August 13th, 2009


Rage Alert! Rage Alert! Rage Alert!

Rep. David Scott, a Democratic congressman from Georgia, has been the target of several incendiary political attacks in recent days. Most notably, a large 4-foot-wide swastika was painted on the sign outside of his office earlier this week.

Today, during an appearance on CNN, Scott showed some of the other letters and faxes his office has received in recent days. One of them included an image of President Barack Obama with a Soviet-style hammer and sickle placed on his forehead, as well as a reference to the congressman as "Nigga David Scott."


Later in the day, Scott was also interviewed on MSNBC's Hardball.

Follow links for the Videos

Britain 'to free' Lockerbie bomber

A former Libyan agent jailed for the bombing of a passenger aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 is to be released on compassionate grounds, British media reports say.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, is serving a life sentence in prison for bombing Pan Am Flight 103, in which all 259 passengers on board the aircraft and 11 people on the ground were killed.

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice minister, told Scottish Television on Wednesday evening that he had taken no decision on al-Megrahi's future and that he was considering several options.

But Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher, reporting from London, said he had been told that al-Megrahi could be released from prison in the Scottish town of Greenock as early as next week.

"Al-Megrahi's prognosis is not very good; we know that the Scottish justice minister visited him in his prison cell in Greenock just over 10 days ago to assess his condition," he said.

"I was told on Monday that a decision was imminent and it was likely that al-Megrahi would be freed."


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Source: Al Jazeera
fierce bitch
  • inward

The Ghosts of Clintoncare

Barack Obama's strategy to pass health-care reform seems based on a simple principle: Whatever Bill Clinton did, do the opposite.

Yet there are aspects of Clinton's approach that could, and should, inform Obama's effort -- and not just as examples of what not to do. Clinton's attempt to remake health care may be remembered now as a moment of colossal hubris and epic political misjudgment, but his project was bedeviled by a greater sin: prescience. Clinton got the politics of reform wrong, but in important ways, he got the policy right. He just got it right too soon.

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----- (Source)

I really enjoyed this article so I had a hard time cutting it down. Apologies!

I was also wondering if anyone had posted about the Side-by-side Comparisons of the Major Health Care Reform Proposals by the Kaiser Family Foundation. From a quick glance, it seems to be a good resource.

Lions, Tigers, & Prayers, Oh My!

Tulsa mayoral candidate Anna Failing Falling thinks the zoo doesn't have enough Jesus, so she made a speech there, containing sound logic and no contradictions whatsoever:

"By rejecting the Creation exhibit at the zoo, God has been dishonored. By placing the images of other gods and creation stories, excluding the Biblical account of Creation, the city has challenged the 1st Amendment that states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

"We wonder why Tulsa has nearly twice the national average for violent crimes or the police have been called over 9,000 times in the last 4 years to the Tulsa Public Schools. Where God is not honored at any level, we see the results of these decisions.

Some may ask why this issue during a Mayoral campaign? And I say why not? Any leader seeking to be in any office – public or private – must humble themselves and call upon the Lord first. This is why this is the first stop on our public campaign. Our city must restore the foundation of faith necessary to rebuilding wholeness in Tulsa by choosing board members who will honor God, love His creation, and care about this community by restoring focus on faith and family. Specifically, I will look for board members who will not only prosper this zoo tremendously in attendance and improve this zoo’s condition and appearance, but we will also look for people who want to characterize the origins of both man and animals in a way that honors the Judeo-Christian science that proves God as creator."


"Now more than ever we must call upon our Heavenly creator and His Church to intervene in our city struggles ahead. The first way we can do this is by humbling asking the city to accept this beautiful rendering of the Creation story from our faith tradition as an act of thanks for the grand design God has had for you and I since the foundation of the earth. You were all created for such a time as this – will you stand for truth today? I choose this day to stand for Truth no matter the cost, my reputation, my life and my fortune – all $27.50 of it. We can no longer remain silent."

Video won't embed, so click here to see the news clip, with one hell of an idiot voter at the end.

And look, Palin Junior here even has a blog!

Wow! What a great turn-out for the Zoo Rally yesterday despite the heat. Thank you for coming; thank you for not being deterred to stand for Truth.

The zoo is just one example where God has been dishonored. We have all observed other areas in our city where He is dishonored as well. Why is it we have no problem allowing in anything and everything except God?"

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:O Lack of food hits Detroit

There have been plenty of people struggling in Detroit for a long time. What makes this recession different is the type of people coming in. It's no longer just the homeless, or the really poor.

Now it's middle class folks who lost their $60,000-a-year auto job, or home owners who got caught on the wrong side of the real estate bubble.

"They'll say things like 'I've never had to do this before' and they feel a little uncomfortable," said Hagopian, the retired school teacher. But she says times have changed, the good union jobs are disappearing and it's harder and harder to find work.

"I just tell them society is not what it used to be," she said.

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Sign Holder Arrested. Rightwingnuts Now Going After Obama's Family!

'Death To Obama' Sign Holder Detained In Maryland

A man is in custody after authorities said he held a sign reading "Death to Obama" outside a town hall meeting on health care reform in western Maryland.

Washington County Sheriff's Capt. Peter Lazich (LAWZ'-itch) says the sign also read, "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids."

He says U.S. Secret Service agents took the unidentified 51-year-old man into custody Wednesday afternoon after deputies detained him.

The Secret Service did not immediately return telephone calls from The Associated Press inquiring about the matter. The sheriff's office didn't say what charges the man could face.

President Barack Obama was not at the meeting held Wednesday in Hagerstown by Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.

Rightwingnuts May Have Gone Too Far. Britain Snaps and Takes Attacks Personally.

British Health System Hits Back At U.S. Critics

Britain's health care service says it is sick of being lied about.

Pilloried by right-wing critics of President Barack Obama's health care plan, Britain's National Health Service, known here as the NHS, is fighting back.

"People have been saying some untruths in the States," a spokesman for Britain Department of Health said in a telephone interview. "There's been all these ridiculous claims made by the American health lobby about Obama's health care plan ... and they've used the NHS as an example. A lot of it has been untrue."

He spoke anonymously in line with department policy.
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Email I just received from David Axelrod regarding health care

Dear Friend,

This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.


David Axelrod
Senior Adviser to the President

P.S. We launched this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we've just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check 
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I think this is the beginning of a real strong push back against all of the made up crap that's been thrown out there by the GOP and the right wing special interests.
i want joe biden i need joe biden

Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma

A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week.

The memo, which according to a knowledgeable health care lobbyist was prepared by a person directly involved in the negotiations, lists exactly what the White House gave up, and what it got in return.

It says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada -- and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

In exchange, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) agreed to cut $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years. Or, as the memo says: "Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion."

Representatives from both the White House and PhRMA, shown the outline, adamantly denied that it reflected reality. PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson said that the outline "is simply not accurate." "This memo isn't accurate and does not reflect the agreement with the drug companies," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

Stories in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times last week indicated that the administration was confirming that such a deal had been made.

Critics on Capitol Hill and online responded with outrage at the reports that Obama had gone behind their backs and sold the reform movement short. Furthermore, the deal seemed to be a betrayal of several promises made by then-Sen. Obama during the presidential campaign, among them that he would use the power of government to drive down the costs of drugs to Medicare and that negotiations would be conducted in the open.

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Rightwingnuts Defeats "Death Panel" Provision!!

End-of-Life Provision Loses Favor

The cost of caring for patients who are near death accounts for a big piece of the government's medical spending. But a furor over a provision for government-paid counseling to plan for end-of-life care is steering lawmakers away from the issue.

Tucked inside a sweeping House bill to overhaul the health system is a provision that would require Medicare to pay physicians to counsel patients once every five years. During those sessions, doctors could discuss how patients can plan for such end-of-life decisions as setting up a living will, obtaining hospice care or establishing a proxy to make their health decisions when they are unable to do so.

The end-of-life counseling provision in the House bill is expected to cost a few billion dollars over the next decade. But health policy experts say it could lower medical spending by reducing end-of-life medical care that patients don't want.

Opponents say the provision shows that architects of the health-care overhaul want to ration seniors' care. Democratic lawmakers say no part of the House bill calls for rationing care. Physician counseling would be voluntary.

But growing complaints over the provision are leading key lawmakers to conclude that the health overhaul should leave out any end-of-life counseling provisions. A group in the Senate Finance Committee that is attempting to craft Congress's only bipartisan health bill has decided to exclude such a measure, Senate aides said this week.
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The Perils Of Moving On Up

Jason Z is surprised that Niall Ferguson thinks Obama is a lot like Felix The Cat. I'm not. I think the key to how this happens is hinted at in this comment for Dave:

Stupid stuff by Ferguson, who, as you note, is not stupid. I suspect this comes from the pressure of writing a regular column for a non-academic audience, and Ferguson trying to force a shot this week when there was nothing there. You would know more about this than me, but why can't a newspaper editor say something like:

"We're hiring you to write a regular column every X, but if for some reason you come up empty that week (or month, whatever), that's OK, just let us know. We'll publish one of our outside submissions instead and just not pay you for that column. We'd rather have you write less frequently but write consistently good columns than try to force it."

I don't know what's in Ferguson's head, but I do have some understanding of how the process works for people who are paid to think deep thoughts.

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TL;DR Ta-Nehesi Coates blames the Ferguson Fe(lix)asco not on the professor-cum-columnist himself, but rather on the system that produced him--a system that christens columnists as pop-public intellectuals, and gives them the power to drive our cultural conversation...but that, in return, expects from those columnists systematic brilliance.


A man who robbed a house and ran near an Independence convent was chased from the building by one of the nuns Thursday morning, police said.

Police said the man took a shotgun and other items form a house and then ran near the Sisters of St. Francis convent. Police said a nun from the convent chased him from near the convent and in the process the man dropped one of his guns.

Police said the the man ran into the woods northeast of Dickinson Road and Kentucky Avenue, but was caught behind a barn at 720 Dickinson Road.

Independence police also believe the man may have robbed a second house earlier Thursday morning and may have taken firearms from that home, too.

Police had tried to clear the area since the man was armed.


(no subject)

When Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard invaded Kuwait in 1990, they brought back some unusual war booty to Baghdad: tapes of the region's "Sesame Street" show. Troops also took a Muppet camel.

The camel, Cookie Monster and the other Sesame friends immediately became permanent POWs in Iraq.

"To this day, they've never been recovered," Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell said. "That's how much the show is loved there."

That "kidnapping" is just one example of Sesame Street's devoted global following. And Sesame is trying to use that following to foster a culture of understanding worldwide, beginning with children.

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Fluffy source.

Europhobia Is Only Getting Uglier

I found this article from Newsweek to be very interesting and I just thought I'd share with the community.

by Michael Freedman

What's so bad about Europe? Consider: the EU has a lower infant-mortality rate than the U.S., with France among the lowest. The life expectancy for a boy born tomorrow in the United States is 78; in most of the European Union, he will live an extra year, and he gets another two if he is lucky enough to be born in France. As that boy becomes a man, he is more likely to spend his days in happiness, according to data collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. His education, from grade school through university, will be essentially free. When he begins a job in allegedly socialist Europe he can work at one of the world’s leading firms, including three of the top oil companies (BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total), two of the top telecom companies (Nokia and Ericsson) and four of the world’s 10 biggest firms, as measured by sales. He will get more vacation, and have more time off to deal with medical issues and for paternity leave. Europeans report a lower rate of mental illness than Americans, and statistically speaking, those who become ill, whether physically or mentally, stand a greater chance of receiving treatment in Europe. As that man becomes elderly, his pension will be taken care of, too, by a state-funded program.

Yet ever since Barack Obama moved into the White House, the American right has accused him of turning the United States into Europe─a dangerous road considering that Europe, in this view, is full of “cowards” (Bill O'Reilly). Obama’s stimulus package was “the European Socialist Act of 2009” (Sean Hannity). Those who favor a new model for health care are part of an all-but-treasonous anti-American conspiracy to transform the United States into a "European social welfare state" (Rush Limbaugh).

Of course, this is not the first time Europhobia has reared its head. Justin Vaisse, a French scholar at the Brookings Institution, traces American Francophobia (Europhobia’s cousin) to the French Revolution. In a fascinating paper several years ago he described how the revolution “gave birth to the stereotype of an unstable and illiberal country and of a quarrelsome and restive people.” From there, Vaisse observes, Franco-American relations were marked by a series of turns that forever embedded in the American imagination the idea of France as “immoral, venal, anti-Semitic, arrogant, insignificant, and nostalgic for past glory. It is also elitist, dirty, lazy, and it is anti-American.” More recently, around the start of the Iraq War, the writer Timothy Garton Ash helpfully compiled a short list of all the terms used by right-wing commentators and politicians in the United States to describe Europe. “Eurinal,” “Euroids,” “Euroweenies,” and “Peens,” were among some of the choicest phrases.

Now Europhobia seems resurgent and stronger than ever. There is virtually nothing Obama can do these days that doesn't inspire one right-wing pundit or another to suggest he is really a European in disguise. In May, he and Joe Biden went out for a bite to eat at Ray's Hell Burger, a Washington, D.C., hamburger joint. The vice president ordered a cheeseburger with jalapeño peppers; the president ordered his with mustard─and not just any mustard. He asked for Dijon, an unpardonable sin that to the right reeked of effete European elitism. Soon after, Hannity and others attempted to smear the president as something less than a full-blooded American man for having the audacity to order something that originated in France and then popularized with a British voice in the famous commercials for Grey Poupon. Radio talker Laura Ingraham mused, "What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup but Dijon mustard?"

It is getting much, much uglier. Perhaps realizing that Europe in fact has something to offer the United States─and recalling, perhaps, that the EU, whatever its flaws, remains the United States' greatest ally─Limbaugh is taking things a step further, back to a time when parts of Europe really were the enemy. On his radio program last week, Limbaugh compared all the ways Obama is like Adolf Hitler. "Obama is asking citizens to rat each other out like Hitler did," he said. "Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate," he said. And so on. On Aug. 11, Fox News talk-show host Glenn Beck rolled footage of Nazis on the march and started tearing up when he compared America to Weimar Germany, arguing that with the United States on the way to economic collapse, the time could soon come when the government will decide that it can no longer afford to provide health care for the elderly and disabled. Just as the Nazis did.

All this obscures what's really under debate here: what kind of health-care system─and what kind of policies─will make America a stronger, more resilient, more prosperous nation. America is not going to become Europe, much less a fascist dictatorship. It will do things its own way. But dare anyone say there is virtue in at least considering how our allies do things─and even cherry-picking and adapting from the best that others have to offer? Earlier this year, the scholar Charles Murray gave an address to the American Enterprise Institute, in acceptance of the conservative think tank's most prestigious award, in which he warned that “the possibility that irreversible damage will be done to the American project over the next few years is real." His argument was that "the European model is fundamentally flawed because, despite its material successes, it is not suited to the way that human beings flourish─it does not conduce to Aristotelian happiness." That may be, but the demagoguery from many of his compatriots on the political right risk ignoring what modern Europe has to offer, all for the sake of some sort of ideological je ne sais quoi.

U.S. Hatred of Europe Gets Uglier

I never really understood why some Americans have such an unfavorable view of Europeans...especially when most of them have a) never been there but also b) have never met a person from Europe.
good news everyone!
  • 7950

Delhi female births rise hailed

India's capital, Delhi, recorded more female than male births during 2008, for the first time in many decades.

Latest government data shows for every 1,000 males, 1,004 girls were born in Delhi in 2008.

One of the main reasons for the earlier skewed male-female ratios was seen to be the greater number of abortions of female foetuses.

The news has been hailed as a gender revolution in a country that has been struggling to get the balance right.

Delhi is now second only to the southern state of Kerala, which has the highest number of female births.

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Helena Cain and Gina Inviere
  • doop

Focus on the Family selling its money-losing gay workshops

Focus on the Family will shed its controversial Love Won Out program for transforming homosexuals into heterosexuals because of budget troubles, the conservative media ministry said Tuesday.

The Colorado Springs-based ministry made the announcement in The Washington Blade, the country's oldest gay and lesbian newspaper.

The Love Won Out conferences on "leaving homosexuality" will be handed over in November to a longtime ministry partner, Orlando, Fla.-based Exodus International.

"The economic challenges led us to this strategic decision," Focus vice president Gary Schneeberger said Wednesday. "Love Won Out is not an inexpensive event to stage, and rarely, in over 50 cities where it's been held, have we ever made back our investment, despite good attendance."

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Futurama--Angry Dome


Liberals, Conservatives Agree: It’s Okay to Bash ADHD and Bully the Kids, Adults Who Have It

Inaugural inductees: HBO show host Bill Maher and his guests Arianna Huffington, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Two liberals and two conservatives who could agree on one thing only: It’s okay to bash ADHD.Collapse )

Seeing stuff like this makes my blood boil, especially coming from elected officials. It reminds me of that Mitch Hedberg joke--"Dammit Otto, you're an alcoholic! Dammit Otto, you have Lupis!" Except there's nothing funny about this. I hate when people just assume that you are just lazy or something and you can just "get over it" or that people are overmedicated. No, some of us aren't, thankyouverymuch.

Things like this sure don't help this public health care debate.
  • Current Mood
☉ sup bitches?
  • schmiss

*hums Teeny Little Super Guy song*

How to Fight Healthcare Fearmongers and Demagogues

My friend, Keith, from New Orleans, just emailed to say he attended a local "town meeting" on health care and tried to get a word in favor but was almost hounded out of the room.

Why are these meetings brimming with so much anger? Because Republican Astroturfers have joined the same old right-wing broadcast demagogues that have been spewing hate and fear for years, to create a tempest.

But why are they getting away with it? Why aren't progressives -- indeed, why aren't ordinary citizens -- taking the meetings back?

Mainly because there's still no healthcare plan. All we have are some initial markups from several congressional committees, which differ from one another in significant ways. The White House's is waiting to see what emerges from the House and Senate before insisting on what it wants, maybe in conference committee.

But that's the problem: It's always easier to stir up fear and anger against something that's amorphous than to stir up enthusiasm for it.

The White House has just announced a web page designed to rebut some of the insane charges that the right is instigating. That won't be enough. The President has to be more specific about what he's for and what he's against. Without these specifics, the right can conjure up every demon in its arsenal while the middle and left can only shrug their shoulders.

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This is why they should have postponed congressional recess >:(
Starbucks Xmas Cup 1

Paper Rejects Gay Wedding Announcement

Paper rejects same-sex wedding announcement
Married pair upset after Utah daily says policy is to print only legal unions

Spencer Jones and Tyler Barrick. The couple say The Spectrum in St. George initially accepted their paid wedding announcement last week, then changed course. The couple was legally married June 17, 2008, in San Francisco.

SALT LAKE CITY - A southern Utah newspaper has rejected a gay California couple's wedding announcement, saying its policy is to publish announcements only for marriages legal under Utah law.

The Spectrum in St. George initially accepted a paid wedding announcement for Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones last week, but then changed course, Jones said. The San Francisco couple were legally married June 17, 2008. They wanted the announcement printed in Jones' hometown paper ahead of a family party next week.

Jones, 30, said he initially agreed to the paper's request that the announcement run without a photo, after a clerk told him the publisher feared the picture might make readers uncomfortable. Then Jones changed his mind and appealed to publisher Donnie Welch, asking him to reconsider.

"After all, our marriage is just as real and legal and entitled to celebration as any of the others that are announced each week in the pages of The Spectrum," Jones wrote in an e-mail to Welch.

"This simply is not true," Welch replied in an Aug. 10 e-mail, a copy of which the couple provided to The Associated Press. "While that may be the case in some states it is not the case in the state of Utah. As our policy is to run marriage announcements recognized by Utah law, I have made the decision not to run the announcement."

A telephone message seeking comment from Welch was not immediately returned Thursday. The Spectrum is owned by Gannett Co. A message left at Gannett's corporate offices in McLean, Va., was not immediately returned.

'Different walks of life'
Jones said The Spectrum clerk who took his announcement information and credit card number never disclosed such a policy and later told him it was a new policy she had not known.

The policy also contradicts information published about The Spectrum last year by the national advocacy group GLAAD — Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation — which for six years has worked to open newspapers' wedding and celebration pages to same-sex couples.

GLAAD conducts telephone surveys every two years, and says more than 1,000 papers have policies allowing the announcements. In 2008, The Spectrum was included on GLAAD's list of "inclusive newspapers."

A GLAAD representative contacted Welch on Wednesday, but wasn't able to change the publisher's mind, said Rashad Robinson, the organization's senior director of media programs. Robinson said GLAAD has also contacted Gannett Co. to express its concern.

"At the end of the day, this is not about their editorial pages or the opinions of their columnists," Robinson said. "This is about the celebration pages reflecting the community, and a community is going to have people from many very different walks of life. We are diminished if our stories are put aside."

On Thursday, GLAAD posted a message on its Web site asking supporters to contact the paper to express concerns. Robinson also said GLAAD plans to contact Spectrum advertisers, many of whom have long-standing nondiscrimination policies.

"The paper said the decision was in the best business interests of the paper," Robinson said. "So the question is, do these advertisers, who have a long track record of diversity, want to be lumped in with a business decision that falls down on the side of inequality?"

The California Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in the state in June 2008, not long before Barrick and Jones wed. Less than five months later, California voters approved Proposition 8, a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage in California. In May, the court upheld the ban, but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the ban took effect would remain legally married.

Gay marriage is banned in Utah.

Jones said that although he and Barrick, 28, actively fought Proposition 8, when their announcement was rejected Barrick "didn't want to be the poster couple for gay marriage," so they decided to let it go.

"But I'm an attorney and I couldn't sleep that night," said Jones, a Utah native, who like Barrick was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "My instinct is to make it right."

The Salt Lake City-based Mormon church is opposed to gay marriage and called on its members last year to give time and money to the campaign to pass California's Proposition 8.

Jones reached out to GLAAD and other gay rights organizations for advice.

"I've thought a lot about the gay and lesbian kids who are surely all over the place in southern Utah, and maybe it's gratuitous on my part, but they need to see this announcement in the paper," he said. "When I was a kid ... I would have loved to have seen a picture of two guys having their life together celebrated in the paper."

In a follow-up e-mail to Welch, Jones, once a paperboy for The Spectrum, called the publisher's decision "intolerance, plain and simple," and said the paper has a duty not to shield readers from discomfort or disparate opinions.

"Your duty, as I see it, is exactly the opposite — to provide a neutral and fair forum for all of your readers to announce and celebrate their unions," Jones wrote.

Meanwhile, Jones and Barrick have had their announcement accepted by The Salt Lake Tribune, owned by MediaNews Group Inc.



Leading conservative economist Bruce Bartlett writes that the Obama-hating town-hall mobs have it wrong—the person they should be angry with left the White House seven months ago.

Where is the evidence that everything would be better if Republicans were in charge? Does anyone believe the economy would be growing faster or that unemployment would be lower today if John McCain had won the election? I know of no economist who holds that view. The economy is like an ocean liner that turns only very slowly. The gross domestic product and the level of employment would be pretty much the same today under any conceivable set of policies enacted since Barack Obama’s inauguration.

In January, the Congressional Budget Office projected a deficit this year of $1.2 trillion before Obama took office, with no estimate for actions he might take. To a large extent, the CBO’s estimate simply represented the $482 billion deficit projected by the Bush administration in last summer’s budget review, plus the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, which George W. Bush rammed through Congress in September over strenuous conservative objections. Thus the vast bulk of this year’s currently estimated $1.8 trillion deficit was determined by Bush’s policies, not Obama’s.

I think conservative anger is misplaced. To a large extent, Obama is only cleaning up messes created by Bush. This is not to say Obama hasn’t made mistakes himself, but even they can be blamed on Bush insofar as Bush’s incompetence led to the election of a Democrat. If he had done half as good a job as most Republicans have talked themselves into believing he did, McCain would have won easily.

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In case you still had faith in average Americans...

Poll: Health care views take sympathetic tilt
By Susan Page, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The raucous protests at congressional town-hall-style meetings have succeeded in fueling opposition to proposed health care bills among some Americans, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds — particularly among the independents who tend to be at the center of political debates.

In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say demonstrations at the hometown sessions have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views; 21% say they are less sympathetic.

Independents by 2-to-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now.

The findings are unwelcome news for President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders, who have scrambled to respond to the protests and in some cases even to be heard. From Pennsylvania to Texas, those who oppose plans to overhaul the health care system have asked aggressive questions and staged noisy demonstrations.

The forums have grabbed public attention: Seven in 10 respondents are following the news closely.

"No one condones the actions of those who disrupt public events," House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said in an op-ed article published in today's USA TODAY. "But those in Washington who dismiss the frustration of the American people and call it 'manufactured' do so at their own peril."

White House adviser David Axelrod questioned the USA TODAY survey's methodology, saying those who report being more sympathetic to the protesters now were likely to have been on that side from the start. "There is a media fetish about these things," Axelrod said of the protests, "but I don't think this has changed much" when it comes to public opinion.

A study by the non-partisan Pew Research Center concluded that 59% of the airtime last week on 13 cable TV and radio talk shows were devoted to the health care debate.

In the USA TODAY Poll:

• A 57% majority of those surveyed, including six in 10 independents, say a major factor behind the protests are concerns that average citizens had well before the meetings took place; 48% say efforts by activists to create organized opposition to the health care bills are a major factor.

• There's some tolerance for loud voices: 51% say individuals making "angry attacks" on a health care bill are an example of "democracy in action" rather than "abuse of democracy."

• Some actions are seen as going too far. Six in 10 say shouting down supporters of a bill is an abuse of democracy. On that question, unlike most others, there isn't much of a partisan divide: 69% of Democrats and 58% of Republicans agree.

In Hagerstown, Md., Wednesday, nearly 1,000 people turned out for a forum held by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin; only 440 could fit in the community-college theater. The crowd often interrupted the senator, but was generally respectful.

In State College, Pa., Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter was jeered at a forum at a Penn State conference center. The 90-minute meeting at times became a shouting match between bill backers and foes.


soap&skin 2012
  • automat

Gov. Culver sends message of unacceptance. He should apologize for past statement.

Without intending to, the governor of Iowa and a regional transit authority ended up making the case for an Iowa atheists group better than any ad the organization could have placed.

With the lines, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone," on the side of a bus, the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers association was trying to combat some of the taboos and subtle coercions faced by those who don't belong to a church or believe in a supreme being. But the responses of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority and Gov. Chet Culver further marginalized non-believers from the rest of society.

Their ad is no less reasonable than one placed by a church seeking members. It was timed to coincide with an influx of people to Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair. DART initially accepted it, then pulled it after some riders complained, then decided to reinstate it after the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union raised constitutional questions. Culver weighed in when asked, saying he was offended by the ad and its message.

The whole embarrassing debacle projects an image of a confused and self-contradicting DART leadership, and a governor who has deliberately chosen not to represent one segment of Iowa society: the non-church-going. This makes it hard to claim we're a welcoming and pluralistic state where debate and discussion on a variety of issues can thrive.

What could possibly be offensive to Culver about someone else not believing in God and saying so? Even if the governor is deeply religious himself, he can't expect all Iowans to share his beliefs. The ad didn't put down anyone else's faith. Its goal, according to the association's president, was to let non-religious people know "that they too have a community if they want to join it."

Granted, Culver was responding to a question rather than issuing a statement of his own accord. But why even take an adversarial position on such a local issue? Was it to please some political constituency?

Coming from a former high school government teacher, his response suggests a disregard for the American right to live and let live, to worship or not to.

I asked Culver's communications director, Phil Roeder, to explain Culver's remarks, and whether the governor regrets making them now that the ads are on again. Roeder said he'd get back to me with the governor's response. I'll let you know what he said when he does.

Meanwhile, the Atheists, a chapter of a national social and educational organization, wrote in a letter to Culver: "We are disappointed that you chose to take sides in a free speech issue, offended by your choice of words regarding our bus ads, and also frustrated that you ignored an opportunity as the senior representative of Iowans to ask your constituents to open a dialogue with each [other]. Instead we believe you chose to be divisive and deliberately offensive to non-theists and those who believe in free speech for all people."

The group invited the governor to attend one of its meetings or activities, saying that, "you will find that despite our nonbelief, we are just like other Iowans and that there is nothing to be disturbed about."

Culver should do that. In fact, he could do what President Barack Obama did after infuriating some people by saying a Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Obama apologized and called the cop and the professor together on the White House lawn for a beer.

Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is how you deal with them. Culver should apologize, declare this a teachable moment and give the atheists a hearing. Their place or his, beer optional, open mind essential.



Marriage Eludes High-Achieving Black Women

By Brian Alexander contributor

Michelle Obama may have become an archetypal African-American female success story — law career, strong marriage, happy children — but the reality is often very different for other highly educated black women.

They face a series of challenges in navigating education, career, marriage and child-bearing, dilemmas that often leave them single and childless even when they’d prefer marriage and family, according to a research study recently presented at the American Sociological Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

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EDIT: Black Women, Grab Your Cats; We Will All Die Alone--a rebuttal to the article, if you're interested. (Thanks to misatojaganshi for the link.)

There's A Good Reason For Europhobia

This is the right wing response to this post:

After concluding another 16 days in Europe. I am again reminded how different their form of socialism is, and yet how closely it resembles the model that Obama seeks for America. The vast majority of citizens lives in apartments, even in smaller towns and villages. Cars are tiny. Prices are higher than in the states; income is lower (The government taxes you to pay for things like “free” college, so you won’t have much to spend on antisocial things like your Wal-Mart plastic Christmas Tree or your second K-Mart plasma TV.)

Mass transit is frequent and cheap, but often crowded and occasionally unpleasant. The stifled desire to acquire something—large house, car, deposit account—is of course not quite destroyed by socialism, but rather is channeled into a sort of cynicism and anger, often leading to a hedonism of few children, late and long meals, and disco hours until the early morning. The number of Gucci like stores selling overpriced label junk like 200 Euro eye-glass frames and 1000 Euro leather bags to socialists is quite amazing.

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I guess I'm more anti-France politically than anti-European, but that's because every good Anglophile hates the French. To me, this article is slightly more valid than some of the crap out there because at least the author WENT to Europe. That doesn't really excuse the stereotyping though.


Vick signs deal with Eagles

By ROB MAADDI AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA(AP)—By halftime, the Linc was buzzing: Michael Vick(notes) was an Eagle.

Suddenly, no one seemed to care much about the preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday night. All that mattered to most fans was that the disgraced quarterback had joined their team.

Agent Joel Segal confirmed the signing, shortly before the Philadelphia Eagles announced it in a text message. The team gave Vick a one-year deal with an option for a second year.

“We don’t need another quarterback, especially him,” longtime fan Donald Crispin said.

The 29-year-old Vick, once the NFL’s highest-paid player, has been out of action since 2006. The former Atlanta Falcons star was convicted in August 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting ring, and served 18 of a 23-month sentence in federal prison. He also was suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally lifted Vick’s suspension on July 27, allowing him to sign with a team, practice and play in the last two preseason games. Once the season begins, Vick can participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) at the latest.

The Eagles reached the NFC championship game last season under quarterback Donovan McNabb, and are still looking for their elusive first Super Bowl win.

McNabb has led the Eagles to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in the last eight years, and was rewarded with a $5.3 million raise in the offseason. The Eagles tore up his old contract with two years remaining, and gave him a new deal worth $24.5 million over the next two seasons.

The team is a surprise landing point for Vick. It was among 26 clubs that said there was no interest in him, but that may have changed when backup Kevin Kolb strained a knee ligament earlier this week. Kolb’s injury isn’t serious and he’s expected to return next week. The Eagles also have veteran A.J. Feeley.

When news of Vick’s signing circulated in the press box during the first half of the Eagles’ preseason opener against New England, even the team’s public relations staff seemed surprised.

The crowd quickly caught on at Lincoln Financial Field. Fans standing on the concourse were in disbelief. One guy wondered how quickly he’d be able to buy a Vick jersey. Another asked if this was a joke.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Michelle Harlan, a mother attending her first NFL game with a young son.

In a “60 Minutes” interview set to air Sunday, Vick accepted blame for not stopping the illegal dogfighting operation he bankrolled.

Vick said he feels “some tremendous hurt behind what happened.”

He said he should have taken “the initiative to stop it all … I didn’t.”

Asked if he was more concerned about his playing career or the dogs he hurt, Vick replied, “Football don’t even matter.”

The animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wasted no time reminding people exactly what Vick had done.

“PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Eagles decided to sign a guy who hung dogs from trees. He electrocuted them with jumper cables and held them under water,” PETA spokesman Dan Shannon told The Associated Press.

“You have to wonder what sort of message this sends to young fans who care about animals and don’t want them to be harmed.”

Since Andy Reid became the head coach in 1999, the Eagles have avoided players with character issues. The lone exception came in 2004 when Philadelphia acquired wide receiver Terrell Owens. That move paid off when Owens helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl in his first season. But T.O. quickly wore out his welcome, criticizing management over a contract dispute and feuding with McNabb. He was released midway through the 2005 season.

“I couldn’t envision Mike being here,” said former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese, a teammate of Vick’s in Atlanta in 2005-06. “I didn’t see where he fit in. I think most people in the locker room would accept it. Donovan is very secure in his position. He wants to see Mike get another opportunity.”