October 21st, 2009

Biden heading to Central Europe to quell doubts

Vice President Joe Biden is traveling to Central Europe to reassure leaders who are nervous that the Obama administration's courting of Russia means a reduced commitment to their security.

Biden's trip Tuesday comes in the aftermath of the administration's decision to rework a missile defense plan devised by the Bush administration and opposed by Russia. Leaders in Poland and the Czech Republic, where the system was to have been based, had hoped it would offer a permanent U.S. presence and deterrence against potential Russian bullying.

Biden's national security adviser, Tony Blinken, said Monday that the shift was not aimed at appeasing Russia.

The administration's new plan still will involve deploying missile defense elements to the region, and President Barack Obama has promised to give Poland and the Czech Republic priority in its basing decisions. The Bush administration's plans involved installing long-range interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic to counter Iran's missile program.

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 Antigay Singer Kicked to Curb
By Neal Broverman
Matt Boswell X390 (MYSPACE) | ADVOCATE.COM

A country performer who injected homophobia into a Merle Haggard song at a city-sponsored event in Reidsville, N.C., will never be hired again, according to city officials.

Matt Boswell and the Hillbilly Blues Band performed on October 10 at Reidsville's popular fall festival. While singing a version of Haggard's "Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?" Boswell sang, "Well you'll never take my guns, and I'll pray anywhere that I please / My daddy always told me, if you were able, and didn't work then you don't eat / All you Wall Street bankers, as far as I'm concerned, you can all go to hell / And you can't get married, you stupid gays and queers, so why don't you go somewhere else?"

Boswell's performance was broadcast live on a local television station, which later received complaints from viewers.

Reidsville city manager Kelly Almond told Q-Notes, an LGBT newspaper that covers North and South Carolina, that the language used by Boswell was "tasteless" and that "it was absolutely unacceptable, and certainly unacceptable at a city-owned venue and city-sponsored event."

Almond said that Boswell would never be booked by the city again. The singer is a frequent performer in venues throughout Virginia and North Carolina.




Three states may sue FedEx for labor violations

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three U.S. states said on Tuesday they plan to sue FedEx Corp, accusing the second-largest U.S. package delivery company of violating labor laws by illegally classifying drivers as independent contractors rather than employees to save money.

The attorneys general of New York, New Jersey and Montana intend to begin litigation against FedEx Ground Package System Inc after October 27, saying the unit of Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx has caused a "serious injustice" to more than 1,000 drivers in the three states.

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Vroom Vroom Muthaf**kers

Justice concludes black voters need Democratic Party

U.S. blocks N.C. city's nonpartisan vote

KINSTON, N.C. | Voters in this small city decided overwhelmingly last year to do away with the party affiliation of candidates in local elections, but the Obama administration recently overruled the electorate and decided that equal rights for black voters cannot be achieved without the Democratic Party.

The Justice Department's ruling, which affects races for City Council and mayor, went so far as to say partisan elections are needed so that black voters can elect their "candidates of choice" - identified by the department as those who are Democrats and almost exclusively black.

The department ruled that white voters in Kinston will vote for blacks only if they are Democrats and that therefore the city cannot get rid of party affiliations for local elections because that would violate black voters' right to elect the candidates they want.

Several federal and local politicians would like the city to challenge the decision in court. They say voter apathy is the largest barrier to black voters' election of candidates they prefer and that the Justice Department has gone too far in trying to influence election results here.

Stephen LaRoque, a former Republican state lawmaker who led the drive to end partisan local elections, called the Justice Department's decision "racial as well as partisan."

"On top of that, you have an unelected bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., overturning a valid election," he said. "That is un-American."

The decision, made by the same Justice official who ordered the dismissal of a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia, has irritated other locals as well. They bristle at federal interference in this city of nearly 23,000 people, two-thirds of whom are black.

In interviews in sleepy downtown Kinston - a place best known as a road sign on the way to the Carolina beaches - residents said partisan voting is largely unimportant because people are personally acquainted with their elected officials and are familiar with their views.

"To begin with, 'nonpartisan elections' is a misconceived and deceiving statement because even though no party affiliation shows up on a ballot form, candidates still adhere to certain ideologies and people understand that, and are going to identify with who they feel has their best interest at heart," said William Cooke, president of the Kinston/Lenoir County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Mr. Cooke said his group does not take a position on this issue and would not disclose his personal stance, but expressed skepticism about the Justice Department's involvement.

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So... are they saying black people need labels to decide who to vote for? I would LOVE it if we could get rid of party affiliation of candidates. It would force all voters to really look at what each candidate stands for, instead of just going by what party one is affiliated with. And it would make more of a level playing field for third-party candidates (which is who I voted for in the presidential primaries and in the general presidential election).

And I love that the Justice ruled that "white voters in Kinston will vote for blacks only if they are Democrats."

Is David Vitter a Racist or Just Afraid of Angering his Racist Voters?

David Vitter Ducks Question On Interracial Couple (VIDEO)

Earlier this month, Louisiana Justice of Peace Keith Bardwell refused to perform a marriage for an interracial couple, on the grounds that society has a problem "accepting a child from such marriage." Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) called for Bardwell's removal immediately following the incident; however, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has been noticeably silent on the matter.

Blogger-activist Mike Stark pressed Vitter on the Judge Bardwell's widely-condemned actions Tuesday, saying, "I've read that you are the only senior official from Louisiana not to have commented on the judge that refused to marry an inter-racial couple."

The Louisiana Senator dismissively responded, "I don't think that's the case," and walked into an elevator.

Stark says, "Vitter looked at me and smiled, silently... and waited for the elevator doors to close."


Chibis- ChibiMermaidRachel has no idea

86-year-old WWII vet on gay marriage: "what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?"

86-year-old WWII vet on gay marriage: "what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?"

From over at Boing Boing

"The woman at my polling place asked me do I believe in equality for gay and lesbian people. I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her: what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?"

I think I may have something in my eye. This is what awesome is made of.

Got Raped? Sorry Lady, That's A Pre-Existing Condition!

Florida Woman's Rape Called A "Pre-Existing Condition" By Insurance Companies

A Florida woman, who is a victim of sexual abuse, claims that rape was called a "pre-existing condition" by several health insurance companies, which would have disqualified her for care.

In 2002, Chris Turner, a health insurance agent from Tampa, Florida, was drugged and raped during a business trip. When she conferred with a doctor after her assault, Turner was prescribed preventative anti-HIV drugs, and she later entered counseling to help deal with the residual psychological effects of her rape.

A few months later, when Turner was forced to buy new insurance on the individual market, she suspected, based on her knowledge of the approval process, that she may no longer qualify for coverage. She called a series of insurance underwriters and asked them about a hypothetical client who had been raped, and every insurer she called had the same response: "Nope, we won't take her." Turner's treatment for her rape, it turns out, constituted a pre-existing condition that the companies said would disqualify her from coverage.

Turner spoke about her situation at the launch of the National Women's Law Center's "Being A Woman Is Not A Pre-Existing Condition" campaign yesterday. Amanda Stone recapped her story:
As an insurance agent, Chris knows how the system works: "If you're rejected for coverage once it can put a black spot on your insurance record and keep you from getting health insurance in the future." So, why did the insurance companies she consulted refuse to cover a hypothetical rape survivor? Because the hypothetical rape survivor had sought treatment for her rape! Her use of preventative anti-HIV medication and her attendance in much needed counseling---steps that were necessary to Chris's health and well-being---became obstacles to her future health and well-being, as they were cited for reasons why insurance companies refused to insure her hypothetical applicant. In order to qualify for insurance coverage at all, her hypothetical applicant would have had to have tested negative for HIV for two to three years and have completed counseling for one to two years (depending on the specific insurance company and plan). If Chris, an insurance agent who knows the ins and outs of the insurance market, was unable to obtain health insurance following her assault, what chance do the rest of us have?
Turner says that she went without health care for several years, until she got married and joined her husband's employer-based policy:
As a Florida resident, my only other option was to get insurance coverage in Florida's high risk insurance pool. This coverage would cost more than my rent, so I went without health insurance for about three years. I had to pay for everything on my own--the counseling, the antidepressants, any other health needs that I had. This whole time I was still working in the health insurance field. I sat with clients, explaining how their health policy worked--and the fact that I didn't have coverage myself was like a big, dark secret hanging over me. I was only able to get health insurance after I married my husband and he eventually got a job that included coverage for spouses. The day that I finally had health insurance again was so fantastic. To know that I could finally get a check-up or a mammogram was a huge relief.
Read more about this issue here.

Many 'missing' after China riots.

Dozens of ethnic Uighurs have disappeared since being detained in the wake of the riots in China's Xinjiang region, a human rights group has said.

Human Rights Watch said the 43 men and teenaged boys were taken in police sweeps of Uighur districts of Urumqi, and had since vanished without a trace.

The riots and protests in the city in early July left nearly 200 people dead.

China's central government declined to answer questions about those detained by the authorities in Xinjiang.

It referred questions about the ethnic unrest to the regional government, which also did not respond to enquiries from the BBC.

"The cases we documented are likely just the tip of the iceberg," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

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Polanski May Choose to Face Charges

Roman Polanski may return to the United States to confront charges against him after a Swiss court rejected his appeal to be released from jail to house arrest, according to one of his French lawyers.

For the first time, one Mr. Polanski’s lawyers, Georges Kiejman, floated on Wednesday the idea of a possible return in an interview with the radio station Europe 1. “If this process drags on, it is not completely impossible that Roman Polanski could choose to go finally to explain himself in the United States where the arguments in his favor exist,” he said.

A day earlier, Hervé Temime, another French lawyer for Mr. Polanski raised the idea of appealing a Swiss decision to deny house arrest that is keeping Mr. Polanski behind bars but then said in an e-mail message that the legal team was simply studying the latest ruling before making a decision.

Mr. Polanski, the Oscar-winning director who holds dual-French-Polish nationality, has been imprisoned since his arrest in Switzerland on Sept. 26 and has been fighting requests to extradite him to the United States to face sentencing for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

He fled the United States in 1978 before he was sentenced after a plea bargain agreement. Until Wednesday, his legal team had resisted any suggestion that he would be willing to return to face justice.

A Swiss court on Tuesday rejected Mr. Polanski’s request for release on bail for house arrest, saying there was a strong risk that he would flee. That rejection raised the prospect of up to six months more in jail if he continued to fight his extradition.

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Source. And for the LAST DAMN TIME, he was not arrested for 'having sex' with a thirteen year old. HE WAS ARRESTED FOR FUCKING RAPE. Learn the damn difference, editors and writers. >:(
companion cube


Study Finds McCain Voters Lost Testosterone After Presidential Election

(Oct. 21) -- Young men who voted for John McCain lost more than a presidential election last November. A study says their testosterone level plummeted.

As polls closed on election night, researchers at Duke University and the University of Michigan had 183 men and women chew gum and spit into test tubes and analyzed their hormones.
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A few hours later, as Barack Obama supporters began celebrating, they tested hormone levels again, and then later, at two more intervals.

Men who voted for Obama maintained stable testosterone levels, while men who voted for McCain saw those levels drop more than 25 percent.

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Republican men can take comfort in the fact that the testosterone drop was only temporary, and that the midterm elections are coming.

My aunt showed me this, simply commenting 'O RLY'. I love her.

"Where are you going now, Kuwaiti women?" "DISNEYLAND!!"

Kuwaiti women will be able to obtain their own passport without the consent of their husbands, following a ruling by the country's constitutional court.

The court, whose decisions are final, said the previous requirement was in violation of guarantees of freedom and gender equality in the constitution.

The decision came about when a woman complained her husband had prevented her from leaving the country.

The country's first female MPs were elected in May 2009.

The article abolished by the court dated back to Kuwait's 1962 passport law which required a husband's signature on a woman's passport application.

Aseel al-Awadhi, one of the new MPs, welcomed the passport law ruling as a "victory for constitutional principles that puts an end to this injustice against Kuwaiti women".

It is the latest gain for women in the oil-rich Gulf state which has made a number of strides towards gender equity in recent years.

The presence of female MPs followed the granting of equal political rights in 2005.

Women voted for the first time in 2006 - albeit in segregated polling booths - in a by-election where they made up 60% of eligible voters.

Kuwaiti women enjoy more freedoms than in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where there is strict gender segregation and women are not allowed to drive cars.

Women activists welcomed the passport ruling but say they still need equal access to government housing and the right to pass citizenship to their children.


O'Reilly and John Stossel debate legalizing marijuana

John Stossel, formerly of ABC, who identifies himself as libertarian, was on the Bill O'Reilly show defending his opinion that marijuana should be legalized for all adults. O'Reilly disagrees, saying it will only make it easier for junkies to get pot, sell it to kids and use the money to buy harder drugs. Stossel says it's the illegality of the drugs that leads to more deviant behavior.

The discussion starts around 2:20 (a lot of unfunny ribbing about Stossel's departure from ABC is at the beginning):


Goldman Sachs: "Income Inequality Will Lead to Prosperity For All... except you guys..."

It may be hard to believe but there was a time, almost 25 years ago, when Wall Street and Main Street weren't so far apart -- at least when it came to the average worker's salary and the average financial industry employee's annual bonus. Back in 1985, the average annual salary for all workers across the country was actually a bit higher than the average bonus ($19,000 to $13,970). (Note: these numbers are not adjusted for inflation)

How times have changed -- while the average Wall Street bonus soared almost 14 times higher (by 2006), the average worker's salary has essentially been stagnant sine the mid-1980s. And that increasing disparity seems fine, according to a Goldman Sachs adviser, who said on Tuesday that "we have to tolerate the inequality," reports Bloomberg News:

A Goldman Sachs International adviser defended compensation in the finance industry as his company plans a near-record year for pay, saying the spending will help boost the economy. "We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all," Brian Griffiths, who was a special adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said yesterday at a panel discussion hosted by St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Though bonuses slipped sharply in 2008 amid the financial crisis, they're rebounding this year and Wall Street firms are set to pay out record amounts to their employees, which is sure to increase the disparity.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently told reporters that banks will be making "significant changes" to the way they pay their employees, and called bonuses being paid out by bailed-out firms "deeply offensive."

To get a sense of the disparity between Wall Street and Main Street, take a look at this chart tracking the average bonus and the average annual salary since 1985:

Wall Street Bonuses Vs. Normal Wages: A Disturbing Trend (CHART)

Banks have been castigated for returning to pre-crisis pay packages -- White House spokesman Robert Gibbs recently told reporters, "Pay on Wall Street can't return to the speculative era that we saw last, specifically right before the economic collapse..."

Disturbingly, the chart shows some similarities to some of the data we've seen on income inequality.
University of California, Berkeley's Emmanuel Saez put together a scathing report on this topic earlier this year. The share of total U.S. income made up by the top 10 percent of earners, according to Saez's figures, was around 35 percent in 1987. By 2007, the top U.S. earners would capture almost 50 percent of total U.S. income.

Some important caveats: the information in the chart, taken from the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics and the New York State Comptroller's office, includes average bonuses for workers classified as securities industry professionals. Using an average bonus figure for Wall Street workers is somewhat problematic. For one, not every Wall Street employee gets the same size bonus -- some top executives get vast sums that can distort the average bonus figure. Also, not every financial service professional is even eligible for a bonus. It's hard to make direct comparisons between the bonus pool at Goldman Sachs, which has a relatively small number of employees, and an immense company like Bank Of America, which has a large retail banking presence.

Let me guess, Golden Sachs is a hardcore believer of the trickle down economics theory myth...

BNP MEP's (among others) Denied Access to Parliament

Euro MPs will no longer be entitled to Westminster Parliamentary passes after a vote in the House of Commons.

The decision means BNP MEPs Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons will not get access to Commons facilities.

Commons leader Harriet Harman said the decision was made after a review of the rules relating to passes, and concern about pressure facilities.

Ms Harman says it applies to all parties - but 30 MPs signed a motion saying the BNP should be denied access.

Labour backbencher John Mann, who tabled the Early Day Motion, said: "This stops the BNP parading round here as if they're legitimate politicians."

UK MEPs have had access to the Westminster Parliament since 1989.

The motion making this change has been on the Commons order paper since October 12 - but has been repeatedly opposed but on Tuesday evening it was resolved without opposition.

The BNP have yet to respond.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8318249.stm

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Gunman may have hostages in Edmonton building

An armed man is believed to be holding hostages in the Workers' Compensation Board building in downtown Edmonton, police say.

A board spokesman confirmed the hostage taker is a disgruntled workers' compensation claimant.

An employee who was evacuated from the third floor of the building told CBC News reporter Trish Estabrooks that as many as nine hostages were being held on the eighth floor.

"At 8:42 this morning, we received a call that a man with a rifle had walked into the Worker's Compensation [building]," said Edmonton police spokesman Jeff Wuite.

"We, of course, responded immediately. Our officers are currently speaking with the man who is inside. We do believe he may have several hostages.

"We have tactical officers on scene, as well as our negotiation team and they [will] attempt to bring this to a peaceful conclusion," Wuite said. Collapse )
"Now you can't have any of my pot pie."
  • doop

Vatican in Bold Bid to Attract Anglicans

The Vatican said it will make it far easier for disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, in one of Rome's most sweeping gestures to a Protestant church since the Reformation.

A newly created set of canon laws, known as an "Apostolic Constitution," will clear the way for entire congregations of Anglican faithful to join the Catholic Church. That represents a potentially serious threat to the already fragile world-wide communion of national Anglican churches, which has about 77 million members globally.

The Anglican Communion has been strained by fights over its relations with other Christian denominations and the church's growing acceptance of gay and women clergy and same-sex marriage. The 2003 election of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the movement, has sharpened those tensions.

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GOP to Consumers: "Leave The Bankers Alone! Get Some Bootstraps!"

GOP Rep. Tells House Finance Committee That Banks Should "Trump" Consumers

Today, during markup of legislation before the House Financial Services Committee that would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), Republicans proposed an amendment that would give all of the other federal bank regulators — including the Federal Reserve or the Comptroller of the Currency — the ability to veto CFPA rules that threatened the “safety and soundness” of financial institutions.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) explained that he supported the amendment because the health of a financial institution “ought to trump” concerns regarding consumers, all of the time:

The safety and soundness of the system, taxpayer protection, ought to trump the ability to ban financial products.
And let’s face it, I understand the chairman said that this new CFPA would not have the ability to set goals, but if you control the product mix, if you can ban products, if you can modify their terms, of what some have estimated could be as much as 10 to 15 percent of our economy, then yes, I conclude you can adversely impact the safety and soundness of these institutions.

Watch it:

So if it can’t outright prevent the CFPA from being created, the GOP would like to ensure that it’s a toothless agency that can’t stand up to the bank regulators. (Hensarling presents this as “taxpayer protection,” ostensibly suggesting that, if the banks can make money however they see fit, they’ll never need another taxpayer funded bailout.) But the CFPA will only work if it is on equal footing with the bank regulators, with adequate abilities to write and enforce regulations.

This is because many of the products that led to the economic crisis were premised on obfuscation and taking advantage of consumers — credit cards with retroactive rate hikes, mortgages with payments that exploded after a set number of years, or overdraft fees to which consumers are automatically subjected. As Adam Levitan pointed out at Credit Slips, “the market drives the introduction of bad consumer credit products.” “Some of this obfuscation is through fine-print. Some is through product design, as complexity and exploitation of consumers’ cognitive biases can mask pricing,” he wrote.

And these actions are often very profitable, which is why the bank regulators didn’t want to stop the banks from using them
. Overdraft fees, for instance, could rake in $38.5 billion for the banks this year. Those billions render the banks incredibly safe and sound, but they come at the expense of consumers. And under the Republican proposal — which will come up for a vote tomorrow — the same exact practices would be allowed to continue, and regulators at the CFPA could do nothing but scream from the sidelines.
Mr. T the Patriot

Pressure Building to Resolve Claims of Native American Farmers Denied $3 Billion in Credit

WASHINGTON – National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the nation’s oldest and largest national organization of American Indian tribal governments, passed a resolution Oct. 16 calling on the Obama Administration to settle a class action lawsuit filed in 1999 on behalf of thousands of Native Americans who were unlawfully denied credit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In recent weeks, pressure has been building on the Obama Administration to resolve the Keepseagle lawsuit and reverse its decision to lift a moratorium on the foreclosure of Native American farmers and ranchers.

NCAI’s resolution, passed at NCAI’s 66th Annual Convention in Palm Springs, Calif., calls for a “negotiated settlement of the Keepseagle vs. Vilsack case as quickly as possible, along the lines” of a settlement that the USDA previously entered into with black farmers who alleged similar types of systemic racial discrimination in the USDA’s farm loan programs. To that end, the NCAI “urges the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture to commence meaningful negotiations towards a settlement of the Keepseagle litigation as soon as possible, including both monetary and prospective relief.”
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Advocates Say Being a Woman Is Not a 'Pre-Existing Condition'

Is having a uterus a pre-existing condition?

The insurance companies seem to think so, says the National Women's Law Center, an advocacy group for women's legal rights that is on a mission to end unfair insurance company practices toward women. And it believes it's making some headway.

Over the weekend, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new state law that bans gender rating, which is the practice of charging women higher insurance rates than men for the same services.

And on Thursday, Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, took the group's fight to Capitol Hill, testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about how insurance companies treat women unfairly and why any health care reform package must address this problem.

"Across health insurance markets, discriminatory industry practices put fair and affordable coverage out of reach for far too many women," Greenberger testified on Oct. 15. "We have heard repeatedly from predominately female businesses that have learned that their health insurance premiums are higher because of the gender of their employees."

The cornerstone of Greenberger's arguments is 2008 study in which her group looked at women's experiences in the health insurance market. It found:

• Women are charged as much as 48 percent more than men for health insurance.

• Of the more than 3,500 plans studied, 60 percent did not cover maternity care.

• Women are regularly denied coverage for "pre-existing conditions," which can include pregnancy or a previous C-section.

• In eight states and the District of Columbia, insurers are allowed to use a woman's status as a survivor of domestic violence to deny her health insurance.

Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group representing 1,300 plans, also testified at the Senate hearing. She conceded that the current system is flawed in addressing the coverage needs of women, but said that the industry is "strongly committed to meeting the health care needs of women" and wants to eliminate rating based on gender and health status.

"Our proposals directly confront the reality that the individual health insurance market…needs to be fundamentally overhauled," said Ignagni.

The National Women's Law Center study was cited in a recent lawsuit in California, in which the city of San Francisco sued the state over the practice of gender rating on the ground that it violated the California state constitution. The lawsuit is being dismissed now that gender rating has been banned.


Akuma River

Wonder Boy Grayson strikes again - Website to honor those killed by not being insured

Grayson Launches Site To Honor, Name Those Dead From Lack Of Health Care (October 21, 2009 - HuffPo - Sam Stein)

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who launched himself into the heat of the health care debate by arguing that Republican-styled health care reform encouraged the sick to die quickly, once again is using the specter of death to push for legislative action.

The Florida Democrat announced, while on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, that he was launching a new website to list the names of the nearly 45,000 Americans who die every year because they lack health insurance.

The site, called namesofthedead.com, would honor the memories of the deceased, compel Congress to act on health care reform and, ultimately, serve as a "historical artifact" of the days when there was no universal coverage, Grayson said.
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I've been to the site. I think they need to tweak it. It should list what the dead died of, what state they were in, and how many times they were denied care. I also think they should add under-insured and denied insurance claims to the list as well.

Okla. Abortion Publicity Law Blocked by Court

An Oklahoma law mandating that detailed information about patients who have abortions be published on a state Web site was blocked by legal action on Monday.

The law was scheduled to take effect Nov. 1.

To challenge the state constitutionality of the law, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Oklahoma women.

The center's spokeswoman Dionne Scott said a temporary restraining order that stops enforcement was granted late Monday by Oklahoma County District Court Judge Twyla Mason Gray so that she could "look further into the case."

The law, House Bill 1595, requires physicians to ask patients, described as "mothers," up to 37 personal questions, including their age, marital status, race, years of education, number of prior pregnancies, reason for the abortion, method of abortion and payment and whether an ultrasound was performed.

Former state Rep. Wanda Jo Stapleton, an Oklahoma City Democrat who brought the lawsuit with Lora Joyce Davis, a resident of Shawnee, Okla., applauded the court granted reprieve.

"This is one of dozens of bills piled on year after year by the Oklahoma legislature to place obstacles in the path of women," Stapleton said on Tuesday. "The bill points a public finger at women and is intended to scare them to death."

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Woman kicked off sports team for being stalked. Yes, really.

The Morristown Madams opened their roller derby season last weekend at a local rink managed by a man charged with stalking a former team member.

After Marc Giaquinto, manager of InLine Morristown, was allowed to enter a probationary program for nonviolent, first-time offenders, the woman, at the urging of rink management, was kicked off the team so the Madams could continue using the facility.

Several of the skaters have quit in protest over their teammate’s ouster.

"Morally, I couldn’t see myself standing for that," said McKenzie May, one of those who quit.

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Christian Bale

Arizona Man Ran Down Daughter For Becoming 'Westernized'

Strict Iraqi Father Ran Daughter Down

20-year-old daughter suffered serious injuries

EORIA, Ariz. - Peoria police are looking for a father suspected of running down his daughter because she was becoming too "westernized" and was not living according to their traditional Iraqi values.

Peoria police say 48-year-old Faleh Hassan Almaleki of Glendale allegedly ran his daughter down Tuesday at an Arizona Department of Economic Security parking lot in Peoria.

"When I walked out the door I saw two ladies on the ground, so my first thought was some kind of domestic dispute," says witness Synthia Diaz.

The victim, 20-year-old Noor Faleh Almaleki of Surprise, is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

A second woman, Noor Almaleki's roommate, was also injured. She's identified as 43-year-old Amal Edan Khalaf, also of Surprise. Khalaf has what are described as non-life threatening injuries.

Faleh Almaleki was last seen driving a grey or silver 2000 Jeep grand Cherokee, Arizona license ADS-9192. He has not yet been apprehended.

Family and friends told Peoria investigators that Almaleki was mad and threatened his daughter for adopting Western ways. Almaleki and his family had moved to Glendale from Iraq.

End the occupation
  • omer

Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast

By ROBERT L. BERNSTEIN (former president and chief executive of Random House, was the chairman of Human Rights Watch from 1978 to 1998)

AS the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps.

When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.

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nia 1

nick griffon contunes to be a lieing sack of crap

FactCheck: TV charges at Selly Oak?

Updated on 21 October 2009

By Channel 4 News

The BNP claims wounded soldiers at Selly Oak hospital are being charged to watch television in hospital. Not so, finds FactCheck.
Nick Griffin

The claim

"Young British soldiers with no legs in Selly Oak hospital - some of them black, some of them white - they charge them to watch television."
Nick Griffin MEP, Channel 4 News, 21 October 2009

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FactCheck rating: 4.5

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BNP invoke Human Rights Act, Terrorism Act in attempt to stifle media

Indymedia is yet again facing legal threats to prevent the free flow of communication, this time from a political movement known for its hostility to free speech. On the 21st November 08 Indymedia UK received an email from someone claiming to be a legal representative for the British National Party, threatening to take legal action on a number of counts for publishing information on BNP members.

After the hilarity of the “little Fuhrer”, Nick Griffin, running to the safety of the Human Rights Act to try to prevent the publication of members’ details, Britain’s fascist party has resorted to threats.

The letter sent to Indymedia by Lee John Barnes LLB (hons), from the “BNP Legal Affairs Unit”, threatens to take legal action, on the basis of theft, data protection and contempt of court, unless the list of members is removed.

The “lawyer” also attempts to shoehorn his charges into the form of anti-terrorism legislation, “The use of this information we feel is being hosted on your site for use only to incite acts of harassment, incite violence and direct targeted attacks against our members in the Leeds area”. He then goes on to explain the sections of the Terrorism Act under which Indymedia would be charged.

More at Source (Indymedia UK)