February 5th, 2009

garf tired

Help Obama, for Dummies.

This is a couple weeks old, but I stumbled upon it while surfing the web. A layman's approach to getting involved.

7 Online Things To Do To Help Obama Restore America

Written by Alex Iskold
On Tuesday, January 20th, 2009, America and the whole world will gather to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. Many have called Mr. Obama the Internet President because of the unprecedented way his campaign used the medium to raise funds, raise awareness, and ultimately outmaneuver John McCain. But what can we do now to help turn this country around? Read on for 7 things every one of us can do on the Internet to help Obama restore America.
As Obama rolls into a very tough job to restore America, it is very clear that the Internet is going to be the #1 channel for read/write communication with the people. Change.gov not only features an elegant design, but has useful content that connects you to the President-Elect and solicits your opinion and ideas. And the seemingly small things like the iPhone application or support of OpenID and Creative Commons show that people on Obama's team are intimately familiar with the latest technologies and trends on the web.
If Obama and his team are going to use the Internet to help change America, so should we. The Internet is the most powerful information technology ever invented, and it has already changed the way we elect the President of the United States. Next, it just may help us restore America to its true self. How? One person at a time, starting with you and then passing it along. Here are 7 things you can do on the Internet to help President Obama turn this great country around.

1. Read About and Know the Issues

The least you can do is be aware. In this day and age, ignorance cannot be excused. All the information is out there, and whether you are Democrat or Republican or independent, the least you can do is find it. Maybe you prefer the Huffington Post or the New York Times or Fox News or CNN or independent local media; whatever your channel, spend at least 1 hour a week learning what is going on in America and around the world.

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I can help Prez Obama and my country?  Yes I can!

Futurama--Learning Disorder

I don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me

Nationwide shortage of popular painkiller affects Whatcom County

A nationwide shortage of the painkiller oxycodone is making it difficult for Whatcom County residents who need the most popular dosage of the drug to get their prescriptions filled.
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Hey, I heard Rush Limbaugh might be able to help you find some...

More Students Turning Illegally To 'Smart' Drugs

by Michelle Trudeau

Morning Edition, February 5, 2009 · They're commonly called "smart drugs" or "study drugs." Scientists call them "cognitive enhancers." Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, generally prescribed for attention-deficit disorder, are increasingly being used by college students to help them study despite serious side effects, researchers say.
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It's people like this that piss me off--thanks for making it a big hassle to get the drugs I NEED every month, douchebags...
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RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Obama writes OP-ED on The Washington Post

The Action Americans Need
By Barack Obama
Thursday, February 5, 2009; Page A17

By now, it's clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

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I wish he would've addressed people on national TV instead as he intended to on Monday but that plan was fucked with the Daschle thing. Would it be silly to want him to try it again?
Crazy-eyes cat

Where are the new jobs for women?

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Where Are the New Jobs for Women?
Published: December 9, 2008

BARACK OBAMA has announced a plan to stimulate the economy by creating 2.5 million jobs over the next two years. He intends to use the opportunity to make good on two campaign promises — to invest in road and bridge maintenance and school repair and to create jobs that reduce energy use and emissions that lead to global warming.

Mr. Obama compared his infrastructure plan to the Eisenhower-era construction of the Interstate System of highways. It brings back the Eisenhower era in a less appealing way as well: there are almost no women on this road to recovery.

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Source: The New York Times

My International Political Economy professor handed this out last night in class. I know it's old, and that the stimulus does include some of the things she mentioned, but I think she makes some excellent points.
  • cindel

GOP = Taliban?

GOP Rep: We Need Might An "Insurgency"

Frustrated by a lack of bipartisan outreach from House Democratic leaders, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said House Republicans -- who voted unanimously last week against the economic plan pushed by President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- will pitch a "positive, loyal opposition" to the proposal. The group, he added, should also "understand insurgency" in implementing efforts to offer alternatives.

"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."

Lawd, have mercy
  • cindel

Faith-Based Program Gets Wider Focus

When President Barack Obama launches his version of the faith-based initiative Thursday, he will expand the mission to include abortion reduction and outreach to the Muslim world. He will also try to avoid the thorniest constitutional issues that beset the program for years under his predecessor.

Mr. Obama's approach to the federal faith office reflects his search for common ground on contentious social issues, and his willingness to dial back some of his campaign positions.

Mr. Obama's goal, much like President George W. Bush's, is to harness the power of churches and other religious groups to solve some of the nation's toughest social problems. But almost from the start, the Bush plan was ensnared by constitutional questions about the separation between church and state, most notably whether an organization that received tax dollars can make hiring decisions on the basis of religion.
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(no subject)

White House to Bypass Commerce on Census

By Jonathan Allen, CQ Staff

The director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce, according to a senior White House official.

The decision came after black and Hispanic leaders raised questions about Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg ’s commitment to funding the census.

Gregg, New Hampshire’s senior senator, voted in committee and on the floor for a 1995 Republican budget that envisioned the elimination of the Commerce Department. Of even more concern to black and Hispanic leaders, Gregg battled President Clinton over a request for “emergency” funding for the 2000 census.


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To which I say, thank God.  I know Gregg is supposed to be relatively non-partisan, but considering that the census determines allocation of electoral votes I was really nervous about a Republican managing things. Too many opportunities for shenanigans.

Am I the only one who dislikes this pick the more I learn about him?

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

The View and the Preservation of Life... Wolves vs. Babies Edition

Elisabeth Hasselbeck defends Sarah Palin's support of the aerial killings of wolves by citing the 250,000 abortions performed in America.

There are so many things wrong, but can someone at least pull this girl aside and tell her to stop defending her beliefs by using extreme examples that are irrelevant to the topic?

Here's the original PSA they're talking about in case anyone hasn't seen it yet. Warning, though, it does feature animal violence so if that kind of stuff breaks your heart (as it does mine), you might want to use discretion.

On the bright side though, Barbara was absent today.
  • vast

DEA continues pot raids Obama opposes

Drug Enforcement Administration agents this week raided four medical marijuana shops in California, contrary to President Obama's campaign promises to stop the raids.

The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr. Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by Bush administration holdovers.

“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

Medical use of marijuana is legal under the law in California and a dozen other states, but the federal government under President Bush, bolstered by a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, argued that federal interests trumped state law.

Dogged by marijuana advocates throughout the campaign, Mr. Obama repeatedly said he was opposed to using the federal government to raid medical marijuana shops, particularly because it was an infringement on states' decisions.

“I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," Mr. Obama told the Mail Tribune newspaper in Oregon in March, during the Democratic primary campaign.

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why would they take $10,000? and i hope obama appoints a new dea admin soon cause this shit is whack!
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Hatted - Bowie

OK, it pains me to give him any attention, I just completely went o_O

The Karl Rove of the Commode?

Call it a pipe dream come true: When members of the Conservative Working Group held their weekly strategy meeting on the Hill on Tuesday morning, they were joined by none other than Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, who had come to offer his thoughts on the economic recovery bill.

The Senate staffers who showed up at 9 a.m. for the closed-door meeting refused to leak the contents of their discussion with the tradesman-cum-strategist, but Wurzelbacher himself revealed that the advice they soaked up was just good, old-fashioned “common sense.”

Wurzelbacher opposes the stimulus and said he questioned why the government can’t just cut its bills like other people do. He also advised staffers to take a harder line on the legislation: “Republicans on the Hill are afraid of saying too much,” he noted.

Further recommendations from the Karl Rove of the Commode included having “someone go in there and kick some ass.”

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Madoff, Harry Markopolos, Errold Moody, Stupid SEC/FINRA

Madoff, Harry Markopolos, Errold Moody, Stupid SEC/FINRA

Recent activities, certainly by Markopolos, has addressed the wholesale incompetency of the SEC from the ground up. He presented material years ago that should have made a difference.

Well, I started well over 15 years ago to the NASD in an effort to get anyone to recognize that NO definitive knowledge on investments were being presented to brokers, arbitrators, attorneys et al. The Dotcom mess could have been materially avoided. So could the losses sustained at Enron, Worldcom and more. The current fiasco would have also been contained.

Here is a letter to the NASD in 1995 that expresses the outrage. Until and unless somebody pays attention to the fundamentals of investing, the charade of SEC/FINRA/NASSA/DOL competency with continue.

Long time readers will note that the date could be 2009 since nothing has changed. Pay attention to the comment about attorneys.
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  • bispo

Google Cracking Down on Music Blogs?

Imagine having a music blog where new songs are shared with a plethora of visitors to your site. Now imagine going to view those same pages where the song was, and noticing the entire page is gone. This is the accusation many bloggers in Los Angeles are throwing around. All the bloggers happen to use Google’s Blogger platform.

According to LA Weekly, Google is now allegedly pulling the plug on any suspected copyright infringement material they say violate their terms of service. They use to send out a written warning first, but now entire pages are being pulled.

“I’d received the label’s press releases and followed their directions, spending my time and energy to promote their albums,” one frustrated blogger told the LA Weekly. “By pulling down my post, they destroyed my intellectual creativity, the very same thing they’re erroneously accusing me of doing. Say someone had linked to that post, or [blog aggregator] Hype Machine — it’s gone completely. If I go into my Blogger table of contents, it’s gone. Not de-published — gone.”

A Google spokesperson has responded to the hoopla, saying, “When we are notified of content that may violate our terms of service, including clear notices of alleged copyright infringement, we act quickly to review it, and our response may include removing allegedly infringing material.”
[politics] tastes like grassroots!

Where are we going? TO WASHINGTON D.C.

Sen. Harkin Backs Dean for HHS Secretary

The idea of nominating Howard Dean to head up the Department of Health and Human Services has the backing of at least one prominent national Democrat.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who endorsed Dean's presidential campaign in 2004 and is rumored to be in the HHS running himself, applauded the idea of the former DNC header taking over the cabinet post vacated by Tom Daschle.

"I think that would be a very good move," Harkin told the Huffington Post. "He brings all the background and experience. He's very strong on prevention and wellness, which I'm very strong on. I think he'd make an outstanding secretary of HHS."

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@ The Huffington Post
Britney » 2001 VMAs

Army official: Suicides in January 'terrifying'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One week after the U.S. Army announced record suicide rates among its soldiers last year, the service is worried about a spike in possible suicides in the new year.
If reports of suicides are confirmed, more soldiers will have taken their lives in January than died in combat.

If reports of suicides are confirmed, more soldiers will have taken their lives in January than died in combat.

The Army said 24 soldiers are believed to have committed suicide in January alone -- six times as many as killed themselves in January 2008, according to statistics released Thursday.

The Army said it already has confirmed seven suicides, with 17 additional cases pending that it believes investigators will confirm as suicides for January.

If those prove true, more soldiers will have killed themselves than died in combat last month. According to Pentagon statistics, there were 16 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq in January.

"This is terrifying," an Army official said. "We do not know what is going on."

Col. Kathy Platoni, chief clinical psychologist for the Army Reserve and National Guard, said that the long, cold months of winter could be a major contributor to the January spike.

"There is more hopelessness and helplessness because everything is so dreary and cold," she said

But Platoni said she sees the multiple deployments, stigma associated with seeking treatment and the excessive use of anti-depressants as ongoing concerns for mental-health professionals who work with soldiers.

Those who are seeking mental-health care often have their treatment disrupted by deployments. Deployed soldiers also have to deal with the stress of separations from families.

"When people are apart you have infidelity, financial problems, substance abuse and child behavioral problems," Platoni said. "The more deployments, the more it is exacerbated."

Platoni also said that while the military has made a lot of headway in training leaders on how to deal with soldiers who may be suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, "there is still a huge problem with leadership who shame them when they seek treatment."

The anti-depressants prescribed to soldiers can have side effects that include suicidal thoughts. Those side effects reportedly are more common in people 18 to 24.

Concern about last month's suicide rate was so high, Congress and the Army leadership were briefed. In addition, the Army took the rare step of releasing data for the month rather than waiting to issue it as part of annual statistics at the end of the year.

In January 2008, the Army recorded two confirmed cases of suicides and two other cases it was investigating.

Last week, in releasing the report that showed a record number of suicides in 2008, the Army said it soon will conduct servicewide training to help identify soldiers at risk of suicide.

The program, which will run February 15 through March 15, will include training to recognize behaviors that may lead to suicide and instruction on how to intervene. The Army will follow the training with another teaching program, from March 15 to June 15, focused on suicide prevention at all unit levels.

The 2008 numbers were the highest annual level of suicides among soldiers since the Pentagon began tracking the rate 28 years ago. The Army said 128 soldiers were confirmed to have committed suicide in 2008, and an additional 15 were suspected of having killed themselves. The statistics cover active-duty soldiers and activated National Guard and reserves.

The Army's confirmed rate of suicides in 2008 was 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers. The nation's suicide rate was 19.5 per 100,000 people in 2005, the most recent figure available, Army officials said last month.

Suicides for Marines were also up in 2008. There were 41 in 2008, up from 33 in 2007 and 25 in 2006, according to a Marines report.

In addition to the new training, the service has a program called Battlemind, intended to prepare soldiers and their families to cope with the stresses of war before, during and after deployment. It also is intended to help detect mental-health issues before and after deployments.

The Army and the National Institute of Mental Health signed an agreement in October to conduct research to identify factors affecting the mental and behavioral health of soldiers and to share strategies to lower the suicide rate. The five-year study will examine active-duty, National Guard and reserve soldiers and their families.


Guys, this is hitting close to home. My husband has been deployed to Iraq for 4 months, and when he came back from R&R, we spent it wonderfully, and I had to return to our duty station in Alaska, and then he was set to fly out a couple of days later back to Iraq. He didn't. His stress was too much and got scared. I myself am SCARED SHITLESS that my husband will do this. What really pushed it over the edge, as soon as he sought out psychological help, he was "diagnosed" within a short time as "fine, fit to go back" So they are sending my husband who is clearly ILL and suicidal BACK to Iraq without any help. The Colonel in this article has been contacted by us and is presenting my husband's case in Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, supposedly. I really hate the Army. I want my husband to be saved. In my wildest dreams, First Lady will do something since military families are one of her priorities. Only time can tell.

cookie monster
  • capthek

Dean Baker tells it like it is.

The Washington Post Prints More Nonsense on the Economy

If the Washington Post had a science section it would be filled with accounts of creationism and the latest thoughts from the Flat Earth Society. This is the only conclusion that one can get from reading its treatment of economics in the Outlook section.

Readers may recall the memorable Donald Luskin piece of September 14th telling readers that the economy was just fine. In keeping with this proud tradition, the Outlook section has a front page piece from Amity Shlaes telling readers that the New Deal didn't work. According to this story, the economy would have quickly recovered from the depression, if only Roosevelt had the good sense to do nothing.

While the basic argument has the form of a no evidence counter-factual assertion (e.g. the good fairy of the market would have set things right, if only Roosevelt didn't get in the way), the discussion is contradicted by the known facts of the era. Roosevelt's New Deal Agenda lowered the unemployment rate from 25 percent in 1933 to 10 percent in 1937. None of us would be happy with 10 percent unemployment, but it is difficult to complain about policies that reduced the unemployment rate by an average of almost 4 percentage points a year. The annual growth rate over these four years averaged 13.0 percent. It is always possible that the magic of the market would have done better, but there is no reason that we should believe so.

Schlaes is correct in pointing out that things turned bad again in 1937. The Blue Dogs of the Roosevelt era won sway and got Roosevelt to cut spending and raise taxes. This threw the economy back into a serious recession, just as any good Keynesian would have predicted.

When it comes to writings on economics, the Post's Outlook section is probably best viewed as a jobs program rather than a source for serious ideas.

[For folks who think that the growth in federal spending under Roosevelt and the recovery were just coincidence, here is the annual growth in federal government spending, alongside the following year's GDP growth:

growth in federal gov spending GDP Growth

1932 2.2% 1933 1.3%
1933 23.7% 1934 10.8%
1934 34.2% 1935 8.9%
1935 1.7% 1936 13.0%
1936 51.0% 1937 5.7%
1937 -10.0% 1938 -3.4%
1938 10.4% 1939 8.1%
1939 7.2% 1940 8.8%
1940 12.0% 1941 17.1%

This is annual data (obviously quarterly would be better) and clearly monetary policy and other factors played a role, but it is pretty hard to look at this data (available at www.bea.gov) and not see a relationship between government spending and GDP growth.]


--Dean Baker

by <lj_user="yellowbang">

Russia and China seen negatively

Russia and China seen negatively


Global attitudes towards Russia and China are worsening, a poll carried out for the BBC World Service suggests.

China's positive ratings fell six points over the year to 39%, while negative views of Russia jumped eight points to 42%, according to the survey.

The survey was taken after President Barack Obama's election, but 43% still felt the US impact was negative.

More than 13,000 people in 21 countries were interviewed for the poll, part of an annual survey of world opinion.

It was carried out by international pollster GlobeScan with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland in the 10 weeks leading up to 1 February.


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"Our poll results suggest that China has much to learn about winning hearts and minds in the world," said GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller.

"It seems that a successful Olympic Games has not been enough to offset other concerns that people have," he added, referring to the summer games hosted by Beijing in August 2008.

The poll also suggests that substantially more people now have a negative view of Russia's influence - 42% negative versus 30% positive - and that was before the recent disruption in Russian gas supplies to Europe.

"As for Russia, the more it acts like the old Soviet Union, the less people outside its borders seem to like it," Mr Miller said.

The World Service poll has been canvassing opinions on the influence of countries since 2005.

Obama's challenge

The US, for the first time since 2005, has surpassed Russia in positive ratings, with an average of 40% compared with 35% last year.


But it is still rated negatively by 43% of those polled, down from 47% in the 2008 poll.

Views of the US have improved in six countries, but attitudes towards it in Russia and China have grown more negative, while most people in Europe show little change.

"Though BBC polls have shown that most people around the world are hopeful that Barack Obama will improve US relations with the world, it is clear that his election alone is not enough to turn the tide," said Steven Kull, director of Pipa.

"People are still looking to see if there are significant changes in US policies."

Germany once again fared best in the poll, with every country viewing it positively and 61% of people rating it favourably, up from 55% last year.

The UK also moved up seven points, with 58% of people rating it as having a positive influence.

As was the case last year, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea were rated most negatively.

The latest results are based on 13,575 responses in 21 countries around the world. The survey has a margin of error ranging from 2.4% to 4.4% depending upon the country, 19 times out of 20.


Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7873050.stm 


50 De-Stimulating Facts

Senate Democrats acknowledged Wednesday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill in its current form. This is unexpected good news. The House passed the stimulus package with zero Republican votes (and even a few Democratic defections), but few expected Senate Republicans (of whom there are only 41) to present a unified front. A few moderate Democrats have reportedly joined them.

The idea that the government can spend the economy out of a recession is highly questionable, and even with Senate moderates pushing for changes, the current package is unlikely to see much improvement. Nevertheless, this presents an opportunity to remove some of the most egregious spending, to shrink some programs, and to add guidelines where the initial bill called for a blank check. Here are 50 of the most outrageous items in the stimulus package:

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OCTO-MOM leaves hospital.. first interview to be with

Ann Curry of NBC's Today show?

no Oprah? ..and ...

NBC News spokeswoman Megan Kopf said Suleman was not paid for the interview.

so much for the $2M.


$165,000 In Disability Payments

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported Thursday that a California state agency says it paid Suleman more than $165,000 in disability payments for an on-the-job back injury — and that she gave birth to most of her other six children during the time she was on disability.

The payments made over six years were disclosed Thursday following a public records request to the Department of Mental Health. The payments were made between 2002 and 2008.

Source : NPR

well.. at least now we know where some of that income was coming from... !

PS: There was no FREAK SHOW tag... !

ETA: it JUST GOT BETTER. turns out...BABY DADDY WANTED TO GET MARRIED, but MOM SAID NO so he has not been around much!
Angela says she is not at liberty to disclose the father of the octuplets, but she says that David Soloman -- the father of Nadya's first six children -- has not been around much.

"She was not married to David," Angela says. "That was her problem. He would have wanted to marry her. She is actually a beautiful woman. I don’t know what went wrong.

source for this hilarious twist.. the pillar of the Fourth Estate, US Magazine

ETA ONE MORE TIME ... she didn't file ONCE for disability.. it was THREE times in 1999 and 2001, and then in 2008

A California woman who recently gave birth to octuplets has filed at least two workman's compensation claims for injuries while employed as a psychiatric technician at a state mental hospital, records show.

The details of Nadya Suleman's first claim, for a 1999 injury, were not immediately available.

In 2001, Suleman, who also has six other children, filed a second claim with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board for "injury to neck, back and shoulders" from an "auto accident on commute for medical treatment," according to records obtained by ABC News. The records were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Though the details of Suleman's claims were not clear, Suleman's 2001 workman's compensation claim was filed because of a disagreement regarding liability for temporary disability indemnity, permanent disability indemnity, reimbursement for medical expense, medical treatment, compensation at proper rate and rehabilitation, according to the Workers' Compensation Board documents.

The documents list her income as "max," meaning she earned at least $490 a week, according to the state Division of Workmans' Compensation.

Additional records cited by the L.A. Times show that, on Sept. 25, 2008, a petition was filed to compel Suleman to attend a medical exam with "petition to terminate liability for temporary disability indemnity."

source : ABC news

*sorry my bad.. I just found this out, NPR didn't go into it in their brief article.
by &lt;lj_user=&quot;yellowbang&quot;&gt;

Rights group calls to ban Czech castration law

(CNN) -- The Czech Republic's practice of surgically castrating convicted sex offenders is "invasive, irreversible and mutilating" and should stop immediately, the Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee said in a report made public Thursday.

The central European country castrated at least 94 prisoners in the 10 years up to April 2008, when investigators from the Council of Europe, a human-rights forum, visited the Czech Republic.

The Council of Europe condemned the practice as "degrading."

The procedure is being performed even on first-time, non-violent offenders, such as exhibitionists, its investigation revealed.

Prisoners have to request castration under Czech law, but many fear they will be jailed for life if they do not, the investigation found.

"In practically all the cases, these patients indicated that their application was at least partially instigated by fear of long-term detention," the report said.


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&#39; jules
  • schmiss

idk my bff Milorad?

My Best Friend Blago

During college, Rod Blagojevich loved to make crank calls to radio stations, remained true to Elvis, worshipped Reagan, identified intensely with Nixon, and was already honing his craft.

(image © ladypolitik)

I used to go yo-hoing with the most disgraced politician in America. After a night carousing in Chicago, when we were both undergrads at Northwestern University in the late 1970s, a group of us would occasionally end up at a 24-hour diner called the Gold Coin, where we’d have a very early breakfast. And once or twice, just for hoots, we would “yo-ho.” That was our term for running out before paying the bill, thus stiffing some poor waitress working the overnight shift out of a five- or 10- dollar tip. In our youthful, drunken stupor, we thought this was hilarious.

God, we could be such assholes. To this day, 30 years down the road, it makes me shudder just thinking about it.

He’s “Blago” to you by now, the heretofore little-known politician with the unpronounceable last name and the funny head of hair. His hair, we’ve been told for the last several months, is ridiculous. To me it’s the same hair he had in college. I didn’t think it was particularly weird then, and I don’t think it is now. But that’s the thing about this American freak show that I’ve watched unfold from afar: The plethora of Blago hair jokes is the least of my confusion.

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carrie fisher

60-year old mother welcomes twins.

60-year-old Calgary mother welcomes twins

Ranjit Hayer delivered her twin boys at Calgary's Foothills Hospital on Tuesday morning. (CBC)

Ranjit Hayer tried for decades to have a child, enduring multiple miscarriages, surgery, even the trauma of being robbed by a fertility doctor. Finally, after a successful IVF treatment, the Calgary woman gave birth to twins — at age 60.

She is believed to be among the oldest Canadian women to give birth.

Hayer's boys were delivered seven weeks prematurely by C-section at Calgary's Foothills Hospital on Tuesday morning, CBC Radio's The Current reported Thursday. The mother is recovering in intensive care, while the twins are in the neo-natal intensive care unit.

One of the babies is breathing with the help of special equipment, while the other boy is in the special care unit. Doctors say both are doing well. The twins will be kept in hospital until they reach a specified weight and can breathe on their own.

"My mind was always uneasy. I always said there should be a baby. I had my heart set on it. I wanted a baby," Hayer said from her hospital bed through a Punjabi translator.

"I used to say to my husband, 'Go ahead, marry someone else. You have earned so much.'

"He used to say to me, 'There's nothing wrong with you. If God wants to give us kids, he will.'"

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Kyrgyzstan defends US base move

Kyrgyzstan has denied that its plan to shut a key US air base is linked to a big aid package from Russia.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov explained that Washington had not paid enough for the use of the Manas base.

The closure plan was announced earlier this week, after Russia had promised Kyrgystan $2bn (£1.4bn) in aid. Kyrgyz MPs will vote on the issue this month.

The Pentagon said it was still in talks about the base, which supports US and Nato operations in Afghanistan.

"This is something that the US government continues to discuss with Kyrgyzstan officials," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

"It certainly doesn't make any sense for Russia or any other country in the region to try to undermine the international effort to bring stability to Central Asia," he added.

'Wrong price'

Some analysts suspect Russia influenced Kyrgyz plans regarding Manas, BBC Central Asia correspondent Rayhan Demytrie reports.


Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced the closure plan after talks in Moscow, where he was promised the $2bn in aid.

But Mr Chudinov said on Thursday: "Talks on Russian aid have been going on for two years, and they were in no way related to the issue of the removal of the air base from Kyrgyzstan."

The Kyrgyz PM also said the rent paid by the US for the use of the Manas base was too low.

Washington currently pays $63m (£43m) a year, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Diplomatic victory

Manas, near Bishkek, is the only US base in Central Asia and is a vital transit point for Nato and US operations in Afghanistan.

The move to shut the base comes at a critical moment, just as the new administration of US President Barack Obama plans a sharp increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

For Russia, on the other hand, its closure would be a significant diplomatic victory as it seeks to reassert its influence in all former Soviet republics and beyond, correspondents say.

Moscow has given its support for Nato re-supplying its forces in Afghanistan, but has stopped short of agreeing to share a military presence in the former Soviet Union with the US.

The Manas base was set up in 2001 to assist the US military operation against al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Under the lease agreement, the US must be given six months' notice to close its operations.

I went to meet with my political science advisor and he read an article about this out of the new york something paper, and it made it seem as if Russia bought out this base from America.  This Article clears it up, kind of.  But the other article is probably one of the contributing factors as to why people dislike Russia :( :( :(


RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Obama on fire at the House Democrats gathering -- "I found this deficit when I got here!!"

ETA: Fixed broken Youtube link. Both parts now up

Obama Stimulus Speech Rallies Democrats
Huffington Post/AP | Marcus Baram | February 5, 2009 08:48 PM

President Obama, in some of the strongest language he's used since the presidential campaign, forcefully pushed his stimulus plan tonight in a speech before House Democrats at their three-day annual retreat at the Kingsmill Resort & Spa in Williamsburg, Va.

And he urged Democrats to reject delaying tactics, accusing the Republicans of helping get the country into the current financial crisis.

"I found this deficit when I showed up," he said in a swipe at the Bush administration. "I found this a national debt double wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office."

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garf tired

This is why I love The Nation.

The Nation.

Crash Landings: Paul Krugman's Depression Economics

By Bernard Avishai


"We sometimes, for example, hear it said," writes John Stuart Mill in his Principles of Political Economy, "that governments ought to confine themselves to affording protection against force and fraud"; that people should otherwise be "free agents, able to take care of themselves." But why, he asks, considering all the "other evils" of a market society, should people not be more widely protected by government--that is, "by their own collective strength"? Much like Mill, Paul Krugman likes capitalism's innovations but not its crises and thinks that government has a duty to facilitate the former and protect us from the latter. He doubts that citizens will get much protection from moguls--or from most economists, for that matter--unless we trouble to grasp how the whole intricate game works, so that our legislators will form a consensus about how to regulate it. Mill supposed that we needed to see "the Dynamics of political economy," not just "the Statics." Krugman knows we need Liquidity Traps for Dummies.
    So for the past twenty years Krugman has dutifully mapped the patterns, worried the numbers and issued his warnings--as in (now we can say it) his seriously underestimated book The Return of Depression Economics (1999), a primer on the financial busts of Japan, the Asian "tigers" and Latin America, transparently meant to caution Americans about their own vulnerabilities. He could not have chosen a worse time for prophesy than the end of the millennium. Technology markets were booming, Google was just a year old and Enron was voted a Fortune "Most Admired Company" (for the fourth consecutive year). Meanwhile, a budget surplus was accruing, and the Clinton White House, the Federal Reserve and Congress were all in agreement that, say, regulating "credit default swaps" would be an insult to the professionalism of investment bankers.

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    aaliyah » doin&#39; it for the fame
    • abiding

    OI OI OI

    Octuplets' mom: I always wanted a huge family
    Suleman says she longed for siblings during her 'dysfunctional' childhood

    “I went through about seven years of trying, through artificial insemination, through medication,” Nadya Suleman told NBC's Ann Curry. “And all of which was unsuccessful. And then the first IVF procedure from that facility — it was successful. And then I just kept going in.”

    By Mike Celizic
    TODAYShow.com contributor
    updated 6:36 p.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 5, 2009

    Tune in to Friday's TODAY for more of Ann Curry's interview.

    The Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets last week told TODAY’s Ann Curry in an exclusive interview that growing up as an only child, she had always dreamed of having “a huge family.”

    “How did an only child end up with 14 children?” Curry asked Nadya Suleman.

    “That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family, and I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that I really lacked, I believe, growing up,” she replied.

    The exclusive interview will air on TODAY Monday, Feb. 9, and on Dateline at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10. A first look at the interview will air Friday, Feb. 6, on TODAY.

    “Describe what you felt you lacked within,” Curry said.

    “Feeling of self and identity,” Suleman, 33, replied. “I didn't feel as though, when I was a child, I had much control of my environment. I felt powerless. And that gave me a sense of predictability. Reflecting back on my childhood, I know it wasn't functional. It was pretty dysfunctional, and whose isn't?”

    While the world celebrated the birth of fairly healthy octuplets, public sentiment has shifted as it's been revealed Suleman also has six other children, ages 2 to 7, and is a single parent who conceived all 14 of her children through in vitro fertilization.

    The divorced single mom told Curry she tried to get pregnant for years before finally succeeding.

    “I went through about seven years of trying, through artificial insemination, through medication. And all of which was unsuccessful. And then the first IVF procedure from that facility — it was successful. And then I just kept going in.”

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    Interviewed sauce.

    This is what she continues to sound like to me: