October 20th, 2009


India Loves Ayn Rand!

Consumer spending in the United States may be down, but an interest in Ayn Rand certainly is not. Sales of Rand's last novel, the vigorously pro-capitalism fable Atlas Shrugged, have seen a huge leap in 2009, briefly outperforming even President Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope on Amazon's best-seller list. Few 1,000-page, half-century-old tomes can claim so much.

At tea parties and town halls nationwide, amid outrage over government bailouts of Wall Street banks and Detroit carmakers and the supposed socialization of health care, protesters speak of "going Galt," refusing to work in what they see as a socialist economy, just as Rand's hero John Galt did. Even the mea culpa of Rand's most famous fan and follower, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, has done little to dent the appeal of her radical individualism and libertarianism, which Rand shaped into a philosophy she called Objectivism. But all this makes a certain amount of sense. Perhaps more surprising is the Ayn Rand boom that is building in another mass democracy: India.

Not only do Indians perform more Google searches for Rand than citizens of any country in the world except the United States, but Penguin Books India has sold an impressive number of copies -- as many as 50,000 of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead each since 2005, a number comparable to sales there by global best-seller John Grisham. And that's not counting the ubiquitous pirated copies of her works that are hawked at rickety street stalls, sidewalk piles, and bus stations -- an honor that Rand, a fierce defender of intellectual property rights, probably would not have appreciated.

Collapse )

SOURCE isn't full of Libertarians

For a month or so in high school, I was a hardcore Randian. How many of you had a Rand phase?

British Mining Company Accused of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques".

British mining company faces damages claim after allegations of torture in Peru
A British mining company is facing a multi-million pound claim for damages after group of protesters were detained and allegedly tortured at open copper plant mine. Source: guardian.co.uk Link to this video

A British mining corporation is facing a multimillion-pound claim for damages after protesters were detained and allegedly tortured at an opencast copper plant that the firm is seeking to develop in the mountains of northern Peru.

In a case that will highlight growing tensions between powerful mining interests in Peru and alliances of poor subsistence farmers and environmentalists, the high court in London is to hear harrowing accounts of people held for three days at the remote mine near the border with Ecuador.

When the protesters marched to the mine they found armed police waiting for them. They say the police were being directed by the mine's managers – although its owner, Monterrico Metals, disputes this. After firing teargas at the protesters, the police detained 28 people and bound their hands behind their backs.

The detainees say noxious substances were sprayed in their faces before they were hooded, beaten with sticks and whipped. Two of the protesters were women who say they were sexually assaulted and threatened with rape.
Collapse )

(no subject)

 Tulsa man says he was beaten because he's gay 

by: MATT BARNARD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
10/20/2009 3:51:57 AM

What should have been a 10-minute walk to a friend's house ended with a trip to the hospital for Brandon Patrick, a Tulsan who said he was severely beaten Sunday night because of his sexual orientation. 

Three people followed Patrick down the 1300 block of South Rockford Avenue about 11:45 p.m., yelling homophobic slurs and threats, he said. 

Patrick, who is gay, said he ignored the group until they closed in and then asked why they were accosting him without provocation. 

The assailants then started beating, biting and slashing at Patrick with a blade, he said, leaving him with several cuts on his head and body. 

Collapse )

NASTY pictures over at Queerty.

Atheist public transportation campaign makes its way to NYC

‘Good Without God,’ Atheist Subway Ads Proclaim

An atheist ad will run in dozen subway stations in Manhattan for a month starting on Oct. 26.Coalition of ReasonAn advertisement that promotes atheism will run in a dozen subway stations in Manhattan for a month starting next Monday.

Atheism is coming to the subway — or at least subway ads promoting it are.

Starting next Monday, a coalition of local groups will run a monthlong advertising campaign in a dozen Manhattan subway stations with the slogan “A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God. Are You?” The posters also advertise the Web siteBigAppleCoR.org, which provides a listing of local groups affiliated with the Coalition of Reason, the umbrella organization that coordinated the campaign.

The campaign — which is being paid for by $25,000 from an anonymous donor — follows a similar but unrelated monthlong campaign on buses by New York City Atheists in July. Jane Everhart, a spokeswoman for the New York City Atheists, said that campaign was highly successful and brought in many new members. “We are trying to raise money to do it again,” she said.

The subway station advertisements were chosen for the $25,000 campaign because they were the best deal for the given budget, said Michael De Dora Jr., the executive director for the New York branch of the Center for Inquiry. A Times Square ad would have cost $45,000 to $50,000 for a month, while a campaign that blanketed the inside of subway cars would have cost $70,000.

Collapse )


Mexico's pink taxis cater to fed-up females

Each pink taxi comes with a beauty kit, a GPS system and an alarm button.

The new fleet of 35 cabs in Mexico's colonial city of Puebla are driven exclusively by women and don't stop for men. The cabs cater especially to those tired of leering male drivers.

"Some of the woman who have been on board tell us how male taxi drivers cross the line and try to flirt with them and make inappropriate propositions," said taxi driver Aida Santos, who drives one of the compact, four-door taxis with a tracking device and an alarm button that notifies emergency services. "In the Pink Taxi they won't have that feeling of insecurity, and they feel more relaxed."

Women's rights activists are aghast at the cars' sugary presentation and said the service does not address the root of the harassment problem.

"We are in the 21st century, and they are saying women have continued worrying about beauty and nothing more," said Vianeth Rojas, of the Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Puebla. "They are absolutely not helping eradicate violence against women."

The new taxis, however, undeniably open up to Mexican women what has been an overwhelmingly male profession.

Forty-year-old taxi driver Lidia Hernandez, who previously worked at a gas station, called the pink Chevy compacts "a new and attractive source of employment."

Women-only taxis have been catching on in cities from Moscow to Dubai.

In Puebla, privately financed Pink Taxi de Puebla invested 5.8 million pesos (about $440,000) to start the service and the Puebla state government provided licensing and training.

If the program succeeds, officials plan to expand it to other cities.

A proposal to create a pink taxi service in Mexico City failed to get off the ground in 2007, but the crime ridden metropolis offers women-only buses and subway cars at rush hour.

franklin sherman

Obama stimulus "Create or save 3.5 million jobs" not so much, the numbers are out

Data released last week shows that the Obama administration’s stimulus program has created a pitiful number of jobs, under conditions where 15 million people are out of work and joblessness is at the highest level in a generation.

According to the White House web site, recovery.gov, stimulus contracts awarded by federal agencies accounted for only 30,383 new jobs over the last eight months.

The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed last February amid claims by the White House that it would “create or save” 3.5 million jobs over two years. Since its passage, 3.4 million jobs have been wiped out and apologists for the administration have been reduced to arguing that the situation would have been even worse without the stimulus package.

In damage-control mode, Vice President Joseph Biden’s office on Monday said the Recovery Act had actually saved 250,000 educational jobs by aiding bankrupt school districts. In fact, the pittance given to schools—which comes with the caveat that they implement merit pay, charter schools and other attacks on public education—has hardly slowed the slashing of public school employment.

This point was brought to the doorstep of the White House earlier this month, when hundreds of high school students in Washington, DC walked out of their schools to protest the layoff of 400 school personnel, including 229 teachers.

At the time of its passage, Democratic politicians claimed the stimulus package would provide money to repair schools, highways and bridges and carry out other infrastructure projects. Many in the media compared it to the New Deal public works programs during the Great Depression. In fact, it has done nothing to stem the growth of unemployment.

The states most in need of help received the fewest number of jobs. In Michigan—which leads the nation with a 15.3 percent unemployment rate—only 397 jobs were “created or saved.” This is a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of workers who lost their jobs in the state under Obama’s forced restructuring of GM and Chrysler.

Businesses in Nevada, which has the next highest jobless rate, reported 159 new jobs. Rhode Island, which has the third highest unemployment rate at 12.8 percent, reported only six new jobs. In California, where more than 2.2 million are officially unemployed and joblessness is the highest since 1940, only 2,260 jobs are attributed to the federal stimulus money.

super long article keeps going here:

and I'm citing a socialist site. Gasp and shock.
football / god is a just god

the war you aren't reading about

Of Wars and Demons
Indian forces are ready for a big offensive against Naxal insurgents in Dandakaranya and elsewhere. Let’s be clear, India will be at war

In Hindu mythology, Dandakaranya is the region where dutiful Devas led by Lord Rama fought numerous battles against Asuras—demons hellbent on destroying the peace and tranquility of the realm. Even today, there is a place called Dandakaranya in eastern central India, and it is about to become a theatre for one of India’s biggest internal military offensives ever. However, the line between Devas and Asuras, divinity and devilry, good and bad, has been blurred by the burden of its blighted history. Till now, the Indian Government never really cared for this region, an area of over 40,000 sq km that’s home to millions of tribals. To British colonialists, it was worth its weight in plundered minerals and forest resources. To successive regimes since 1947, it was a do-not-disturb jungle enclave, an isolation zone best left alone in honour of tribal wishes (or presumed wishes). Intrusions of all kind were frowned upon. Even official maps of this region did not exist until recently. No Nehruvian five-year plan ever touched this region. There was no drinking water, let alone electricity, schools or healthcare centres. Absolutely nothing.

Collapse )

“We Shall Certainly Defeat the Government”
Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, the supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) spoke to Open on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements

At first sight, Mupalla Laxman Rao, who is about to turn 60, looks like a school teacher. In fact, he was one in the early 1970s in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. In 2009, however, the bespectacled, soft-spoken figure is India’s Most Wanted Man. He runs one of the world’s largest Left insurgencies—a man known in Home Ministry dossiers as Ganapathi; a man whose writ runs large through 15 states. The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) is a science graduate and holds a B Ed degree as well. He still conducts classes, but now they are on guerilla warfare for other senior Maoists. He replaced the founder of the People’s War Group, Kondapalli Seetharaamiah, as the party’s general-secretary in 1991. Ganapathi is known to change his location frequently, and intelligence reports say he has been spotted in cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kochi. After months of attempts, Ganapathi agreed to give his first-ever interview. Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, he spoke to RAHUL PANDITA on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements.

Collapse )

Source: 1, 2

History!fail, future!fail, and general, large amounts of fail from the government and everyone involved, including a growing number of Indians whose lives are far removed from the sort of ground realities that sustain a Maoist - MAOIST! - armed revolution; so far removed, as a matter of fact, that the idea of going to war with your own people becomes not only thinkable but also justifiable. While parts of this interview are highly highly cool story bro, there are others that are a stark reminder of just how many people in the world's largest democracy and one of its fastest-growing economies don't benefit from it in the slightest.
team science

Does the vaccine matter?

Does the flu vaccine work? No one knows. And trying to find out would apparently be unethical.

Whether this season’s swine flu turns out to be deadly or mild, most experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before we’re hit by a truly devastating flu pandemic—one that might kill more people worldwide than have died of the plague and aids combined. In the U.S., the main lines of defense are pharmaceutical—vaccines and antiviral drugs to limit the spread of flu and prevent people from dying from it. Yet now some flu experts are challenging the medical orthodoxy and arguing that for those most in need of protection, flu shots and antiviral drugs may provide little to none. So where does that leave us if a bad pandemic strikes?

Collapse )

source at The Atlantic

If this is too long for you, read the last three paragraphs. They sum up the problem quite nicely.

Secret Service Cannot Catch Up With Teh Crazies. Rightwing Extremism Hatez Overload

Secret Service Spread Thin By Increase In Threats Against U.S. Leaders

An internal Congressional Research Service report says that the Secret Service does not that have the resources to deal with the unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, along with a rise in racist hate groups and antigovernment fervor.

The Boston Globe reports that the strain is forcing officials to rethink the agency's mission:
The new demands are leading some officials, both inside and outside the agency, to raise the possibility of the service curtailing or dropping its role in fighting financial crime to focus more on protecting leaders and their families from assassination attempts and thwarting terrorist plots aimed at high-profile events.
In a recent book on the Secret Service, journalist Ronald Kessler reported that threats against President Obama represented a 400 percent increase over those against his predecessor.

Dont blame the Secret Service if you see a rise in financial crimes, those guys are working too hard to protect Obama...

Are Republicans Becoming Extinct? No, Just Hiding.

Post Poll: Only 20% Identify As Republicans, Lowest Since 1983

Reporting on the new ABC/Washington Post poll has mostly focused on support for a public health care option. But the poll also shows that, while Republicans have succeeded in stonewalling Democratic initiatives in Congress, they have not managed to rebuild their party.

Only 20 percent of respondents identified themselves as Republicans -- the lowest number since 1983.

"These numbers, coming roughly one year before the 2010 midterm elections, show that any celebration on the GOP's behalf is premature as the party has yet to convince most voters that it can be a viable alternative to Democratic control in Washington today," wrote Chris Cillizza.

George Stephanopoulos adds:
Only 19% trust Republicans in Congress to make the right decisions for the country's future -- compared to 49% trust in Obama. In addition, President Obama outpaces his fellow Democrats on the Hill -- by 15 points -- in this measure, providing some ammunition to the perpetual White House argument to Democratic members that their political success is inextricably linked to the president's. And unlike other recent polls, ABC-Post give Democrats a 51-39 edge in the generic Congressional ballot.
Of course, the poll also has some troubling news for President Obama. Among Democrats, strong approval of the president's handling of health care has dropped 15 percentage points since mid-September.

2 year old girl denied coverage. Why? TOO DAMN SKINNY.

First it was a 4-month-old Grand Junction boy who was denied health insurance coverage because, at 17 pounds, he was considered overweight. Now comes word that a 2-year old Erie girl has also been denied coverage because she doesn't weigh enough.

Aislin Bates weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces at birth. She now tips the scale at 22 pounds.

"She's perfectly healthy, yet she has become a statistic," said Aislin's mother, Rachel Bates. "There's no reason for her to be a statistic as a non-insured person."

When Aislin's father, Rob, worked for another company, Aislin was covered under the company’s group health insurance plan.

Now that Rob is working on his own, he's had to get new insurance. The company, United Healthcard' s Golden Rule, sent the family a letter, which says in part, "We are unable to provide coverage for Aislin because her height and weight do not meet our company standards."

"It took me by surprise," said Rob Bates. "I didn’t think that her size was that abnormal and that it was something that you'd consider to be unhealthy."

Collapse )

franklin sherman

Amy Goodman - Watch What You Tweet

A social worker from New York City was arrested last week while in Pittsburgh for the G-20 protests, then subjected to an FBI raid this week at home -- all for using Twitter. Elliot Madison faces charges of hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime. He was posting to a Twitter feed (or tweeting, as it is called) publicly available information about police activities around the G-20 protests, including information about where police had issued orders to disperse.

While alerting people to public information may not seem to be an arrestable offense, be forewarned: Many people have been arrested for the same "crime" -- in Iran, that is.

Last June 20, as Iranians protested against the conduct and results of their national election, President Barack Obama said in a statement, "The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights."

His statement was released in English, Farsi and Arabic and posted on the White House's very own Twitter feed. His tweet read, "We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people."

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to pressure European nations to restrict sales of eavesdropping technology to Iran. They wrote: "Following recent elections, the Iranian government has used a new communications monitoring center to interfere with and suppress Internet and cell phone communications as part of efforts to crackdown on Iranian citizens peacefully demonstrating ... including voice calls, email, text messaging, instant messages, and Web traffic, as well as posts to social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook."

The U.S. State Department, impressed with the importance of Twitter to Iranian protests, asked Twitter to delay system maintenance that might have interrupted the service during the Iranian protests.

While Madison optimistically mused, "I'm expecting the State Department will come out and support us also," his lawyer, respected civil rights attorney Martin Stolar, said: "This is just unbelievable. It is the thinnest, silliest case that I've ever seen. It tends to criminalize support services for people who are involved in lawful protest activity. And it's just shocking that somebody could be arrested for essentially walking next to somebody and saying: 'Hey, don't go down that street, because the police have issued an order to disperse. Stay away from there.'"

Madison, his wife and housemates were roused from sleep during the weekend when the Joint Terrorism Task Force swept into their house, handcuffing them for hours, searching the house and removing computers and other property from everyone in the house. Madison said the FBI "for 16 hours, proceeded to take everything, from plush toys to kitchen magnets and lots of books ... they took Curious George stuffed animals."

Rather than encourage and support the use of distributed, decentralized social networks to strengthen our democracy and dissent (remember, the Obama campaign itself relied extensively on these online and mobile tools), the government seems headed in the opposite direction. Los Angeles Chief of Police William Bratton recently won acclaim at the annual meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a professional organization of police executives representing 63 of the largest cities in the United States and Canada. Bratton has launched "I Watch LA," described as "a community awareness program created to educate the public about behaviors and activities that may have a connection to terrorism." The iWatch program, despite Bratton's assertion otherwise, is about spying on your neighbors and turning them in to the police.

One Iranian twitterer for the virtual news hub Tehran Bureau recalled the June protests in an essay: "An officer spoke to us through a loud speaker: 'Disperse: This is your last warning.' The sight of them made my knees tremble, but the wave pushed on and so I went along." He was beaten, bloodied, arrested and held for 20 days. While Elliot Madison was not physically harmed, his legal battles are just beginning, and his case could prove central to the future of free speech in the mobile, digital age.

It is time for the digital censors here in the U.S. to disperse.

2009, Amy Goodman (Continuing to be Awesome)



Chicago woman reports abuser, and is rewarded -- with an eviction from her home.

Kathy Cleaves-Milan called police to report that she was the victim of domestic violence. She got help -- but she also got evicted.

A day after she told police that her live-in boyfriend had brandished a gun and promised to end both of their lives, the managers of her Elmhurst, Ill., apartment complex served her with eviction papers for violating the terms of the lease, citing the criminal activity she had reported to police.

"I was punished for protecting myself and my daughter," Cleaves-Milan, 36, said.

Attorneys for Cleaves-Milan have filed a lawsuit against Aimco, the company that owns and operates Elm Creek Apartments. In the Oct. 1 filing, attorneys with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and the law firm of Reed Smith argue Cleaves-Milan's 2007 eviction was a form of sex discrimination, based on Cleaves-Milan's sex and her status as a victim of domestic violence.

A representative of the company said the eviction wasn't solely about the domestic violence but also involved Cleaves-Milan's ability to afford the rent if her boyfriend moved out -- an assertion Cleaves-Milan strongly rejects.

The case reflects a growing concern among women's rights advocates that greater legal protection is needed for victims of domestic violence who rent in the private market. The federal Violence Against Women Act of 2005 protects victims who live in public or subsidized housing from eviction because of actual or threatened violence, experts say, but the law is hazier when it comes to private landlords. Advocates say a lack of clear protection creates a disincentive for abused women to seek help.

"It forces women into a situation where they have to choose between reaching out for safety or staying in their homes," said Sandra Park, a staff attorney in the ACLU Women's Rights Project.

Collapse )


Woman Faces 15 Years for Cutting Line at Walmart, KKK Involved

Posted by Boyce Watkins, PhD on Oct 12th 2009 10:55AM

Heather Ellis of Kennett, Mo., has quite a story to tell. It all started nearly three years ago in a local Wal-Mart.

Ellis was shopping in the store with a cousin, and the two temporarily parted ways to find the shortest line. Seeing that the other line was moving faster, Ellis went to get in line with her cousin.

She was accused of cutting the line by a store employee, who then notified the security guard. According to Ellis, she was shoved by another customer, had her items pushed to the side and was shortchanged when she finally checked out. The police affidavit states that Ellis was belligerent, loud, abusive and cursing when she was told to leave the store by the assistant manager.

Ellis' aunt, Lily Blackmon, received a frantic call from her son and claims that when she arrived, her daughter's head was being repeatedly banged against the police car as she told officers that she wasn't resisting arrest. Blackmon, who was a probation officer in the town for 11 years, asked the officers why her niece was getting such rough treatment.

Collapse )
DC: Congress

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Keynotes GW Law Symposium

I went to this and it was great - he def has more of a sense of humor than I would have thought!

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, often the deciding vote in split court decisions, was the keynote speaker Thursday at the GW Law Review Symposium. The topic of discussion for Justice Kennedy, 73, was judicial review, a function that allows courts to invalidate laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

“It is an awful power, awful in the sense of the grave, that 9 justices, 5 if the court is divided, can overturn law passed by Congress and signed by the President,” Justice Kennedy said.

The justice dismissed the notion, however, that judicial review is undemocratic or unconstitutional, explaining that Americans tend to agree with the Supreme Court a majority of the time. He also claimed that judicial review helps give the Constitution meaning in the present time.

He focused a large part of his lecture on the history and importance of English common law and how it has affected the individual liberties protected under American jurisprudence.

“Common law came from the people to the state,” he said.

The 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison established the concept of judicial review but Justice Kennedy focused instead on the evolution of the Constitution and the cases that have since been argued before the court.

In describing the debate on the court’s right for judicial review the justice noted that the Marbury case was the only judicial review case until Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857.

“It almost destroyed the court and the Constitution,” he said of the case that among other things concluded that African-Americans were not American citizens. Today, Justice Kennedy explained, many cases are brought before the court for judicial review highlighting that while the Supreme Court may not always be on the prevailing side of history, the system is working and the courts are reviewing cases in accordance with the law and the separation of powers outlined in it.

The justice implied he took comfort in knowing that other countries have looked at American judicial review as models for their own constitutions.

“I never thought that in my lifetime I would see Constitutions get written, it was fascinating for me,” he said. “Constitutions want judicial review, America made the case.”

The justice spoke from memory and experience, often quoting the law and philosophers without the aid of note cards. A sense of humor and ease filled the room for much of the discussion. In describing an experience overseas he spoke in a faux-British accent and the Justice mocked the idea of being the keynote speaker saying it is, “Somewhat pretentious for making remarks that might engage you in your profession.”

Assuming office in 1988, after two failed attempts by Ronald Reagan to fill the seat, Kennedy soon found himself straddling between the conservative and liberal segments of the often ideologically divided court. From capital punishment decisions to handguns in D.C., Justice Kennedy has often found himself to be the deciding vote in cases.

According to SCOUTUSblog, a blog about the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy was in the majority more than any other justice in the 2007 term including 18 of the 23 decisions that were split 5 to 4. He joined the conservative branch of the court and authored the 5-4 majority opinion in Kennedy v. Louisiana, which dealt with capital punishment. In District of Columbia v. Heller he went to the liberal wing and authored the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision that upheld a ruling by a court of appeals in overturning a ban on handguns in D.C.

Following his lecture Justice Kennedy took questions from law students. Among topics of concern was the level of interaction among justices.

Kennedy said the justices tend to send memos to one another, and do not interact face to face as much as people may expect.

“It is a little more isolated, insular,” he said.

He also addressed the fewer number of cases the court has been able to review in recent terms. According to records, in the most recent term spanning October 6, 2008 to October 4, 2009 the Supreme Court reviewed 83 cases. Justice Kennedy said the number should be about 100 cases review per term.  He said the court receives upwards of 10,000 petitions every year.

“Particularly striking were his comments that he would like the Court to hear more cases and that he was concerned with the state of civil adjudication and with important cases going to arbitration instead,” said Associate Professor of Law Renee Lerner, said in an e-mail to WRGW News. “Recall he laid out three areas of possible reform: lessening the time and expense of discovery, requiring the pleadings to state more clearly a valid cause of action, and controlling punitive damages,” Professor Lerner said.

Professor Lerner is among a distinct group of GW Law Faculty, having clerked for Kennedy. Justice Kennedy has the most former clerks now working at GW Law School, than any other justice. The other former Kennedy clerks on the full-time faculty are Associate Dean Gregory Maggs and Professor Orin Kerr. Former clerk Rachel Brand has just joined the adjunct faculty.


Congress Inundated With 100,000 of Calls For Obama's Health Reform. GOP Thinks These Are Prank Calls

Congress "Getting Completely Crushed" With Over 100,000 Calls For Obama's Healthcare Reform

It's not even noon on the West Coast and already Capitol Hill staffers say they're getting nonstop calls from constituents in support of President Barack Obama's health insurance reform. At about 2:15 EST, Organizing for America (OFA) surpassed it's goal of 100,000 phone calls to Congress, each one imploring representatives to vote for reform.

The nationwide "Time to Deliver on Health Reform" event is the most massive outpouring of support from Obama supporters since Election Day 2008.

Senate Democratic aides told HuffPost that their phones have been ringing off the hook. "We're getting completely crushed with calls, jamming our phone lines from the moment we opened," said one aide.

Another said they'd gotten "pretty much non-stop health care calls from OFA." A third also said their office was getting bombed and that four out of every five calls specifically mentioned the public option.
Collapse )</div>

President Obama will speak to OFAers across the country today at 8:00 PM Eastern to kickoff the evening phone banks. Sources within OFA say they are going to raise their goal to 150,000 calls to Congress but no official word yet.</div>
franklin sherman

WTF Man Charged After Making Coffee Naked

SPRINGFIELD, Va. - A Springfield, Virginia man is facing an indecent exposure charge after a passerby spotted the man naked in his kitchen and reported it to police.

Eric Williamson, 29, is a commercial diver who grew up in Hawaii and rents home with several co-workers. Williamson told FOX 5's Will Thomas his roommates were not home and he walked into the kitchen to make coffee about 5:30 a.m. Monday.

"Yes, I wasn't wearing any clothes but I was alone, in my own home and just got out of bed. It was dark and I had no idea anyone was outside looking in at me," Williamson said.

The complaint came from an unidentified woman who was walking with a 7-year-old boy. A Fairfax County Police spokesman said officers arrested Williamson for indecent exposure because they believe he wanted to be seen naked by the public.

Officer Bud Walker said officers also consulted the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and they were given the green light to proceed with the charge.

Williamson, who is father of a 5-year old girl, said he feels like the victim.

"I am a loving dad. Any of my friends and anyone knows that and there is not a chance on this planet I would ever, ever, ever do anything like that to a kid," he said.

Williamson is meeting with a lawyer to fight the charge and may attempt to seek damages from Fairfax County Police. If convicted on the misdemeanor charge, he would face up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Akuma River

Texas' 11 Propositions up for vote this November

Breaking down the 11 state propositions (October 17, 2009 - Houston Chronicle)

Voters will be asked to consider changes to the Texas Constitution on the Nov. 3 ballot. Below is the ballot language for each of the 11 proposed constitutional amendments and a brief explanation of the effect of each.

Collapse )

Ever since I got the flyer in the mail a few months back about the proposed amendments I was flummoxed at how damn confusing the wording was. I asked my parents what it all meant. So I was happy I came across this article that finally explains this. So fellow ontd_p Texans, which ones are you voting nay for? 3, 4 and 5 are the ones I'm iffy about. I know that 4 is one that as an alumni of UTSA I should be pushing for...but it's a lot of money.

Karma, she is indeed a bitch.

Miss California USA officials want Carrie Prejean to repay $5,200 they say she borrowed to have her breasts augmented last year.

The demand was a response to a lawsuit filed by Prejean in which she claimed pageant officials violated the former beauty queen's privacy by acknowledging to reporters that her breasts were fake.

The truth about Prejean's breasts "ceased being private during the swimsuit competition of the nationally televised Miss USA pageant, in which Ms. Prejean walked the stage in a bikini," pageant lawyers said.

Prejean's lawyer said the pageant filing was part of an "ongoing smear campaign" against her.

"They have proven, once again, that they will use whatever scurrilous accusations they can dredge up -- or invent -- to try and tarnish Carrie's reputation and her good name," Charles LiMandri said.

Collapse )


Wheelchair user, 92, arrested for smuggling coke

A 92-year-old woman with cocaine strapped to her body flew all the way from Brazil to Spain before police arrested her, in a wheelchair, at Madrid's airport.

They found 4.3 kilos, or nearly 9.5 pounds, of cocaine packets strapped to her legs and torso, and also arrested a 44-year-old female companion, who tried to escape on another plane, a Civil Guard spokeswoman told CNN Tuesday.

The two women, both from Uruguay, were arrested last Friday after arriving in Madrid on a flight from Sao Paolo, Brazil. But officials did not release details about the case until this week, after a judge had arraigned the two on drug trafficking charges. The judge ordered the younger woman to prison but sent the 92-year-old to a senior citizens' home in Madrid.

Due to her advanced age, "it's practically impossible" that she would be tried or face jail time, said the Civil Guard spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified. Police did not identify the two women.

Civil Guards became suspicious when the younger woman repeatedly told the older woman -- who had asked for an airport wheelchair in Madrid to traverse the terminal -- that if they rushed, they would make their connecting flight to Spain's Canary Islands.

The Civil Guards, who run customs controls at the airport, stopped the woman in the wheelchair.

The younger woman immediately fled, first trying to make the connecting flight, which by then had closed its doors, and then attempting to leave the airport terminal for the street.

But she was stuck in the "satellite," or second building, of Terminal 4, which is connected to the main building and the street by an underground train. Police caught up with her before she left the satellite terminal.

The two would-be smugglers probably expected a cash payment and return flight tickets to Brazil from their drug trafficking contacts, the Civil Guard spokeswoman said.


Tom Coburn to Gays: "Help! Your Are Our Only Hope (?) And Sorry About The Whole Gay Bashing Thing"

Tom Coburn Attempts To Get Gay Community To Join Him In Opposing Health Care Reform

Of all the things that have been written in support of derailing health care reform, the oddest yet is a recent op-ed co-authored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that's appearing in the online version of The Advocate, which is arguably the most important magazine servicing the LGBT community in America. In it, Coburn argues against government-run health care, citing structural inefficiencies in the way the Ryan White CARE Act distributes AIDS prescriptions as an example of why public health care systems will eventually kill us all:

"These bureaucratic inefficiencies and mismanagement have literally cost lives."

One of the things I wonder, right up front, is this: Of all the people to write an op-ed for The Advocate, why Tom Coburn? One would think that the piece's other co-author, GOProud's Christopher Barron, would be up to the task of penning the opinion himself. What does Coburn bring to the table? [NOTE: Well, as I have been reminded, he's an obstetrician, duh.] As it turns out, it's the Patients' Choice Act -- legislation that Coburn has co-sponsored with Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and which Igor Volsky has found to be inadequate:
On the whole, the Patients' Choice Act fails to guarantee adequate, affordable and accessible coverage and it does does little, if anything, to control health care costs. Americans who can find coverage through a state-based health insurance Exchange would be guaranteed coverage -- insurers would not be able to exclude individuals with pre-existing conditions -- but it's unclear that they would be able to afford it. While a summary of the bill includes European-style "non-profit independent board " that "would penalize insurance companies that cherry pick healthy patients while rewarding companies that seek patients with pre-existing conditions," the bill does nothing to prevent higher prices based on sex, age, occupation, or medical condition. To finance these higher prices, Americans can rely on the meager tax credits they've stashed away in a Health Savings Account.
Over at The New Republic, Suzy Khimm notes that Coburn and Barron offer no explanation on how this legislation would improve upon the Ryan White CARE Act. More importantly, she notes that what Coburn offers the op-ed with this lternative is more than a little offset by Coburn's historical hostility to the gay community. Coburn has opposed gay marriage, gay adoption, and anonymous HIV testing, and he has called the "gay agenda" the "greatest threat to our freedom that we face today." By "today," by the way, he meant 2004, a time when America was supposed to be fighting terrorists in two wars, who were a threat to freedom.

Khimm also notes that "just last month, Coburn's chief of staff declared that 'all pornography is homosexual pornography,' warning that smut could lead young people to adopt that dreaded gay lifestyle." Of course, the most notable thing the Coburn has ever said about the gay community was probably this:
"Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us?"
Anyway, his name is Tom Coburn and he is here to recruit you!

I am starting to think the whole GOP is suffering from some sort of amnesia, they cant possibly be this stupid!

Good News ONTD_Political: We Own Slaves!

Glenn Beck Smears Progressives: They Used To Be Called 'Slave Owners' (VIDEO)

Glenn Beck ratcheted up his rhetoric, from an already high level, against progressives during a rant on his Fox News show today. Looking straight into the camera, and in all apparent seriousness, Beck warned that progressives have been working for years to strip Americans of their individual rights, and that in earlier times they would be called "tyrants" and "slave owners."


who knew I was a slave owner!

GOP NY 23rd District Congressional Race Getting Crazier...

GOP Congressional Candidate Sics Cops On Weekly Standard Reporter

Things are getting hectic in New York's 23rd District, where a conservative insurgent campaign mounted by accountant Doug Hoffman has been bedeviling the candidacy of GOP establishment favorite and Lewis County Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava.

How hectic is it getting? Apparently, the Scozzafava campaign is straight up calling the police to run off reporters from The Weekly Standard. John McCormack relates an encounter he had with the fuzz, immediately following a Scozzafava event:
I spotted Scozzafava later as she was walking to the parking lot, and asked her: "Assemblywoman, do you believe that the health-care bill should exclude coverage for abortion?" She didn't reply. I asked her twice more. Silence.

After she got into her car, I went to my car and fired up my laptop to report the evening's events.

Minutes later a police car drove into the parking lot with its lights flashing. Officer Grolman informed me that she was called because "there was a little bit of an uncomfortable situation" and then took down my name, date of birth, and address.

"Maybe we do things a little differently here, but you know, persistence in that area, you scared the candidate a little bit," Officer Grolman told me.

"[Scozzafava] got startled, that's all,"
Officer Grolman added. "It's not like you're in any trouble."
Over at the Washington Independent, Dave Weigel has a great soup-to-nuts profile on everything that's been going on with the race in the 23rd District, as Scozzafava has faced stiff opposition from an array of conservative movement-types who've made the race "this election cycle's great conservative crusade."
Two weeks out from the election, the battle in upstate New York is being portrayed in the press as a "civil war" between Republican factions. That might understate how much support for Hoffman, and how little for Scozzafava, there is in the conservative movement. As far as the roiling Republican base is concerned, support for Hoffman has become a test of whether a conservative leader can be trusted. Conservative media, from magazines to blogs, are using the low-stakes special election to test their ability to drive news cycles and raise money.
franklin sherman

FDIC chief: Small banks can't compete with bailed-out giants

Community banks are coming under intense pressure from a crumbling commercial real estate market, a weak economy — and lop-sided competition with banking goliaths deemed too big to fail, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said Monday.

As the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. braces for the 100th bank failure this year — the most since 1992 — Bair warned that small community banks are struggling to compete against behemoths such as Citigroup and Bank of America. The reason: Last year's $700 billion bank bailout proved that the federal government is willing to spend whatever it takes to keep the biggest banks from going under.

" 'Too big to fail' has become worse," Bair told USA TODAY. "It's become explicit when it was implicit before. It creates competitive disparities between large and small institutions, because everybody knows small institutions can fail. So it's more expensive for them to raise capital and secure funding."

The left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research last month found that banks with more than $100 billion in assets paid 1.15% for funds, and all others paid 1.93% late last year and early this year. That amounted to an annual subsidy worth up to $34.1 billion for the 18 biggest bank companies.

"They compete against community banks all over the nation," says Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. Community banks "didn't do anything wrong. They didn't cause this train wreck."

Another threat: Commercial real estate — small banks' bread and butter — is deteriorating because of the weak economy. "This is going to be a continued source of stress," Bair said.

She says things won't get as bad as they did when the savings-and-loan crisis claimed 1,373 banks from 1985 to 1992. There were 25 bank failures last year, and there have been 99 this year.

"One hundred will come shortly," Bair said. "These will continue at a good pace this year and next — but I don't think anywhere close to what we saw during the S&L days."

Joshua Siegel of private-equity firm StoneCastle Partners calculates that at least 1,200 small banks are "under extreme stress as measured by insufficient capital, poor liquidity, profitability and asset-quality problems."

Frederick Cannon, chief equity strategist at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, expects that bank failures might "exceed 500 banks and could go much higher."

He said regional banks are most vulnerable to losses in commercial real estate, which accounts for 32% of their loans vs. 10% for the biggest banks.


Witchcraft and how it gets dealt with in Nigeria and the DRoC.

Churches denounce African children as “witches”

EKET, Nigeria (AP) — The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

Two videos produced by Internews to raise awareness of the plight of Congolese children accused of witchcraft.
His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.


Click on the tags at the top of the article and you will see of sadly often this sort of thing happens.

Disturbing video under the cut ,acid burns,warped testimonials.

Collapse )

Another Republican Takes Credit for Stimulus Package That He Hated It

Richard Burr Stimulus Hypocrisy: Opposes Recovery, Then Flaunts Funds

When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year, only three Republican senators voted in favor of the legislation. Now Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is flaunting credit for financial assistance provided by President Obama's bill.

Last Friday, Burr presented the Bethlehem, N.C. fire department with a colossal $2 million grant to build a new fire station. At the ceremony the senator said, "This is a great thing for this county. We're not accustomed to federal dollars in that magnitude finding their way to North Carolina."

Shannon Lowrance, chief of the Community Volunteer Fire Department, also spoke on the significance of the stimulus funds:

Having the plans ready to go helped the department win three American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Assistance to Firefighters Station Construction Grants issued this year from the Federal Emergency Management Agency / Department of Homeland Security.

Before the Senate voted on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Burr slammed the stimulus bill in a statement on his website:

Almost a trillion dollars of borrowed money on projects and programs that are unlikely to produce any real broad-based stimulus or create jobs that will still be here two years from now.

The senator gave a similar message on Fox News saying, "This isn't a stimulus package, this is a spending package."

Earlier this month Hutchison, Cornyn and other Texas lawmakers petitioned President Obama to divert stimulus funds to NASA, after sharply criticizing his stimulus bill. And no less than sixty-seven House Republicans have taken credit for projects funded by the economic bill they opposed, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"With the economy showing early signs of recovery, it's no wonder that more and more House Republicans are scrambling to take credit for the benefits they opposed," said Ryan Rudominer, National Press Secretary for the DCCC. "Times are tough. Hardworking Americans need solutions, not more hypocrisy from the Republican Party of No."


Lou Dobbs Describes Meatless Mondays In Schools As "A Political Storm In The Making"

On Monday night, Lou Dobbs did a segment on how "Meatless Monday" is being adopted by the Baltimore city school district in an effort to cut costs and get children to eat healthier food. The segment showed schoolchildren eating vegetarian chili and grilled cheese sandwiches, and CNN reported that they found no parents who objected to the policy.

The news network also noted opposition to the one-day-a-week of vegetarian food by the American Meat Institute -- a trade group that represents meat processors and packers with obvious financial interests in meat consumption. Without pointing out factors that helped fuel the initiative, such as childhood obesity and a national school budget crisis, CNN reported that the AMI is concerned that "students are being served up an unhealthy dose of indoctrination." The institute's Janet Reilly claims the policy was depriving students and parents of "choice."

After watching the segment, Dobbs described this as "a real political storm in the making." Um. Really?

Embedded video from CNN Video

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/20/lou-dobbs-describes-meatl_n_327282.html

Oh, FFS.  So, none of the parents objected, and this is going to be a "political storm"?  Well, only if teh crazies and the meat lobbyists make it so, I suppose.