But the American supermarket chain Whole Foods Market has found itself at the centre of a storm of controversy after its chief executive, John Mackey, wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal presenting a free market alternative to President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.
Mr Mackey began his article with a quote from Margaret Thatcher and went on to add that Americans do not have an intrinsic right to healthcare - an idea strongly at odds with the views of a large proportion of Whole Foods' customer base. ( Collapse )
Marines Fight Taliban With Little Aid From Afghans
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
KHAN NESHIN, Afghanistan — American Marines secured this desolate village in southern Afghanistan nearly two months ago, and last week they were fortifying bases, on duty at checkpoints and patrolling in full body armor in 120-degree heat. Despite those efforts, only a few hundred Afghans were persuaded to come out here and vote for president on Thursday.
In a region the Taliban have lorded over for six years, and where they remain a menacing presence, American officers say their troops alone are not enough to reassure Afghans. Something is missing that has left even the recently appointed district governor feeling dismayed. “I don’t get any support from the government,” said the governor, Massoud Ahmad Rassouli Balouch.
Governor Massoud has no body of advisers to help run the area, no doctors to provide health care, no teachers, no professionals to do much of anything. About all he says he does have are police officers who steal and a small group of Afghan soldiers who say they are here for “vacation.”
It all raises serious questions about what the American mission is in southern Afghanistan — to secure the area, or to administer it — and about how long Afghans will tolerate foreign troops if they do not begin to see real benefits from their own government soon. American commanders say there is a narrow window to win over local people from the guerrillas.
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18 year old Keeley Houghton has been given three months in a young offenders' institute and a five month restraining order after threatening to kill someone on Facebook, the first person in the UK to be jailed for cyber-bullying. Houghton claimed that she wrote the messages late at night while drunk and had no memory of it, but it was quickly shown that that was not the case.
The comments were posted at 4pm on the 12th of July and remained on Houghton's Facebook page for 24 hours before being removed. The police became involved when Ms Houghton approached the victim Emily Moore while she was out with her boyfriend, ostensibly to apologize, but then became threatening when her apology was rebuffed. Houghton has two prior convictions for bullying Ms Moore, including one in 2005 for assaulting her on the way home from school which led to Houghton's expulsion.
While Houghton appeared contrite during her hearing and admitted her involvement, District Judge Bruce Morgan was unimpressed, saying: "Since Emily Moore was 14 you have waged compelling threats and violent abuse towards her ... Bullies are by their nature cowards, in school and society. The evil, odious effects of being bullied stay with you for life ... On this day you did an act of gratuitous nastiness to satisfy your own twisted nature."
Source: The Escapist
Edit: fixed hotlinked image - Oops. ^^;
This is painful for me. I was scribbling notes in 'The Female Eunuch' and 'The Whole Woman' before I lost all my milkteeth; I worship her irreverent, punchy prose; but there's no escaping it. These days, Germaine Greer is a prejudiced, ignorant dickwad.
In her rather confused verdict on the Caster Semenya controversy, Greer comes up with the following gem today:
'Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women's names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn't polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man's delusion that he is female.'
In dismissing all transpeople as 'ghastly parodies', Greer hardly does any better in the grand game of unthinking prejudice bingo than the disgusting commentators who have decided that just because Semenya, a phenomenally high-achieving athlete, is big, butch and brilliant at sports, she can't be a girl. Let's take a little look at what womanhood is, according to Greer and others.
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Source: Penny Red
Delegates voted on Friday to allow people in life-long monogamous gay relationships to become ministers. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Ecla) is one of the largest to open the role to gay men and women.
The decision comes a month after the Anglican Church in the US voted to allow the ordination of gay bishops.
Two-thirds of delegates voted in favour of the change at the Lutheran Church's national assembly in Minneapolis on Friday. It followed impassioned argument about whether or not the Bible forbids active homosexuality, and left a number of delegates in tears.
Some traditionalist clergy told the assembly they would leave the Church, and predicted an outflow of Lutherans to join other churches or create their own denomination.
The decision by the 4.5-million strong Lutheran Church is significant because of its position roughly in the middle of Protestant theology, and it will add to a sense of momentum towards a more liberal approach to homosexuality among American churches.
Other Protestant denominations - including the Presbyterian Church - have recently opted not to take a similar step, but by a narrower margin than before.
Anglicans who have left the Episcopal Church because it ordained a gay bishop have formed a rival traditionalist Church.
Cry moar. Literally. Two-thirds voted in favour, SUCK IT UP.
Almost half of Israelis ready for gay PM - poll
( Collapse ) In response to the poll, National Union Chairman Ya'akov Katz told Yediot that "I have a son who is a farmer. He has sheep. He says to me: Father, if the sheep were only male, the world would die. There would be no more sheep. The natural tendency of man is to allow the world to continue to exist. So a man who comes and says 'I hold an orientation that does not allow for the perpetuation of the world,' could such a man be prime minister? Could a man be prime minister who loves to sleep with sheep? With horses? Can a man whose orientation is for horses be prime minister? Can a man who likes girls aged five be prime minister?" "I can't understand how a man can kiss another man," Katz continued. "When I think about it, I want to vomit. When I think about a bearded man fondling another bearded man, it kills me like it kills me when I think of [a man sleeping with sheep and horses]."
In response to the poll, National Union Chairman Ya'akov Katz told Yediot that "I have a son who is a farmer. He has sheep. He says to me: Father, if the sheep were only male, the world would die. There would be no more sheep. The natural tendency of man is to allow the world to continue to exist. So a man who comes and says 'I hold an orientation that does not allow for the perpetuation of the world,' could such a man be prime minister? Could a man be prime minister who loves to sleep with sheep? With horses? Can a man whose orientation is for horses be prime minister? Can a man who likes girls aged five be prime minister?"
"I can't understand how a man can kiss another man," Katz continued. "When I think about it, I want to vomit. When I think about a bearded man fondling another bearded man, it kills me like it kills me when I think of [a man sleeping with sheep and horses]."
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) acknowledged on Sunday that the claims he made two weeks ago -- that Democratic health care legislation would allow the government to "pull the plug on grandma" -- did not reflect the language of the bills.
In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," the Iowa Republican admitted that the current legislation being considered by Congress didn't include the infamous death panel provision that would allow the government to determine who should live or die.
"I know the Pelosi bill doesn't intend to do that," said Grassley. "It won't do that," he added later.
Grassley's admission concludes several weeks of speculation as to why the senator, one of three key Republicans negotiating a bipartisan health care bill, would latch on to the infamous myth. The White House insisted that it still wanted to work with Grassley even after he made his remarks. But on Capitol Hill and outside of government, Democrats were furious that the key GOP point person for a bipartisan bill was deploying such toxic rhetoric.
But if Grassley's initial statement seemed bizarre, his explanation for making the remark was equally curious. The Iowa Republican said he was merely trying to quell concerns of constituents who had read about death panels on the internet and grew scared when they heard talk of increased government involvement in the health care system.
"I was responding to a question at my town hall meetings," he told host Bob Schieffer. "I let my constituents set the agenda. A person that asked me that question was reading from language that they got off of the internet. It scared my constituents. And the specific language I used was language that the president had used at Portsmouth. And I thought that if he used the language, then if I responded exactly the same way, that I had an opposite concern about not using end-of-life counseling for saving money, then I was answering and relieving the fears that my constituents had."
"And from that standpoint, remember, you're talking about this issue being connected with a government-run program which a public option would take you with, you would get into the issue of saving money, and put these three things together and you are scaring a lot of people," he added. "I know the Pelosi bill doesn't intend to do that. But that's where it leads people to."
Touching of the bizarreness of the whole segment, earlier in the program it was Grassley who was accusing the White House of damaging health care negotiations by sending mixed messages on its beliefs and preferences.
"It would help if we did not get conflicting views from the White House," he said.
Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth appeared on Fox News Sunday this morning to combat the false allegations that the VA is using a "death book" to encourage veterans to end their lives.
"The way that it was written made it a little bit ambiguous," McCain, last year's Republican presidential nominee, told ABC's "This Week" in an interview broadcast Sunday. But he added, "I don't think they were called 'death panels,' don't get me wrong."
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Read the full transcript of the McCain interview here; video available at the source.
At a town hall at L.A. Southwest College, the congresswoman says she'll back a package only if it includes a government-run insurance plan. The issue seems to be dividing lawmakers in Washington.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) said she would refuse to vote for a healthcare reform package that did not include a provision for creating a government-run medical insurance plan that would compete with private insurers -- a statement that drew loud cheers Saturday at a town hall meeting at Los Angeles Southwest College.
The statement appeared to illustrate hardening lines in the battle over healthcare reform in Congress. Waters voiced dismay with comments made by White House officials last week that have been widely perceived as backing down from the so-called public option.
"President Obama has been trying to reach across the aisle" to win a compromise with Republicans, Waters said. "It is not going to happen."
Then Waters made a public appeal to Obama.
"The people of this country elected you and gave you a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate. . . . Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward," Waters said. "We're saying to you, Mr. President, 'Be tough. Use everything that you've got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.' "
The town hall meeting was notable for those who didn't show up: enraged hecklers adamantly opposed to healthcare reform, who have disrupted similar events across the country.
Linda Krausen, a South Pasadena resident who attended a contentious town hall in Alhambra earlier this month, marveled at the difference. In Alhambra, "it was such a shouting match," Krausen said. "I could actually understand what's on the table here."
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Health Care Reform, is so easy even a Caveman can do it... unless you are a Republican and you dont believe in Evolution...
New tricks as Japan election looms (August 17, 2009 - Philippa Fogarty)
A cartoon on the web page of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) shows a suave young man dining with a woman.
I'll make you happy if you pick me, the man says. I'll pay for childcare, education, your old age.
How will you afford all that, the woman asks. I'll figure that out once we're married, the man replies.
The man resembles a young Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, and the cartoon is intended to ram home the message that the DPJ cannot be trusted to run the country.
It is one of a number of new tactics being employed ahead of the 30 August general election, which could see the LDP ousted for only the second time in half a century.
The ailing giant, hit by scandals and economic crisis, is facing its strongest opposition yet. This election is going to be post-war Japan's first competitive two-party fight.
As formal campaigning kicks off, it is clear that both parties are trying to adapt to a vastly changed electoral environment in a bid to bring voters on board.
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Senate Democrats said Sunday that they were fleshing out plans to pass health legislation, particularly the option of a new government-run insurance program, with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes that would ordinarily be needed to overcome a filibuster.
After consulting experts in Senate rules and procedure, the Democrats said they were increasingly confident that they could legislate creation of a public plan in a way that would withstand challenges expected from Republicans.
Appearing Sunday on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said a public insurance plan was “essential to getting the costs down, which is our No. 1 problem.”
Proponents of a public plan say it would drive down costs because it would not have a profit motive and would have lower overhead costs and lower executive salaries than private insurance companies.
In Colorado on Aug. 15, President Obama said people had become “fixated” on the public plan option, which he described as “just one sliver” of efforts to overhaul the health care system.
Mr. Schumer said it was “looking less and less likely” that Republicans would support Democratic proposals to subsidize coverage for tens of millions of the uninsured. And Senate Democratic leaders said they had little hope that the chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, would be able to forge a bipartisan compromise.
In the last week, Democrats have begun to talk openly of using a procedure known as budget reconciliation to pass a health bill in the Senate with a simple majority, assuming no Republican support. To do that, under Senate rules, they would probably need to show that the public plan changed federal spending or revenues and that the effects were not “merely incidental” to the changes in health policy.
Democrats believe they could clear this hurdle by demonstrating that the public plan would save money or cost money.
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Florida Sen. Mel Martinez's resignation closes the latest chapter in the Republican Party's tumultuous, decade-long effort to woo the nation's Hispanic voters.
The Cuban-American's impending departure could leave no Hispanic Republicans in the Senate and three in the House – compared to 21 Democrats in Congress – and a sense that the national GOP is at a major crossroads with the nation's fastest-growing demographic group.
Although most Hispanics outside of Florida have long leaned Democratic, the Republican Party earned the trust of many at the beginning of the decade by tapping into socially conservative, religious and pro-business sentiment. Martinez both rode and propelled that wave.
"He symbolized trying to reach out to Latinos and being more moderate," said Marisa A. Abrajano, a University of California, San Diego professor and co-author of an upcoming book on Hispanic political behavior in the U.S.
But the heated rhetoric over illegal immigration in 2006, followed by the loss of many Republican moderates, and most recently the GOP's failed opposition to Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination have helped drive away many Hispanic voters. Martinez, as senator and briefly as head of the party, tried to temper the anti-immigrant language, and he bucked his party by voting for Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent. Yet, in the end, few in Washington followed his lead.
"In the vast majority of their values, this party resonates with who I am – except they don't want me," lamented the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which represents more than 25,000 Hispanic evangelical churches across the country.
U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said Hispanics have a natural affinity with the Republican Party's principles but acknowledged the GOP has a lot of work to do.
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