June 22nd, 2009


Americans struggle to pay for healthcare-study

Americans struggle to pay for healthcare-study

*25 percent of households have trouble paying

*40 percent expect to delay care this summer

*Baby boomers hardest hit

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) - Americans are struggling to pay for healthcare in the ongoing economic recession, with a quarter saying they have had trouble in the past 12 months, according to a survey released on Monday.

Baby boomers -- the generation born between 1946 and 1964 -- had the most trouble and were the most likely to put off medical treatments or services, said researchers at Center for Healthcare Improvement, part of the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters (TRI.N).

The study, available here, found that 17.4 percent of households reported postponing or delaying healthcare over the past year.

The U.S. Congress is working on a way to cover more of the 46 million people who lack health insurance, lower costs and coordinate care better. President Barack Obama has made it one of his administration's top priorities.

Americans pay more per capita for healthcare than people in any other country, yet have high rates of infant mortality, diabetes, untreated heart disease and other conditions. Americans are often dissatisfied with their access to care.

Thomson Reuters -- the parent company of Reuters news agency -- used its annual Pulse survey that queries 100,000 households to get information about health behavior.

Gary Pickens, George Popa and colleagues at the Michigan-based center interviewed more than 6,000 people in March and April about job losses, what healthcare they had used and their plans for future treatment.
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Missouri To Give The Nazis’ Pet Highway An Ironic Name

Missouri To Give The Nazis’ Pet Highway An Ironic Name

Why is the state of Missouri punishing our nation’s most community service-oriented neo-Nazis with irony? Last year some members of Missouri’s National Socialist Movement adopted a highway, like a Girl Scout troop or whatever does all the time without any problems, except that since they are Nazis and not Girl Scouts, certain issues arose. But you know what? The Missouri Nazis loved that highway as if it were of their own, pure, Aryan blood. But what is Missouri trying to do now, after the Missouri Nazis have been cleaning the thing four times a year? Rename it after some rabbi, a known Jew (!), who escaped from their ancestors, the Actual Nazis, during history’s famous incident, the Holocaust.

A particularly bathetic cruelty on Vatertag, wouldn’t you say?:

In Missouri, members of the National Socialist Movement spent last Saturday cleaning up their bit of road and last Sunday protesting homosexuality. The group’s Web site calls for a nation where “only those of pure White blood” who are not Jewish or gay can be citizens, and demanding that “all non-Whites currently residing in America be required to leave the nation forthwith and return to their land of origin: peacefully or by force.”

Ms. Keene said members of the group, who sometimes wear swastikas, wanted to do community service. “We decided about a year ago we wanted to get more involved,” she said.

But their Adopt-a-Highway sign, which says “Litter Cleanup 0.5 Miles National Socialist Movement Springfield Unit,” upset people in the area, particularly Jews.

In conclusion, Abraham Joshua Heschel Highway will now be the gayest, filthiest stretch of road in America, and will have to be cleaned by people performing court-ordered community service, which come to think of it will probably include at least a handful of Missouri Nazis anyway.

[New York Times]

AP: Mousavi calls for continued protests

Mousavi defiantly calls for continued protests
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI and JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Writers
1 hr 36 mins ago

TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and a popular reformist former president are boldly defying the country's supreme leader by supporting continued protests of a disputed presidential election, but it was unclear Monday whether protesters would dare to continue massive demonstrations after a bloody crackdown.

"The country belongs to you ... protesting lies and fraud is your right," Mousavi, who claims hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election through fraud, said in a statement on his Web site.

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Article @ Yahoo news

Pat Buchanan to Sotomayor: sorry, me speak no spanish, me speak American...

Pat Buchanan Mocks Sotomayor During Appearance At English-Only "Conferenece"

Hey, kids! Remember last Friday, when I warned all of you who live in the Washington Metropolitan area that Pat Buchanan and his most race-baitingest cronies were descending on McLean to rebuild the Republican Party, or at the very least learn racialist kung-fu, at a Ritz Carlton? Well, that happened. And the folks at Think Progress went to this gathering, and lo, they heard Pat Buchanan, MSNBC star, recycling his old criticisms of Sonia Sotomayor, with xenophobic pamphleteer Peter Brimelow. From Think Progress:
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Corker Impatiently Blows Off Meeting With Sotomayor Because She Was Slowed By Temporary Disability

Last Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was scheduled to meet with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Yet when Sotomayor was delayed because of her recent injury, Corker decided that he had more important things to do than to wait around for a potential lifetime appointee who is temporarily disabled:

Sen. Bob Corker blew off his meeting with Sonia Sotomayor last week. Hobbling along with her leg in a cast, she was 10 minutes late and he said he didn’t feel like waiting. “I decided to proceed on to the next meeting,” he told a Tennessee Press Association breakfast in Chattanooga.
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Texas Distric thinks there is no more Racism and should stop unconstitutional voting law

Clarence Thomas Casts Lone, Brave Vote Against Voting Rights Act, Which Let Black People Vote

The racist states of the South — including the “honorary southern states” of Texas, Arizona and Alaska — do not like letting black and brown people vote, so 43 years ago the Voting Rights Act was signed into federal law, and ever since those officially racist jurisdictions have to get federal approval for any changes in voting law, still, because god knows we’d be back to poll taxes and grandfather clauses in about 10 minutes without the grownups keeping an eye on the crackers. So, obviously, today the “black justice” on the Supreme Court, wingnut blogger Clarence Thomas, was the brave lone voice of dissent, standing athwart the law that gave basic human rights to his race, yelling “no that shit is unconstitutional.

As is nearly always the case in Supreme Court cases, this one is seemingly about nothing — some little utility district in some white-bread exurb of Austin wanted to change its polling place from some McMansion’s garage to a local school. BUT, because a conservative nutbag group backed the district in its attempt to challenge the Voting Rights Act so it wouldn’t need Washington approval for this seemingly mundane change, you know the real goal was to strike down the Voting Rights Act so that we could get back to the “good old days” of black people such as Clarence Thomas being harassed and intimidated and occassionally lynched, to teach ‘em a lesson about how votin’ jes fer crackers.

So, the Supreme Court said, “Nah, not really getting into that,” save for Uncle Thomas, who said, “The violence, intimidation and subterfuge that led Congress to pass Section 5 and this court to uphold it no longer remains,” which is totally true!

For example, when that black guy was dragged behind a pickup in Texas a couple years back, to his death, that wasn’t violence! It was … state’s rights?

And when those black kids in Jena, Louisiana wanted to hang out in the Whites Only section of the school playground and were greeted with nooses hanging from the tree, that wasn’t intimidation! It was just … warblogging?

So, keep trying, Clarence. One day maybe you’ll drag us back to the good ol’ pre-Civil War days of Southern White Supremacy! You’re the best!

High court rules narrowly in voting rights case [AP]


GOP Senate candidate finds solution for Iran. Send Guns!!

This is a link to an example website

If you are not a regular user of Twitter, you might have some sort of "life," filled with "friends" and "activities," which offers you a sense of "meaning" and "solace" in these uncertain times. But at the same time, you would have almost certainly missed out on the wit and wisdom of Florida senatorial candidate Marco Rubio, who opined, thusly:

I'm nobody's idea of an anti-gun crusader. But when I consider the sorts of things the Iranians could stand to borrow from America, a poorly worded amendment dealing with gun ownership rights and militias is way down the list. I think that maybe Iran could stand to have some separation of powers, a line between church and state, a free press, freedom to worship, the right to assemble, the right to speak freely, a freedom from unlawful searches, due process of law, womens' suffrage, and a government that doesn't terrorize its citizens with armed thugs or threaten its neighbors through terrorist proxies. In short, there's all kinds of stuff I'd commend to Iran from our own body of work. But, yeah, after all that, some guns maybe.

I will, however, commend Rubio's good judgment in that he did not include "#iranelection" or "#neda" on this tweet. This idea probably would not have gone over well with the people following either hashtag.

Anyway, it's symbolic of how much has changed that a conservative now thinks Iran could use more readily available weaponry.

Abortion protest moved from Tiller's clinic. Insist it was not a celebration for his murder.

Abortion protest moved from Tiller's clinic

A possible confrontation over abortion never came to pass Saturday as opposing groups convened at noon at different locations.

About 30 abortion opponents met at the headquarters of Operation Rescue on East Central for a memorial service and to pray for what they called healing from the shooting death of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.

Meanwhile, more than 40 supporters of abortion rights met at Tiller's former clinic on East Kellogg. Tiller's family closed the clinic for good about two weeks ago.

The abortion opponents had planned to hold their service outside the clinic, but changed the site after learning that the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women was going to hold a counter-protest at the clinic.

"We're not interested in confrontation," said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.

Abortion rights supporters gathered outside the clinic, sheltering themselves with umbrellas from a steady rain.

"They decided to move, and I respect that," said Marla Patrick, state coordinator for Kansas NOW. "They never should have considered coming here in the first place.

"We're here to prevent them from dancing on the proverbial grave of a murdered man. We don't want them to go unchallenged."

At the abortion opponents' service, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, head of the Washington-based Christian Defense Coalition, told the group, "This is a time for healing and life."

"We're not celebrating the death of Dr. Tiller," he added.

Maine's Anti-Gay Petitioners Caught Lying

Raise your hand if you're totally shocked.
Gerard Caron walked into the Auburn Post Office and was met by a woman with a pair of clipboards. "This petition is against gay marriage and this other petition is to support gay marriage," she said, according to Caron. The Poland man said he asked her why there would be a petition to support something that already happened, referring to the petition "in support of" gay marriage. "She just kinda gave me a little grin and didn't say anything," he said. Then he looked at the two petitions and discovered they were identical, both were supporting the repeal of the same-sex marriage law, Caron said. Caron said he spoke to a friend who had a similar experience at the Lewiston Post Office. Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state, said her office has received calls from people concerned about the petitioning process, but not a surprising number.
Apparently it's completely legal to use whatever deceptive practices you can come up with to get people to sign a petition in Maine. Even the ACLU agrees that it's a free speech issue.


More Republicans support public health care option but insist they are not commies

NYT Poll Indicates Even Republicans Back Public Option

Allies of health care reform suggest that, if enacted, a public health care option will help make health care affordable, and will get us off the path to escalating and unsustainable costs that we are on now. This idea, however, never gets much in the way of examination, because of the media's newfound obsession with spending and deficits. So, there's no policy debate on the merits. Rather, what's been captured is the big shiny battle between political sides: One side that's "ambitious," one side that wants to curb spending, and a host of compromisers, working their typical hyper-timid incrementalism. Health care reform thus becomes a shiny political arena in which to do battle, as opposed to a policy that could -- if written effectively enough -- actually benefit Americans.

But while no one in the press actually wants to play a role in helping Americans -- wouldn't be balanced, after all! -- they all want to wield opinion polls, so long as they add drama to the debate. And so what began on Morning Joe last week continued on Sunday. Back on June 18th, Joe Scarborough cited a poll that indicated Americans were more concerned with bringing down deficits than they were with additional economic stimulus, and somehow teased that out into this conclusion: "Don't you think that this puts the Obama administration behind the eight ball on health care?"

The same question was raised on multiple occasions on Sunday's shows, despite the fact that a) this poll had nothing to do with health care and b) other, just as recent polls were telling a much different story: the best way to avoid being behind the eight ball was to definitely include the public option in the health care reform package:

A new poll by a nonpartisan, D.C.-based research group finds truly overwhelming support for the public option. The kicker: The poll was bankrolled partly by previous opponents of health care reform, including one of the nation's best-known insurance companies.

The poll -- which was just released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a D.C. policy think tank -- finds that a majority (53%) strongly back the availability of a public plan, while another 30% "somewhat" support it. That's a total of 83% in favor of a public plan -- a staggeringly large majority.

The New York Times followed up Employee Benefit Research with a poll of their own, and confirms the widespread public enthusiasm for the public option. But, via Matt Yglesias, look how these numbers break down:

Unless my eyes deceive me, these results show that even half of those deficit-hawking, spending-averse Republicans support a public health care option. Perhaps they recognize the need for it! Perhaps they are living their free market values, confident that no one will partake in a government plan that hews to the traditional inefficiencies about which they've always warned. Regardless, these are the truly eye-popping numbers. And yet, the press insists on torturing another set of poll results, pretending that the public option isn't that popular.
&quot;Now you can&#39;t have any of my pot pie.&quot;
  • doop

Obama to sign anti-smoking bill in Rose Garden

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is set to sign into law an anti-smoking bill that will give the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority to regulate tobacco.

Obama is scheduled to sign the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act during an event Monday in the Rose Garden. The law allows the FDA to reduce nicotine in tobacco products, ban candy flavorings and block labels such "low tar" and "light." Tobacco companies also will be required to cover their cartons with large graphic warnings.

The law won't let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco outright, but the agency will be able to regulate what goes into tobacco products, make public the ingredients and prohibit marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children.

Anti-smoking advocates looked forward to the bill after years of attempts to control an industry so fundamental to the U.S. that carved tobacco leaves adorn some parts of the Capitol.

Opponents from tobacco-growing states like top-producing North Carolina argued that the FDA has proved through a series of food safety failures that it's not up to the job. They also said that instead of unrealistically trying to get smokers to quit or to prevent others from starting, lawmakers should ensure that people have other options, like smokeless tobacco.

As president, George W. Bush opposed the legislation and threatened a veto after it passed the House last year. The Obama administration, by contrast, issued a statement declaring strong support for the measure.

Obama has spoken publicly of his own struggles to quit cigarettes.

Hatted - Bowie

Shep Smith's e-mail runneth over

Fox News Viewers' Emails To Shep Smith: "You Don't Belong Here"

Fox News Anchor Draws Ratings, and Ire of Conservative Critics
Shepard Smith, host of the evening show “The Fox Report,” has beaten his cable news competition for 92 straight months.

By Bill Carter
Published:  June 21, 2009
New York Times:

At various points on his Fox News program, the anchor Shepard Smith irritated Rush Limbaugh, teased Glenn Beck and grilled Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (a k a Joe the Plumber) over his attacks on President Obama. But it was not until he forcefully confronted the topic of hateful e-mail — some from Fox’s own viewers — that he drew fire over his approach.

On June 10, Mr. Smith was in the middle of three hours of coverage of the killing at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, in which officials identified an elderly anti-Semite as the killer. He then mentioned a prior warning by the Department of Homeland Security about right-wing extremist groups and connected that to the angry e-mail messages he had been receiving.

“When a crazy man has walked into a Holocaust museum and shot the security guard, maybe that’s an appropriate time to warn people: you’ve got a crazy person in your life, keep an eye on him,” he said in an interview in his Manhattan office last week.

Mr. Smith said he fully anticipated one result of those comments: the nasty e-mail increased.

“Thousands of them,” Mr. Smith said. “And I know they don’t mean the things they say. I know they don’t hate me and want death on my family.”

What they mostly say, he explained, is: “You don’t belong there.” Mr. Smith paused a moment before adding: “I do belong here.”

“Here” is the formidable Fox News Channel, the top-rated cable news network, in no small part because of Mr. Smith. While Mr. Smith does not draw the same attention as other evening anchors on the channel, his 7 p.m. show, “The Fox Report,” is having its best year, up 36 percent to almost two million viewers a night. He has beaten his cable news channel competition for 92 straight months. His coverage of the museum killing beat CNN and MSNBC combined.

So why do some Fox viewers believe he does not belong? Maybe because Mr. Smith has established a record that seems antithetical to the image Fox has earned as a purveyor of conservative orthodoxy. The channel has become the “voice of the opposition on some issues,” according to Bill Shine, Fox’s senior vice president for programming.

The liberal site Media Matters, a watchdog group that often zeroes in on Fox, seems nonplused by its leading anchorman’s apparent break from orthodoxy.

But one commenter on the site, quoting the network’s motto, wrote on June 12: “I don’t know if Smith is a conservative or a liberal, but it’s been clear for a long time that he’s the only one at Fox who takes the ‘fair and balanced’ thing seriously."

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Of colleagues like Mr. Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, Mr. Smith said, “There’s a lot of money in opinion, and those guys are fascinating, terrific entertainers. This is a news organization. There can’t be a Fox News without news.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly paraphrased Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president for programming. He said the channel, not Shepard Smith, has become the "voice of the opposition on some issues."
Sorry I bolded so much, there's so much good stuff in here :)

Meghan McCain goes on Real Time; Makes Fool of Self

And she continues to be an embarrassment to all educated and informed female 20-somethings.

On Friday's Real Time, when confronted with the fact that President Ronald Reagan blamed his administration's problems on Jimmy Carter for many years, Meghan McCain responded, "I wasn't born yet, so I wouldn't know." She was shut down pretty fast.

On one hand, I do feel a bit sorry for McCain, as I think her point about making an effort to go on shows intended to reach a different audience (she mentions the "shit" she's getting simply for daring to appear on Bill Maher's program, a political talk show that aims to engage panelists from various political viewpoints) was a good one. On the other hand, it's a bit tough to feel much sympathy when she has willingly chosen to make herself the voice of the "new" Republican party: nobody is forcing her to go on these shows, and surely she knows how these things go by now.

When McCain argued that President Obama's administration needed to stop blaming their current problems on the Bush administration and move on, Paul Begala, a CNN commentator and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, pointed out that President Ronald Reagan did the same thing when he took over for President Jimmy Carter, blaming Carter's administration for many of his troubles. When McCain pulled out her "I wasn't born yet line," Begala was able to expose a huge flaw in the Meghan McCain political machine: an inability to back up and defend her fairly strong statements with facts and figures. Her reaction after being shut down by Begala was also infuriating: "...you clearly know everything and I'm just the blonde sitting here," a statement which did nothing to help her seem capable of arguing her points but made it sound like she was being bullied simply because she's young and blonde. Begala was not going after McCain for her age or her hair color, or even for being the daughter of a prominent Republican senator: he was going after her for not having the information to back up her statements.

Watching McCain attempt to engage in conversation with four other panelists who held vastly different political opinions was awkward in that she seemed to approach the situation ready and willing to play the victim. And Bill Maher didn't help things any by constantly patting her on the shoulder and stepping in front of McCain after Begala's smackdown to say, "He's a mean man, that Paul Begala. I'll protect you."

Maher, please. Meghan McCain is a 24-year-old woman who has willingly chosen to make herself a spokesperson for the young people of her party. She doesn't need to be protected from criticism: she needs to be able to take it, and throw back some legitimate criticisms of her own. I respect McCain for making an effort to appear on unfriendly territory and try to make her case, but if she really expects to be taken seriously, she's going to have to go in armed with enough knowledge to back up her words.


Her "I wasn't born yet" line really pissed me off.

*betty draper reading

Republican to elderly diabetic woman: "Good luck" finding health insurance

Former Rep. Tom Davis To Elderly Woman With Diabetes: ‘Good Luck’ Finding Health Insurance

On CSPAN’s Washington Journal yesterday, former Republican congressman Tom Davis received a call from an elderly woman named Dorothy, who said that because she has diabetes, health insurance companies “reject” her. “They don’t even want to accept me,” said Dorothy. “Is that, is that possible they could get away with that? That seems like discriminating.”

Davis responded by saying that he understood her “dilemma” and that she probably wouldn’t be able to retire by 62 as she desires. Advising her that she’d be alright if she found “a job with a major employer,” Davis said it would be “difficult” on her own:
DAVIS: I don’t think you’ll find, probably be able to find some health insurance but if its with a small business or you’re going out on your own, it’s difficult at this point. There may be a government plan or private plans that are mandated coming out of this that are maybe able to help you. … I don’t know any reason why you shouldn’t be able to find something out there, but you want to look for an employer that has a health care plan. Good luck.
Later in the show, another caller criticized Davis for his “good luck” response, saying that it “encapsulates the entire Republican Party’s attitude towards any problems that are facing the American people today.” Davis replied that he didn’t mean “good luck” as a “kiss off,” but just as “good luck to you as you try to move through this problem.” Watch it:

Beyond responding to Dorothy with seeming callousness, Davis’ answer to her problem is also contradictory in its approach to a public health care option.

Davis first tells Dorothy that “a government plan” may “be able to help you.” (Which is true.) But when challenged by the later caller, he argued, “I don’t know that she can count on Washington to solve it for her.” In the next sentence, however, he said that she “can probably get some relief” when she qualifies for Medicare, which is government-provided. A NYT/CBS News poll this weekend found that 72 percent of Americans support creating a public health insurance option.

Transcript at source.
&#39; jules

Where, oh where has my little wingnut gone, where oh where can he be...

Mark Sanford Escapes To Secret Lair, To Cry

South Carolina welfare queen Governor Mark Sanford is nowhere to be found, in South Carolina! His “whereabouts” have been “unknown to state officials since Thursday,” the news outlets report. This country should consider itself lucky to have survived the weekend! So did he get kidnapped in Mexico or something? Hopefully, but those close to him — and no, that does not include his family — claim he is just crying in private for a few days after losing a political battle.

South Carolina authorities are literally trying to trace calls from his cell phone to figure out where the governor of their state is:
Neither the governor’s office nor the State Law Enforcement Division has been able to reach Sanford, who left the mansion in a black SLED Suburban SUV, said Sen. Jake Knotts and three others familiar with the situation who declined to be identified.

Sanford’s last known whereabouts were near Atalanta, where a mobile telephone tower picked up a signal from his phone, authorities said.
His wife clearly gives a shit, too.
First lady Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press her husband has been gone for several days and she doesn’t know where. She said she was not concerned. Jenny Sanford said the governor said he needed time away from their children to write something.

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parody | Iran Solidarity Fräulein

Iran Post-election LiveThread #8.

PREVIOUS LIVE THREADS : #seven | #six | #five | #four | #three | #two | #one


PA Senator Eichelberger: 'We're Allowing Gay Couples to Exist'

On Friday, Pennsylvania Senator John Eichelberger, who is sponsoring a bill to ban same-sex marriage in the state, held a radio debate with Senator Daylin Leach, who is sponsoring a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. In the interview, Eichelberger said there's no reason to allow gay couples to marry and said that they're not being punished. In fact, he lauds the fact that gay couples are allowed to exist.

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Sarkozy says burqa imprisons Muslim women...

President Nicolas Sarkozy said the Muslim burqa would not be welcome in France, calling the full-body religious gown a sign of the "debasement" of women.

In the first presidential address to parliament in 136 years, Sarkozy faced critics who fear the burqa issue could stigmatize France's Muslims and said he supported banning the garment from being worn in public.

"In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause at the Chateau of Versailles, southwest of Paris.

"The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement _ I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."

Dozens of legislators have called for creating a commission to study a possible ban in France, where there is a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment despite a 2004 law forbidding it from being worn in public schools.

France has Western Europe's largest Muslim population, an estimated 5 million people, and the 2004 law sparked fierce debate both at home and abroad.

Even the French government has been divided over the issue, with Immigration Minister Eric Besson saying a full ban would only "create tensions," while junior minister for human rights Rama Yade said she was open to a ban if it was aimed at protecting women forced to wear the burqa.

The terms "burqa" and "niqab" often are used interchangeably in France. The former refers to a full-body covering worn largely in Afghanistan with only a mesh screen over the eyes, whereas the latter is a full-body veil, often in black, with slits for the eyes.

A leading French Muslim group, the French Council for the Muslim Religion, has warned against studying the burqa, saying it would "stigmatize" Muslims.

Sarkozy was due to host a state dinner Monday with Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani of Qatar, where women wear Islamic head coverings in public ; whether while shopping or driving cars.

what do you guys think of this? personally, I found Sarkozy's comments to be rather ignorant. The main reason for this is that he's based his views on some of the most insulting stereotypes around.  I know plenty of Muslim women and although none of them fully cover; a lot of their mothers' do.  They aren't forced into it by their husbands.  They aren't 'socially isolated.' They're actually warm, happy people who laugh and talk as loud as the next gossipy housewife/mother/woman.  The reason I've always gotten for covering up completely from them is that they want their voices to be heard; not their bodies to be leered at. Now whether or NOT you agree or disagree with the way they go about achieving a sense of empowerment; you have to understand that that's what it makes them feel - empowered; not downtrodden, not socially isolated, not forced.  Although a lot of Muslim women around the world are forced into submissive roles and covering up is a big part of it; it is not the case for the majority. Personally, I could never cover up like they do but that doesn't mean I'm going to condemn what they decide to do - it is their choice and so long as it is their choice and it isn't harming me or anyone else; it's completely fine.  I think people are extremely prejudiced, when they see a woman covered head to toe walking down the street; it is alien to them - it would be alien to me too if I didn't live in a community with a lot of Muslim immigrant - and because it is alien to them, they avoid these women, don't make contact with them and then it is their own prejudices which are socially isolating these women - not their clothing. However, this is just my opinion and I've put it up because I want it to be challenged... and as this is ONTD, I'm sure it will be. :)


(no subject)

Two Killed in Metro Collision
Metro trains collide between Takoma Park, Fort Totten

WASHINGTON -- Two fatalities have been confirmed as a result of a head-on collision of two Metro trains between the Takoma Park and Fort Totten stations of the Red Line, according to the transit agency.

 A six-car train headed toward Shady Grove apparently derailed between those Metrorail stations and was involved in a collision with another train at 5 p.m. today. The collision took place above ground.

As many as 55 injuries are being reported at this time. Numerous passengers are currently trapped in the trains. Emergency workers are using rescue tools to cut them from the wreckage and transport them to hospitals or treat them at the scene.

Howard University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center have increased emergency room staffing but have not received any patients from the collision..

A witness told Bensen that it appeared that one train car looked like it was on top of another train car.

Trains are not traveling between the Brookland and Fort Totten stations. Shuttle service is being established, but Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato advised riders to completely avoid the Red Line this afternoon and evening.

Trains are operating between Glenmont and Brookland and between Shady Grove and Brookland stations and from Glenmont to Takoma Metrorail stations for the remainder of the day.

New Hampshire Avenue is closed in both directions in the area of the Metro tracks in Northeast


(no subject)

Obama Invites Gay Rights Advocates to White House

As advocates for gays and lesbians intensify their criticism of the White House, President Obama has invited some of their leaders to an East Room reception next Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 Greenwich Village demonstrations that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement.


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from flannel_pants

Perez Hilton's will.i.am-Fightin' Words Anger GLAAD

What to do if GLAAD can't rely on Hollywood's self-proclaimed gossip queen to avoid the F-word?

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is none too pleased with blogger Perez Hilton for mixing a few antigay slurs into his diatribe against Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.

"I don't need to respect you, and you're a f-g. You're gay, and stop being such a f----t," the openly gay Hilton said in a videoblog response to reports of a fight between him and the hip-hop singer last night in Toronto.

"These are vulgar antigay slurs that feed a climate of hatred and intolerance toward our community," said Rashad Robinson, senior director of Media Programs at GLAAD. "For someone in our own community to use it to attack another person by saying that it is 'The worst possible thing that thug would ever want to hear,' is incredibly dangerous.

"It legitimizes use of a slur that is often linked to violence against our community. And it sends a message that it is OK to attempt to dehumanize people by exploiting antigay attitudes."

Hilton maintains that he was was roughed up by will.i.am and one of the Peas' security guards. Polo Molina, 36, has been charged with one count of assault and ordered to appear in court August 5.

The "Boom Boom Pow" singer said in his own video post that he did not hit Hiltonb but rather was just coming to Fergie's defense, claiming the celeb-dirt shoveler had disrespected his bandmate.

"This dude twists it and says that I assaulted him," will.i.am said. "When I was the one that came to him with respect and he was the one who called me a [f-----t] outside the club."

Now GLAAD is calling upon Hilton to admit to his mistake.

"We have reached out to Hilton and asked him to apologize for promoting this antigay slur, and we would ask media outlets to avoid repetition of the slur in their coverage of this story," Robinson said.

But it's not as if the GLAAD folk think, no matter how inappropriate Hilton's reponse, that the blogger deserved to get hit.

"While not all the facts in this case are known, the violence that appears to have been committed against Perez Hilton is unacceptable and ought to be condemned in the strongest possible terms," Robinson added.

There's been no response yet from Hilton, who twittered earlier today that he was "honestly SHOCKED at the amount of people saying [he] deserved to be hit.

"Shame on you! NO. Violence is never the answer. NEVER."



Special Interest Money Means Longer Odds for Public Option

Special Interest Money Means Longer Odds for Public Option

As I lamented yesterday, health care is one of those areas where both popular opinion and sound public policy seem to take a backseat to protecting those stakeholders who benefit from the status quo. But can we actually see -- statistically -- the impact of lobbying by the insurance industry on the prospects for health care reform? I believe that the answer is yes.

Some 37 senators are listed by Howard Dean's website as supporting the public option so far: 36 Democrats plus Olympia Snowe. To Dean's list I add Arlen Specter as a 'yes' vote, based on a recent public statement.

I decided to build a model to explain and predict whether a particular senator supports the public option. The variables in the model are as follows:

-- The senator's ideology, as measured by his DW-NOMINATE score;
-- Per capita health care spending in the senator's home state;
-- Lobbying contributions received by the senator from health insurance PACs since 2004.

Below the jump, I explain each of these in a bit more detail.
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