March 23rd, 2009

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Michigan 15-year-old dies after police Taser him

Michigan 15-year-old dies after police Taser him

Police in Michigan say a 15-year-old boy has died after being Tasered by officers who were trying to break up a fight.


Police didn't release his name and say state police are investigating.

A Bay City police news release says officers answered a report of an early morning fight on Sunday. The statement says two males were arguing in an apartment, and one of them "attempted to fight the officers."

Police say officers Tasered him, and his reaction led them to immediately call for emergency medical help. He was pronounced dead at Bay Regional Medical Center.

Deputy Chief Thomas Pletzke tells WNEM-TV police placed one officer on administrative leave.
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Venezuela's Chavez calls Obama 'ignorant'

Venezuela's Chavez calls Obama 'ignorant'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday called President Barack Obama "ignorant," saying he has a lot to learn about Latin America.


The socialist leader said he had been ready to name a new ambassador in Washington when Obama took office, but put that on hold after the new U.S. president accused him of "exporting terrorism" and being an obstacle to progress in the region.

"At least one could say, 'poor ignorant person,'" Chavez said on his weekly television and radio program, adding that Obama "should read a little bit so that he learns about ... the reality of Latin America."
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Roger Cohen of NYT: From Tehran to Tel Aviv

With his bold message to Iran’s leaders, President Obama achieved four things essential to any rapprochement.

Roger Cohen

He abandoned regime change as an American goal. He shelved the so-called military option. He buried a carrot-and-sticks approach viewed with contempt by Iranians as fit only for donkeys. And he placed Iran’s nuclear program within “the full range of issues before us.”
By doing so, Obama made it almost inevitable that one of the defining strategic issues of his presidency will be a painful but necessary redefinition of America’s relations with Israel as differences over Iran sharpen. I will return to that below.

The innovations in the president’s Persian New Year, or Nowruz, overture to Tehran were remarkable. He referred twice to “the Islamic Republic of Iran,” a formulation long shunned, and said that republic, no other, should “take its rightful place in the community of nations.” Here was explicit American acceptance of Iran’s 30-year-old clerical revolution.

He said establishing constructive ties would “not be advanced by threats,” a retreat from his own campaign position that the military option must always remain on the table. Instead he offered “mutual respect.”

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source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/23/opinion/l23cohen.html?ref=opinion
Mr. T the Patriot

John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.

Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the nation's largest annual conference of conservative activists, Bolton, one of the hardest hardliners of the George W. Bush administration, spoke at length about Obama's naiveté and how various nations – Russia, North Korea, Iran – will be exploiting the new president. The most dramatic moment of his speech may have been when he cracked a joke about the nuking of Obama's hometown.

"The fact is on foreign policy I don't think President Obama thinks it's a priority," said Bolton. "He said during the campaign he thought Iran was a tiny threat. Tiny, tiny depending on how many nuclear weapons they are ultimately able to deliver on target. Its, uh, its tiny compared to the Soviet Union, but is the loss of one American city" – here Bolton changes his tone subtly to prepare for the joke – "pick one at random – Chicago – is that a tiny threat?"

Bolton wasn't the only one who thought this was funny. The room erupted in laughter and applause. Was this conservative catharsis, with rightwingers delightfully imagining the destruction of a city that represents Obama? Or perhaps they were venting vengeance with their laughter. (Bolton is no stranger to inflammatory remarks. He once infamously quipped, "There are 38 floors to the UN building in New York. If you lost 10 of them, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.")

At CPAC, the Right's most fevered beliefs about Obama live on, with speakers portraying him as a radical liberal who wants to compromise American values, hand hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the shifty poor, and, as Bolton repeatedly pointed out, weaken America's defense.


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I bet Bolton still wonders why most Americans who follow politics didn't want him to be our ambassador to the United Nations. If someone had said this about George W. Bush while Bolton worked for the government I have little doubt Bolton would want that person locked up in Guantanamo Bay. All of these right wingers are hypocrites.
Cole

Anti-racism protest turns nasty in Calgary

Neo-Nazis celebrating 'White Pride World Day' disrupt rally




TIMOTHY APPLEBY

From Monday's Globe and Mail

March 23, 2009 at 4:12 AM EDT

Insults flew, heavy projectiles were hurled, scuffles erupted and transit service was briefly disrupted in downtown Calgary on the weekend as about 50 neo-Nazis clashed with several hundred anti-racism opponents.

But given the mix, the outcome of Saturday afternoon's brawl could have been a lot worse, Inspector Rob Williams of Calgary police said yesterday.

Two people in the crowd sustained minor head injuries, and three others were arrested for breaching the peace.

But although the projectiles included placards and cans of vegetables, there was almost no property damage - not even a broken window.

"We can be thankful; we did well," said Insp. Williams, who chiefly blamed members of the anti-racism group, comprising in total around 450 people, for the trouble.

"It was quite a volatile crowd at one point, and we had officers right in the middle of it all." It was unclear who provoked whom first.

Calgary's Anti-Racist Action group had gathered outside city hall to honour International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination.

But as they began marching through the downtown, a bus carrying members of the Alberta-based neo-Nazi Aryan Guard rolled up, bent on celebrating "White Pride World Day," marking European culture and heritage.

Local reports say the group has been trying recently to recruit followers among Calgary high school students.

Wearing sunglasses and scarves over their faces to mask their identities, the neo-Nazis waved white-power flags and signs bearing swastikas, and screamed insults.

Similarly concealed with balaclavas and bandannas, their foes responded by pitching water bottles and whatever else was at hand.

Police formed a human barrier to separate the two groups.

"The white pride marchers - Nazis, whatever - wanted to speak their minds but the anti-racist protesters were actually more violent, which didn't help," Insp. Williams said.

"The balaclavas, or scarves over their faces, or bandannas, I think that gave them a false sense of security, that nobody knows who they are, so they got a little braver.

"And this was definitely premeditated because they were lobbing whole cans of vegetables, and who carries that downtown?"

By late afternoon the crowds had dispersed.

"We didn't locate the people who were tossing the projectiles; they were hiding in the crowd, and any of the people fighting with each other went off on their own," Insp. Williams said.

A spokesman for the ARA told local media that white supremacism needs to be exposed and that ignoring it dispatches the wrong message.

A couple of teenaged Aryan Guard supporters responded by saying they are not racists at all, merely Canadians who are proud of being white.

Source

I'm not sure where to begin. :S Idk, my prof put this up so we could discuss if multiculturalism is working in Canada...the discussion went on to say how Canada -- even though we to a certain degree have 'tolerated' and 'accepted' all these cultures -- continues to ghettoize a lot of these ethnic communities. It's interesting to see my purely Torontonian view (where it's easy to see and say that multiculturalism is to a large degree successful) being challenged by these (hopefully) isolated incidents.
pseudo-historicals make me happy inside, partners in crime, playing with maps

Dear Bobby Jindal, THIS is why we need Volcano Monitoring. No Love, ONTD-P

Alaska volcano erupts four times

Mount Redoubt volcano in the US state of Alaska has erupted, sending a cloud of ash 15km (50,000ft) into the air.

The volcano, 166km (103 miles) from Anchorage, erupted late on Sunday, with three more explosions early on Monday.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has issued a red alert, meaning an eruption with significant amounts of ash is imminent or under way.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service said they expected fine ash to begin falling later on Monday morning.

"The ash cloud went to 50,000 feet and it's currently drifting towards the north-east," Janet Schaefer, a geologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory told the Associated Press (AP).

It is expected the ash cloud will pass west of the city of Anchorage, moving towards Willow and Talkneetna, two communities near Mount McKinley.

Dave Stricklan from the National Weather Service told AP he expected the ash fall to be "just kind of a light dusting".

Most of the ash probably fell down the side of Mount Redoubt, he said.

The observatory warned in late January that an eruption was likely after the volcano showed signs of activity.

Mount Redoubt, which stands 3,100m (10,200ft) high, last erupted over a four-month period from 1989 to 1990.

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Dean on Wall Street compensation: Americans don’t understand rewarding people who did ‘a crappy job.

During his inaugural appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning as a paid commentator, Howard Dean told the CNBC regulars that he believed they were misreading the public’s reaction to Wall Street excess. Dean said that rather than resenting the wealth of Wall Street as a matter of course, Americans simply believe that “you shouldn’t get rewarded…for doing a crappy job”:
DEAN: I think you guys are looking at this the wrong way. I don’t think people resent Wall Street because they’re making millions of dollars. Everybody wants to be rich in this country. I think people resent Wall Street for making millions of dollars while the folks who are reading the newspaper are out of work. You shouldn’t get rewarded in a capitalist system for doing a crappy job. That’s what the issue is.
Squawk Box co-host Joe Kernen said that the hiring of Dean was meant to “balance” their recent hiring of former Bush administration spokesperson Tony Fratto. Watch it:
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Obama DOJ Sides With RIAA

Sunday March 22, @02:22PM
Posted by timothy
"The Obama Administration's Department of Justice, with former RIAA lawyers occupying the 2nd and 3rd highest positions in the department, has shown its colors, intervening on behalf of the RIAA in the case against a Boston University graduate student, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, accused of file sharing when he was 17 years old. Its oversized, 39-page brief (PDF) relies upon a United States Supreme Court decision from 1919 which upheld a statutory damages award, in a case involving overpriced railway tickets, equal to 116 times the actual damages sustained, and a 2007 Circuit Court decision which held that the 1919 decision — rather than the Supreme Court's more recent decisions involving punitive damages — was applicable to an award against a Karaoke CD distributor for 44 times the actual damages. Collapse )

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bored now / joker tdk

White House's plans to challenge corrupt government in Kabul



US will appoint Afghan 'prime minister' to bypass Hamid Karzai

The US and its European allies are ­preparing to plant a high-profile figure in the heart of the Kabul government in a direct challenge to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, the Guardian has learned.

The creation of a new chief executive or prime ministerial role is aimed at bypassing Karzai. In a further dilution of his power, it is proposed that money be diverted from the Kabul government to the provinces. Many US and European officials have become disillusioned with the extent of the corruption and incompetence in the Karzai government, but most now believe there are no credible alternatives, and predict the Afghan president will win re-election in August.

...

As well as watering down Karzai's personal authority by installing a senior official at the president's side capable of playing a more efficient executive role, the US and Europeans are seeking to channel resources to the provinces rather than to central government in Kabul.

...

The proposal for an alternative chief executive, which originated with the US, is backed by Europeans. "There needs to be a deconcentration of power," said one senior European official. "We need someone next to Karzai, a sort of chief executive, who can get things done, who will be reliable for us and accountable to the Afghan people."

...

The risk for the US is that the imposition of a technocrat alongside Karzai would be viewed as colonialism, even though that figure would be an Afghan. Karzai declared his intention last week to resist a dilution of his power. Last week he accused an unnamed foreign government of trying to weaken central government in Kabul.

Source (and full article)

Good to know that the one thing Obama is not changing is America's rich history of imperialism.

ETA: UPDATE: Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, says that the report is not true.

Geithner plan unveiled today

Not very impressed with the "new" Geithner plan, personally. It's version over9,000 of the same rejected plan from last Fall that keeps trying to find new ways for US taxpayers to assume all the losses of these bankers' bad decisions, while enjoying in none of the gains of the upside. Socialized losses for the US public, privatized profits for individual corporate titans.

The Geithner quip that we have to do it this way, because "we are not Sweden" (great reason!) seems like a response to a Paul Krugman column a few days ago. See below.



http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aUdqVNOo45S8&refer=home

Taxpayer Risk

“This will allow banks to clean up their balance sheets,” Geithner told reporters at a news briefing in Washington. “There is no doubt the government is taking risk,” he added. “You cannot solve a financial crisis without the government assuming risk.”

Critics including Paul Krugman, a winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, advocate that the government take over banks loaded with devalued assets, remove their top management, and dispose of the toxic securities. Sweden adopted that approach in the 1990s. Krugman said in a New York Times opinion piece today that Geithner’s strategy won’t work because it “assumes that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they’re doing.”

Geithner said today that his plan was the best of a limited number of options, including leaving the illiquid assets on banks’ balance sheets or having the government itself buy them all, shouldering all the risk.

‘Not Sweden’

“We are the United States of America, we are not Sweden,” the Treasury chief said.


From: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/21/more-on-the-bank-plan/

To keep the banks operating, you need to provide a real backstop — you need to guarantee their debts, and seize ownership of those banks that don’t have enough assets to cover their debts; that’s the Swedish solution, it’s what we eventually did with our own S&Ls.

Now, early on in this crisis, it was possible to argue that it was mainly a panic. But at this point, that’s an indefensible position. [...] Time for a Swedish solution.

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aquabats!

Offensive e-mail roils Dartmouth

Just one day after Dartmouth College became the first Ivy League school to appoint an Asian-American president, one of its students marred the historic moment with a racist e-mail sent out over a daily satirical campus listserv.

The anonymous e-mail referred to Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-born Harvard medical school professor and global health pioneer, as a "Chinaman" and went on to bemoan the loss of another "hard-working American's job" to "an immigrant willing to work in substandard conditions at near-subsistent wage."

"Unless 'Jim Yong Kim' means 'I love Freedom' in Chinese, I don't want anything to do with him," the e-mail said. "Dartmouth is America, not Panda Garden Rice Village Restaurant."

The e-mail was posted on "Generic Good Morning Message," which summarizes the day's news. It is distributed to about 1,000 students and alumni. Editors apologized for their lack of oversight, and the writer said he is "full of regret" and "did not intend to offend anyone."

Kim distributed his own message to the Dartmouth community, acknowledging the "unfortunate" e-mail. He said he hopes the incident will bring about "better understanding and greater compassion" for all segments of the community.

He then gave the offending writer a pass: "I also don't want this lapse in judgment to limit his prospects for the future. Dartmouth students are very talented, but we all make mistakes - especially when we are young."

Source

Seriously, there is satire, but then there is just racism... 

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Tammy Bruce Calls The Obamas "Trash In The White House"

Tammy Bruce, guest host for Laura Ingram's radio show, had some harsh words for First Lady Michelle Obama.
Discussing the first lady's visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week, Bruce incredulously recalled Obama's story about wanting to get A's in school and called out her use of a "weird, fake accent."
"That's what he's married to," Bruce said. "...You know what we've got? We've got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind, it can cross all eco-socionomic...categories. You can work on Wall Street, or you can work at the Wal-Mart. Trash, are people who use other people to get things, who patronize others, who consider you bitter and clingy..."
LISTEN:
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global-issues-warming-400a042007
After eight years of receiving George W. Bush's cold shoulder, environmentalists are undoubtedly feeling more hopeful under an Obama presidency. Of the $787 billion in the stimulus bill, signed into law by the president on Feb. 17, $32.7 billion was allocated to green initiatives that will mean more environmentally friendly homes and more emphasis on renewable energy like solar and wind. But is the money enough? And at a time when the nation struggles to find its way out of an economic crisis, does it matter? NEWSWEEK's Christina Gillham spoke to Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and coauthor of "Earth: The Sequel," about those issues and why he thinks a green economy can lead us out of the financial crisis. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: EDF has had a lot of influence in getting greener initiatives through legislation. In 1990, for example, you played a role in getting Congress to pass the Clean Air Act, which helped reduce acid rain. More recently, you helped craft legislation for California's 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. As one of several groups involved, what was your role in shaping the green aspects of the stimulus? Did you meet with the president?
Fred Krupp: We did have conversations with folks on the Hill and with Obama's team, but not with the president himself. We let them know about the research we've done on which technologies result in jobs and wanted them to be aware of the fact that the stimulus could be used in a way that not only keeps America from importing so much oil but also could employ Americans in quite a few of the supply chains for low-carbon, high-efficiency companies.

Is there a segment of the green industry that stands to benefit more from the stimulus package than others?
There's a big emphasis on home weatherization and folks in that business will benefit. Having said that, there are 130 million homes in America and 75 percent of them could be made more energy efficient with a very quick payback. And the recovery package, as good a down payment as it is, really only covers a small fraction of the number of homes that could be profitably retrofitted.

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Fox News VP: Fox is ‘the voice of opposition’ to the Obama administration.

Though Fox News is widely known to be biased in favor of conservatism, the network likes to claim that is “fair and balanced” and that the objectivity of the “hard news” they do is “is not in question.” But in an interview with NPR, Fox News’ Senior Vice President for Programming, Bill Shine, admitted that the network is consciously aiming to be “the voice of opposition” to the Obama administration “on some issues”:

“There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November (and) December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away,” said Bill Shine, senior vice president for programming at the Fox News Channel. “With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?”

Fox News has wasted no time in opposing the Obama administration’s agenda. For example, the network has unleashed a steady drum beat of misinformation and propaganda against the Employee Free Choice Act. In fact, when it comes to challenging the Obama administration, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has compared the network to “the Alamo.”
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music | sleigh anne.

Canada demands apology for Faux News Comments

The Canadian government has demanded an apology from Fox News for "despicable" and "disgusting" comments made on one of its late-night programs.

The government was incensed by a recent talk-show segment on the American conservative cable network that poked fun at Canada and the Canadian military. A group of pundits took turns trashing Canada and its reliability as an ally in fighting terrorism last week as four more Canadian soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay requested an apology just before leaving for Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where he was to attend a repatriation ceremony with the families of the latest soldiers killed.

"It's crass, it's insensitive, it's in fact disgusting, given the timing," MacKay said. "There should be an apology - to the families in particular, and to the Canadian Forces and to Canada generally - given the sacrifice and the commitment that we've demonstrated in Afghanistan."

A spokesman stressed that the Canadian government specifically wants an apology from the panelists who made the wisecracks - and not just from the Fox network at large.

"These are despicable, hurtful and ignorant comments," said Dan Dugas, a spokesman for MacKay.

"I think that so-called comedian should stare in the camera at his first opportunity and apologize to all of the families of people he's hurt with these despicable comments.

"And he's got to say, 'I was misinformed. I was ignorant of the truth and the contribution of the Canadian Forces to the war on terror, and I want to take it back. I know as a comedian that I can fail sometimes; I failed miserably at this so-called comedy.'

"And his panelists should say the same."

The segment features American panelists suggesting Canadian soldiers need time off for "manicures and pedicures."

"The Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white capri pants," Gutfeld said with a sneer, adding: "Isn't this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country? They have no army."


Another panelist, Doug Benson, said he didn't even know Canadian troops were in Afghanistan.

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With all this talk of socialism, PBS interviews ACTUAL SOCIALIST!

Probably the best-kept secret on American TV is the Bill Moyers Journal. It is on PBS. That is right, you don't even need cable to watch it. MSNBC and Comedy Central are cool, but it is nice to know the USA still has shows like this on its basic, free, public-airwaves, broadcast network. Check it out!



Bill Moyers interviews best-selling author, and unashamedly old-school socialist, Mike Davis, HERE. I'd embed the video if PBS made their videos embed-able!

It is nice to know there is a program that is a beacon of sanity in the USA that is not on MSNBC or pay-for cable, but on the channel that brought you Sesame Street. :)

BILL MOYERS INTERVIEW WITH DAVIS IS HERE. YES, IT IS LONG. THIS IS NOT CABLE TV, DEAL WITH IT! I LIKE IT.

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Walmart Rehearing has Major Implications



Walmart is trying to convince an appeals court that the 1.6 million women who joined a lawsuit against them for discrimination on the basis of sex should be considered individually, not as part of a class action lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal reports:

A ruling in the case by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco could have broad implications for future discrimination lawsuits, according to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which last week filed a brief supporting the class certification that Wal-Mart opposes...The EEOC says that if Wal-Mart's argument is successful, it would effectively preclude claims for punitive damages and back pay in cases in which plaintiffs -- or the commission itself -- prove that there has been a pattern or practice of discrimination.

Class action is important for many reasons, especially in cases of sex discrimination in the workplace. For starters, it cuts down on legal fees (one giant case vs. 1.6 million smaller ones) and speeds up due process so that people see justice and move on with their lives.

But on a more psychological level, class action status allows an aggrieved population, in this case women workers, to stand together and seek parity through their collective strength. Enduring the bureaucratic battles, media attention, and scrutiny of this kind of legal procedure with a giant corporation is basically soul-killing if done alone.

The solidarity inherent in a class action suit is not only crucial for these plaintiffs, but imperative legal precedent moving forward. What good will the brand spankin' new Lilly Ledbetter Act do if no one has the resources or the stamina to stand up against their employers all alone?

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Houston lawmaker asks: 'What's Medicaid?'

Give state Rep. Gary Elkins some credit for being honest.

At a hearing Thursday of the House Committee on Human Services, Elkins and other members of the panel considered more than two dozen bills related to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Three hours into the hearing, Elkins asked: "What's Medicaid?"

The Houston Republican continued: "I know I hear it — I really don't know what it is. I know that's a big shock to everybody here in the audience, OK."

He could have kept quiet. He could have asked an aide. He could have Googled it. Instead, he asked the question into the microphone in the middle of a public hearing.

Medicaid, for the record, is the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people and people with disabilities. Elkins is new to the Human Services Committee. However, he's served in the House since 1995, where one of the main tasks is crafting the state budget.

A quarter of the state budget is Medicaid.
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MISC - moustache

J Street Releases New Poll of American Jews' views on Israel and Middle East

This new poll shows strong continued support among American Jews for assertive American diplomacy in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as in the Middle East generally. The results demonstrate an understanding that difficult compromises will have to be made by both sides in order to bring true peace and security to Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region.

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♪ uraqt

I met a traveller from an antique land, who said/two bad cash-for-trash plans/stand in the desert...

Financial Policy Despair
by PAUL KRUGMAN



Over the weekend The Times and other newspapers reported leaked details about the Obama administration’s bank rescue plan, which is to be officially released this week. If the reports are correct, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has persuaded President Obama to recycle Bush administration policy — specifically, the “cash for trash” plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair.

After all, we’ve just been through the firestorm over the A.I.G. bonuses, during which administration officials claimed that they knew nothing, couldn’t do anything, and anyway it was someone else’s fault. Meanwhile, the administration has failed to quell the public’s doubts about what banks are doing with taxpayer money.

And now Mr. Obama has apparently settled on a financial plan that, in essence, assumes that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they’re doing.

It’s as if the president were determined to confirm the growing perception that he and his economic team are out of touch, that their economic vision is clouded by excessively close ties to Wall Street. And by the time Mr. Obama realizes that he needs to change course, his political capital may be gone.

Let’s talk for a moment about the economics of the situation.

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Stephen Colbert WINS NASA space station name contest



Oops: Colbert wins NASA space station name contest
2 hrs 43 mins ago

WASHINGTON – NASA's online contest to name a new room at the international space station went awry. Comedian Stephen Colbert won.

The name "Colbert" beat out NASA's four suggested options in the space agency's effort to have the public help name the addition. The new room will be launched later this year.

NASA's mistake was allowing write-ins. Colbert urged viewers of his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report" to write in his name. And they complied, with 230,539 votes. That clobbered Serenity, one of the NASA choices, by more than 40,000 votes. Nearly 1.2 million votes were cast by the time the contest ended Friday.

NASA reserves the right to choose an appropriate name. Agency spokesman John Yembrick said NASA will decide in April, but will give top vote-getters "the most consideration."


SOURCE
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Erotic Comics Ban Proposed By British Parliament Faces Stiff Criticism

Erotic Comics Ban Proposed By British Parliament Faces Stiff Criticism

A coalition of graphic artists, publishers and MPs have condemned Government plans to introduce a new set of laws policing cartoons of children, arguing that the current broad wording of the legislation could lead to the banning of hundreds of mainstream comic books.


This week Parliament will discuss a new Bill which will make it a criminal offence to possess cartoons depicting certain forms of child abuse. If the Coroners and Justice Bill remains unaltered it will make it illegal to own any picture of children participating in sexual activities, or present whilst sexual activity took place.
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Fighting for life: American peace activist shot by Israelis


Fighting for life: American peace activist shot by Israelis

Parents demand inquiry into how son was critically injured by tear gas canister

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

The parents of an American peace activist publicly appealed yesterday for a full investigation into how their son was shot in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister by Israeli security forces.

Tristan Anderson, 38, remains in critical condition after three brain operations at Tel Hashomer hospital in Israel, as a result of the shooting which came at the end of a regular joint Arab-Jewish demonstration against the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank village of Ni'lin.
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Stupid little mermaid!

Fox News presenter apologises for remarks about Canadian military


Greg Gutfeld, host of the Fox News programme Red Eye, has apologised to Canada for comments that were made about the country's military during a show on 17 March.

On one segment of the show, a panel talked about Canadian lieutenant general Andrew Leslie's assertion that the military would need a one-year break from fighting in Afghanistan after Canada's commitment ends in 2011.

Gutfield laughed at Leslie's suggestion saying: "The Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white capri pants." "Isn't this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country? They have no army," he added.

Canada's defence minister Peter MacKay demanded an apology from the presenter before attending a repatriation ceremony for Canadian troops who were killed in Afghanistan last Friday.

In a statement issued to Fox News today, Gutfeld said his comments "may have been misunderstood" and that he didn't intend to disrespect "the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military".

116 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan.

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He also made a Twitter post stating, "My apologies to the Canadian military, they probably could at least beat the Belgians."
barack eye

LOL WUT?

African-American Mayoral Candidate Calls for Lynching to Alleviate Crime

Posted March 23, 2009 Subscribe to our news feed!




An African-American mayoral candidate is calling for lynchings to be reestablished as part of his campaign platform in Jackson, Mississippi. George Lambus, the 62-year old Republican candidate has blanketed many White neighborhoods with flyers, which take shots at his Democratic rivals and calling for "a noose and stout tree limb" to tackle crime.



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Michele Bachmann: I Want People "Armed And Dangerous" Over Obama Tax Plan

Controversial Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said this weekend that she wants residents of her state "armed and dangerous" over President Barack Obama's plan to reduce global warming "because we need to fight back."

Asked about the White House-backed cap-and-trade proposal to reduce carbon emissions, Bachmann told WWTC 1280 AM, "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us 'having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people -- we the people -- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States."

Bachmann also told her constituents she was "a foreign correspondent on enemy lines," sending Minnesotans warnings through her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. "I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington."

The comments have been picked up by local blogs Smart Politics and Dump Bachmann.

Bachmann has encouraged resistance against President Obama before, saying that the Republican party needs "to do everything we can to thwart [the Democrats] at every turn to make sure that they aren't able to, for all time, secure a power base that for all time can never be defeated."




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DIAF Michele

(no subject)

I Was Followed, Harassed, And Ambushed By Bill O’Reilly’s Producer

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On March 1, ThinkProgress picked up on a story by News Hounds, which noted that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly — who has made controversial comments about rape victims in the past — was slated to speak at a March 19 fundraiser for the Alexa Foundation. The group is committed to supporting rape survivors.

 

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(no subject)

Potential Soldiers Are Too Fat To Serve



One in five military-age Americans are too fat to qualify for the military. Since 2005, the military has turned away 48,000 overweight recruits, more than all the American troops in Afghanistan.

Army recruiter Sgt. Jessica La Pointe says she has to become a personal trainer for many recruits just to get them ready for boot camp. "We do get people who come in the office that are overweight by Army standards, said La Pointe, "And then what we do is try to work out a program through nutrition and exercise." The fitness standards vary by service, with the Army allowing 26 percent body fat for men and more for women. Curtis Gilroy, the Pentagon's accessions chief, acknowledged that the national obesity epidemic is a problem for the Army. "We're faced with a dwindling pool of the youth population in the 17-to-24 year old group about which we are very concerned," he said.

[ABC News]
[Jezebel]

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O’Reilly Attacks Me As A ‘Villain’ For Highlighting His Rape Comments

As promised, tonight, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly aired his segment alleging that ThinkProgress caused “pain and suffering” to rape victims. Our unspeakable offense was contained in a March 1 blog post, which reported that O’Reilly had been invited to speak at a fundraising dinner for the Alexa Foundation, which supports rape survivors.

Our post highlighted the fact that in the past, O’Reilly has implied that women who dress in a certain way or consume too much alcohol should perhaps expect to be raped. Here is what he said on his radio show on Aug. 2, 2006, about Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old woman who was raped and murdered:

Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.

Our post never criticized the Alexa Foundation. Nevertheless, tonight on his show, O’Reilly claimed that ThinkProgress — working with NBC News — deliberately tried to cause pain and suffering for these rape victims. To make his point, he aired a highly-edited ambush interview with me from this past Saturday and concluded, “While Ms. Terkel is certainly a villain, she was obviously used by NBC News.” Watch the segment:

Here are the two things that O’Reilly conveniently left out of his segment:

His Original Comments. O’Reilly said that he posted the full Aug. 2 interview about Moore on his website. (It’s here.) But he did not repeat his comments on air, nor did he try to defend them — perhaps recognizing that they are indefensible. These comments elicited outrage from more than 900 signatories to a petition by the Concerned Citizens Against Sexual Violence.

His Harassment. O’Reilly never mentioned to his viewers how he scored that interview with me. He never contacted me for a statement or the chance to appear on his show before deploying his harassment machine. Instead, he sent his producers to stake out my apartment, follow me for two hours, and accost me while I was on vacation in Virginia (and the least prepared to recall a post I had written three weeks earlier).

Producer Jesse Watters — who carried out the stalking and harassment — was right; I didn’t remember O’Reilly’s comments about Mel Gibson in that interview. While O’Reilly may think that on vacation, women sit around thinking about his old radio interviews — prepared to talk about them at any moment — the truth is that they don’t. However, we went back and checked out those specific comments, in which he equates Gibson getting drunk and making anti-Semitic comments to a woman getting raped while she is drunk:

I think it’s safe to say that if Mel Gibson didn’t get drunk, he wouldn’t be in this terrible situation he finds himself in. And if a young woman, 18-year-old Jennifer Moore of Harrington Park, NJ, didn’t get drunk, she’d be alive today.

To recap: I write a blog post highlighting comments O’Reilly made during his radio show. He sends his henchmen to harass me. I can’t immediately recall a three-year old O’Reilly interview when accosted on the street. He refuses to explain or apologize for implying that a dead rape victim should have been expecting the crime. And I’m the villain.

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U.S. rehab centers see bankers driven to drink

U.S. rehab centers see bankers driven to drink

Cocaine and martinis On Wall Street? Nothing new there.

Masters of the Universe admitting they have an alcohol problem? Not so common.


Experts say more and more people in finance are seeking treatment for addiction as the global economic crisis sinks its teeth into a high-stakes industry where confidence is the name of the game and nobody wants to admit to a weakness.

"We absolutely do see more people coming in naming either a job loss or huge financial reversals or big investments with Bernie Madoff," said Sigurd Ackerman, medical director at Silver Hill Hospital rehabilitation facility in New Canaan, Connecticut.

"They're being admitted with depression or increases in substance abuse, or both."
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Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/go-back-into-hiding-gop-begs-dick-cheney--please-2009-03-23.html

Congressional Republicans are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input.


Displeased with the former vice-president's recent media appearances, Republican lawmakers say he's hurting GOP efforts to reinvent itself after back-to-back electoral drubbings.

The veep, who showed a penchant for secrecy during eight years in the White House,has popped up in media interviews to defend the Bush-Cheney record while suggesting that the country is not as safe under President Obama.

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public...But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”
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Crowngasm

Fla. student suspended from bus for passing gas


LAKELAND, Fla. – An eighth-grader was suspended from riding the school bus for three days after being accused of passing gas. The bus driver wrote on a misbehavior form that a 15-year-old teen passing gas on the bus Monday to make the other children laugh, creating a stench so bad that it was difficult to breathe. The bus driver handed the teen the suspension form the next day.

Polk County school officials said there's no rule against flatulence, but there are rules against causing a disturbance on the bus.

The teen said he wasn't the one passing gas.

Whether he did it or not, he might have gotten off easy. A 13-year-old student at a Stuart school was arrested in November after authorities said he broke wind in class.

Source.
cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?

Politico is a Drudge's best friend (developing...)

The Politico-Drudge Echo Chamber

Politico is in the business of writing stories that Matt Drudge "NEEDS and WANTS" and that their reporters' mothers would read. Today they turned a couple of chuckles on 60 Minutes into a "developing..." story.

Politico's stated aim is to "explain how Washington really works." This is how Washington really works: Find something, anything, that can be packaged into fodder to serve the interests of somebody with a megaphone. Obama just laughed on TV! The laughter, on its own terms, wouldn't really cut it with Drudge or the evening cable news chatter.

So Obama didn't just laugh: He laughed in a way that could be seen as amplifying the sense that he is cool and detached. Which fits into a narrative! That Matt Drudge wants to advance! And which Politico has been gathering string on going back to the campaign! And also which, because Matt Drudge wants to advance it, cable new producers will create segments about tonight. After the 2010 mid-term elections, exit pollsters will ask voters whether Obama is too cool and detached, and this is why.

Obama laughed a couple times last night in Steve Kroft's interview, prompting Kroft to ask the president if he is "punch drunk." Drudge promoted the exchange late last night, but he didn't point readers to the 60 Minutes web site, where readers could find an account of the interview and watch the actual video. He linked to a Politico story warning that the "awkward laughter highlighted an issue Obama has faced dating back to the campaign, a sense that he sometimes is too 'cool' and detached to fully grasp the public anxiety over mounting job losses and economic worries."

Coolness and detachment are a potentially serious political problem for Obama, according to Politico: In January they reported that "the cool and detached Obama enters the White House at a time of considerable economic anxiety," and back during the campaign they noted that he was "known for a cool and occasionally detached delivery."

None of this has anything even remotely to do with what, if anything, it means that Obama laughed during his 60 Minutes interview. Obama himself chalked it up to gallows humor. It's about finding a way to feed a huge constituency of media franchises who—either because they have partisan agendas or because they desperately need things to talk about on TV—are looking for prepackaged narratives that will "pop." Politico is basically doing the same thing that writers for Ellen do—scanning headlines for stories that DeGeneres can riff on. It's just that their doing it for Drudge and Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly and Wolf Blitzer, and they're doing it for free.

Which is why you get stories about Barack Obama's secret code language for black people, his crippling teleprompter addiction, his barely restrained rage for Politico reporters who ask him questions during a friendly visit to the White House press corps' offices, and how he's in thrall to fat-cat academics. Politico's crack political team simply has their antennae set to "things Drudge could conceivably link to" and they keep coming up with hits. Good for them. We all need hits these days.

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Heilbrunn: Stop Bashing the Obama Economic Plan

The chorus of criticism of President Obama's economic plan has been almost deafening, and it isn't coming from Republicans but Democrats. Sure, the Republicans are engaging in scare tactics about tens of trillions in deficits, but it's the liberal naysayers such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who've been the real critics.

They should lay off. Krugman's lamentations about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's bank rescue plan simply don't add up. Is the plan perfect? No. But it does provide a road map to recovery, one that can be amended in coming weeks and months. Krugman's complaints, by contrast, reek of theology. The notion that a Wall Street cabal has captured Obama and that taxpayers will be on the hook for the bad bank loans rests on the assumption that the economy won't recover. But if the Geithner plan works -- as I suspect it will -- then these objections will seem picayune and pointless.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the liberal attack on the Obama administration is that it betrays a kind of pathological political death-wish among Democrats. When Ronald Reagan was trying to extricate America from recession in his first term, Republicans weren't denouncing him. Democrats, by contrast, seem to have no compunction about flaying their president a few months into his first term as courting failure. No doubt they depict it as concern for his success. But it remains astonishing that a variety of pundits and lawmakers continue to underestimate Obama, who is, by a wide margin, the most shrewd and thoughtful president America has had in decades. Will Obama rescue the economy? Yes, he can. But not if the Democrats try to stop him first.
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FDA Ordered to Rethink Age Restriction for Plan B

FDA Ordered to Rethink Age Restriction for Plan B

Judge Says Politics Influenced Policy on the Contraceptive

A federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration yesterday to reconsider its 2006 decision to deny girls younger than 18 access to the morning-after pill Plan B without a prescription.

U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in New York instructed the agency to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds within 30 days and to review whether to make the emergency contraceptive available to all ages without a doctor's order.

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As a scientist, it's such a relief to see that the FDA might actually be able to return to science instead of the religious farce that's been the last eight years. On the other hand, we still have to put up with the argument that any kind of birth control methods will cause teenagers to go insane, rip off their clothes, and have crazy, athletic, no-you-can't-do-this-because-you're-not-18-anymore sex in the middle of the street. I have never seen a study which showed a causal link between birth control and the sexual habits of teenagers, and it really bothers me that it's still used as an excuse for denying people access to useful medications.

tl;dr: Science 1, religious loonies* 0

* Because there are perfectly sane, religious people out there. Maybe some of them should be in charge of the FDA.

Fresh WaPo with sauce