February 13th, 2009

meredith [grey's anatomy]
  • germli

Commuter Plane Crashes Into Home in Upstate NY

Published: February 13, 2009

Filed at 12:01 a.m. ET

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- New York state police say a 50-passenger commuter plane has crashed into a home in suburban Buffalo.

State Trooper John Manthey says the plane hit a house in Clarence around 10:10 p.m. Thursday. The house is engulfed in flames.

He says they don't know whether there were any passengers on the plane. They also don't know if there were any injuries in the home.

Manthey says the plane may have been headed to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. He says they have called the Federal Aviation Administration.


ETA dearpencilpal
49 killed as plane crashes into Clarence Center home

Forty-nine people reportedly died when an aircraft identified as a Continental Airlines flight crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10 p.m. last night, starting a huge fire which poured thick smoke throughout the hamlet.

Unconfirmed reports from a source at Buffalo Niagara International Airport said that the dead included 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground.

County Executive Chris Collins said that there may have been as many as 50 people aboard the plane and crew members had reported mechanical problems as they approached Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Several injured people were taken from the scene to Erie County Medical Center for treatment.

Television reports said the crash site was 6050 Long St., not far from the Clarence Center Fire Hall on Clarence Center Road. Police said that one man was in the residence at the time of the crash.

:( If more detailed articles or video come out, let me know.

fleur de lis

The Latest CBO Report on the Stimulative Effect of the House-Senate Recovery Bill

Dear Senator:
At your request, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has prepared a year-by-year
analysis of the economic effects of pending stimulus legislation. This analysis is based
on an average of the effects of two versions of H.R. 1—as passed by the House and as
passed by the Senate. (The economic effects of those two bills are broadly similar.)

Short-Run Effects
The macroeconomic impacts of any economic stimulus program are very uncertain.
Economic theories differ in their predictions about the effectiveness of stimulus.
Furthermore, large fiscal stimulus is rarely attempted, so it is difficult to distinguish...
...blah blah blah, here's the chart:

Total Cost of House-Senate Bill: $789 Billion

+1.4% for 2009 = +$199.4 billion
+3.8% for 2009 = +$541.2 billion
+1.1% for 2010 = +$160.5 billion
+3.3% for 2010 = +$481.5 billion
+0.4% for 2011 = +$60 billion
+1.3% for 2011 = +$195 billion
+0.1% for 2012 = +$15.5 billion
+0.7% for 2012 = +$112 billion
+0.0% for 2013 = $0
+0.4% for 2013 = +$68 billion
+$435.4 BILLION
+0.3% for 2014 = +$54.6 billion
—0.1% for 2014 = —$18.2 billion
0% for 2015 = $0
—0.2% for 2015 = —$38 billion
0% for 2016 = $0
—0.2% for 2016 = —$40 billion
0% for 2017 = $0
—0.2% for 2017 = —$42 billion
0% for 2018 = $0
—0.2% for 2018 = —$44 billion
0% for 2019 = $0
—0.2% for 2019 = —$45 billion
—$227.2 BILLION


The gap is a freakin' ridiculous. Why even bother estimating at that point? It's like a hurricane forecaster telling you the hurricane is going to hit someplace between the Yucatan Peninsula and Iceland.

source (pdf)
Peter Pan
  • soktahu

UK Government Criticised For Banning Dutch MP

The government has come under fire after banning a Dutch MP from entering the UK over anti-Islamic remarks.

Former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo said by turning away Geert Wilders, ministers had made a "populist twit and bigot" world famous.

The Freedom Party MP had been invited to a House of Lords screening of his film, linking the Koran to terrorism.

Muslim groups backed the government's decision and labelled Mr Wilder "an open and relentless preacher of hate".


'Free speech'

Mr Wilders, who faces trial in his own country for inciting hatred, caused outrage across the Muslim world last year when he posted his film, Fitna, on the internet.

Now he is at the centre of further controversy following an invitation from the UK Independence Party's Lord Pearson to show his film in the House of Lords.

Lord Pearson told the BBC it was a "matter of free speech" and the film would only be offensive to violent Islamists.

Fitna's opening scenes show a copy of the Koran followed by footage of the 9/11 attacks in the US and the bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.

The Lords screening went ahead as planned, despite Mr Wilders' absence, although only five peer and no MPs were present.

But Mr Portillo expressed concerns those who did attend would not be the only people to view it.

Speaking on BBC1's This Week, he said the MP held "unattractive" opinions but had he been allowed in he would have arrived "unnoticed to show his film to 30 fairly eccentric peers".

Instead, he said, he has become a "globally famous figure" with thousands of people going on the internet to watch the film.

Differences and debate

Crossbench peer Baroness Cox, who hosted a later screening for the media, accused the British government of "succumbing to threats of intimidation".

She said it was "a very sad and a very disturbing day for British democracy when a European parliamentarian has not been allowed into this country".

"I don't agree with everything that Geert Wilders has to say, but I believe he has the right to say it in a democracy."

Mr Wilders defended his visit to the UK, saying he had visited two weeks ago and planned to return in the future.

He said: "I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm not protesting or running through the streets of London.

"Democracy means differences and debate. It's a very sad day when the UK bans an elected parliamentarian."

He went on to accuse Gordon Brown of being the "biggest coward in Europe".

Mr Brown's spokesman said the prime minister fully supported the decision taken by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, also supported the Home Secretary's decision.

"His fascist views are not welcome in our country where we pride ourselves as a multi-faith society," he said.

"This is not about freedom of speech but about stopping the incitement to religious hatred this man promotes."

Earlier, the Muslim Council of Britain said Mr Wilders was "an open and relentless preacher of hate".

The home secretary has the power to stop people entering the UK if she believes there is a threat to national security, public order or the safety of UK citizens, but she cannot exclude people simply because of their views.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the home secretary made a decision on an individual case.

"We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry 'fire' in a crowded theatre and there is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred, according to the laws of the land," he added.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said even with freedom of speech, there was a line to be drawn.

The Dutch government said it "regretted" the decision to bar Mr Wilders from the UK, saying it believed all its MPs "should be able to travel freely in the European Union".

Other prominent figures banned from the UK:
Muslim cleric Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi refused entry in order to protect community cohesion. He has described suicide bombers as "martyrs" and homosexuality as "disease".
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan barred on the grounds that his allegedly racist and anti-Semitic views could threaten public order.
Martha Stewart and US rapper Snoop Dogg denied entry because of criminal convictions. 



I think they were right to turn him away, as they've turned away Muslim extremists too. It sends out the right message that extremism on either end of the spectrum is not acceptable to the UK government.

  • cindel

It's All About the Benjamins


Oh, Lindsey Graham, he is one of our favorites! The South Carolina Senator has, for weeks, cast himself as one of the stimulus package's most fervent opponents. This time last week, he and John McCain were in the well of the Senate, performing a grand duetto buffo di due gatti against the stimulus, and when the media metanarrative required that someone take a ream of paper and wave it around in the air with dramatic flair, Graham was only too happy to accommodate.

Ah, but now the bill's passage draws nigh, and lest you think he was going to school us all by allowing South Carolina to become a laboratory for whatever the hell economic plan he thought would work better, guess again. Graham will take the dollars, thank you, even if he's not convinced it will be of any good! Or so he told Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: South Carolina will get money out of this bill.


BLITZER: Should South Carolina take the money?

GRAHAM: I think that, yes, from my point of view, I -- you don't want to be crazy here. I mean, if there's going to be money on the table that will help my state, but I've got a job to do up here, and that is to try to help people and not damn the next generation. We had a $415 billion package to help people who have lost their jobs, that cut taxes, that create new jobs. We've got a spending bill, not a job creation bill. And we're being all things to all people.

Shucks, Lindsey, if you don't think it'll do South Carolina any good, by all means, don't take it!


9/11 widow among Buffalo flight victims

Sean Rooney and wife Beverly Eckert in an undated photograph

CLARENCE CENTER, New York (CNN) -- Friends, relatives and acquaintances were shocked to hear the news that Beverly Eckert, the widow of a September 11 victim, was aboard the Continental flight to Buffalo, New York, that crashed Thursday night.

A resident of Stamford, Connecticut, Eckert was the widow of Buffalo native Sean Rooney, who died at the World Trade Center. After that attack, Eckert co-founded "Voices of September 11," an advocacy group for survivors and 9/11 families.

Valerie Lucznikowska, a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said Friday she was "horribly saddened" by news of the Buffalo crash.

Lucznikowska said she, Eckert and another woman traveled to Washington last Friday for a meeting between 9/11 family members and President Barack Obama.

Speaking at the White House on Friday, Obama said Eckert was aboard the doomed airplane. He called her a "tireless advocate" of 9/11 families.

Lucznikowska called Eckert "truly a wonderful person. She was someone who was trying to make society better."

Lucznikowska, whose nephew died in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, said Eckert asked Obama whether the group would have ongoing meetings with his administration. Obama said meetings would continue, even though they wouldn't necessarily be with him.

Eckert backed Peaceful Tomorrows' effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and end the military commissions there, Lucznikowska said. The group elaborated on this stance in a signed letter to Obama, and Eckert gave a presidential aide a separate letter listing her own concerns, Lucznikowska said.

She was traveling to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her husband's 58th birthday, according to the Buffalo News -- the first news agency to report her presence on the fatal flight.

The newspaper quoted Eckert's sister, Sue Bourque, as saying: "We know she was on that plane," even though the family hadn't received official confirmation.

Eckert also planned to take part in presenting a scholarship award at Canisius High School that was established in honor of her late husband, who was a Canisius alumni, according to the school's president, John Knight.

Knight said he couldn't confirm Eckert's presence on the plane. However, he said, the school postponed the scholarship presentation that had been scheduled for Friday. He said Eckert also had been active in a capital campaign fund-raising effort.

"She struck me as a wonderful, beautiful person who clearly wanted to do something to remember her husband in a way that would have an everlasting impact on our community," Knight said.

Jay Winuk, who lost his brother in the World Trade Center attacks, said Eckert was "a terrific advocate for the 9/11 family community."

Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed late Thursday about seven miles northeast of Buffalo Niagara International Airport, killing all 49 passengers and crew members aboard and one person on the ground.

Also on the plane was Ellyce Kausner, 24, her brother Chris confirmed. The Buffalo News reported that she was a graduate of Clarence High School and Canisius College, who was studying law at Florida Coastal University in Jacksonville.

"My parents are on vacation in Florida, and I had to call down there and tell my father what was going on," Chris Kausner told CNN affiliate WIVB-TV.

When asked how his parents were handling the news, a shaken Kausner responded: "To tell you the truth, I heard my mother make a sound that I have never heard before."

The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office established a command post at the scene and had investigators there, a statement from the office said. Officials said relatives of passengers aboard the flight should call 800-621-3263 for information.


Ugh, how fucking awful. :( I really have no words.

You Try to Live on 500K in This Town

by Allen Salkin

PRIVATE school: $32,000 a year per student.

Mortgage: $96,000 a year.

Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year.

Nanny: $45,000 a year.

We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.

Five hundred thousand dollars — the amount President Obama wants to set as the top pay for banking executives whose firms accept government bailout money — seems like a lot, and it is a lot. To many people in many places, it is a princely sum to live on. But in the neighborhoods of New York City and its suburban enclaves where successful bankers live, half a million a year can go very fast.

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' jules
  • schmiss

Senate Intelligence Committee: an oxymoron?

Feinstein comment on U.S. drones likely to embarrass Pakistan

The Predator planes that launch missile strikes against militants are based in Pakistan, the senator says. That suggests a much deeper relationship with the U.S. than Islamabad would like to admit.

A senior U.S. lawmaker said Thursday that unmanned CIA Predator aircraft operating in Pakistan are flown from an air base in that country, a revelation likely to embarrass the Pakistani government and complicate its counter-terrorism collaboration with the United States.

The disclosure by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, marked the first time a U.S. official had publicly commented on where the Predator aircraft patrolling Pakistan take off and land.

At a hearing, Feinstein expressed surprise over Pakistani opposition to the campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against Islamic extremist targets along Pakistan's northwestern border.

"As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base," she said.

The basing of the pilotless aircraft in Pakistan suggests a much deeper relationship with the United States on counter-terrorism matters than has been publicly acknowledged. Such an arrangement would be at odds with protests lodged by officials in Islamabad, the capital, and could inflame anti-American sentiment in the country.

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cookie monster
  • capthek

food for thought, anybody here know of someone in foreclosure?

I am really glad to see such an excellent article on the most emailed list over at yahoo news. I would like to pull out one quote:

"One program, Hope for Homeowners -- which Bush officials and banks promised last fall would shield 400,000 families from foreclosure -- has so far produced only 25 refinanced loans."

I was just covering the great depressions housing programs with my students and we read about President Hoover's huge housing programs before FDR became president in 1933. People in the media keep on talking about how Hoover was a big spending president like FDR and thus this is proof that we can't spend out way out of our recession. In 1931 Hoover signed the "Federal Home Loan Bank Act" to establish a credit reserve for mortgage lenders. Half of the housing in the U.S. was technically in foreclosure at this time. ONLY THREE HOMES WERE SAVED WITH THIS LEGISLATION. Not three thousand or three hundred, three. Then Hoover signed the "Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932" to provide financing for housing. It produced ONE BUILDING!

So ya, there are effective policies and completely ineffective policies.

In my research I have found if the government would just do something as simple as restrict the interest rates for loans with floating rates, it would solve many of these foreclosure problems. I have interviewed people who had their rates reset as high as 12% to 15%! Imagine trying to make your mortgage payments if they suddenly doubled! That is what is happening to people again and again. Ya, sure, some of them should have known better, but all of our housing values are going to keep on going down as long as the foreclosures keep on happening so why not legislate a maximum of 10%? OK, I have taken up enough of your time, here is the article I quoted from below: Collapse )
naughty snapples!

if this is for real, OH MY GOD.

Gene therapy offers hope of cure for HIV

Doctors rid man of the virus with bone marrow transplant breakthrough
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Doctors have succeeded in ridding a man of the HIV virus by giving him a bone marrow transplant in what they claim is the closest treatment yet to a cure for the disease.

The remarkable case gives new impetus to the development of gene therapy for HIV which could ultimately replace the need for expensive and toxic antiretroviral drugs. Instead of taking drugs for life, HIV sufferers might instead have a one-off treatment that would leave them virus-free.

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oh brudda.

Spanish Families Defy Mandatory Homosexual Indoctrination!


Last week a Spanish court ruled that parents may not take their children out of classes that teach about LGBT rights. Some Spanish families are rebelling, as demonstrated by the above video. From the Christianist LifeSiteNews, where I also got the title of this post.
Spanish families who are resisting their government's mandatory homosexualist indoctrination program have made a video expressing their defiance. "Freedom begins with defiance" the video begins. It then includes scenes of adults, teenagers, and children expressing their rejection of the classes, which are being given as a required civics course in the nation's schools, both public and private. "We're not giving in" says one mother. "We're not going to enter the classes," say two teenagers. "We're going to continue fighting ... for our freedom and the freedom of all," say two groups of families. The video has appeared in the wake of a recent decision by the Spanish Supreme Court, which has not been formally announced yet, but which purportedly confirms that the government may compel students to take the course, which is entitled "Education for Citizenship and Human Rights." Although the course is billed as a type of civics instruction, it has been criticized for promoting secularist values strongly opposed to Christianity, including homosexualist ideology.
I prefer "homosexualista". Sandinista, fashionista, Clintonista. Nicaragua just keeps giving.


lipstick on a pig?

Blackwater dumps tarnished brand name

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Blackwater Worldwide is abandoning its tarnished brand name. Blackwater officials said Friday its family of two dozen business will now operate under the name Xe (zee), pronounced like the letter "z."

The decision comes as part of an ongoing rebranding effort that grew more urgent following a September 2007 shooting in Iraq that left at least a dozen civilians dead.

Blackwater president Gary Jackson said in a memo to employees the new name reflects the change in company focus away from the business of providing private security.

Spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell says the company felt the Blackwater name was too closely tied to its security work in Iraq.

Like we're not gonna know what it is

Blackwater = fail for so many reasons, too many to count.


PS apologies in advance to pigs everywhere for the derogatory comments. Pigs are smart and cute

PPS As far as I know, Hello Kitty/Sanrio do NOT endorse Blackwater or Xe. The above is just an artist's rendering

Sourceage: AP via Yahoo
  • cindel

Octuplets doctor has another patient expecting quadruplets

A few months after Dr. Michael Kamrava helped Nadya Suleman become pregnant with octuplets, he transferred at least seven embryos to another patient.

She was in her late 40s and wanted just one baby.

Now she's five months pregnant with quadruplets and hospitalized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, according to several sources familiar with the situation.
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Alison Des Forges, Human Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 66 In Plane Crash

Alison L. Des Forges, a historian who documented the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and was an authority on human rights abuses in Central Africa, was a passenger on Continental Airlines Flight 3407 when it crashed near Buffalo on Thursday night, killing all 49 people on board. She was 66.

The death was confirmed by Human Rights Watch, the New York-based advocacy group where Dr. Des Forges, who lived in Buffalo, served as senior adviser for its Africa division.

Dr. Des Forges spent four years interviewing organizers and victims of the Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of people died. She testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, and expert panels convened by the United Nations and what is now the African Union, as well as the French and Belgian legislatures and the United States Congress.

The MacArthur Foundation recognized her work with a $375,000 “genius” grant in 1999. Her book “Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda,” published that year, was considered one of the most authoritative accounts of the genocide.

In 2001, after a Belgian court sentenced four Rwandans, two of them Roman Catholic nuns, to long prison terms for their roles in the genocide, Dr. Des Forges said she was deeply impressed by the proceedings — the first in which a jury of ordinary citizens was asked to sit in judgment of war crimes in another nation.

“People maybe don’t even realize just how revolutionary this jury trial, so far from the events, really is,” she told The New York Times then. The Belgian trial, she said, “has been done with a great deal more depth than those in Rwanda.”

Dr. Des Forges was also an authority on human rights violations in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.

Before the genocide, Dr. Des Forges was part of a group convened by Human Rights Watch and other organizations that examined rights abuses, including killings and attacks and kidnappings of civilians, in Rwanda from 1990 to 1993.

“She was a volunteer, and eventually the executive director forced her to take a salary,” said Emma Daly, communications director at Human Rights Watch.

Alison B. Liebhafsky was born on Aug. 20, 1942, in Schenectady, N.Y., the daughter of Herman Liebhafsky and Cybil Small. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1964, and received a master’s degree in 1966 and a doctorate in 1972, both in history, from Yale. Her master’s thesis focused on the impact of European colonization on Rwanda’s social system, and her doctoral dissertation was about Yuhi Musinga, the mwami, or ruler, of Rwanda from 1896 to 1931, during which Rwanda became a colony of Belgium. She was fluent in French.

Dr. Des Forges is survived by her husband, Roger V. Des Forges, a historian of China who teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo; a brother, Douglas Small Liebhafsky; a sister-in-law, Wendy Gimbel; a daughter, Jessie Des Forges Poremba; a son, Alexander Des Forges; and three grandchildren.


Alison was the mother of two of my sister's childhood best friends. She was an inspiration to me my entire life, a brave and passionate woman who was a voice for Rwanda in the US when very few voices were being heard. Please keep her family in your thoughts.
RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Crist criticized for having sense | Gregg: "Obama never going to get GOP stimulus support" anyway

Gov. Charlie Crist takes heat from Republicans for supporting stimulus package
By Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor
In Print: Friday, February 13, 2009

Charlie Crist: statesman or sellout?

Democrats may be lavishing praise on Florida's Republican governor for enthusiastically supporting the Democrats' economic stimulus package, but Republicans are questioning whether Crist damaged his future in national politics.

"I don't think he's helped any national Republican ambitions he may have by stepping up to the plate and batting for the other team. … There's a difference between working in a bipartisan way for the common good and switching sides and putting on the other team's jersey," said veteran Republican consultant Alex Castellanos. "At the one moment when we've finally found our voice and remember who we are as Republicans, Charlie Crist forgets. It's stunning."

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You go, Glen Coco Charlie Crist! Whatevs, Crist won some points from me. Oh, and I have an irrational dislike for Alex Castellanos.


Gregg: Obama Never Could Get GOP Support On Stimulus
February 13, 2009 12:06 PM
Sam Stein
stein@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting From DC

Appearing on CNBC the day after he abruptly withdrew his nomination for Commerce Secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg made a rather blunt admission about the partisan intransigence that the Obama administration is forced to deal with.

From the transcript:
Carl Quintanilla: Well, Senator, since you were nominated it's become quite clear that the margin that the president is going to rely on in the Senate has come down to really three Senators."
Sen. Gregg: I think it's always been that margin.

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# what is that?
  • schmiss


Walter Jones, GOP Congressman, Signs On To Investigating Bush

There is, in fact, an element of bipartisan support for creating of a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate illegalities from the Bush years. And it comes from within Congress.

Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, has signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by House Judiciary Chair John Conyers to establish "a national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties."

A self-described conservative who brought "Freedom Fries" to Congress, Jones developed into one of the most vocal Republican critics of the Bush administration. He took particular umbrage at the handling of the Iraq War and the decision to prohibit photographs of returning coffins of American soldiers. Late in the past administration's time in office he was reported to have been reading Vincent Bugliosi's book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder."

So while it is surprising to see an elected Republican official endorse the establishment of an investigatory committee to probe the Bush years, it is slightly less surprising that that official is Jones.

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I find this guy's political evolution really interesting... from Freedom Fries fighter to kinda-sorta-Libertarian. But he still keeps getting re elected in a conservative part of NC. Incumbency roolz.
Mulan ;; Courage

(no subject)

Tsvangirai takes office

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister, joining President Robert Mugabe in a unity government after a decade of struggling to push him from power.

'I will well and truly serve Zimbabwe in the office of prime minister,' Tsvangirai said as he took his oath of office from Mugabe under a white tent in the lawn of the presidential mansion.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who mediated in the power-sharing talks, attended the ceremony along with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Swazi King Mswati III.

After the swearing-in, Tsvangirai planned to address his supporters in a stadium, with a speech that will celebrate but also need to reassure.

Tsvangirai's decision to bring his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into the unity government has raised doubts overseas and sparked fierce debate within his own party.

The former trade union leader is all too aware of the concerns that he, like earlier Mugabe rivals, could be swallowed into the long-ruling ZANU-PF party without changing the course of a nation that is by any measure disintegrating.

'The sceptics must understand why we have done this and what is the best course of action to address the questions and challenges of transition in this political environment,' Tsvangirai said on the eve of his swearing-in.

'We have made this decision and we made it without being forced. We want our colleagues in the country and outside the country to approach it from that perspective. It is our decision. Let history be the judge of this decision,' he said.


RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Specter: More Repubs actually support the stimulus but are too chicken to vote for it

Specter: Republicans Support Stimulus, Don't Want 'Fingerprints' On It
Ryan Grim
ryan@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting From DC
February 13, 2009 05:56 PM

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who broke with his party to support President Obama's stimulus package last week, said before the final vote Friday that more of his colleagues would have joined were they not afraid of the political consequences.

"When I came back to the cloak room after coming to the agreement a week ago today," said Specter, "one of my colleagues said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' My Republican colleague said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' I said, 'Are you going to vote with me?' And he said, 'No, I might have a primary.' And I said, 'Well, you know very well I'm going to have a primary.'"

Specter, along with centrist Maine Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, joined with Democrats last week to move the stimulus bill forward. Specter said he doubted there would be any more Republican votes than those three Friday night.

"I think there are a lot of people in the Republican caucus who are glad to see this action taken without their fingerprints, without their participation," he said.

Specter was asked, How many of your colleagues?

"I think a sizable number," he said. "I think a good part of the caucus agrees with the person I quoted, but I wouldn't want to begin to speculate on numbers."

Being the 60th and deciding vote isn't easy for a centrist who will likely face a more conservative primary challenger and then a more liberal general election opponent.

"I'd feel less uncomfortable about being the sixty-first and even better about being the sixty-seventh, but I'll take 'em one at a time," he said.

Specter added that his hope was that next time there would be more Republicans joining within him. But is that realistic?

"I didn't say it was my expectation, it was my hope,"
said Specter, before walking on to the Senate floor.

  • cindel

Mortal Congress: Stimulus


Houses Passes Stimulus, Again Without Any Republicans

Handing the new administration a big win, House Democrats passed President Barack Obama's $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy on Friday despite a wall of Republican opposition. The bill was approved 246-183 and sent to the Senate, where a vote was scheduled late Friday afternoon. That vote was to be held open for hours, waiting for Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, who was attending a memorial service for his mother and then flying back to cast the deciding vote.

Senate passage would meet a deadline of sending the bill to Obama before a congressional recess begins next week.

The 1,071 page, 8-inch-thick measure combines $281 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses with more than a half-trillion dollars in government spending. The money would go for infrastructure, health care and help for cash-starved state governments, among scores of programs. Seniors would get a $250 bonus Social Security check.

Asked for his reaction to House passage of the bill, Obama said "thumbs up" while giving a thumbs-up sign as he left the White House with his family for a long weekend in Chicago.

Told that no Republican backed the measure, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reacted by citing another number: "3.5 million jobs that we look forward to saving or creating."

Seven Democrats voted against the bill.

Republicans said the package won't work because it has too little in tax cuts and spreads too much money around to everyday projects like computer upgrades for federal agencies.

"This legislation falls woefully short," said House GOP Leader John Boehner of Ohio. "With a price tag of more than $1 trillion when you factor in interest, it costs every family almost $10,000 in added debt. This is an act of generational theft that our children and grandchildren will be paying for far into the future."


Tweety/MSNBC said the Senate vote is scheduled for 5:30pm TODAY! Live post?


C-SPAN2: John McCain is talking and talking and talking.

Dick Durbin: Bitch plz

John McCain: Oh no you didn't girlfriend!

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*betty draper reading

PA judges paid $2.6 million to send kids to for-profit prisons

Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit

Published: February 12, 2009

At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke.

Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

“I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007. “All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”

The answers became a bit clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.

While prosecutors say that Judge Conahan, 56, secured contracts for the two centers to house juvenile offenders, Judge Ciavarella, 58, was the one who carried out the sentencing to keep the centers filled.

“In my entire career, I’ve never heard of anything remotely approaching this,” said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by Judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. Many of them were first-time offenders and some remain in detention.


Sick, sick, sick. This is why prisons should not be run by businesses for profit.
  • bispo

RNC Chair Steele on his own party: ‘No reason, none, to trust our words or our actions at this point

On Glenn Beck’s Fox News show this evening, Beck told RNC Chairman Michael Steele that conservatives are “pissed” at Republicans because they don’t “expect socialism” from them. “Why should we even think twice of pulling a lever again?” asked Beck. Steele responded that he was right and that voters have “no reason” to trust the GOP “at this point”:
STEELE: Yeah, no, Glenn. I’m not gonna, look, I’m not going to soft pedal this with you. I’m not going to try to blow smoke either. The reality of it is, you are absolutely right. You have absolutely no reason, none, to trust our word or our actions at this point. So, yeah, it’s going to be an uphill climb.
Watch it:
' jules
  • schmiss

~HAROLD... CALL ME~ ;) ;) ;)

Is Commerce Dept. Built Ford Tough?

Harold Ford Jr. for Commerce Secretary? It's something a few Democrats around town are pushing and, according to sources, the idea of appointing the former Tennessee Congressman is being given serious thought by folks high up in the Obama administration.

On paper, Ford checks a lot of boxes for a an easy-to-confirm nominee for this post: He's a pro-business Democrat (remember, this is Commerce Secretary so the job is to be a promoter of business); he's a former member of the Congressional Black Caucus (you'll recall this whole kerfuffle over control of the census under a Judd Gregg-led Commerce Dept. was started by complaints from the CBC); and he's a practiced spokesperson on TV (the Geithner rollout this week is a reminder that the administration doesn't have enough solid media savvy members of his team who can sell the administration's policies.).

There is one, potential, gigantic problem: Ford's current place of employment -- Merrill Lynch. Given the current views of Wall Street, Ford's nomination could come under immediate fire and he'd have to disclose exactly what his job was with ML etc. and whether he was one of the 700 million dollar bonus recipients before Merrill completed its sale to Bank of America in late 2008.


I thought he was running for TN Gov :O

Anyway this would be strange. and kind of upsetting. Much like the reactions Harold Ford Jr. usually inspires in me.

Of course this is all based on Chuck Todd's maybe sorta scoop - and Ford is a part time MSNBC pundit - so who knows if it's serious or not.
Rahm - Dazzle

Son of Christian Right icon to Obama: Stop trying to work with the GOP and just govern in your way

An Open Letter to President Obama About the Republicans (From a Former Republican)
Frank Schaeffer, New York Times best-selling author
Posted February 11, 2009 | 05:17 PM (EST)

Dear President Obama: I know that from time to time you read Huffington Post because you've written for it. As a Huffington Post reader you'll know that no one on this web site has more faithfully supported your candidacy and now your presidency than me. As a former lifelong Republican, son of a co-founder of the Religious Right; my late evangelical leader father, Francis Schaeffer, I'm in a unique position to tell you a few things about the Republicans from inside perspective. (As you know I left that movement in the mid 1980s.)

The lack of cooperation you're getting from the Republican Party will continue. You were right to indulge in a little bit of tokenism when you had to Pastor Rick Warren pray at your inauguration. But if you think that the Republicans in Congress and the Senate are going to do more than their utmost to obstruct everything you are and what you stand for you're dreaming.

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source | source | Francis Schaeffer Wikipedia article (his dad)

And another one bites the dust.....

Dallas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes has said that he would never hire a sexually active gay person, has spoken out against same-sex marriage, and has called homosexuality a "brokenness." Now his son has been arrested in a sex sting after approaching law enforcement officers in a park and exposed himself to them while masturbating, according to the Dallas Voice:

Jakes_3"Jermaine Donnell Jakes, 29, faces a charge of indecent exposure after allegedly exposing himself in front of two undercover vice detectives shortly after 10 p.m. on Jan. 3. Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther, a DPD spokeswoman, confirmed Thursday, Feb. 12 that the detectives were both male. According to an arrest affidavit, the detectives were conducting an investigation into citizen complaints of sexual activity when they observed Jakes and several other unknown males park their vehicles in the lot east of the park at 2106 W. Kiest Blvd. The detectives followed Jakes into a wooded area, where he approached them with his penis exposed through his unzipped pants, the affidavit states. Jakes masturbated for several seconds while making eye contact with one of the detectives. Jakes made no attempt to conceal his penis despite people walking and jogging on a trail nearby, the affidavit states. According to court records, Jermaine Jakes listed his place of employment as T.D. Jakes Ministries."

T.D. Jakes' ministry, Potter House, has a membership of 30,000.

The Dallas Morning News reports: " The son of Potter’s House Bishop T.D. Jakes turned himself in to the Dallas County Jail on Thursday on an indecent exposure charge stemming from an incident at a southern Dallas park last month. Jermaine Jakes, 29, posted $1,000 bail and was released Thursday morning, according to jail records... He was detained at the scene and released, as is often the procedure in such cases. The charge is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine."


I can only laugh at T.D. Jakes, but I feel bad for his son.

Orange County High School Principal Bans 'Gay Characters' in Drama Department


HATE SCHOOL MUSICAL — "My alma mater, Corona del Mar High School, in Newport Beach, CA (in Orange Country) has banned the portrayal of gay characters in their high school drama dept," writes a concerned reader. "This has not yet hit news, but below is a letter that one of the students sent to recent alumni that has now trickled up to some of us older folks." And now, it's tricked up to Queerty readers:

Continues our former student: "I confirmed the story with one of the teachers that still works there who I have gotten in touch with. Many of the alumni have contacted the ACLU, but as this letter has just gone out today there's no word yet about what's happening, there.

"I intend to write the local paper, the Daily Pilot, in conjunction with some other alumni.

"I have deleted his name from the bottom of the aforementioned letter in case the author faces some sort of backlash from the administration, as s/he is still a student (obviously)."

And here's the news:

Hello everyone,

Today, most of the cast of RENT was informed that our show was
cancelled. Even though we had yet to begin rehearsals, we were
justifiably shocked and demanded to know what the reason behind this
was. In the past, there have been minor complaints here and there
about the content of some of our shows; though Mr. Martin, our
director, is very conscientious about the limits of free expression in
a school setting, we inevitably catch some parents off-guard with
occasional profanity or sexual innuendos. However, the reason for the
cancellation of RENT is much more disturbing.

Mrs. Asrani (the principal) is firmly against the portrayal of
homosexual characters in RENT, despite the fact that all displays of
affection have already been edited out of our script.
Of course, a gay
couple kissing on stage should not be inherently more offensive than a
straight couple kissing, but that's beside the point (sort of). The
fact that the administration would not even allow a positive PORTRAYAL
of these gay characters, whose romantic tendencies have already been
neutered in Musical Theater International's "RENT: School Edition", is

You do not need to be a fan of RENT, a member of the Drama Department,
or a homosexual person to take offense to this blatant form of
discrimination. Of course, there is much more disturbing content in
RENT, which we would have been happy to omit if the School Edition did
not do so already, but it was readily apparent that gay characters
were strictly taboo. This is not the first time this has come up: the
administration reacted with outrage to a monologue from our last
musical, "No Reservations", that sympathetically portrayed a gay
character. Though there was nothing remotely offensive about the
monologue, they were clearly not okay with it, and that is what led
them to take action and prevent us from producing what was sure to be
a great spring musical.

If you are at all disturbed, offended, or shocked by what our
administration has communicated to us, I urge you not to dismiss what
has just happened. Our administration has sent out a very clear
message that they think homosexuality is wrong and its portrayal
onstage is harmful or objectionable in some way. Instead of focusing
on the life-affirming, empowering message of RENT, they approached the
work with narrow-mindededness and rejected it BEFORE THEY EVEN READ

Do not sit by and allow things like this to keep happening. Our school
prides itself on its association with humanitarian organizations and
its label as a "No Place For Hate School", but those distinctions feel
incredibly hollow to me now. Though the Drama Department has already
began the process of selecting a new spring musical, we plan to take
action to defend our rights of free speech and express our concerns.

The number for the ACLU's (American Civil Liberties Union) Southern
California division is (213) 977-9500. I plan on calling tomorrow. To
me, this is about much more than our spring musical; it is about a
principle. I would hate to leave CdM knowing that I did nothing to
prevent, in some way, a form of discrimination that was encouraged
within our own school.

It would be best if the angry parent phone calls and emails to CdM
were kept to a bare minimum for the time being. Focus your energy, if
you have any desire to, on contacting the ACLU. They are experienced
in these matters, and there is a correct way to do this. For anyone
who is interested, I would love to keep you posted on any updates I
get through my communication with them and with my drama director.

Thanks so much for reading through this rather lengthy letter…it's
not easy for me to be concise on a subject like this.


Peanut Corp. of America files for bankruptcy. Victims will get paid less than expected...

Peanut Corp. of America files for bankruptcy

The company linked to a national salmonella outbreak, Peanut Corp. of America, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Friday in federal court in Lynchburg,Va., court documents show.

The filing comes at the end of a week in which problems have continued to mount for Lynchburg-based Peanut Corp., whose Blakely peanut-processing plant was shut down last month after federal health officials traced the salmonella to the plant.

In its filing, the company said its assets were between $1 million and $10 million, and its liabilities were between $1 million and $10 million.
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Distingue Traces

Huffington: Zombie banks must die!

Judging by the votes in congress, opposition to Obama's stimulus plan looks like simple entrenched partisanship. But outside congress, a central voice in the new progressive movement is voicing concerns about the next step in the process: Tim Geithner's attempt to prop up the tottering banking system.

Arianna Huffington is convinced that real recovery can't happen until the banking system is held fully accountable - and for that to happen, insolvent "zombie" banks must be allowed to fail.

Huffington writes:

Unlike the conflict over the stimulus package, this is not an ideological fight. This is a battle between the interests of the financial establishment and the public interest.

Tim Geithner makes it very clear that he is on the wrong side of the issue, more worried about the banking industry than the American people. Like Hank Paulson before him, Geithner appears more concerned about saving particular banks than saving the banking system. No real shocker there ... it's hard to be surprised that Geithner is sticking with the Paulson plan inasmuch as he was likely the one who actually wrote it.

As Ann Pettifor puts it on HuffPost: "Much of Wall Street is effectively insolvent. It's not that these banks lack cash or capital -- it's just that they're never going to meet all their financial liabilities -- i.e. repay their debts. Ever."

Meanwhile, Niall Ferguson chimes in:

Now the talk is of a new "Bad Bank" to buy the toxic assets from the banks which, despite the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), are still in deep trouble. No one seems to have noticed that there is already a Bad Bank. It is called the Federal Reserve System, and its balance sheet has grown by 150 per cent--from just over $900 billion to more than $2 trillion--since this crisis began, partly as a result of purchases of undisclosed assets from banks.
RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Get ready to say "awwwww" (at the pic)

NOTE: I really just wanted a reason to post this picture here (courtesy of obama_daily) --

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Obama marriage inspires fascination, imitation
By JOCELYN NOVECK February 12th 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — She's a busy mother of two and a full-time executive at a film distribution company, but sometimes Susan Margolin can't help it: She Googles Barack and Michelle Obama, not to check on his latest policy initiatives, but to see what they're doing as a couple.

"They went to the Kennedy Center with the girls the other night," she reported recently. "Isn't that cool? And I love how they always make time for date night. They seem to have a real romance going."

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(no subject)


Source: Breaking news header on CNN.com

Watch live feed here

[Edit one]

The U.S. Senate approved $787 billion in spending and tax cuts to boost the ailing economy, sending the emergency stimulus legislation to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

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[Edit 2] Brown casts final vote:

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(CNN) -- The U.S. Senate has given final approval to a $787 billion economic-stimulus package backed by President Obama, with Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown returning to the Capitol from his mother's wake to cast the 60th and deciding vote in favor of it.
Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at right on the Senate floor Friday.

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Winners and Losers in final stimulus bill

White House provides plane to senator so senator can vote