October 6th, 2009


(no subject)

Just got this in my email from MoveOn.Org:

Dear MoveOn member,

Dawn Smith has made a big decision about her battle with CIGNA over her brain tumor.

CIGNA still won't promise to cover all the treatment she needs. And they still won't explain why they've denied her care for two years, let alone whether they'll change their policies.

So she's going to drive up to CIGNA's headquarters in Philadelphia to confront the CEO, H. Edward Hanway, in person.Collapse )
Here's a video of Dawn talking about her fight:

  • Current Mood
    pissed off

Meghan McCain Looking Dumb On The Joy Behar Show

Everything she says--she's speaking in generalities. She never really says anything of substance or anything specific about policy. This whole "I hate extremism" meme can only keep you afloat for so long. lol @ that guy owning her at the end of the clip.

I also don't understand how Keith Olbermann is comparable to Rush Limbaugh.

Orson Scott Card makes ridiculous statements and doesn't back them up

Orson Scott Card writes political essays over at his website, Hatrackriver.com.  He's a great scifi writer, but damn.... How do you even respond to stuff like this?


First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card September 20, 2009

I'm Back

People have been asking me why I haven't written a WorldWatch or a Civilization Watch in nine months.

At first it was because I wanted to give Obama a chance to show us who he is. I even hoped that maybe his pose as a middle-of-the-road bring-us-together candidate was actually true.

Now he's shown us that he's a radical leftist at heart and all his promises -- every one of them -- were lies. But he's still relatively harmless domestically because he's such an incompetent leader, unable to hold his course or persuade even his followers.

With ObamaCare on the ropes, his mischief is limited to not prosecuting his criminal friends (like the Black Panthers who openly intimidated voters in Philadelphia), appointing idiots to new offices that he invented so they wouldn't have to withstand congressional scrutiny, and completely botching American foreign policy.

I never thought I'd live to see the day, but Hillary Clinton is actually looking good as Secretary of State. At least she could go to a hellhole of corruption and fanaticism like Nigeria and speak truth to power.

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franklin sherman

Met the New Boss.. Same as the Old Boss

Cindy Sheehan Arrested Outside White House

Cindy Sheehan, dressed all in black with the words "greed kills" printed on her chest, was arrested by United States Park Police today after chaining herself to a White House fence as part of a protest against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to organizers, 61 people in total were arrested at the protest, which was also in service of efforts to "Close Guantanamo and Bagram, Surge Spending on Housing and Jobs."

Organizers said hundreds participated in the protest, which included poetry, song, and puppet heads of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice dressed in prison stripes.

While some protesters chained themselves to the White House fence, others lay on the ground, pretending to be dead, CNN reports. Organizers requested a meeting with President Obama to discuss their beliefs.

Sheehan and some of the other protesters apparently meant to evoke Guantanamo prisoners with their clothing. "On their backs, they wore the names of Guantanamo detainees cleared for release who remain detained under the Obama administration despite the White House’s heralded decision to shutter the prison," organizers said.

Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004. She became one of the major faces of the antiwar movement during the Bush administration.

The groups involved in the protest were the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, the War Resisters League, Witness Against Torture, Code Pink, Peace Action, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace and Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

According to organizers, members of Veterans for Peace carried three coffins, covered in American, Iraqi and Afghani flags, to represent those killed in war.

Asked about the protest at his daily briefing Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he hadn't heard about it. He addressed the concepts of protests more generally.

"I think the president has long believed that whether your opinion is on one side of the issue or the other, that this is the -- the greatness of our country is that you get to amplify that opinion," he said.

Park police officials said all of those arrested had been cited and released.



Health Insurance Industry to The Poor and Uninsured: "F#@K YOU"

Health Insurance Companies Want Severe Penalties For People Who Do Not Buy Coverage

The health insurance industry doesn't want Congress to let you off easy if you decide to ignore a proposed requirement that all Americans must have coverage.

Determined to get as many people as possible covered, lawmakers first proposed fines of as much as $3,800 per family for health insurance scofflaws. But they have been steadily scaling back the penalties, with the Senate Finance Committee last week dropping them to $1,500 maximum per family in their version of a health care bill. The committee also phased the penalties in over five years with no fines at all in the first year and eliminated all criminal and most civil punishments for failure to pay.

The industry -- counting on millions of more Americans buying insurance -- says the penalties are now so weak they practically beg to be ignored. The result, the companies warn, is that people would wait until they get sick to buy coverage. That would raise premiums for everyone else, since Congress' health care overhaul would also require insurers to take all applicants.

"People will drop coverage and those who stay in would see rate shock," Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry trade group, said in an interview Monday.

Alissa Fox, a top lobbyist for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, said the Senate Finance Committee had "severely weakened" the proposed requirement to buy health insurance.

"It's become an aspirational goal, because it's a mandate with no penalty, and a mandate with no penalty is not a requirement," Fox said.

The proposed new so-called individual mandate requiring everyone to buy health coverage or pay a fine is at the center of all the health care bills taking shape on Capitol Hill. After opposing it during his campaign for president, President Barack Obama embraced it earlier this year as the most effective way to get everyone covered as long as hardship waivers were included.

Subsidies would be provided to help low-income people afford the coverage. But many Democrats and consumer groups have begun to argue that the subsidies are not generous enough and that middle-income people still wouldn't be able to afford health care.
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Fiscally Conservative GOP Wants Some of That "Clearly-Not-Working-Stimulus" Money...

Texas Lawmakers Who Voted Against The Recovery Act Now Beg For Stimulus Funds For NASA

Every single Republican in the House voted against the $819 billion Recovery Act in January. Among the Republican senators who voted against the stimulus were Texas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. Both of them complained that they wanted to see more tax cuts rather than government spending.

But now, both Hutchison and Cornyn are pressuring the Obama administration to give Texas $3 billion in stimulus funds. The co-signers on the letter are a bipartisan group of the Texas delegation in the House, including 19 Republicans, all of whom also voted against the funds for which they’re now begging. The letter was drafted and circulated by GOP Rep. Pete Olson. From the letter:
Therefore, to ensure the U.S. maintains its leadership in human space exploration, we respectfully ask that you include in your promised amended budget request for NASA’s Exploration Systems a request to Congress to reallocate the necessary funds for NASA from the funds that we anticipate will remain available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). As of last month, less than 15 percent of ARRA funds had been expended.

Since the stated purpose of the stimulus package was to secure good jobs and stabilize our economy, there is no better investment that could be made than the addition of up to $3 billion to NASA in FY2010, and the projection of at least that level of increase, as recommended by your Committee, at a 2.4% rate of inflation in the out-year projections included in the initial FY2010 Request.
Cornyn said that while the stimulus funding “that has already been spent [is] clearly not working, it is my hope that the Administration will use a portion of the remaining, authorized, unspent stimulus dollars to safeguard our nation’s space program.”

Texas isn’t the only state showing this stimulus hypocrisy. Some other examples:
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is now criticizing Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for being “slow” to spend the stimulus money allocated for Virginia — even though if Wolf and his Republican colleagues would have had their way, there would be no extra money for the state at all. “We could use that money desperately,” Wolf told reporters. “We’re in a critical situation.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also voted against the Recovery Act and has since called it a failure. The stimulus, Grassley told the National Review last week, “is not working.” In June, he had harsher words, saying the stimulus had no positive impact on the economy, “none whatsoever.” But recently, Grassley announced two grants totaling $399,875 to Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa and Goodwill Industries of the Heartland through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration program.

“These funds will give a hand up to our veterans who have fought bravely and selflessly for our country,” Grassley said. The funds were authorized by the Recovery Act.
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) continues to put his ideology over his state’s needs, refusing to listen to state officials’ requests for high-speed rail funding.

U.S. most admired country globally, according to survey

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – The United States is the most admired country globally thanks largely to the star power of President Barack Obama and his administration, according to a new poll.

It climbed from seventh place last year, ahead of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan which completed the top five nations in the Nation Brand Index (NBI).

"What's really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States for 2009," said Simon Anholt, the founder of NBI, which measured the global image of 50 countries each year.

He believes that during the previous administration of George W. Bush the United States suffered in the world ranking with its unpopular foreign policies but since Obama was elected, and despite the recent economic turmoil, the country's status has risen globally.

"There is no other explanation," Anholt said in an interview, referring to the impact of Obama.

The global survey, conducted by GFK Roper Public Affairs & Media, involved 20,000 people in 20 rich and developing countries around the globe. They were asked to rate 50 nations in categories such as culture, governance, people, exports, tourism, landscape and education.

Canada took the biggest hit in the latest survey, falling to seventh from fourth place, while China climbed several spots to 22nd, which Anholt believes in due in part to the successful staging of the Olympics.

China has always scored low on human rights and environmental policies but high on cultural heritage.

"It is the first time China's profile has risen," said Anholt, who has been doing the annual poll since 2005.

"Since the Olympics its score for tourism and its people has risen and that has helped to stem its decline," Anholt explained.

Italy maintained the sixth spot in the survey for the second year, while Switzerland came in eight, followed by Australia in 9th place and Spain and Sweden, which tied for 10th place.

At the opposite end of the survey Colombia and Kenya tied for 47th place. Angola was number 49 and Iran came in last at number 50.



America Burns While Bankers Are Playing With Their Golden Fiddle.

As Economy Crashes, Banks Make A Killing On Overdraft Fees

Talk about kicking people when they're down.

Banks and credit unions made an eye-popping $24 billion in overdraft fees in 2008, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending.

That's a 35 percent increase from 2006.

The report estimates that about 51 million people were affected - meaning that one in six Americans were hit, on average, with $470 in overdraft fees last year.

The fees, which banks levy when approving check, debit card and ATM transactions despite a customer's lack of sufficient funds, have become a source of big business for financial institutions: nearly half of all banks and credit unions make more money from overdraft services than they make in profits, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm. The firm estimates banks will make $27 billion off overdraft programs this year, and says this is the first time banks have raised their overdraft fees during a recession.

While billed as a convenience for customers who otherwise would see their purchases denied, the practice amounts to little more than a trap for consumers who don't know the precise dollar amount in their checking accounts, consumer advocates say. Banks typically enroll consumers in these programs automatically.

In addition, when it comes to tallying the fees, some banks post debits from the highest amount to the lowest, rather than chronologically, so a $4 purchase at 10 a.m. at Starbucks is posted to the account after a $68 dinner bill that created a negative balance, making each subject to a fee.

A number of lawsuits argue that the banks do this intentionally to increase overdraft fees, thereby boosting profits.
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German magazine swaps thin models for real women

Germany's most popular women's magazine announced Monday that it is banning professional models from its pages in favor of "real women" in an attempt to combat an unhealthy standard of rail-thin beauty that it says has isolated its readers.

The editor-in-chief of Germany's bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.

Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the average woman.

"We will show women who have an identity — the 18-year-old student, the head of the board, the musician, the football player," Andreas Leberts said in Hamburg, where the magazine, published by Gruner+Jahr, is based.

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Rwanda queen-killing suspect held

One of the most-wanted suspects in the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been arrested in Uganda, police say.

Former intelligence chief Idelphonse Nizeyimana is accused of organising the killing of thousands of ethnic Tutsis - including the revered former queen.

Correspondents say he was travelling to Kenya from the Democratic Republic of Congo when he was detained.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu militias during 100 days of slaughter

The BBC's Will Ross, in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, says Mr Nizeyimana was detained in Kampala carrying false identity documents.
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Akuma River

Doctor Congressman: Mental health problems can be treated at ER's

On last night's Keith Olbermann, Georgia Republican Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. was the Worlds Worst Person. And you know what? Keith is right. I have a real good friend (who I need to get back in touch with) who is bi-polar. For a very long time she was severely depressed and spoke about ending it. She finally got help after waiting months to get an appointment and test out the medicine she needed to operate.

And this dipshit is telling people like her to go to the ER to get their meds? Fuck him.

Update: Keith Olbermann will be doing a one hour Special Comment on health care on Wednesday.
David Thewlis - Cynical Cig Vice Mag

Sen. Kit Bond - "Obama Apparently Doesn't Want To Be Commander In Chief"

Yesterday, Sen. Kit Bond visited the offices of The Hannibal Courier-Post, and delivered his usual rhetoric about why he opposes the health care reform and climate legislation before the Senate. He doesn't have any substantive counter-proposals, of course, but what else is new?

And when attention turned to Afghanistan, Bond unleashed some serious fearmongering and accusations about Barack Obama. Here's an excerpt from the video posted by the Courier-Post:

If you mess up Afghanistan, there will be hell to pay in America. And while we're talking about health care, while we're talking about cap and tax [sic], if we are hit again and even again by al Qaeda, nobody's going to worry about health care. They're going to worry about staying alive...

Obama, apparently, doesn't want to be Commander in Chief. He wants to be 'talk show host in chief,' he wants to focus on his very liberal agenda, which requires keeping his left wing in the buggy. And he is afraid, I fear, of taking any action in Afghanistan or against Iran that would alienate the MoveOn.org ACLU George Soros wing of the Democrat [sic] Party.

Not only are his comments way over the top and insulting, but Bond really seems to be oblivious to the fact that reasonable people disagree on the best course of action in Afghanistan. Just because Bond's preferred route hasn't been adopted by Obama in haste, Bond somehow interprets the current deliberation as evidence that Obama "doesn't want to be Commander in Chief."

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US 'to cut immigrant detention'

US officials are expected to announce plans that would allow illegal immigrants not considered a threat to be taken out of jails, reports say.

The new policy would list immigrants according to the risk they may pose, the Wall Street Journal reports. Detainees who are not criminals could be kept in hotels and nursing homes, according to leaks of the plans. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to give details of the plans later.Her department is hoping to cut the costs of detaining immigrants, which stood at almost $2bn (£1.3bn) in 2008.It says alternatives like the hotels and nursing homes would cost about $14 a day, compared to about $100 a day for detention.

Each year some 380,000 illegal immigrants are detained in US jails alongside regular prisoners, ahead of deportation. Of those held on 1 September, 51% were considered felons, and 11% of those had committed violent crimes, the New York Times reported.

"Serious felons deserve to be in the prison model," Ms Napolitano told the newspaper. "But there are others. There are women. There are children." Proposals for using alternatives to prison detention are expected to be submitted to Congress in the coming weeks.The Wall Street Journal cited officials as saying the administration would ask the private sector for ideas, including for the construction of model facilities. The paper said the review would also tackle criticism of the medical treatment given to detainees, and suggest to improve access to basic services including telephones.

The administration will propose a screening system to flag up special medical or mental health needs of detainees, the paper said.Broad immigration reform is one of President Barack Obama's domestic priorities.

Efforts by his predecessor, George W Bush, to reform US immigration laws collapsed in 2007.

SOURCE: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8292296.stm
Shirley Animated

(no subject)

Shroud of Turin Fake, and Scientist Says He Can Prove It

Organic Chemistry Professor Luigi Garlaschelli Discovered Process for Staining Shroud of Turin

There are many relics of faith, like the Shroud of Turin, that hold emotional and psychological value for Christian believers. The Shroud of Turin has for centuries been exalted as the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Christian deity. An Italian scientist announced Monday that he had replicated the Shroud of Turin, proving, he said, that the revered cloth was and has always been a medieval fake.

According to Reuters, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia Luigi Garlaschelli revealed that he had uncovered the method by which the Shroud of Turin was created. Although long held by the skeptics and the scientific community as not being the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ, scientists were always at a loss as to how the image of a bearded man had been transferred to the ancient piece of cloth. In 1988 separate laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona carbon-dated the shroud cloth itself and found it to have been manufactured sometime between 1260 and 1390 A.D. Many believed the Shroud of Turin to have been a hoax created to fill medieval church coffers.
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Source via the BBC

Thought this was interesting and history/religion nerds like me would enjoy it.

More about the Shroud and its history.
' jules
  • schmiss

Crazy people are having the best week ever!

5 Crazy Right-Wing Freak-Outs in Just One Glorious Week

For reasons that I don’t understand -- perhaps it’s subconscious karmic payback for murdering children in a past life -- I feel compelled to read a lot of right-wing blogs.

The wonderful thing about them is the window they offer into the pulsing id of the conservative movement -- up close and personal and without the filters of focus groups or dog whistles. For instance, do you think that Glenn Beck is insane? Oh puh-lease. Beck has precisely nothing on your typical Red State diarist or NewsMax columnist, each of whom is likely to support abolishing women’s suffrage or launching a military coup against Obama at any given time.

To give you an idea of the level of madness we’re looking at here, I’ve decided to share with you the five stupidest, craziest and most inflammatory things that right-wingers said over the span of a single week. When you read these things, keep in mind that these are the sorts of people Republican officials have to interact with on a regular basis. Indeed, the following five crazed tirades are almost enough to make you feel a little sorry for those staffers. Most of them came to Washington to act as soulless money funnels for corporate interests. Instead, they end up spending much of their time taking angry calls from some screamer who wants to privatize his local police force.

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This is written by one of the guys behind Sadly, No! which is a must read blog. Seriously it is so freaking funny. And it helps during those "OMG IS THIS REAL LIFE" moments to see the crazy people being made fun of so artfully. <3

A fool and her money are about to be parted

Attorney Orly Taitz submits exhibit supporting motion to recuse Judge Land because of purported influence by Attorney General Eric Holder
Posted on Mon, Oct. 05, 2009

Attorney Orly Taitz, under threat of $10,000 in sanctions from U.S. District Judge Clay Land, submitted an affidavit Sunday in support of the argument that the judge may have been influenced by President Barack Obama's administration.

The affidavit, filed Sunday in support of Taitz' Friday motion to recuse Land, is signed Robert D. Douglas, of Alma, Ga. It states that Douglas was in a coffee shop waiting for the 12th Street federal courthouse to open for a hearing on Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook in July when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder entered.

"Red flags went up immediately in my mind and the questions remain, as yet," the affidavit states. "Why does the attorney general of the United States need to be present in an obscure hearing well off his beaten path? Could it possibly be, since Holder did not present himself in open court, he may have had a little 'whisper in the ear' to a federal judge in order to bias his judicial vision and adhere to the president's agenda of obstruction?"

In his July 8 suit, Cook sought conscientious objector status and a temporary injunction. Land tossed out Cook's case that month.

Taitz, a national figure in the "birther" movement, filed a motion Friday asking the judge to recuse himself because of personal contacts and financial stakes he may have with President Barack Obama's administration. The filing stems from a Sept. 4 complaint filed by Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who argued that she shouldn't be deployed to Iraq because Obama couldn't legitimately hold office.

Land tossed out the case Sept. 16 and said Taitz could face sanctions if she ever again filed a similar "frivolous" lawsuit in his court. Taitz filed a motion for reconsideration the next day, and on Sept. 18 Land gave her two weeks to explain why he shouldn't sanction her $10,000.

Also on Sept. 18, a letter signed Capt. Connie Rhodes was filed with the court. It states that Rhodes never gave Taitz permission to file the motion for reconsideration and that the captain no longer wants Taitz to represent her. Additionally, it states that Rhodes intends to file a complaint with the California state bar.

Court records state that Rhodes now represents herself.


Here's where Orly's theory hit a snag (ya rly!): Cook's hearing was apparently was July 16. Eric Holder would have been unavailable to provide a "whisper in the ear" to Judge Land as he was in Los Angeles on July 15 & 16. (Heavily-accented shrieking that this fraudulent evidence of his whereabouts, of course, now implicates Zimbio, Getty Images, and FOX Business in The Conspiracy in 5... 4... 3...)

&#39; jules
  • schmiss

He did it...... for the lulz. And the money. But mostly the lulz.

Tom DeLay Drops Out Of Dancing With The Stars

Entertainment Online is reporting that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is dropping out of Dancing With The Stars.

DeLay, who danced for the third time last night, has stress fractures in both of his feet. He danced the samba last night, sporting a shirt with a bedazzled elephant on it, despite the advice of doctors and the show's producers.

A representative for the show would not comment to EOnline's reporter.

In 2006, DeLay also resigned from the House of Representatives in the midst of a corruption scandal. He is still under indictment.


Can YOU spot the dangling modifier in this story?

Dollar falls on oil plan report

The dollar has fallen following a report that Gulf states are in secret talks to replace the greenback as the main currency for the trading of oil.

Nations including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were speaking to Russia, China, Japan and France, said the UK's Independent newspaper.

It said the proposal was to move oil away from the dollar over nine years.

The speculation saw the euro rise 0.5% against the dollar to $1.47222, while the pound was up 0.4% to $1.59910.

The dollar was also down 0.7% against Japan's yen to 88.91 yen.

'Hurdles to cross'

"This is US dollar negative news which is moving markets, and shows that central banks not just in Asia are looking to diversify away from the dollar," said Jonathan Cavenagh, currency analyst at Westpac.

However, he added that if the report was true, "this looks to be a very long-term thing with a few hurdles to cross".

The report said the Gulf states wished to replace the dollar with a basket of currencies including the yen, China's yuan, the euro, and the new unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, which include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

China's central bank suggested in March that the dollar should be replaced by a new global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund.


What, I can't belittle people for their life choices from the ass of my car? THE INJUSTICE OF IT ALL

Those opposed to abortion won't have a chance anytime soon to buy "Choose Life" license plates for their vehicles now that the U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to weigh in on the matter.

The nation's high court refused to hear a request from an anti-abortion group, Choose Life Illinois Inc., to force the state to issue "Choose Life" license plates.

The court left in place a federal appeals ruling that Illinois officials were within their rights in trying to keep viewpoints on abortion off Illinois license plates.

After gathering 25,000 signatures in support, the group pressed Secretary of State Jesse White to allow the creation of the anti-abortion-themed specialty license plate, following the lead of surrounding states with "Choose Life" plates.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow, I'll tell you that. It was a shock," said Jim Finnegan, president of Choose Life Illinois. "When you have people in Hammond, Ind., coming to work in Chicago driving with one of those plates on their car, and someone in Belleville coming out of Missouri with them on, it just looked like we had a chance to get this heard."

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Wow, what the fuck.

Anti-Gay Cop Busted by Dash Cam?

Richard Fiorito accused of trumping up DUI charges, targeting gays, lesbians


Twenty-one people were roughed up and called anti-gay slurs by a Chicago police officer who trumped up bogus charges against lesbian and gay motorists, says the Gay Liberation Network -- and video released Tuesday appears to dispute the officer's report of a June arrest.

Officer Richard Fiorito has 21 federal suits filed against him, with 10-20 more expected within weeks, according to a release from Erickson & Oppenheimer, the firm representing the plaintiffs.

Attorneys accuse Fiorito of making the false arrests for the last six years in a scheme to earn extra overtime pay. 


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panda bear

(no subject)

Venezuela Bans Family Guy Over Concerns It's U.S. Propaganda

He's a pot-smoking toddler who fantasizes about killing his mother and he's the latest American figure to rile the Venezuelan government.

Stewie Griffin, the animated character from the hit cartoon "Family Guy," has caused offense here in Venezuela by singing a ditty lauding marijuana's restorative properties.

The Venezuelan government highlighted the clip as an example of how the U.S. government promotes pot smoking and the legalization of drugs. Venezuela resented a recent U.S. Congress report that said a fourfold increase in cocaine smuggling through Venezuela has been aided by police corruption and a refusal to work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"There's no subliminal messages here," said Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El Assaimi, who warned that the government would fine any TV station that continues to broadcast the show. "It's an animated cartoon where you can observe perfectly how they promote consumption and moreover sponsor the consumption of marijuana."

El Aissami blamed U.S. drug consumption for fueling Venezuela's narco-trafficking market and suggested that "adult" cartoons such as "Family Guy" were mouthpieces for the U.S. government's tolerant attitude toward drugs.

"Family Guy" is not the first cartoon to receive short shrift from authorities in Venezuela. Last year, "The Simpsons" was banned from terrestrial television after it was ruled "unsuitable" for children. It was replaced with "Baywatch," the 1990s series featuring scantily-clad lifeguards in California.

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panda bear

(no subject)

NASA To Bomb The Moon!

NASA is launching a dramatic mission to bomb the moon.

The LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite) mission will send a missile traveling at twice the speed of a bullet to blast a hole in the lunar surface near the moon's South pole.

Scientists expect the impact of the Centaur rocket to be powerful enough to eject a huge plume of debris from the moon. The moon dust should even be large enough to be seen from earth through telescopes 10-to-12 inches and larger, says NASA.

So what's our beef with the moon?

The bombing isn't an act of hostility: it's all part of our search for water in space.

The missile will impact the lunar surface at crater Cabeus A (see photo below). The crater is located on the moon's South pole, an area in which scientists estimate there may be billions of tons of trapped ice.

Scientists intend to examine the debris from the blast for traces of water ice or vapor. Discover Magazine explains how it works:

Detecting that water is tough. Radar results have been inconclusive, with some people saying there's lots of water, and others saying there's none at all. By impacting a probe there, any ice located at the impact site will be shot up above the lunar surface, where sunlight will break it up into O+ and OH- molecules, which can be detected. Thus, LCROSS.

Locating water on the moon would be a big boon for future space missions, NASA notes:

Transporting water and other goods from Earth to the moon's surface is expensive. Finding natural resources, such as water ice, on the moon could help expedite lunar exploration.

Check out an awesome video simulation of the LCROSS mission here.

Watch the LCROSS launch on a Live NASA TV Broadcast that will start at 6:15 a.m. EDT/3:15 a.m. PDT on October 9, 2009.

&#39; if you want beef then bring the ruckus
  • schmiss

At least they're not even trying to hide their disdain for women anymore.

NRCC: McChrystal Should Put Pelosi 'In Her Place', Wasserman Schultz: 'The place for a woman is at the top of the House of Representatives'

The National Republican Congressional Committee is urging Gen. Stanley McChrystal to put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "in her place" for weighing in on Afghanistan -- prompting one female Pelosi ally to blast the House GOP as "80 percent male," "100 percent white" -- and completely out of touch.

On Monday night, Pelosi told Charlie Rose "should go up the line of command" instead of publicly opining on strategy -- prompting a swift, sneering reaction from the GOP committee.

Mocking the first female speaker as "General Pelosi," an NRCC spokesman wrote, "If Nancy Pelosi’s failed economic policies are any indicator of the effect she may have on Afghanistan, taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is close to Pelosi, could barely contain her anger.

"I think the place for a woman is at the top of the House of Representatives," said Wasserman Schultz.

"It's evidence they long for the days when a woman's place was in the kitchen. Now a woman is third in line for the presidency... But it's not surprising, coming from a party that's 80 percent male and 100 percent white,"
she added, referring to the composition of the House GOP conference.

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The original headline was 'Dem: House GOP is "80 percent male, 100 percent white"'. I know mine went a little long but sheesh I think it represented the original story a little better... fucking Politico.
Gag Reflex

Gay Marriage Bill Introduced in D.C.

Published: October 6, 2009

WASHINGTON — City Council members introduced legislation Tuesday to allow same-sex marriage here. If it passes, as expected, Washington would be the first city below the Mason-Dixon line to allow such unions. The city’s bill is expected to become law by December.

But the measure is likely to draw harsh criticism from Congressional Republicans and conservative Democrats, many of whom face midterm elections next year, and they could act to overturn it.

After Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who supports the measure, signs it, Congress has 30 days to enact a joint resolution of disapproval. President Obama would have to sign that resolution for the city law to be blocked.

But even if, as most gay rights advocates predict, such a resolution is not passed, members of Congress could still try to attach a rider to another piece of legislation blocking same-sex marriage here.

“Opposition by some in the House already has been announced,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s delegate to the House, adding that she did not believe the opposition would be enough to block the city’s measure.

“Opposition to civil rights is not new,” she said. “We should approach the rights of gay couples and families with the same resolution and results as we had for others who have sought their human rights in Congress and in the District.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. In May, Washington passed legislation to recognize such unions from other jurisdictions, and Congress did not try to override that decision.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, said he did not believe his fellow opponents of same-sex marriage would be able to block the city’s measure.

“Given the other issues Congress is focused on, such as health care, it hasn’t got much attention,” said Mr. Chaffetz, the ranking member of the House subcommittee that oversees the District. “You couple that with the Democrats’ stranglehold on House rules, and the minority is left out of the legislative process.”

For the city, the issue has stirred race and class tensions, as most of the vocal opponents represent black churches, while the more liberal and white population largely backs the measure.

Advocates of the bill hope its success will accelerate efforts to pass similar legislation in Maryland. Maine voters will consider the issue on a ballot initiative in November. New Hampshire is scheduled to begin allowing same-sex marriages in 2010.

The City Council has two openly gay members, and around 5 percent of the city’s couples identify themselves as gay, the second highest rate in the country, according to a 2000 survey by the Human Rights Campaign.

If the measure passes, the city would phase out its local domestic partnership law and instead allow two people who are currently in a valid domestic partnership to apply for and receive a marriage license free of charge.

But the measure, whose main author was Councilman David Catania, still faces obstacles.

Last month, opponents of same-sex marriage filed a petition for a referendum on the subject. If approved by the Board of Elections and Ethics, the initiative would give city residents the chance to vote next year on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

“ ‘Let the people vote’ is the cry that is rising among the many ministers and churches in the D.C. area,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church and chairman of a group called Stand4MarriageDC.

Bishop Jackson, who helped file the petition for a referendum, said: “The faith community has been concerned for months that it’s been cast as bigots, racists, and worse. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The board rejected a similar effort in May seeking a referendum on the city’s law recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has also opposed the legislation.

“Marriage is a path toward holiness,” he wrote in a letter to about 300 Roman Catholic priests. “As members of the church, we are obliged to be all the more attentive to the challenges that weaken marriage.”

Mr. Catania pointed out that the measure protected clergy members from being forced to take part in same-sex marriage ceremonies.


You go, Microsoft Coco!

microsoft Pictures, Images and Photos

Microsoft gives $100K to Washington gay-partners effort

Posted: Oct 06, 2009 3:54 PM PDT

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. has donated $100,000 to the campaign supporting more partnership rights for Washington state gay couples.

That's the largest single donation in favor of Referendum 71, which asks voters to approve or reject a new law that expands domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples. Microsoft is based in Redmond.

The "approve" campaign committee, called Washington Families Standing Together, has raised about $780,000 overall, and spent about $200,000.

The "reject" campaign, called Protect Marriage Washington, has raised about $60,000, and spent about $35,000. Protect Marriage Washington's biggest single contribution so far is $2,200 from Bryant Adams, an Olympia retiree.


Source: http://www.khq.com/Global/story.asp?S=11269425
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North Dakota Passes Resolution Backing Public Plan. Kent Conrad on Its Own...

North Dakota Dems Pass Resolution Backing Public Plan, Alert Sen. Conrad

In a move that seems designed to push Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) on health care reform, the North Dakota Democratic Party voted two weeks ago to make the public option for insurance coverage a stated objective of its platform.

At a little-noticed policy committee meeting on September 19, state Democratic officials passed a resolution affirming their commitment to "universal single payer health care legislation." As a fallback option, the resolution read, the officials supported the creation of a government-run plan for insurance.

In an effort to apply the pressure to their representatives in Congress, the party also sent letters to the offices of Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, as well as Rep. Earl Porneroy, alerting them to the passed resolution.

The letter from Joe Aronson, executive director of the North Dakota Democrats, reads as follows:

On April 4, 2008, the Democratic-NPL Party met in Grand Forks for its biennial State Convention. During the Convention, the party adopted a platform and resolutions... Under the 'National' Issues' heading, item number 27, the party called 'upon Congress to enact universal single payer health care legislation.' I write to remind the delegation that this is your state party's official position on healthcare reform.

The resolution adopted by the Policy Committee on September 19, 2009, included an amendment that authorized me to request that if you do not support the party's official 2008 resolution preference, we would respectfully ask that you consider support a 'public option'

On behalf of the Democratic-NPL Party, I thank you for your consideration.

A member of the North Dakota Democratic Party said that the resolution was a statement of principle on health care reform that reflected the overwhelming consensus among Democrats in the state. "No one voted against it," said Chad Nodland, who sits on the executive committee for the state party. "And by the end of the meeting there were probably 60 to 75 people still there."

But the resolution also seems like a clear effort to exert pressure on North Dakota's congressional delegation. Conrad remains one of the highest-profile holdouts on the public option, insisting that the provision does not have the votes to pass the Senate and makes for bad policy. His obstinacy is frustrating Democrats in his home state.

"I don't understand the votes that have gone on," said Nodland, in reference to the debate in the Senate Finance Committee. "What I'm saying is, I can't put together what I've watched with what has been explained to me. I'm frustrated. I wish that what we were seeing were different [from Conrad] than what we've been seeing."

This is the second time that state party Democrats have put the pressure on a senior senator from that state to back the public option. This past weekend, the Nebraska Democratic Party passed a resolution making the provision a part of their platform -- in a vote that seemed designed to serve notice to Sen. Ben Nelson, (D-Neb.)

Shepard Smith Schools GOP Senator John Barrasso on Public Option.

Fox News's Shepard Smith Goes After Sen. John Barrasso On Public Option(VIDEO)

Earlier this afternoon, Fox News's Shepard Smith demonstrated some of that trademarked independent thinking that so often gets him in dutch with the cable network's most dedicated viewers, when he took on Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and offered up some serious-minded and well-informed pushback on the public option. His initial response, for my money, is rich with substance and exceedingly well-expressed:

SMITH: Over the last ten years health care costs in America have skyrocketed. Regular folks cannot afford it. So, they tax the system by not getting preventative medicine. They go to the emergency room in the last case and we all wind up paying for it. As the costs have gone up, the insurance industry's profits, on average, have gone up more than 350%. And it is the insurance companies which have paid, and who have contributed to Senators and Congressmen on both sides of the aisle to the point where now we cannot get what all concerned on Capitol Hill seem to believe and more 60% of Americans say they would support, which is a public option. This has been an enormous win for the health-care industry, that is an unquestioned fact. But I wonder, what happens to the American people when we come out with legislation now which requires everyone to have health care insurance -- or many more people -- but does not give a public option? Therefore millions more people will have to buy insurance from the very corporations that are overcharging us, and whose profits have gone up 350 percent in the last ten years. It seems like we the people are the ones getting the shaft here.

Barrasso's response to this is to limply offer up the criticism that "we have not allowed the American people to read the bill," which to my knowledge, does not contain a section entitled, "Oh By The Way, We Are All In Bed With Lobbyists, Like Whores." Smith continues to press the point: "But with every vote against the public option is a vote for the insurance companies, sir, it is."

As much as I appreciate Smith for some informed support of the public option, it's a far rarer thing to see someone in the media, anywhere, who's willing to pin the blame for the degradation of the health care reform package on the toxic relationship between legislators and lobbyists. The only thing that would improve on this exchange would be for Shepard Smith to levy the same charges at Max Baucus or Kent Conrad, who, unlike John Barrasso, are actually relevant to the debate. But, hey, you go to war against the idiots that show up, I guess!

Immediately following the Barrasso segment, it should be noted, Smith interviewed Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh and challenged her on the same health care issue.

Betsy McCaughey Vs Anthony Weiner: Before Their MSNBC Battle.

The Ugliest Health-Care Debate

You think the political jousting in the Senate Finance Committee is rough? Wait until you see the right’s rumor machine, Betsy McCaughey, square off with big-government lover Anthony Weiner.

If you like partisan combat, the New York University/Langone Medical Center in Manhattan was the place to be Monday night. Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and the leading purveyor of discredited right-wing health-care rumors, squared off against U.S. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, a once and future mayoral hopeful who’s called for a complete federal takeover of health care.

The results were as explosive as advertised, bringing the virulence of a summer town-hall meeting—complete with heckling, shouts of “liar!” and signs conjuring socialism to one of America’s most liberal ZIP Codes.

Weiner opened with a detailed explanation of why, like 86 other members of Congress, he supports a single-payer system, which has fallen off the table in the current health-care negotiations. He likened it to Medicare, which operates in a similar fashion with lower overhead than private insurance. “Get the idea out of your head that this is a free market,” he said. “It's not.”

But before ending his opening 15-minute presentation, Weiner made a pre-emptive strike against his opponent, dutifully listing the many independent organizations and news outlets that have judged McCaughey's claims to be false, from Politifact to John McCain adviser Gail Wilensky (some have gone so far as to label her a liar). He prepared the audience for McCaughey's usual modus operandi, which she's employed for the better part of 15 years: Present a nonstop flurry of page numbers and out-of-context quotes that are impossible to evaluate in real time.

“The theme is whenever there's a discussion about saving money in Medicaid, Medicare, or anything, she says someone's going to die,” he said. “When there’s any discussion about having inefficiency—uh uh, someone's going to die from that, too.”

McCaughey followed her script, presenting a flurry of indecipherable excerpts from legislation, medical journals, and studies, with little context and even less time to absorb the dense text on screen. She jumped from complaints about the length of the bill—complaining it was not written “in plain English”—and repeatedly demanded that members of Congress pledge to read it in its entirety before voting.

“This isn't a problem of people not reading the bill,” Weiner responded. “In your case, it's a problem of reading the bill and then lying about what’s in it.” It was enough to make the deliberations now unfolding on Capitol Hill seem like a Miss Manners tutorial.

McCaughey seemed exceptionally agitated. She frequently raised her voice to a shout even when she had the floor, banged on the table, and even marching toward Weiner to address him directly at times—apparently forgetting how that ploy turned out in another fabled New York debate, pitting then-Senate candidate Hillary Clinton against Rick Lazio.

“This bill is a medical assault on seniors!” she shouted multiple times over the audience's boos and applause.
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Women Are Prey in Guinea.

Update on Guinea...

CONAKRY, Guinea — Cellphone snapshots, ugly and hard to refute, are circulating here and feeding rage: they show that women were the particular targets of the Guinean soldiers who suppressed a political demonstration at a stadium here last week, with victims and witnesses describing rapes, beatings and acts of intentional humiliation.

“I can’t sleep at night, after what I saw,” said one middle-aged woman from an established family here, who said she had been beaten and sexually molested. “And I am afraid. I saw lots of women raped, and lots of dead.”

One photograph shows a naked woman lying on muddy ground, her legs up in the air, a man in military fatigues in front of her. In a second picture a soldier in a red beret is pulling the clothes off a distraught-looking woman half-lying, half-sitting on muddy ground. In a third a mostly nude woman lying on the ground is pulling on her trousers.

Warning: graphically describe sexual assault In source article

In a related story, Guinea was listed 43rd in a report that ranked the 51 nations in Africa in term of corruptness/how well governed they are ,just above Zimbabwe. This was before the recent change of leadership. (more on this later)
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