October 19th, 2009

Ludicrous speed by teh_indy
  • lidane

Looking to hire an Alaskan ex-governor? Check LinkedIn.

Sarah Palin has joined LinkedIn. And guess what? She's interested in "job inquiries."

The former Alaska governor has posted her resume on the professional social-networking web site LinkedIn. The service boasts over 45 million users who connect and refer colleagues. Instead of using the Facebook term "friends," LinkedIn users have "connections." Palin had over 500 connections as of Saturday evening.

The URL for Palin's LinkedIn profile uses "/governorpalin" despite the fact that Palin resigned from her job as Alaska's governor in July 2009.

The University of Idaho is the sole education entry on Palin's LinkedIn profile. She does not list the four other institutions she attended before earning her degree.

The former governor is no stranger to social networking. Before and after resigning, Palin posted lengthy messages on her Facebook page. Palin posted a message slamming President Barack Obama over the Afghan War just a couple weeks ago.

She has over 929,000 Facebook supporters.

Politico has hypothesized that Palin's use of Facebook might have something to do with her resources:

To some degree, Palin's strategy may be driven by necessity. The former governor has operated with a skeleton crew since leaving the governor's office, with a team consisting of only a handful of staffers employed by her political action committee located in Virginia.

Sarah Palin's popularity took a dive recently. Her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life" will be released November 17.



Sarah Palin's LinkedIn page
chill pill-red gradient

Nothing to lose

Health care bill makes Sen. Roland Burris relevant

For Democrats determined to get a health care bill, Sen. Roland Burris is like the house guest who couldn't be refused, won't soon be leaving and poses a plausible threat of ruining holiday dinner.

Suddenly, he can no longer be ignored.

The Illinois Democrat, appointed by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, says he'll only vote for a bill to provide health care to millions more Americans as long as it allows the government to sell insurance in competition with private insurers.

And he says he won't compromise.

"I would not support a bill that does not have a public option," Burris, 72, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "That position will not change."

Those words caught the attention of the very Democratic leaders who tried to keep Burris out of the Senate, suggested he resign and have shunned him in unprecedented fashion. Burris is not the only Democrat to insist on creation of a government-run health plan. But he is the one who has the least to lose by defying President Barack Obama and the Democrats who once turned him out in the cold rain.

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In Hawaii’s Health System, Lessons for Lawmakers

HONOLULU — Imee Gallardo, 24, has been scooping ice cream at a Häagen-Dazs shop at Waikiki Beach for five years, and during that time the shop has done something its counterparts on the mainland rarely do: it has paid for her health care.

Richard Caldarazzo, a manager at Lulu’s Waikiki Surf Club, said restaurants on the mainland had never provided health care.

Ms. Gallardo cannot imagine any other system.

“I wouldn’t get coverage on the mainland?” Ms. Gallardo asked. “Even if I worked? Why?”

Since 1974, Hawaii has required all employers to provide relatively generous health care benefits to any employee who works 20 hours a week or more. If health care legislation passes in Congress, the rest of the country may barely catch up.

Lawmakers working on a national health care fix have much to learn from the past 35 years in Hawaii, President Obama’s native state.

Among the most important lessons is that even small steps to change the system can have lasting effects on health. Another is that, once benefits are entrenched, taking them away becomes almost impossible. There have not been any serious efforts in Hawaii to repeal the law, although cheating by employers may be on the rise.

But perhaps the most intriguing lesson from Hawaii has to do with costs. This is a state where regular milk sells for $8 a gallon, gasoline costs $3.60 a gallon and the median price of a home in 2008 was $624,000 — the second-highest in the nation. Despite this, Hawaii’s health insurance premiums are nearly tied with North Dakota for the lowest in the country, and Medicare costs per beneficiary are the nation’s lowest.

Hawaii residents live longer than people in the rest of the country, recent surveys have shown, and the state’s health care system may be one reason. In one example, Hawaii has the nation’s highest incidence of breast cancer but the lowest death rate from the disease.

Why is Hawaiian care so efficient? No one really knows.

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NGL, when I was a kid, I thought employers of all states were required to insure employees that work 20+ hours. It just seemed logical to me.

ETA: Fixed the HTML--sorry if I messed up anyone's layout for a while there. Click on the pic to enlarge it.
franklin sherman

LOL Fattie - Overweight 'should be protected'

Attacking someone for being fat should be a hate crime, campaigners say.

They want so-called "fat-ism" to be made illegal on the same grounds as race, age and religious discrimination.

A demonstration is being held outside the offices of the mayor of London asking him to lead the way in making sure employers are not prejudiced. Protesters want the UK to follow San Francisco, where a law bans "fat-ism" in housing and employment and stops doctors pressing patients to slim down.

Sondra Solway, a San Francisco lawyer, said: "The San Francisco ordinance says you may want to mention weight to the patient but if the patient says they do not want to talk about that then you are asked to respect those wishes."


edit: the truffle shuffle is a hate crime?

Healthcare bills lack protections against treatment denials, experts say

Healthcare bills lack protections against treatment denials, experts say
Measures pending in Congress push insurers to keep down costs and cover all regardless of health. That leaves the firms with a big cost-containment tool: refusing requests to cover treatments.

Despite growing frustration with the way health insurers deny medical treatments, major healthcare bills pending in Congress would give patients little new power to challenge those sometimes life-and-death decisions.

"Right now, the deck is stacked against patients," said Bryan Liang, director of the Institute of Health Law Studies at California Western Law School in San Diego. "Healthcare reform is not going to change the ball game."

Yet a patient's ability to fight insurers' coverage decisions could be more important than ever because Congress, in promoting cost containment and price competition, may actually add to the pressure on insurers to deny requests for treatment.

By requiring insurers to cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, healthcare reform will make it more difficult for insurers to control their costs, or "bend the cost curve," by avoiding sick people.

That leaves insurers with the other big cost-containment tool: turning down requests to cover treatments.
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Buju Redo: Balloon Boy's Rap About "Killing The Faggot"

Twitter is lighting up at the moment with the uncovering of this video of the Heene family boys, better known to the world as the "balloon family", in which they rap about the "pussification" of American men and boast "I hate gay faggots, I (kill? hit?) 'em with a bat." Or something like that. You judge at the 2:40 mark. Immediately following, the kid unmistakably speaks about throwing a rock at a "faggot" in a tree.

(no subject)


A "kiss-in" planned by the group Queer Liberaction at Fort Worth Stockyards, which bills itself as "the wholesome western experience of Fort Worth", turned into a loud demonstration on Saturday as counter-protesters arrived and the two groups squared off against one another.

The Star-Telegram reports
: "About 40 members of Queer Liberaction said they needed to take a stand against intolerance by carrying out public displays of affection in what they considered an area not traditionally friendly toward gays. The other group, mainly evangelical Christians and also numbering about 40, said homosexuality is a clear lifestyle choice, not a naturally occurring sexual orientation as many scientists believe. They beseeched Liberaction members to abandon their 'kiss-in' and come to Jesus Christ as straight adults. The gatherings broke up peacefully. Joe Remsik, 37, leader of Liberaction’s Fort Worth chapter, said the demonstration was to let the public know about fears within the city’s gay community."

Watch a news report from The 33 TV


Source + Source

"Now you can't have any of my pot pie."
  • doop

Owning a cat helped immigrant avoid deportation

An immigrant facing deportation from Britain cited ownership of a pet cat with his girlfriend as part of his legal battle to stay in the country, it was revealed today.

The man, a Bolivian who came to the UK as a student, gave cat ownership as one of "many details" to prove the long-term nature of his relationship, his solicitor Barry O'Leary said.

But the solicitor insisted that his client had "never" argued that he should be allowed to stay on the grounds of the cat. Nor had he been allowed to stay because of this, he said.

The Home Office had appealed to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal against a judgment allowing the man to stay in the country.

Mr O'Leary said: "We were never arguing on the basis that the cat was material. We argued that there is a Home Office policy they should have applied in this case because of the long term nature of the couple's relationship.

"The immigration judge found that was the reason the appeal should be allowed."

Giving her judgment against the Home Office appeal, senior immigration judge Judith Gleeson joked that the cat "need no longer fear having to adapt to Bolivian mice".

Neither the man, nor his cat, have been named in the judgment, delivered in December last year.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "We were disappointed by the court's decision in this case.

"The UK Border Agency vigorously opposes any appeal against detention, deportation or removal but if the courts insist an individual cannot be removed we have to accept their judgment."

Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: "Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry. If pet ownership is going to be used as a reason for deciding immigration cases, then the law really is an ass.

"This is clearly not a sensible use of human rights legislation which is designed to protect people's basic needs."

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said: "The problem is not Bolivian mice, the problem is the mice who are appointed to the bench in Britain.

"We are facing a population crisis due to immigration and it is high time the judiciary understand the long-term consequences of decisions such as this which render removal of illegal immigrants almost impossible."


Tim Wise pwns the intellectually dishonest about "the good old days."

The Avatar of Amnesia: Glenn Beck, Historical Memory and the Evil of Right-Wing Populism
Source the Red Room: and Time Wise Facebook Notes
Today at 00:04
The Avatar of Amnesia:
Glenn Beck, Historical Memory and the Evil of Right-Wing Populism
By Tim Wise
October 18, 2009

There is none so dangerous as the white American who waxes nostalgic about what he or she likes to call "the good old days." Or, alternately, those "simpler" times, or the era of so-called "innocence" remembered from their childhoods, memorialized in a Norman Rockwell painting, or via televised re-runs of the Cleaver family, or Opie Taylor casting a line down at the ol' fishin' hole.

None so dangerous because such persons, through their lamentations about having lost the nation they so fondly remember, disregard as if they were a mere annoyance, unworthy of consideration, the lived experiences of millions of their fellow countrymen and women: peoples of color for whom so many of those days were anything but good, far from simple, and part of an era that can only be thought of as innocent by a people utterly inured to suffering, wholly incapable of even defining innocence, let alone identifying it, and unable, for reasons of their own racial narcissism, to stare truth in the face. In this case, the truth that their recollections are the very definition of selective memory. Perhaps worse, delusion itself.
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  • dwer

but, you know. This isn't incitement or anything.

Launched in March by Las Vegan Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers bills itself as a nonpartisan group of current and retired law enforcement and military personnel who vow to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution.

More specifically, the group’s members, which number in the thousands, pledge to disobey orders they deem unlawful, including directives to disarm the American people and to blockade American cities. By refusing the latter order, the Oath Keepers hope to prevent cities from becoming “giant concentration camps,” a scenario the 44-year-old Rhodes says he can envision happening in the coming years.

It’s a Cold War-era nightmare vision with a major twist: The occupying forces in this imagined future are American, not Soviet.

“The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here,” Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer, said in an interview with the Review-Journal. “My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can’t do it without them.

Source says "WOLVERINES RULE!"

The Fat and Short of It

The Fat and Short of It
Published: October 15, 2009

At nearly 6 feet 2 inches and about 175 pounds, Barack Obama may be the slimmest president since the Civil War. His body-mass index hovers near 23, well within the healthy range and somewhat to the left on the bell curve of American bodies. Perhaps he has some credibility, then, when he encourages the rest of us to shed a few pounds. During the presidential campaign, Obama suggested that rolling back obesity rates would save a trillion dollars for Medicare.

He’s right that there is a connection between excess fat and public health. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other problems. If we could somehow slenderize the fattest people in America all at once, we would prevent an estimated 112,000 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But girth shouldn’t be the only dimension in the health care debate. There’s at least one more bodily attribute that’s eating away at the Medicare budget: shortness.

[One of the first pictures that come up when I googled short people]
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Source feels bad about being short

Not going to lie, I'm posting this just for the possible wank. I assume bludstone will oblige me.

(no subject)

Two newlyweds are fighting for the dismissal of the justice of the peace who refused them a marriage license because they are of different races.

"We've retained an attorney, and we're in the process of taking the next steps in order to make sure that (the justice of the peace) loses his job," Beth McKay told CNN's "American Morning" on Monday.

She and her husband, Terence McKay, stepped into the national spotlight when Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refused them a license.

They ultimately got a marriage license from another justice of the peace in the same parish.

Despite a national uproar and a call by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for him to lose his license, Bardwell, 56, said he has no regrets. "It's kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven't done wrong," he told CNN affiliate WAFB on Saturday.

He insisted he is not racist and does not treat black people differently. He said he does not perform mixed-race marriages because he is concerned about the children of such marriages.

Bardwell did not return calls from CNN.

Beth McKay, 30, said she was speaking with Bardwell's wife by phone about getting a marriage license and was "shocked" to be asked whether they are an interracial couple.

"She said, 'Well, what's the deal? Is he black, or are you black?' And so I answered her question, and then she just said, 'Well, we don't do interracial marriages.'"

Terence McKay, 32, told CNN, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but he's absolutely wrong on all aspects of his stance." McKay added, "If it wasn't for interracial couples today, we wouldn't have our president. So for him to take that outlook, that's still like 1800s or something."

"A lot of people have come up to us and said, 'You know, we're in interracial relationships as well,' not just black and white, and just encouraged us to stand up for our rights and to speak out against things like this," Beth McKay said.

The incident "caught us completely off guard," said Terence McKay, "and we're just trying to live our lives."

The National Urban League called for an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, saying in a statement that Bardwell's actions were "a huge step backward in social justice."

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed out race-based limitations on marriage in the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia case. In the unanimous decision, the court said that "Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

Source better start preparing his file for unemployment.

Time To Decriminalize Drugs

OF ALL the noteworthy reasons offered for putting an end to the "War on Drugs", the one that surely gets the least play is this: people like their drugs and don't appreciate the Government telling them they can't have them.

Only a tiny fraction of drug-policy reformers trot that one out at conferences or in opinion pieces. Even some doctrinaire libertarians choke on the sentiment. We have to draw the line somewhere, they say. What message does adult drug use send our youth?

An important question, to be sure. But we might want to ask ourselves what message we're already transmitting to young, impressionable minds.

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Poison abortion bid doctor guilty

A doctor has been found guilty of poisoning his lover in a failed attempt to induce an abortion.

Dr Edward Erin, 44, of west London, spiked the drinks of Bella Prowse, 33, after she became pregnant but refused a termination, the Old Bailey heard.

The married father-of-two, who worked at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, had denied administering poison to procure a miscarriage.

Miss Prowse gave birth to a healthy baby in September 2008.

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Sen. Jon Kyl Skeptic That People Die Because of Lack of Insurance: "Free Market Will Fix That!!"

Sen. Kyl Not Sure People Die From Lack of Health Insurance

On Meet the Press Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was asked by host David Gregory if it is "a necessity to tackle the fact that there are more and more Americans who die because they don't have access to health insurance?"

Kyl responded with incredulity:

I'm not sure that it's a fact that more and more people die because they don't have health insurance. But because they don't have health insurance, the care is not delivered in the best and most efficient way.

As TPM points out, a highly publicized Harvard research study made headlines just last month. It estimated that 45,000 Americans die each year because they lack access to health insurance and that uninsured Americans are 40 percent more likely to die than Americans who are insured.

Kyl has been committing healthcare blunders right and left. Last month, he quipped about not needing maternity care while he was arguing that insurance companies should not be mandated to provide certain types of coverage. Kyl also singlehandledly blocked the extension of unemployment benefits through a procedural action. Both members of Arizona's Senate delegation -- Kyl and McCain -- also voted against the Franken amendment, which was written to provide legal protections for women who are sexually assaulted in the workplace.

See the video:


GOP Defends Their Own By Using Anti-Semitics Remarks: GOP Not Racist, Just Stoopid...

GOPers: DeMint Like A Jew "Watching Our Nation's Pennies"

Two South Carolina County Republican Party chairmen stepped up to rebut criticism of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in a newspaper editorial Sunday. But their defense of the senator might be overshadowed by their use of an anti-Semitic stereotype to praise him.

After a Democratic state senator wrote in The State that DeMint didn't bring enough money back home, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer responded that he was just looking after the nation's pennies -- like a Jew would.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," Ulmer and Merwin wrote in a joint letter published by The Times and Democrat. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

"It's people like Ulmer and Merwin that make many folks fear for the future of the once Grand Ole Party," wrote the conservative Palmetto Scoop.


Ian Pearl: "I am Not a Dog. I am A Human Being... Unless I Can Get Covered Under Pet Insurance"

I Am Not a Dog

I am not a "dog." That's what health insurance executives called me because I have a disease. I'm also not a "trainwreck," another term they used for members like me.

Soon after I was born in 1972, I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. By the time I was six years old, I was confined to a wheelchair. Doctors doubted I would survive, but I inherited my parents' determination, and I proved them wrong.

I was the first wheelchair-bound student "mainstreamed" in the schools of Broward County, Florida. I became a poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and president of my high school class. I entered college in 1990 with plans to work in politics and patient advocacy, but at 19, I had a severe setback and I was confronted with a stark choice. My survival would require a machine to breathe and round-the-clock nursing care.

A breathing machine usually means life in a nursing facility. But my father's small business had health insurance from Guardian Life Insurance Co., which promised "Solutions for Life." The health policy had no lifetime benefit cap and covered home nursing care. Relying on that contract with a 149-year-old company, I decided to go on a mechanical ventilator for the rest of my life.

Since then, I've endured life-threatening medical complications and long hospitalizations. I've lost my privacy and ability to travel. But I never regretted my decision to live, to continue to learn and write, and to share in the lives of family and friends.
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Even GOP Plan To Topple Obama is Not Working: "Why Is Obama Not Failing? You Lie!"

GOP Brand Has Declined Since Obama Took Office, According To New Polling Data

Despite spending the last 9 months battering the president's agenda, the Republican Party has neither gained any traction with voters nor has it appreciably damaged the Democratic brand.

A Democratic source noted, on Monday morning, that the aggregate polling data for how voters list their party affiliations has remained remarkably steady since the Obama administration took office. If anything, the GOP's appeal has worsened.

In late January, a USA Today/Gallup poll recorded 27 percent of respondents saying they identified with the Republican Party, 36 percent with Democrats and 25 percent as unaffiliated or independent. Now in mid-October, the average data compiled from dozens of surveys over more than a year shows Republican ID at 22.5 percent, Democratic ID at 33.7 percent and Independent ID at 35 percent.

Considering how much political capital Republicans have put into depicting the president and his agenda as anathema to basic American values, the numbers seem surprising and noteworthy.

The highest identification ranking for Republicans came in a February 2009 Rasmussen poll, where 34 percent of respondents listed themselves as party members. That was far and away the outlier. Since August there have been 18 public opinion polls conducted which have measured party identification. Of those, just one showed more than 30 percent of the public affiliating itself with the GOP. Twice, Republican self-affiliation was below 20 percent. By contrast, ever single poll during that time period has had Democratic Party ID above 30 percent, with a high of 38 percent in the month of August.

The results should come at some relief to those Democrats who are despondently self-assured of massive losses in the 2010 election (though, to be sure, national polls aren't always predictive of individual contests). There may be a large pool of independent or undecided voters waiting to be swayed in one party direction or another. But they aren't trending Republican. If anything, they are staying away.

If the Poll Data is not showing, just follow the link to see it...

Since we did have a post about it...

Mayor: Long way to go to make Rio safe before 2016

LONDON -- Rio de Janeiro has a tough battle ahead combatting security problems before the 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian city's mayor said Monday.

The challenges facing mayor Eduardo Paes since winning the Olympic vote earlier this month were underscored by a wave of violence in a city slum over the weekend that left at least 14 people dead.

"We never hid our problems during the bid process - we always told people we had problems and we are facing the problems," Paes told the Global Sports Industry Summit in London. "We still have a lot to do, we have a long way to go and what happened this weekend showed that."

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Extra police to battle Rio's drug anarchy

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil has deployed an extra 4500 police as bloody clashes with drug traffickers left 17 people dead over the weekend in the 2016 Olympics host city.

Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rio de Janeiro state's security chief, said reinforcements had been moved to Rio in an effort to calm tensions in the city's sprawling, impoverished favelas, or slums.

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And finally, a funny coincidence, last Friday the White House released this:

Presidential Determination
No. 2010-02


SUBJECT: Provision of U.S. Drug Interdiction Assistance
to the Government of Brazil

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I think the renewed attention and criticism could bring good results, this goes way beyond the Olympics. Considering Uribe is here, I hope this was a great chance for the federal government to think of better national and continental plans too. And the IOC dude didn't have to go that far, that was almost nothing in comparison to 2006 in Rio and São Paulo.


GOPers: DeMint Like A Jew "Watching Our Nation's Pennies"

Two South Carolina County Republican Party chairmen stepped up to rebut criticism of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in a newspaper editorial Sunday. But their defense of the senator might be overshadowed by their use of an anti-Semitic stereotype to praise him.

After a Democratic state senator wrote that DeMint didn't bring enough money back to the state, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer responded that he was just looking after the nation's pennies -- like a Jew would.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," Ulmer and Merwin wrote. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

"It's people like Ulmer and Merwin that make many folks fear for the future of the once Grand Ole Party," wrote the conservative Palmetto Scoop.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/19/gopers-demint-like-a-jew_n_326295.html

Sorry that it formatted weirdly. Anyway, I'm Jewish and I have never once watched a penny. Perhaps I'm not a real Jew after all!? Mon Dieu.
  • Current Music
    Let's Go Crazy - Prince

GOP Party Turning into a Party of Whiners.

Rohrabacher: House GOP leadership 'constantly trying to play a political game'

House GOP leaders are too interested in playing "political games" to score attention, one Republican congressman said this weekend.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) took shots at his own party's leaders in the House currently, and blasted fellow Republicans for having failed to have reform healthcare during the first six years of the Bush administration, when Republicans held Congress and the White House.

"Unfortunately, I see a lot of Republicans simply involved in political games," Rohrabacher said in an interview with conservative bloggers at this past weekend's Western Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in videos posted by the conservative blog Hot Air.

"The Republican leadership in the House right now is constantly trying to play a political game every day to try and get a headline, and I don't think that's going to take us anywhere," he added.

The California lawmaker, who was elected in 1988 and most notably sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pulled no punches when speaking about fellow Republicans, accusing them of only being interested in the "next couple days of headlines," and describing the GOP as facing a rift between populist and business interests.

"The American people rightfully think the Republicans are just complaining, because we had power -- we had both houses of Congress and we had the presidency," Rohrabacher explained. "What did we do with it? All of these changes that we could make to have improved our healthcare system we didn't do during the Bush years when we had both houses in Congress."

He described a battle within the Republican party as being between "regular Americans" and powerful business interests, as well.

"There is a rift between some very powerful forces within the Republican Party, who are very wealthy interests and powerful in the economic arena and business community and what's going on with regular Americans," Rohrabacher said. "And either we side with regular Americans -- the patriots -- or we won't win."
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Baucus Seeking to Water Down Public Option to Make it Less Socialistic-ish.

Baucus: There May Be 60 Votes For "Less Pure" Public Option

Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) insisted on Monday that a public option for insurance coverage was very much "alive" as he and two other Democratic senators merged together disparate health care bills.

But in what will surely be a disappointment for progressives, the Montana Democrat hinted strongly that the provision would be watered down.

"This issue is alive and we are looking at it to see what makes the most sense," the senator declared on a conference call with reporters. "The major overall goal here though is to get health care reform that passes the Senate, gets 60 votes, and I just don't know if there is 60 votes for the most pure kinds of the public option. There may be 60 votes for the less pure kinds."

The less pure kinds, Baucus explained, were co-ops, a public plan triggered by economic conditions and an insurance structure that allowed states to opt in or out of a public option. He seemed to find the last option the most intriguing.

"It is new and it is interesting," said Baucus. "Senators are trying to think it through, its effect, what it will do? We don't know yet."

The conference call, hosted by the group Families USA, was one of Bacucus' most extensive public conversations since the committee he chairs passed health care legislation by a 14-9 vote. Currently he and Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are in the process of melding together his Senate Finance Committee bill with one produced by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Baucus brushed off complaints from his Republican colleagues that Democratic leadership was forming health care reform in non-transparent, closed-door meetings with the White House. As for the much-criticized private industry study that alleged his bill raise heath care premiums, the Montana Democrat said it "was something slapped together at the end, and almost an embarrassment it was so poorly put together."

"It was one-sided," he added, dispensing with his usual laid-back demeanor. "It was wrong and frankly when the report came out... it galvanized... a lot of feelings in the Senate against the insurance industry. It was a last minute tactic that just didn't make any sense."

I want to say that I can't believe this, but...

Diocese seeks Chapter 11 protection in sex abuse cases

By Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - Delaware's Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to block the start of the first civil trial relating to more than 140 sex-abuse claims against diocese priests.

The diocese became the seventh in the United States to seek bankruptcy protection and its filing on Sunday put on hold the scheduled start of eight consecutive civil trials relating to a defrocked priest.

An attorney for the victims called the bankruptcy part of a cover-up. But the church said it was the best way to resolve the cases fairly.

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there's no place like home

Finns Shun Immigrant-Heavy Schools

Finnish parents are increasingly taking their kids out of schools with a heavy immigrant population. Families are even moving into different school districts to get their kids into schools with fewer immigrants.

One school in southern Finland says parents began pulling their children out of the school when the proportion immigrant kids reached 40 percent.

“We didn't see a flight when the proportion of immigrant kids was 30 percent. But as we reached the 40 percent mark, an exodus began,” says the principal of the school, who wishes the name of his school not be published as it already suffers from a poor reputation.

The principal says most parents are discrete about the reasons for taking their kids out of the school; however, some families are more direct.

“In one case the parents said they pulled their child because the child’s class did not have a single ethnic Finnish boy, which the parents said contributed to their child having no friends,” explains the principal.

Segregation of schools accelerates

Venla Bernelius, an urban geography researcher at the University of Helsinki, says the Finnish schools system is at a crossroads. Currently, a third of primary school pupils and half of secondary school students attend schools outside their district determined by residence. Special classes have long affected school choice, but parents are now increasingly paying attention to the student population at schools.

”Finland is going down the same road as Sweden and France. It appears as if differences between schools are growing due to parental choice and a widening gap in neighbourhoods,” says Bernelius.

Officials have attempted to stem the trend by allocating more funds to schools with special needs pupils.

“The main issue is where immigrants and foreigners settle down to live. It all boils down to urban planning,” says Rauno Jarnila, who heads Helsinki city's Education Administration.

YLE - source

Oh ffs, Finland. The more I read about immigration in the news the more depressed I get, like this study for example. I think this is interesting though, because so many countries seem to have this problem and now Finland seems to heading down the same road despite education being supposedly standardized so everyone is equal. I hope this can be fixed, though.

Finally some kind of good news

Honduras de facto leader lifts ban on media, protests

By Mica Rosenberg and Gustavo Palencia

TEGUCIGALPA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Honduras' de facto government relaxed restrictions on protests and opposition media on Monday as crisis talks dragged into a third week with no agreement on toppled President Manuel Zelaya's return to power.

Zelaya, forced out of the country by soldiers in a June 28 coup, slipped back into Honduras last month and took refuge in the Brazilian embassy. De facto leader Roberto Micheletti responded by deploying soldiers around the embassy, imposing curbs on press freedoms and banning large marches.

Micheletti promised to lift the emergency measures on Oct. 5 after strong international criticism, but the decree was only finally reversed in the official gazette on Monday.

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I don't really know how updated on Honduras we are at the moment, to be honest. Since Zelaya's return negotiations have been going everywhere and nowhere, concrete progress is yet to be seen (as far as I understand).
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Immigrant activists call out 'Illegal Alien' costumes

Immigrant activists call out 'Illegal Alien' costumes

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Immigrant rights activists are calling on U.S. retailers to stop selling two controversial "Illegal Alien" costumes that have surfaced for Halloween, saying the outfits are a broadside attack on illegal immigrants.
The "Illegal Alien" costume was being offered by retailers including Target, Walgreens and Amazon.com.

The "Illegal Alien Adult Costume," manufactured by Forum novelties, includes an orange jumpsuit, similar to prison garb, with "Illegal Alien" stamped in black across the chest; a space alien mask; and a fake Green Card. The "Illegal Alien Mask with Hat" also includes a space alien mask, this time with a dark handlebar mustache and a baseball cap.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said it began receiving e-mails from concerned legal immigrants on Friday. In response, CHIRLA wrote a letter asking several retailers, including Target, Walgreens, and Amazon.com, to stop offering the costume.

As of Saturday afternoon, Target had pulled the products, and some links to the costumes on other sites were no longer functional.

Target said the "Illegal Alien" costume was inadvertently uploaded to its Web site due to a data entry error.

"It is never our intent to offend the consumers with the products we offer," a company statement said.

The makers of the costumes could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

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I thought it was just a bad pun-type joke costume until I saw the second picture on the source site. The close up of the face mask made it clear exactly what this is.
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Three former governors enter, one former governor leaves.

Palin Is Distant Second in GOP Match-Ups with Huckabee, Romney

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s forthcoming autobiography has been at the top of the Amazon book charts for weeks, and it hasn’t even been released yet. At least in the eyes of the political Left, she is now perhaps America’s most visible national Republican.

But new Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveying finds Palin losing handily in face-to-face march-ups with her two likeliest challengers for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Among likely Republican primary voters, Palin now trails former Arkansas governor-turned-Fox-TV-host Mike Huckabee by 20 points – 55% to 35%.

When her opponent is ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Palin loses by 15 – 52% to 37%.

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Head-to-Head: Huckabee 44%, Romney 39%

If the choice for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 comes down to a choice between Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, Huckabee has a slight edge.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Republican voters finds that 44% prefer Huckabee, 39% favor Romney, and 17% are not sure.

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The amount of support for Huckabee is baffling. Conservative bloggers hate him possibly more than liberal bloggers do. Rush Limbaugh hates him. he's taken potshots at both Romney and Palin (the former more often than the latter, of course). I know "he's a nice guy, funny, etc etc" but how far is that taking him??

Why Rapepublicans Are Pro-Rapists: "Because The DoD is Pro-Rape"

Defense Department Opposed Franken's Anti-Rape Amendment

When thirty Republicans lined up against an amendment that would have required defense contractors to allow their employees access to U.S. courts in cases of rape or sexual assault, Jon Stewart ripped them to pieces.

"I understand we're a divided country, some disagreements on health care. How is ANYONE against this?" he wondered.

It's a question, it turns out, best addressed to the White House.

The vote against the amendment, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), has sparked outrage at the all-male, all-white bloc of thirty Republican senators. HuffPost readers have been particularly infuriated by the GOP opposition and have regularly posted the names of the offending thirty in the comment section of even unrelated stories. A mock website - www.republicansforrape.org -- has sprung up.

The men had an ally in opposition that has so far gone unreported: the Department of Defense.

"The DoD opposes the proposed amendment," reads a message sent from the administration to the Senate on October 6, the day the amendment passed by a 68-30 vote.

"The Department of Defense, the prime contractor, and higher tier subcontractors may not be in a position to know about such things. Enforcement would be problematic, especially in cases where privity of contract does not exist between parties within the supply chain that supports a contract," reads the DoD note. "It may be more effective to seek a statutory prohibition of all such arrangements in any business transaction entered into within the jurisdiction of the United States, if these arrangements are deemed to pose an unacceptable method of recourse."

Franken's amendment is intended to address the type of Kafka-esque treatment Jamie Leigh Jones received from the U.S. justice system after she was gang-raped by fellow KBR workers. The defense contractor argued that her employment contract required that her claim be heard in private arbitration rather than in open court.
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The Yes Men Stunt Infuriates Chamber of Commerce

Yes Men Pull Off Chamber Of Commerce Hoax On Climate Change (VIDEO)

Political performance artists, The Yes Men, have taken credit for today's prank, in which they posed as Chamber of Commerce officials pushing for comprehensive climate change legislation. In a statement from the group offered hours after a fake press conference was held at the National Press Club and a fake press release was sent out under the Chamber's name, The Yes Men said the following:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a dramatic announcement at the National Press Club today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reversed its position on climate change policy, and promised to immediately cease lobbying against the Kerry-Boxer bill.


Within minutes of the announcement, it was revealed that the "Chamber spokesperson" was an impostor, and the press conference an elaborate hoax designed by activists to draw attention to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's fight against public interest on climate change. At the close of the news conference, real Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Eric Wohlschlegel barged into the room visibly rattled, and declared the event a fraud.

The stunt was pulled off by the Yes Men, the activists best known for posing as corporate executives in order to reveal how corporate greed negatively influences public policy. Recently, the Yes Men have focused their attention on the urgent need for action on climate change. Today they sought to reveal--and repeal--relentless corporate lobbying of elected officials aimed at derailing domestic climate legislation and a much-needed global climate accord.


At the end of [fake U.S. Chamber "representative" "Hingo Sembra"]'s remarks, Eric Wohlschlegel confronted Bichlbaum. In the stand-off, both accused the other of being a fraud and disrupting business as usual. The standoff ended with Wohlschlegel dispensing his business card to reporters in the room, and attempting to field a number of pointed questions about the Chamber's real stance on climate legislation currently in Congress, which the real Chamber opposes.

The video of the National Press Club affair was passed along to the Huffington Post late Monday afternoon. It is a must watch.


Glenn Beck: "Volunteerism = Communism. Obama = Mao" Guyz! We Are Communist China Now!

Glenn Beck Slams Obama Encouraging Volunteerism: "Almost Like We're Living In Mao's China" (VIDEO)

The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a Hollywood charitable organization, has helped to organize a push in the television industry to encourage volunteerism among the citizenry. The support for volunteerism will be spread across 60 shows, and in some cases woven into the plot lines.

Enter Glenn Beck, who reads in this yet another conspiracy theory that President Obama is using Hollywood in an attempt to turn American in a communist nation: "Well, this is fantastic. It's almost like we're living in Mao's China right now."

Beck seems worried that by encouraging more volunteerism we're creating a problem, or a crisis, that will be exploited later, but it is difficult to follow the logic.
Basically, Beck's main point is that President Obama and Hollywood and the media are colluding to control your lives by promoting more community service and civic participation:

Celebrities are coming together to make it cool to volunteer. Disney gives you a free day at the park. This is all fine, but doesn't it seem a little bit convenient that all of this comes out now at the same time the Obama administration is calling for it? Obama controls the message through the media he holds in his pocket. Or in his little hand. And soon if you disobey, he'll just go [Beck slaps his hand]. Now the message will be embedded in television shows. Isn't this great? Aren't you proud of what we're doing? Oh, this certainly is change.


BNP hit by second leak of 'members database'

The BNP is bracing itself for potentially fresh embarrassment tomorrow when details of the party's UK-wide rank and file membership are expected to be posted on the internet.

The list, which purports to be a snapshot of the party's support in April this year, includes the names, addresses, postcodes and telephone numbers of people who have signed up to the far-right group, including the grade of membership assigned by the party – Standard, Family, Family Plus, Gold, OAP, and Unwaged.

This list was leaked to a website, which insisted today that it was genuine, and that it intended to publish the information tomorrow.

Today the BNP seemed unaware of the potential disclosure and said it appeared to have been timed to undermine the party ahead of its leader Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time on Thursday.

Today the political row about the BBC's decision to invite him on to the programme intensified, with the corporation refusing to bow to pressure from a cabinet minister to cancel Griffin's appearance.

The apparent disclosure of a membership list will add to the controversy surrounding the party.

The Guardian has seen the list but could not verify its authenticity. It appears to show that:
  • The BNP had 11,560 members as of April this year, including one peer;
  • The party appears to have benefited from a surge in female recruits – one in eight of the party's members are now women;
  • The highest concentrations of membership lie in Leicestershire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

If the document is authentic, it will be the third time the party's internal membership data has been made public in recent years.
In November 2008, a list of members' names, addresses, contact details and sometimes jobs and hobbies was leaked by disgruntled members, who were said to have become frustrated that the party had become too soft under Griffin.

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Source: The Guardian

Janet Street Porter on the Jan Moir debacle

In the past few weeks, three men I knew have died - Kevin McGee, Stephen Gately and Robert Key. The only thing they had in common was their homosexuality.

I was a guest at the party when Kevin and Matt Lucas celebrated their civil partnership, and had supper with Matt Lucas a couple of days before Kevin's suicide. Kevin was adorable, but his problems were completely self-inflicted. They were nothing at all to do with his sexuality or Matt's fame.

Kevin was an addict, pure and simple - but that does not diminish the horrible waste of his life, and must be hard for his friends who will wonder if there was anything at all they could have done to prevent him ending his life.

Robert Key, who has died after a long illness, was one of the most charming, modest men you could ever meet - a tireless fundraiser who ran the Elton John Aids Foundation for 16 years, he helped to raise more than $ 150million, setting up more than 500 programmes to help HIV sufferers and their families all over the world. He will be sorely missed.

Which brings us to Stephen Gately, who I spent a week's holiday with a few years ago, and found delightful.

Stephen was almost too innocent for his own good. He didn't drink much and smoked the occasional spliff. You could say he was a bit naive.

So I was astonished to read in Jan Moir's column last Friday that his death 'strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships', and 'under the carapace of glittering hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see'.

What exactly was bothering Jan? The fact Stephen was gay, the fact he was in a civil partnership, or the fact that he or his partner might have enjoyed sex with someone they had just met?

I don't think that gay men all behave in the same way - there are as many varieties of relationships within the gay community as there are in the straight one.

Civil Partnerships are just that - they are not marriages. And let's not forget, whether Jan likes it or not, they have been enshrined in law by our democratically elected parliament.

If Stephen and his partner went to a nightclub and returned to their flat with another man, is it really any of our business?

Fact - Stephen Gately died of natural causes, not from guilt. It's not as if extra-marital sex is unusual in our society.

Plenty of married men and women go out, pick up strangers and have threesomes, and yet we are not claiming that marriage as an institution is on the rocks.

Vanessa George, the paedophile who abused small children and who still refuses to identify them, was married with children.

What people get up to behind their front doors is up to them. I didn't think that Stephen Gately's death was sanitised, as Jan claims.

Far from it. In fact, some of the Press implied the singer had been on a drinking binge, whereas now the barman in the club he visited claims Stephen was sober.

Last week, another homosexual man died, but he didn't get an obituary in the Telegraph like Robert Key or lurid front pages like Stephen and Kevin.

Ian Baynham, a civil servant, who by all accounts was a thoroughly decent man and a good neighbour, died after an alleged attack right in the middle of London, in full view of passers-by in Trafalgar Square.

After shouting homophobic abuse at him, his assailants are accused of punching and kicking him, leaving him with fatal head injuries.

No one went to his aid. Two teenage girls and an 18-year-old boy have been arrested.

Over the past year, the number of attacks against gay men and women in London has risen nearly 20 per cent, and in a recent survey 90 per cent of the gay men and women questioned said they had experienced homophobic insults and abuse.

That concerns me a hell of a lot more than what goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors.

Source: You'll never guess. :O

Despite being a Mail columnist I kind of liked JSP already (she reminds me of Marsha from Spaced :3 ), but yeah... newfound respect for the woman after reading this.