August 16th, 2009

Obama - Smooth

Why We Need Health Care Reform - Barack Obama NY Times

Why We Need Health Care Reform

OUR nation is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care in America. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices. What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.

These are people like Lori Hitchcock, whom I met in New Hampshire last week. Lori is currently self-employed and trying to start a business, but because she has hepatitis C, she cannot find an insurance company that will cover her. Another woman testified that an insurance company would not cover illnesses related to her internal organs because of an accident she had when she was 5 years old. A man lost his health coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because the insurance company discovered that he had gallstones, which he hadn’t known about when he applied for his policy. Because his treatment was delayed, he died.

I hear more and more stories like these every single day, and it is why we are acting so urgently to pass health-insurance reform this year. I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.


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Akuma River

Iran Update August 08-16, 2009

My first draft (that I've been working on since Friday) got erased so here's draft number two.

I don't know what is going on with Nico Pitney but it seems like his coverage of Iran has stopped.

Also, it seems that the Taraneh Musavi story may be fake? I've heard reports that it was a hoax and then they found be honest I'm not sure if it is or isn't true. But if it is not then the worst that could be said of it is that she has become a caricature of all the women who have been dragged off the streets and raped and killed in Iran since the election. Just because her story is fake does not mean that it has not happened to someone else.

With the recent problems of twitter this article on how twitter is feeding botnets is very important.

According to Roozonline, conservative estimates put dead at 69 and arrested at 4,000.

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard did an in-depth look at Iran, Neiman Reports: Iran: Can Its Story Be Told? Dozens of articles by Journalists on Iran are in the Summer 2009 edition.

The UN Secretary-General Ban KI-Moon invited Ahmedi to New York on September 22, 2009. If, he is able to make it. Expect major turn outs in protests. Also, Ramadan is coming up and there is plans to turn it Green.

One of the blogs from Iran is gone, kharid-e-sabz. I'm not sure if I used them as a source before, but I know others have. kharid-e-sabz was a blog was on wordpress and it's seemed to have been deleted by it's author.

Enduring America has reports of a new threat to Khamenei. It seems the clerics are trying to take him out of power.

Ahmedi chose one Sadeg Amoli Larijani, a hard right winger (who is the brother Ali Larijanji, the Speaker of Parliament) for the head of the Judiciary and three women for his cabinet.

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Right-Wing Health Care Group Tricked British Women Into Appearing In Anti-Reform Ad

Right-Wing Health Care Group Tricked British Women Into Appearing In Anti-Reform Ad

Earlier this year, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR), an anti-health care reform group led by the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Rick Scott, began running a commercial attacking the British health care system. The TV ad runs through “tragic stories” of British citizens who it portrays as being against government-run health care such as the National Health Service (NHS).

Watch it:

Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that two of the women featured in the commercial say they were “duped” into appearing in CPR’s ad campaign:
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Taiwan president takes blame for typhoon response

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said Sunday he accepts responsibility for the government's slow response after Typhoon Morakot slammed into the island killing at more than 120 people and unleashing floods, mudslides and misery.

Ma, who has faced heavy criticism from victims of the disaster, ruled out resignation, insisting his government did its best in the face of difficulties, however he pledged an investigation into any irregularities.

"Certainly, I will take full responsibility whatever the blame is because, after all, I am the president of this country," Ma told CNN, saying heavy rains grounded rescue helicopters in the first few days after the storm hit, delaying relief.

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Inside The Mob Outside The Grand Junction Health Care Town Hall (VIDEO)

Inside The Mob Outside The Grand Junction Health Care Town Hall (VIDEO)

Below is a video slideshow of our day spent in the crowds. As it turned out, the anti-reform protesters were greatly outnumbered by those supporting reform. Both sides became excited. There was shouting.

Organizing for America, the successor to the president's campaign apparatus was out in full force with a concert, free drinks, snacks and many signs. The contingent against health care reform hugged a corner opposite those for reform, shouting loudly to drown out their counterparts' chants.

One thing was clear throughout the day: People against reform were troubled by more than just Obama's health care plan. Almost every anti-reform demonstrator we talked to expressed fear of what they perceived to be increased government control, spending and invasion into their daily lives. A number of people told us that this isn't just about President Obama. Some have been angry since the Bush administration, others don't trust government at all. A few people spewed out remarks against the president that were reminiscent of those seen at campaign rallies for Gov. Sarah Palin last year. We even met two Birthers -- obviously misinformation was strongly represented. When we asked people for evidence or to clarify their positions with the facts they just continued with their talking points.

The rhetoric is nothing new. The president took time during the town hall to rail against "dishonest" arguments. However, what is new is that many of the people against the president's agenda -- "dishonest" or not -- are using the health care debate as a vehicle to campaign against him. After eight months of a new administration, we're hearing language similar to what dominated the airwaves during the final months of the election. So much for change, at least for those who didn't want change brought by Obama in the first place.
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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was in stable condition Sunday at a local hospital after he was attacked by a man with a metal pipe at the Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday night, police said.

The attack occurred at 10:45 p.m. at the state fair in West Allis, Wisconsin, as Barrett was leaving the event with his family.

According to Milwaukee Police, Barrett heard a woman crying for help.

When he began calling 911, the man who had been attacking the woman charged at the mayor and began battering him with a metal pipe, according to a statement released by the Milwaukee Police Department.

The suspect then fled the scene.

Barrett was alert and talking when he arrived at the hospital for treatment, according to police. The woman involved in the incident was not injured.

Milwaukee police are assisting the West Allis authorities in trying to track down the suspect.

No arrests had been made as of Sunday morning.


Obama gets personal in health care town hall meeting

In an unexpectedly personal moment during a town hall meeting Saturday, President Obama invoked the death of his grandmother as he took to task critics of overhauling health care.

Obama criticized those he said reduce the health care debate to scare tactics and mischaracterizations.

"I know what it's like to watch somebody you love, who's aging, deteriorate, and have to struggle with that," Obama said, pausing at times to finish his sentence."What you can't do -- or you can, but you shouldn't -- is start saying things like we want to set up 'death panels' to pull the plug on grandma," he said, referring to rumors earlier this week that a health care bill passed by a House committee included setting up so-called "death panels" to decide whether senior citizens get treatment.

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And in the "What the Hell?!?" category...

Hello! This is my first post to this community, so I'm excited about that.

Anyway, back on task.

WASHINGTON – Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers

Officials from both political parties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises on proposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for an August recess. Obama had sought the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured, but he never made it a deal breaker in a broad set of ideas that has Republicans unified in opposition.

Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own.

With $3 billion to $4 billion in initial support from the government, the co-ops would operate under a national structure with state affiliates, but independent of the government. They would be required to maintain the type of financial reserves that private companies are required to keep in case of unexpectedly high claims.

"I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."

Obama's spokesman refused to say a public option was a make-or-break choice.

The aricle is here

Well, I like that they are comprimising, but dropping the whole thing entirely?
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Taco Flavored Kisses

Condoms no mas?

For years, researchers have been working on microbicides (intravaginal gels, rings, and films) that can prevent the transmission of viruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Only a handful ever made it to human clinical trial, and ran into issues such as women not using them, or the antiviral drugs in the microbicides not lasting long enough. Some microbicides even seemed to increase the risk of transmission.

Now, researchers at the University of Utah seem to have greatly improved on a microbicide they first wrote about in 2006, according to a study published this week in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

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' jules
  • schmiss


Bold, conservative Bachmann hints at 'Mrs. President' future

She began her political career simply, as a Christian mom concerned about the content of school papers her children brought home in their backpacks, but today she has become one of the leading defenders of liberty and conservative principles on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., laughs at her humble start in politics.

"I attended my caucus, not intending to run for office," Bachmann told WND. "I had on jeans and a sweatshirt with a hole in it and tennis shoes. But the people said, 'Michele, you need to run,' and I did."

Bachmann went on to beat out Minnesota's longest-sitting state senator in the 2000 Republican primary and then defeated her Democratic opponent in the general election. Six years later, she overcame millions of dollars in Democrat campaign spending to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and, in an exclusive interview with WND, Bachmann hinted her underdog campaigns may even lead to the White House.

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*cough* *cough* *cough*
JL: Annoyed J. Law

Hillary Clinton’s Folksy Diplomacy

Think of it as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s informational interview of Africa. Eleven days, seven countries of friendly, engaging, edifying talk — but with no urgent American interest on the line. There were no nukes to stop; no peace deal to start; no young American women to free (Bill Clinton’s shadow loomed large from the moment Mrs. Clinton’s plane took off).

More than anything, the African safari she finished last week was about her and her emerging style as secretary of state. She stuffed her days with what felt like a dozen events, a blur of high-level meetings, roundtable discussions and “townterviews” (more on that later). She seemed engaged throughout it all, scribbling in her notebooks like a dutiful student during meetings, keeping a straight, earnest face even when one Nigerian religious leader told her he was “constipated with ideas.”

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Public Option Still on the Table. STOP TEASING US!!!

Gibbs: White House still supports public option (VIDEO)

Speaking to CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs emphasized that President Barack Obama still supports having a “public option” for health care, which the White House believes will introduce additional competition and lower prices in the insurance market.

The statement runs contrary to claims by other officials and reports circulating other media on Sunday.

Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, speaking to CNN’s John King on Sunday, said the public option is not “essential” and that consumer choice, market competition and reform of private health insurance regulations should be the focus of the debate.

Later Sunday, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace that the U.S. Senate will not allow a public option, adding his belief that, “to continue to chase that rabbit is just a wasted effort.”

The comments led the Associated Press and right-wing news aggregator Matt Drudge to report the White House has given up on supporting a public option.

But Sebelius, who as health secretary would presumably be in charge of a public health care system, also said that coverage for all Americans was still one of the administration’s goals, regardless of whether or not that comes by way of a public health option.

“The president believes this option of a government plan is the best way to provide choice and competition,” Gibbs told CBS.

He added: “I think most of what you are seeing on TV, no offense, is good TV, and that’s about it.”

This video is from CBS News’ Face the Nation, broadcast Sunday, August 16, 2009.


2010 Election: Worst Case Scenario an Unlikely Scenario...?

Likely Voters and Unlikely Scenarios

As I've been telling people all week here in Pittsburgh, there's ample reason for Democrats to be worried -- perhaps deeply so -- about 2010. Without major intervening events like 9/11, the party that wins the White House almost always loses seats at the midterm elections -- since World War II, an average of 17 seats in the House after the White House changes parties. Democrats have substantially more seats to defend than Republicans, particularly in the House. They appear to face a significant enthusiasm gap after having dominated virtually all close elections in 2006 and 2008. And the economy and health care are contingencies that could work either way, but which probably present more downside risk to Democrats than upside over the next 12-18 months, particularly if some version of health care reform fails to pass. While the Democrats are not extraordinary likely to lose the House, such an outcome is certainly well within the realm of possibility (I'd put the chance at somewhere between 1-in-4 and 1-in-3). The Senate picture is a bit brighter for them, but they are probably more likely now to lose seats in the chamber than to add to their majority, in spite of the spate of Republican retirements in Ohio, Missouri and other states. In a wave-type election, a net loss of as many as 4-6 seats is conceivable.
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Grassley Clarifies 'Death Panel' Position

Grassley Clarifies 'Death Panel' Position

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has attempted to clarify his comments on end-of-life care meaning the government could "pull the plug on grandma." He says he never used the phrase "death panel," but that there is the "possibility of unintended consequences" from the health care bill.

His full statement:
"I've said for a long time and repeated last week that we all ought to consider how we want to be treated if we are struck by an incapacitating illness, and that advanced care planning is a good thing to do. As far as legislation goes, it's not the case that provisions in the Pelosi health care reform bill this year are just like provisions Congress passed in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. I've never called the Pelosi provisions a 'death panel.' The issue is whether end-of-life provisions should be part of legislation that's about controlling health care spending, and which also creates a government-run health care program, as the Pelosi bill does. Doing so escalates concerns about the rationing of health care, since government-run plans in other countries ration to control spending. Putting end-of-life consultations alongside cost containment and government-run health care causes legitimate concern. This context and the details of this year's proposal are different than the 2003 legislation, which covers advice from specialized physicians outside of any larger effort to control spending on health care. It's not fair to Americans who are asking questions to gloss over those facts and, in fact, end-of-life provisions haven't been part of ongoing Senate Finance Committee discussions as a result of those realities and the possibility of unintended consequences. On this subject and others, it's important that the debate is fair-minded and based on an accurate representation of the issues involved."


Enterprise Rent-A-Car sold Chevies without standard air bags. Free market, baby!

Enterprise Rent-A-Car sold Chevies without standard air bags

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the nation's largest private buyer of new cars and seller of used ones, chose to "delete" a standard safety feature from thousands of Chevrolet Impala fleet vehicles, saving millions of dollars.

After the company rented out those 2006-08 model vehicles, Enterprise and countless dealers nationwide offered them for sale on the open market &mash; minus the side-curtain air bags that have been shown to dramatically reduce highway deaths.

What's more, a Kansas City Star investigation found that hundreds of Impalas already sold were incorrectly advertised on Enterprise's Web site as having the very head-protecting feature that the rental company opted to exclude on General Motors’ factory floor.

"I've never seen a standard safety feature removed from a vehicle," said Sean Kane, who heads Safety Research & Strategies Inc. in Rehoboth, Mass. "That's what's so unique about this. I've been doing this work for 17 years and, until now, had yet to see this happen."

Enterprise officials defended their decision to delete the side air bags on roughly 66,000 Impalas as one that did not violate any federal mandate. That decision saved the company $175 on each Impala, which would total about $11.5 million.
The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Meet the Press w/ Rachel Maddow and all those other guys

As anger reaches a boiling point at town halls across the country, health care reform takes center stage. We'll take an in-depth look at the debate with some leading voices: Fmr. House Majority Leader Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), now the head of FreedomWorks, an organizer of protesters at town hall meetings; Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), Member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Fmr. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), an informal adviser to the White House and author of "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis"; & Rachel Maddow, Host of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. Plus we'll get perspectives from around the country with Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY); Bruce Josten, Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce; and Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO).



Oh, and source

Canadian Government Seeking Scapegoat after Not Real Canadian Incident

Government investigates case of Toronto woman stranded in Kenya

After staunchly refusing to recognize her citizenship for weeks on end, the federal government is now probing how it handled the case of a Canadian woman who has returned home after being detained in Kenya for months over an identity dispute.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud returned to Canada Saturday after being marooned in Nairobi for 86 days because authorities said her lips did not match her four-year-old passport photo.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said the Canada Border Services Agency is preparing a report detailing just how Somali-born Mohamud, who was visiting her mother in Kenya, ended up spending eight days in jail and over two months holed up in a hotel room as she struggled to prove who she was.

"From where we see it now it looks like it needs a bit of an explanation," said Van Loan. "What decisions were made and why and to get a sense of what actually occurred."

When Mohamud, 31, turned to her country for help in May, consular officials doubted her citizenship, called her an impostor and voided her passport.

Mohamud was finally able to prove her identity through genetic tests last week, which led to charges against her being dropped in a Kenyan court on Friday.

The charges, which included being in the country illegally, were laid as a result of Canada denying her citizenship.

Van Loan said he will wait for the investigation's outcome before deciding whether to award her any compensation for her ordeal.

"We have border services agents that have to make thousands of decisions every day," he said. "I certainly wouldn't want to pass any judgement until I see the results of the report."

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↠ kicking ass and taking names

Afghanistan passes law allowing husbands to effectively starve their wives into sex

Row over Afghan wife-starving law

By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News
Female supporter of Hamid Karzai shows his picture at an election gathering in Kandahar on 16 August 2009
Critics accuse President Hamid Karzai of betraying Afghan women

An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law.

The original bill caused outrage earlier this year, forcing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to withdraw it.
But critics say the amended version of the law remains highly repressive.
They accuse Mr Karzai of selling out Afghan women for the sake of conservative Shia support at next week's presidential election.
The law governs family life for Afghanistan's Shia minority.
Sexual demands
The original version obliged Shia women to have sex with their husbands every four days at a minimum, and it effectively condoned rape by removing the need for consent to sex within marriage.
Afghan women march against a new marriage law in Kabul, April 2009
The original bill caused outrage within Afghanistan and around the world
Western leaders and Afghan women's groups were united in condemning an apparent reversal of key freedoms won by women after the fall of the Taliban.
Now an amended version of the same bill has passed quietly into law with the apparent approval of President Karzai.
Just ahead of this Thursday's Afghan presidential election, human rights groups suggest the timing is no accident.
"There was a review process - Karzai came under huge pressure from all over the world to amend this law, but many of the most oppressive laws remain," Rachel Reid, the Human Rights Watch representative in Kabul, told the BBC.
"What matters more to Karzai is the support of fundamentalists and hardliners here in Afghanistan whose support he thinks he needs in the elections."
Women's groups say its new wording still violates the principle of equality that is enshrined in their constitution.

It allows a man to withhold food from his wife if she refuses his sexual demands; a woman must get her husband's permission to work; and fathers and grandfathers are given exclusive custody of children. [source]


I ... I am so angry right now I can't even.

This is like a trend today

Administration Official: "Sebelius Misspoke."


An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "misspoke" when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option "is not an essential part" of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president's view, the most important element of the reform package.

A second official, Linda Douglass, director of health reform communications for the administration, said that President Obama believed that a public option was the best way to reduce costs and promote competition among insurance companies, that he had not backed away from that belief, and that he still wanted to see a public option in the final bill.

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So I think the WH is aiming for public option but covering their asses so they can spin it if a bill is passed without public option. That said, I'm glad for it because the pro-public option people need to take any and every chance to make themselves heard and it's been frustrating that they haven't.