September 17th, 2009

franklin sherman

Obama's War Machine Rages On

US Sending 1,000 More Troops to Iraq
As Officials Tout 'Drawdown,' Why Is US Adding Troops?
by Jason Ditz, September 15, 2009

Though the Iraq War has long since become an after-thought amid Obama Administration claims that the “drawdown” in on track, the Pentagon is reporting today that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has approved a request to send about 1,000 additional troops to Iraq.

The latest report comes less than a week after it was revealed that the Pentagon has added thousands of additional contractors to Iraq, ostensibly to replace US troops during the drawdown.

But of course the drawdown isn’t actually happening. President Obama inherited a war with roughly 135,000 troops in Iraq, and today there are 131,000 and thousands of contractors. Officials have previously insisted there will be no meaningful troop level changes until at least 60 days after January’s parliamentary elections.

Now, over two and a half years after the “surge” in Iraq, troop levels are still above pre-surge levels and apparently will be rising in the near term. Ambassador Hill may claim the US is sticking to its timetable, but it seems that at some point such a highly touted withdrawal will have to involve the removal of some actual troops.

What The Hell Was Baucus Smoking?... Did He Actually Think Democrats Will Love This???

Baucus And Conrad's Miserable Health Care Reform Day [UPDATE]

So, for weeks and weeks, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus has held the health care reform debate hostage as he hemmed and hawed and deliberated with his Gang of Six and -- most importantly -- accrued a sizable campaign war chest full of money from health care lobbyists, all for the promise of a health care reform bill that would earn a dollop of "bipartisanship." Well, he's brought his Hamlet act to a close today, and released his grand plan, so, how did he do, earning that critical bipartisanship, which hopefully doctors can literally prescribe for our cancers?

Senate Republican sources close to Grassley and Enzi -- and in the case of Olympia Snowe, the senator herself -- tell CNN they still have concerns that have not been addressed that range from taxpayer funding of abortion, to illegal immigration, to affordability of the health coverage this new law would require.

High-fives all around then! And, as Ryan Grim reported today, plenty of Democrats -- that's the political party of which Baucus is a member, if you recall -- are similarly sour on the Baucus plan. If everyone hates it, does it count as "bipartisanship?" Please say that this counts!

Over at, Sarabeth captures the key detail that truly should mark Baucus as an incompetent:

The part that Max "Cock-up" Baucus might have the most trouble living down is the fact that Olympia Snowe -- who has for weeks now been the only Republican senator with any realistic hope of supporting a healthcare reform bill --
rejects the bill for being too weak and watery:

But let's not lose sight of why Snowe balked at the Baucus framework. For one thing, she's concerned about the financing mechanism, which she believes would hit Maine hard. But just as importantly, Snowe also believes (as I do) that Baucus' plan offers weak and inadequate subsidies. "The affordability question is crucial," Snowe said. "It's a central component, because at the end of the day people have high expectations they will have access to affordable health insurance."

In other words, one of the leading Republican negotiators on health care reform believes Baucus' plan is too conservative.

Just picture the negotiation process, if you will. Grassley and Enzi have already made it abundantly clear they will not support what Baucus produces, literally no matter what it looks like. Baucus is effectively negotiating only with Snowe. He takes the bill and starts adding water, telling Snowe: "Just say when!" And when he comes to the point where Snowe is on her feet and going "Just right! Just right!", he flashes her an evil grin, and strokes his handlebar mustache, and just keeps adding water, till she's groaning and holding her head in her hands. And that's Max Baucus for you, negotiator extraordinaire.

Oh, but there are other Senators who are just masters of the art of health care reform hard at work, compounding Max Baucus' cock up. Take North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad. As Ryan Grim reported yesterday, Conrad's decided that he wants the CBO to score health care reform in a twenty year window instead of the typical ten. Will this render an accurate measure of budget cost? No! As Matt Yglesias points out:

This will tend to make the score less accurate, since projections get more and more uncertain the further you go out. It will also make it harder to pass a health care bill. But it will disadvantage the more-liberal House bill more than it disadvantages the Senate bill. And I think it's usually best to assume that members engage in these kind of procedural moves because they understand their impact--Conrad is trying to kneecap the liberal version of health reform, and considers making it harder to pass any kind of health reform an acceptable price to pay to meet that goal.

But what are you going to do? Kent Conrad is probably one of those legislators who have studiously guarded against unnecessary budget deficits, I'm sure. Oh! Wait! I'm sorry! What were you saying, Ezra Klein?

Conrad's record in the Senate...would lead you to believe a couple of things. For one, he distrusts long-range projections. Even 10 years is too uncertain. He also believes some priorities overwhelm deficit concerns, health-care coverage being one of them. But when faced with a health-care reform that will be deficit neutral within the 10-year time frame, he is demanding that it instead be measured against an even more uncertain 20-year time frame, and by an agency that he claims underestimates savings. The CBO's scores are terrible, in other words, and come in such small portions!

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you got a bag of chips?

American Health Care

With mod [celtic_thistle] permission, I'm expanding upon this health care discussion post, except this time in the US.

Please answer the following questions:

* Insured or uninsured? If insured, if you don't mind sharing who your health care provider is please do so.

* If insured, is the monthly cost reasonable?

* If uninsured, have you tried to get coverage but it was too expensive or were you rejected for ridiculous reasons? Please elaborate.

* How is the standard of your care?

* Can you get appointments with providers easily?

* Do you find your provider offering you a good selection of options?

* What about surgeries - how long does it take to schedule them?

* What about care for things like cancer, chemo, etc? Did you have to jump through hoops to get it, or was it easily available?

* What kind of overall cost do you see?

* Anything else you can think of?

Thanks. :)

eta: thanks for participating! i didn't get to go online before i left my house but from just skimming through the comments i think we have a pretty good representation of americans health care. i added another question for those of you who are uninsured. i hope more people will comment but what i've gathered so far is:
* having a good employer goes a long way
* many of you, like me, are still under a parents plan... when we get too old (for me it's 24) we'll either have to get a good job or buy our own
* some of you are uninsured but luckily don't get sick often/are in pretty good health, lucky bastards lol

as for me, my dad worked for verizon for 30 years and i'm covered under his blue cross blue shield. from what he tells me, they pay for a lot of things no problem. he complains sometimes, but i think he's satisfied overall.

what goes around, comes around

State's Attorney Considers Prosecuting ACORN Video Posters

Friday, September 11, 2009
Anne Kramer, Robert Lang and Associated Press

The activist group ACORN has fired two employees of its Baltimore office who were seen on hidden-camera video giving advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman posing as a prostitute.

Fox News broadcast excerpts Thursday from the video. The man and woman ask about buying a house and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. An ACORN employee advises the woman to list her occupation as "performance artist."
Maryland ACORN board member Margaret Williams says in a statement that the employees "did not meet ACORN's standards of professionalism."

ACORN spokeswoman Sonja Merchant-Jones told WBAL-TV that she believes the video may have been altered to make the organization look bad CLICK HERE TO WATCH WBAL-TV VIDEO.

The statement also says the video was an "attempt to smear ACORN" and that undercover teams attempted similar stunts in at least three other ACORN offices.

Williams said no tax returns were filed and no assistance was provided.
The Baltimore city state's attorney is considering prosecuting those responsible for taping the ACORN employees on charges that they violated Maryland's wiretap laws.


Baltimore, MD – September 11, 2009 – We have received inquiries from citizens and the media asking whether the Baltimore City State’s Attorneys Office would initiate a criminal investigation for acts allegedly committed at ACORN offices located in Baltimore. The only information received in reference to this alleged criminal behavior was a YouTube video. Upon review by this office, the video appears to be incomplete. In addition, the audio portion could possibly have been obtained in violation of Maryland Law, Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §10-402, which requires two party consent.

If it is determined that the audio portion now being heard on YouTube was illegally obtained, it is also illegal under Maryland Law to willfully use or willfully disclose the content of said audio. The penalty for the unlawful interception, disclosure or use of it is a felony punishable up to 5 years.

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Chibis - Default ChibiJess

Obama changes European Missile Defense Plan; John Bolton still thinks people listen to him

Obama shelves Europe missile plan

President Barack Obama has announced a major overhaul of the US missile defence system in Europe.

The US will shelve its controversial plan to build a defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic after a review of the threat from Iran.

The US decision marks a major foreign policy shift which could impact on its dealings with Europe, Russia and Iran.

Russia, which saw the missile plan as a threat, welcomed the news but the move has already drawn criticism in the US.

The US signed a deal in August 2008 with Poland to site 10 interceptors at a base near the Baltic Sea, and with the Czech Republic to build a radar station on its territory.

President Barack Obama earlier this year ordered a review of the defence system, which was strongly backed by his predecessor George W Bush.

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Insurance Company Must Pay $10 Million For Revoking Policy Of Teen With HIV

Insurance Company Must Pay $10 Million For Revoking Policy Of Teen With HIV

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered an insurance company to pay $10 million for wrongly revoking the insurance policy of a 17-year-old college student after he tested positive for HIV. The court called the 2002 decision by the insurance company "reprehensible."

That appears to be the most an insurance company has ever been ordered to pay in a case involving the practice known as rescission, in which insurance companies retroactively cancel coverage for policyholders based on alleged misstatements - sometimes right after diagnoses of life-threatening diseases.

The ruling emerges from a conservative Southern state with one of the most pro-business climates in the country. And it comes as progressive Democrats on Capitol Hill are pressing for health care reforms, such as a public insurance option, that reflect wariness about the private insurance industry's motives.

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court's verdict against Fortis Insurance, now known as Assurant. The trial jury had awarded the former college student, Jerome Mitchell, $15 million in punitive damages; the Supreme Court reduced that amount by $5 million.

Mitchell learned that he had HIV when, while heading to college, he donated blood. Fortis then rescinded his coverage, citing what turned out to be an erroneous note from a nurse in his medical records that indicated that he might have been diagnosed prior to his obtaining his insurance policy.

Before the cancellation of the policy, an underwriter working for Fortis wrote to a committee considering whether or not to rescind his policy: "Technically, we do not have the results of the HIV tests. This is the only entry in the medical records regarding HIV status. Is it sufficient?" The underwriter's concerns were ignored and the rescission went forward.

In the ruling, Chief Justice Jean Hoefer wrote: "We find ample support in the record that Fortis' conduct was reprehensible ... Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell's life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety."
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Obama's War Machine Rages... wait a second...

President Barack Obama has announced a major overhaul of the US missile defence system in Europe.

The US will shelve its controversial plan to build a defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic after a review of the threat from Iran.

The US decision marks a major foreign policy shift which could impact on its dealings with Europe, Russia and Iran.

Russia, which saw the missile plan as a threat, welcomed the news but the move has already drawn criticism in the US.

The US signed a deal in August 2008 with Poland to site 10 interceptors at a base near the Baltic Sea, and with the Czech Republic to build a radar station on its territory.

President Barack Obama earlier this year ordered a review of the defence system, which was strongly backed by his predecessor George W Bush.

On Thursday, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer said that Mr Obama had notified him of the change of plan.

He told the BBC that Mr Obama phoned him late last night to inform him that he had "reconsidered" the missile plan.

The US had said the missile shield would be fully operational by 2012 to protect European allies and US forces in Europe from Iran or other countries.

However, the Wall Street Journal, quoting unnamed sources, said the White House was now to order "a shift towards the development of regional missile defences for the continent".

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed that there would be a "major adjustment".

He said new intelligence had shown that Iran was "much more focused on developing short- and medium-range capabilities".

John Bolton, who was undersecretary of state for arms control and international security under President Bush, said the move was "unambiguously a bad decision".

He said: "This gives away an important defensive mechanism against threats from countries like Iran and other rogue states, not only for the US but for Europe as well.

"It is a concession to the Russians with absolutely nothing in return."

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  • de_wood

UK: Report finds the sex industry is undermining equality between women and men at work

The use of lap dancing clubs and display of pornography in a work context is a major new threat to women's equality at work, a report by the Fawcett Society has found.

The report, Corporate Sexism: the sex industry's infiltration of the modern workplace, is being launched today at an event hosted by BT, with Harriet Harman QC MP, Minister for Women, the key-note speaker.

The report’s findings include:

• 41% of UK lap dancing clubs directly target employers through marketing on their websites (4)
• 86% of lap dancing clubs in London provide ‘discrete receipts’ which enable employees to claim back expenses from their employer without it being evident the money was spent in a lap dancing club (5)
• Lads’ mags are displayed for sale purposes in over 50,000 workplaces. A content analysis of leading titles revealed all contained pornographic imagery. Yet there are no independent, compulsory guidelines regarding the display and sale of pornography, and no major retailer has a policy of covering up lads’ mags or putting them on the top shelf
• 26% of trade unions have received enquiries from members who have been exposed to the sex industry – including pornography - at work (6). Existing research has also revealed that 20% of men admit accessing pornography at work (7).

Fawcett’s research reveals that the use of lap dancing clubs and display of pornography in a work context is seriously undermining women’s status at work and is in violation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

Recommendations in the report include:
• Implementing independent regulation of sexually explicit print media
• Covering up lads’ mags and putting them on the top shelf when displayed in shops
• Implementing robust workplace policies and procedures to prevent pornography and lap dancing clubs being used in a work context

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Indian Women Find New Peace in Rail Commute

As the morning commuter train rattled down the track, Chinu Sharma, an office worker, enjoyed the absence of men. Some of them pinch and grope women on trains, or shout insults and catcalls, she said. Her friend Vandana Rohile agreed and widened her eyes in mock imitation.

“Sometimes they just stare at you,” said Ms. Rohile, 27.

Up and down the jostling train, women repeated the same theme: As millions of women have poured into the Indian work force over the last decade, they have met with different obstacles in a tradition-bound, patriarchal culture, but few are more annoying than the basic task of getting to work.

The problems of taunting and harassment, known as eve teasing, are so persistent that in recent months the government has decided to simply remove men altogether. In a pilot program, eight new commuter trains exclusively for female passengers have been introduced in India’s four largest cities: New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta.

The trains are known as Ladies Specials, and on one recent round trip in which a male reporter got permission to board, the women commuting between the industrial town of Palwal and New Delhi were very pleased.

“It’s so nice here,” said a teacher, Kiran Khas, who has commuted by train for 17 years. Ms. Khas said the regular trains were thronged with vegetable sellers, pickpockets, beggars and lots of men. “Here on this train,” she said, as if describing a miracle, “you can board anywhere and sit freely.”

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Source thinks Joe Biden would love this idea.
  • de_wood

Why are PETA & Other Animal Activists So Sexist?

For two decades now, I have argued that using sexism and misogyny supposedly to promote animal rights is a very bad idea. Perpetuating the commodification of women is not only inherently immoral but will do nothing to change social thinking about the commodification of nonhumans. PETA has been doing various versions of the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign for years now. And what result has it had? The fur industry is stronger now than it has ever been. Even those who once went naked for PETA are wearing fur again.

I have just seen a video ad produced by Wakker Dier, which means “Animal Awake,” a Dutch organization described as “Europe’s PETA counterpart.” Wakker Dier hired Dutch Playmate and fetish model Ancilla Tilia to play the part of a stripper who gets clubbed and stripped like an animal.

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Proxy wedding means Marine's widow, baby unwelcome

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Hotaru Ferschke just wants to raise her 8-month-old son in his grandparents' Tennessee home, surrounded by photos and memories of the father he'll never meet: a Marine who died in combat a month after marrying her from thousands of miles away.

Sgt. Michael Ferschke was killed in Iraq in 2008, leaving his widow and infant son, both Japanese citizens, in immigration limbo: A 1950s legal standard meant to curb marriage fraud means U.S. authorities do not recognize the marriage, even though the military does.

Ferschke and his bride had been together in Japan for more than a year, and she was pregnant when he deployed. They married by signing their names on separate continents and did not have a chance to meet again in person after the wedding, which a 57-year-old immigration law requires for the union to be considered consummated.

"She is being denied because they are saying her marriage is not valid because it was not consummated — despite the fact that they have a child together," said Brent Renison, an immigration lawyer in Oregon who has advised the family.

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She's denied citizenship, yet there are still mail-order brides floating around.

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

Racial Term in DS' Scribblenauts? Unintentional, Developer Explains [Update]

Saw this posted over at girl_gamers and thought it would be far more productive and less cringeworthy better to discuss here.


Nintendo DS title Scribblenauts has players solve puzzles by writing words. The game has a database of tens of thousands of words — writing words causes objects to appear on screen. So what happens when you write "sambo"?

You get what appears to be a watermelon.

The word "sambo" is in the 22,802 wordlist we posted previously, between "sambhar" and "samboussa". Other racial terms (not just for African-Americans, but all ethnic groups) turned up nothing. The word "slave" produced an old white man in a tuxedo. "WASP" produces a "wasp". It's worth noting that the characters in the game are a diverse bunch, with African-American models used to depict a variety of jobs including ballerina, firefighter and life guard.

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WTF @ this new trend of people not knowing their country's racial terms anymore?

ETA: Whoa HTML fail! Fixed!
leave your turntable on

Grapevine church to host debate on whether adultery can lead to stronger marriage

12:08 PM CDT on Thursday, September 17, 2009
By JORDAN HOFEDITZ / The Dallas Morning News

People have been questioning for some time what makes a healthy marriage.

For Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, one answer is to have sex with one's spouse. For Noel Biderman, founder of the Web site, the answer is to have sex with someone else.

The two will debate sex in a healthy marriage at 6:30 p.m. at Young's Fellowship Church, 450 N. Highway 121 in Grapevine.

The meeting comes after both parties said they were invited by ABC News to participate in a broadcast that explores the Ten Commandments.

The two men have attracted national media attention – Young for calling married couples to reconnect with a week of sex, and Biderman for claiming that his Web site, which offers married men and women anonymity to pursue affairs, has saved more marriages than it has destroyed.

Biderman said that while several news programs have attempted to pit his business against a church group, this is the first time a face-to-face debate will actually happen.

"You can't shy away from an opportunity to speak to people," Biderman said. "I'm not looking to convert anyone, just looking to begin the dialogue."

Young said in a statement that he is also looking forward to the opportunity.

"I believe it is always important for people to hear both sides of any topic, especially one as vital and far-reaching as sex and marriage," he said. "I'm excited to be a part of this discussion tonight, and we invite everyone in the community to be here to take part as well."

Source. I saw this on the news last night, and I O_Oed.
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  • Tags

Wow, That's what I call the "harsh fuck-you".

From the "how do you sleep at night" file...

When the housekeepers at the three Hyatt hotels in the Boston area were asked to train some new workers, they said they were told the trainees would be filling in during vacations.

On Aug. 31, staffers learned the full story: None of them would be making the beds and cleaning the showers any longer. All of them were losing their jobs. The trainees, it turns out, were employees of a Georgia company, Hospitality Staffing Solutions, who were replacing them that day.

The move to outsource the jobs of about 100 housekeeping employees at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and Hyatt Harborside at Logan International Airport is unusual in the hospitality industry, which counts on the housekeeping staff to help make sure hotel guests are comfortable.

“It’s unbelievable,’’ said Lucine Williams, 41, who has worked at the Hyatt Regency Boston for nearly 22 years and was making $15.32 an hour plus health, dental, and 401(k) benefits when she lost her job. “I don’t know how they can treat people like that.’’
  • Current Music
    Fear Antenna "because my heart is bitter and it is my heart"
' jules
  • schmiss


Boehner and Cantor ‘wary of the possible damage inflicted on the party’s reputation’ by Bachmann.

Over the course of the past year, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has encouraged conservatives to “slit” their “wrists” to oppose health care reform, called AmeriCorps a “re-education camp” and called for McCarthy-like investigations into whether members of Congress are pro-America or anti-America. Politico reports that House Republican leaders are worried that Bachmann’s overboard rhetoric could hurt the reputation of their entire caucus:
Long before the tea parties or Wilson’s outburst, Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had struggled to moderate the rhetorical excesses of House conservatives hammering away on Obama’s birth certificate, decrying the creation of “death panels” and ferreting out signs of creeping socialism.

Sources say they have been especially wary of the possible damage inflicted on the party’s reputation by bomb-throwing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who last fall called for an investigation into whether members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America.”
Bachmann has previously said that she’s been “labeled a kook” throughout her entire political career. Apparently, House Republicans are concerned that she’ll make that label stick to them as well.


Reap what you sow, etc

Limbaugh: We need segregated buses

In a remark extraordinary even by the standards of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio heavyweight declared on his program Wednesday that the United States needed to return to racially segregated buses. Referring to an incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a bus, Limbaugh said: “I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.”
A full transcript of Limbaugh’s comments on his radio show is available at
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  • Current Mood

According to Michael Steele, protests against President Bush were racist. Who knew?

This morning on CBS, host Maggie Rodriguez managed to drag a very grudging admission out of Michael Steele that some of the very angry and vehement right-wing opposition to Pres. Obama is racially-charged. He then immediately followed this concession with an adamant declaration that while the racism can't be fully ignored, people shouldn't "paint such a broad bush with it." [This was his exact wording, NOT a paraphrase.]

At this point (cue Twilight Zone music), he went on to say:

"I don’t remember this brush being painted this way [again, HIS wording] when Pres. Reagan was being protest-- uh, when Pres. Bush was being protested over the last 6 or 7 years.” In response to Rodriguez pointing out that Bush wasn't black (DUH), Steele replied: "Racism takes many forms; it’s not just black on white or white on black. So the reality of it is racism is an insidious part of our culture [yada yada yada segue into completely beside-the-point discourse on racism in American culture blah blah blah]

I didn’t bother to transcribe the rest of his douchebaggery; however, you can see it all on video:

If the embed code doesn't work for some reason (and I admit to being embed-challenged), you can see it at the source.
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panda bear

(no subject)

Nancy Pelosi Warns Of Political Violence

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's eyes watered Thursday as she called for the rhetorical heat to be turned down across the country, and warned that such words can lead to violence -- a phenomenon she witnessed herself in San Francisco.

"I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance," she said.

"I saw," she added, choking up, "I saw this myself in the late seventies in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening and it gave--it created a climate in which violence took place."

Riots in San Francisco in the seventies were punctuated by police beatings and assassinations, most notably of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

Milk was the first openly gay elected official in California and was shot by former supervisor and arch-conservative Dan White.

"I wish that we all again would curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, with the understanding that some of the ears this is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume," Pelosi said.

She stressed again that people are free to speak out. "But I also think they have to take responsibility for any incitement they may cause," she said.


Daily Mail joins the US lunatic fringe

It’s Wednesday (late Thursday now and it's still up) and the Daily Mail is still carrying a factually inaccurate story published the previous Sunday morning.

And it’s not like they haven’t been told it’s inaccurate, comment after comment in the 279 thus far point out exactly why they are wrong.

What’s interesting is exactly how come they are wrong.

Inaccuracies often come about because one newspaper is mugged or fed a line, believes it and then, like lemmings, everyone else falls off the cliff. This is often the case with crowd numbers, someone will carry an organisers claim and that gets reproduced.

Respected statistician Nate Silver (the one who got the US presidential election most right) found this out when he tried to estimate the numbers at the US right’s ‘tea-bagger’ parties in April from mainstream media reports.

Often they were wrong, sometimes laughably so - but there are limits. Silver found that “exaggerations were contained within some reasonable bounds”. Doubling for example.

The Mail’s headline is out by a factor of 33.

Media Matters has been tracking the circulation of this meme. Here’s the origins:

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, took to the rally stage and unfurled a massive lie. He told the crowd ABC News had reported that between 1 million to 1.5 million people had gathered to protest Obama’s policies.

[FreedomWorks, by the way, are the healthcare industry funding lobbyists 'astroturfing' the protests.]

This flat-out lie was then tweeted, exaggerated upwards to ‘two million’ and then carried by prominent right-wing blogs who, much later, published a correction as ABC hadn’t said it and the actual ‘official’ estimate by the DC Fire Department was 70,000. It was also very obviously wrong because two million was the official estimate for the numbers at the Obama inauguration and that shut down the city for several days. Saturday’s ‘tea bagger’ rally had no associated reports of a DC shutdown.

As Media Matters notes, despite the corrections, on the lunatic fringe the meme continues to circulate.

What this leads me to ask with the Mail’s story is exactly where was it sourced from? The story itself gives no source but, as has been tracked, it could only have come from a right-wing blog, most likely Michelle Malkin. Not even Fox News mentioned ‘two million’.

So why is the Daily Mail reproducing stories hot from the American right-wing blogosphere?

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Source: Online Journalism Blog (via Liberal Conspiracy)

Obama Crowd Cheers Public Option, Boos Baucus Plan (VIDEO)

When President Obama spoke in front of thousands of college students in College Park, Maryland on Thursday, the crowd cheered for a public health care option -- and booed at the plan from Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos pointed out the disparity.

Watch the University of Maryland students break into wild applause when Obama says there should be a government-run health insurance choice:

But the students booed when Obama mentioned the Senate Finance Committee plan presented by Baucus this week.


It's not just college students -- workers chanted "bullshit" when President Obama brought up Baucus' plan at the AFL-CIO convention on Wednesday.

Read more at:

  • shrines

Philadelphia's Libraries stay open, 3,000 jobs kept

Plan C averted, city gets its budget

After months of agonizing delays, state lawmakers granted final approval today to a temporary Philadelphia sales tax hike and a two-year reprieve on city pension payments, a pair of critically needed measures that plug the final $700 million hole in a multi-year deficit that once stood at $2.4 billion

The legislation, which was just approved by an 32 to 17 vote in the state Senate, will, at least for now, bring Philadelphia’s budget and five-year plan fully into balance, ending a political and fiscal drama that has consumed City Hall for over a year.

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thank god. i was seriously worried for my home city for a little while there.

source @

Mother kills herself and disabled daughter...

A despairing mother killed herself and her disabled daughter by setting her car on fire after enduring a relentless campaign of abuse from a gang of youths.

Unable to cope with the torment Fiona Pilkington, 38, drove with 18-year-old daughter Francecca Hardwick to a lay-by with a 10-litre can of petrol.

The single mother then doused old clothes in the back of the blue Austin Maestro before setting light to it with her daughter and herself still inside.

It is thought Mrs Pilkington, who also had a son, used her daughter's pet rabbit to ensure she would not try and get out of the vehicle.

Relatives today told an inquest that they believe she decided to kill her daughter out of fear that nobody else would be able to cope with her after her suicide.

The hearing, at Loughborough Town Hall, heard that she and her children had been targeted by a group of up to 16 youths.

The abuse started when the family moved into the house on Bardon Road in Barwell, Leicestershire, but it escalated after her severely dyslexic son, Anthony Hardwick, now 19, fell out with a friend who lived on the street.

The unnamed boy would taunt them at the front of their house by shouting: “We can do anything we like and you can’t do anything about it.”

Members of the gang would throw abuse at the family, pelt the house with stones, flour and eggs and would urinate on their property, the week before she died Mrs Pilkington taped up her letterbox to prevent the gang from pushing fireworks through it.

During one incident Fiona Pilkington’s son Anthony was put at knifepoint into a shed.

When the family made friends with the paperboy, the gang started abusing him so he stopped being friendly.

Despite dozens of calls to the police and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, little was done to help the family.

Mrs Pilkington's mother, Pam Cassell, told the hearing that at one point the council imposed a 300-yard exclusion zone for the youths around the family’s house but that it had failed to enforce it.

She said her daughter contacted the council four or five times and phoned police at least 10 times a year demanding help.

Mrs Cassell, 72, added: “Fiona couldn’t defend herself. She was very shy and she didn’t want any trouble so she tended to ignore them. She was very vulnerable.

“Fiona existed and they didn’t like it. I don’t think she was their sort and there was something that she did that they took exception to.”

Mrs Cassell said: “It was Halloween and firework night coming up and Fiona was dreading them because she knew that the children would start throwing things at the house and start putting fireworks through the letter box.

“They would start on Fiona and throw things and then go round the back and do things in the garden. It was always the same group of youths.

“They used to ring on the doorbell and say that she had been hitting her kids.

“Frankie was frustrated because she couldn’t go out in the garden without being tormented or teased. We used to take her to the park and take her out in the rain because she used to love jumping in puddles.

Frankie could be genuinely loveable but when she was frustrated she used to pull hair and bite and punch because she couldn’t do what she wanted to do.”

Mrs Cassell added: “On the day that they died, Fiona rang up the police and told them about the children who were walking on their hedge and she was told to just ignore them.

“The same girls that were walking on the hedge were taking the mickey out of Frankie and imitating the way she walked.

“On another day it was beautifully sunny and I asked her why she had the curtains drawn and she said the police had told them to do so, so they couldn’t see the children walking on the hedge.

“It was going on for so long I thought somebody would have done something. Fiona just gave up.”

She said that the family had never taken a holiday together and her daughter did not receive respite care because she did not know how to get it.

Mrs Cassell said: “She was in despair really, nobody did anything and she was just frustrated. She wanted them just to do something.

“Nobody was doing anything to help her, not the police, the council or the Neighbourhood Watch were doing anything.”

The blazing car was found in a lay-by on the A47 near Earl Shilton, Leicestershire on October 23, 2007..

The inquest heard that the petrol fumes inside the vehicle ignited and caused an explosion, blowing out the windows of the car.

Fire investigator Mark Speight said he believed the explosion to have caused Ms Pilkington, who was in the driver’s seat, next to her daughter, to jump with shock and slam her foot on the accelerator.

This caused the car to accelerate into a lorry in the lay-by.

Driver Stewart Bell was asleep in the cab of the lorry and was woken by the car bumping into a tractor which was attached to the back of it.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Bell said: “I could see the vehicle was on fire and I was afraid the vehicle would explode. The car was like an inferno.”


It really aggravates me that this woman didn't just feel so alone but she literally was left alone by the police, neighbourhood watch, etc who could have helped make life easier and more bearable for her. =[


New TIME Cover on Glenn Beck Ignores Facts, and Worse

I have no quarrel with TIME magazine devoting a cover to Glenn Beck -- so long as the accompanying story sticks to hard facts and harsh truths. The issue coming tomorrow, online today, sadly fails to do so in an apparent effort to woo the rightwing with a ludicrously "balanced" treatment of equally dangerous and wacko "ranting" coming from left and right.

It starts right away with a first paragraph that claims that only "liberal sources" estimated the protest crowd in D.C. last weekend as about 70,000, while conservatives say up to a million or more. Actually, virtually all mainstream media sources, along with nonpartisan factchecking organizations such as PolitiFact, cite the lower number.

If you get your information from liberal sources, the crowd numbered about 70,000, many of them greedy racists. If you get your information from conservative sources, the crowd was hundreds of thousands strong, perhaps as many as a million, and the tenor was peaceful and patriotic.

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Yet ANOTHER example of insurance company heinousity

Not that we really NEED any more evidence to prove that health insurance companies are heartless, scum-sucking douchebags...but they just INSIST on giving us more every time they turn around!

Firm cancels health insurance coverage for girl, 17, after celiac disease diagnosis

American Community Mutual's rescission numbers 'cause for concern,' says director of Illinois Department of Insurance
Jon Yates What's Your Problem?

September 17, 2009

When 17-year-old Brianna Rice was diagnosed with celiac disease in February, she had health insurance.

She doesn't now.

In the months that followed her diagnosis, her insurance company, American Community Mutual Insurance, combed through her medical records and ruled that her parents lied on her application last year.

In May, American Community not only canceled her policy, but also rescinded coverage all the way back to the day it started -- Nov. 1.Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    rage rage rage rage

Wait, what?

O’Reilly endorses the public option, which he previously called ‘socialism.’

Last night on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly actually told a Heritage Foundation scholar who was fear-mongering government-backed health care that he favors a public option:

NINA OWCHARENKO: Well, it has massive new federal regulation. So you don’t necessarily need a public option if the federal government is going to control and regulate the type of health insurance that Americans can buy.

O’REILLY: But you know, I want that, Ms. Owcharenko. I want that. I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don’t like their health insurance, if it’s too expensive, they can’t afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.

Watch it:



As recently as last month, O’Reilly was still saying that progressives want “the government to run the nation’s health care system. That’s because the Feds can then redistribute income much easier, shifting resources to the poor and away from corporations and the affluent. … It’s not really about health care. It’s about socialism.”



Further proof that life itself is a pre-existing condition. Also, acne.

Earlier this week, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reported on the fact that in seven states plus the District of Columbia, “getting beaten up by your spouse is a pre-existing condition.” The insurance industry figures that if “you are in a marriage with someone who has beaten you in the past, you’re more likely to get beaten again than the average person and are therefore more expensive to insure,” but what it really does is punish these victims for something that wasn’t their fault.

But that isn’t the only policy that health insurers have that primarily discriminate against women. First of all, most individual health insurance markets don’t cover maternity care. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 14 states have a requirement for such coverage, and the number of plans without maternity coverage continues to rise dramatically. Why? Anthem Blue Cross — which has been actively fighting health care reform — considers pregnancy optional and therefore not necessary to insure:

“The point of insurance is to insure against catastrophic care costs. That’s what you’re trying to aggregate and pool for such things as heart attacks and cancer,” said an Anthem Blue Cross spokesman. “Having a child is a matter of choice. Dealing with an adult onset illness, such as diabetes, heart disease breast or prostate cancer, is not a matter of choice.”

Even Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) spoke an unintentional truth when he said of his parents: “When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already four-and-a-half-months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a pre-existing condition."

When a woman isn’t currently pregnant, she often still cannot get coverage. Many insurers consider a Caesarean-section pregnancy a pre-existing condition and refuse to cover women who have had the procedure. From a 2008 New York Times story about a Colorado woman who had Golden Rule Insurance:

She was turned down because she had given birth by Caesarean section. Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, Golden Rule did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified.

The number of C-sections performed in the United States has been “growing steadily,” with approximately 30 percent of women having the procedure. Other insurance companies that don’t necessarily reject women with C-sections often do charge them higher premiums or “factor in chronic or recurring problems that might have led to the Caesarean.” What’s even worse is that once you’re denied by one company, it’s harder to get coverage somewhere else because you’ve been red-flagged.

Today, Golden Rule CEO Richard Collins is testifying before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy about “Bureaucracy of Private Health Insurance.



Michael Steele Tells Democrats To Stop Calling Obama Opponents Racist

Charges of racism are among the most serious that can be made in America because of our nation’s history on race relations. There is no doubt America has come a long way in healing past wounds, but there is certainly more to be done. That is why I am outraged that Democrats today, including former president Jimmy Carter, are injecting race into the debate over President Obama’s policies.

Voicing opposition to the president’s policy proposals is not being a racist. It is being an American. Such assertions by leaders of the Democratic Party are a pathetic attempt to shift attention away from the president’s wildly unpopular government-run health care plan that the American people simply oppose. Injecting race into the debate over critical issues facing American families does not create jobs, reform our health care system or reduce the growing deficit. It only divides Americans rather than uniting us to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.

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Hey Mike, I'm not sure the wingnuts got your memo. Tell them to GTFO too.

Which is Worst: Ignorance or Stupidity?

New Jersey Poll: 33% Of Republicans Think Obama Not A Citizen, 13% Think He's Anti-Christ

Thirty-three percent of New Jersey Republicans think President Obama is not a U.S. citizen -- and 14% think he's the anti-Christ, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

"Pretty eye popping numbers. The extent to which some people already hate Obama is amazing. We'll test that question nationally this weekend," the pollsters wrote. They add:

These findings are in no way unique to New Jersey. In fact it's the least 'birther' of five states where we've looked at that question. But it's a reminder that high levels of extremism are in no way limited to the south.

Twenty-one percent of all respondents thought Obama was not born in the United States; eight percent thought he was the anti-Christ.

Eighteen percent of self-described conservatives thought Obama was Satan incarnate and 17 percent weren't sure
-- one in three, as Dave Weigel points out at the Washington Independent. Interestingly, however, the group most likely to believe Obama might be the evil biblical beast is Hispanics.

Ben Smith at Politico is skeptical of the latter finding, suggesting that respondents are expressing dislike rather than mystical paranoia: "If you ran a similar poll asking about Eli Manning, some share of Jets fans would press one for Satan."

75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can't Name the First President of the U.S.

Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today.

The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday.

Brandon Dutcher is with the conservative think tank and said the group wanted to find out how much civic knowledge Oklahoma high school students know.

The Oklahoma City-based think tank enlisted national research firm, Strategic Vision, to access students' basic civic knowledge.

"They're questions taken from the actual exam that you have to take to become a U.S. citizen," Dutcher said.

A thousand students were given 10 questions drawn from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services item bank. Candidates for U.S. citizenship must answer six questions correctly in order to become citizens.

About 92 percent of the people who take the citizenship test pass on their first try, according to immigration service data. However, Oklahoma students did not fare as well. Only about 3 percent of the students surveyed would have passed the citizenship test.

Dutcher said this is not just a problem in Oklahoma. He said Arizona had similar results, which left him concerned for the entire country.

"Jefferson later said that a nation can't expect to be ignorant and free," Dutcher said. "It points to a real serious problem. We're not going to remain ignorant and free."

Question and % of Students Who Answered Correctly

What is the supreme law of the land? 28%

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26%

What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27%

How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10%

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14%

What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61%

What are the two major political parities in the United States? 43%

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11%

Who was the first President of the United States? 23%

Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29%

The Belgrade Pride Parade Won't Be Postponed

The Belgrade Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, September 20th, with no delays, despite the existing risk and threats of violence because it is not a provocation, but a promotion of rights, tolerance and getting rid of discrimination, it was revealed today.

One of the organizers, Dragana Vuckovic, told the press that the Parade won't be a provocation and a promotion of a certain sexual orientation, but the promotion of human rights and a system of values based on respecting differences.

According to her, the organizers expect that the Parade will, with police security, pass without incident. She adds that the Minister of Interior, Ivica Dacic, assured them that Serbian Police Forces will do everything to make sure the Parade is safe.

"We repeat our invitation to all representatives of the government and the most important Serbian institutions to join us, because September 20th will be a test in democracy for Serbia," she said.

Another organizer, Milica Djordjevic, said that the participants of the Parade need to get to the Plateau in front of the Faculty of Philosophy by 11am because, otherwise, the police won't allow them to join the crowd.

The Parade will be secured by police forces, and it is forbidden to bring objects made out of metal, glass, or any other objects that may be dangerous.

According to her, it is expected there will be around 500 participants and that, because of their safety, they will get the information about how the Parade will end only when they get there.

Djordjevic said that the participants of the Parade who pass the control points of the Parade will be given special marks, not wishing to be more precise, so that the police could tell them apart, while the names of journalists will be checked.

"We are aware that panic is our greatest enemy," she said and recommended that the participants coming to the Parade stay out of small streets and alleys.
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There are already about 5 groups that warned the public that they will come to the Parade to ~clean up. The church also called it a Parade of Shame and mentioned something about Sodom and Gomorrah. The Serbian government ant the EU declared their support for the Parade today, but there are still many politicians against it. Everyone, please hope with me that everything will go well on Sunday. And Mods, sorry if the English kinda sucks, I translated this myself :)

God Blesses Religious States with Unwanted Children. Is a Miracle!

Link may be due to communities frowning on contraception, researchers say

U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, a new study suggests.

The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception,
researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.

Mississippi topped the list for conservative religious beliefs and teen birth rates
, according to the study results, which will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of the journal Reproductive Health

However, the results don't say anything about cause and effect, though study researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh offers a speculation of the most probable explanation: "We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."

The study comes with other significant caveats, too:

The same link might not be found for other types of religious beliefs that are perhaps more liberal, researchers say. And while the study reveals information about states as a whole, it doesn't shed light on whether an individual teen who is more religious will also be more likely to have a child.

"You can't talk about individuals, because you don't know what's producing the [teen birth] rate," said Amy Adamczyk, a sociologist at the City University of New York, who was not involved in the current study. "Are there just a couple of really precocious religious teenagers who are running around and getting pregnant and having all of these babies, but that's not the norm?"

Strayhorn agrees and says the study aimed to look at communities (or states) as a whole.

"It is possible that an anti-contraception attitude could be caused by religious cultures and that could exert its effect mainly on the non-religious individuals in the culture," Strayhorn told LiveScience. But, he added, "We don't know."

Bible states
Strayhorn compiled data from various data sets. The religiosity information came from a sample of nearly 36,000 participants who were part of the U.S. Religious Landscapes Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted in 2007, while the teen birth and abortion statistics came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For religiosity, the researchers averaged the percentage of respondents who agreed with conservative responses to eight statements, including: ''There is only one way to interpret the teachings of my religion," and ''Scripture should be taken literally, word for word."

They found a strong correlation between statewide conservative religiousness and statewide teen birth rate even when they accounted for income and abortion rates.

More abortions among teens in less religious states

For instance, the results showed more abortions among teenagers in the less religious states, which would skew the findings since fewer teens in these states would have births. But even after accounting for the abortions, the study team still found a state's level of religiosity could predict their teen birth rate. The higher the religiosity, the higher was the teen birth rate on average.

John Santelli of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University calls the study "well-done," adding that the results are not surprising.

"The index of religiosity is tapping into more fundamentalist religious belief," Santelli said. "I'm sure there are parts of New England that have very low teen birth rates, which have pretty high religious participation, but they're probably less conservative, less fundamentalist type of congregations."

Other factors that may have been important to consider include ethnic backgrounds of state residents, according to Adamczyk, the City University of New York sociologist.

"We know that African American women on average tend to underreport their abortions, which means they could also underreport the likelihood that they got pregnant," Adamczyk said. "If you're dealing with states with a high number of African American women, you might run into that problem."

Adamczyk's own, separate research has shown a nearly opposite correlation, at the individual level. "What we find is that more religious women are less likely to engage in riskier sex behaviors, and as a result they are less likely to have a premarital pregnancy," Adamczyk said during a telephone interview. But for those religious teens who do choose to have premarital sex, they might be more likely to ditch their religious views and have an abortion, she has found.

Cause and effect?

Adamczyk says the idea that anti-contraception principles could be behind the link is controversial, as studies on the topic have varied results. "The idea is that in the heat of the moment, a young woman who has said, 'I'm going to be a virgin on my wedding night,' is with her boyfriend and she says 'Let's just do it.' And since they didn't plan it, nobody has a condom. And so it increases their chances of a pregnancy," Adamczyk said.

Earlier marriage among religious individuals could also partly explain the finding.

"In the south, there is a higher rate of marriage of teenagers. And one possible explanation is just that in the southern states, which are also more religious, people just get married earlier and have planned pregnancies and those have perfectly good outcomes," Strayhorn said. He added that he doesn't think the earlier marriage idea explains the religion-birth link.

Teen birth rates and religiousness in the United States
This table shows data that reflect birth rates and religiousness throughout the United States. "Birth rate" is the state’s national ranking by rate of teen births according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and "religiousness" is the state’s national ranking based on responses to a survey of religious beliefs taken by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Asterisks indicate that no data are available.

Follow Link to See The Numbers

"Obama Hitler" Stirs Emotions from Nazi Trauma Victim then Goes To Jail.

Hitler poster provokes Edmonds incident

As a child in Armenia, Henry Gasparian witnessed firsthand the horrors of Nazi Germany. Two uncles were killed, his father wounded and a brother starved to death during the German invasion and occupation of the Soviet Union.
So when Gasparian, 70, of Edmonds, saw a poster of President Obama with a Hitler mustache near the entrance to the Edmonds Farmers Market on Sept. 5, he admits that his reaction was "personal and emotional."

He tried to grab the fliers being passed out by supporters of Lyndon LaRouche, a perennial presidential candidate who has likened Obama's health-care proposals to the Nazi extermination of Jews and other "undesirables."

Two young LaRouche supporters told police that Gasparian repeatedly pushed them and grabbed one of their arms. Gasparian said it was they who first pushed him.

Now Gasparian is charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault in Edmonds Municipal Court for what he describes as an attempt by "an old man to say you cannot insult the president with this outrageous campaign."
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Dana Rohrabacher: "Those Ungrateful Iraqi Bastards!" (GOP's Cowboy Diplomacy Works Again)

Rohrabacher to Iraqis: Be More Grateful!

This dispatch comes from brand new crack DC intern Eric Naing:

The House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight met today to discuss issues of sovereignty and stability in Iraq ranging from the country's longstanding financial obligation to neighboring Kuwait to its even longer-standing issues with the Kurdish people. But Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) seemed mostly interested in berating the Iraqis for their lack of gratitude

At the hearing, Saleh al Mutlaq and former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, both members of Iraq's Council of Representatives, spoke about Iraq's future and the importance of the country's upcoming elections.

Mutlaq called for a "moral and responsible" withdrawal of U.S. troops saying that the invasion of his country was "irresponsible."

Worried that violence and intimidation from Iraq's ruling party could distort the outcome of the January election, Allawi stressed the need for election monitoring from institutions such as the United Nations, the Arab League and other NGOs along with the United States.

Then Rohrabacher opened his mouth.

"I have never heard one word of gratitude from the Iraqi people about the 4,300 Americans who lost their lives," he exclaimed.

"We went to Iraq to try and free your people and now we're being blamed for sectarian violence," he said. "Don't blame us because that type of bloodlust exists in your society."

A defiant Mutlaq responded, "You were the ones who pushed your troops. We did not invite you."

It was at this point that an exasperated Rohrabacher threw up his hands and stormed out of the room.

It was only in the aftermath of Rohrabacher's tantrum that Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) quietly stated that weapons of mass destruction, and not Iraqi freedom, were the reason the U.S. invaded Iraq.