October 28th, 2009

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Another list

Want prosperity? Index ranks Finland as place to be

SINGAPORE – For those who value their freedom of expression as much as health, wealth, and prosperity, then Finland is the place to be, with an index ranking the Nordic nation the best in the world.

The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index, published on Tuesday and compiled by the Legatum Institute, an independent policy, advocacy and advisory organization, ranked 104 countries which are home to 90 percent of the world's population.

The index is based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth with the level of personal freedoms and democracy in a country as well as measures of happiness and quality of life.

With the exception of Switzerland, which came in at number 2, Nordic countries dominated the top 5 slots, with Sweden in third place followed by Denmark and Norway.

The top 10 were all also Western nations, with Australia (6th place) and Canada (7th place) both beating the United States, ranked 9th. Britain came in at number 12.

In Asia, Japan was the region's highest ranked country at number 16, followed by Hong Kong (18th place) and Singapore (23rd place) and Taiwan (24th place).

Dr. William Inboden, senior vice president of the Legatum Institute, said the lower rankings for Asian nations were largely due to their weak scores for democracy and personal freedoms.

"Many Asian nations have good economic fundamentals, but the Index tells us that true prosperity requires more than just money," Inboden said in a statement.

"Democratic institutions and personal freedom measures are letting some Asian nations down. Furthermore, countries which have low levels of economic stability, such as Cambodia, finish even further down in the overall rankings."

Cambodia came in the 93rd slot while China, with its tight political controls, came in 75th despite booming economic growth.

And the world's least prosperous country? According to the Legatum Index, it is Zimbabwe, with Sudan and Yemen close runners-up.

The index combines objective data and subjective responses to surveys. More details can be found on http://www.prosperity.com.

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Bachmann nanny to Gretchen from Fox & Friends

Perhaps the crazy is contagious? Or is it just birds of a feather flocking together? Last night Olbermann made George Will his number one best person in the world for pointing out that Michelle Bachmann was a teenage nanny to young Gretchen.

The Bachmann burr (October 23, 2009 - WaPo - George Will)

When she was a teenager in Anoka, Minn., she was a nanny for a young girl named Gretchen Carlson. Today, Carlson, a Stanford honors graduate who studied at Oxford, is a host of "Fox & Friends," the morning show on -- wouldn't you know -- Fox News Channel. See how far ahead the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy plans?


Is The GOP Run By Jerks? (Clue: Water is Wet) Tried To Stop Elizabeth Warren From Heading New Agency

GOP Tried To Block Elizabeth Warren From Heading Agency She Proposed

The person leading a regulatory agency is often more important than the structure and the scope of its powers. Think of Alberto Gonzales or Elliot Spitzer, for example.

As the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) inches toward becoming a reality, the pressing question becomes: Who will be the first to head it?

"I'd love it to be Elizabeth [Warren]," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), referring to the Harvard professor and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel -- the bailout watchdog.

"She's a first-rate lawyer. She's very thoughtful. She's politically skillful," said Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in an interview with the Huffington Post. "I think she'd be great."

The proposal for the agency results from her work on the abusive practices of the financial industry. The legislation to create the agency itself, said Frank, has been crafted with her guidance.

"We've worked with her every step of the way. We've made no major compromises without running it by her," he said. "We've been in constant touch with her."

Frank said that he'd also be satisfied with a state attorney general who's been on the ground battling against bank practices and working on consumer protection.

Frank isn't the first member of Congress to think of Warren as the future head of the agency. As the agency was being voted on last week in Frank's committee, the GOP tried to push through an amendment that would have barred her from leading it.
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soap&skin 2012
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Did Schwarzenegger Send Lawmaker Obscene Message Through Acrostic Poem?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger typically attaches a message to bills he signs or vetoes telling lawmakers why he took the action.

A Democratic assemblyman who heckled the governor during a recent event in San Francisco actually received two messages: the veto letter itself and a not-so-subtle rebuke creatively hidden within it.

Like a find-the-word puzzle, the second message was visible by stringing together the first letter of each line down the left-hand margin. It consisted of a common four-letter vulgarity followed by the letters "y-o-u."

"My goodness. What a coincidence," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. "I suppose when you do so many vetoes, something like this is bound to happen."

Schwarzenegger's veto messages are sent to the lawmakers who authored the bills, and posted on the governor's Web site. McLear noted that the left-hand margin of past veto messages has spelled out words such as "poet" and "soap."

The target was San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who had sponsored AB1176. The bill, which passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate, would have granted the Port of San Francisco expanded financing power to redevelop a former shipyard into a new neighborhood known as Pier 70.

"Kudos to the governor for his creative use of coincidence," said Ammiano's spokesman, Quintin Mecke. "You certainly have to have a sense of humor in politics. Unfortunately, this humor came at the cost of the Port of San Francisco."

Whether coincidence or smackdown, the phrase contained in Schwarzenegger's Oct. 12 veto message could be seen as retaliation for Ammiano's behavior during a local Democratic Party fundraiser earlier this month in San Francisco.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, had been invited to the event by former San Francisco mayor and Assembly speaker Willie Brown, a Democrat.

His appearance at the Fairmont Hotel caught many of the attendees by surprise and came after a summer of contentious budget negotiations that forced lawmakers to cut billions of dollars from core state services, including education and health care programs.

On a video clip of the governor's appearance, Ammiano can be heard shouting "you lie" and other derogatory phrases as other attendees booed and heckled Schwarzenegger's brief speech.

After the governor left, Ammiano took the stage and gave a rambling diatribe in which he criticized Schwarzenegger for a wide variety of perceived offenses. In part, the freshman lawmaker was upset that Schwarzenegger had vetoed bills in 2005 and 2007 that would have legalized gay marriage.

The governor has said the issue should be decided by voters or the state Supreme Court. Schwarzenegger also opposed Proposition 8, the initiative voters passed in November to ban same-sex marriage.

Of the eight Ammiano bills sent to the governor's desk this year, Schwarzenegger vetoed six � five of them after the Oct. 7 heckling incident.

Mecke, Ammiano's spokesman, said the lawmaker wants to move on.

"We will call it even and start with a clean slate with the governor from here on out," he said.


President Gingrich? 2012? Is It April 1st Already?... Conservatives are Laughing (at Him)

Conservatives Laugh Off Gingrich Presidential Dreams
Former Speaker's Endorsement of Scozzafava Betrays Tea Party Ideals for Partisanship

When Lisa Miller found out that former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich would be signing books on Saturday in McLean, Va., she hauled out her video camera. Miller, a Virginia businesswoman and sometime Republican candidate for local office, had gone to every Tea Party event and town hall meeting that she could get into this year. Every time, she’d turned on her camera and recorded a short on-the-scene video editorial about what was at stake. “I’m asking for Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress to return our money,” she said in an April 15 video.

She had a bone to pick with Gingrich. On October 16, the former Speaker of the House endorsed Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate for the open seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. He was the last high-profile Republican to do so. Since then, Republicans from Sarah Palin to Dick Armey to Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) have endorsed Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the special election. If those politicians needed proof that they were doing right by the Republican base, they need only look to people like Miller and the twenty other Tea Party activists at the Barnes & Noble to demand an answer from Gingrich. In an organizing e-mail passed on to TWI, one activist suggested that they bring signs reading “Newt, You Know Better,” and grumbled that “if Tea Partiers can’t stop so-called conservatives from selling out, we might as well give up.”

The Tea Party activists got their time with Gingrich. His answer, uploaded to Miller’s YouTube account, made national news. “My bias is to be for the nominee of the local party,” Gingrich said, patiently, “and I don’t second guess the local party.” The Republican candidate had a better chance of winning the election, he argued, and it was foolish “for the conservative movement to think splitting in the special election is a smart idea.”

The day after meeting the Tea Party activists, Gingrich appeared on C-Span and announced, in a roundabout way, that he would consider a 2012 presidential bid. But as far as voters like Lisa Miller are concerned–and they’re echoed by some established Republican strategists–Gingrich has done serious damage to his credibility among the people who’ll choose the next Republican presidential nominee. Conservatives and libertarians who’d already doubted Gingrich have used the Scozzafava endorsement as a cudgel, a way to emphasize their own concerns.

“Newt’s hurt himself a little bit,” said David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a pol with experience in intra-Republican squabbles that dates back to the Ronald Reagan-Gerald Ford primary battle of 1976. “It’s obviously not fatal, but if you go with the establishment all of the time, people assume that you’re part of the establishment. And that’s not a good place to be.”

Craig Shirley, a longtime Republican strategist who is working on Hoffman’s media outreach, called Gingrich a “friend” and would not disparage his decision. But he warned that “conservatives are going to point the finger at the NRCC and the Republican establishment for running hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads attacking Doug Hoffman.”

Online, the reaction to Gingrich’s decision has been swift and brutal. On October 22, he posted a lengthy explanation of his thinking on his Newt.org website, usually a hub for his fans. That posting has been drowned in negative comments, some sorrowful, some simply angry.
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Posh Zoom

Claire McCaskill being Awesome

Democrat Senator Likens Fox News' Glenn Beck to Voldemort, Villain of the Harry Potter Series

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By Christopher Neefus

At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing last Thursday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) likened Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck to Voldemort, a diabolical character in the Harry Potter series. The hearing focused on the numerous policy "czars" that have been named by President Obama, an issue that has been a frequent topic on Beck's program.

In her opening remarks at the hearing, McCaskill called Beck “He Who Shall Not Be Named," a moniker used for the malevolent wizard Lord Voldemort, the antagonist in the bestselling Harry Potter books and films, by those too fear-stricken by his evil deeds to utter his real name.

McCaskill blamed the attention that has been focused on the Obama administration's "czars"--thus necessitating the committee's hearing--on what she called a "rant" by Beck on his program.

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Does this make Obama Harry potter?
Posh Zoom

HPV vaccine makes girls more cautious about sex

PhysOrg.com) -- Nearly 80% of girls say that having the HPV vaccine makes them think twice about the risks of having sex, according to a University of Manchester study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The survey - the first to focus on girls’ views of the vaccine rather than their parents’ - showed that, despite speculation that the vaccine could make girls more likely to start having sex younger, it highlighted the risks of sex for the overwhelming majority.

The study also revealed that the support of parents is crucial to the success of the vaccination programme - of the girls whose parents refused the vaccine, 42 per cent actually wanted it. And 10 per cent of those who were vaccinated didn’t want it.

Dr Loretta Brabin, study author based at the University’s School of Cancer and Imaging Sciences, said: “This is the first insight into how a girl decides whether the vaccine is important to her and who influences her decision.

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So this pretty much proves all the conservatives wrong.
i want joe biden i need joe biden

Rick Perry Cover Up: The Houston Chronicle Sues the Governor

The Cameron Todd Willingham story has reached a new level. No longer will there be only strong suspicions of a cover up, but the Houston Chronicle, in a strong journalistic move, seeks to make public the papers Rick Perry saw the day Cameron Todd Willingham would later be executed.

The Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers LLC announced a lawsuit against Governor Rick Perry.

The Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers LLC are suing Gov. Rick Perry in an effort to force the release of a clemency report Perry received before denying a stay of execution to Cameron Todd Willingham.

The report is a summary and status of the case against Willingham that was given to Perry at 11:30 a.m. on the day of Willingham's 2004 execution in the fire deaths of his three daughters. Anti-death penalty advocates say modern fire forensics show the blaze cannot be proven as arson.

Perry's office has refused to release the report, claiming it is a privileged document. The clemency document was used by Perry in the process of deciding whether to give Willingham a 30-day stay of execution.

"When it comes to human life, there is no place the governor should be more transparent in his decision-making," said Jonathan Donnellan, an attorney for Hearst and the Chronicle.

"It should raise eyebrows that the governor is seeking to shield communications with his advisers as 'legal advice,' when the very idea of executive clemency power is to make a policy decision after the legal process has run its course," Donnellan said.

I applaud the Chronicle's decision to pursue this worthy goal. If they win, we will see more insight into Rick Perry's worst act as Governor on a long list of bad acts. I wish the Chronicle luck with their suit.

Source: Burnt Orange Report


Limbaugh Call President "Boy", "Man-child", and "Lazy"... Silly Rush, Bush Left Office Months Ago...

Rush Limbaugh Calls Obama "Little Boy, This Man-Child President" (VIDEO)

Rush Limbaugh continued to use his very heated rhetoric when criticizing President Obama. During a rant in which he Limbaugh accused senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett of unfairly pressuring the Chamber of Commerce, the controversial radio host slammed Obama as "this little boy, this little man-child president whose primary job, if you will, in life has been leisure. This guy is more practiced at leisure than anything else."



Inhfe Getting Desperate: "The Earth is Flat and Science on Global Warming is Not Settled!"

A senator in a hostile climate

It must be very lonely being the last flat-earther.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, committed climate-change denier, found himself in just such a position Tuesday morning as the Senate environment committee, on which he is the ranking Republican, took up legislation on global warming. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was in talks with Democrats over a compromise bill -- the traitor! And as Inhofe listened, fellow Republicans on the committee -- turncoats! -- made it clear that they no longer share, if they ever did, Inhofe's view that man-made global warming is the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

"Eleven academies in industrialized countries say that climate change is real; humans have caused most of the recent warming," admitted Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). "If fire chiefs of the same reputation told me my house was about to burn down, I'd buy some fire insurance."

An oil-state senator, David Vitter (R-La), said that he, too, wants to "get us beyond high-carbon fuels" and "focus on conservation, nuclear, natural gas and new technologies like electric cars." And an industrial-state senator, George Voinovich (R-Ohio), acknowledged that climate change "is a serious and complex issue that deserves our full attention."

Then there was poor Inhofe. "The science is more definitive than ever? You keep saying that because you want to believe it so much," he said bitterly. He offered to furnish a list of scientists who once believed in climate change but "who are solidly on the other side right now." The science, he said, "already has shifted" against global-warming theory. "Science is not settled! Everyone knows it's not settled!"
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Car bomb kills 93 in Pakistani city of Peshawar

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A car bomb struck a busy market in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 93 people — mostly women and children — as visiting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged U.S. support for Islamabad's campaign against Islamic militants.

More than 200 people were wounded in the blast in the main northwestern city of Peshawar, the deadliest in a surge of attacks by suspected insurgents this month. The government blamed militants seeking to avenge an army offensive launched this month against al-Qaida and Taliban in their stronghold close to the Afghan border.

The bombing was the deadliest since explosions hit homecoming festivities for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi in October 2007, killing about 150 people. Bhutto was later slain in a separate attack.

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Golden Girl Bea Arthur leaves $300,000 to gay youth shelter

Bea Arthur, the former Golden Girls star who died earlier this year, has left $300,000 to a shelter for gay homeless teenagers.

For years, she had been a generous benefactor to the Ali Forney Centre, which is a New York-based homeless LGBT charity.

Four years ago, the Tony Award-winning actress flew to New York for a benefit performance for the centre, raising more than $40,000. She told Next magazine the centre was saving lives.

The charity announced in August it would purchase a building with space for 12 teenagers and name it after her.

Executive director of the Ali Forney Centre, Carl Siciliano, said: "We work with hundreds of young people who are rejected by their families because of who they are.

"We are overwhelmed with gratitude that Bea saw that LGBT youth deserve as much love and support as any other young person, and that she placed so much value in the work we do to protect them, and to help them rebuild their lives."

The centre was set up in 2003 and is named after Ali Forney, a young homeless LGBT man who was murdered in 1997.

Source: Pink News
We need more happy tags here...

Will New Bill End Era of "Too Big To Fail"?

"Too Big To Fail" Bill Unveiled By Treasury Department, House Dems

The Treasury Department and the House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank (D - Mass.) last night unveiled a sweeping new bill that attempts to rein in "too big to fail" financial institutions. The proposed legislation, its authors argue, would end the era of taxpayer bailouts for failed firms.

In essence, as the blog Volatility put it, the bill would force large banks and other financial firms to contribute to a "financial superfund," so that they, instead of taxpayers, would foot the bill for the failure of immense institutions. Here's more on the proposed cost-shifting from House Financial Services Committee's website:

Costs to resolve a failing firm will be repaid first from the assets of the failed firm at the expense of shareholders and creditors, and to the extent of any shortfall, from assessments on all large financial firms. In this instance we follow the "polluter pays" model where the financial industry has to pay for their mistakes--not taxpayers...[The] Resolution Fund is structured to spread the cost over a broad range of financial companies with assets of $10 billion or more, and provides for a flexible repayment period to avoid potential procyclical effect of such assessments.

The plan would also give the Federal Reserve the power to reduce the size of of banks, hedge funds and other financial firms with more than $10 billion in assets.

Community banks and other lending institutions that may have more than $10 billion in assets, but don't pose systemic risks, will not be covered under the proposed legislation, according to Bloomberg. But the bill could cover money management firms and many larger hedge funds.

The bill gives the Federal Reserve the power to determine which firms are actually "too big to fail" and pose systemic risk to the financial system. But it also creates a new council of financial risk regulators.
Here's Bloomberg:

Under the bill, the Fed would oversee the biggest financial companies, known as Tier 1, and would hold the most power on a new council of regulators, officials said. The measure gives each major market regulator such as the Fed, FDIC, other bank agencies, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Housing Finance Agency a seat on the council and some authority for monitoring systemic risk.

The draft gives the council powers to impose "heightened prudential standards" on financial holding companies deemed a threat to market stability. That determination could be made on a broad range of criteria, including the degree of a company's reliance on short-term funding.

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Rightwing Radio Jokes on The 1981 Assassination Attempt on Reid's Family: "But Is Funny! Is A Joke!"

RADIO CLAIMS: Reid jabs generate backlash

The wife of Sen. Harry Reid and others are striking back at unsubstantiated talk radio claims that seem to downplay or dismiss the story of a 1981 attempt to blow up the Reid family car.

Landra Reid said Tuesday that a failed attempt to rig the Reids' car to explode was, "very, very scary," adding, "I just can't imagine anyone would call it into question or try and change history."

Her account of the incident is supported by numerous newspaper stories, statements by law enforcement officials and her own eyes -- she saw the wiring that connected the engine compartment to the gasoline tank.

"I think pretending that this didn't happen to us is one thing, but joking about it is something else," she said. "It wasn't funny then and I don't think it is funny now."

She was referring to jokes about the incident and doubts raised about the veracity of the story during the Heidi Harris Show on KDWN-AM, 720, a Las Vegas radio station.

On Oct. 21, Harris joked about the incident with Sue Lowden, a former television journalist and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Reid, a Democrat and the Senate majority leader.

The two women discussed other bombings and Harris remarked that perhaps Reid was trying to claim another bombing was directed at him, which prompted laughter from Lowden.

Reid's campaign responded with a Web ad on YouTube.com featuring newspaper headlines about the incident and recordings from the Harris show.

The recording had Harris stating, "Everybody says that maybe there was a rumor but nobody has been able to verify that actually happened," and Lowden saying, "I've never heard of that either."

On Tuesday Harris again broached the subject, this time with Gov. Jim Gibbons and retired Las Vegas police detective Phil Ramos.

In the Ramos interview Harris said, "I've been here all my life, but I'm not a detective like you were. Know anything about that bomb in Harry Reid's family station wagon?"

Ramos said, "There was an incident. It wasn't a bomb per se." He goes on to say that the device found couldn't be detonated. "There was a wire attached to the battery in one of the cars that the family drove. But that's all it was."

Later in the program Ramos said, "Back then, the theory was that it was somebody trying to hook up a stereo to the car, just direct wire."

Las Vegas police spokesman Bill Cassell confirmed the existence of a device "hooked from the engine to the fuel tank."

The device "was designed to make the car explode," he said.

When asked about the theory that the wiring was a stereo hookup, Cassell said, "it is not included in the report."

News stories from 1981 also contradict claims law enforcement took the incident lightly.

In a Review-Journal story, Lt. Don Simon of the Metropolitan Police Department's Intelligence Bureau stated that someone removed a spark plug in Reid's engine and extended a wire to the gas tank in an attempt to make the car blow up when started.

A story in the Las Vegas Sun stated, "Officers described the device in Reid's car as,
'a crude bomb trigger, but one that could work if a spark had reached the gas tank.' "

A story in the Nevada State Journal from Reno began, "An apparent murder attempt was uncovered when former Gaming Commission Chairman Harry Reid discovered his car was rigged to explode, police said Thursday."

When asked whether she was aware of news accounts of the incident, Harris said, "All I'm doing is raising questions. I'm not an investigative reporter. I don't have time to spend hours of my life digging up old police reports."

Ramos declined to elaborate when contacted for more information about his memory of the incident and said, "I don't want to get into it. I was a rookie patrolman back then. I said what I had to say about it."

Others who recall the era when Reid and the gaming commission clashed with mobsters over control of Las Vegas casinos said bombings and other forms of terrorism were real and taken seriously, especially by the targets.

Longtime Las Vegas broadcast journalist Bob Stoldal said he remembers the Reid incident, as well attacks on journalist Ned Day, whose car was torched in 1986, and casino operator Lefty Rosenthal, whose car was bombed in 1982. Rosenthal's story was glorified in the 1995 movie "Casino."

"It was a time that everybody took things like that seriously," said Stoldal, now executive vice president of news at KVBC-TV, Channel 3. "To laugh about it, I think is just inappropriate."

Although no one was ever implicated in the attempt on Reid's car, Stoldal said it was widely known that as gaming commissioner Reid clashed with unsavory characters, including Rosenthal.

"I remember seeing the battle between Harry Reid and Rosenthal at the gaming commission meeting. That was a very serious matter. Threats were flying at that time," he said.

Former Gov. Bob Miller, who was district attorney in Clark County in 1981, said it was reasonable to believe threats against Reid were credible.

"There's no indication it was some kids fooling around. It was taken seriously," Miller said. "To characterize it otherwise is just reprehensible, I think."

Is it me or conservative humor borderlines on the macabre?...

Money for Old Gay People a Waste of Tax Payers Money Since Teh Geys Are Murdered Young.

Family Research Council: Obama Program to Help Gay Elderly is Wasted Since Gays Die Young Anyway

Aside from the hateful venom here, what's really interesting is that the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins appears to be, yet again, quoting the research of a known hate group. The whole "gays die young" thing is the brain child of Paul Cameron, a debunked "doctor" who was kicked out of various medical societies, and whose anti-gay research, the Southern Poverty Law Center says, has "echoes of Nazi Germany." The SPLC also labels Cameron's organization a "hate group." (Links to proof of all of this are in this post.)

You'll note that the Family Research Council, to this day, still publishes Cameron's anti-gay "Nazi Germany" research on its Web site.

And keep in mind - who started the campaign against gay Obama administration official Kevin Jennings? FRC, the group that promotes the anti-gay research of Nazi Germany-esque hate groups. Seeing a pattern here?

Interestingly, who else is promoting the "Nazi Germany" science of Paul Cameron, claiming, falsely, that gays all die young? None of than Peter LaBarbera, the man attending an anti-gay press conference, as I write, in Maine alongside the leader of another known hate group, as labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center: Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance.

The one good thing is that the religious right is so hateful, so anti-gay, so bigoted that it's extremely difficult for them to hide their hate and their animus. And yet again, we caught them.
Bert 2008 B&amp;W

Food for thought for the "But think of the Women!" Crowd...

Though not the reason the US initially went into Afghanistan, one argument that has been made in favor of our continued military presence in the country is the gross violations of women's rights documented under Taliban rule.

Ann Jones in a recent article for The Nation explores this line of reasoning, and examines the current situation for women 8 years into the US military operation in the region. Full article can be read here; below the cut are some highlights.

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I've been following the situation of women in Afghanistan since the early 1990s.  Watching it go from bad to worse has been heartbreaking.  Knowing the what situation of women in the 1960s and 70s was, and seeing in how short a time it has deteriorated to present conditions is horrifying.  I agree with the final assessment of the article--What happens to women is not merely a "women's issue"; it is the central issue of stability, development and durable peace.

To end with something a bit more heartening, here's a story about a collective of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indian women working for Peace.

The Daily Mail Takes a Tragic Story, Chucks in Videogames For Hits

The Daily Mail is reporting on the tragic story of a schizophrenic 18 year old who has been convicted of manslaughter after killing Irene Roberton, a 65 year old Widow from Hull, UK. The boy, James Callaghan (then 17) attacked Mrs. Roberton with an axe and injured another man.

Callaghan who had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic claimed he had heard voices in his head which told him to kill people, as well as seeing a man with horns on his head. Obviously this man has severe mental health issues, which has led him to kill an innocent woman. But guess what, the Daily Mail has somehow managed to turn this into yet more demonisation of videogames.

In a ridiculous article, the writer Chris Brooke manages to turn an horrific story about a poor woman’s death into more agenda pushing bullshit. The headline, rather than mentioning the man’s medically recognised condition, suggests that Callaghan “killed [the] widow in a drink-fuelled rage after losing a computer game to his brother”. Now I’m no journalist, unlike Mr Brooke who is obviously fully qualified and trained to write for the Mail, but to me something isn’t right there. Surely in the headline, the sentence that pulls you in and briefly informs of the story should have some mention of Callaghan’s schizophrenia? It seems that his condition is the main aspect of the story, rather than alcohol and videogames causing the death of a pensioner.

Then just to make sure that the story hits the minimum quota of scaremongering:

He also played the computer game Grand Theft Auto, which sends the player’s character on a violent crime spree.

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Source: Negative Gamer

tw: mumspiration

Questionable Methodology is Highly Questionable.

Where Are All the Lady Bloggers?

— By Marian Wang | Wed October 28, 2009 3:30 AM PST
After the release of The Shriver Report, which lauded our becoming "a woman's nation," the media have been abuzz with talk of the gender gap in the American workplace. Joanne Lipman, former deputy editor at the Wall Street Journal and founding editor in chief of the now-defunct Portfolio, wrote an op-ed tempering the soaring proclamations of progress. Then, yesterday, Vanity Fair released a feature by Nell Scovell, one of seven female writers to ever staff Late Night with David Letterman.

Scovell described what she had considered a hostile work environment and noted, of the late night gender imbalance, "There are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for Late Show with David Letterman, The Jay Leno Show, and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien combined."

And that's not all.

Last week, Technorati released its annual State of the Blogosphere report. Given that women rule the world of social networking, I was interested to find out that the opposite is true of the blogosphere. According to the report, 67 percent of bloggers are men—up a little from the year before.
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Can We Talk About Religion, Please?

By Randy Cohen

The Issue

Last week the Vatican invited Anglicans who are, as The New York Times put it, “uncomfortable with female priests and openly gay bishops” to reunite with the Roman Catholic Church. If a secular institution, Wal-Mart or Microsoft, for example, made a similar offer — Tired of leadership positions being open to women and gay employees? Join us! — it would be slammed for appealing to bigotry. Some criticism was directed at the church, but it was faint. Are we right to speak softly when discussing a subject as sensitive as religion?

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cool story bro, stoned

(no subject)

Canadian Government Abandons Woman In Saudi Arabia

The Canadian government says it will not intervene to bring home a Quebec woman who claims her husband is refusing to allow her and her three children to leave Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon discussed the case of Nathalie Morin with his Saudi counterpart during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

After his return from Riyadh, Cannon said he considered the case to be a private matter that must be resolved by Saudi officials.

Cannon said Canada would respect the country’s law, which allows a husband to prevent his spouse and children from leaving the country without his permission.

In an interview with the French-language arm of the CBC, Morin said she has been trying to return home for 2½ years.

"He doesn’t keep me in Saudi Arabia because he loves me and wants to keep me — it is just that he wants to get money, or one day have a chance to travel," Morin told Radio-Canada.

Morin alleges she is regularly abused by her husband.
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Obama Signs Historic Federal LGBT Hate Crimes Legislation

After remarks on the Department of Defense authorization bill, President Barack Obama moments ago recognized Judy and Dennis Shepard and the family of the late Senator Ted Kennedy before signing the bill, which contains the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Bill, into law.

Said Obama: "Now, speaking of that, there is one more long-awaited change contained within this legislation that I'll be talking about a little more later today. After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are. I promised Judy Shepard, when she saw me in the Oval Office, that this day would come, and I'm glad that she and her husband Dennis could join us for this event. I'm also honored to have the family of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought so hard for this legislation. And Vicki and Patrick, Kara, everybody who's here, I just want you all to know how proud we are of the work that Ted did to help this day -- make this day possible. So -- and thank you for joining us here today. (Applause.) So, with that, I'm going to sign this piece of legislation."

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Sexism In The Film Industry: Less prevalent with indie films

New Research: Women Fare Better in the Indie World

File this under no shit sherlock, but new research from the Center for Study for Women in Television and Film at San Diego State shows that women are more represented on independent films that appear in film festivals than in the top grossing big budget films. Now keep in mind some of those films might overlap because 250 is a big number, but lots of the top grossing films don’t go the festival circuit. They don’t need to. They will have big marketing and ad budgets and will get released in enough theatres to make them successful. One example of a film that might overlap would be Juno which started out on the fest circuit and became a big box office hit.
Indie films need the festival circuit to build buzz so they have half a chance at being successful when they are released. This year some examples of the indie films directed by women that are building buzz include Lone Scherfig’s An Education and Jane Campion’s Bright Star. These films would be considered in the research because neither are domestically produced, but you get the picture. Another thing to consider in this discussion is that not all films that play festivals get any type of release at all. Some will be in a festival or 2 and then languish.


The research studied 25 high profile film festivals in 2008-2009 and that data confirms that women comprise 24% of “directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors on domestically produced films at film festivals.” That compares to the only 16% on the top 250 grossing films.

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A conversation with Gore Vidal; or, The Musings of the Most Hateful Old Man on Earth

At age 83, Gore Vidal remains a sharp provocateur, as irascible and irreverent as ever.

Snapshots in History’s Glare, a new memoir by Vidal released this month, renews interest in this American literary and cultural icon—offering readers a pictorial look at his singular life, from his youth in the political and social circles of Washington, to his service in World War II, his expat years in Guatemala and Europe, his emergence as a major novelist, his decades writing scripts in Hollywood, his forays into politics, his infamous feud with William F. Buckley Jr., and his friendships with Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK, and Tennessee Williams, among others. The book concludes with photos of his future burial plot beside his longtime companion, Howard Auster, at D.C.’s Rock Creek Cemetery.

Eager for his thoughts on Obama’s presidency and a range of other topics, I caught up with Vidal twice this month at his home in Hollywood. (The first time, he sported a varsity-football-style jacket, bearing patches of the characters from The Simpsons, on which he once made a guest appearance.)

Our conversation ranged widely, covering everything from Ted Kennedy, to the Polanski scandal, to the sexual exploits of Bill Clinton, and the relative merits of Obama vs. Hillary. Throughout, Vidal’s devastating trademark wit was much in evidence, as was an impressive ability to perform dead-on imitations of JFK and Eleanor Roosevelt.

A condensed transcript of our conversation follows.

—John Meroney

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House Bill Presents a Weaker Public Option

House Bill Will Lack Robust Public Option

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has been furiously rounding up support for a "robust" public insurance option to be included in the health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is scheduled to unveil Thursday. House Democratic leadership has been part of the effort, whipping the caucus in an effort to find 218 votes to back it.

Leadership isn't confirming that a decision has been made, but all indications are that the progressives have lost this round and that Pelosi will include a public option that is required to negotiate rates with providers. Progressives prefer the robust version -- Capitol Hill code for a public plan that reimburses providers using Medicare rates plus five percent. [UPDATE: Leadership is now confirming they are indeed going with the negotiated-rate option.]
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Credit Card Companies Too Greedy to Change...

Credit Card Companies Continue Practices BANNED In New Legislation: STUDY

Not only have credit card companies continued to use practices that will be outlawed under a strict law due to take effect in February, in many cases their policies have gotten harsher since the law passed.

A review of nearly 400 cards offered by the largest 12 card issuers in the U.S. found nearly all contracts still allow banks to raise interest rates on outstanding balances. Most also still have penalty interest rates that can be triggered with just one or two late payments or overlimit transactions. And most still allow banks to apply payments to the lowest interest portion of balances first.

All of these policies are prohibited under the legislation, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (or CARD) Act, which was signed by President Obama in May. Congress phased in the provisions to give credit card companies time to adjust their policies, but is now considering moving the effective date up to Dec. 1, because of continued complaints from consumers.
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Got Perfect Credit? You Could Be Charged For It!
Bank Of America, Citigroup First To Try Out Idea, Which Will Undoubtedly Alienate Many Who Follow The Rules

Loraine Mullen-Kress carries a Bank of America credit card and religiously pays off her balance.

"Flawless credit," she boasted.

Yet now, her good credit habits could cost her. Earlier this month Bank of America started notifying customers like Mullen-Kress that they will be charged a new annual fee of $29 to $99.

"There is a big segment of their population that they will have never made money on, which is people who pay their bills on time every month,"
said Ben Woolsey, Director of Consumer Research at CreditCards.com.

Bank of America said in a statement: "At this point we're testing the fee on a very small number of accounts and haven't made any final decisions." Citigroup is also trying out an annual fee with some card holders, and analysts expect more banks to follow their lead.

The banks are starting to charge fees to reliable customers in response to a slew of new credit card industry regulations that will limit when banks can hike interest rates.
Cardholders who get a new annual fee notice in the mail will be in a no-win situation.

"They can either pay that fee or they can close the account, and if they have had the account for a while and they close it, they are potentially going to hurt their credit card score," said Woolsey.

Analysts say right now the banks are trying to figure out what their customers will tolerate. Many say they'd cancel cards with a high new annual fee.

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Glenn Beck and The Vegan Conspiracy!

Glenn Beck Rants About Serving Kids Vegetarian Food, Bizarrely Praises PETA, Screams At Al Gore For Not Eating Tofurkey (VIDEO)

On Tuesday, in more bizarre, nonsensical ranting that has become Glenn Beck's M.O., the Fox News anchor jumped on a story about the UK climate chief stating that not eating meat was better for the planet.

Beck proceeds to interpret this as though he'll somehow be personally forced to stop eating meat. He then becomes horrified about the "indoctrination" of school children in Baltimore, which has instituted a Meatless Monday lunch program. The "controversy" of serving vegetarian food in schools has also been described by Lou Dobbs as a "political storm in the making".

He then praises PETA for its consistency on climate change policy (though it is an animal rights organization) and demands that Al Gore put down his cheeseburgers.

Beck also promises a full hour devoted to the Copenhagen climate talks on Friday and how it will mean the end of American sovereignty. We can hardly wait.


Hangar Outfit

(no subject)

The Nobel for brisket goes to . . .


"I bet he wasn't folding laundry."

-- Carol Greider, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine, on what she was doing at 5 a.m. when the big call came, and her thoughts on learning of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.

Is there a woman around who read this quote and didn't smile with recognition? Greider's wry assessment encapsulates so much about the state of modern women: Nobel laureates but also -- if not inevitably, then at least overwhelmingly -- laundry-folders, school-lunch makers, play-date arrangers, schedule-managers.

This is less a complaint than an observation. In fact, to some extent women are reluctant to yield dominion over the home front even as they become the majority of the paid workforce.

"A Woman's Nation Changes Everything" is the title of a new report by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress. It does -- and it doesn't. The "Battle Between the Sexes is over. It was a draw," Shriver writes. "Now we're engaged in Negotiation Between the Sexes."

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Parks and Rec - Leslie - Bun

School shirts bear phone sex number

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The annual jog-a-thon at Linda Vista Elementary School in Yorba Linda is getting a little more attention than usual... all because of an embarrassing mistake.

The phone number printed on the front of the student T- shirts was actually the number for an adult chat line. A vigilant parent called the number and then immediately contacted the school.

The T-shirts were handed out to all students participating in the Oct. 16 jog-a-thon during recess and recalled before students left at the end of the day, according to principal Jackie Howland. All of the T-shirts were believed to have been retrieved, but parents were informed just in case, Howland said.

The T-shirts featured the school mascot -- a lion -- running with the question: "How's my running?" with a 1-800 number printed below.

The number was picked thinking it was a cute slogan for the jog-a-thon, but turned out to be a real phone number, according to Rosemary Gladden, public information officer for Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.

Linda Vista PTA isn't the first group to make the same mistake with the same 1-800 number. Turns out the slogan was used at several other schools across the country with the same embarrassing result.

The shirts were printed by the PTA, which spent over 500 hours volunteering for the event, Howland said.

Despite the mistake, Howland said the jog-a-thon was success, raising $25,000 for student activities.

And in case you can't read it, the shirt says 1-800-Eat-Dust.

(no subject)

'Pro-Family' Group Slams Obama Program for Elderly Gays Because 'Few of These People are Likely to Live Long Enough' to Benefit

Tony Perkins' Family Research Council put out a statement slamming a plan by the Obama administration to devote resources to LGBT seniors.

Perkins The plan as announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: "The LGBT Resource Center will help community-based organizations understand the unique needs and concerns of older LGBT individuals and assist them in implementing programs for local service providers, including providing help to LGBT caregivers who are providing care for an older partner with health or other challenges. The Administration on Aging will award a single Resource Center grant at approximately $250,000 per year, pending availability of funds. Eligible entities will include public-private nonprofit organizations with experience working on LGBT issues on a national level."

FRC says the program is a waste of time because gay people die before they get old:

"In reality, HHS has no idea how many LGBT seniors exist. No one does! The movement is only a few decades old, and people who are 80- or 90-years-old didn't grow up in a culture where it was acceptable to identify with this lifestyle. Of course, the real tragedy here--apart from the unnecessary spending--is that, given the risks of homosexual conduct, these people are less likely to live long enough to become senior citizens! Yet once again, the Obama administration is rushing to reward a lifestyle that poses one of the greatest public health risks in America. If this is how HHS prioritizes, imagine what it could do with a trillion dollar health care overhaul!"

Americablog notes the whole "gays die young" is the brainchild of debunked doctor Paul Cameron.

Source + Source

  • amypond

Paying Teens Not To Get Pregnant

Greensboro, NC -- Some opponents call it idiotic, but supports say paying these teens pays off for the rest of us.

14-year-old Tiwan Goodner and these other girls are not just learning self-defense but self-discipline and they're taking these moves to the bank.

"We are paying them to avoid pregnancy, to graduate from high school and enroll in college. Because it is a short term and a long-term incentive for them to change their life trajectory," says Hazel Brown, coordinator of the "College Bound Sisters" program at UNCG.

These girls all have older sisters who got pregnant before turning eighteen.

"Most teens that's having babies, they still a child thyself. If they can't take care of thyself, they can't take care of their child," says Tiwan.

Along with self defense techniques, Tiwan learns about abstinence, contraceptives and preparing for college. Tiwan and the "College Bound Sisters" earn $7 a week for coming to this hour and a half program. She has more than $600 saved up right now.

"It's a lot when you don't have any."

To cash in, Tiwan must stay in school and stay pregnancy-free. The dollars are only collectable when she enrolls in college.

"Because they know they have a thousand plus dollars earned and know they will lose it if they drop out of the program, it is incentive for them to stay with it," says Brown.

Brown designed the UNC-G program that started in 1997. She says her data shows these girls are twice as likely to avoid pregnancy as other at-risk teens.

Girls can earn more than $2,200 through the program. They also get five dollars a week for transportation, and a 25-dollar cash bonus for recruiting someone to the program.
Opponents say that kind of paycheck is sending the wrong message.

"To pay someone not to do something wrong, or not to make a mistake like that, that's a concern," says Bill Wright, Chairman of the Republic Party in Guilford County.

Wright says encouraging teen girls to avoid pregnancy is a good idea, but not a good way to spend taxpayer money.

"I'd prefer it be funded by civic organizations, churches or other non-profits and not tax dollars. There's a certain thing called individual responsibility. And I think society is often taking us away from that and trying to put more of that on government."

The program runs on a grant for $75,000 a year.

"Cost for one of these girls is nothing compared to one teenage baby prevented," says Brown.

If one of these girls became a teen mom, Brown says it could cost taxpayers as much as $250,000 when you consider 18 years of Medicaid and other assistance.

Tiwan knows being a teen mom is not part of her plan. "I want to be something in my life. I want to get degrees and I want to have a good job."

So why not just have the program without paying the teens? Brown says that might work for some, but it would be a lot harder to get most teens to stick with it.

Remember they don't get the money until they register for college.

A non-profit group found teen pregnancies cost taxpayers more than $9.1 billion each year.

In North Carolina, nearly 20,000 teens age 15 to 19 got pregnant in 2008.


What do you guys think?


But what if the bombers are GAY? Oh god, the complexity of it all.

"The culture of homosexuality is a culture of self-absorption because it does not value self-sacrifice.,/b> It is a glaring example of what John Paul II has called the culture of death. Islamic fundamentalists clearly understand the damage that homosexual behavior inflicts on a culture. That is why they repress such behavior by death. Their culture is anything but one of self-absorption. It may be brutal at times, but any culture that is able to produce wave after wave of suicide bombers (women as well as men) is a culture that at least knows how to value self-sacrifice.

"Terrorism as a way to oppose the degeneration of the culture is to be rejected completely since such violence is itself another form of degeneracy. One, however, does not have to agree with the gruesome ways that the fundamentalists use to curb the forces that undermine their culture to admit that the Islamic fundamentalist charge that Western Civilization in general and the U.S.A, in particular is the 'Great Satan' is not without an element of truth. It makes no sense for the U. S. Government to send our boys to fight Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, while at the same time it embraces the social policies embodied in Bill 185 (as President Obama has done). Such policies only furnish further arguments for the fundamentalists in their efforts to gain more recruits for the war against the 'Great Satan.'"

- Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, saying that suicide bombers are better than gay people. The local Catholic Archdiocese is vigorously opposing Guam's proposed Bill 185, which would allow gays to enter domestic partnerships.

Source. I would bold parts but... then I'd bold everything. e__e

(no subject)


Violence against women, female teens, surges on TV

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Incidents of violence against women on mainstream U.S. television has increased by 120 percent in the past five years, with the depiction of teen girls as victims rising by some 400 percent, the Parents Television Council said in a report on Wednesday.

The media watchdog said it was particularly disturbed by the use of violence against women in comedies and said it hoped TV networks and advertisers would stand up against the trend.

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World Nut Daily Special Saving Offers! Get Our Crappy Video for 4.95!! (Please Send Money...)

WND's Obama eligibility video – $4.95 today only!
Save $15 on most controversial documentary of our time

Today only, WND readers can get the most controversial and politically incorrect video documentary in the country – "A Question Of Eligibility: Is Obama's Presidency Constitutionally Legitimate?" – for only $4.95, a radical $15 discount off the normal $19.95 price!

Although the Obama administration, Democrats and virtually the entire news media ridicule as lunatics all citizens who dare ask questions about Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility to serve as president, polls point to a very different reality: Tens of millions of regular, hard-working, tax-paying Americans care a great deal about the issue, as evidenced by one recent national poll showing 44 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of all Americans – more than 1 in 3 – are not convinced Obama is a natural born citizen.

Obama and his enablers have consistently blocked public release of his entire history – from his medical records to his college transcripts, from his passport to his birth certificate. Indeed, despite a multiplicity of lawsuits, brought by state legislators, a presidential candidate, active-duty soldiers, a former assistant state attorney general and many ordinary citizens – all challenging his presidential eligibility as a natural born citizen – Obama steadfastly refuses to release his birth certificate.

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Can The GOP At Least Pretend They Like Hispanics?

Reid Gets No GOP Support For Resolution Honoring Hispanic Media

For the past week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office has been looking for a Republican co-sponsor for an utterly non-controversial resolution honoring the legacy and role of Hispanic media.

None came, his office confirms. On Tuesday, Reid introduced and passed a resolution designating October 25 through October 31, 2009, the "National Hispanic Media Week" in honor of the Latino Media of America. The Nevada Democrat was joined by Sens. Robert Menendez (New Jersey), Mark Udall (Colorado) and Kirsten Gillibrand (New York) -- all of whom are Democrats.

The resolution was your typical no-thrills, superficial fare that often takes up Senate business. Just last month, for instance, North Carolina's Republican and Democratic senators (Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, respectively) introduced a resolution congratulating "the High Point Furniture Market on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary as a leader in home furnishing" (a thrilling legislative breakthrough).

In the case of the current resolution, however, there are obvious political sensibilities at stake. The Hispanic community, which has felt demonized by harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric from congressional Republicans and conservative media personalities, has gravitated further and further from the GOP tent. By declining Reid's efforts to sign on to a rather milquetoast resolution, the party may only exacerbate the alienation.

When a similar resolution honoring Hispanic media was introduced and passed in 2005, former Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) attached their names to the list of co-sponsors. And that was two election cycles before it became abundantly clear that the Republican Party was losing serious ground among Hispanic voters.

Science Does It Again. Conservatives To Protest New Witchcraft...

Scientists make cells that form eggs, sperm
Stem cell finding could lead to new treatments for infertility

U.S. researchers have found a way to coax human embryonic stem cells to turn into the types of cells that make eggs and sperm, shedding light on a stage of early human development that has not been fully understood.

The findings could lead to new understanding of inherited diseases and transform treatments for infertility, they said.

"We are really trying to look at the origins of normal and abnormal human development by going to the source," said Dr. Renee Riejo Pera of Stanford University in California, whose study appears in the journal Nature.

"For years and years, we haven't had the ability to look at how germ cells -- the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm — how they are made — what genes are required, what pathways are active," Pera said in a telephone interview.

This part of the human reproductive cycle cannot be studied in animals because the genes involved are unique to humans.
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Two Magnificant Parts of Yourself

Once again SC brings the LULZ

Police: SC state attorney caught with stripper
The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A deputy assistant attorney general who said he was on his lunch break when an officer found him with a stripper and sex toys in his sport utility vehicle has been fired, his boss said Wednesday.

Former State Rep. Roland Corning, R-Richland, who was fired from the State Attorney's office Tuesday Oct. 27, 2009 after being found with a stripper in a Columbia cemetery. No criminal charges were filed. (AP Photo/Lou Krasky/File)

As the officer approached, Corning sped off, then pulled over a few blocks away. He and the 18-year-old woman with him, an employee of the Platinum Plus Gentleman's Club, gave conflicting stories about what they were doing in the cemetery, Officer Michael Wines wrote in his report, though he did not elaborate.

Corning gave Wines a badge showing he worked for the state Attorney General's Office. Wines, whose wife also works there, called her to make sure Corning was telling the truth.

He then searched the SUV, where he found a Viagra pill and several sex toys, items Corning said he always kept with him, "just in case," according to the report.

Corning and the woman were let go without charges. Wines' wife reported the call to her supervisor, who told Attorney General Henry McMaster.

"We received credible information about inappropriate behavior Monday afternoon," McMaster said Wednesday. "And by the close of business, he was no longer working here."

Such a trip to the cemetery "would not be appropriate, at any time, for an assistant attorney general," McMaster said.

There was no answer Wednesday at a number listed for Corning, who was a Republican legislator in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was hired in 2000 by the attorney general's office, where he worked on securities cases.

South Carolina has had its share of scandal lately, most notably Gov. Mark Sanford's disappearance in June. His office told reporters he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was really in Argentina visiting his mistress.

Copyright 2009, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed


German Protestants pick first woman to lead church

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Hannover Bishop Margot Käßmann became the first woman to lead the Protestant church in Germany on Wednesday after the majority of the synod voted in her favour. [She got 132 out of 142 votes - this was not controversial in the least. The current leader of the synod is also a woman, which means that the two highest offices on a national level are now held by women.]

The 51-year-old succeeds Bishop Wolfgang Huber, who is retiring.

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