September 14th, 2009

What links Lord Mandelson, Damien Hirst and the music industry?

Overvalued, irksome, conceited, pudge-faced, balding, boring, awful celebrity art nob Damien Hirst has apparently become embroiled in a ludicrous feud with a 19-year-old graffiti artist called Cartrain. Hostilities erupted in 2008, when Cartrain created a sarcastic collage that included an image of Hirst's stupid bling-encrusted skull "artwork" (the one that reportedly sold for £50m at auction, although that figure is disputed by virtually anyone who still retains some degree of faith in humankind).

When Cartrain's humorous collages were put up for sale online, Hirst reportedly complained to the Design and Artists Copyright Society. The website selling Cartrain's works buckled under legal pressure and surrendered the collages, along with an apology.

Witless appropriation

Obviously, this involved some chutzpah on Hirst's part, when you consider how much of his own output involves the witless appropriation of pre-existing material. When he isn't wowing his hateful audience of inconsequential moneyed idiots with meaningless collections of dots or bisected animal corpses, he's producing a whopping great reproduction of Humbrol's £14.99 Young Scientist Anatomy Set and selling it to Charles Saatchi for £1m – which would be an absolutely hilarious scam on a richly deserving target (a pretentious former ad exec who made his fortune heartlessly flogging cigarettes and Thatcherism to the masses) if the money went to a deserving cause rather than a nauseating irritant.

Anyway, so far, so 2008. But the Hirst-Cartrain battle resumed in July this year, when the latter strolled into Tate Britain and allegedly removed a box of pencils from Hirst's art installation "Pharmacy". Cartrain then created a mock ransom note, demanding the return of his collages in exchange for the pencils. If the artworks weren't given back, then the pencils would be "sharpened".

All rather daft and annoying. But a few weeks ago, Cartrain was arrested by Scotland Yard's art and antiques squad and told that the pencils had been valued at £500,000. The officers also initially arrested Cartrain's father, on the grounds that he was "suspected of harbouring the pencils".
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Source: Charlie Brooker @ The Guardian

(no subject)

Which High School Students Are Most Likely to Graduate From College?

Parents: Stop fretting so much about which high school your youngsters attend or how they score on the SATs. If you want your student to make it to a bachelor's degree, it's far more important for him or her to earn at least B's in high school and reach for the best possible college. Oh, and saving a few thousand bucks by sending your kid to a community college could turn out to be an expensive mistake.

Some of the nation's best-respected educational researchers are likely to reconsider much conventional wisdom today with the release of surprising findings from an analysis of educational records of more than 200,000 freshmen who started at public four-year colleges in 1999.

In the new "Crossing the Finish Line," William Bowen, a former president of Princeton University, argues that so many undergrads are dropping out (44 percent) that the country is in danger of losing its competitive edge to other nations.


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(no subject)

Straight spouses advocate same-sex marriage

By LISA LEFF (AP) – 2 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO — Wah Cheong, a lifelong Republican and the soon-to-be divorced father of two teenage boys, sometimes surprises his co-workers and neighbors in a relatively conservative community outside San Francisco when he says he supports same-sex marriage.

"Here is my situation," the 47-year-old chemical engineer tells them when the hot-button topic comes up. "If gays and lesbians were more accepted, I wouldn't have married a closeted lesbian."


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Oops, he did it again.

Brazil's Lula blames rich for crisis
(and press treats Brazil yet again as the funny 3rd world country daring to want attention and respect =O)

By Americo Martins
BBC World Service

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has heavily criticised the "rich countries", the G8 and other international bodies over the global economic crisis.

"The rich countries are more to blame because they did not have any regulation for their financial system,"
he said in an exclusive interview with the BBC on the global downturn.

President Lula has positioned himself as a kind of informal spokesperson for the developing world since the beginning of the crisis.

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ETA with actual quotes from the interview (warning: rushed translation involved)

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Nice headline. I liked the actual (full) interview, don't get why they are trying to make him sound aggressive over this, cause it's so not his tone, if you want that you should go to his ILO speech, not this. I also have been reading about the BRICs trying to ~bring the G8 down~. GTFO, what a bunch of spoiled brats, I didn't know the world had to bend over for the G8, maybe we should just stop growing?


(no subject)

An Atlantic High School administrator has been placed on leave after he ordered five female students to be strip searched last month.

The incident happened during a theft investigation on Aug. 21 after a student reported $100 missing from a purse in her locker. The money was not found.

The Atlantic School Board plans to discuss the incident during its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night.

Iowa education officials said strip searches of a student by a school official are illegal under Iowa law. While administrators must ensure student safety and security, they cannot do so by violating a student's rights, officials said.

"I advise our students here not to do it, it's not allowed," said Dave Whaley, Iowa State University director of teacher education.

All future teachers on the Iowa State campus learn that Iowa law does not allow school officials to conduct a strip search of students.

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Source wonders why this fucker hasn't been fired.


Insurance companies have used the excuse of "pre-existing conditions" to deny coverage to countless Americans. From cancer patients to the elderly suffering from arthritis, these organizations have padded their profit margins by limiting coverage to patients deemed "high risk" because of their medical condition.

But, in DC and nine other states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, insurance companies have gone too far, claiming that "domestic violence victim" is also a pre-existing condition.

Words cannot describe the sheer inhumanity of this claim. It serves as yet further proof that our insurance system is broken, destroyed by the profit-mongering of the very companies who's sole purpose should be to provide Americans with access to care when they need it most. In 1994, an informal survey conducted by the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that 8 of the 16 largest insurers in the country used domestic violence as a factor when deciding whether to extend coverage and how much to charge if coverage was extended.

It is clear that insurance companies refuse to police themselves. It's up to us to call on Congress to take action now to pass health care reform and end discrimination against patients with pre-existing conditions.

  • dwer

Get Real on Health Care


Published: September 14, 2009

NEW YORK - Some of my summer in France was spent listening to indignant outbursts about U.S. health care reform. The tone: "You must be kidding! What's there to debate if 46.3 million Americans have no health insurance?

I think the French are right. I don't think there's much to debate when France spends 11 percent of its gross domestic product on health care and insures everyone and the United States spends 16.5 percent of G.D.P. and leaves 20 percent of adults under 65 uninsured. The numbers don't lie: The U.S. system is wasteful and unjust.

It's not just the numbers. It's the intangibles. Two of my children were born in Paris - a breeze. One of them got very sick on arrival in the United States - and my wife fainted in a doctor's office from the anxiety of finding the appropriate care (when we did, at the eleventh hour, it was excellent). The American health system is an insidious stress-multiplier whose hassles, big and small, permeate already harried lives.

So I'm convinced there's no real argument. As President Obama put it last week, "We spend one and half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren't healthier for it." Why would the United States cling to the dubious distinction of being the only wealthy nation that does not afford basic health insurance to all?

The answer can be found only in myths and misleading stereotypes, so let's try to dispel a few in the interest of having a more fruitful discussion.

I've said I think the French are right. But the French are also wrong. To cement a land-of-capitalist-cruelty American stereotype, they tend to believe no elements of the European welfare state exist in the United States.

Most would be shocked to hear about American social security, let alone Medicare and Medicaid, the government-run health care systems for the elderly and the poor that together form one of the largest publicly financed health systems in the world.

Americans obsess less about France than vice-versa but when they do they tend to suffer from equally delusional ideas. The French - like many Europeans - loom as a feckless multitude coddled by a nanny state that's so big it must be socialist.

In fact, ever since President Mitterrand tried broad nationalizations in the early 1980s with catastrophic results, France, like most of Europe, has been on a steady march toward freer markets, trade and competition. In its way, it has been Americanizing.

The French health system uses a mixture of public and private funding, guaranteeing basic coverage through national insurance funds to which employees and employers make contributions. Most French people supplement these benefits by buying private insurance. The distinctions from the single-payer British system are significant, the results better.

So beyond all the hectoring, the main French-American difference on health care is not ideological but a question of efficiency. Both countries use a mixture of public and private. France is at a very far remove from "socialism." The United States has already "socialized" a significant portion of its medicine. (Nothing illustrates right-wing ideological madness in the United States better than calls from some to "keep the government out of my Medicare!")

The real difference is that the French state mandates health coverage for everyone, picks up the tab where necessary (as for the unemployed), holds down costs through a national fee system, and uses mainly nonprofit mutual insurers even for supplemental private coverage. The profit motive is outweighed by the principle of universal health care, with a corresponding effect on doctors' salaries.

These are real distinctions. But the "socialism sucks" Republican broadside on Obama's reform plans - with its overtone that the "cosmopolitan" president wants to "Europeanize" American medicine - is nonsense. It's nonsense because the free market is vigorous in France (and Europe), because there are all sorts of European approaches to health (within the compulsory coverage), and because the United States has already "socialized" aplenty without turning its capitalism pink.

As Peter Baldwin makes clear in an interesting new book called "The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are alike," U.S.-European contrasts can often be more about playing politics by comforting old myths - individualist at the new frontier versus collectivist at the beach - than facts.

Still some facts of the trans-Atlantic health care contrast are disturbing and justify the incredulity of my French friends, none more so than the furor over President Obama's support for a government insurance option (like Medicare) that would, among other things, keep private insurers honest. Its Republican critics have portrayed this idea as so dangerous it represents a fight for freedom over tyranny.

So Obama has retreated a little and portrayed this option as a "only a means to an end" that could be discarded. He should not retreat. The public option best enshrines the principle of the state's commitment to insuring everyone.

It's therefore essential. Without it, we'll get tinkering at best. The commitment to that health-as-right principle is what distinguishes France from the United States far more than all the socialist-capitalist claptrap.

Source wants a new beret.

Hey, gay weddings and Rachel Maddow! Two birds, one fabulous stone!

Remember how at the start of the gay marriage debates, a lot of people were claiming that gay marriage was a threat to the institution of marriage? Well, the most recent information from the National Center For Vital Statistics (thanks to HuffPo for the link) shows that after 4 years of gay marriage, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. The rate of 2.0 divorces per 1000 marriages puts it at the lowest rate since 1940. Clearly, gay marriage hasn’t ruined anything.

Can we spell it out more clearly than that? Well, I don’t think so. Unfortunately, the folks who prefer to spread fear and confusion rather than looking at the actual situation will probably not pay any attention to the numbers anyway.

Here’s a clip of Rachel Maddow covering this last night. Enjoy!


9/12 Tea Party Photo: False Image Spread By Anti-Reform Activists

Tea Party protesters trying to tout the size of their march on Washington last weekend have been passing around a photo of a packed National Mall. But the picture is years old.

Politifact asked Pete Piringer, public affairs officer for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Department, if the rally was big enough to fill that space. Piringer said no -- and moreover, the picture can't be from 2009.

"It was an impressive crowd," he said. But after marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol the crowd "only filled the Capitol grounds, maybe up to Third Street," he said.

Yet the photo showed the crowd sprawling far beyond that to the Washington Monument, which is bordered by 15th and and 17th Streets.

There's another big problem with the photograph: it doesn't include the National Museum of the American Indian, a building located at the corner of Fourth St. and Independence Ave. that opened on Sept. 14, 2004. (Looking at the photograph, the building should be in the upper right hand corner of the National Mall, next to the Air and Space Museum.) That means the picture was taken before the museum opened exactly five years ago. So clearly the photo doesn't show the "tea party" crowd from the Sept. 12 protest.

"I've seen bigger crowds at Montreal Expos games, but I still wouldn't fake a photo just to justify your predictions of millions descending on Washington," said one gleeful Democratic media strategist. "This is grade-A stupid and just plays into the argument that these were astroturf protests to begin with. They've always brought the noise, but the question that was supposed to be answered this weekend was, could they bring the numbers? In that respect this was an unmitigated disaster."

A number of conservative blogs have since taken the photo down. Some have corrected their posts. Others say the circulation of the picture was a left-wing conspiracy to discredit the event. However, many of them are still claiming that at least a million people attended the march. Nate Silver estimates about 70,000 protesters showed up.

It isn't the first failed attempt by the protesters to inflate the size of the event. On Saturday, organizer Matt Kibbe announced on stage that ABC News had estimated a crowd of 1 to 1.5 million. ABC News had reported no such thing.


I guess they've finished feeding the poor

Maine's Catholic Churches Raise Money To Fight Same-Sex Marriage

As called for by Bishop Richard Malone, yesterday Catholic churches across Maine conducted a special collection to be donated to Stand For Marriage Maine's ballot referendum. Not all of Maine's Catholics agree and a few churches saw pro-gay demonstrators outside.
Not all Catholics agree with the church on this issue, and just this week over one hundred people joined a new group called Catholics for Marriage Equality. "My model is Jesus and Jesus preached and practices love and inclusion. That's what I hope our church would do," Elaine McGillicuddy said. This was not the first time Maine's Catholic Church has done a special collection to raise money to fight a controversial referendum question. It was also done to fight partial birth abortions and physician assisted suicide. Stand for Marriage campaign manager Marc Mutty said for the church, this is not a political issue -- it is a moral one. And that asking parishioners to fund this cause was something the bishop felt compelled to do. "It was crystal clear: it was his responsibility, his duty to do this," Mutty said. Not all Catholics agree, but Stand for Marriage hopes it can count on enough parishioners to use the power of prayer and the pocketbook to defeat same-sex marriage in Maine.


Please please please have Palin as veep.

Santorum Reportedly Mulling White House Bid

Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum revealed Friday night he is considering a run for president, according to a report.

Speaking at an invitation-only event for Catholic leaders, Santorum said he was "thinking about it" when asked about a potential 2012 bid, according to He reportedly asked for the audience's prayers on the matter.

"Six months ago I would not have spent ten seconds on your question, but it's not six months ago," the former senator said at the Catholic Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla. "I see that, I hate to be calculating, but I see that 2012 is not just throwing somebody out to be eaten, but it's a real opportunity for success."

Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the Senate for two terms and served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, but the conservative Republican lost his seat in 2006 to Democrat Bob Casey by a wide margin.

The former senator is scheduled to make a series of appearances in Iowa this fall, indicating he may be seriously mulling a run for president.


Pronunciation: san-TOR-um
Function: noun
1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.
You can write but you can't edit

Carter Press Secretary Jody Powell Dead at 65

CBS News has learned that former White House Press Secretary Jody Powell has died. Powell, who was 65, served as President Jimmy Carter's press secretary from 1977 to 1981.

According to a family friend, Powell died of a heart attack at his home on the eastern shore of Maryland.

"Jody Powell will be remembered as one of Jimmy Carter's most trusted advisors," said CBS News White House Correspondent Peter Maer, who covered Jody Powell when Jimmy Carter was Georgia governor and U.S. president. "His role went way beyond being a spokesman. Powell and other close Carter aides became known as the so-called Georgia Mafia."

"He rose from being Jimmy Carter's campaign driver to press secretary and key advisor in the Georgia State House and the White House," said Maer. "Mr. Carter once said that Jody Powell knew him better than anyone except First Lady Rosalyn Carter."

Powell was "one of Jimmy Carter’s closest aides," said CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, which allowed him "to provide authoritative inner circle insight into the President’s thinking and decisions."

"But Powell could alternate between the role of an erudite senior White House official, serious and all-business, and that of a good-ol boy from the South," Knoller continued. "He was known for his sense of humor and his ability to more than hold his own with any onslaught from the White House press."

Powell had been working most recently as the chairman of Powell Tate, a public relations firm in Washington.

His company bio notes that following his work under Mr. Carter, Powell "wrote a twice-weekly column syndicated by the Los Angeles Times and was a news analyst for ABC News, appearing on such shows as This Week with David Brinkley, Nightline and Good Morning America. He has also lectured frequently on public policy and press issues."

(no subject)

The Blackening of the president

When South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson screamed "You lie!" at President Obama Wednesday night, he dragged the paranoia and anti-Obama contempt that marked so many August "town hells" into the chambers of Congress. Wilson's shriek also served as an exclamation point on an undeniable trend: Obama steadily lost support among white voters during this long, hot summer of hate, with his white approval rating dropping by almost one-third, from 63 percent to 43 percent between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


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Akuma River

73% of Doctors say get the PUBLIC OPTION!

Majority Of Doctors Back Public Option: New England Journal Of Medicine Study (September 14, 2009 - HuffPo)

A new study finds that a majority of physicians support the creation of a public health care option.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) study published in Monday's New England Journal of Medicine shows that 63 percent of physicians support a health reform proposal that includes both a public option and traditional private insurance. If the additional 10 percent of doctors who support an entirely public health system are included, then approximately three out of four physicians nationwide support inclusion of a public option. Only 27 percent support a private-only reform that would provide subsidies for low-income individuals to purchase private insurance.
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Hatoyama will be tested early on N. Korea issues

PYONGYANG (Kyodo) North Korea will pose a major diplomatic challenge for Yukio Hatoyama when he takes office as prime minister on Wednesday.

Pyongyang will be paying close attention to how Hatoyama handles such issues as the nuclear standoff, the abductions of Japanese nationals and the North's demand for compensation over Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Hatoyama is expected to coordinate policy on the North's nuclear and missile issues when he meets U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, possibly later this month in the U.S.

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Pink Floyd

12-Year-Old Yemeni Girl Dies After Three Days In Labour, Child Bride

I don't think anyone has posted this yet. It's pretty horrifying.

A 12-year-old Yemeni girl, who was forced into marriage, has died during a difficult delivery in which her baby also died, a children's rights organisation said on Sunday, demanding action to stop Yemeni men from taking child brides.

"The child, Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, died on Friday in western Yemen at the age of 12 due to a complicated delivery," the Yemeni Organisation for Childhood Protection (Seyaj) said.

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Lying Liars and the Lies they Tell (again and again...and ..)

An Immigration Lawyer from South Carolina poses, um, one quick question about Joe Wilson


Yesterday Congressman Joe Wilson talked to reporters about his claim that the President was lying about immigrants having access to health care subsidies under the President's health care plan. According to the NY Times:
“I’m for immigration,” [Wilson] said, adding that he had been an immigration lawyer, although he did not specify exactly what he had done. “But people who come toour country and violated our laws, we should not be providing full services.”
It struck me immediately that this would be bizarre if true. Going from representing immigrants to being a member of the virulently anti-immigrant Immigration Reform Caucus and getting an A- rating from anti-immigrant group Numbers USA as well as support from the anti-immigrant fundraising group ALIPAC would show a dramatic tranformation in one's views.
I've been practicing immigration law in the South for nearly 20 years and know a lot of my fellow immigration lawyers in this region. I didn't recognize the name Joe Wilson from West Columbia, South Carolina. So I decided to call some of my friends in the Carolina immigration bar - including some from Columbia - and no one is aware of Congressman Wilson ever handling immigration matters.
South Carolina's immigration bar is not large. And immigration in the state has only been substantial in recent years. Wilson left private practice in 2001 so the odds of him having an immigration practice that escaped the notice of the state's handful of other immigration lawyers is extremely remote.
Did Congressman Wilson - who is making national headlines for calling the President a liar - lie to the national media about his being an immigration lawyer? If so, why? Was it somehow to make it seem like his incorrect reading of the health care bill's immigration provision was accurate?
Congressman Wilson can clear this up by producing evidence of having filed immigration cases and actually having knowledge of immigration law. Former immigration clients of Joe Wilson - speak up and show the world your former lawyer is not the liar he accuses the President of being!

' jules
  • schmiss


McDonnell drops F-bomb in live interview

Bob McDonnell, the normally-disciplined Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, mistakenly blurted out the F-bomb during a live radio interview on Friday.

Appearing on Washington-area radio station WTOP, McDonnell was sparring with host Mark Plotkin on the topic of transportation funding.

Plotkin asked if McDonnell would consider an increase in the state gasoline tax to help fund the transportation budget. McDonnell said no, and uttered the expletive during his response.

"So no tax will be raised during your four-year term?," Plotkin asked.

McDonnell answered: "I'm going to find other ways to be able to fund transportation. I've outlined twleve f—ing funding mechanisms that are creative, that are entrepreneurial."

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But, but... why?!?!

Obama Extends Cuba Embargo One Year

(AP) WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has extended the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba for one year, the White House said in a statement released on Monday.

The extension was expected and has been the practice of all U.S. presidents dating to the 1970s under a section of the so-called "Trading With the Enemy Act."

Obama extended the embargo even though he has made reaching out to old U.S. foes a key plank in his foreign policy.

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Missing Yale student's body found stuffed into wall cavity at university on day she was due to marry

The body of a missing Yale University student has been discovered inside a wall of a building at the prestigious Ivy League college.

Annie Le, 24, went missing five days ago, sparking a massive police search.
The doctoral student's body was discovered stuffed into a wall cavity in the building where she was last seen.

New Haven Assistant Police Chief Peter Reichard said: 'It hasn't been positively identified as of this time. However, we are assuming it is her ... so we are treating it as a homicide.'

State police found the bride-to-be's body at around 5 pm on Sunday in an area of the building that houses utility cables that run between floors.
The building is in the Yale's medical complex, about a mile from the main campus of the Connecticut university.

Reichard said police also recovered 'a large amount' of physical evidence, but he would not discuss what that included.

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Gag Reflex

Tuesday, 9/15/2009: Norton’s Health Care “Fact Check Town Hall Meeting”

Norton’s Health Care “Fact Check Town Hall Meeting” with Health Care Experts and D.C. Residents Sharing Their Real Life Health Care Struggles to Answer Questions and Dispel Myths

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced the Congresswoman’s “Fact Check Town Hall Meeting,” scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15, 6-8 p.m., at the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Ave., NW. The Town Hall Meeting will include opening remarks from three District residents who will share their difficulties in the current health care system, and experts Len Nichols, health care economist, Health Policy Program, New America Foundation; Karen Pollitz, project director, Health Policy Institute; and Nora Super, director, Health and Long-Term Care, AARP who will answer the public’s questions on health care reform legislation. Like her job fair, small business fair, and all other Norton events, the health care forum is a service to D.C. residents only and, as usual, residents are asked to bring proof of residency, e.g. driver’s license, non-driver’s I.D., voter registration card, pay stub, or utility bill.

Impressed with e-mail, calls, and letters from District residents, the Congresswoman and the experts will address concerns about pending health care bills intended to ensure affordable health care for all Americans. They will discuss a public option, health insurance reform, affordable health care premiums, and financing health care reform. The forum also will address making health care affordable for small businesses, and employer-based insurance, health care insurance for the unemployed, health care for seniors, and other concerns that may be raised by residents.

The Congresswoman said, “Judging by my mail and visits to my office, my constituents want health care reform. However, some have questions that need airing and answering. We have tried to structure this forum to get beneath the half-truths, myths, or even just plain opinions that have done more to cloud than to clarify the issues. We thought that the best way to respect constituent concerns and interests might be to offer a forum that includes not only my views and experience with the pending bills, but also offers the expertise of professionals who work full-time on the array of complicated health care issues.” Norton decided to hold her forum in September rather than during the August recess when many were on vacation, in order to get a cross section of residents.

Hot Chocolate Sauce
Magneto and Doom.
  • doop

Stalin grandson in court fight to clear dictator's name

Sitting in his front room at home in Moscow, surrounded by shelves of books on 20th-century history, Leonid Zhura recounts how life was better under Stalin. "It was a heroic epoch. It was the first time in human history that a society was founded on fair principles," he says, adding that Stalin did not commit any crimes.

Zhura's views are not greatly unusual in today's Russia. What distinguishes the amateur historian from other Stalin fans is that he is going to court to prove his assertion that Stalin never killed anybody. And he claims to have an impeccable witness – Stalin's 73-year-old grandson.

At lunchtime tomorrow Yevgeny Dzhugashvili – the offspring of Stalin's ill-fated son Yakov, from the dictator's first marriage – is due to appear at Moscow's Basmanny court. Dzhugashvili lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. But at Zhura's invitation, he is flying to Moscow to take part in a libel action against Novaya Gazeta, Russia's leading liberal newspaper.

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Akuma River

Poor Bank of America

First they have a revolt on their hands and now they learn that NY AG Andrew Cuomo is preparing charges their execs over the bonuses.

*cries crocodile tears*

Andrew Cuomo To Charge Bank Of America Over Merrill Bonuses (September 14, 2009 - HuffPo)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Attorney General's office is preparing charges against several high-ranking Bank of America executives over the bank's alleged failure to disclose details about its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Separately, a federal judge on Monday rejected a $33 million settlement BofA reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission over disclosures tied to bonus payments at Merrill.

BofA agreed to acquire Merrill in a hurried deal a year ago at the height of the credit crisis.

Debtor's Revolt: Woman Refuses To Pay Off Bank Of America Credit Card (VIDEO) (September 14, 2009 - HuffPo - Arthur Delaney)

For years, Ann Minch of Red Bluff, Calif., has carried a balance of several thousand dollars on her Bank of America credit card, making minimum monthly payments of about $130, sometimes paying an extra $50 or $100. She says she's never missed a payment.

Bank of America rewarded her loyalty this year by repeatedly raising her interest rate, which reached 30 percent in July.

Fed up, the 46-year-old stepmother of two turned to YouTube.

"There comes a time when a person must be willing to sacrifice in order to take a stand for what's right," said Minch in a Sept. 8 webcam video. "Now, this is one of those times, and if I'm successful this will be the proverbial first shot fired in an American debtors' revolution against the usury and plunder perpetrated by the banking elite, the Federal Reserve and the federal government."

Minch announced that she'd be dumping Bank of America, refusing to pay off her credit card debt unless she was offered a lower rate. She explained that she'd been a reliable customer even though she'd lost her job as a mental health case manager. She said bank reps refused to negotiate her interest rate when she called them to complain a few weeks ago.

"You are evil, thieving bastards," she said in her video. "Stick that in your bailout pipe and smoke it."
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I guess I'm lucky. The only debt I have is student loans. I'm over a Lexus in debt paying for my schooling and no job prospects.

Speaking of banking locally. How many of you have had local banks getting bought up by Spain banks? Texas has lost about 20 banks in the past couple of years to them.

Just found this, Judge Overturns Bank Of America-SEC Settlement Over Merrill Bonuses (September 14, 2009 - HuffPo - STEPHEN BERNARD)
"A federal judge on Monday rejected a $33 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America Corp., saying the SEC's accusations of inadequate disclosure by the bank over bonuses paid at Merrill Lynch must now go to trial."

Some Fear GOP Is Being Carried To The Extreme

Reporting from Washington - Amid a rebirth of conservative activism that could help Republicans win elections next year, some party insiders now fear that extreme rhetoric and conspiracy theories coming from the angry reaches of the conservative base are undermining the GOP's broader credibility and casting it as the party of the paranoid.

Such insiders point to theories running rampant on the Internet, such as the idea that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is thus ineligible to be president, or that he is a communist, or that his allies want to set up Nazi-like detention camps for political opponents. Those theories, the insiders say, have stoked the GOP base and have created a "purist" climate in which a figure such as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) is lionized for his "You lie!" outburst last week when Obama addressed Congress.

They are "wild accusations and the paranoid delusions coming from the fever swamps," said David Frum, a conservative author and speechwriter for President George W. Bush who is among the more vocal critics of the party base and of the conservative talk show hosts helping to fan the unrest.

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SOURCE that hates World Net Daily


It's about time the crazies were told to GTFO of the GOP! I've had enough of the Birther bullshit and the conspiracy theories! It would also be nice if WND died in a fire.
community organizers ftw, his font got serifs goddam
  • biichan

Howie Kurtz of the WaPo is a damn dirty birther.

Back in Kenya

The Boston Globe has an interesting piece from Obama's native country on attempts to cash in:

"The price of land here has skyrocketed because of rampant speculation about an Obama family museum that the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has promised to build. And there have been some modest, but tangible, signs of progress that seem tied to the village's new notoriety. Within a week of Obama's election victory last year, the government began to pave the main road to town. It also brought in an electricity and water lines to Obama's step-grandmother's compound.

"Some relatives have also set up foundations, trying to raise money for development projects using the Obama name. And strangers are suddenly a common sight in the market, attracted by safari companies that advertise heritage tours about the first African-American US president. A tourist hotel is planned.

"But what is missing is a direct infusion of cash from Obama or the U.S. government, say local residents and members of the extended Obama family, some of whom say they have relayed funding requests through e-mails and letters to Washington."

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I love my president...


Obama: Kanye Is A "Jackass"

During a CNBC interview on Monday, President Obama called hip-hop artist Kanye West a "jackass" over his behavior at the MTV Video Music Awards. (Watch video of Kanye at the VMAs here.)

Obama's colorful remark was actually made in an off-the-record portion of the interview that was tweeted -- and then deleted -- by ABC News reporter Terry Moran.

"Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential," Moran wrote.

Politico's Michael Calderone has ABC's statement apologizing for Moran's journalistic breach. - Source


Dobbs slurs Wise as anti-white.

This from Time Wise's facebook "Hey everyone--I got attacked by Lou Dobbs today! He called me a "self-loathing creep." Awesome. Once again, to say that a white person condemning white racism is "self-loathing," is like saying the very essence of being white is t...o BE a racist: that loving oneself as a white person requires endorsing white racism. Wow, Lou must not think much of white people...ironic, dontcha' think...:

Defending Limbaugh, Dobbs says Wise's "racist hogwash" is that of a "self-loathing creep ... who really has no attachment to the country"

(video at link)

(mods- Feel free to edit this out if the video doesn't embed. )
fnl; principal taylor

Gender Row Runner Semenya Placed On Suicide Watch

South African runner Caster Semenya, who is at the center of a gender row, has been placed on suicide watch amid fears for her mental stability.

The Daily Star quoted officials as saying that psychologists are caring the 18-year-old round-the- clock after it was claimed tests had proved she was a hermaphrodite.

Leaked details of the probe by the ­International Association of ­Athletics Federations showed the 800m starlet had male and female sex organs - but no womb.

Lawmaker Butana Komphela, chair of South Africa's sports committee, was quoted as saying: "She is like a raped person. She is afraid of herself and does not want anyone near her. If she commits suicide, it will be on all our heads. The best we can do is protect her and look out for her during this trying time."

South African athletics officials confirmed Semenya is now receiving trauma counselling at the University of Pretoria.

Caster has not competed since the World Athletics Championships last month when the IAAF ordered gender tests on her amid claims she might be male.