October 24th, 2009

Akuma River

Chamber of Congress recovers from Buthurt by YesMen by shutting down their website

I'm kinda disapointed this didn't make it to ontd_p earlier.

Chamber Of Commerce Strong-Arms Service Provider Into Shutting Down Spoof Site (October 23, 2009 - HuffPo - Arthur Delaney)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce demanded that the company providing Internet service for the Yes Men shut down their site on Tuesday, claiming the spoof troupe's fake version of the Chamber's site constituted copyright infringement.

"The Website infringes the Chamber of Commerce's copyrights by directly copying the images, logos, design, and layout of the Chamber of Commerce's copyright-protected official website," said the letter from the Chamber's lawyers, who threaten "legal liability" for the service provider, Hurricane Electric.
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So what do you guys think?

Well, The GOP Did Say They Wanted to Turn 2010 Into The 1990's

GOP Favorability Rating The Worst Since Clinton Impeachment

Here are some additional public polling numbers likely to comfort Democrats concerned about the 2010 elections.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows that the Republican Party's favorability rating is the lowest since the height of its efforts to impeach former President Bill Clinton.

Only 36 percent of polled voters said that they had a positive view of the Republican Party, the lowest that has been registered by CNN since December 1998 (when the party had a 31 percent favorable rating). The GOP also had a 36 percent favorable rating in June 2007 -- the waning months of the Bush administration.

The decade-long low for the GOP certainly challenges the conventional wisdom that the party stands in strong position to make major gains in the upcoming congressional elections. It also should spur a bit of reflection over the course of strategy the party has pursued with Barack Obama in the White House. Incessant sparring, it seems, has had the effect of bringing down the ratings of both parties, not simply the one in power.

The CNN poll showed that 53 percent of the public currently has a positive view of the Democratic Party -- down five percentage points since February. The GOP, meanwhile, has lost three percentage points of popularity during that same time frame and is now viewed negatively by 54 percent of the public.

When looking at Congress specifically, the numbers are a bit closer (and, by relation, more dire for Democrats. Thirty-eight percent of those polled approved of the job Democratic leaders are doing in Congress, down from the 60 percent approval rating in February. Meanwhile, 33 percent of those polled approved of the job being done by congressional Republicans, down from 44 percent in February.
Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

The HBIC Does Leno; I Fall in Love All Over Again

What's President Barack Obama's most annoying habit?

Practicing his speeches for hours in front of the bathroom mirror? Talking too much foreign policy at the dinner table?

No – first lady Michelle Obama said Friday it's his tennis game. When they play, the president usually wins.

"He beats me quite often," she said on NBC-TV's "The Jay Leno Show," appearing via satellite hookup from the White House. "That gets to be pretty annoying."

The show was taped for airing later Friday evening.

In a brief skit, Leno pushed her to talk about her husband's flaws. At first, she sarcastically said he has none.

"He's perfect," she quipped.

Then she let it out: It's their battles on the tennis court that get her peeved.


Of course I had to post this... what with her being my second favorite person on the planet and all.

Senator Jon Kyl Soon To Be Seen Dead People...

Constituents Demand Sen. Kyl Acknowledge Loved Ones' Suffering, Deaths

Over the last few weeks, Republican Senator Jon Kyl has taken heat for several gaffes and blunders, most notably when he stated, "I don't need maternity care," inciting Arizona women to protest at his local Senate office. Now his belief that people don't "die from lack of insurance" is causing him trouble at home.

After Kyl told television host David Gregory that he doubts people die from a lack of health insurance, I received email after email from HuffPost readers in Arizona and across the country who are furious that Kyl doesn't understand the consequences of being uninsured.

Many of the emails referenced the recent Harvard study that found that 44,789 people die each year, due at least in part to a lack of health insurance. The lead author says when people can't afford to see a doctor or buy medicine, they have "a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socio-economics, health behaviors, and baseline health."

Bob Lord, a former Arizona Congressional candidate, explains, "It's not the emergencies. It's the illnesses that are treatable when diagnosed early but become fatal when people forgo medical care because they don't have health insurance."
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CEOs Airline Industry Asks: "What is This 'Fatigue' You Speak Of? I Sleep Well On My Golden Bed"

As airlines cut corners, will pilot fatigue run the industry into the ground?

On Wednesday night, Northwest Airlines (DAL) Flight 188, an Airbus A-320, overshot its destination by 150 miles before the pilots re-established contact with air traffic controllers, turned the plane around, and landed in Minneapolis. While the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the incident, questions have risen about the cause of the overflight and what it says about current airline safety regulations.

According to Flight 188's crew, the incident occurred because they were engaged in a heated argument about airline policy. While the NTSB checks the plane's flight data recorder for evidence of the alleged fight, speculation has arisen about whether the overflight was actually caused by crew fatigue.
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Pregnant and addicted, mothers in South Carolina find hope

GREENVILLE, South Carolina -- Some are girlish 22-year-olds; others are women approaching 40. They come from South Carolina's rural counties and its booming cities. They are loud and muted, lively and vacant, hopeful and desperate.

As different as they are, they share a connection to two powerful forces : their addictions and their babies.

They are swallowed by the same shameful past. They don't know if they can be good mothers. They don't know if they can be clean mothers.

They're here at a state-run drug-treatment program to learn how to do both.


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  • Current Mood

Change Volcker Can't Believe In

Paul Volcker saw Barack Obama as an "agent for needed change" when the former Federal Reserve chairman endorsed him for president in January 2008. But lately Volcker has been feeling a bit ignored by the White House, and thinks that Obama isn't changing Wall Street enough to avert another subprime disaster. Last week the current Fed chief, Ben Bernanke, came up with a proposal to make big banks behave: he pledged to change the way the nation's top 28 banking companies pay their executives, removing incentives for short-term gains and "working to ensure that compensation packages appropriately tie rewards to longer-term performance."

But Bernanke didn't go nearly as far as Volcker says we should. Volcker wants to keep major commercial banks that enjoy federal-deposit guarantees away from big-time speculative trading. "They shouldn't be doing risky capital-market stuff," Volcker told NEWSWEEK before the Fed announcement. But, he adds, the president "obviously decided not to accept" his recommendations. Volcker says he was used as "some kind of symbol of responsibility and prudence" by the administration during the campaign, and now speaks to Obama only occasionally. A White House official, who didn't want to be named talking about personnel issues, says Obama pays close attention to Volcker—and other dissenters, like Mervyn King, the Bank of England governor who also called last week for substantive structural changes to banks considered "too big to fail." "The president has a great deal of respect for Paul Volcker; he has met with him more than a dozen times in the White House, and seeks his input frequently," the official says.

The Fed's scheme was designed by Fed governor Dan Tarullo, an Obama appointee, but was adopted without administration input, says a Fed official who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The official adds that Bernanke's proposal is intended to address "the same issues of safety and soundness" that concern Volcker. In addition to the Fed's rollout, last week Treasury official Kenneth Feinberg said the government will restrict compensation of the top 25 employees at bailed-out firms; Obama also urged the Senate to give shareholders "a voice" on executive pay. Volcker says he agrees with "about 80 percent" of Obama's financial proposals, but it's the other 20 percent that has him worried.


I didn't bold it cause it's not that long. 


Too Big, Too Dumb, Too Greedy To Fail... What Could Go Wrong?

New US bill on "too big to fail" fix seen Monday

* Tougher draft bill on resolution authority seen Monday

* Frank -- exploring optional federal charter for insurers

* Optional charter not seen for property and casualty (Adds Frank comments on bank regulation, Feinberg's pay rulings, byline)

By Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Obama administration plans to unveil on Monday a new plan for dealing with troubled financial giants, said a senior U.S. lawmaker, who also mentioned potentially big changes for the insurance industry.

Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and a chief architect of the financial regulation overhaul, declined on Friday to give details on the administration's new bill, which would give the government the power to dismantle large financial companies that get into crises.

The new draft bill is expected to take a tougher stance toward troubled financial firms than the administration's original plan, and may take out some language that would allow for temporary bailouts.

Giving the government "resolution authority" would serve as a rebuttal to the concept that some firms are too big to fail. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday highlighted the need for this authority as well as other measures to reduce the likelihood that one firm could destabilize the financial system. [ID:nN2394774]

Frank also said Congress is discussing whether to create an optional federal charter for insurers.

Insurance companies are currently regulated by the states.
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  • de_wood

The guys who brought you Freakonomics ask "Why isn't prostitution more profitable?"

Good news, ladies. You, too, can make millions by charging for sex! And you'll just have a slam-bang, gee-golly splendiferous time doing it, too – at least if you absolutely adore the sort of men who pay for it. Be warned, however: Disliking those men will consign you to the minimum-wage ranks of sex professionals, forever longing for the big bucks you could be earning, had you only an appropriately chipper attitude.

Such is the advice of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, of Freakonomics fame. They are back with a new book, Superfreakonomics, and recently they unveiled a bit of it in the form of an excerpt about how to succeed as a prostitute.

Freakonomics, of course, is the science of choosing an appropriately wacky or controversial subject (sumo wrestlers, abortion), applying a little economic analysis to it and coming up with a shocking conclusion that will make people blog about you. In that respect, the how-to-charge-for-sex piece was a no-brainer. Expressing any opinion about prostitution will bring on outrage (and attention) from one corner or another, no matter what your opinion turns out to be. Of course, if you are aiming for maximum impact, it helps to be – as Levitt and Dubner are – really, stunningly, remarkably wrong.

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Levitt and Dubner's article on prostitution
misc - microphone

Fox is part of the free press that we all should revere and support LOLWUT

5 Reasons Why President Obama Should Go on Fox
Like CNN and MSNBC, Fox is part of the free press that we all should revere and support.
By: Sophia Nelson | Posted: October 18, 2009 at 9:17 PM

The latest brouhaha between the White House and Fox News is bad politics and worse policy. President Obama has done interviews with Bill O’Reilly and with Chris Wallace, and in both instances the president said he was treated fairly and with respect.

It was a mistake for White House communications director Anita Dunn to continue the war of words last week by saying that “What I think is fair to say about Fox—and certainly it's the way we view it—is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party.” Respectfully, Ms. Dunn, the White House strategy on this one just looks plain petty and beneath the dignity of the presidency. This is also the opinion of longtime presidential adviser David Gergen, who has questioned the propriety of the White House. “It's a very risky strategy,” Gergen said recently on CNN. “It's not one I would advocate.”

I am a frequent commentator on Fox News and on Sean Hannity, but let me be clear: As a Republican African-American woman, I do not always agree with Fox’s coverage or the incendiary comments of Fox hosts like Glenn Beck. That does not, however, stop me from going on the news channel and stating my opinions—which are many times at odds with the more conservative point of view expressed there. My good friend/liberal black Professor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is a Fox contributor, and he goes toe-to-toe with Bill O’Reilly regularly—the two of them make for great theater and “balance”—that’s what I like about O’Reilly.
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Japan pushes for East Asia bloc

HUA HIN, Thailand (Reuters) – Japan's prime minister backed a U.S. role for a proposed EU-style Asian community on Saturday, telling Southeast Asian leaders Tokyo's alliance with Washington was at the heart of its diplomacy.

Making a case for an East Asian Community at a summit of Asian leaders in Thailand, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said there should be some U.S. involvement in the bloc, which faces stiff obstacles including Japan's historic rivalry with China.

It was unclear how a U.S. role would work. But the comment may help allay concern in some countries that such a body would ultimately fail by shutting out the world's biggest economy.

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Happy Belated Black Thursday!

I'm not sure if anyone has posted this yet, so I'll post it.

There aren't too many people around who can remember Black Thursday, the stock market crash of 1929 known as the beginning of the Great Depression. That's because it happened 80 years ago today.

Two Wilmington nonagenarians who do have memories of that bleak time in our nation's history, though, say despite our economy's struggles, today's generation has no idea what real “hard times” are.

“People aren't the same,” 97-year-old Stanley Silverman said this week over lunch at the New Hanover County Senior Center. “We have so many great things that we don't appreciate how they had it before.

“You expect certain things just like you expect to breathe. We take a lot of things for granted that we never dreamt of 50 or 60 years ago.”

Mildred Mitchell, whose also has seen her share of history during her 93 years, agrees that people nowadays just don't have a clue about how to tighten the financial reins.

“I think it's wasteful,” she said. “People abuse the good things in life. There's more waste than I've ever seen in my entire life.”

Mitchell, a young teen growing up in Wilmington when the Depression began, recalls trips to the food bank.

“There just wasn't any money,” she said. “It was a struggle. There was nothing around for anybody. There were no jobs. If you had one, you were lucky.”

Silverman, who moved to Wilmington to live with his daughter three years ago, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 17 and working at a hardware store on Black Thursday. When asked what he remembers most about that day, his answer is, “A lot of suicides, jumping out of windows.”

Like most historians, he emphasizes that Black Thursday and the Great Depression were a culmination of bad investment decisions made during the Roaring '20s, known as a time of wealth and excess in our nation. But that all came to a screeching halt on Oct. 24, 1929.

“People took chances on stocks that were worthless,” Silverman said. “Don't gamble with your money.”

He said he doesn't recall having to make big sacrifices during the Depression years, not that he would've noticed anyway.

“Cut back? There was nothing to cut,” Silverman said. “You didn't know what you were missing. It's an entirely different life now. A lot of people complain, but they don't know how well off they are.”

Sorry, forgot to put the link to the source. Here it is.


Ironic, isn't it?

I like the article although it's the classic kids-have-it-so-easy-these-days thing, and I've always hated that.  Yes, we have it easier with our electricity and such, but still... It's a bit condesending.
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    American Wedding- Gogol Bordello
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Same-sex Marriage Coming to New York within weeks ♥

Paterson: Gay Marriage Coming to N.Y.
By Julie Bolcer

Gov. David Paterson reiterated his pledge to bring marriage equality to New York state Thursday, telling a cheering audience at a major gay rights fund-raiser that they can expect to see a bill pass “just in the next few weeks.”

Paterson promised to put the bill on the senate’s agenda in the next special session of the legislature, which insiders anticipate will take place within two to three weeks.

“When we do, on the first calendar that is written, marriage equality will be on the calendar,” Paterson said to some 1,200 attendees at the annual fall dinner for the statewide LGBT advocacy group Empire State Pride Agenda.

“So, if you’ve been telling your loved one, ‘You know, I’d marry you, but we have this legal problem,’ and maybe, as a lot of straight people have done, you’ve led someone along thinking you’re going to marry them, one obstacle or another has prevented it, you’d better leave now, because marriage equality is coming to New York state,” said Paterson.

Despite his optimism, the governor cannot force the state’s notoriously contentious senate to vote on the legislation, which already passed the assembly. The governor acknowledged the limitations of his role in a question and answer session with reporters, but he predicted the bill would pass whenever it comes to the floor for a vote.

“I don’t see the future,” he said. “I believe it would pass.”

State senator Tom Duane, the openly gay sponsor of the bill, stood by his assertions earlier this year that the bill has the bipartisan support it is believed to need in the narrowly divided senate.

"Whenever they call us back into special session, I’m full speed ahead,” he told Advocate.com.


It's not definite, but it's looking good. I'm feeling confident New York will be the 7th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

On a somewhat related note, I'm hoping to go to Pride Works this year. Just thought I'd share in case anyone's interested in going. :)

Does The Pentagon Wants Obama to Fail?

Seymour Hersh: Military Is Waging War Against The White House

In addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States military is also fighting a war against the Obama administration at the White House, Seymour Hersh said in a little-noted speech at Duke University on October 13. The military is "in a war against the White House -- and they feel they have Obama boxed in," he said.

Hersh, a Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq, sees an undercurrent of racism in the Pentagon's dealings with the White House. "They think he's weak and the wrong color. Yes, there's racism in the Pentagon. We may not like to think that, but it's true and we all know it."

As Neil Offen writes in the Durham Herald Sun:

"A lot of people in the Pentagon would like to see him get into trouble," he said. By leaking information that the commanding officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the war would be lost without an additional 40,000 American troops, top brass have put Obama in a no-win situation, Hersh contended.

"If he gives them the extra troops they're asking for, he loses politically," Hersh said. "And if he doesn't give them the troops, he also loses politically."

Hersh considers the worsening situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the principal test of the Obama presidency, which will require the cooperation of the top military brass. Obama must face up to the military, Hersh said. "He's either going to let the Pentagon run him or he has to run the Pentagon." If he doesn't, according to Hersh, "this stuff is going to be the ruin of his presidency."

Is It Possible? Fox's Attack Against Obama Makes Him Look Good and Awesome (Than He Really Is)!

The Great American Ideological Crackup

Shortly after the 2004 presidential election, i was chatting with a senior figure in the Democratic Party when, inevitably, the talk turned to why John Kerry had lost. My interlocutor's theory of the case: the voters did not know the truth about George W. Bush. Why didn't they know the truth? I asked. The reply: because of Roger Ailes.

On hearing that a particularly dopey man we both knew had gone to rehab for drinking, a friend of mine once sent me an e-mail that said: "You know, that's an awful lot to blame on alcohol." To adapt the image, the 2004 victory is an awful lot to credit Ailes with. The head of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel, Ailes (whom I know) is a talented and influential man. He rose from The Mike Douglas Show to become a maker of presidents, from Nixon to Bush 41, and his channel is a big player in our politics. But if he and Fox News were as omnipotent as Democrats fear, John McCain and Sarah Palin would be in the White House.

Still, to many liberals, Murdoch and Ailes are the scary Wild Things of the last decade or so in American politics, the men on whom many of the evils of the world can be blamed. For these progressive true believers, the White House's recent attack on the channel as a partisan machine is a welcome signal of a feisty, fighting Obama administration.
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