May 27th, 2009

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Once Considered Unthinkable, U.S. Sales Tax Gets Fresh Look

Once Considered Unthinkable, U.S. Sales Tax Gets Fresh Look

With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making idea long considered politically taboo: a national sales tax.

Common around the world, including in Europe, such a tax -- called a value-added tax, or VAT -- has not been seriously considered in the United States. But advocates say few other options can generate the kind of money the nation will need to avert fiscal calamity.

At a White House conference earlier this year on the government's budget problems, a roomful of tax experts pleaded with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to consider a VAT. A recent flurry of books and papers on the subject is attracting genuine, if furtive, interest in Congress. And last month, after wrestling with the White House over the massive deficits projected under Obama's policies, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee declared that a VAT should be part of the debate.

"There is a growing awareness of the need for fundamental tax reform," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said in an interview. "I think a VAT and a high-end income tax have got to be on the table."

A VAT is a tax on the transfer of goods and services that ultimately is borne by the consumer. Highly visible, it would increase the cost of just about everything, from a carton of eggs to a visit with a lawyer. It is also hugely regressive, falling heavily on the poor. But VAT advocates say those negatives could be offset by using the proceeds to pay for health care for every American -- a tangible benefit that would be highly valuable to low-income families.

Liberals dispute that notion. "You could pay for it regressively and have people at the bottom come out better off -- maybe. Or you could pay for it progressively and they'd come out a lot better off," said Bob McIntyre, director of the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, which has a health financing plan that targets corporations and the rich.

A White House official said a VAT is "unlikely to be in the mix" as a means to pay for health-care reform. "While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers," said Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Still, Orszag has hired a prominent VAT advocate to advise him on health care: Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and author of the 2008 book "Health Care, Guaranteed." Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul A. Volcker, chairman of a task force Obama assigned to study the tax system, has expressed at least tentative support for a VAT.

"Everybody who understands our long-term budget problems understands we're going to need a new source of revenue, and a VAT is an obvious candidate," said Leonard Burman, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, who testified on Capitol Hill this month about his own VAT plan. "It's common to the rest of the world, and we don't have it."
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GOP Senators All Repeat Same Line Questioning Sotomayor

GOP Senators All Repeat Same Line Questioning Sotomayor

Here's the latest news on Sotomayor talking points, people!

Let's say you are prepping yourself to oppose Sonia Sotomayor. Or, at the very least, prepping yourself to oppose judicial activism (excepting the sort of judicial activism that would overturn the Kelo decision, of course). Or, alternatively, prepping yourself to oppose EMPATHY (by which we mean: empathy that does not specifically limit itself to empathizing with very brave, test-taking, Connecticut firefighters, WHO ALL MUST EMPATHIZE WITH, LEST THEY BE COMMUNISTS). What are you talking about, at this moment? Well, as one wag points out to me in an email, you are singing a specific refrain, today:

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): "I will focus on determining whether Judge Sotomayor is committed to deciding cases based only on the law as made by the people and their elected representatives, not on personal feelings or politics."


Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): "We will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences."

Charles Grassley (R-Iowa): "The Judiciary Committee should take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences."

John Cornyn (R-Tx.): "She must prove her commitment to impartially deciding cases based on the law, rather than based on her own personal politics, feelings, and preferences."

Given the quartet of speakers, I'm guessing that "personal politics, feelings, and preferences" is a JUDICIAL CODE WORD for "menses." Hopefully, Kay Bailey Hutchison can clarify and/or expand on this.

Meanwhile, if you are prepping yourself to support Sotomayor, you are probably memorizing this phrase: "compelling personal story." Mind you: compelling personal story basically means "grew up in the Bronx" and achieved success despite having never been a "Fly Girl" on In Living Color.

Also! Be on the watch for reports that describe Sotomayor's parents as "immigrants!" As the aforementioned emailing "wag" points out, it's sort of like saying that Meghan McCain's father "immigrated to the United States from the Panama Canal Zone." And don't make the mistake that Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin did (originally) in this post, and call Sotomayor a "Latina single mother." Remember: to be a single mother, one must actually have children!

Anyway, as you can see, your Sonia Sotomayor Drinking Game is already taking shape! If you divine any interesting patterns in the coverage, do let us know!

Report Questions Conventional Wisdom About Iranian Regime

By Walter Pincus from WB
Tuesday, May 26, 2009


"Tehran feels vulnerable, both from outside and from within."

That is just one of a handful of intriguing findings in a study released by the Rand Corp. last week that challenges conventional American thinking about the Iranian regime.

The U.S. Air Force Directorate of Operational Plans and Joint Matters sponsored the study, given Iran's apparent drive to develop nuclear weapons and the likelihood that the United States would use air power as a "first resort" military response to meet that threat.
Faced with that situation, the report's authors decided to take a fresh look at what could be expected from Iran over the next decade, measured against not only the country's military and economic strengths and religious influence but also its "serious liabilities and limitations."

U.S. policies over the past nine years eliminated the most serious threat to Iran, Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and an American-led coalition has been fighting against the Taliban, another potential enemy of Iran. Still, there remains "a myriad of threats and vulnerabilities that challenge Iran in the current strategic environment," according to the Rand report.

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Arnold to propose closing Calif. State AIDS Office

I got this story from screamingintune.

California thus far: First, Miss California voiced her opposition to gay marriage on national TV. Then the LA Times reported that the "Governor plans to completely eliminate welfare for families." Next , Paul Krugman wrote a column where he called California a "state of paralysis" and hoped it would not be the model for America's economic recovery. Yesterday the California Supreme Court upheld a ban on gay marriages, vindicating Miss California.

Now comes reports that Schwarzenegger is looking to axe the state's Office of HIV/AIDs to save money.



Gov. Schwarzenegger Apparently To Recommend Effectively Closing California State Office Of AIDS

by: Autumn Sandeen
Sun May 24, 2009 at 18:30:00 PM EDT

Gov. Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature are coming to grips with a $21 billion-with-a-B budget deficit. Since Californians soundly rejected initiatives in a special election last week that would have raised taxes and redirected funds, draconian measures are being proposed for closing the budget deficit.


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Obama “Day In Shoes” Worker To President: Please Help Me

Finally! It took the SEIU long enough, but the union is now directly addressing President Obama over his decision not to penalize Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for cutting the pay of California homecare workers, infuriating the union.

The SEIU has a full page ad in today’s Los Angeles Times featuring a letter to Obama from Pauline Beck, the worker in whose shoes Obama famously walked for a day during the campaign. In the letter, which coincides with Obama’s arrival in Los Angeles for a fundraiser today, she reminds him of their day together and asks for his help:

Dear Mr. President,

I am Pauline Beck — the California home care worker you spent a day on the job with in August 2007. You helped me provide care to Mr. John Thornton, an 86-year old man in a wheelchair who is able to stay in his home because of the care I provide.

I know you are very busy, but Mr. John and I, and my fellow home care workers and their clients, need your help.

You see, Governor Schwarzenegger wants to cut my pay back to $8 an hour. These are tough times, but if my pay gets cut to minimum wage I won’t be able to support my family. It’s just wrong to pay us so little for taking care of people who have given our communities and our country so much…

I know you are a good man and I am proud of the job you are doing. I hope you and the Governor can work together to help Mr. John, me and the 750,000 of Californians just like us. It would make such a difference in our lives. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Pauline Beck

The Obama administration’s decision had infuriated the SEIU, but until now the union had refrained from directly addressing him, training all its firepower on Schwarzenegger in an ad. Though the union has now taken the step of placing the controversy in his lap, the letter’s plaintive plea for help is yet another sign of the reluctance of some groups on the left to confront the popular president.
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Ex-CIA guy: Briefers may have "dissembled" to Pelosi

Ishmael Jones, the pseudonym of a former CIA agent who has been critical of the agency, thinks Nancy Pelosi may have been right when she claimed the CIA misled her on interrogation briefings.

Writing in National Review's The Corner blog, Jones (who apparently wasn't one of the Speaker's briefers) opines:

In Mrs. Pelosi’s defense, CIA managers do not give fist-pounding briefings. They mumble, they dissemble, and there’s a lot of “on the one hand . . .” Its enormous numbers of employees have led to briefings being handled by groups, with vague chains of command, so that it may have been difficult to pin down what was said, when it was said, and who was in charge.

Jones, who describes himself as a "former deep cover operative," suggests Pelosi (and, by implication, the House Republicans who howled about her attacks on the CIA) should actually be pushing the agency much harder:

The CIA should be systemically changed so that it becomes an effective force for the defense of Americans, and not a political special-interest group. It needs to get its officers out of the United States and operating in foreign countries. (President Obama visited CIA Headquarters in April, where he was greeted by throngs of cheering CIA employees. With 90 percent of its employees now living and working within the United States, it is easy for the CIA to gather a rock-concert crowd.) The CIA needs to establish accountability for taxpayer funding — no whistle-blower system currently exists at the CIA to prevent fraud.

[T]he CIA must shift its focus to gathering critical intelligence on foreign threats such as Iran and North Korea, and stop engaging in political fights in Washington, D.C.

The real challenge to Mrs. Pelosi’s political power will come not from these latest revelations, but in the fallout from the next intelligence failure, when America is taken by surprise, or when President Obama makes a crucial decision based on false or nonexistent CIA intelligence.

Jones' blog, which focuses on intel reform, is here.

[h/t Jeff Stein]
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You say potato, I say asscactus



It Sticks in My Craw   [Mark Krikorian]
 

Most e-mailers were with me on the post on the pronunciation of Judge Sotomayor's name (and a couple griped about the whole Latina/Latino thing — English dropped gender in nouns, what, 1,000 years ago?). But a couple said we should just pronounce it the way the bearer of the name prefers, including one who pronounces her name "freed" even though it's spelled "fried," like fried rice. (I think Cathy Seipp of blessed memory did the reverse — "sipe" instead of "seep.") Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.

For instance, in Armenian, the emphasis is on the second syllable in my surname, just as in English, but it has three syllables, not four (the "ian" is one syllable) — but that's not how you'd say it in English (the "ian" means the same thing as in English — think Washingtonian or Jeffersonian). Likewise in Russian, you put the emphasis in my name on the final syllable and turn the "o" into a schwa, and they're free to do so because that's the way it works in their language. And should we put Asian surnames first in English just because that's the way they do it in Asia? When speaking of people in Asia, okay, but not people of Asian origin here, where Mao Tse-tung would properly have been changed to Tse-tung Mao. Likewise with the Mexican practice of including your mother's maiden name as your last name, after your father's surname.

This may seem like carping, but it's not. Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options — the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.

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You know, this reminds me way too much of that Texas legislator earlier this month who said that Asians should have names that are "easier for Americans to deal with". Ironic, since it's not as though Americans are expected to be able to read Chinese character script, and they already are WRITTEN IN ENGLISH TO MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR YOU TO READ, DUMBASS!! 

So, back to this asscactus, if you can't be bothered to pronounce one syllable of a person's name correctly, that sounds like a personal problem to me.  I doubt that Judge SotomayOR really cares about what you think.  However, stating that multiculturalism means that others should adapt to our culture is just plain absurd.  Srsly, STFU.


 

i want joe biden i need joe biden

Huckabee to endorse Rubio for Florida Senate seat



WASHINGTON (CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has rolled out a succession of endorsements from national Republicans since announcing his entrance into the 2010 Senate race.

Now his Republican primary rival, former Florida House speaker Marco Rubio, has a national endorsement of his own from a conservative heavyweight: Mike Huckabee.

The former Arkansas governor will formally endorse Rubio in about two weeks, according to a Florida Republican familiar with the plans. The details of where the endorsement will take place have not been decided.

Rubio endorsed Huckabee's presidential bid in late 2007.

Huckabee's political action committee accidentally revealed the endorsement plans in an email to supporters on Tuesday evening that solicited donations for "candidates for Senate Huck PAC endorses."

"Candidates such as Marco Rubio of Florida," the e-mail said.

Rubio's campaign picked up another endorsement closer to home on Wednesday, that of Jeb Bush, Jr., the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The former governor, who remains popular among Republicans in Florida and nationally, is a Rubio mentor, but he has so far avoided weighing in on the Senate race.

Rubio crush-killing sauce
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Four states adopt 'no-smiles' policy for driver's licenses

Stopping driver's license fraud is no laughing matter: Four states are ordering people to wipe the grins off their faces in their license photos.

"Neutral facial expressions" are required at departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) in Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia. That means you can't smile, or smile very much. Other states may follow.

The serious poses are urged by DMVs that have installed high-tech software that compares a new license photo with others that have already been shot. When a new photo seems to match an existing one, the software sends alarms that someone may be trying to assume another driver's identity.

But there's a wrinkle in the technology: a person's grin. Face-recognition software can fail to match two photos of the same person if facial expressions differ in each photo, says Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor Takeo Kanade.

Dull expressions "make the comparison process more accurate," says Karen Chappell, deputy commissioner of the Virginia DMV, whose no-smile policy took effect in March.

Elaine Mullen of Great Falls, Va., bristled at the policy while renewing her license until she heard the reasoning. "It's probably safer from a national-security point of view," she says.

Arkansas, Indiana and Nevada allow slight smiles. "You just can't grin really large," Arkansas driver services chief Tonie Shields says.

A total of 31 states do computerized matching of driver's license photos and three others are considering it, says the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. Most say their software matches faces regardless of expressions. "People can smile here in Pennsylvania," state Transportation Department spokesman Craig Yetter says.

In Illinois, photo matching has stopped 6,000 people from getting fraudulent licenses since the technology was launched in 1999, says Beth Langen, the state head of Drivers Services.
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Home Bible Study Requires a Permit in California now

According to a report on FOX News this morning, home Bible study is under fire in California. Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary, who live in San Diego, got some friends together at their house for a Bible study. However, when the county of San Diego found out, the couple was told they needed to either stop the Bible study or purchase a permit because they had too many people in their home.


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The Many Rabbis of Sonia Sotomayor

During a recruiting trip to Yale in 1979, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau ran into his friend José Alberto Cabranes in the hallway.

“You have any good students?” Mr. Morgenthau remembered asking Mr. Cabranes, a prominent Puerto Rican lawyer from New York who was then teaching at Yale and who is now a federal judge on the Second Circuit.

“I have one student who has never thought of being an assistant district attorney,” Mr. Morgenthau remembered Mr. Cabranes as saying. “But I think she’d be good. It would be good for your office and I think it would be good for her.”

It turned out to be very good for that student, Sonia Sotomayor, who on May 26, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a Supreme Court justice of the United States. She would be the first Latino to join the nation’s highest court, and only its third woman. Mr. Obama said during the announcement at the White House that he selected the federal appeals judge in part because it was critical to have a justice know “how the world works, and how ordinary people live.”

The world and people Ms. Sotomayor knew were largely shaped by the borders of the city’s five boroughs, where she was raised by a single mother in a South Bronx housing project and, after attaining gold-plated diplomas at Princeton and Yale (where she edited the law review), she returned as a high-powered and promising lawyer who caught the attention of some of the great political powers of New York State.

For them, she has been as close to a consensus favorite as it is possible to be. While never outwardly political herself, Ms. Sotomayor was helped along in her career at every level by support from an ideologically diverse collection of giants such as Mr. Morgenthau, Ed Koch, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Al D’Amato. Most recently, when Mr. Obama deliberated about who to choose, Chuck Schumer led the charge on Ms. Sotomayor’s behalf, with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives José Serrano and Nydia Velázquez behind him.

Mr. Morgenthau said that while many junior prosecutors in the 1980s were susceptible to aggressive tactics by high-powered defense lawyers looking for pleas in the courts, “no one pushed around Sonia Sotomayor.” He noted that she handled several high-profile cases, including the trial of the so-called Tarzan Murderer, who entered apartments by climbing down fire escapes.

“He’s doing 75 to life now,” said Mr. Morgenthau. “So ask him if he thinks she’s a liberal.”

(He actually got 67 years to life, but point taken.)

Ms. Sotomayor eventually left the district attorney’s office to go into private practice, a period during which she established a regular presence at civic and legal events, especially those concerning Puerto Ricans.

“She made the rounds,” said Representative Jose Serrano, who recalled meeting her at events sponsored by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and ducation Fund, of which she was policy maker, or the Hispanic Bar Association.

“The first person I remember her with was Morgenthau,” said Mr. Serrano. “And that was very impressive.”

 

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GOP dont know technology... again...

White House Smacks Gingrich For Calling Sotomayor A Racist



The White House hit back at Newt Gingrich on Wednesday for a twitter post made by the former House Speaker accusing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor of being a racist.

Early on Wednesday, Gingrich put up a post on twitter rapping Sotomayor for saying that her background as a Hispanic female allowed her to understand cases in a different, better, manner than her white male contemporaries.

"Imagine a judicial nominee said "my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman" new racism is no better than old racism."


Asked at the daily briefing to respond to the tweet, spokesman Robert Gibbs offered a bit of thinly-veiled shot at Gingrich and warned against the escalation of racially heated rhetoric.

"I think it is probably important for anyone involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they've decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation," said Gibbs. "I think... when people of American and the people of the Senate get a chance to look at more than just the blog of a former lawmaker that they will come to the same conclusion as the president did... I think that when people get a chance to look at her record, I feel certain that partisan politics will take a back seat to common sense and open-minded decisions based on a full examination of the record and I think that that's what every Supreme Court and judicial nominee deserves."

Playing up the racial aspect of Sotomayor's candidacy is a dangerous proposition for the conservative community, with the risk of offending wide swaths of Hispanics omnipresent.
To this point, the charges of reverse-racism have been primarily trumpeted by non-elected officials. But as Greg Sargent pointed out first, the director of new media for the Republican National Committee, Todd Herman, re-tweeted Gingrich's post, bringing the line of attack ever closer to the rank-and-file GOP.
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Obama is a divider: someone please think of the white rich guys!!!

Republican Study Committee: Barack Obama Does Not Stand For Hedge Funds


Here is Rep. Tom Price, chair of the Republican Study Committee, standing before the Lincoln Memorial to show that Barack Obama, unlike Abraham Lincoln, is a DIVIDER, not U-NITER. He divides the American people into interest groups, see? Price backs this up with a very Populist real-world example: when hedge funds and i-bankers and other rich, senior bondholders were unwilling to take cuts in order to save the massive company Chrysler, DID BARACK OBAMA DEFEND THEM? No! Doesn’t this divisive thing Obama did just get you all hot and bothered, America? [Political Wire]
Shirley Animated

Fair and Balanced: Weighing Sotomayor's Opinions



President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court should shock no one. What is surprising is the relative lack of information about Sotomayor and one of the most perennially controversial Constitutional issues: abortion rights.

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I think it may be a good thing that she hasn't ruled on a lot of cases dealing with reproductive rights. Gives the Right fewer things to throw at her to demonize her.
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Sestak Intends To Run For Senate



Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) is privately telling supporters that he intends to run for Senate, TPMDC has confirmed.

"He intends to get in the race," says Meg Infantino, the Congressman's sister, who works at Sestak for Congress. "In the not too distant future, he will sit down with his wife and daughter to make the final decision."

The move would constitute a primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who intends to run for re-election in 2010, after having switched parties earlier this year.

Earlier today, a Sestak volunteer and contributor received a handwritten note from Sestak himself, announcing his intent to run and asking for a contribution. The source provided TPMDC a scan of the letter.

The note says, "I am writing you as especially dear supporters to let you know I intend to run for the U.S. Senate...my candidacy's credibility will have much to do with my fundraising success by the 30 June FEC filing deadline at the end of this quarter. Would you help me bring the change for the future we Pennsylvanians need[?]"

Infantino confirms that the note is genuine and that "Joe Sestak has written a number of similar notes."

We'll provide you with more details as we receive them.

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It was rumored that the White House was trying to push him out of the race, but either that was false or he's not afraid of Rahm. To which I can only say, you go Glen Coco. Now Specter has to play nice with the Democrats.

Does freedom make women unhappy?

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Liberated and Unhappy
By ROSS DOUTHAT

American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. They’re more likely to work outside the home, and more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s when they do. They can leave abusive marriages and sue sexist employers. They enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility. On some fronts — graduation rates, life expectancy and even job security — men look increasingly like the second sex.

But all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness. In the 1960s, when Betty Friedan diagnosed her fellow wives and daughters as the victims of “the problem with no name,” American women reported themselves happier, on average, than did men. Today, that gender gap has reversed. Male happiness has inched up, and female happiness has dropped. In postfeminist America, men are happier than women.

This is “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” the subject of a provocative paper from the economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. The paper is fascinating not only because of what it shows, but because the authors deliberately avoid floating an easy explanation for their data.

The decline of the two-parent family, for instance, is almost certainly depressing life satisfaction for the women stuck raising kids alone. But this can’t be the only explanation, since the trend toward greater female discontent cuts across lines of class and race. A working-class Hispanic woman is far more likely to be a single mother than her white and wealthy counterpart, yet the male-female happiness gap holds in East Hampton and East L.A. alike.

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Flustered Burris Maintains Innocence On "Hardball"

Flustered Burris Maintains Innocence On "Hardball" (WATCH)

Roland Burris began Wednesday by explaining to reporters how a recording of a telephone call of him promising the brother of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that he would "personally do something" for Blagojevich's campaign fund-- while they were discussing his interest in being appointed to the Senate-- actually proved his innocence of pay-to-play.

Burris' rough day got even worse Wednesday afternoon during a phone interview on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

Burris began the interview by reiterating his innocence, saying that "there was no money ever given, nor was there any money ever raised" for Blagojevich. Then Matthews played a portion of the taped call that appears to reveal Burris' awareness of the murky waters he was navigating while campaigning for the Senate appointment:
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bunny hehe

The Sotomayor Pick: Bridging the Black-Latino Divide

Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is a historic milestone for Latinos, but it resonates well beyond Hispanic pride. It is perhaps the most potent symbol yet of a 21st century rapprochement between the U.S.'s two largest minorities, Latino Americans and African Americans, who in the 20th century could be as violently distrustful of each other as blacks and whites were.
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I'm not sure if I bolded too much or not enough, lol. I'm new at this.
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LA: Gays Will Protest Obama Tonight

 

The Courage Campaign and a coalition of other progressive groups will protest Barack Obama's continuing silence on marriage equality when he appears at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser dinner tonight at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
President Barack Obama, the most LGBT-friendly president in history, will be at the Beverly Hilton the evening of Wednesday, May 27th, for a DNC fundraiser. Let's take this opportunity, just one day after the CA Supreme Court makes its decision on Proposition 8, to show our President our support for his daring promise to our community and to highlight the growing movement towards FULL FEDERAL EQUALITY. Join us at a rally at 6PM in front of the Beverly Hilton on Wednesday, May 27th. At 7PM we will be joined by Lt. Dan Choi and other LGBT servicemen & women in opposition to Don't Ask Don't Tell. They will ask for response from President Obama to the letter signed by 136,000 people asking the president not to fire Lt. Choi by ending DADT. Regardless of what decision comes down regarding Prop 8 it is time for us all to demand equality on all fronts for all people! Sponsored by the Courage Campaign, Equality Network, Equal Roots Coalition, FAIR, Stonewall Democratic Club, White Knot
Yesterday White House press secretary Robert Gibbs declined to comment on the Prop 8 ruling, angering activists nationwide.

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Gay Marriage = Straight Adultery

Gay Marriage Leads To Straight Adultery!

 

The deep thinkers at the Maine Marriage Alliance point to a survey about monogamy among gay male couples and come to this conclusion:
Legal recognition for openly non-monogamous gay unions would effectively destroy the taboo on adultery. The result is a continual downfall of families and society. Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at Stanford University explains: “What we need to understand — but do not — is that gay marriage will undermine the structure of taboos that continue to protect heterosexual marriage — and will do so far more profoundly than either the elimination of sodomy laws, or the general sexual loosening of the past thirty years. Above all, marriage is protected by the ethos of monogamy — and by the associated taboo against adultery. The real danger of gay marriage is that it will undermine the taboo on adultery, thereby destroying the final bastion protecting marriage: the ethos of monogamy.”
The survey they cite, a 1996 study by gay researchers Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen reportedly concludes that "the cheating ratio of ‘married’ gay males, given enough time, approaches 100%." The Maine Marriage Alliance does note that this "outside sexual activity" occurs by agreement, but really, so what?

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Bree Gun

Rob Thomas Writes BEAUTIFUL Gay Marriage Piece for Huff Post



I am a straight man, with a big gay chip on my shoulder.

A while back on my Twitter page (yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds), I mentioned that, if I believed in the devil, Pat Robertson might be him.

Being a fairly liberal-leaning guy with either liberal friends or Republican and Christian friends who don't believe that being one has anything to do with the other, I was surprised at how many people took offense to what I had to say.

These people weren't friends of Mr. Robertson but friends, apparently, of God. They had "spoken" with him and he had assured them that he was no friend of the gays. He also told them that he loved America more than any other country and was a huge fan of Dancing With the Stars.

 

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$2M for kin of woman who died on NY hospital floor

$2M for kin of woman who died on NY hospital floor

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NEW YORK – The family of a woman who died on a hospital floor, struggling to get up while staffers ignored her, has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city for $2 million.

But the family of Esmin Green, whose death was recorded on a hospital security video, still is awaiting a full investigation into what happened at the Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, family lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said Wednesday.

"What remains most important to this family is the criminal culpability for those responsible for what happened and those who attempted to cover it up," Rubenstein said.


Green, a 49-year-old psychiatric patient, had been in a waiting room at the city-owned hospital for nearly 24 hours when she collapsed on June 19, 2008. Neither fellow patients nor the hospital's staff moved to help her, even as she thrashed her legs on the floor and tried to get up. Two security guards and a member of the hospital's medical staff can be seen on the video stopping to look at her briefly before walking away.

 

Green stopped moving after about 30 minutes. She was on the floor for an hour before a nurse checked her pulse. The medical examiner said she suffered from blood clots.

Six hospital employees lost their jobs over the incident, and the video prompted national outrage when it became public soon after.

The U.S. Department of Justice cited Green's death among other abuses in a February report that documented a pattern of what investigators said was "inadequate care," violence among patients and sexual abuse at Kings County.

That report became public when Alan Aviles, president of the city's Health and Hospitals Corp., announced reforms at the hospital including the replacement of its top two administrators and the addition of 200 medical personnel to its 600-member staff.

Aviles said the improvements would shorten the average time patients wait in the psychiatric emergency room to eight hours, down from 27 hours.

Aviles said the settlement with the Green family was "not meant to put a value on a life and the loss of a loved one."

"The indelible memory of this tragedy will spur us to fulfill our promise to create a national model of patient-centered mental health services at Kings County Hospital," he said in a statement.


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Bush & Gore lawyers join same-sex wedding fight

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Two lawyers who faced off in the bitter over the 2000 US presidential election have joined forces in a federal lawsuit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage, it was announced Wednesday.

Ted Olson and David Boies -- who argued on opposite sides in the legal battle that settled the election between George W. Bush and Al Gore -- announced their federal lawsuit at a press conference in Los Angeles.

The development came one day after California's Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on gay marriage known as Proposition 8, a decision that outraged activists and sparked angry protests across the state.

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I am very excited to see this.
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soap&amp;skin 2012

Death in birth: Where life's start is a deadly risk

Where Life’s Start Is a Deadly Risk

Published: May 23, 2009


A father holds his baby after his wife died in childbirth in Moshi, Tanzania. “Too many die, too young,” said a doctor worried about maternal deaths.

BEREGA, Tanzania — The young woman had already been in labor for two days by the time she reached the hospital here. Now two lives were at risk, and there was no choice but to operate and take the baby right away.

It was just before dawn, and the operating room, powered by a rumbling generator, was the only spot of light in this village of mud huts and maize fields. A mask with a frayed cord was fastened over the woman’s face. Moments later the cloying smell of ether filled the room, and then Emmanuel Makanza picked up his instruments and made the first cut for a Caesarean section.

Mr. Makanza is not a doctor, a fact that illustrates both the desperation and the creativity of Tanzanians fighting to reduce the number of deaths and injuries among pregnant women and infants.

Pregnancy and childbirth kill more than 536,000 women a year, more than half of them in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

Most of the deaths are preventable, with basic obstetrical care. Tanzania, with roughly 13,000 deaths annually, has neither the best nor the worst record in Africa. Although it is politically stable, it is also one of the world’s poorest countries, suffering from almost every problem that contributes to high maternal death rates — shortages of doctors, nurses, drugs, equipment, roads and transportation.

There is no single solution for a problem with so many facets, and hospital officials in Berega are trying many things at once. The 120-bed hospital here — a typical rural hospital in a largely rural nation — is a case study in the efforts being made around Africa to reduce deaths in childbirth.
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normal

Race to the bottom: Biggest Reverse Racism in History!!

Conservative Pundits: Sotomayor Is A "Bigot," "Racist" (VIDEO)

The Republican right was expected to put up a fight over President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, but the venomous reactions of conservative pundits have exceeded expectations.

All over the 24-hour news channels and talk radio airwaves, conservatives are attacking Sotomayor, calling the federal appeals judge a "racist" and a "bigot.
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As evidence, media figures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, have pointed to a speech Sotomayor gave at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1992. During the speech, she said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
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Tom Tancredo Calls Sotomayor Racist (VIDEO)


Tom Tancredo, the former Colorado congressman and radical anti-immigration activist, called President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist Tuesday, telling MSNBC's Ed Shultz she has said plenty of "things that are racist."


Tancredo failed to elaborate on his claims, but he suggested Sotomayor's nomination should be blocked on account of her "racism." No one else has called her out for before, he said, because she is Latina.
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Steele: GOP must be careful on Sotomayor

The head of the Republican Party wants his forces to watch their steps when it comes to Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told CNN Radio Tuesday the party that he hopes will include more Hispanics must be cautious in how it scrutinizes a groundbreaking Latina judge.

"You want to be careful," he said when asked about juggling Hispanic outreach with potential opposition to Sotomayor, "You don't want to be perceived as a bully."

Indeed, Steele was mild in his initial jabs, calling Sotomayor an "interesting pick" with "overwhelming political overtones to it." The RNC chairman listed classic conservative question marks. "We do have some reservations and concerns about her views on the second amendment, her views on abortion, her views on property rights," he said.
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Of all the people to show common sense...