November 25th, 2009

  • iweep4u

Some Democratic Congressmen propose "war tax"


Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept the door open Tuesday to a proposal by several senior House Democrats to impose a graduated surtax on American taxpayers to finance the war in Afghanistan.

While Pelosi wasn't pressed about the details of the new war tax, she pointed to strong reservations among Congressional Democrats about the costs of the war during a conference call Tuesday with several economic writers and bloggers.

"But let me say that there is serious unrest in our Caucus about can we afford this war?" Pelosi said.

Two years ago when House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, floated a similar war tax to pay for the war in Iraq, Pelosi quickly rejected it. But on Tuesday Pelosi said the costs of the war and the impact they will have on other domestic priorities should be part of the discussion over U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

In addition to Obey, several senior Democrats close to Pelosi have signed on as co-sponsors of the "Share the Sacrifice Act." These include Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-New York, Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, and the third ranking House Democrat John Larson, D-Connecticut. Obey projects that an escalation of significantly more U.S. troops to Afghanistan will cost about $1 trillion over the next ten years.


First of all, let me say that "David Obey" is either the best or the worst name for a politician ever.

Secondly, I think there should be some sort of exemption for servicemen and -women and their families (who are ALREADY sacrificing more than the rest of us for these wars). Also they need to make DAMN SURE that none of this money gets diverted to anything but the war effort, and that it gets repealed as soon as the war is over.

Thirdly, I kind of feel like if every war America got into included a mandatory temporary tax hike to pay for it, we would get into a lot fewer wars. Heaven forbid the average American have to sacrifice for a war beyond paying a few bucks for a "Support the Troops" bumpersticker or a yellow ribbon car magnet.

In any case, I am curious to see how the Republican leadership will rule in Stay The Course v. No New Taxes

  • Current Mood

Huckabee: Palin Has More Experience Than Obama

In an interview with Katie Couric, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said he would "absolutely" vote for Sarah Palin over Barack Obama.

In the primary, it would depend on the other candidates, Huckabee said. But "she has more management experience and executive experience than Barack Obama," he argued.

Huckabee also compared gay marriage to polygamy.

"Can we change it to multiple spouses?" he asked. "If not, why not? You know, I hear people say, 'Well, what would be wrong?' What would be wrong, then, with a man having two or three or six or seven wives? Or a woman having six or seven husbands all at the same time? Other than the financial challenge of doing that."


Oh I see.
Akuma River

WARNING TRIGGERS! Wikileaks has text pager messages of 9-11

I'm not sure why they are doing this now just before the holidays but Wikileaks plans to release and publish in chronological order 500,000 text pager messages sent on 9-11 before and after the attacks.

9/11 Text Messages Released: Wikileaks Publishes Intercepted Government Pager Texts As They Were Sent

Government employees sent more than 500,000 text pager messages In the hours before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. At 3 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, November 25, those intercepted messages will be published online at Wikileaks. The messages will be published at the same times that they were originally sent on 9/11.

Wikileaks, a journalistic endeavor that promotes better government through transparency , says that the messages were intercepted by a organization that has been archiving US telecommunications prior to 9/11. Wikileaks says that the sources of the messages range from Pentagon employees to messages sent by the NYPD, and even automated messages relayed by computers to their operators.

Below are examples of what Wikileaks will publish. Visit their site for more information.

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So what do you guys think? Too soon? Not soon enough? Think we will find anything surprising in this? Do you think the Govt will try to shut this down? It starts in one hour. It has already started. I have to say, I'm interested in what they are.
Christian Bale

Obama To Send 34,000 More To War

Pentagon preparing to send 34,000 troops to Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) -- The Pentagon is making detailed plans to send about 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in anticipation of President Obama's decision on the future of the eight-year-old war, a defense official said Tuesday.

Obama held a lengthy meeting with top advisers Monday night and said Tuesday that he would announce plans for Afghanistan after the Thanksgiving holiday.

A Defense Department official with direct knowledge of the process said there has been no final word on the president's decision. But planners have been tasked with preparing to send 34,000 additional American troops into battle with the expectation that is the number Obama is leaning toward approving, the official said.

Obama ordered more than 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in March. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, reportedly has called for up to 40,000 more to wage a counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban, the Islamic militia originally ousted by the U.S. invasion in 2001.

The president has weighed several options for bolstering the American contingent, ranging from sending a few thousand troops to sending the 40,000 McChrystal requested.

McChrystal was among those who took part in Monday's conference with Obama and other top advisers, which broke up at 10 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, were among the other senior officials in the meeting.

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UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files

Terror squad arrest over model rocket

Exclusive The first person jailed under draconian UK police powers that Ministers said were vital to battle terrorism and serious crime has been identified by The Register as a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record.

His crime was a persistent refusal to give counter-terrorism police the keys to decrypt his computer files.

The 33-year-old man, originally from London, is currently held at a secure mental health unit after being sectioned while serving his sentence at Winchester Prison.

In June the man, JFL, who spoke on condition we do not publish his full name, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment under Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). The powers came into force at the beginning of October 2007.

JFL told The Register he had scrambled the data on several devices as part of security measures for his business, a small software company.

He was arrested on 15 September 2008 by officers from the Metropolitan Police's elite Counter-Terrorism Command (CTC), when entering the UK from France. Sniffer dogs at Gare du Nord in Paris detected his Estes model rocket, which was still in its packaging and did not have an engine.

On arrival at St Pancras, JFL was detained under the Terrorism Act and taken to Paddington Green police station, a highly secure facility where UK police hold their most dangerous suspects.

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Source: The Register
Full story's 4 pages, so leaving it at that to avoid tl;dr. Source is worth reading though.

NEM - Lt Dan Choi

A good dissection and discussion of Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Gay on Trial
Why more than marriage is at stake in the federal legal challenge to Prop. 8.

On Nov. 4, 2008, when the polls closed on the West Coast and media outlets reported that California voters had passed Proposition 8, gay-rights supporters across the country were stunned. How could the purported gay haven of California -- home to Hollywood, Harvey Milk, and the Castro -- have rejected same-sex marriage?

It was an odd cultural moment, infused with the countervailing energy and promise of Barack Obama's victory. While progressives across the country danced in the streets chanting, "Yes We Can," angry gay-rights supporters gathered on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento carrying signs that expressed their indignation: "No More Mr. Nice Gay." As Obama declared in his victory speech, the ground had shifted, but in the Golden State, it had moved in opposite directions.

After months of scapegoating, soul-searching, and regrouping, gay-rights leaders settled on a two-part strategy: Fight the measure in state court and work on overturning it at the ballot box in 2010 or 2012. The state Supreme Court challenge to Prop. 8, which argued that the measure was not an "amendment" to the California Constitution but a "revision" requiring legislative approval, was widely considered a long shot. Few were surprised when the court upheld Prop. 8.

What did come as a surprise was the news, that same day, that two relative strangers to civil-rights litigation, David Boies and Ted Olson, had filed a suit against the amendment in federal court. It was a decision so rash that it could only have come from outsiders. Olson, a prominent figure in the conservative legal movement, had represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, a case in which he faced off against Boies, a high-profile lawyer who made his name defending Wall Street, not civil rights. They intend to take their challenge to Prop. 8 all the way: The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is scheduled to go to trial in January, and it is widely expected to move on to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

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Edited to add Source

Bail Offer for Roman Polanski Is Approved

The Associated Press is reporting that a Swiss court has approved Roman Polanski’s offer to be released from prison on a $4.5 million bail. Under the terms of the offer, Mr. Polanski will be kept under house arrest and monitored electronically at his Swiss chalet.

The Swiss Justice Ministry told The A.P. that it will keep Mr. Polanski in jail until it decides whether to appeal his release to that country’s supreme court. The Swiss Criminal Court said it still considered Mr. Polanski a high flight risk, but that the new bail offer was significant enough to offset those concerns.

Mr. Polanski, 76, is awaiting a decision on his possible extradition to the United States, where he fled in 1978 after admitting that he had had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Source wishes for the LAST. TIME. That people would get that he didn't 'have sex' with her, HE RAPED HER.

British Schools To Help Kids Prevent Domestic Violence

British schools are planning classes to teach kids ages five to fifteen about preventing domestic violence — but some parents' groups aren't happy.

The classes were inspired by research that shows one in four teenage girls are hurt by a partner, and a third of girls in relationships are victims of unwanted sexual activity. Despite these statistics, only half of girls receive any sort of education about domestic violence. To remedy this, beginning in 2011 schools will teach students about healthy relationships and the unacceptability of abuse. An unnamed contributor to the plan says that the classes would be separate from sex education:

It's nothing to do with teaching them how to put a condom on. It's about teaching boys not to be violent and girls that being a sex object isn't the only way to be validated.

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Celebrate Christmas with the Obamas and Christ Our Savior


Highlights Include Oprah's First One-on-One Interview with the President Since He Took Office, an Exclusive Conversation with the First Couple and a Special Tour of the White House

Oprah Winfrey will usher in the holidays at the White House, visiting President Obama and the First Lady as they prepare for their family's first Christmas there, on "Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special," airing SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

The intimate, informative and entertaining hour-long special will include a one-on-one conversation with the President, marking the first time Oprah has interviewed him since he took office, as well as an exclusive sit-down interview with the First Couple. The special will showcase behind-the-scenes preparations as the White House gets ready for the holiday season.
good news everyone!
  • 7950

Rupert Murdoch teams up with Microsoft to remove his properties from Google search. World rejoices.

On Sunday, the Financial Times broke the news that Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. were cooking up a plan in which Microsoft would pay News Corp to "delist" its media properties from Google. Today, Bloomberg reports that a couple of other publishers, MediaNews (publisher of the Denver Post, among many other papers,) and A.H. Belo Corp., (publisher of the Dallas Morning News), were also considering "blocking" Google and putting up paywalls, although payments from Microsoft to those organizations were not mentioned.

If Rupert Murdoch can get enough cash from Microsoft to compensate for what his media properties would lose in advertising dollars by cutting off the flow of Google-directed traffic, then maybe the deal makes business sense for him. But it seems to me that the move would also be a bonanza for any major news organization that does not close off its content to Google -- like, say, Bloomberg, or Reuters, or the New York Times.

Because for a plan like this to work, real scarcity must be created. As information consumers, people like me would go to Google, search for something, not find it, and then go to Bing. Or, ideally, from the newspaper industry point of view, we would sign up for paid access. But there's no way this can be pulled off if just a few major publishers ask Google to stop indexing their sites. It will require a preponderance. Maybe Microsoft has enough cash to pay the entire media industry to pull out of Google, but I somehow doubt it.

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so I won't have to see Fox News results in my Google news aggregate? S.C.O.R.E.

Dean: Lieberman Should Relinquish Chairmanship If He Opposes Health Care

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With Additional Reporting By Julian Hattem

Former DNC Chair Howard Dean called on Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) to resign as chair of Senate Homeland Security Committee if he can't bring himself to oppose a Republican filibuster of health care reform legislation.

Appearing on "The Joe Scarborough Show" on WABC, Dean stressed that he had no problem with Lieberman opposing the bill on its philosophical merits, or lack thereof. But he insisted that it was irresponsible and unprincipled to not allow the legislation to come to an up-or-down vote.

"I think that [Lieberman] is a very complicated guy," said Dean. "He does [confuse me] because he says he's a principled guy but there's nothing principled about holding up a bill... If he was a principled guy he'd resign his chairmanship."

"If you are with a caucus you don't owe the leader any vote on any substance," Dean added. "I have no problem with him voting against the public option... You owe it to Harry Reid to allow him to run a Senate. And if you're not willing to do that the proper thing to do is to step aside."

Dean's remarks, which come after Lieberman renewed his pledge to filibuster health care reform that includes a public option, reflect an intense frustration among progressives over the ability of moderates to water down or stall legislation. They also suggest a growing demand for leadership to enforce institutional discipline and punish those who buck the party line. It was, after all, roughly one year ago that Dean applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and President-elect Obama for allowing Lieberman to retain his committee chairmanship and continue caucusing with the party.

Elsewhere in his Wednesday interview, the former DNC chairman urged the party to reconsider the use of reconciliation to pass aspects of reform. Such a parliamentary maneuver, he noted, would remove the "leverage" of the party's conservative members by allowing the bill an up-or-down vote.

"[Lieberman has] announced he's gong to be "stubborn" about this," said Dean, "and I think that means going to reconciliation. You can start it all over and that's going to take about six weeks, but there are a majority of senators who are not going to be in favor [a bill] without a public option."


Uganda's anti-gay bill causes Commonwealth uproar

The Commonwealth convenes for a summit this week amid growing furor over a proposed law that would impose life imprisonment on homosexuals in Uganda, whose President is chairing the gathering.

The law, proceeding through Uganda's Parliament and supported by some of its top leaders, would imprison anyone who knows of the existence of a gay or lesbian and fails to inform the police within 24 hours. It requires the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as any sexual act between gays or lesbians in which one person has the HIV virus.

The controversy is growing because Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is the chairman of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, which opens on Friday with Stephen Harper joining the leaders of 52 other countries.

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  • acmeeoy

A Few Acres and a Cow (or Two): Up from Poverty in East Africa

By Regina Cornwell
Backed by Gates Foundation funding, women dairy farmers in Uganda are working collectively to care for their families, their livestock, their crops and the earth.

November 25, 2009

“It became easy” once she had wheels, Lydia Jjemba said, referring to her gift from a non-profit pilot project. It helps her visit each of the 35 members of her women farmers’ group every month in the Wakiso district of central Uganda. Not a car or motorcycle or scooter. Jjemba, at 49 years, is thankful for her new bicycle. Norah Kanyana still walks the long, flat, remote stretch to work with poor farming women in her district some distance away.

Soon after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched its agricultural program in Africa in 2006, it called attention to the underserved women who do 80 percent of the continent’s farming and to the women change-makers Africa needs to break the cycle of poverty. Jjemba and Kanyana are two such leaders in East Africa.

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Couple slips though security to crash state dinner

WASHINGTON – Crashing a state dinner at the White House apparently takes a security breakdown as well as some kind of nerve.

The Secret Service is looking into its own security procedures after determining that a Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, managed to slip into Tuesday night's state dinner at the White House even though they were not on the guest list, agency spokesman Ed Donovan said.

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Source & Source 2

My mom is freaking out like "HE DOESN'T NEED THIS HAPPENING". I also heard from my local news station that the woman might be one of the new Real Housewives of DC. Bravo, Rahm is going to cut your legs off if this was a publicity stunt. AND WHY WOULD YOU POST THINGS LIKE THIS ON FACEBOOK?

The Decade From Hell

The '00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade From Hell
By Andy Serwer

At exactly two minutes after midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, an alarm sounded at a nuclear power plant in Onagawa, Japan. Government officials and computer scientists around the globe held their breath. Was this the beginning of a massive Y2K computer meltdown? Actually, no. It was an isolated event, one of a handful of glitches to occur (including the failure of 500 slot machines at two racetracks in Delaware) as the sun rose on the new decade. The dreaded millennial meltdown never happened.

Instead, it was the American Dream that was about to dim. Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post–World War II era. We're still weeks away from the end of '09, but it's not too early to pass judgment. Call it the Decade from Hell, or the Reckoning, or the Decade of Broken Dreams, or the Lost Decade. Call it whatever you want — just give thanks that it is nearly over.

Calling the 2000s "the worst" may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more. This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history. Between the West's ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience — trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world — it's no wonder we feel as if we've been through a 10-year gauntlet. Americans may have the darkest view of recent history, since it's in the U.S. that the effects of those trends have been most acute. If you live in Brazil or China, you have had a pretty good decade economically. Once, we were the sunniest and most optimistic of nations. No longer.

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Tea Part + Sarah Palin + Michele Bachmann = [INSERT HORROR BEYOND HELL] + Epic Fail

Bachmann, Palin To Speak At National Tea Party Convention

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will speak at the first-ever National Tea Party Convention this upcoming February.

The announcement of plans for the conservative lawmaker to attend the Tennessee event came from Tea Party organizer Sherry Phillips via Twitter Tuesday.

Bachmann, who has emerged as a champion of the Tea Party movement, will join ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at the convention for the "purpose of networking and supporting the movements' multiple organizations principle goals.
" Palin will be the "special keynote speaker" at the event, which is taking place at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Palin News Is Top Story For Only Two Percent Of Public, According To New Study

The media is drastically overplaying former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's influence on the national political conversation, suggests a new study of the public's news-watching patterns.

The Pew Research Center released a public opinion survey on Wednesday showing that, of the recent news stories people followed most closely, the one-time vice presidential candidate and her book tour have garnered very little sustained interest.

Only two percent of respondents said that news of Palin and her new book, "Going Rogue," was the story they followed "most closely" this past week. Only ten percent said they were following it "very closely." Compare that to the 41 percent who said that the health care reform debate was their top story and 18 percent who said the same about the swine flu epidemic.
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(no subject)

Straight couple's civil partnership application rejected

A straight couple who tried to apply for a civil partnership this morning have said they are willing to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, both 25, arrived at Islington Town Hall in London this morning to register their intention to have a civil partnership.

As they had anticipated, they were given a letter of refusal.

Head of democratic services John Lynch wrote: "I do not wish to comment on your views on marriage but would point out that part one of the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 states that a civil partnership is a relationship between two people of the same sex and therefore we would not be able to take notice of your proposed civil partnership."

Speaking outside the building, the couple said: "Today we have been refused access to a legal institution because of our sexuality. We are saddened and disappointed.

"In a democratic state, all institutions should be open to all people.

"We are going to take legal advice and take it to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary."

It is thought that the ban may breach the European Convention of Human Rights with regard to articles eight, 12 and 14. These refer to a right to privacy, marriage and freedom from discrimination.

Doyle told "It's hard because we can be seen as a straight couple wanting to colonise civil partnerships, in a way. So we were expecting some kind of negativity from the gay community. But we haven't had any.

"The fact is that no gay people are really campaigning for equal marriage. I mean, we're coming in as a straight couple campaigning for straight couples' rights. We can't really campaign on behalf of the gay community. But by implication, we hope that marriage will be opened up both ways."

She added: "I remember talking to gay colleagues and them saying 'but we like civil partnerships, it's just for us', and I think that's fine but you should have the choice. Whether a lot of gay couples want marriage or straight couples want civil partnerships, that's beside the point. The fact is you should have the choice in a democratic society."

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who is supporting the couple, said: "Tom and Katherine's application is supported by myself and OutRage!. We have long campaigned against homophobic discrimination but we are equally opposed to discrimination against heterosexual couples. The law should be equal for everyone.

"I think a legal appeal's going to be quite difficult because the government will argue that they have the option of a civil marriage. That's true, but for Tom and Katherine and myself the issue is discrimination. Quite clearly, a heterosexual couple cannot have a civil partnership just as a homosexual couple cannot have marriage. Two wrongs do not make a right and we want equality in law for everyone."


Video Explains Why Tea Party Acting Like Dicks is Equal To Being Real Patriots. (VIDEO)

HuffPost Editor Roy Sekoff Discusses Shameless Tea Party Heckling Of Hough Family On 'The Ed Show' (VIDEO)

Earlier this month, members of the Chicago Tea Party Patriots heckled a pair of town hall speakers who lost their daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild due to a medical emergency. Dan and Midge Hough wanted to explain how a lack of health care may have contributed to the two deaths.

The Houghs were on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" on Wednesday to discuss their experience. Afterward, Huffington Post Editor Roy Sekoff spoke with Ed Schultz about about the tone of public discourse in America and some of the shocking defenses being used to condone the behavior.