August 20th, 2009

I feel like I know her
  • maclyn

Megrahi to be released on compassionate grounds

Glasgow Herald: Megrahi release today to prevent 'martyrdom'

The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing will be released today on compassionate grounds but Libya has given an undertaking that there will be no "triumphalism".

The Herald understands that one compelling reason for allowing the Libyan to return to Tripoli is to avoid him dying as a "martyr" in prison and putting Scotland on the map for all the wrong reasons.

The public announcement will be made at 1pm by Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, who has been considering an application for prisoner transfer and for Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal prostate cancer and has less than three months to live, will fly home to his family in time for Ramadan - as The Herald stated last week.

Megrahi, who is serving 27 years in HMP Greenock for the bombing that killed 270 people in December 1988, is expected to fly to Tripoli in a private jet owned by the Libyan government.

The Foreign Office yesterday advised the State Department of the decision.

Despite concerns that Megrahi will be paraded through the streets to a hero's welcome, The Herald understands that Libyan delegates have told ministers that there would be no such triumphalism.

There is also a tacit agreement that the Libyan government will make no comment until after his return and that, even then, it will not use Megrahi as a big part of Colonel Gaddafi's September celebrations for 40 years in power.

Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, the Libyan minister and former ambassador who was key to the talks to resume diplomatic relations with the UK and has been involved in the discussions about Megrahi, was in London yesterday. Obeidi is expected to fly from Luton to collect Megrahi at lunchtime.

The Crown Office yesterday e-mailed all the relatives of the victims to let them know that a decision is imminent and that the Justice Department will inform them before they tell the media.

The e-mail from the Crown Office states: "The Scottish Government have advised us that Mr MacAskill has heard from some of you personally and that he intimated he will take your representations into account when making his decisions.

"You will be aware that an application for compassionate release has now also been received by the Scottish ministers, and this application will be considered in parallel with the application for prisoner transfer.

"We understand that Mr MacAskill stated that he would make all efforts to ensure the families heard his decisions directly from the Scottish Government and not via the media.

"As we have explained to you previously, the decisions on both matters are for the Scottish Government and not matters in which Crown Office are involved."

I'm Scottish and I reckon it's the right choice. I think folk should read the first letter on this page which actually sums up my views nicely.


Elizabeth Edwards expects DNA test for husband's alleged child

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Amid several unconfirmed reports that her husband, former Sen. John Edwards, is nearing an announcement about the paternity of his former mistress's 18-month-old baby, Elizabeth Edwards says she expects a DNA test will take place – and hopes it can be done quietly.

During a Wednesday night appearance with CNN's Larry King to debate health-care reform, Mrs. Edwards, 60, was asked about DNA testing of Rielle Hunter's baby daughter, Frances.

"My expectation is that, at some point, something happens," she replied. "And I hope for the sake of this child that it happens, you know, in a quiet way."

All's quiet, too, at her house, Edwards said. Despite a supermarket tabloid cover story this week that claims she recently packed her bags in a fit of rage over her husband's alleged decision to move Hunter and the child into a home near his North Carolina beach house, Elizabeth Edwards, mother to two school-aged children, told King: "Things are going fine. We're getting the children ready for a new school year. Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly at my house."

As for her health, Mrs. Edwards, who was diagnosed in early 2007 with incurable Stage 4 breast cancer, reports: "The numbers don't look that optimistic, but I feel good. And I've had recent tests that show me to be in pretty good health, all things considered."

And, she added, "I'm still out here fighting."

Akuma River

Oh Japan...I so love you

Poor Arnold, I bet he never expected these to see the light of day this side of the Pacific Ocean.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Complete Japanese Commercial Filmography (VIDEO)

From youtube user CyberdineSystems101: "I hope you enjoy this complete collection of 30 Arnold commercials for Japan. It only gets better so watch the whole thing."

Got a favorite?

I think the rocket genie one is mine. Maybe the v & v one...or the karoke one... Those energy drinks ones are crazy.
Mr. F!

Firms with Obama ties profit from health push

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's push for a national health care overhaul is providing a financial windfall in the election offseason to Democratic consulting firms that are closely connected to the president and two top advisers.

Coalitions of interest groups running at least $24 million in pro-overhaul ads hired GMMB, which worked for Obama's 2008 campaign and whose partners include a top Obama campaign strategist. They also hired AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama's campaign and now to the White House. AKPD did work for Obama's campaign, and Axelrod's son Michael and Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe work there.

The firms were hired by Americans for Stable Quality Care and its predecessor, Healthy Economy Now. Each was formed by a coalition of interests with big stakes in health care policy, including the drug maker lobby PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union and Families USA, which calls itself "The Voice for Health Care Consumers."

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And here I thought profiting was only for the evil-minded, greedy people.

sleep no more

Your Bernie Madoff Penis Size Update

Yes, we know Bernie "Winky Dink" Madoff had a small penis, thanks to author/ lovah Sheryl Weinstein—but do we know enough about his penis' circumference and performance? Now we do.

Respected finance-oriented news service Bloomberg helpfully provides these updates:

"Bernie had a very small penis," she wrote. "Not only was it on the short side, it was small in circumference. That he was now pointing it out to me was telling. It clearly caused him great angst. I wanted to be careful how I responded. Men and their penises have a strange and unique relationship."

Still, she said: "I liked this man and didn't want to emasculate him. His tiny penis hadn't prevented me from climaxing."

"On the bright side," she concluded, because of its size, "oral sex would be a breeze."

Use this information wisely, investment community.


More Weinstein gems,

“My female intuition was telling me there was something else going on with this man,” she wrote. “There was an intrinsic sensuality about him that was both attractive and alluring. Yet there was also an oily slickness that I found disconcerting.”

“When we made love, I was on fire,” Weinstein said. “Bernie was a release valve, someone I could disappear with for a few hours. Somebody who would say nice things to me and treat me like a lady. He was an older man, and he was chivalrous. He opened doors for me, stood when I entered restaurants and was never short on compliments.”

“I knew in my heart of hearts that this was never going to be anything more than it was, simply an affair,” she wrote. “But there was a part of me that wanted Bernie for myself. I wanted to be number one.”

“In order to move forward, I decided to tell my story,” she wrote. “I truly hope Ronnie will be able to forgive me for sharing these private moments in our lives.”

source 2
Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

Canadian model gets Google to unmask a nasty blogger


A Canadian model has won a landmark case against Google Inc. that could strip away some of the anonymity provided by the Web, making people who post offensive blogs, videos or tweets more responsible for their defamatory statements.

Liskula Cohen, who once graced the covers of such high-fashion magazines as Vogue and Flare, won a court order in New York that has forced Google to unmask the identity of a blogger who posted photos and derogatory comments about her.

At issue were five posts made a year ago, using Google's blogging service, on a now-defunct site named “Skanks of NYC.” Ms. Cohen, 37, claimed the blogger posted photographs and “defamatory statements concerning her appearance, hygiene and sexual conduct that are malicious and untrue.”

Her lawyer argued that she could not bring a defamation suit against the blogger unless the search-engine giant released the person's identity.

The case spotlights a new area of law where legal standards are still being worked out, said Steven Wagner, the New York-based lawyer who represented Ms. Cohen.

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Kennedy, looking ahead, urges that Senate seat be filled quickly

Seeks law change for interim post

By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff  |  August 20, 2009

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, in a poignant acknowledgment of his mortality at a critical time in the national health care debate, has privately asked the governor and legislative leaders to change the succession law to guarantee that Massachusetts will not lack a Senate vote when his seat becomes vacant.

In a personal, sometimes wistful letter sent Tuesday to Governor Deval L. Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Kennedy asks that Patrick be given authority to appoint someone to the seat temporarily before voters choose a new senator in a special election.

Although Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, does not specifically mention his illness or the health care debate raging in Washington, the implication of his letter is clear: He is trying to make sure that the leading cause in his life, better health coverage for all, advances in the event of his death.

In his letter, which was obtained by the Globe, Kennedy said that he backs the current succession law, enacted in 2004, which gives voters the power to fill a US Senate vacancy. But he said the state and country need two Massachusetts senators.

“I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator,’’ Kennedy wrote. “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.’’

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Link to Kennedy's letter written to Massachusetts State leaders

I'm really praying that he makes it through the fall and has the chance to vote on this, and maybe even still be able to play a substantive role in getting the Blue Dogs to start cooperating.  I give him full marks for having the foresight to reach out to his state's leadership so that there is someone in a position to speak for Massachusetts if he should take a turn for the worse.

I think about the fact that we've really treated the Kennedys like an American version of a royal family, but it seems to be entirely appropriate when you think about how many of them have sacrificed so very much for our country over the last 40+ years.

(no subject)

D.C. delegate calls for ban on guns near Obama

By Jordy Yager
Posted: 08/19/09 05:51 PM [ET]

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) called on the Homeland Security Department and the U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday to provide tighter restrictions on citizens carrying weapons, openly or concealed, while in the vicinity of President Barack Obama.

Norton, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, made the request after numerous news reports have shown groups of people brandishing firearms while outside of events held by Obama over the past several weeks.

“It is clear that if the Secret Service can temporarily clear all aircraft from air space when the president is in the vicinity, the agency has the authority to clear guns on the ground that are even closer to the President,” Norton said.

But the Secret Service says that Obama was never in danger when a group of about a dozen protesters brandished their firearms outside the Phoenix convention center earlier this week where he was speaking.

One man carried an AR-15 assault rifle, but Arizona law allows people to carry unconcealed guns and police made no arrests.

“This doesn’t change what already exists for Secret Service,” said Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley of Norton’s request.

“Whenever the Secret Service travels somewhere in the country, we are able to determine what the security parameters will be for any particular site and anything within those parameters fall under federal law as far as being able to control what happens there.”

“So even if the state law says that you can have a gun as long as it’s not concealed, it doesn’t mean that you can bring a gun into a protected site.”

Norton has been battling with gun rights supporters for years because of the District’s former ban on handguns, which was struck down by the Supreme Court last year. More recently, a bill to grant the District a representational vote in Congress has stalled in the House because of an amendment that would make it easier to own a gun in D.C.

The Arizona event followed a similar instance in New Hampshire – which has open-carry laws – last week when police arrested a man for having a loaded, unlicensed gun in his car near where Obama was set to hold a healthcare-related forum. Another man outside of that event had a licensed handgun strapped to his leg and held a sign that read: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“In both instances, those guys were outside of the outer-most perimeter of security, so what would apply is state law,” said Wiley. “They never had any proximity to the president at any time. They weren’t trying to gain access to the event and they weren’t in a position outside the event where they could have affected the president.”

But the Brady Campaign, a gun control group, said that these increasing instances of brandishing firearms in public could lead to escalated scenarios in the future that put the president at risk because it stretches law enforcement thin.

“Law enforcement has to keep an eye on these people,” said Paul Helmke, president of the group. “So the more people [who] carry guns, the more people you need to keep an eye on them, which stretches limited resources further. You get an event like in Phoenix with maybe 12 or 13 people, what if at the next event there are 100? And when you take the law enforcement resources away, that makes the president more vulnerable.”

Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, a gun rights group in Virginia, said that this is nothing new nor is it different than law-abiding gun owners bringing their weapons into restaurants, as they have been known to do periodically in the Commonwealth.

“There have been a few calls to the police and the police have come to the point now where they ask one question: ‘What are these gun carriers doing?’ And they get the response that they’re eating and say, ‘Well, if they start doing something, let us know.’ So when somebody goes to a rally, obviously if the president is there it’s going to get more attention, but I don’t think we’re really dealing with anything different.”



States With Most Uninsured Most Likely To Believe Euthanasia, Govt. Takeover Myths

The states that have been most skeptical of President Barack Obama's agenda for health care reform also have some of the highest levels of uninsured people in the nation.

A new study by Gallup shows that large swaths of populations in the South and West -- anywhere from one-in-five to one-in-four individuals -- are currently lacking health insurance coverage.

These same regions also have the largest percentage of populations who believe widely perpetuated mistruths about the Obama agenda, including allegations that the president will set up "death panels" and wants a complete government takeover of the health care system.

According to Gallup, of the 25 states with the greatest percentage of the uninsured, all but three are based in the South or the Midwest.


Texas - 27 percent of the population is uninsured New Mexico --- 25.6 percent Mississippi - 24 percent Louisiana - 22.4 percent Nevada - 22.2 percent Oklahoma - 22.2 percent (considered a Midwest state) California - 21 percent Wyoming - 20.7 percent Florida - 20.7 percent Georgia - 20.7 percent South Carolina - 20.4 percent Montana - 20.3 percent Alaska -- 20.2 percent Arkansas - 20.1 percent Colorado - 20 percent Oregon - 19.4 percent West Virginia - 19.3 percent (considered a Northeast state) North Carolina - 19.3 percent Idaho - 18.8 percent Utah - 18.1 percent Kentucky - 17.9 percent Tennessee - 17.8 percent Nebraska - 17.7 percent Alabama - 17.2 percent Missouri - 17.1 percent (considered a Midwest state)


South: FL, NC, SC, AL, MS, GA, VA, TN, KY, LA, AR, TX

West: NM, CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, MT, ID, UT, NV, AZ, WY, CO


Compare these findings to those pulled from a recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, which showed that more people in the South and Midwest are prone to believe myths about Obama's health care plan than in other regions of the country.

In the South, 26 percent of the public said they believed the health care reform plan being considered by President Obama and Congress requires elderly patients to meet with government officials to discuss "end of life" options, including euthanasia. Twenty percent of Westerners said the same thing. In the Northeast and Midwest those numbers were 11 percent and 17 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of Southerners said they thought Obama's health care reform included a government takeover of the entire health care system. Twenty-three percent of Westerners agreed. In the Northeast and Midwest those numbers were 10 percent and 20 percent respectively.

That populations most in need of comprehensive insurance reform are most likely to buy into false criticisms of the president's plan is a fascinating window into the current state of the health care debate. Theoretically, the president should be receiving more support in his efforts to expand coverage from those who currently lack it. The opposite, however, seems to hold true.


That's just......sad.

Officials hail Afghan vote a success despite deaths

Afghanistan officials said 26 people across the country were killed in election day violence, although they hailed Thursday's vote as a success.

Officials extended voting until everyone waiting in line had a chance to cast their ballots.

"At some [polling stations] there is a very large line," said Azizullah Ludin of Afghanistan's Independent Electoral Commission. "We have to complete all these people that are coming here."

It is the nation's third election since the 2001 fall of the Taliban.

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Gay couple hopes to split California into two states

Gay Marriage Litigator Seeks to Break Up California
The attorney representing two gay men who sued in state court and now in federal court in southern California to win the right to marry hopes the case will spawn a political movement that will result in residents there voting by ballot initiative to divide the state in two.

“We’re hoping to use the case in court as a springboard to get a proposition on the ballot that will break up California into two states,” said Richard C. Gilbert, a partner at Gilbert & Marlowe, a law firm with two offices in California. “We think if we can get this proposition on the ballot, we think we’ll win.”

Gilbert said the ideal result would be that all the counties north of Los Angeles would become New California while the southern counties would remain California.

Gilbert likened the circumstances of his clients — Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer — to Dredd Scott, who sued for his freedom in the 19th century only to have the US Supreme Court rule in 1857 that no African-American, free or enslaved, could be a US citizen. That decision contributed to the Civil War and Scott was eventually freed.

“We don’t want a civil war,” Gilbert said. “We just want to have civil division in our state between people who are willing to respect the rights of all people and those who are not.” Residents of New California, in his view, would be far more amenable to arguments in favor of marriage equality than those in the southern part of the state.

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So er.. I'm for gay rights, but this is ridiculous.
franklin sherman

IRS to be Health Care Enforcer
William A. Jacobson
Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY

People often joke that government-run health care will have the efficiency of the motor vehicle department, and the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service. This joke will become reality if present Democratic health restructuring proposals are enacted.

Under both the House and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee bills released to the public, the Internal Revenue Service will play a key role in monitoring and enforcing health care mandates against individual taxpayers. Yet the introduction of the IRS into the health care system has received scant attention.

The Senate bill imposes a new requirement that all persons who provide health care coverage to others must file a return with the IRS listing the names, addresses, social security numbers, and the coverage period for each person, and "such other information as the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] may prescribe." (Section 161(b) starting at page 107). The bill does not limit what information the Secretary may request, so it is conceivable and likely that information as to the nature of the coverage, the family members included, and other details will be reported to the IRS.

The House bill contains similar provisions in section 401(b) (at pp. 175-176). The following information must be reported by the person providing health coverage:

(A) the name, address, and TIN of the primary insured and the name of each other individual obtaining coverage under the policy, (B) the period for which each such individual was provided with the coverage referred to in subsection (a), and (C) such other information as the Secretary may require.

This information is to be provided to the IRS for good reason. The House bill provides for a tax on people who do not have acceptable coverage at "any time" during the tax year. House bill section 401 provides for a new section 59B (at pp. 167-168) of the Internal Revenue Code:

(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—
(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.

The Senate version is similar, although the tax is called a "shared responsibility payment" not a tax. Section 161 (at pp. 103-104) words new section 59B of the IRC to require lack of coverage for a month (subject to certain exemptions) before the tax kicks in, and does not specify a specific percentage, but instead, directs that annually

the Secretary shall seek to establish the minimum practicable amount that can accomplish the goal of enhancing participation in qualifying coverage (as so defined).

The reporting requirements can only be understood in this tax context. In order to know which taxpayers to tax, the IRS needs to know which taxpayers do not have coverage received from someone else (normally, an employer).

These reporting provisions would allow the IRS to cross-check income tax returns and health coverage filings, and withhold tax refunds or utilize other collection methods for persons who do not have coverage unless they can prove they have acceptable coverage from some other source. This is similar to the cross-checking the IRS does on income reported separately by the person making the payment and the taxpayer receiving the payment. But for the first time the IRS is not checking for income to tax, but for lack of health coverage.

These provisions should have people interested in privacy greatly concerned. While income information already is reported to the IRS, the IRS traditionally has not received personal health care information about individuals.

The IRS involved in health care monitoring and enforcement. Somehow, I doubt that most supporters of Democratic health care restructuring concepts will like this detail. But it's in there.

What Is The Worth Of A Penan Girl?

The Penan are one of the aboriginal peoples of Malaysia. They live in Sarawak and Brunei, on the island of Borneo. Sarawak is one of the world's leading exporters of tropical hardwood, and the Penan live in the rainforest.
RM 4 = USD 1.

The bile is rising in my throat.

For more than ten years at least, Penan girls have been raped, violated and sexually abused. The Penan women in the community have been at dire risk of various forms of sexual assault and harassment. Young, young, school going girls have made the difficult step to come forward and say that they have been raped by members of the logging companies.

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OFA National Health Care Forum

I missed some of it, but here's the site.

Program Begins at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

The President will update supporters on the fight to pass real health insurance reform. He'll lay out our strategy and message going forward and answer questions from supporters like you.

2:30 Program Begins

• Addisu Demissie, Political Director, Organizing for America
• Governor Tim Kaine, Chairman, Democratic National Committee
• Jeremy Bird, Deputy Director, Organizing for America
• Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
• Beth Kimbriel, OFA Volunteer from Chester, Virginia
• Mitch Stewart, Director, Organizing for America

2:45 President Barack Obama


Lockerbie Bomber Freed By Scottish Government


Man convicted in Pan Am Jetliner Bombing Will Return to Libya to Die

LONDON, Aug. 20 -- The Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was released on compassionate grounds by Scottish authorities Thursday, allowing him to return to Tripoli to die with hi family

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent who is terminally ill, was convicted in 2001 for his role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The plane exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, 189 of them American.

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Republican, unsatisfied with stopping US health reform, decides to destroy Canadian system

A U.S. Senator wants to destroy the Canadian prescription drug system.

I believe re-importation will cause the pricing system world-wide that the big drug companies exploit to collapse. Right now the big drug companies are able to charge very different prices in different countries, and of course we pay the highest price of all. If they did that, like they do now, but then we can write off to Canada, and pass certain safety provisions, and get drugs from there - guess what? That system implodes. That system can't survive. So my ultimate goal, in terms of re-importation, is causing that system to collapse, so there's a true, world-wide price for a drug. And that might - wouldn't might - that would increase the cost in Canada, that would dramatically decrease the cost in the US.

Does that theoretical reduction in costs include adult diapers, Dave?

Source has contacted the Canadian International Trade Ministry.

*gets popcorn*

Funny how that little word "choice" has so much meaning, isn't it?

New Poll: 77 Percent Support "Choice" Of Public Option

More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a "choice" between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.

A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

But the numbers tell another story, as well.

Earlier in the week, after pollsters for NBC dropped the word "choice" from their question on a public option, they found that only 43 percent of the public were in favor of "creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies."

Opponents of the president's agenda jumped on the findings as evidence that backing for the public option was dropping. Proponents responded by arguing that NBC's tinkering with the language of the question (which it had also done in its July survey) had contributed to the drop in favorability for a public plan.

SurveyUSA's poll, which was commissioned by the progressive group, a proponent of the public plan, gives credence to those critiques. While arguments about what type of language best describe the public option persist --"choice" is considered a trigger word that everyone naturally supports -- it seems clear that the framing of the provision goes a long way toward determining its popularity.

In asking its question SurveyUSA used the same exact words that NBC/Wall Street Journal had used when conducting its June 2009 survey. That one that found 76 percent approval for the public option: "In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance--extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?"

To ensure that its respondent pool was composed of people from similar demographics and political mindsets, SurveyUSA asked respondents a question pulled directly from NBC's August survey. The results were nearly identical.

Read a description of the president's health care plan, 51 percent of Survey USA respondents said they "favored" the approach, while 43 percent opposed it. In the NBC poll, 53 percent of respondents said they favored the president's plan, 43 percent said they opposed it.


Yeah, I thought something was a little hinky when I was hearing those poll results from NBC/WSJ.  That didn't ring true with me, and this goes a long way to explaining why.

Obama Smerconish Interview: "Guarantees" Reform, Still Open To GOP

President Barack Obama guaranteed on Thursday that health care reform will be achieved, and he stuck by the public option as his preferred choice for revamping the insurance market.

In an interview with Philadelphia-based radio talk show host and MSNBC analyst Michael Smerconish, Obama continued to talk about his desire to bring Republican lawmakers on board. He also chastised, ever so slightly, the press and progressives for getting "a little excited" in their suspicions that he was abandoning the public plan. "Our position hasn't changed," he said.

Obama's most powerful moment, however, may have come when he addressed a caller who had supported his 2008 campaign but was concerned that the president's knees were "buckling" when it came to getting health care reform passed.

"I guarantee you," he told the caller, "we are going to get health care reform done. And I know that there are a lot of people out there who have been hand wringing and folks in the press are following every little twist and turn of the legislative process. You know, passing a big bill like this is always messy. FDR was called a socialist when he passed Social Security. JFK and Lyndon Johnson, they were both accused of a government takeover of health care, when they passed Medicare. This is the process we go through because understandably, the American people have a long tradition of being suspicious of government, until the government actually does something that helps them, and then they don't want anybody messing with whatever gets set up. And I'm confident we're going to get it done."

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Okay, I'm with him on everything except the idea that Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi have been doing ANYTHING constructive beyond contemplating their political navels.

Onion Alert: No, it's not true.....but it *sounds* true, doesn't it?

Congress Deadlocked Over How To Not Provide Health Care

WASHINGTON—After months of committee meetings and hundreds of hours of heated debate, the United States Congress remained deadlocked this week over the best possible way to deny Americans health care.

"Both parties understand that the current system is broken," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Monday. "But what we can't seem to agree upon is how to best keep it broken, while still ensuring that no elected official takes any political risk whatsoever. It’s a very complicated issue."

"Ultimately, though, it's our responsibility as lawmakers to put these differences aside and focus on refusing Americans the health care they deserve," Pelosi added.

The legislative stalemate largely stems from competing ideologies deeply rooted along party lines. Democrats want to create a government-run system for not providing health care, while Republicans say coverage is best denied by allowing private insurers to make it unaffordable for as many citizens as possible.

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Yes, it's a joke article from the Onion.....but parts of it are frighteningly accurate.  I'd love to see someone from the Daily Show attempt to ask various members of congress questions along the lines of the fictional statements above like:

"Congressman, is it true that you're making progress on how to not provide health care for all Americans, particularly those in the middle class?"

"Senator, do you think you can get enough Republicans on board to deny health care coverage for Americans by the end of the year?"

And so on.....

Meet The Press Draws Most Viewers Since April On Maddow's Debut Appearance

"Meet the Press" had its highest total viewer delivery since April this past Sunday, averaging 3,359,000 total viewers for David Gregory's most convincing victory in months.

ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" averaged 2,447,000 total viewers for a distant second place, while CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer averaged 2,470,000 total viewers and FOX's "FOX News Sunday" averaged 1,207,000 total viewers.

Sunday's "Meet the Press" featured Rachel Maddow's debut on the show; she appeared with former House Majority Leader Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) for an in-depth look at the health care debate.


"Meet the Press" hasn't seen an audience as large as Sunday's since April 19, when it featured Larry Summers and averaged 3,439,000 total viewers.

Perhaps more importantly, though, it hasn't had as decisive a victory over its chief competitors — ABC's "This Week," which recently topped it for the first time since 1999, and CBS' "Face the Nation" — since the spring.

Sunday's "Meet the Press" topped "This Week" by 37% (912,000 viewers), Gregory's strongest victory over Stephanopoulos since March 22; and it beat "Face the Nation" by 36% (889,000 viewers), Gregory's strongest victory over Schieffer since May 17.


Sunday's "Meet the Press" topped "This Week" by 37% (912,000 viewers), Gregory's Rachel's strongest victory over Stephanopoulos since March 22; and it beat "Face the Nation" by 36% (889,000 viewers),  Gregory's Rachel's strongest victory over Schieffer since May 17.

Okay, fixed that.  Because is there ANYONE who can come up with a better reason why the MTP ratings were so astronomically high?  Cause I know Tom Coburn's milkshake brings all the viewers to the yard.  Was there someone even named Gregory on Meet The Press this Sunday?   Oh yeah! I think it was that cardboard cutout in a tie that seemed to be reading softball questions off of a script that was sitting on the other side of Rachel.
Eddie Izzard | Hot Pink

Arthur Frommer won't travel to Arizona after gun display

Arthur Frommer won't travel to Arizona after gun display

Stopping short of calling for a national travel boycott of Arizona, travel guru Arthur Frommer said he won't be making any trips to the Grand Canyon State following reports this week that a dozen protesters openly carried firearms just outside President Barack Obama's speech in Phoenix.

While Arizona law allows most adults to pack heat in public, Frommer said he was "shocked beyond measure" by the gun-toting "thugs" and "extremists," which included a man with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder.

"For myself, without yet suggesting that others follow me in an open boycott, I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest," Frommer wrote on his blog.

"I not only believe such practices are a threat to the future of our democracy, but I am firmly convinced that they would also endanger my own personal safety there," he added.

"And therefore I will cancel any plans to vacation or otherwise visit in Arizona until I learn more. And I will begin thinking about whether tourists should safeguard themselves by avoiding stays in Arizona."

Frommer, who founded his eponymous series of budget-travel guides in 1957, is an influential voice in the travel world. And his warning to globe-trotters is a blow to the recession-stricken Arizona tourism industry.

Mayor Phil Gordon said he planned to call Frommer immediately and invite him to Phoenix to clear up any misperceptions that his city is not safe.

"I want to show him the perceptions of what he saw in the news is not a reflection of what Phoenix and the state are all about, " Gordon said.

Steve Moore, head of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, called Frommer an "icon of travel," but said he has no desire to weigh into the gun debate. He only wants to prove to Frommer it is safe to visit and live in Arizona.

"It demonstrates the power of perception. Here we've gone from a wonderful photo-op of the First Family overlooking the Grand Canyon to a protester with an assault weapon," said Moore, referring to the Obamas' outdoor excursion last weekend. "It's quite a juxtaposition."

In his blog, Frommer repeatedly raises the question of a national boycott of the state, something Arizona leaders are all too familiar with.

"The question is, should we all organize a travel boycott of Arizona until this tolerance of armed intimidation is ended, probably by an act of the Arizona legislature?" Frommer asked.

The NFL yanked the 1993 Super Bowl from Arizona and Sun Devil Stadium after voters here narrowly shot down a ballot initiative to create a paid state holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Other groups joined in the boycott, refusing to hold their conventions in Phoenix.

Only after Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved the King holiday in 1992 did the NFL award the 1996 Super Bowl to Arizona.
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Papa Smurf

The Untouchable
Can a good mayor amass too much power?

Michael Bloomberg has never been the sort of public speaker who makes people faint in his presence. He talks too quickly, mispronounces words, and has a weakness for self-referential jokes, at which he smirks readily, like a boy who knows that his mother approves. He is the richest man in New York, and that inspires a certain amount of awe, but there are, even now, a great many rich men in the city, and the people who find Bloomberg’s particular level of wealth most impressive are not the type to stand in line to gaze upon their idol. Instead, they dine with him at his town house, on East Seventy-ninth Street, or clink glasses at charity functions in the garden at the Museum of Modern Art; they see, in this mayor, a better version of themselves—a tycoon so wise and generous he could be President, couldn’t he? Still, when a college student collapsed near the Mayor’s feet, at an appearance in the Bronx, in March, Bloomberg knew exactly what to do. He dropped to his knees and checked the kid’s pulse.

“Call 911,” Bloomberg said, and calmly unbuttoned his patient’s shirt. “What’s your name?” he asked. “Where do you live?”

By the time the paramedics arrived, the Mayor appeared to have come up with a diagnosis: no breakfast, stuffy room. Hours later, back at City Hall, Bloomberg cited his Eagle Scout training and reminded reporters that one of his deputies had recently tackled a mugger in midtown and rescued a commuter’s BlackBerry; heroism runs in the administration. The following morning’s Daily News featured the headline “MAYOR BLOOMBERG SAVES TEEN WITH CPR”—a tabloid exaggeration to fit the legend of a man on whose watch New Yorkers’ average life expectancy has increased by fifteen months.

After seven and a half years in office, Bloomberg, who is now sixty-seven, has amassed so much power and respect that he seems more a Medici than a mayor. Liberals of both the Upper West Side and the Park Slope generations, not inclined to recognize “businessman” as a compliment, refer to him, with some pride, as “the only Republican I’ve ever voted for.” Yet some of Bloomberg’s friends still can’t bring themselves to call him a politician, no matter how expertly he broadens his electoral base. “You know, it just doesn’t feel right,” Tom Secunda, a co-founder of Bloomberg L.P., the financial-software-and-media company from which the Mayor derives his billions, said recently, after running through some of his old colleague’s former identities: entrepreneur, C.E.O., philanthropist. To the business élite, who have done extraordinarily well under Bloomberg’s stewardship, New York’s remarkable rebound after September 11th is a credit less to good government than to management. The attitude, reinforced at galas on the Upper East Side, seeps downtown with some of Bloomberg’s appointees, who, years after trading their upper-floor offices for cubicles in the famed City Hall bullpen, have been known to bristle when colleagues use the word “politician,” asking, “Is that how you see yourself?”

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Hey Guyz! Sarah Palin is a Financial Genius!

Palin Feuds With Bank, Gets Facts Wrong

Sarah Palin has expanded her blogging to include foreign policy, writing a Facebook post on Wednesday criticizing the U.S. Export Import Bank plan to lend $2 billion to the Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

Jumping off an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, she wrote,
Why is it that during these tough times, when we have great needs at home, the Obama White House is prepared to send more than two billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to Brazil so that the nation's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, can drill off shore and create jobs developing its own resources? Buy American is a wonderful slogan, but you can't say in one breath that you want to strengthen our economy and stimulate it, and then in another ship our much-needed dollars to a nation desperate to drill while depriving us of the same opportunity.
While the Journal lamented the fact that we were exploring for oil offshore in Brazil and not in our own country, it did not suggest the deal would take jobs or income away from Americans. That's because it won't. A spokesman for the U.S. Export Import Bank, Phil Cogan, explained to Politico that the bank does not rely on taxpayer money. Moreover, the bank lends money to foreign companies so that they can purchase American goods and services.
In this case, Cogan said, the proposed loan would likely finance engineering services, sales of ships to service oil platforms, or drilling equipment.

"This is the government doing what it's supposed to do: Create jobs and make sure that Americans get a fair shot at selling goods and services -- not the British or the French or anyone else -- and to help American workers compete on a level playing field," Cogan said, noting that most developed countries have similar credit-export agencies.


Author of "Obama's Afrikaan Voodoo Witchcraft" Mad at Wonkette

‘After 8 years of a president sent by God to lead the American people and rescue us from the horrors of 911 and Islamo-fascists, it now boils down to this?’

Yesterday your Wonkette took its turn to write about the “hot new Internet article,” this thing from Townhall, about how Michelle Obama’s mother Marian Robinson has been practicing Satanic witchcraft — or “witchcraft mumbo-jumbo,” as Barack Obama calls it — inside the White House. The author of this important piece of investigative blog journalism, however, was not pleased with your editor’s dissection of the article. She has sent us an e-mail with complaints and makes a number of provocative political arguments.

from Kristen Atkinson <[REDACTED]>
date Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 3:26 AM
subject my story

Dear Wonkette editors,
I posted a very serious article recently in about witchcraft in the White House, and later realized that your website had made a farce out of it. I saw that your staff and readers made a lot of extremely cruel comments about me and my story. Why are you people so rude? Does anybody take anything seriously anymore?

Do you really, truly, seriously think it is OK for a president to use a forged birth certificate? Do you actually believe it is appropriate for a man who was raised a Muslim to pretend he is a Christian and go to a church for 20 years with an anti-American preacher? Do you really want a president who was brainwashed by communists since he was a child, up through university, to hate America to be our president? Do you think that it is fine if a family member of the president defiles the White House with voodoo? Don’t you know what fate could befall our nation as a result of allowing Satanic forces to gather over the White House?

After 8 years of a president sent by God to lead the American people and rescue us from the horrors of 911 and Islamo-fascists, it now boils down to this? How incredibly tragic. You folks don’t really seem to understand the extreme peril that our nation confronts. Stop making fun of me. Take off your blinders! Wake up!

Respectfully, Kristen
We hear that Obama is black, too!