readers' Comments

Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
The G.O.P.’s latest campaign is aimed at undermining President Obama’s effort to cope with the national economic emergency by attacking the spending in his stimulus package and repeating ad nauseam the Republican mantra for ever more tax cuts.

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(no subject)

NY Governor Called A Liar Over Kennedy Fiasco

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson yesterday insisted he had no idea who did the slime job on Caroline Kennedy - although the source of the information is about as close to him during the day as his wife is at night.

He's a liar.

The person responsible for the smear was an individual whose identity is well known to the press, whose full-time job is to do the governor's bidding, and who is intelligent enough not to call reporters to damage Kennedy's reputation without approval from the top - and that means Paterson.

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pac aretha
  • bispo

A Fresh Campaign Book

I normally ignore them, or glean the scoops from the p.r. and move on. But Mike Crowley's and Dan Goldman's comic book rendering of the 2008 roller-coaster is a fun and vivid graphic tour down memory lane. Think Sin City Meets Michael Barone. You can buy it here. A sample:

panda bear

(no subject)

Obama Officials Tells Citibank To Ditch Plans For $50 Million Private Jet

According to a report from ABC News, President Obama is not taking kindly to corporate greed, especially when it's funded by taxpayer money. Read more from ABC here:

The high-flying execs at Citigroup caved under pressure from President Obama and decided today to abandon plans for a luxurious new $50 million corporate jet from France...

ABC News has learned that Monday officials of the Obama administration called Citigroup about the company's new $50 million corporate jet and told execs to "fix it."

On Monday, the news broke that bailed out bank was going through with its $50 million private jet purchase even though it had recieved $45 billion in government funds:

The New York Post's Jennifer Keil and Chuck Bennett reported in Monday's paper that Citigroup, which has received $45 billion in government bailout funds, is about to upgrade to a new $50 million, twelve-seat corporate jet.

The plane, the Dassault Falcon 7X, is a luxurious jet with a range of 5,950 nautical miles (meaning it can fly from New York to all of Europe and South America, as far east as Riyadh, and as far west as Honolulu or Petropavlovsk, Russia). The Post reports it has "plush interior with leather seats, sofas and a customizable entertainment center."

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Former McCain Adviser, Ex-Merrill Chief, Orders Tap Water To Display Modesty

What a difference a meltdown makes.

Just months ago, John Thain was CEO of Merrill Lynch, a top backer of presidential candidate John McCain, and widely talked of as in line for a top White House economic position should his man win on Election Day.

Instead, Thain has been fired in disgrace after Merrill was taken over by Bank of America and tarred for spending 1.2 million dollars on a Merrill office renovation and $87,000 for a rug in those new digs.

And McCain is again a Senator from the state of Arizona, uninterested in talking about his old friend.

"I haven't had a chance to look into it. I really haven't. I haven't had a chance to absorb it," McCain said when asked by the Huffington Post about Thain's plight.

For his own part, Thain is taking baby-steps to rehabilitate himself. No more fizz for Thain, at least while the economy's in freefall.

Thain "was having dinner at San Pietro last week with BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink. He loudly told the waiter, for all to hear, "under the circumstances with this tough economy, I think I'll have tap water," the New York Post reports.

The giving-back won't stop there. Thain told CNBC Monday that he plans to return the money spent renovating the office, calling it "a mistake in the light of the world we live in today."

  • bispo

Barack Admits to Beyonce He’s a Fan of “Single Ladies”

It’s clear that our President is the new cool, but nothing shows this more than his recent meet-and-greet with various celebs at the Lincoln Memorial following the star-studded “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration” concert.

Captured on video by singer John Legend, the Obamas walked up to greet Beyonce. Michelle Obama says, “Mr. President, you didn’t tell Beyonce about 'Single Ladies'? Your rendition?"

"I'm not like Justin [Timberlake]” Obama says laughing, referring to Timberlake’s spoof of the video on Saturday Night Live. “I didn't put on the outfit. ...[But] I didn't want my girls thinking that I couldn't, you know...I got a lil something."

He then does the infamous hand flip. See all the meet-and-greet footage below.
source: Vibe
' jules
  • schmiss

Where is your executive privilege now.

Karl Rove Subpoenaed By John Conyers: 'Time To Talk'

On Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) issued a subpoena to Karl Rove, requiring him to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration's politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. The subpoena calls for Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009.

Rove has previously refused to appear in response to a Judiciary Committee subpoena, claiming that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress. That "absolute immunity" position was supported by then-President Bush, but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates. President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as "completely misguided."

"I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court, and today's action is an important step along the way," said Rep. Conyers. Noting that the change in administration may impact the legal arguments available to Mr. Rove in this long-running dispute, Mr. Conyers added, "Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk."

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This is yay but for some sad news in case you haven't heard, John Updike (greatest writer of the 20th century) passed away... RIP
i spy hope

Rahm gossips daily to his 3 girlfriends, remains sexy while doing so

Power, politics, gossip on daily call

The conversations don’t begin with hello. They don’t end with goodbye. Most often they pick up with a low, drawling voice uttering something between a sentence and a grunt.


For those accustomed to hearing James Carville only when he is trying to enunciate more clearly for television, that translates to: "What's going on?"

So begins another morning in what may count as Washington’s longest-running conversation — a street-corner bull session between four old friends who suddenly find themselves standing once more at the busiest intersection of politics and media in Washington.

Carville calls White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel calls ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

A bit later, CNN commentator Paul Begala, who is not quite the early bird that his friends are, will complete the circle with a rapid set of calls to all three.

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Palin launches political action committee

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sarah Palin has launched a new political action committee called SarahPac, signaling that the Alaska Governor intends to remain a player in national politics even after her failed bid to become the country’s first female vice president.

"SarahPac will support local and national candidates who share Gov. Palin's ideas and goals for our country," says the PAC’s Web site, which promises that Palin will be "a strong voice for energy independence and reform."

The PAC does not yet appear to be registered with the Federal Election Commission, according to an online search of the FEC database. But a spokesperson for the committee confirmed that Palin is behind the group and said it was registered on Monday evening. The Web site went live on Tuesday morning and is already soliciting donations.

"The PAC is a smart thing to do because she’s getting so many speaking requests still, so if she gets a request from, say, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, she could do that travel out of her PAC money,” explained the spokesperson, noting that Palin has been in high demand from Republicans around the country since the campaign ended. In December, the governor traveled to Georgia to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Saxby Chambliss in that state's runoff election.

Palin posted a note on her official Facebook page Tuesday afternoon promoting her new committee.

"Hi Friends, I wanted you all to be among the first to know that I've launched my new political action committee, SarahPAC, today," the post says, telling supporters to "stay tuned for updates."

The domain name "SarahPac.com" was registered on January 2 to Campaign Solutions, a Web consulting firm in northern Virginia with longstanding ties to John McCain, which processed online donations for the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee in 2008. The URL is set to expire in 2012, according to online records.

Rebecca Donatelli, the chairman of Campaign Solutions, confirmed her company is working for the group.

Calls to a Palin adviser in Alaska were not immediately returned.

pac aretha
  • bispo

The Bushification of Barack Obama

It is not easy to have such a popular guy in the White House. For too many governments—those of Cuba and Iran, for example—having an easy-to-bash figure in the Oval Office is indispensable. And we all know people for whom anti-Americanism is almost a basic instinct and an automatic inspiration for their political views. Thus, the high approval ratings that Barack Obama enjoys almost everywhere are a very problematic trend for those in need of a U.S. president who can be easily portrayed as one more executor of the deeds of the devilish American empire.

That is why the “Bushification” of Barack Obama will become fashionable.

The morphing of Obama into George W. Bush is the inevitable next chapter in a narrative common outside the United States, one that began with erudite explanations of why the American political establishment would never allow a black man to become president, that continued with the surprise of Obama’s victorious campaign, that followed with the eruption of emotions during his inauguration, and that then led to widespread concerns about the difficulty Obama faces in meeting the impossibly high expectations created by his election. In the next phase of this story, many will begin to claim that, in practice, there is not much difference between George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama. Or, as the poetic president of Venezuela has already said, they are “the same miasma”; that is to say, that they are both malignant effusions emanating from rotten material.

And it’s not just Hugo Chávez who’s making comparisons; “Bushing” Obama will become a global trend. For the Iranian regime, it will be important to demonstrate that regardless of the fact that the middle name of the new president is Hussein and that in Farsi “Obama” means “he’s with us,” in reality Obama remains, just as his predecessor, the executive of the Great Satan.

Three days into the Obama administration, the United States bombed a group of alleged Taliban fighters in northern Pakistan, killing at least 14 people. The Pakistani government immediately protested the latest violation of its sovereignty, and the bombing proved that any hope it had that Obama would not continue with Bush’s policies in this regard was unwarranted. After Timothy Geithner, the new Treasury secretary, accused China of being a currency manipulator, the Chinese government reacted angrily: “To direct baseless accusations against China with respect to its exchange rate only helps the cause of American protectionism and does not contribute to finding a real solution to the problem,” its official press release said.

As Christian Brose writes in the current issue of Foreign Policy, there will be significant continuities between the Bush and Obama administrations regarding, for example, the commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, the need to engage with North Korea, and strong support for Israel. It should not be a surprise then that in the Arab world there are already those who denounce the Obama administration as nothing more than the continuation of the Bush administration—only amended by the addition of more Jews to the cabinet and other high-level positions.

In some instances, arguing that Obama is Bush reincarnate will be easy. Some continuity between the policies of the two administrations is inevitable, especially after the many sharp U-turns that Bush took in his second term. But in many other cases, portraying Obama as Bush III will be just a part of the campaign to rebrand a new U.S. president who is inconveniently popular by those who need to have a perpetual enemy in the White House. Despite the powerful incentives to do so and the efforts to make Obama look like Bush, this rebranding campaign will not be easy to pull off. One constant in Obama’s career has been his ability to surprise his critics and confound his skeptics. There are many reasons why this will happen again. Not the least of them is that, despite what his critics will say, Barack Obama is not George W. Bush.

Moisés Naím is editor in chief of Foreign Policy. A version of this article was originally published in Spanish in El País.

Teaching Tolerance or Gay Propaganda?

Sacramento, CA
– Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) are urging parents with children in public schools to contact their schools this week to ensure students are not being targeted with either subtle or overt pro-homosexual messages.

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I've never understood the concept of "promoting homosexuality".  Either someone's homosexual, or they aren't.  What exactly are you promoting?


EU Delegation Plans Guantanamo Trip

The EU is currently debating whether to provide asylum for former Guantanamo prisoners. While some countries are still grappling with their basic stance on the issue, France is already hammering out the details of a plan. The EU wants to evaluate each case individually and send a delegation to Cuba.

The European Union remains undecided on the issue of taking in former prisoners from the anti-terror prison at Guantanamo Bay. At a luncheon for the EU foreign ministers on Monday, the topic was discussed but no solution was reached. Germany, France and a number of other countries are at least open to the possibility.

After the luncheon, Austria was the only country that still flatly rejected the idea, while all other countries said that they wanted to wait for a formal request from the United States.

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I thought it was an interesting article. Closing Gitmo is one thing, but it seems like the EU will be the one who's gonna have to deal with the mess of the Bush government.

Daniel Radcliffe Invites Obama Daughters to Harry Potter Set

Daniel Radcliffe

In case Sasha and Malia Obama don't have enough social engagements, the First Daughters now have an open invitation to visit the set of the next Harry Potter film — from Daniel Radcliffe himself.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to issue a public invitation to the Obamas that if their daughters would like a private tour of the Harry Potter set, I would be honored to be their personal tour guide," he said in an interview with The Daily Beast.

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president obama is waiting in the wings
  • biichan

USNews: Somebody doesn't quite understand what off the record means.

Tales From The Inside: What Obama Told Republicans
By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

President Barack Obama went to Capitol Hill today to push Republicans to back his $825 billion stimulus plan. While they probably won't, he won points for reaching out to the minority, making good on campaign promises. What's more, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel plans to fete more Republicans tonight. At the meeting today, Obama's comments were to be off the record, but we've got some notes on how it went down. Here's what we were told and E-mailed from various sources:

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Off The Record Sauce
RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Obama's First Legislation: "Fair Pay Bill"

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Congress Sends Fair Pay Bill to Obama
The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 27, 2009; 5:44 PM

WASHINGTON -- Congress sent the White House Tuesday what is expected to be the first legislation that President Barack Obama signs into law, a bill that makes it easier for women and others to sue for pay discrimination, even if the discrimination has prevailed for years, even decades.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would sign the bill, a top priority for labor and women's rights groups, Thursday during a public ceremony in the East Room.

The bill is a response to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said a person must file a claim of discrimination within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay a worker less than it pays another worker doing the same job. Under the bill, every new discriminatory paycheck would extend the statute of limitations for another 180 days.

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  • bispo

Hoyer to GOP: Bipartisanship does not mean capitulation.»

Today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had a message for Republicans complaining about the stimulus bill: “Being bipartisan does not mean having to lay down and say we’ll do whatever you want.” His comments came after President Obama met earlier with congressional Republicans to discuss their concerns about the package, which is scheduled to be voted on in the House tomorrow. Hours before that meeting, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) urged Republicans to oppose the bill unless Democrats make significant concessions. Hoyer called it “very unfortunate” that Boehner “set the stage [by saying], ‘Yeah, you’re coming up here, but we’re voting against you.’” He added, “It takes two parties and two groups to be bipartisan. Bi means two.”

Jessica Alba Upset With Bill O'Reilly Over Her Sweden Is Neutral Quote

Jessica Alba Calls TMZ, Bill O'Reilly the Stupid Ones

Los Angeles (E! Online) – Jessica Alba is disappointed in all of us for paying attention to her during what she blogs is "perhaps the most salient time in our country's history." (Don't worry, Jess, we're more disappointed in ourselves than you'll ever know.)

She's speaking, of course about the "a-hole" episode, when Jessica called out Bill O'Reilly and then harassed a reporter who didn't want to answer her questions  —taunting him with "Be neutral about it, be Sweden!" This, of course, gave TMZ a chance to call her a ditz for not saying Switzerland.

But Jess isn't going to sit around and let people call her stupid, especially when Wikipedia and MySpace exist to clear her name. This is her defense of giving Sweden the neutral shout-out:

"Last week, Mr. Bill O'Reilly and some really classy sites (i.e.TMZ) insinuated I was dumb by claiming Sweden was a neutral country. I appreciate the fact that he is a news anchor and that gossip sites are inundated with intelligent reporting, but seriously people...it's so sad to me that you think the only neutral country during WWII was Switzerland. Check out: [Wikipedia link] if you want to see what I was referring to. I appreciate the name calling and the accurate reporting. Keep it up!!"

Well, we can't argue with Wikipedia. You win, Jess. You're totally smarter than TMZ.

wooosh faraday

UN official: Enough evidence to prosecute Rumsfeld for war crimes

Monday, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak told CNN's Rick Sanchez that the US has an "obligation" to investigate whether Bush administration officials ordered torture, adding that he believes that there is already enough evidence to prosecute former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

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The coercive measures were based on a document signed by Bush in February, 2002.
jon facepalm by those-icons

Bolivians Ratify New Constitution

President Evo Morales seemed assured of an easy victory in a referendum on Sunday over a sweeping new Constitution aimed at empowering Bolivia’s Indians.

The vote capped three years of conflict-ridden efforts by Mr. Morales to overhaul a political system he had associated with centuries of indigenous subjugation. Citing preliminary vote counts, reports on national television said about 60 percent of voters had approved the new Constitution. If that margin holds or goes higher, it would strengthen Mr. Morales’s mandate, political analysts here said.

Still, regional conflict over the results may loom in the months ahead. Citing the same counts, both state and private news media said at least four departments, or provinces, in Bolivia’s rebellious eastern lowlands had rejected the charter by wide margins.

Vaguely worded items among the new Constitution’s 411 articles would broaden definitions of property to include communal ownership; allow Indians to mete out corporal punishment under their own legal systems; extend limited autonomy to regional prefects; and reaffirm state control over Bolivia’s ample natural gas reserves.

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panda bear

(no subject)

More than 11,500 job cuts announced Tuesday

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The job market continued to take a beating Tuesday, as six companies across several industries announced more than 11,500 job cuts Tuesday.

The huge number of job cuts pales only in comparison to Monday's statistics: seven companies issued job cut announcements totaling more than 71,400 layoffs.

In January alone, companies have announced more 211,500 job cuts.

High-tech glass and ceramics maker Corning Inc. (GLW, Fortune 500) announced it will cut 3,500 jobs, or 13% of the company's workforce, by the end of 2009. The company said its restructuring efforts will save the company between $150 million and $200 million a year.

At the close of trading Tuesday, Corning shares remained flat at $9.99.

Meanwhile, oil field services company Baker Hughes (BHI, Fortune 500) announced it will cut 1,500 employees worldwide. That's about 4% of its work force, and 850 of the cuts will be from the company's North American work force.

A Baker Hughes spokesman said the cuts are necessary because of the poor economy and credit crisis - plus, productivity from drilling rigs has fallen 25% since September's peak. The recent pullback in oil and gas demand in North America has hit the company hard, as the continent accounts for about 42% of revenue.

Baker Hughes is scheduled to report fourth-quarter and full-year 2008 earnings on Wednesday. The company's stock remained flat, closing at $32.77.

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(no subject)

Jill Biden Returns To Teaching!

Jill Biden returned to her teaching career today, now that her husband is settled down into the Vice Presidency. According to a White House press release:

Continuing her 28-year career as an educator, Dr. Jill Biden returned to teaching today at a DC-area community college. Dr. Biden will work as an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College this semester, teaching two English courses. "I am thrilled to return to the classroom to continue working with community college students, whom I greatly admire and enjoy teaching," said Dr. Biden. "I have always believed in the power of community colleges to endow students with critical life skills, and I am pleased that I can make a difference by doing what I love to do, teaching people who are excited to learn."

Biden has been actively engaged in education for most of her adult life. Her doctoral dissertation explored methods for retaining students in community colleges and she has long been vocal on education's utmost importance for guaranteeing economic security in the future.


love her.
RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Some reaction to Obama's interview from Arabic television viewers

Obama tells Arabic network US is 'not your enemy'
Paul Schemm, The Associated Press, Cairo | Wed, 01/28/2009 9:04 AM | World

President Barack Obama told Arab television viewers that "Americans are not your enemy" in an interview aimed at repairing relations with the Muslim world that were damaged under the Bush administration.

Obama's choice to give his first formal sit-down television interview as president to Al-Arabiya signaled a new American approach in the region. In the interview, broadcast Tuesday, Obama said the U.S. had made mistakes in the past but "that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."

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Were Ahmadinejad's Ancestors Jewish?

Mehdi Khazali, the son of the conservative Ayatollah Khazali, has written on his personal website (WARNING- not in English) that he recently learned that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots.

Khazali notes that Ahmadinejad changed his family name from Saburjian, and says that the origins of the Saburjian family in the town of Aradan should be investigated.

Ahmadinejad's relatives had told Britain's The Guardian following his election that the family had changed its name for "a mixture of religious and economic reasons."

"The name change provides an insight into the devoutly Islamic working-class roots of Mr. Ahmadinejad's brand of populist politics," journalist Robert Tait wrote in "The Guardian." "The name Saborjhian derives from thread painter -- sabor in Farsi -- a once common and humble occupation in the carpet industry in Semnan Province, where Aradan is situated. Ahmad, by contrast, is a name also used for the Prophet Muhammad and means virtuous; nejad means race in Farsi, so Ahmadinejad can mean Muhammad's race or virtuous race.”

Ahmadinejad, of course, is known for his frequent slurs and threats against the Jewish state of Israel. The claim about his background should be seen in the context of a growing rift among the president's political allies, the so-called principalists, in the run-up to the June presidential election.


If this is the case, he needs to off himself first in that second Holocaust he loves to rant and rave about lest he be a massive hypocrite. I hope this means the end of his political career!
' jules
  • schmiss

How could he betray his beloved Nixon like this?

Blagojevich, Rachel Maddow Interview: "I'm The Anti-Nixon"

(Pictured: Blago and his idol in happier times.)

Embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich defended himself against corruption charges on the Rachel Maddow Show tonight. According to a transcript sent out by the Maddow show, Blagojevich vehemently denied that he was in effect selling Obama's senate seat to the highest bidder. During the grilling by Maddow, Blagojevich called himself the "anti-Nixon" because he wants every tape to be played in court as a full airing of the wiretaps will prove his innocence.

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um he thinks he's on the same side as PFitz?

Doctor Who - Rose - Uh oh

Man kills wife, five kids, himself after being fired

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A man apparently despondent about losing his job killed his wife and five children before turning the gun on himself, officials said Tuesday.
A photo on Ervin Lupoe's Facebook page shows his wife and five children.

The bodies of five children and two adults -- the children's mother and father -- were found Tuesday in a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington. Among the dead, authorities said, were an 8-year-old girl and two sets of twins -- 5-year-old girls and 2-year-old boys.

Ervin Lupoe apparently called 911 and contacted a television station by fax before committing suicide, authorities said.

"No words can describe this tragedy," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "There's no way to comprehend this unspeakable act."

Police were alerted by KABC-TV, who said the station had received a faxed letter and a call from an individual who was threatening suicide. Responding officers found all seven bodies inside the home, said Capt. William Hayes. Watch emergency crews arrive at the home Video

Nearly simultaneously with the KABC call, a man called 911 and reported coming home and finding his family dead, Hayes said. But, Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Garner said, the man told KABC he had killed them.

A suicide note found at the scene "indicated a business dispute" between Lupoe and Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, Hayes said. In the faxed note to KABC, the man said he was despondent over an employment situation, police said.

Kaiser Permanente said Lupoe and his wife, Ana, were both former employees of the medical center. Both had been terminated, Hayes said, with Lupoe's termination coming last week. It appears there were grounds for the termination and it did not come as a result of layoffs, he said.

"There is no reason to believe this is anything other than a murder-suicide," Lt. John Romero said. "There is no current threat to the community, no active search for a suspect."

The father and the three girls were found in one upstairs room of the home, the mother and twin boys in another, police said. Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Garner described the scene as one of the most grisly police have encountered.

Authorities did not release the names of the woman and children.

"Unfortunately, this has become an all-too-common story in the last few months," Villaraigosa told reporters. He urged those who have lost jobs to take advantage of available assistance and resources, including mental health agencies.

"Job centers, foreclosure counselors, and mental health professionals are ready to provide whatever services are necessary to get people back on their feet and to keep families afloat," the mayor said in a written statement.

City Councilwoman Janice Hahn said, "No matter how desperate you are, no matter how frustrated you are, to think this was the only answer -- to take your whole family with you in death -- is just too much to understand."

Kaiser Permanente said it is cooperating with the police investigation.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of the Lupoe family," the company said. "Our sympathies are with all their extended family and friends at this time. We are also providing resources and support to our employees who are affected by this tragedy."

A dozen police officers and detectives remained at the scene Tuesday afternoon and several surrounding blocks were sealed off by police.

Authorities said at an afternoon briefing that a community meeting would be held later in the day at a nearby church.

Sad sauce :(

Um, this guy may have been an employee at my Kaiser hospital D: This is really tragic and disgusting all in one.

ETA: According to Huffington Post, the murder did not occur for purely economic reasons:
The letter indicated that Lupoe and his wife had been under investigation for misrepresenting their employment to an outside agency in order to obtain childcare. He claimed that an administrator told the couple on Dec. 23: "You should not even had bothered to come to work today you should have blown your brains out."

The couple complained to the human resources department and eventually were offered an apology but two days later the Lupoes were fired, according to the letter.

"They did nothing to the manager who stated such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are," the note said.
Thanks, pumpkinwaltz!

This be a friendly reminder from ur planet.

Global warming is 'irreversible'

A team of environmental researchers in the US has warned many effects of climate change are irreversible.

The scientists concluded global temperatures could remain high for 1,000 years, even if carbon emissions can somehow be halted.

Their report was sponsored by the US Department of Energy and comes as President Obama announces a review of vehicle emission standards.

It appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists have been researching global warming and the consequences for policymakers.

The team warned that, if carbon levels in the atmosphere continued to rise, there would be less rainfall in already dry areas of southern Europe, North America, parts of Africa and Australia.

The scientists say the oceans are currently slowing down global warming by absorbing heat, but they will eventually release that heat back into the air.

They say politicians must now offset environmental damage already done by man-made pollution.

"People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 year - that's not true," said researcher Susan Solomon, the lead author of the report, quoted by AP news agency.

Their conclusions come as President Obama ordered the US Environmental Protection Agency to review rules on carbon emissions from passenger vehicles.


I'd be concerned, but we all know global warming doesn't exist anyways. :P
It's just god hugging us closer!