June 24th, 2009

Vitas - and ME.


Sanford met in Atlanta after returning from South America

Governor says he never hiked Appalachian Trail; says he cruised along the coast of Buenos Aires to unwind after stressful legislative session

By GINA SMITH - gnsmith@thestate.com

ATLANTA -- Gov. Mark Sanford arrived in the Hartsville-Jackson International Airport this morning, having wrapped up a seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said. Sanford said he had not been hiking along the Appalachian Trail, as his staff said in a Tuesday statement to the media.

Sanford's whereabouts had been unknown since Thursday, and the mystery surrounding his absence fueled speculation about where he had been and who's in charge in his absence. His emergence Wednesday ended the mystery.

Sanford, in an exclusive interview with The State Media Company, said he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled with lawmakers over how to spend federal stimulus money.

Sanford said he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail, an activity he said he has enjoyed since he was a high school student.

"But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford said "... It's a great city."

Sanford, in a brief interview in the nation's busiest airport, said he has been to the city twice before, most recently about a year and half ago during a Commerce Department trip.

Sanford said he was alone on the trip. He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline.

Sanford, who was wearing a blue and white button down shirt and brown denim pants, said he left for Buenos Aires on Thursday night from Columbia International Airport and had originally planned to come back tomorrow.

Media reports said a SLED SUV the governor drove that night was spotted in the airport's parking lot.

The governor said he cut his trip short after his chief of staff, Scott English, told him his trip was gaining a lot of media attention and he needed to come back.

When asked why his staff said he was on the Appalachian Trail, Sanford replied, "I don't know."

Sanford later said "in fairness to his staff," he had told them he might go hiking on the Appalachian Trial.

Sanford said he decided not to return via the Columbia airport to avoid the media. The State Media Company was the only media who greeted Sanford this morning.

"I don't know how this thing got blown out of proportion," Sanford said.

Sanford said he has taken adventure trips for years to unwind. He has visited such places as the coast of Turkey, the Greek Isles and South America. He was with friends sometimes and sometimes by himself.

"I would get out of the bubble I am in." Sanford said.

Sanford said the legislative session was a difficult one for him, particularly losing the fight over whether he should accept stimulus $700 million in stimulus money he wanted lawmakers to spend on debt instead of urgent budget needs.

"It was a long session and I needed a break," Sanford said.

After a brief conversation with a reporter, Sanford was escorted away by an aide.




More Nixon Lulz: GOP Must Find Attractive Female Candidates

Sort of follow-up to this post:

President Richard Nixon believed one way to shore up the GOP in 1973 was by recruiting "attractive" women, but not because he was "for women," according to audio tapes released Tuesday.

In February of 1973, President Nixon called future president and then-Republican National Committee chairman George H.W. Bush, and recounted a recent visit to the South Carolina state legislature.

"I noticed a couple of very attractive women, both of them Republicans, in the legislature," Nixon told Bush. "I want you to be sure to emphasize to our people, God, let's look for some… Understand, I don't do it because I'm for women, but I'm doing it because I think maybe a woman might win someplace where a man might not… So have you got that in mind?"

Bush replies, "I'll certainly keep it in mind."

The tape was among the approximately 154 hours of White House tape recordings and approximately 30,000 pages of documents released Tuesday by the Nixon Presidential Library, which is run by the National Archives.


Nixon predicted the rise of Sarah Fierce! How awesome is that?!

(no subject)

Analysis: SC gov's disappearance a problem for GOP

NEW YORK (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's mysterious disappearance from his state, topped with misinformation from his staff about where he had gone and what he'd been doing, is the latest sign that Republican governors — once thought to be President Obama's most credible adversaries — haven't quite lived up to their billing.


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panda bear

(no subject)

North Korea Threatens To Wipe Out The U.S. "Once And For All"

North Korea threatened Wednesday to wipe the United States off the map as Washington and its allies watched for signs the regime will launch a series of missiles in the coming days.

Off China's coast, a U.S. destroyer was tailing a North Korean ship suspected of transporting illicit weapons to Myanmar in what could be the first test of U.N. sanctions passed to punish the nation for an underground nuclear test last month.

The Kang Nam left the North Korean port of Nampo a week ago with the USS John S. McCain close behind. The ship, accused of transporting banned goods in the past, is believed bound for Myanmar, according to South Korean and U.S. officials.

The new U.N. Security Council resolution requires member states to seek permission to inspect suspicious cargo. North Korea has said it would consider interception a declaration of war and on Wednesday accused the U.S. of seeking to provoke another Korean War.

"If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will ... wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The warning came on the eve of the 59th anniversary of the start of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in state of war.

The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect against an outbreak of hostilities.

Tensions have been high since North Korea launched a long-range rocket in April and then conducted its second underground atomic test on May 25.

Reacting to U.N. condemnation of that test, North Korea walked away from nuclear disarmament talks and warned it would fire a long-range missile.

North Korea has banned ships from the waters off its east coast starting Thursday through July 10 for military exercises, Japan's Coast Guard said.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday that the North may fire a Scud missile with a range of up to 310 miles (500 kilometers) or a short-range ground-to-ship missile with a range of 100 miles (160 kilometers) during the no-sail period.

A senior South Korean government official said the no-sail ban is believed connected to North Korean plans to fire short- or mid-range missiles. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

U.S. defense and counterproliferation officials in Washington said they also expected the North to launch short- to medium-range missiles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

South Korea will expedite the introduction of high-tech unmanned aerial surveillance systems and "bunker-buster" bombs in response to North Korea's provocations, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said, citing unidentified ruling party members.

Meanwhile, a flurry of diplomatic efforts were under way to try getting North Korea to return to disarmament talks.

Russia's top nuclear envoy, Alexei Borodavkin, said after meeting with his South Korean counterpart that Moscow is open to other formats for discussion since Pyongyang has pulled out of formal six-nation negotiations.

In Beijing, top U.S. and Chinese defense officials also discussed North Korea. U.S. Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy was heading next to Tokyo and Seoul for talks.

South Korea has proposed high-level "consultations" to discuss North Korea with the U.S., Russia, China and Japan.


lawl Michelle Malkin.

Who's funding the Obamacare campaign?

If you believe the White House, there are 30 million Americans who support a government healthcare takeover. But if you look at the funding behind the Obamacare campaign, it's the same few leftist billionaires, union bosses and partisan community organizers pushing the socialized medicine agenda. Let's connect the dots.
On Thursday, a national "grassroots" coalition called Health Care for America Now (HCAN) will march on Capitol Hill to demand universal healthcare. The ground troops won't have to march very far. HCAN, you see, is no heartland network. It is headquartered at 1825 K Street in Washington, DC -- smack dab in the middle of Beltway lobby land.


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Grrr. I'm arguing with this idiot lady on Twitter about Universal Health Care and she's driving me nuts.  First she claims she's against it because of the "subpar" care, then when I poke holes in that, all of a sudden she doesn't care about those people anymore because she HAS TO USE HER TAX DOLLARS TO PAY!!!111

i want joe biden i need joe biden

Liberty University: Student Democrats Can Stay On Campus, Unofficially

RICHMOND, Va. — The student Democratic club at conservative Liberty University can continue as a campus group _ unofficially.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. says a new university policy allows the Liberty University College Democrats to be an unofficial club. The policy, which took effect Monday, also changed the College Republicans from an officially recognized campus group to an unofficial one.

Liberty withdrew recognition of the Democratic club last month because it supported the Democratic Party's platforms and candidates.

The political organizations won't receive school funding but may use the Liberty name and meet in school facilities if they make it clear the university doesn't endorse them.

College Democrats' secretary Jan Dervish says he's satisfied with the compromise.


You can mourn on the flight home

Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2009
Will Congress Do Away with the Immigration 'Widow Penalty'?
By Tim Padgett

It was bad enough that Natalia Goukassian, then 21, had to spend her honeymoon in June of 2006 in West Palm Beach, Fla., helping her husband Tigran find alternative treatments for connective tissue sarcoma, an aggressive cancer, or that six months later the Air Force enlisted man, 21, succumbed to the disease. But as it turned out, her painful ordeal had only just begun. While the Veteran Affairs Department deemed the Russian immigrant (but not yet legal resident) eligible for surviving spouse benefits, immigration officials at Homeland Security took a very different view: At Natalia's interview for legal residence the next year, she was told that because she hadn't been married long enough before Tigran died, she would be deported. "To hit you with that when you've lost someone you loved and you're feeling desperate, to not consider me a spouse because my husband had died," says Natalia, now 24 and an accounting student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, "it seemed the coldest bureaucratic thing ever."

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Closet The Only Option For Many Gay Seniors

Gay senior lives less openly in care facility

Victor Engandela looks back

The love of Victor Engandela's life was a Czech immigrant, an older, square-jawed man, olive-skinned and Hollywood handsome with a shock of white hair and an unfailingly gentlemanly manner.

Joseph was his name. There are pictures of him pressed in a yellowed photo album buried on a shelf in Engandela's room at an Evanston home for seniors.

"I was with him," Engandela said, "until he took his final breath."

He shares these photos, and stories of a rich life, with no one but the occasional visitor, spending most of his days isolated from his past, surrounded by contemporaries born in an age when homosexuality was taboo.

"I'm one of the few people here that's out, and I feel the weight of that," said Engandela, 85. "I don't advertise it, but I feel people know I'm homosexually oriented. They like me, but they don't like me as a homosexual. I feel shunned."

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(no subject)

Birthers Launch Reward Fund To Anybody Who Witnessed The Birth Of Obama


Three-time Just For Men Olympics gold medalist and World Net Daily founder Joseph Farah has launched a reward fund for anybody who can prove they witnessed the birth of President Obama. Farah has started the fund with $10,000 and invites his fellow birthers to raise the ante to a level "irresistible" to those keeping the "actual birthplace" of Obama a secret.
"It is clear now that Obama will never willingly release his birth certificate," said Farah. "It's time for Americans who still value the Constitution to step up and force the issue. It's time for us to learn the truth of where Obama was born. We may find he was born in Hawaii. We may find he was born elsewhere. I have no pre-conceived ideas. But this issue has haunted the American people long enough. It's time for some truth and transparency." To collect the reward, the subject must: 1. Agree to an interview with WND journalists; 2. Provide persuasive evidence, such as pictures, documents or verifiable details; 3. Agree to a polygraph test. "I think it's disgraceful that Americans should be forced to go to such lengths by the intransigence of public officials toward accountability," said Farah. "But that is what it has come to in 2009 with our current president. He prefers to dodge and weave, while his apologists in government and media viciously attack citizens for attempting to see that the Constitution is observed."
In case you haven't been following the bouncing wingnut, Farah's site has launched a massive national campaign (including roadside billboards) accusing Obama of having been born in either Kenya or Malaysia, therefore making him ineligible to be POTUS. How freekin' suh-weet would it be if some octogenerian nurse wheeled out of her Honolulu nursing home to collect the dough?


Wow these people really are batshit nuts.

Demonstration by HBIC Whoopi Goldberg.

Dems: Obama Open To Dropping Public Option

Rachel Weiner
06-24-09 08:39 AM

According to a report in Bloomberg, President Obama is open to compromising on health care reform by eliminating the public option from his plan.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met last night at the U.S. Capitol with Senate Democrats and told them Obama is "open to alternatives" to a new government insurance program in order to get legislation overhauling the health-care system to his desk, said Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

"His message was, it's critical that you do this," Conrad said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana said Emanuel urged the senators to seek Republican support and didn't discourage them from pursuing the use of non-profit cooperatives, an idea Conrad has proposed.

Obama has been vocal in his support for a public option, but has declined to commit to opposing a bill that doesn't include it. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that the co-op compromise "doesn't come close to satisfying anyone who wants a public plan." Conrad negotiated with Schumer to bring the compromise closer to a public plan, but later said that it was still not a "pure public option."

On Wednesday, Paul Krugman wrote that Obama "messes up on health care, big time" in his news conference a day earlier by "signaling, right at this crucial moment, that he's willing to give away the public plan."



(no subject)

Spread the word: Obama says he digs Urdu poetry

Barack Obama speaks at the start of an evening of poetry.
Barack Obama speaks at the start of an evening of poetry, music and spoken word in the East Room of the White House.

If you want to make high-brow small talk at one of President Barack Obama’s cocktail parties, don’t bother brushing up your Shakespeare. Try reading Urdu poetry.

As POLITICO’s Ben Smith points out in his blog, Obama showed off his intellectual flair by evoking a standard of Pakistani culture in a recent interview with Dawn, a popular English-language newspaper in Pakistan.

“‘I would love to visit. As you know, I had Pakistani roommates in college who were very close friends of mine. I went to visit them when I was still in college; was in Karachi and went to Hyderabad. Their mothers taught me to cook,’ said Mr Obama.

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As a Pakistani-American, this made me incredibly happy. Keema and Daal are some of my favorite foods! Oh, and I was having a bit of trouble with the cut - hope it works. :\

I loved you with a fire red, now it's turning blue

So, Obama had a meeting with Michelle Bachelet (Chilean socialist president) yesterday and I'm surprised this was brought up. Chilean press should get a clue and ask about important stuff, like cigarettes and shit.

Obama Won't Apologize For CIA Role In Chile.

President Obama today met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who told Mr. Obama he is "an idol" in her country. In a bit of evidence supporting that assertion, members of the Chilean press asked the president for a group photo, a request the president granted.

The event was not simply a love fest: Asked by a reporter if he wanted to apologize for CIA involvement in Chilean elections (elections!? lol, fail), Mr. Obama did not do so.

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Elderly man pays a $356/month for premium family coverage

He seems to think that's a lot. Everyone else wants the same deal. But unfortunately we can't all be US Senators.

Grassley's Government Health Insurance Hundreds Of Dollars A Month Cheaper Than Average Health Insurance
Earlier today, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)--the powerful ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee--lashed out against a public health insurance option, and government involvement in health care generally.

Well, thanks to the government's involvement in health care, Grassley himself saves a pile of money insurance costs himself. In a letter to the Des Moines Register earlier this month, Grassley wrote, "I pay $356 a month for Blue Cross insurance coverage, a plan that is available to federal employees."

That, of course, is significantly cheaper than the average monthly cost of insurance for American families--and that's notwithstanding Grassley's age, which makes him a significantly riskier insuree than the average citizen. But Grassley opposes a public insurance option, which supporters say would lower the cost of insurance for all consumers.


He's one of my Senators. I already called and emailed him to express my disapproval of his stand on health care. I may call again thanks to this.
misc - microphone

your lulz for the day

Bolivian TV Shows 'Lost' Stills As 'Exclusive' Air France Crash Photos

Network executives at Bolivian TV channel PAT are no doubt a little red this morning after their 'exclusive' photos from the last moments of Air France flight 447, turned out to be stills from ABC's 'Lost'.

The station said the story went that the images were retrieved from a camera which was traced by serial number to its owner, who was on the doomed flight.

However, it failed to notice the crash occurred at night -- the images show daytime -- and were nothing more than stills from the CGI generated break-up of Oceanic Flight 815 on the pilot episode of 'Lost' in 2001.

See the news report [at the source], followed by the original crash video from 'Lost', which compiles video from various seasons:

Source via ontd_lost

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The Doctor 3D look up

It's all about the hair


(CNN) -- When Clifton Green and his wife adopted an adorable little girl from Ethiopia, they knew they would eventually have to deal with the hair issue.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based couple, who are white, had read books about transracial adoptions that addressed how to deal with Miriam's springy curls that grew in full, dark and strong after a toddlerhood of baldness.

Green took it upon himself to learn how to care for and style his daughter's textured tresses.

"We didn't have any skills, but we had the desire," said Green of learning to do his now 5-year-old daughter's hair. "It's the culture, it's important and we want to honor it and respect it."

For many African-Americans, having a child walk around with unkempt hair is an almost unpardonable sin.

That desire to be well groomed extends into adulthood and the multitudes of hairstyles are as diverse as the black community itself.
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GOP spent $900,000 to help Coleman pay legal bills. The bills are still piling up...

GOP spent $900,000 to help Coleman pay legal bills
A national GOP committee spent more than $900,000 in May to help Norm Coleman pay his legal bills; a rival Democratic group raised more than $282,000 for Al Franken.

In another sign of the high stakes in Minnesota's disputed U.S. Senate election, Republicans are giving big donations to a national fundraising organization to help Norm Coleman fight to reclaim his seat.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent nearly $938,000 in May to help Coleman, with most of it going to pay legal bills to firms in Minneapolis and Washington.

The organization's Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, reported raising more than $282,000 in May contributions earmarked for the recount.

Finding new sources of revenue has become increasingly important as legal fees and other expenses associated with the election recount and courtroom proceedings are believed to have exceeded $12 million for Coleman and DFLer Al Franken. A ruling is expected any day from the Minnesota Supreme Court on Coleman's appeal of an election trial ruling that Franken finished on top by 312 votes.

Among those earmarking money to the recount through the Republican organization is Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Venetian Resort and Hotel in Las Vegas. He gave the maximum of $30,400. Home builder Bob Perry of Houston, a contributor to the Swift Boat campaign against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, also contributed $30,400.

On the Democratic side, much of the donated money came from California entertainment industry figures. David Geffen, a founder of Dreamworks movies, gave $5,000, and other industry moguls also contributed. Singer Barbra Streisand and composer Burt Bacharach also gave money.
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Gov. Sanford Admits Affair and Explains Disappearance

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, apologized in a rambling news conference on Wednesday for having an extra-marital affair with a woman in Argentina, ending a mystery over his week-long disappearance that had infuriated lawmakers and seemed to put his rising political career in jeopardy.

Governor Sanford admitted he had been in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since Thursday, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail as he told his staff. In revealing an affair that had gone on for about a year — and which he had disclosed to his wife, Jenny, five months ago, he said: “This was selfishness on my part.”

Mr. Sanford announced on Wednesday that he was resigning his position as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

In an interview with The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday morning, Mr. Sanford said he had taken an unplanned trip to the South American country to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled with lawmakers over accepting a portion of the federal stimulus funding.

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My Thoughts:

  • He cried....in Argentina!

  • Also, someone tell me how gay marriage threatened his marriage?

  • And from MSNBC's Chuck Todd, re GOP presidential hopefuls going down: "It's like a bad episode of Survivor"


The Future of the GOP... what future???

Joe Repya Quits Minnesota GOP Says Party In "Death Spiral"

Joe Repya, a Minnesota Republican who ran for party chair in 2007, is now quitting the GOP. The Iraq and Vietnam war veteran, who was Co-Chair of Minnesota Veterans for Bush-Cheney in 2004, wrote in the Pioneer Press:

After years of ineffective party leadership resulting in a record number of defeats, lack of transparency in party dealings, alleged financial impropriety by former party employees, and numerous Federal Election Commission problems, can you really blame the electorate for abandoning the Minnesota GOP?

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Palin Is Most Popular GOP Figure, Romney Comes In Second: Poll

Sarah Palin is the most popular figure in the GOP, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday.

The poll surveyed leading GOP politicians' favorability among both Republicans and the general public. Palin took the lead in terms of popularity within the party, with 73% of Republicans giving her a favorable rating.

Among the general public, however, Palin was found to be a particularly polarizing figure. The Alaska governor's rating among all voters was split nearly in half: 45% favorable versus 44% unfavorable.

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Curse of the 2012 GOP candidate?

With the disappearance of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, it prompted us to take a look at the other potential Republican 2012 candidates. Just how have they fared in these first five months of Obama’s presidency? It’s been a tough stretch for many in the group.

Who’s up? Who’s down? And who comes out ahead?
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Trans-Inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act Introduced In House!

ENDA Introduced In U.S. House


Finally! HRC's press release:http://www.hrc.org/12973.htm
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, hailed today the bipartisan reintroduction of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would create federal protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The lead sponsors of the measure are Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), IIeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Michael Castle (R-DE), George Miller (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John Conyers (D-MI), Todd Platts (R-PA), Rob Andrews (D-NJ), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

“Just like our friends, neighbors and coworkers, LGBT Americans work hard, provide for our families and contribute to our nation’s economy,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We all share the challenges of today's economic downturn, but our community also faces arbitrary discrimination in the workplace, simply because of who we are and who we love. Congress must pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and ensure that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, get a fair chance to succeed at work.”
Remember, this is a trans-inclusive version of ENDA, unlike the one that passed the House in 2007.


Missouri lawmaker finally responds; says her comments about hunger were "taken out of context"

This is an update to Missouri lawmaker on child hunger: ‘Hunger can be a positive motivator.’

Cynthia Davis has responded. She's not sorry, and gives no indication that she's reconsidered her highly offensive views or suggestions that the hungry just get jobs at McDonald's.

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source: Fired Up! Missouri
Rose (purple)

update to my earlier post

Former player arrested in shooting of Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas


A 24-year-old former Aplington-Parkersburg High School student and football player has been arrested in the shooting death of Ed Thomas, the district's long-time football coach. Mark Becker, who has been charged with first-degree murder, was arrested at a rural Parkersburg residence shortly after the shooting, an official from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said during a press conference this afternoon.

Becker entered the weight room near the high school in Parkersburg at about 7:47 a.m. today and allegedly fired multiple shots from a handgun at Thomas, officials said.

Superintendent Jon Thompson said about 30 players were in the weight room working out when the incident occurred. None of players were injured and all are at the elementary school receiving grief counseling.

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There's been some preliminary reports that he had been held for a psych evaluation on Sunday night, and that he probably should have been held, but the Cedar Falls police didn't know he was released. There also hasn't been a motive given yet, but there is a press conference coming up in 15 minutes.

Someone *cough* wondered in my last post how this was political. I don't know, maybe it isn't so political as Iran or Obama or health care. But he was a truly great man, a man that inspired and cared about so many people, and that is a rare thing to find in our crazy, mixed up world today. I didn't know him, but I cried when I heard. If nothing else, it's yet another reminder about how fragile and brief life truly can be.

Reaction from several prominent people, including Governor Culver, Senator Grassley, and Representative Braley are here: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090624/SPORTS08/90624028
dw Planet of the dead

Medvedev arrives in Egypt for tour to revive relations


Once it would have been Cold War rhetoric and “fraternal greetings” to Marxist guerrillas. Yesterday Russia returned to Africa in a scramble to restore its Soviet-era influence — only this time with profits and natural resources in mind.

President Medvedev arrived in Egypt at the start of a four-nation tour to a continent where communist ideology and Cold War alliances shaped its post-colonial landscape.

Now Russia is keen to revive relations in a region where it still has several old friends, and some, albeit faded, influence.

Vladimir Putin visited South Africa and Morocco as President in 2006 but Russia currently lags far behind China in winning access to the region’s resources. In the past few years China has invested huge sums to buy influence in Africa and gain access to the raw materials it needs.

During the 1970s the Soviets spent billions of dollars backing Marxist guerrilla movements in places such as Ethiopia, Mozambique and Angola, where military aid included airlifting 20,000 Cuban troops to support rebel forces.

By the middle of that decade almost 35,000 Soviet political and economic “advisers” worked in Africa, many of them KGB officers.

Communist ideals helped to inform policy throughout the region, from Tanzania under Julius Nyerere in the east to the socialist ideals of the outlawed African National Congress in South Africa.

In a first step signalling Russia’s intent to compete in the scramble for African resources, President Medvedev signed a ten-year “strategic co-operation” pact with his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo yesterday.

Like much of its once-extensive influence in Africa, Moscow’s traditionally close relationship with Egypt went into decline after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The two leaders also pledged to co-ordinate “foreign policy positions” and to press for “a new multipolar world order”, a favourite Kremlin phrase for challenging the US dominance.
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Jake G -  Moving beauty

UPDATE: Dem Sen Denies White House Suggested Dropping Public Option

UPDATE: Dem Senator Denies Bloomberg Story

UPDATE: Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) denied the Bloomberg story, saying Rahm Emanuel never said President Obama was open to giving up the public option. A spokesman said:

Conrad says Emanuel was speaking in reference to the need to overhaul the health care system as a whole -- to forge compromise and get a bill to the president's desk. It was in no way a comment on the president's willingness to do away with a public option.

Original story:

According to a report in Bloomberg, President Obama is open to compromising on health care reform by eliminating the public option from his plan.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met last night at the U.S. Capitol with Senate Democrats and told them Obama is "open to alternatives" to a new government insurance program in order to get legislation overhauling the health-care system to his desk, said Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

"His message was, it's critical that you do this," Conrad said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana said Emanuel urged the senators to seek Republican support and didn't discourage them from pursuing the use of non-profit cooperatives, an idea Conrad has proposed.

Obama has been vocal in his support for a public option, but has declined to commit to opposing a bill that doesn't include it. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that the co-op compromise "doesn't come close to satisfying anyone who wants a public plan." Conrad negotiated with Schumer to bring the compromise closer to a public plan, but later said that it was still not a "pure public option."

On Wednesday, Paul Krugman wrote that Obama "messes up on health care, big time" in his news conference a day earlier by "signaling, right at this crucial moment, that he's willing to give away the public plan."

&#39; jules

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Exclusive: E-mails between Sanford, woman

Read the full e-mail exchange in Thursday's edition of The State.

Below are excerpts of e-mails, obtained by The State newspaper in December, between Gov. Mark Sanford and Maria, a woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The State has removed the woman's full name and other personal details, including her address, e-mail address and children's names.

Sanford's office Wednesday did not dispute the authenticity of the emails.

McClatchy special correspondent Angeles Mase visited the 14-story apartment building in Buenos Aires Wednesday where the woman lives, according to the emails, which included her address. The woman at the address answered to the name in the emails and, at first, agreed to speak to a visitor, but she declined after the visitor identified herself as a reporter.

The doorman at the building, shown a photograph of Sanford, said he did not recognize him. According to the doorman, the woman has two sons, one a teenager of driving age and the other younger. The emails refer to the woman's two sons.

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These were just mentioned on Hardball. Who knew the guy was such a romantic? I thought he only felt that way about Reagan and Rand...
hanson: 1440 hours in my day

Coal companies suck, as usual.

Protesters beaten, arrested in West Virginia

UPDATE: 6pm EST. Goldman Prize Award Winner Attacked. During the rally in front of the Massey Energy coal property today, Coal River Mountain Watch co-director (and 2003 Goldman Prize Award winner) Judy Bonds was reportedly assaulted by a Massey supporter. While Bonds was engaged in a nonviolent protest, the Massey supporter lunged from the line without any provocation and roughly slapped Bonds on the head, ear and jaw. The Massey supporter also attempted an attack on another protestor, Lorelei Scarbro, a coal miner's widow and local community organizer. The Massey supporter was immedidately apprehended by the police and charged with battery, according to news reports.

The crowd included dozens of Mountain Justice participants who have been active in similar protests since 2005, including getting arrested at the same site.

UPDATE: 2:30 EST: 94-year-old Ken Hechler, the legendary West Virginia congressman and coal miner hero who has been battling mountaintop removal since 1971 was arrested in a non-violent protest with NASA's celebrated climate scientist James Hansen, actress Daryl Hannah, Michael Brune, the executive director of Rainforest Action Network, and Goldman Prize winner Judy Bonds. Vietnam veteran Bo Webb, and dozens of other coalfield residents were arrested by crossing onto the property of leading mountaintop removal coal mining company, Massey Energy--purposely trespassing to protest the destruction of mountains immediately above the Coal River Valley community.

These are two of the most recent updates to this article on the protest at Marshy Fork Elementary in West Virginia. The article also provides a lot of background on mountaintop removal coal mining, for those not familiar with it.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/live-at-coal-river-daryl_b_219628.html

bolded for lulz

Come to Order! Not a Chance, if It’s Albany

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Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Republican Senator Dean G. Skelos, center, admonished Senate Democrats during an extraordinary session at the state Capitol in Albany on Tuesday.

Published: June 23, 2009

ALBANY — New York did not have one State Senate on Tuesday. It had two.

Democrats sneaked into the Senate chamber shortly after noon, seizing control of the rostrum and locking Republicans out of the room. Republicans were finally allowed to enter about 2:30 p.m., but when they tried to station one of their own members on the dais they were blocked by the sergeants-at-arms.

So then something extraordinary — and rather embarrassing — happened.

The two sides, like feuding junior high schoolers refusing to acknowledge each other, began holding separate legislative sessions at the same time. Side by side, the parties, each asserting that it rightfully controls the Senate, talked and sometimes shouted over one another, gaveling through votes that are certain to be disputed. There were two Senate presidents, two gavels, two sets of bills being voted on.

“This is turning into the worst reality TV show ever: ‘I’m a Senator, Get Me Out of Here,’ ” said Thomas R. Suozzi, Nassau County executive and former Democratic candidate for governor. “Jon and Kate are fighting less than these guys."

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You guyz it's totally not menz faults for cheating

By John DeVore
The Frisky

(CNN) So, let's talk infidelity. Many ladies want to know why it is men cheat.
Men cheat for variety of reason and biology is one of them, writer says.

And here's what you want to hear, straight from the talk-hole of the testosterone enabled: men cheat because we are faithless, miserable dogs.

We are backstabbing, silver tongued two-faces who stalk any smooth pair of getaway sticks in a short black cocktail dress that happens to saunter into our lusty field of vision.

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I thought this was somewhat relevant due to Gov. Mark Sanford's recently exposed affair.

The article spends more time making sarcastic(?) excuses than actually taking it seriously.

CNN source here
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Michael Savage Issues Fatwa Against Media Matters

Michael Savage Issues Fatwa Against Media Matters (AUDIO)

I'm having a hard time discerning the logic behind talk-radio host Michael Savage's recent threat to post pictures and "pertinent information" about the people who work for Media Matters For America on his website. Oh, wait! I see my mistake! I am sitting here, contemplating Michael Savage, and attempting to "discern logic." Okay, my bad.

The story goes like this: Michael Savage hates him some Media Matters folks, for constantly harping on his craziness, and probably because he blames the media watchdog organization for the way he was banned from entering Great Britain by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. So, Savage recently called upon "all people in the media who have been harassed by this Stalinist group, Media Matters, to join forces to publish the names of the people and put their pictures up on their websites." Ahh, yes! Who can forget the robust growth of media watchdog groups that flourished under Stalin!
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Church holds "gay exorcism" for sixteen-year-old

First post here -- I did a search and didn't find anything on the topic, but apologies if I missed it!

ETA: The church has taken down their YouTube account (and the video), but if anyone is curious, I found another copy here. It is, as you might imagine, extremely upsetting, so keep that in mind if you do decide to click. But I thought I'd add it in case anyone was as morbidly curious as I was.

Conn. church creates stir with gay exorcism video


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The video shows the 16-year-old boy lying on the floor, his body convulsing, as elders of a small Connecticut church cast a "homosexual demon" from his body.

"Rip it from his throat!" a woman yells. "Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!"

The 20-minute video posted on YouTube by Manifested Glory Ministries is being called abuse by gay and youth advocates, who are demanding an investigation. But a church official this week denied that the teenager was injured or that the church is prejudiced.

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GOP Antics Helping Dems Push Climate Bill. Cant they do anything right?

GOP Antics Helping Dems Push Climate Bill

With the House of Representatives barreling toward a Friday vote on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, Democratic leaders working to swing more "Yea" votes are getting some unintended help from Republicans.

Republican attempts to obstruct business in the House with a barrage of procedural votes are actually helping the Democratic leadership galvanize undecided and opposition Democrats, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Wednesday afternoon.

"We're meeting with everyone," Markey said. "We have a lot of members on our list, and all of these roll calls that have been called are helping us to have the members come out so that we can move one-to-one and have conversations, hear their concerns, and try and reconcile their concerns to the goal of gaining their vote on Friday."

The normal get-out-the-vote process often involves majority leadership staff reaching out to other members' staff, which is more time-consuming and less effective than face-to-face meetings between the representatives on the House floor.

"In the GOP's attempt to stop the agenda they're shooting themselves in the foot," said a Democratic leadership aide. "More votes mean more time for us to whip."

Markey declined to thank Republican leadership for the assistance, but acknowledged that they've helped him bait the hook. "It does help us to be able to have a well-organized fishing hole for us," he said.

The GOP's unintentional assist doesn't even seem to be supported by most of their party. By Wednesday afternoon, Republican motions to adjourn barely garnered 20 votes each, with even Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) voting against them.

But the Free market can still save Health Care!!

Senate Panel Hears of Health Insurers' Wrongs

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid
, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.

At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care. Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."

The star witness at the hearing was a former public relations executive for major health insurers whose testimony boiled down to this: Don't trust the insurers.
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Sanford's wife's statement

tl;dr - Wife: Mark and I separated two weeks ago. Had no idea where he was. I won't divorce him; in fact, this might "resurrect" our marriage! And yadda-yadda Bible verses. Now, leave us to our privacy.

Jenny Sanford

I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.

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Release @ TIME's Real Clear Politics blog