April 25th, 2009


Pat Buchanan: Hiroshima Makes Torture Okay

Pat Buchanan: Hiroshima Makes Torture Okay

Some things, you hear on the teevee, and right away, your heart sinks, because you know you'll never be able to unhear them. Like today! On Hardball! With Pat Buchanan. Yeesh.

Basically, host Chris Matthews was having a debate on the torture doctrine with Buchanan and Jonathan Turley, when Buchanan trotted out an idea that I hadn't ever heard before, probably because it's insane, maybe!
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VA Hospital Slip-Up Infects 4 Patients With HIV

VA Hospital Slip-Up Infects 4 Patients With HIV

Thousands of veterans were at first shocked to learn they should get blood tests for HIV and hepatitis because three hospitals might have treated them with unsterile equipment. Now, just a couple of months after the Department of Veterans Affairs issued the dire warnings, veterans are growing frustrated by the lack of information from the tightlipped federal agency.

Nearly 11,000 former sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines could have been exposed to infectious diseases because three VA hospitals in the Southeast did not properly clean endoscopic equipment between patients. On Friday, the VA revealed that another patient had tested positive for HIV, bringing the total to four such cases among patients who got endoscope procedures at hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga.

The agency also said a new hepatitis case had been discovered, increasing the number of positive tests to 26. More than 4,270 veterans still have yet to get test results.

Beyond those skimpy facts, the VA has said little else, citing an ongoing investigation.

It hasn't answered questions from The Associated Press about why problems with cleaning the equipment, and possibly co-mingling infectious body fluids, went on for five years at the Miami and Murfreesboro hospitals and about a year in Augusta. The VA also refuses to say if it found similar problems at its other 150 hospitals or if more patients should get blood tests.

The VA has stressed that the positive tests are "not necessarily linked" to medical treatment at its hospitals, and infections don't always cause symptoms and can go undetected for years.

Still, veterans are calling on the agency to release more information.

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VA Owes Reporter Apology for Agency's Idiotic Harrassment

When he was in the Army, the current secretary of Veterans Affairs, Gen. Eric Shinseki (USA ret.), no doubt had occasion to read the riot act to subordinate officers. It's time for him to get into command mode again, and the subjects this time are his incompetent public relations staff, which created an embarrassing nightmare for an Administration dedicated to transparency and openness.

Last week, David Schultz, a reporter for WAMU-FM, a public radio outlet in Washington, D.C., went to cover a public forum on care for minority veterans. For the April 7 meeting, Schultz, a new, part-time reporter, had with him a recorder, headphones and a microphone. (Even with that gear, he was accused of not identifying himself as a reporter.) After listening to vets speak to a packed room in public about the care they were being given, Schultz wanted to interview one of them, Tommie Canady, 56, who has a terminal pancreatic disease and who said he has been denied benefits and had poor care.
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Palin, Fundraising Firm Part Ways; THERE IS A GOD!!

Palin, Fundraising Firm Part Ways

Campaign Solutions, a Republican consulting firm advising Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee, has parted ways with the former Republican vice presidential nominee.

The group had been working with the Palin operation to raise money for SarahPAC but decided to step aside after a series of strategic and philosophic differences, according to a source familiar with the decision.

Campaign Solutions head Becki Donatelli had long been associated with the fundraising efforts of Arizona Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and got to know Palin during last year's presidential campaign.
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Some will say these are signs that everything will crumble soon...

A woman's quest to erase a past that won't die

30 years after gender-reassignment surgery, woman's past as a man lingers

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Catherine Carlson, 52, thought she'd left her past behind. But 30 years after gender reassignment surgery and taking legal action to have her male name removed from public records, she's fighting again the ghost of Daniel Carlson.

By Jessie L. Bonner
Associated Press
updated 2:58 p.m. CT, Fri., April 24, 2009

PAYETTE, Idaho - Catherine Carlson threads through the discount store, her hiking boots clopping against the linoleum. She is numb to the shoppers who glance curiously as she plucks a pair of long underwear from a sales rack.

Cold sneaks through the walls of her trailer home, but this is the only remedy she can afford. At checkout, Catherine writes a $15 check. The clerk with the "Deb G" name tag examines the signature and runs her eyes over Catherine — the side-swept, faded blond hair, large knuckles, blue jeans and plaid work shirt.

Under the harsh fluorescent lights of the Bi-Mart, Catherine's narrow face is mapped with fine lines and abandoned by cosmetics. She ignores the unwelcome survey of her appearance.

Catherine, 52, leaves the cocoon of her trailer about once every 10 days. Payette, a tiny community of farmers and ranchers in southwestern Idaho, did not know she existed until a year ago when she decided she could no longer hide.

On that day last winter, she climbed into her silver 1993 Plymouth Voyager and drove down Main Street to pick up a friend whose car had broken down. A police officer pulled her over and found that her driver's license was suspended. He wrote her a ticket.

Catherine stared at the citation. It was issued to both her and to Daniel Carlson.

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LAUSD cuts back on quality and continues wasteful spending

The Los Angeles Unified School District was under much scrutiny three years ago when it was discovered that two of its high schools had dropout rates above 50 percent. In fact, Jefferson High in South Los Angeles had a dropout rate of 52.1 percent, with Belmont High following at 51 percent. In response to this, members of the school board decided to launch a program dubbed the "Diploma Project," that aimed to prevent potential dropouts.

The $10 million project assigned counselors to 49 middle and high schools that suffered the highest dropout rates. These counselors would encourage at-risk students to continue their education by providing one-on-one interaction and academic attention. For instance, those who were intimidated by the high school exit exam could depend on the counselors for guidance to pass the graduation requirement.

Although the program has proven to be relatively successful, Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines is putting a stop to it.

To read more, click on the link below:

Fears of Swine Flu pandemic grow


From the BBC:

A new flu virus suspected of killing up to 60 people in Mexico has the potential to become a pandemic, the World Health Organization's chief says. Collapse )

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Sources: BBC, MSNBC

EDIT: The video embed from MSNBC didn't show up, sorry. The interview with Besser can be found at the source.

EDIT 2: Some additional links courtesy of txvoodoo:

movies | Impish Fräulein2

Shenanigans Saturday: April 25, 2009.

Please exploit these resources:
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Amid Outcry on Memo, Signer's Private Regret

Amid Outcry on Memo, Signer's Private Regret

On a Saturday night in May last year, Jay S. Bybee hosted dinner for 35 at a Las Vegas restaurant. The young people seated around him had served as his law clerks in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the post Bybee had assumed after two turbulent years at the Justice Department, where as head of the Office of Legal Counsel he signed the legal justifications for harsh interrogations that have become known as the "torture memos."

Five years along in his new life as a federal judge, Bybee gathered the lawyers and their dates for a reunion, telling them he was proud of the legal work they had together produced.

And then, according to two of his guests, Bybee added that he wished he could say the same about his previous position.

It was, in the private room of a public restaurant, the kind of joyless judgment that some friends and associates say the jurist arrived at well before the public release of four additional memos last week and the resulting uproar that has engulfed Washington. One of the documents, dated Aug. 1, 2002, offered a helpfully narrow definition of torture to the CIA and soon became known as the "Bybee memo," because it bore his signature.

"I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo,"
said a fellow legal scholar and longtime friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while offering remarks that might appear as "piling on." "I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety."

That notoriety worsened this week as the documents -- detailing the acceptable application of waterboarding, "walling," sleep deprivation and other procedures the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation methods" -- prompted calls from human rights advocates and other critics for criminal investigations of the government lawyers who generated them.

Of the three former Justice Department lawyers associated with the memos, the public's attention has focused particularly harshly on Bybee because of his position as a sitting federal judge; John C. Yoo, who largely wrote the Bybee memo, returned to academic life, and Steven G. Bradbury, who signed three memos, resumed private practice at the end of the Bush administration.
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Part II: Soldier Who Killed Herself -- After Refusing to Take Part in Torture

Part II: Soldier Who Killed Herself -- After Refusing to Take Part in Torture

Yesterday, I posted a piece here that drew wide attention around the Web perhaps because of its tragic relevance to the current torture debate: The story of Spc. Alyssa Peterson, who committed suicide in September 2003 a few days after refusing to take part in interrogations that likely involved torture.

The piece has drawn more than 200 comments here, including one from Alyssa's older brother, supporting the essence of my piece (I first wrote about Alyssa almost three years ago). I'll return to that comment over the weekend.

Yesterday I promised a Part II, relating to a soldier who served with Alyssa. That woman, Kayla Williams, has posted here in the past, on a different subject.
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Republicans Cave on Majority Vote for Health Care and Waste Senate Time Instead

Republicans Cave on Majority Vote for Health Care and Waste Senate Time Instead

The Senate was set to vote last night on whether or not a minority of Senators could block health care reform using a process called budget reconciliation.

The way it was supposed to work was this: Republicans were going to offer an amendment to tell the Senators negotiating a deal on the budget with the House not to use reconciliation for health care, just like they offered similar amendments around global warming. The vote was going to be a referendum on reconciliation - if it passed, the Senate would have clearly stated that it wants to allow a minority to filibuster health care reform. If it failed, the Senate would be declaring its intention to allow health reform to move forward on a simple majority vote.

This vote was supposed to happen late last night, but Republicans caved.

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' jules

Insult to injury

DNC Razzes Steele On NY-20

The Democratic National Committee is quickly seizing the opportunity presented by the party's victory in the NY-20 special election -- to gloat over all the effort that Michael Steele and the Republicans put into this race.

The Dems have released this new Web video, entitled "Broken Steele":

"That's a seat that we should be able to go in and be competitive and win," Steele is shown saying. "I'm gonna put -- make it a focal point, right out of the box."


Growing Up Buckley

Christopher, age 4, and his parents, Pat and William F. Buckley, Stamford, Conn., 1956.

Brief excerpt from a loooong excerpt from Christopher Buckley's new book in the NYT magazine under the cut

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The rest is here, kind of poor ONTDmanship not to c/p it all I know but it's so long it reads a lot better broken up into pages. If nothing else, recommended reading if you have a soft spot for lol crazy rich white people stories.

Professor sought in connection with shooting

Police search home of UGA prof sought in deadly shooting

Three slain — including suspect’s wife; university alerts students

A SWAT team broke down the front door and is searching the home of a college professor accused of shooting and killing three people Saturday afternoon in Athens.

Four hours ago, a manhunt began for a University of Georgia professor accused of killing his wife and two other people and wounding two more.

Police are looking for George M. Zinkhan III, a professor in the Department of Marketing and Distribution.

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One of my TAs knows someone who was at the shooting. D: My roommate was on Prince Avenue all day with her family. And a lot of police are tied up with the Twilight Criterium tonight.
Thatcher - Ugly Poisonous Creature

Miss California is a "silly bitch" says Tory MP

Just watched this on TV, and thought "Oh no he DIDN'T!" so obviously it's ripe to be posted here.

Alan Duncan, MP for Rutland and Melton, is Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and the first openly gay Conservative MP. On this week's Have I Got News For You, he calls Miss California a "silly bitch" and goes so far as to say, "if you read that Miss California's been murdered, you'll know it was me won't you?"

Whilst the comment was said in jest, the audience reaction is definite shock.

(no subject)

Iowan organizing prayer opposing gay marriage

KEOSAUQUA, Iowa - An Iowa woman is organizing a statewide prayer service against gay marriage on Monday, the first day of legalized same-sex unions.

Gloria Villanueva, of Bonaparte (BON'-ah-pahrt), says she is opposed to last month's ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage and wants her voice heard.

On Monday, same-sex couples will have the right to seek marriage licenses allowing them to wed after a three-day waiting period.

Villanueva is urging people to go to their local courthouse on Monday and pray at 7:45 a.m. She says she plans to show at the Van Buren County courthouse in Keosauqua (kee-o-SAHK'-wah).

She also is contacting churches across Iowa, telling them of the event and asking for their support.


Bring ONTD to ONTD_Political: More holy crap! about the flu

The first case was seen in Mexico on April 13. The outbreak coincided with the President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico City on April 16. Obama was received at Mexico’s anthropology museum in Mexico City by Felipe Solis, a distinguished archeologist who died the following day from symptoms similar to flu, Reforma newspaper reported. The newspaper didn’t confirm if Solis had swine flu or not.

Source: Bloomberg

OBAMA IS SAFE: http://www.topnews.in/influenza-death-toll-rises-81-mexico-2157311

The guy didn't die of the flu..but he did die the day after.

Since I don't want scare mongering breeding a new post there has been an update to the CDC stuff. I'm putting it behind lj-cut.

Let me make this clear. It is obviously not affecting the US as bad or might be different strain. This is showing even though there is an outbreak, it is only mild and requiring no hospitalization of yet. Collapse )
movies | Impish Fräulein2

Politico Stalks 60 Minutes Stalking Joe Biden; Sunday episode subsequently produced.

04/23/09 11:30 AM | CBS cameras return to the W.H.
CBS cameras are at the White House for a third straight day for their feature with Biden.

04/22/09 10:00 AM | Biden close-up continues
CBS's Lesley Stahl is back at the White House this morning after following VPOTUS around yesterday. The crew is headed to Biden's office to set up while he's in New Carrollton this morning.

04/21/09 4:09 PM |CBS gets VP sitdown
"60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl sat down with Joe Biden at the White House Tuesday morning for a forthcoming piece on the vice president. A CBS camera crew filmed Biden and King Abdullah walking into the White House Tuesday. The crew also flew to Missouri with Biden last week for his event there.

A Biden aide said the piece could air as early as this weekend.

60 Minutes preview:

SOURCE: Politico's amazing stalker archives.