October 11th, 2009


Even if Health Care Reform Passes, There Will Be a Long Wait...

Wait For Health Care Benefits Is 3 Years If Health Care Bill Passes

Sixty years is how long Democrats say they've been pushing for legislation that provides health care access for all Americans. They'll have to wait another three if President Barack Obama gets a bill to sign this year.

Under the Democratic bills, federal tax credits to help make health insurance affordable for millions of low- and middle-income households won't start flowing until 2013 – after the next presidential election. But Medicare cuts and a sizable chunk of the tax increases to pay for the overhaul kick in immediately.

The eat-your-vegetables-first approach is causing heartburn for some Democrats. Three years is a long time to wait for dessert, and opponents could capitalize on misgivings about the complex legislation to undo what would be a signature achievement for Obama.

"The real danger is that health reform could be vulnerable to what we see with the stimulus package," said Democratic health policy consultant Peter Harbage, referring to criticism that Obama's $787 billion economic plan hasn't stemmed rising unemployment. "There needs to be more focus on what can you do quickly so that real people will start seeing change sooner, rather than later."

Said Judy Feder, a senior health official in President Bill Clinton's administration: "Just as we are fending off ideological attacks to get the bill passed, we will be fending them off as we implement the law."

Obama administration officials and Democratic lawmakers say the reason for the three-year wait is the time it's going to take to set up insurance marketplaces, write consumer protection rules and reconfigure the bureaucracy to carry out the legislation. It took President George W. Bush's administration two years to phase in the Medicare prescription benefit, a more modest undertaking.

"It's very important to get the execution right," White House budget director Peter Orszag told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

There's another reason, less talked about: to make the costs of the plan seem more manageable under congressional budgeting rules.
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franklin sherman

Obama FTC graciously provides us 80 pages of new rules we have to follow when blogging.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that it would be policing blogs and social media for the first time, cracking down on “reviewers” and advertisers who fail to provide full disclosure in endorsements, sparking intense outrage among the regulated. Violators can be subject to $11,000 fines per infraction.

"Given that social media has become such a significant player in the advertising area, we thought it was necessary to address social media as well," explained the FTC’s assistant director of advertising practices Richard Cleland, describing the agency’s first overhaul of its endorsement policies in almost 30 years. The proposal was adopted with the unanimous approval of all four commissioners.

More than 80 pages of confusing new rules will now govern bloggers’ and even social media users’ activity. If they are paid to write an endorsement, or even if they receive an item for free and then write about it, everything must be noted “clearly and conspicuously.” There are also provisions mandating that people disclose any “material ties.”


(in b4 source is mocked and news is ignored)

edit: Yeah that didnt take long.


edit2: Libertarian Mumbo Jumbo.

So how would you guys feel if Sarah Palin wins (god forbid) in 2012, and she assigns some 70 year old guy who thinks you can pray the gay away to the position of FTC chief? Would you want someone like her to have this enforcement authority? Id rather not give the government the power in the first place.

A darker side of Columbus emerges in US classrooms

TAMPA, Fla. – Jeffrey Kolowith's kindergarten students read a poem about Christopher Columbus, take a journey to the New World on three paper ships and place the explorer's picture on a timeline through history.

Kolowith's students learn about the explorer's significance — though they also come away with a more nuanced picture of Columbus than the noble discoverer often portrayed in pop culture and legend.

"I talk about the situation where he didn't even realize where he was," Kolowith said. "And we talked about how he was very, very mean, very bossy."

Columbus' stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts will not observe his namesake holiday on Monday. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations.

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NJ's Largest Paper Endorses Independent Candidate for Gov

The Star-Ledger today endorses independent candidate Chris Daggett and recommends his election as the next governor of New Jersey.

The newspaper’s decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state’s current plight. Collapse )

Ledger Article

Independent Chris Daggett talks about how he could win

Posh Zoom

National Equality March Post?

There's no post about this yet, but the National Equality March is happening right now in Washington D.C.

C-Span is streaming it on their website (and on the tv as well) : http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN_wm.aspx

and it's currently the number #2 trending topic on Twitter. : http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23nem or #nem.

I was hoping this post could be a live post/update with more stuff as it happens. Right now no news outlets seem to be picking up the story from what I've seen online.

handle me

White House Calls Out Fox News

Anita Dunn: Fox News An Outlet For GOP Propaganda

The White House's communications staff announced this week that it was charting out a new, more aggressive strategy this past week, defined largely by a pledge to push back hard against news stories that are either inaccurate or unflattering. On Sunday, the strategy was on full display as communications director Anita Dunn gave a lengthy and brutal denunciation of Fox News, calling the cable outlet a vehicle for Republican Party propaganda and an ideological opponent of the president.

Dunn's remarks are notably blunt and direct, especially from a White House that has received a large amount of flattering coverage and, when it doesn't, usually airs its grievances in private. They also are a bit misleading, as both the president's staff and its campaign arms at the DNC have cultivated favored members of the media of their own to which they routinely feed access and opposition research. It's a fact of politics and press, regardless of which party is in power.

That said, the administration clearly is pursuing a strategy of direct engagement when it comes to the fourth estate - one in which even the most trivial of unflattering stores do not go unanswered. Earlier in the week, Dunn told Time Magazine that she and her team were no longer going to "just sit back and defend ourselves, because [conservative media] will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."


Six whole years

Maddow Says It Better/ Makes Us Love Her More Every Single Day

RE: Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

From the Daily Kos: "And though the trigger is of course the pathetic reactions from the psycho-right, this is a must-see for Liberals. You don't get much more Lefty than Rachel Maddow, and her segment simply put some of the reactions from Liberals to a real shame."

More excerpts from NYT editorials etc. which contain rational thought about the discourse of American talking heads/ the American public concerning Obama's win at the source.


(no subject)

The grainy video, filmed in Bloomington, Ind., last year, features a young woman with bleach-blonde hair fidgeting in her chair. As haunting music loops over her small voice, she tells a Planned Parenthood worker that she’s 13 years old, almost 14. She mentions an older boyfriend. The worker says Indiana law dictates that people 13 years old or under who have had intercourse must be reported to Child Protective Services. The timestamp in the corner of the screen skips back and forth. The video lingers accusingly on a clip, edited to repeat multiple times, of the worker saying she didn’t hear the boyfriend’s age. It fades into black.

Lila Rose, the 21-year-old woman behind an undercover video campaign against Planned Parenthood, as well as the actress in most of her recordings, is scheduled to travel to Minnesota to speak at a benefit dinner for Pro-Life Action Ministries in Brooklyn Center on Monday.

Following the successful bipartisan push to defund ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) after a similar undercover video campaign, abortion opponents are refocusing their energy on Planned Parenthood. Only last weekend, following a speech in which she said she wished abortions in the United States would be conducted literally in “public squares,” Rose hosted a breakout session at the 2009 Value Voters Summit entitled “Defunding Planned Parenthood.” Participants were urged to “learn from people, like you, who have successfully stopped Planned Parenthood funding in their communities.”

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Iceland looks to stage a come back in serving...

First Iceland made all that money from metal processing plants (the investment game from China and Germany)with all that geothermal energy. Now they want the worlds servers to plug into the same source.

Since the financial crisis, Iceland has been forced to retreat back from high octane bubble living to nature.

Fortunately, there is a lot of that nature to retreat to.

It is a breathtaking world of volcanoes, endless prairies and ethereal winter landscapes.

Not, you might think, the most obvious place to stick millions of the world's computer servers which are, for all their uses, rather less attractive.

But the country now wants exactly that - to become home to the world's computing power.

Behind all the large internet companies lurk massive and ever growing data centres chock full of servers churning away.

Google for instance is thought to have around a million of the things, but even less IT intensive operations, banks for example, need hundreds of thousands of servers to store all their data.

Up to 60% extra energy is required to cool computer servers in the UK
The problem is that while these computers look innocuous, they use a lot of energy.

There is of course the power you need for the servers themselves, but almost as significant is the energy used to keep them cool.

"For every watt that is spent running servers," says Dr Brad Karp, of University College London, "the best enterprises most careful about minimising the energy of cooling and maximising efficiency typically find they are spending 40-60% extra energy on just cooling them."


Also, Did anyone go the Airwaves musicfest this year ? How was it ?

A Dogged Taliban Chief Rebounds, Vexing U.S.

A Dogged Taliban Chief Rebounds, Vexing U.S.

In late 2001, Mullah Muhammad Omar’s prospects seemed utterly bleak. The ill-educated, one-eyed leader of the Taliban had fled on a motorbike after his fighters were swiftly routed by the Americans invading Afghanistan.

Much of the world celebrated his ouster, and Afghans cheered the return of girls’ education, music and ordinary pleasures outlawed by the grim fundamentalist government.

Eight years later, Mullah Omar leads an insurgency that has gained steady ground in much of Afghanistan against much better equipped American and NATO forces. Far from a historical footnote, he represents a vexing security challenge for the Obama administration, one that has consumed the president’s advisers, divided Democrats and left many Americans frustrated.

“This is an amazing story,” said Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who coordinated the Obama administration’s initial review of Afghanistan policy in the spring. “He’s a semiliterate individual who has met with no more than a handful of non-Muslims in his entire life. And he’s staged one of the most remarkable military comebacks in modern history.”

American officials are weighing the significance of this comeback: Is Mullah Omar the brains behind shrewd shifts of Taliban tactics and propaganda in recent years, or does he have help from Pakistani intelligence? Might the Taliban be amenable to negotiations, as Mullah Omar hinted in a Sept. 19 statement, or can his network be divided and weakened in some other way? Or is the Taliban’s total defeat required to ensure that Afghanistan will never again become a haven for Al Qaeda?

The man at the center of the American policy conundrum remains a mystery, the subject of adoring mythmaking by his followers and guesswork by the world’s intelligence agencies. He was born, by various accounts, in 1950 or 1959 or 1960 or 1962. He may be hiding near Quetta, Pakistan, or hunkered down in an Afghan village. No one is sure.

“He can’t operate openly; there are too many people looking for him,” and the eye he lost to Soviet shrapnel in the 1980s makes him recognizable, said Alex Strick van Linschoten, a Dutch-born writer who lives in Kandahar, where Mullah Omar’s movement was born, and who has helped a former Taliban official write a memoir.

“There are four or five people who can pass messages to Omar,” Mr. Strick van Linschoten said. “And then there’s a circle of people who can get access to those four or five people.”
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Afghanistan Part II

Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco

THOSE of us who love F. Scott Fitzgerald must acknowledge that he did get one big thing wrong. There are second acts in American lives. (Just ask Marion Barry, or William Shatner.) The real question is whether everyone deserves a second act. Perhaps the most surreal aspect of our great Afghanistan debate is the Beltway credence given to the ravings of the unrepentant blunderers who dug us into this hole in the first place.

Let’s be clear: Those who demanded that America divert its troops and treasure from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003 — when there was no Qaeda presence in Iraq — bear responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan that ensued. Now they have the nerve to imperiously and tardily demand that America increase its 68,000-strong presence in Afghanistan to clean up their mess — even though the number of Qaeda insurgents there has dwindled to fewer than 100, according to the president’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones.

But why let facts get in the way? Just as these hawks insisted that Iraq was “the central front in the war on terror” when the central front was Afghanistan, so they insist that Afghanistan is the central front now that it has migrated to Pakistan. When the day comes for them to anoint Pakistan as the central front, it will be proof positive that Al Qaeda has consolidated its hold on Somalia and Yemen.
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Exhibit A in "Why Animal Hoarding/Cruelty Stories Don't Get Very Descriptive"

Woman who had 56 cats gets year in jail
By Bill McKelway
Published: October 9, 2009

A judge yesterday described conditions in a home overrun with dozens of cats as the most grotesque he has seen in 25 years of judicial service.

Staring silently at a sheaf of pictures of the dwelling's interior, Chesterfield General District Judge Robert D. Laney blanched and told the home's occasional occupant that the pictures were worse than those he has viewed of German prison camps, homicide victims and lifeless teenage drivers.

Moments later, Laney sentenced Patti Wheeler, 52, also known as "Cookie," to a year in jail on multiple counts of animal cruelty. And he certified a felony charge of destruction of private property -- the house, now condemned -- to a grand jury.
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Headdesk #1: At myself and my former neighbors. This house is two streets down from my parents' house, and just passing by it, you had to know something was up. People apparently had been complaining about the smell for years, and it didn't escape my notice that the carport of that house was full of furniture, and that there were never any interior lights on, ever. I began taking a different road in and out of the neighborhood most of the time because it bummed me out. But I chalked it up to a garden-variety hoarder, not an animal horder. :[

Headdesk #2: At the commenters at the source bitching about the judge's Holocaust comments. I realized that this was the judge I had for traffic court last year, and I half shat myself watching the other cases go up before me, because this dude? Did. Not. Play. And especially so on cases where you had presented a danger to other people.

I can't say I have a problem with his comments, though if I had my way the sentence would be even longer. I mean, I understand the impulse to save teh kitties (and the neighborhood used to have a lot of strays -- I wonder if this isn't where a lot of them ended up), but you would think someone who works in a veterinary office would be able to recognize an animal's suffering. I really hope it's upheld -- one year is no amount of time, really.
; husband

White House Thinks Demonstrators “Internet Left Fringe” Who Need to “Take Off The Pajamas”

Those anonymous White House aides are talking tough again, this time about what the New York Times calls “the largest demonstration for gay rights here in nearly a decade”:

LESTER HOLT: John what we saw in that protest today, was it simply frustration or does it represent a serious problem the President is having with an important part of his base?

JOHN HARWOOD: As a practical matter Lester I don’t think it’s a serious problem. We’ve seen and certainly Bill Clinton learned that they Democratic President can get punished by the mainstream of the electorate for being too aggressive on social issues so for now I think the administration feels that if they take care of the big issues — health care, energy, the economy — he’s going to be just fine with this group.

HOLT: But in general when you look at the left as a whole, have there been conversations about some things they thought would have been done but haven’t?

HARWOOD: Sure but If you look at the polling, Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the “internet left fringe” Lester. And for a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.

That is just classic. After pandering to LGBT leaders last night the truth comes out. Dear gays: grow up and let us get about the serious business of governance. Signed, some dude who’s too afraid to give his real name.

And old anonymous is, of course, full of shit. Obama’s poll numbers took a 10 point hit with Democrats after Kathleen Sebelius said the White House was willing to ditch the public option. She had to dial it back instantly, and ever since that time they’ve been scrambling to find a way to give the public option the heave-ho in a way that didn’t backlash on the President.

Word has it the White House polling department finally struck gold with the opt-out, so they got “progressives” to sell it to their fellow progressives and keep Rahm’s fingerprints off of it.

That’s an awful lot of trouble to go to for people you dismiss — anonymously, of course.

You can also view the video at the source.
  • cirisse

Greenpeace protesters have sleepover on the roof of Parliament

More than 50 had scaled Westminster Hall in the latest security breach there but about half have now come down assisted by police. Those that stay have food, warm clothes, sleeping bags and modified chairs, Greenpeace told the BBC.

The latest security breach comes as MPs are set to return to Westminster on Monday after the summer recess.

The demonstrators, some of whom plan to stay on the roof throughout Monday, unfurled banners and flags stating "change the politics, save the climate". They say they entered the grounds of the Palace of Westminster by using ropes and ladders to scale perimeter fencing before clambering on to the roof of Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the building.

The activists, aged from their early 20s to 71, said they intended to ask MPs to sign a climate manifesto on Monday morning.


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The Commons Climate Change Select Committee will publish a report on Monday assessing how the UK is doing on reducing emissions, meeting carbon budgets and building a low-carbon economy.

Security in Parliament was increased in 2004 after some high-profile breaches but questions have continued to be raised about protection levels.

Last year, activists from Plane Stupid occupied the roof for three hours in protest against Heathrow expansion, resulting in five activists being found guilty of trespass. Incidents in 2004 included a group of campaigners from Greenpeace scaling Big Ben's clock tower.

Pro-hunt protesters stormed the Commons chamber in the same year, while campaigners from Fathers 4 Justice threw purple powder at Tony Blair during prime minister's question time. 


Source hopes they brought some warm cocoa.