November 5th, 2009


A Year Ago Tonight...

November 4th Election Discussion Post

A comprehensive post from the NYTimes asseses how the US president has performed in the past year with videos and more: Assessing Barack Obama

WASHINGTON — For a president elevated to power on the back of history, the tears and euphoria of Grant Park feel like a thousand years ago. It has been just one year, of course, since Barack Obama’s election, a year since that moment when supporters felt everything was possible amid lofty talk of “remaking this nation” and determined chants of “Yes, we can.”
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ONTDP, where were you that night and how do you feel today?

Republican's Superior Bill To Fix Health Care Does Nothing...

Budget Monitor Says G.O.P. Bill Leaves Many Uninsured

The Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday that an alternative health care bill put forward by House Republicans would have little impact in extending health benefits to the roughly 30 million uninsured Americans, but would reduce average insurance premium costs for people who have coverage.

The Republican bill, which has no chance of passage, would extend insurance coverage to about 3 million people by 2019, and would leave about 52 million people uninsured, the budget office said, meaning the proportion of non-elderly Americans with coverage would remain about the same as now, at roughly 83 percent.

The budget office has said that the Democrats’ health care proposal would extend coverage to 36 million people, meaning that 96 percent of legal residents would have health benefits.
The Democrats’ bill would cost $1.1 trillion, with the costs more than covered by revenues from new taxes or cuts in government spending, particularly on Medicare.

House Republicans, including their leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, have said that they did not intend for their legislation to expand insurance coverage, because they viewed that goal as unaffordable
. Instead, they said the bill was tailored narrowly to reduce costs.

According to the report by nonpartisan budget office, the Republican bill would reduce future federal deficits by $68 billion over 10 years, compared to a reduction of $104 billion by the House Democrats’ legislation.
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Akuma River

Not the End of the Fight

Gay-Marriage Activists Look Ahead After Maine Defeat (November 04, 2009 - Time - MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER)

Mainers' 53-47 vote to reject gay marriage does more than simply slap down a law that just six months ago had made Maine the U.S.'s second state to permit same-sex couples to wed. With voters thronging to the polls, the closely watched — and ultimately not very close — vote extended the winning streak of gay-marriage opponents nationwide, who have now prevailed in more than 30 straight state elections over whether to allow gays to marry. Just like Californians one year ago, Maine voters insisted on having their say on an issue that simply will not go away.

Watching the results come in at the historic Eastland Park Hotel in downtown Portland, Scott Fish of the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign told TIME that the other side had acted with too much haste and too little respect for voters' wishes. "What's the hurry [for gay marriage]?" asked Fish, whose group began seeking a so-called people's veto almost immediately after Maine's Democratic (and Catholic) governor, John Baldacci, signed the gay-marriage bill in May.
(See a visual history of gay rights in America.)
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Akuma River

How ACTA is going to take away your internet

Copyright Treaty Is Policy Laundering at Its Finest (November 04, 2009 - - David Kravets)

The blogosphere is abuzz over an apparently leaked document showing the United States trying to push its controversial DMCA-style notice-and-takedown process on the world. But since Threat Level already lives in the land of the DMCA, we’re more bothered by the fact that the U.S. proposal goes far beyond that 1998 law, and would require Congress to alter the DMCA in a manner even more hostile to consumers.

At issue is the internet section of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being developed under a cloak of secrecy by dozens of countries. The leaked document is a three-page European Commission memo written by an unnamed EU official, which purports to summarizes a private briefing given in September by U.S. trade officials.

The language in the Sept. 30 memo shows the United States wants ISPs around the world to punish suspected, repeat downloaders with a system of “graduated response” — code for a three-strikes policy that results in the customer eventually being disconnected from the internet with the ISP alone deciding what constitutes infringement and fair use.
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ACTA -- A Patriot Act For the Internet (Novembr 04, 2009 - HuffPo - James Love)

This week 40 or so countries are meeting in South Korea to consider text for a new international agreement on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. It is called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The term "counterfeiting" is designed to demonize the agreement critics as friends of organized crime, much like the name of the Patriot Act seemed better than the "Elimination of Civil Liberties Act." It is really an agreement that addresses a wide range of intellectual property enforcement issues -- involving patents, copyrights, trademarks and other IPR. (Details here)

If you are a lowly member of the public, the text is secret. The names of persons who attend the meetings are secret. The titles of the documents are secret. If you represent a big firm or law firm -- pretty much any big firm it seems, the U.S. government will show you documents after you sign a non-disclosure agreement - curbing your right to speak out on the contents of the documents you see.
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So far there's only three Facebook groups, inactive ones too. So I started my own.

Anyone want to help get an ACTA treaty hastag and see how far we can move it up the trends list?
franklin sherman

Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to be ‘raped with broken bottles’

The CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, says a former British ambassador to the central Asian country.

Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK's ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

Cut upon request.
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Akuma River

EU breaks deadlock in debate over right to internet access

EU Breaks Deadlock in Debate Over Right to Internet Access (November 05, 2009 - PC World - Paul Meller, IDG News Service)

After months of often bitter debate, European Union lawmakers reached agreement on how to preserve citizen's rights to Internet access in a meeting that ended in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The issue, which pits citizens' civil liberties against the rights of content owners such as record and movie companies to protect creative works on the Internet, has blocked the passage of a wide range of laws collectively dubbed the telecoms package.

Although the compromise reached by representatives of the European Parliament, the 27 national governments and the European Commission has still to be confirmed, it is seen as a watershed moment for the proposed laws, which aim to enhance competition among telecoms providers and to adapt users' rights to better suit the Internet age.
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Akuma River

H1N1 could crash the internet

No, this is NOT from The Onion. It's real. We got the pdf to prove it.

Pig plague could crash interwebs, say US feds (October 28, 2009 - The - Dan Goodin in San Francisco)

DHS bandwidth rationing?

A severe outbreak of the H1N1 pandemic could overwhelm internet providers' capacity, according to a report submitted Monday, which called on Department of Homeland Security officials to develop contingency plans to avert such a crisis.

"Concerns exist that a more severe pandemic outbreak than 2009's could cause large numbers of people staying home to increase their internet use and overwhelm internet providers' network capacities," according to the report, which was prepared by the US Government Accountability Office.

It went on to warn that the congestion might be so acute that stock brokers and other securities market employees would be unable to telework from home. The authors said the DHS, which is responsible for making sure critical networks remain operational during emergencies, needs to consider ways to mitigate the threat and held out the rationing of customer bandwidth or the blocking of websites as possibilities.

"Private Internet providers have limited ability to prioritize traffic or take other actions that could assist critical teleworkers," the report stated. "Some actions, such as reducing customers' transmission speeds or blocking popular Web sites, could negatively impact e-commerce and require government authorization. However, DHS has not developed a strategy to address potential Internet congestion or worked with federal partners to ensure that sufficient authorities to act exist."

The authors also floated a possible "campaign to obtain public cooperation to reduce nonessential internet use to relieve congestion."

By contrast, networks used by security exchanges would most likely survive because they generally bypass the public internet.

A PDF of the report is available here ( ®


Obama's Invisible Victories

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra

Author, Sirius/XM radio host

From the left we are so used to disappointment that we almost need it, but let's not indulge in sheer masochism. Politics isn't always about the bottom line, and for me, President Obama's invisible victories are immensely heartening. He has cleansed the Presidency, reinstated America's status in the world, championed ideals on every front, and spoken truth to power, whether that means calling both the Israelis and Muslims to account or facing down racism in this country.

We cannot shortchange the shift in consciousness that Obama's election stands for and that his Presidency continues to inspire in millions of people. For the first time in American history, more than a quarter of the electorate in 2008 was non-white. For Hispanics and blacks, who are grossly underrepresented in state and national legislatures, there's been a psychological turning point. For the first time, they can say "He's my President" in the same way the white majority takes for granted.

The left isn't famous for ideological compromise, and if Obama followed that example, he would be awash in failure. Instead, he has steered through Congress more stimulus for education than Bill Clinton managed in eight years. He has revamped the bailout to make it more democratic. I find myself agreeing with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who said on one of the Sunday news shows that Pres. Obama may not walk on water, but he's turned into the best swimmer in politics. If his ambitions for health care reform turn out to come anywhere near his stated goals, that will prove the point beyond a doubt.

Finally, the left is forever caught between a sense of vaunted moral righteousness and the reality that such an attitude will never win votes or pass legislation. FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton are considerable heroes to realists and grave disappointments to arch idealists. I'm glad that idealism exists and keeps the pressure on Obama, as Hans Morgenthau did on FDR and Adlai Stevenson on JFK (there were many others, of course). Yet does he really need prompting on this front? I can't imagine a President with a clearer moral sense, a higher standard of policy, or a broader perspective about the direction of the country's future.

So let's settle back and enjoy the fruits of the most idealistic election since 1932, or if you prefer, 1960. A dose of calm and a little perspective are the right prescription, even if the anxious neurosis of being a leftist is incurable.

Read more at:


Bachmann's Road to Epic Fail

Michele Bachmann Tells Supporters To "Scare" Congress At Protest

Rep. Michele Bachmman (R-Minn.) has told supporters to try to scare her colleagues into voting against health care reform at a protest Thursday, Politico reports.

"Nothing scares members of Congress more than freedom-loving Americans,"
she said in a conference call with bloggers and activists Wednesday night. She urged reform opponents to confront lawmakers with video cameras. "I think that will absolutely scare these members of Congress so much that Pelosi will not get the votes and it will kill the bill."

On a Tuesday Fox News appearance, Bachmann described the protest as her "Super Bowl of freedom."

But Bachmann has been having trouble rallying a sizable crowd for the event. A preparatory "attack" on Congress via email, phone and fax appears to have barely been noticed by the enemy.

Meanwhile, rallies in favor of the public option are being organized in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Steve King to Uninsured: "FREEEEEEDOOOOOM!!!!"

Steve King Doesn't Know Number Of Uninsured In His District: "My District Wants Freedom" (VIDEO)

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was pressed earlier this week on whether he knew how many constituents in his district were uninsured. The conservative congressman did not appear to know.

The exchange from video of the incident, posted by mrcawguy on YouTube:

"How many people are uninsured in my district?" King was asked.

"My district... The people in my district are calling for freedom," he responded.

According to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, there are 83,000 individuals (15% of the population) without health insurance in King's Iowa district.

When asked the same question a second time, King responded, "I'm telling you I know the answer to this question and it's my people want freedom."

There were seven hundred bankruptcies in King's district last year caused primarily by medical costs.

An adamant health care reform adversary, King will join Rep. Michele Bachmann's "freedom" march today on Capitol Hill to try and "scare Congress" into opposing new legislation.



Wall Street Bankers Getting Vaccines, Higher Priority Than The Rest of Us...

Wall Street Banks Getting Swine Flu Vaccine Before Many High-Risk Groups (VIDEO)

While thousands of at-risk Americans wait, some big Wall Street banks have already secured the hard-to-find H1N1 vaccine for their employees.

NBC reports this morning that employees at the New York Stock Exchange, bankers at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and employees at the Federal Reserve have all received swine flu vaccine doses to administer to their employees.

In particular, NBC reports that Goldman Sachs has received 200 doses of the vaccine -- the same amount as Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Wall Street banks, like many other companies, put in requests for the vaccine but seem to have had something of a leg up on securing doses.

Dr. Nancy Schnyderman, NBC's chief medical editor, chimed in on this seeming disparity:

"I think they probably played by the rules, there are corporations all over the country who put in there dibs...But, what a sore eye for Wall Street. Wouldn't have been lovely if they had said, look we put it in our dibs, we played by the rules, but we're going to donate our 200 doses."

Some corporations seem to be getting the doses before doctors and hospitals.
Here's more from Schnyderman:

"If we know that the distribution is the weak part of this entire thing, why not put doctor's offices and hospitals at the top of the line, and say to corporate America, no matter who you are, you're you're going to have to go through clinics and hospitals like everyone else."

The SEIU has released a statement on the matter, and has started a campaign to get the big banks to donate their doses. From its release: "There's no excuse for this. Pregnant women have been waiting in line for hours to get that shot. Community hospitals across the country have been turning patients away while they wait to receive their vaccinations. But Citi and Goldman Sachs have already received 1,400 doses between them."
franklin sherman

New from Arizona - Maricopa judge works well with sherrif Joe.

Video shows Maricopa County sheriff's employees sneaking a document from the file of a defense attorney.

A Maricopa County detention officer tried to explain Friday why he and a fellow sheriff's office employee swiped a document from a defense attorney's file in a bizarre scene that was caught on courtroom videotape.


Judge Donahue said he would not even consider holding the sheriff's employees in contempt for the seizure unless Lozano waived his attorney-client privilege.

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Japan fear population collapse

"In 1955 the population of japan was 90 million. From a high of 127 Million in the 70's it population by 2050 will be back to 90 million."

Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry published the latest numbers on the country’s declining population on Aug. 11. The data doesn’t make for pleasant reading. In the year through the end of March 2009, the number of births in Japan fell for the first time since 2006 to 1.08 million, while there were 1.13 million deaths. Put together, that adds up to a record decline in the population of 45,914. That bests (if that’s the right word) the previous biggest decline of 29,119 in 2007. Just as worrying, the number of Japanese 65 or older increased to a record 28.21 million out of total population of 127 million. Meanwhile, the current recession—Japan’s GDP may shrink 6% this year—will likely make things worse as couples decide to delay or have fewer children.

Still, as grim as all that is, the plunge could add further impetus to the Democratic Party of Japan’s election campaign. The DPJ, which is set to oust the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in an Aug. 30 election, has included some fairly radical measures to help boost Japan’s birthrate. Among them: giving parents $270 a month per child and making state high school tuition free. The DPJ is also considering expanding medical insurance to cover certain kinds of fertility treatment and will up the one-off payment parents receive on the birth of each child.
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    Clubfoot Kitty "I preffer Cancer"

Vampires Are Ruining The Children!

I just spotted this on ontd_trueblood and thought it would be fitting for the ontd_political crowd. I think of all the issues Brits are currently worried about, it's hilarious to think that vampires are the greatest threat to our youth. And here I thought the PTC was bad!

True Blood vampires and the explicit TV sucking the innocence out of our children

By Olivia Lichtenstein

Any parent with a teenager will be painfully aware that for impressionable young TV viewers, there's nothing sexier than a vampire - and it's got nothing to do with Halloween.

Channel 4's latest attempt to seduce us with a mixture of swearing and sex comes in the form of True Blood, the latest in the long line of sexually explicit, violent and vulgar programmes that have, sadly, become the norm on British television.

True Blood is a shocking tale of depravity, explicit sexuality (bordering on pornography) and vile language.

Even before the opening credits have rolled in the first episode, we see a young woman pleasuring a young man while driving her car.

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So alas, dear readers-- shall we sharpen the stakes of censorship for Brit TV after the watershed?

Source (sorry for forgetting it the first time around!)

franklin sherman

STIMULUS WATCH: Salary raise counted as saved job

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there.

The Georgia nonprofit's inflated job count is among persisting errors in the government's latest effort to measure the effect of the $787 billion stimulus plan despite White House promises last week that the new data would undergo an "extensive review" to root out errors discovered in an earlier report.

About two-thirds of the 14,506 jobs claimed to be saved under one federal office, the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, actually weren't saved at all, according to a review of the latest data by The Associated Press. Instead, that figure includes more than 9,300 existing employees in hundreds of local agencies who received pay raises and benefits and whose jobs weren't saved.

That type of accounting was found in an earlier AP review of stimulus jobs, which the Obama administration said was misleading because most of the government's job-counting errors were being fixed in the new data.

The administration now acknowledges overcounting in the new numbers for the HHS program. Elizabeth Oxhorn, a spokeswoman for the White House recovery office, said the Obama administration was reviewing the Head Start data "to determine how and if it will be counted."

But officials defended the practice of counting raises as saved jobs.

"If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job," HHS spokesman Luis Rosero said.

The latest stimulus report, released Friday, significantly overstates the number of jobs spared with money from programs serving families and children, mostly the Head Start preschool program. The report shows hundreds of the programs used nearly $323 million to provide pay raises and other benefits to their existing employees.

The raises themselves were appropriate — the stimulus law set aside money for Head Start salary increases — but converting that number into jobs proved difficult. The Obama administration told Head Start officials to consider a fraction of each employee as a job saved.

"That's more than ridiculous," said Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.

Many Head Start programs around the country went further, counting everyone who received a raise as a job saved.

"It's a glitch in the system," said Ben Allen, the research director at the National Head Start Association. "There was some misunderstanding among some in the Head Start community about completing the reporting requirements."

Allen said a cost-of-living adjustment "may not be viewed traditionally as a job saved, but one could interpret it that, by providing COLA, you're retaining staff."

The Bergen County Community Action Program in Hackensack, N.J., noted the nearly $213,000 it received went to cover raises for existing staff only, but it also reported saving 85 jobs.

At Southwest Georgia Community Action Council in Moultrie, Ga., director Myrtis Mulkey-Ndawula said she followed the guidelines the Obama administration provided. She said she multiplied the 508 employees by 1.84 — the percentage pay raise they received — and came up with 935 jobs saved.

"I would say it's confusing at best," she said. "But we followed the instructions we were given."

Ed DeSeve, who oversees the stimulus at the White House, said the Head Start numbers "represent a few percent of all jobs reported" and said the problems would probably be balanced out by other errors that underreported jobs.

"So we don't expect any corrections to this data to meaningfully impact the total 640,000 direct jobs," DeSeve said.

More than 250 other community agencies in the U.S. similarly reported saving jobs when using the money to give pay raises, to pay for training and continuing education, to extend employee work hours or to buy equipment, according to their spending reports.

Other agencies didn't count the raises as jobs saved, reporting zero jobs.

Last week's stimulus report claimed 640,000 jobs saved or created by the economic recovery plan so far. Those jobs came from 156,614 federal contracts, grants and loans awarded to more than 62,000 recipients, worth a total of $215 billion.

Obama has promised the stimulus would save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year, and the data released Friday represented the first head count toward that goal.
franklin sherman

Gay-Bashing cops investigate themselves, find that all allegations against them are unfounded.

Remember that gay bar police raid in fort worth?

TABC, Fort Worth police didn't use excessive force at Rainbow Lounge, inquiries find

FORT WORTH -- Two state agents did not use excessive force against three bar patrons arrested during a June bar check at the Rainbow Lounge, an internal investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has found.

In addition, allegations that the Rainbow Lounge was targeted in the bar check by the TABC agents and Fort Worth police because it is a gay bar also was unfounded, according to findings of the investigation released by TABC officials this morning.

“Although the evidence did not show that our agents targeted the bar or used excessive force, it does not take away from the fact that the agents violated several policies that night,” said Administrator Alan Steen. “I want to take another opportunity to say that this is not how we treat people, and we have been looking at this from every angle to find ways to make sure it does not happen again.”

The agents, Christopher Aller and Jason Chapman, were fired by the agency in August for violating numerous policies, agency officials have said.

Fort Worth police are scheduled to announce findings from their own internal investigation into the incident today.

Sources told the Star-Telegram Wednesday that all Fort Worth officers also have been cleared of excessive force allegations and no officers would be fired.

However, three of the officers involved in the surprise inspection June 28 at the Rainbow Lounge will be disciplined, according to civil service documents released Thursday morning by the Fort Worth police department.

Sgt R.M. Morris received a one-day suspension for neglect of duty for his supervision that night.

Officer K.Q. Gober received a one-day suspension for not filing an offense report in a timely manner, the documents state.

Officer J.M. Back, meanwhile, received a three-day suspension for arresting a bar patron for public intoxication because he had a “drunk look” and then releasing him without issuing a citation after the patron's friends informed him that he was a city employee.

Police officials declined to comment Wednesday on the investigation’s findings, saying Police Chief Jeff Halstead will announce the results today.

Copies of the TABC’s 74-page report are expected to be made available today, a spokeswoman has said.

A Fort Worth police spokesman said officials are not sure whether their report will be released today.

"Chief Halstead is working closely with city attorneys to make the investigation available to the public as soon as possible," Lt. Paul Henderson said. "However, there are legal restrictions as far as what information can be released under the law."

The inspection’s fallout

The Rainbow Lounge inspection, one of three by Fort Worth police that night, resulted in five arrests for public intoxication and put one patron, Chad Gibson, in the hospital with a serious head injury. Gibson was cited for assault and public intoxication.

Both state agents and Fort Worth police officers were accused of using excessive force, and protests erupted.

"Men's rights" groups go mainstream

When "Quiverfull" author Kathryn Joyce interviewed blogger Bernard Chapin, he insisted on addressing her as "Feminist E." You see, Joyce explains, "he never uses real names for feminists, who are wicked and who men 'must verbally oppose … until our flesh oxidizes into dust.'" Now, Chapin's slight isn't particularly unexpected coming from a voice in the "men's rights" movement, a loosely organized coalition of individuals and organizations that believe feminist-influenced society is oppressing men.

But the movement's bizarre fringe is nothing new, as Joyce reminds us in an in-depth Double X article. What's really frightening is the impact men's rights activists (MRAs) are having on mainstream politics. As more reasonable-sounding leaders and organizations emerge, groups arguing "that false [domestic abuse] allegations are rampant, that a feminist-run court system fraudulently separates innocent fathers from children, that battered women’s shelters are running a racket that funnels federal dollars to feminists, that domestic-violence laws give cover to cagey mail-order brides seeking Green Cards, and finally, that men are victims of an unrecognized epidemic of violence at the hands of abusive wives" are facing unprecedented success. Joyce reports that a group called RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting) claims responsibility for blocking four federal domestic violence bills. And with the help of organizations like Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, MRAs are beginning to find a place under conservatism's big, reactionary tent.

The more moderate men's rights movement also features some high-profile "converts." Joyce introduces us to Glenn Sacks, a popular fathers' rights radio host and writer who she describes as "a former feminist and abortion-clinic defender." Dismissive of the Bernard Chapins of the world, he's working toward the comparatively modest goals of increasing shared custody and lightening divorced dads' child-support obligations during the recession.

What's so wrong with those goals, you may well wonder. As Joyce illustrates, the issues MRAs are pushing are much more complex than they seem. For instance, divorcing parents are usually able to work out custody agreements on their own. Only 15 percent of cases go to court, and, of those, half involve domestic abuse. Tragically, even in those instances, mothers don't always have the upper hand. A common family-court defense of fathers whose children testify that they are abusive is something called "Parental Alienation Syndrome," "a medically unrecognized diagnosis that suggests mothers have poisoned their children into making false accusations against their fathers." Joyce tells the story of Genia Shockome, a woman who spent 30 days in jail and whose husband was awarded full custody of their children, despite the fact that his abuse had left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. Incredibly, Shockome's story doesn't end there: After criticizing the judge's decision in print, her attorney was slapped with a five-year suspension.

As for MRAs' accusations, inspired by deeply flawed studies, that men and women are equally likely to commit domestic abuse, well, the numbers speak for themselves: "While some men certainly are victims of female domestic violence, advocates say the number is closer to 3 percent to 4 percent, rather than the 45 percent to 50 percent RADAR claims." Toward the end of her piece, Joyce makes a particularly fascinating point about MRAs' domestic violence arguments:

Critics like Australian sociologist Michael Flood say that men’s rights movements reflect the tactics of domestic abusers themselves, minimizing existing violence, calling it mutual, and discrediting victims. MRA groups downplay national abuse rates, just as abusers downplay their personal battery; they wage campaigns dismissing most allegations as false, as abusers claim partners are lying about being hit; and they depict the violence as mutual—part of an epidemic of wife-on-husband abuse—as individual batterers rationalize their behavior by saying that the violence was reciprocal. Additionally, MRA groups’ predictions of future violence by fed-up men wronged by the family-law system seem an obvious additional correlation, with the threat of violence seemingly intended to intimidate a community, like a fearful spouse, into compliance.

So, what do we do about the increasingly mainstream men's rights movement and the worrisome gains it has made? Personally, I'm torn. It's certainly chilling to hear Sacks empathize (albeit ambivalently) with men like George Sodini, the deeply misogynist Pittsburgh gym shooter, telling Joyce that "the cataclysmic things I’m seeing done to men, it’s always my fear that one of these guys is going to do something terrible. I don’t want to say that, like, I condone it or that it’s OK, but it’s just the reality." But I also realize that the more marginalized these groups feel, the more extreme (and potentially violent) they become. With that in mind, do we go to war, or do we try and hear MRAs out? Is there common ground to be found, or is the new men's rights movement nothing more than the old men's rights movement with a fancy haircut and a flashy suit?


Putting the "I" in "Bisexual" (opinion piece)


I hate that word. I cringe when I say it, when I hear it, when someone uses it to confirm or deny my sexual identity. It's the equivalent to "mulatto." It's icky and outdated and strangely detached from feeling. Bi gives me the creeps.

Bi is everything uncertain, everything in-between, everything fence-straddling. Bi is being unable to make up your mind. Bi is not committing fully. Bi is being too afraid to step all the way out of that proverbial closet, or bi is following the latest pop culture trends, clamoring for attention at the bars or having one too many shots. Bi is a hanging chad, an unsigned contract, a half-answered email.

Never -- or, at the very least, rarely -- is a bi a legitimate, understood, accepted sexual identity.

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panda bear

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Obama: US must reverse course with Native Americans

Making good on a campaign promise to hold a yearly summit with American Indians, President Barack Obama told tribal leaders Thursday gathered in Washington that he is determined to reverse the federal government's history of marginalizing Indian nations.

"You will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House," Obama said during opening remarks at the all-day conference of tribal leaders and government officials.

Obama said the meeting is the largest and most widely attended gathering of tribal leaders in U.S. history. Officials planned to discuss problems facing American Indians, including economic development, education, health care, public safety and housing.

Given the government's history of reneging on agreements with Native Americans, Obama said it took an "extraordinary leap of faith" for leaders to attend the meeting. Obama said he is determined to be a good partner with tribal nations.

"We're not going to go through the motions and pay tribute to each other, then furl up the flags and go our separate ways," he said.

Obama signed a presidential memorandum calling on every cabinet agency to give him a detailed plan to improve the relationship between the government and tribal communities.

During his Democratic primary last year, Obama traveled to Indian reservations and promised health care improvements.

"I'll appoint an American Indian policy adviser to my senior White House staff to work with tribes and host an annual summit at the White House with tribal leaders to come up with an agenda that works for tribal communities," Obama said in a video address to the National Congress of American Indians' convention in Phoenix during the final days of his campaign. "That's how we'll make sure you have a seat at the table when important decisions are being made about your lives, about your nations and about your people."

He made good on that pledge, appointing Kimberly Teehee to serve as senior policy adviser for Native American affairs within the Domestic Policy Council. Teehee, a member of the Cherokee Nation, previously served as an aide to Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., and worked for the Democratic National Committee.

He also tapped Dr. Yevette Roubideaux to serve as director of the Indian Health Service within the Department of Health and Human Services, making her the first American Indian to head the federal agency since its founding in 1955. Roubideaux, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe, worked for IHS on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and in the Gila River Indian community.

Thursday's event is an opportunity for the administration to promote its $787 billion economic stimulus program. About $3 billion of the economic recovery money went to tribal communities. Obama also has sought budget increases for Indian health care and programs run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, officials said.

The administration also plans to develop steps with tribes to improve the quality of life on reservations.

Murasaki Shikibu
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Malaysia Refuses To Release Confiscated Bibles

Malaysia Refuses To Release Confiscated Bibles

The Malaysian government has refused to release 10,000 Bibles confiscated for using the word "Allah" to refer to God, a banned translation in Christian texts in this Muslim-majority country, an official said Wednesday.

An official from the Home Ministry's publications unit said the government rejected pleas by church officials to allow the Bibles, imported from Indonesia, into the country. Christians say the Muslim Malay-dominated government is violating their right to practice their religion freely.

Such religious disputes are undermining Malaysia's reputation as a harmonious multiethnic, moderate Muslim nation. About 30 percent of the country's 28 million people practice Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or other faiths.

A Home Ministry official said the government told the importer last month to return the Indonesian-language Bibles, which are still with customs.

"Actually the publications, the Bibles are already banned," said the official, refusing to elaborate. He declined to be named because he is not authorized to make public statements.

The Bibles contain the word "Allah," which is banned by the government for use by non-Muslims in an apparent bid to appease Muslims.

Church officials say the word "Allah" has been used for centuries to refer generally to God in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages, which are similar. The Roman Catholic Church is challenging the ban in court.

The government maintains that the Arabic-origin word "Allah" is an Islamic word and its use by Christians and others will upset Muslims.

Another 5,100 Bibles, also imported from Indonesia, were confiscated in March and have not been released. But the ministry official did not immediately have any information on those.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia, which had called for the release of all Bibles, described the seizure as "ridiculous and offensive."

"This constitutional right [to practice freely] is rendered illusory if Christians in Malaysia are denied access to Bibles in a language with which they are familiar," the federation's chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing said in a statement.

He also rejected concerns that Bibles in the Malaysian language, or Bahasa Malaysia, containing "Allah," will upset Muslims.

"Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia have been used since before the independence of our country and have never been the cause of any public disorder," he said. Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

--'s the same God, yo. And "Allah" means "the God." So...bwuah?
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

"Give pees a chance" student may face jail

'Give pees a chance' student may face jail

LONDON (Reuters) – A university student who was photographed urinating over a war memorial was warned on Wednesday that he could be jailed for the "disgusting act."

Philip Laing, 19, was charged by police after the picture, which showed him urinating on a poppy wreath following a drinking session in the center of Sheffield, appeared on a national newspaper's website.

"The image of your urinating over the poppy wreath on the war memorial in this city will make most turn away in disgust, shock and sadness," said District Judge Anthony Browne.

"It has undoubtedly distressed and upset many. The war memorial is a sacred and a special place."

Laing, who appeared in the dock wearing a poppy, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency when he appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court.

Browne adjourned sentencing for reports, saying all options including custody, were open, the Press Association reported.

The court heard that Laing, a sports technology student at Sheffield Hallam University, had drunk a bottle of whisky before attending an organized student drinking session organized by a private company, Carnage UK.

"Carnage is the name of the organization who promote this type of activity and some might say that somebody should be standing alongside you this morning," the judge said.

The court was told Laing had no recollection of the events of the night of October 11 until he was contacted by the university press office and shown the photograph which was later published on the Daily Mail website.

Prosecutor Ian Conway said Laing had immediately admitted the offence when arrested and told police he was "very, very drunk, the drunkest I've ever been since I've been at university."

"The disgusting and reprehensible act the defendant carried out was in no way premeditated, targeted or politically motivated," Conway said.

"His actions were sadly the result of having consumed large amounts of alcohol."

Laing's lawyer Tim Hughes said his client had become caught up in a culture of drinking far too much and added that Laing's grandparents had fought in the war.

"It's difficult to articulate just how embarrassed and ashamed this young man is," he said.

Laing was released on bail until the next hearing on November 26.


At first, I was like, "Dude, why pee on a war memorial?" then I got to the part about how much he'd had to drink, and then I was trying so hard not to laugh (mainly because I was at work).

Guys, this is why, no matter how drunk you get, go find yourself a bathroom instead of peeing on something outside. Not just because it is incredibly disgusting, but because that nice bunch of flowers you decide to water might not just be some nice flowers.

Neda's mother: She was 'like an angel'

The night before she was killed on the streets of Tehran, the woman the world would come to know simply as Neda had a dream. "There was a war going on," she told her mom the next morning, "and I was in the front."

Neda's mother had joined her in the street protests that erupted after Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election. But on that fateful morning, she told her daughter she couldn't go with her. As Neda prepared to leave, the mother was filled with anxiety.

"I told her to be very careful, and she said she would."

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franklin sherman

Ron Paul's health care bill that will never pass. (Hey I'm realistic, but I still like the idea)

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, whom nobody ever confused with a me-too Republican, has proposed a health care reform that deserves the name "reform."

It's almost certain not to get anywhere, though. Which might be a mercy. Americans might risk broken arms reaching for it too fast.

It's this. Whatever a family has to pay for the doctor, the hospital, the pills or the shots, it could deduct on their federal tax return.

Get that? A 100 percent tax credit on health care costs. Socialized medicine turned inside out, you might say.

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Obama pledge to Native Americans

US President Barack Obama has vowed not to forget American Indian tribes, as representatives gathered for a White House conference on native issues.

The first annual White House Tribal Nations Conference brings together one delegate from each of the 564 federally recognised American Indian tribes.

It is the first time in US history that they will all meet a sitting president.

The event is part of Mr Obama's efforts to build bridges with American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

In opening remarks, which received a standing ovation, Mr Obama said: "You will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House."

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Ex-NY police chief Kerik GUILTY

Former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik has pleaded guilty to lying to the White House, tax evasion and corruption charges, in a plea deal.

Mr Kerik, who was police commissioner at the time of the 9/11 attacks, had been due to stand trial next week.

He had his bail revoked two weeks ago for passing on secret pre-trial documents and has been in prison since.

He made false statements to the White House in 2004 while being considered for a job as homeland security chief.

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  • scolaro

...because complicated problems need simple solutions


~ by Simon Parkin ~

An October Saturday and Stuttgart is pale with the cold. Outside the State Opera House, the city's grand attraction, a skip sits awkward and incongruous to its surroundings. The sides are spray-painted with graffiti, a hip hop-cum-youth club pastiche probably commissioned to soften the otherwise stark utilitarian appearance of this giant iron dustbin. While the murals may obscure the rust, they do not obscure the function, which remains as it ever was: a receptacle for unwanted rubbish. Except, rather than industrial waste or the assorted debris of home movers, this skip has been put here to collect videogames: "Killerspiele", the name given to violent games by Germany's tabloid press.

Midway through the day, a cameraman from a local television station clambers over the skip's side. He needs a compelling shot for the piece that will run tonight, a story about how swathes of Germany's youths have seen the error of their hobby and brought their perilous playthings to this public burning. Crouching on its floor, he angles the camera upwards, while a young boy in a beanie and a puffer jacket leans over and hurls a copy of Grand Theft Auto in with an echoic clack.

The cameraman captures the premeditated moment from this particular angle because any other would reveal the truth of the situation: the skip is otherwise empty. By the end of the day, that sealed copy of San Andreas will be joined by Def Jam: Fight for New York, OpenArena and Small Soldiers, a sorry clutch of ageing titles that represent the full extent of German gamers' ambivalence to this most uncomfortable stunt:

For gamers around the world, it's difficult not to feel a sharp sense of schadenfreude. But there's a story behind every story. And the story behind the skip is a tragedy...

More at the source

Like many other gamers I found this stunt ridiculous. And it's not like the gaming community has given up on talking to people interested in a discussion about the topic, but it's difficult when the same lies taken from media headlines are thrown in your face over and over again. I agree with the author that there HAS to be a discussion. However, after spending long hours trying to explain things from a gamer's point of view to people who won't even bother to educate themselves on the mere basics of the topic I've grown weary. Not to the point that I'd insult them or compare the situation to the 3rd Reich, but to the point where I step back and think "let's just wait another 10 or 15 years, then this nonsense will be over"...
general || book without words
  • brecho

Why Weren’t Any Women Invited To Publishers Weekly’s Weenie Roast?

Publishers Weekly recently announced their Best Books Of 2009 list. Of their top ten, chosen by editorial staff, no books written by women were included. Quoted in The Huffington Post, PW confidently admitted that they’re “not the most politically correct” choices. This statement comes in a year in which new books appeared by writers such as Lorrie Moore, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, Rita Dove, Heather McHugh and Alicia Ostriker.

“The absence made me nearly speechless.” said writer Cate Marvin, cofounder of the newly launched national literary organization WILLA (Women In Letters And Literary Arts), which, since August, has attracted close to 5400 members on their Facebook web page, including many major and emerging women writers. “It continues to surprise me that literary editors are so comfortable with their bias toward male writing, despite the great and obvious contributions that women authors make to our contemporary literary culture.”
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The bigots are now eying New Hampshire hoping to take away Same-Sex Marriage law

The recent victory of bigots in Maine has cause some anti-gay lawmakers in New Hampshire to consider a repeal of that state's marriage equality law, which was signed by Governor John Lynch in June.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports:

"Two proposals are being drafted in the N.H. House: One would repeal the law Gov. John Lynch signed in June and re-establish civil unions; the other is a constitutional amendment that would charge voters with deciding if 'the state shall only recognize the union of one man and one woman as marriage.' Supporters of same-sex marriage are strategizing and gearing up for a fight, said Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, who sponsored the gay marriage law. He said momentum doesn't rest with gay-marriage foes.' The momentum is on our side and those of us who support equality and love over hate,' he said Wednesday. Even so, 'we have a fight cut out for us in January' when the Legislature reconvenes, he said. 'But I think virtually everyone in the House and Senate who voted for marriage equality will stick with us and I'm hoping we'll pick up some others.'"

According to the paper, "Only the proposed repeal would go to the governor's desk in order for it to become law. Constitutional amendments head straight to the voters for two-thirds support upon being passed by the same margin in the Legislature."


Seriously, I will go apeshit if this happens. We need a bigger fight on the federal level to stop this whole voting on the rights of the minority bs from happening. Granted in NH they'd have to get 2/3's of the vote to win and if NH's like Maine, there's a bigger chance of winning if it goes to a vote. But yeah, grrr

asoneill - Yahoo Me

Sesame Street's Jab at Fox News Sparks Backlash

Next week will mark “Sesame Street”'s 40th year on the air, and while many are celebrating the iconic PBS show that's become what the New York Times recently labeled "messianic," some conservatives are crying foul over the re-airing of a sketch that jabs fun at the right-leaning Fox News network.

In the clip of the sketch that originally aired two years ago without controversy, Oscar the Grouch is playing a reporter for the "Grouch News Network," also known as "GNN," which certainly sounds familiar. After Oscar conducts an interview in which he shares hugs and kisses with his royal interview subjects, an irate viewer calls him to complain that his coverage of the news wasn't quite grouchy enough, saying "From now on, I am watching Pox News," adding, "Now there’s a trashy news show!"

Watch the sketch:

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Source, brought to you by the letters L, M, A, & O.

WA voters pass 'everything but marriage'

Credit: KING
by Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state voters have approved the state's new "everything but marriage" law, marking a significant expansion of rights for gay couples who are registered as domestic partners.

National gay-rights groups say the passage of Referendum 71 marks the first time a state's voters have approved a gay equality measure at the ballot box.

With about 69 percent of the expected vote counted Thursday in unofficial returns, R-71 was leading 52 percent to 48 percent.

The measure asked voters to approve or reject the latest expansion of the state's domestic partnership law, granting registered domestic partners additional state rights previously given only to married couples.


I am so proud of my state! Some good news after the fail that was Maine's vote on gay marriage.
fuck the mcu

South Carolina man, Rodell Vereen, gets 3 years for horse buggery

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

CONWAY, S.C. - A man caught having sex with a horse in a South Carolina stable has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Multiple media outlets report that Rodell Vereen was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to buggery. A judge also ordered Vereen to get counseling and stay away from the Lazy B stables when he's released.

Authorities charged Vereen, 50, after a woman set up a surveillance camera and caught him on tape having sex with her horse in July. Horse owner Barbara Kenley said she had noticed her 21-year-old horse Sugar was acting strangely. She also noticed things had been moved around near the horse's stall at her stables in Longs, about 20 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach.

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idk I'm probably going to hell, but my first reaction after reading this was to laugh hysterically...
and then afterwards came the disgust/cringing etc. that poor horse..



Lisbon treaty signed by Czech president

I haven't seen this posted yet, strange.

Vaclav Klaus sets seal on Lisbon treaty ratification

Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, this afternoon signed the Lisbon treaty, finally completing the ratification process of the charter designed to transform Europe into a more unified and influential global player.

Klaus, widely known for his Eurosceptic views, announced that he had signed the treaty at Prague Castle after the Czech constitutional court announced its decision that the document, which has already been ratified by all 26 other EU countries, does not violate the country's constitution.

Klaus's signature sealed a painful eight-year effort to bring about a wide range of major constitutional reforms of the EU. The ratified treaty could be in force as early as December or January, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, told Reuters. "The road has been a marathon of hurdles but the last hurdle is now removed," Barroso said.

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In Today's F**ked Up Parents Section: Fla. baby missing for 5 days found alive under bed

CHIPLEY, Fla. – Investigators spent five days searching a rural area of dense vines and marshes for a missing infant, only to find her lying quietly in a 2-foot by 3-foot cedar box that had been shoved under her baby sitter's bed. Clothing was packed around it to muffle any sounds and baking soda placed inside to mask the stench of dirty diapers.

Authorities said the baby's mother, Chrystina Lynn Mercer, gave the infant to baby sitter Susan Elizabeth Baker early Saturday, then reported her missing about 10 hours later. About 100 law enforcement agents and others spent days scouring around the baby's home in a remote, makeshift community of dirt roads, tin-roof shacks and old mobile homes. Searchers also dug through trash cans and bins.

All along, the baby was under the bed.

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Akuma River

because you knew it had to happen

Muslim, Arab Groups Condemn Fort Hood Shooting, Brace For Backlash

Arab and Muslim political groups are bracing themselves for a wave of anger and attacks after news broke on Thursday that the primary suspect behind the shooting deaths of twelve soldiers at Fort Hood had a Arabic and/or Muslim-sounding name.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a native of Virginia, is believed to have been responsible for opening fire on his fellow soldiers at the U.S. Army base.

It was not immediately clear whether Nidal Malik Hasan was, in fact, a Muslim, though reports surfaced that he had converted to the religion late in life.

By Thursday evening, nevertheless, Arab-American and Muslim-American advocacy organizations were already readying themselves for a backlash. The Arab-American Institute said it received one threatening call from an unidentified male shortly after reports surfaced that the name of the alleged shooting suspect was Nidal Malik Hasan. The group, which condemned the massacre, said it was expecting more.

"We like to give people the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to being a reactionary thing," said Leigh O'Neill, director of government relations for the organization. "But there is a lot of hate out there and hate is hate. It is bipartisan and doesn't have geographic balance. We feel terrible for the victims today. And I wish people will understand when crime is crime and terrorism is terrorism."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil liberties organization for American Muslims, was, meanwhile, working fast to get ahead of a potential rise in anti-Muslim sentiment. The group was set to host a press conference at 8 p.m. on Thursday evening to condemn the attacks and "urge calm" in the aftermath of the shooting.

Ibrahim Hooper, the group's communications director, told the Huffington Post that they had not, as of 6:30 p.m. received any threatening calls, emails or other communiqués. The organization, he said, would be announcing publicly any such threats as they occurred - in hopes of dissuading people from making them in the first place.

At this juncture, again, there is no concrete reporting as to whether Nidal Malik Hasan was in fact a Muslim or an Arab. All that has been reported is that he served in the Department of Psychology at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Bethesda Naval Facility in Bethesda, Maryland. He is believed to be 39 or 40 years old.

What? You Mean Is Wrong To Lie, Deceive, and Cheat????

GOP official fired due to fake Twitter account
A Twitter account that impersonated the chairman of Brevard County's Republican Party was linked to a state GOP official, who has been fired.

A fake Twitter account aimed at discrediting a prominent critic of state GOP leaders has been linked back to a senior official at the Republican Party of Florida.

This week, the party fired Tim Nungesser, who was director of the field operations department, and insisted that no one else knew about it.

The victim, however, says that top party officials were aware of what was going on and did nothing until law enforcement identified the culprit. He urged Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum to investigate and then demand the resignation of the party's executive director and state chairman.

``This is not about me. It's about the Republican Party of the state of Florida cleaning up its act and doing the right thing and getting back on a positive footing so people have confidence in the party again,'' said Jason Steele, chairman of the Brevard County Republican Party.
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Steele To Republican Traitors: "We Will Hunt You Down! You Know Who You Are..."

Steele to Republicans Who Support Obama: ‘We’ll Come After You’

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been endorsing a “big tent” approach to recruiting candidates for 2010, emphasizing the need to find candidates who fit the needs of individual districts.

But on’s “Top Line” today, Steele made clear there are limits to how far candidates can push the party’s limits.

Asked if he’d be comfortable with Republican candidates in 2010 who supported President Obama’s stimulus package, or his push to overhaul health care, Steele said:

“Well I’m gonna tell you honestly, that’s where the line gets a little bit tricky. And you saw in the House and in the Senate that there are ramifications, because that goes against a core principle. And trust me, you’re assuming that people want to have bloated debt, government expenditures and growth into their lives -- they don’t. That’s a talking point out of the DNC.”

“People aren’t buying that. So candidates who live in moderate to slightly liberal districts have got to walk a little bit carefully here, because you do not want to put yourself in a position where you’re crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles, because we’ll come after you,” Steele continued.

“You’re gonna find yourself in a very tough hole if you’re arguing for the president’s stimulus plan or Nancy Pelosi’s health plan. There’s no justification for growing the size of government the way this administration and this Congress wants to do it.”

Steele didn’t mention any candidates by name. But the comments could be interpreted as a warning shot aimed at Republicans who have voiced support for the stimulus -- like Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., who’s running for governor next year in a competitive primary -- or who, like Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, are supporting health care reform efforts.
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Former BlueCross Pitchman Switches Sides: Public Option Cheaper and Safer Than Insurance Death Panel

Former BlueCross Pitchman Switches Sides, Comes Out For Public Option

Andy Cobb has had enough. A former pitchman for BlueCross Blue Shield of Florida, Cobb is breaking with the firm and speaking out in favor of health care reform and a public health insurance option.

"This is the time when Americans have to choose which side we're on," Cobb told HuffPost, quoting Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). "Is it the insurance companies or the American people?"

Cobb calls on what he dubs his fellow "spokes-jerks" -- singling out the guy -- to stop hawking products that hurt the American people.

Cobb teamed with Brave New Films to create the short video.

"I do know that 19 percent of every dollar of our premiums goes to administrative costs, for executive compensation and people like me. We can't afford people like me any more in this country," he said.


Akuma River

WaPo is picking up on ACTA?!

Secret Internet copyright talks raise concerns (November 05, 2009 - WaPo - Post Tech - Ceila King)

A secret trade negotiation going on in Seoul, South Korea this week could lead to your Internet service provider snooping in on your Web activity.

That’s the fear held by some civil rights and public interest groups, which complained to President Obama Thursday that the negotiations should be open for public scrutiny. The U.S. Trade Representative is a leading party in the talks and drafted a chapter of the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that deals with copyrighted material on the Internet.

The groups, which include Public Knowledge and the Sunlight Foundation, wrote in a letter that the secrecy of the process – and on an issue that could have broad implications for Web users – could unfairly the benefit content providers that are most actively involved in the process.

“We applaud your promise of a more transparent, collaborative and participatory government,” the groups wrote. “However, multiple aspects of ACTA fail to meet these standards.”

The USTR is joined in the talks by representatives from three dozen nations, including European Union members as well as and Japan and South Korea. The goal of the two-year effort is to establish a broad treaty on copyrighted material, covering everything from designer handbags to digital downloads of video.

On the Internet portion of the proposed treaty, legal professors, including Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa, say that it appears to allow content producers, such as movie studios, music labels and book authors, to hold Internet service providers liable for the illegal exchange of material. That means they may be able to sue access providers such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast if Web users illegally download music or pirate material using those companies' networks. Public interest groups said that would prompt ISPs to monitor the content of traffic on their networks by filtering data.

“With respect to ACTA’s substance, we remain concerned that the terms may not
adequately account for all of the interests that would be affected,” the groups wrote in their letter. “The public and the industries enabling such uses would face crippling liability under an improperly calibrated intellectual property regime. ACTA could increase the risk of participating governments taking an imbalanced approach.”

Finally someone connected to the MSM is paying attention to this.

Eric Cantor: "AARP Is Made of Smelly Old People, and The AMA are A Bunch of Hippies"

Cantor Scoffs At AARP and AMA Health Care Reform Endorsements

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va) scoffed and downplayed the significance of two major health-care related interest groups endorsing Democratic authored legislation.

Calling the decision of AARP -- a senior citizens lobby -- to back health care reform "puzzling," Cantor insisted that it wouldn't affect a single Republicans vote

"I don't think the endorsement of a Washington-based group is going to sway members as much as what they are hearing from their constituents at home," the Virginia Republican told a crowd of reporters. "It is really puzzling as to why the AARP will endorse a bill that the CBO indicates will take almost 500 billion dollars out of Medicare. It is just, to me, something I can't quite understand why they would do that. I suspect that they will get a lot of push back from their members."

The House Minority Whip also teed off a bit on the American Medical Association -- a major doctor advocacy organization -- which also offered its support for reform legislation

"As far as the AMA endorsement is concerned," Cantor said. "I frankly do not think the AMA represents the wishes of the physicians in the communities throughout the ground in this country."

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Akuma River

so if he owned the horse it wouldn't be a problem then?

Sorry South Carolina, you got another crazy news story attributed to your state.

Now before you click on the think to see the picture. Tell me, what kind of man do you think will do this?

SC man gets 3 years in prison for sex with horse

CONWAY, S.C. – A South Carolina man caught on video having sex with a horse was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison after pleading guilty for the second time in two years to abusing the creature.
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Ohio woman: I got away from serial killing suspect

CLEVELAND – Suspected serial killer Anthony Sowell seemed like a "civilized person" on the April evening that Tanja Doss went up to his third-floor bedroom for a beer — until, she said, he leapt up and began choking her and threatening to kill her.

The 43-year-old woman told The Associated Press on Thursday that she survived a night of terror through a combination of calm and cajoling, prayer and trickery. But when she escaped the next morning, she didn't tell police. Her past conviction on a drug charge, she said, made it unlikely they'd take her seriously.

"Now, I feel bad about it," she said, "because my best friend might be one of the bodies."

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