December 7th, 2009

sky, cloud
  • anote77

US migh not withdraw troops in 2010 as Obama said

What can United States do in 18 months? US has been being there since 2001 and there is no progress in Afghanistan. This is the longest war for United States. Obama just want sure the public amid the US public do not support US Government for the Afghanistan war.

Obama cannot guarantee Taliban will be defeat in 18 months with 30,000 additional troops and the Karzai government will be free from corruption.

If Obama cannot guarantee, he should stop this war before late.

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hepburn wtf

Al Franken calls Republican's Bluff

As we reported earlier this week, Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla) and David Vitter (R-La) have cleverly upped the ante in the health care standoff by challenging members of Congress to sign onto the proposed public option health care plan. Their assumption being that, since socialized medicine is so plainly evil, no lawmaker would have the audacity to inflict such a horror upon themselves. Though some conservatives might see this as a chance to bemoan the perils of government-sponsored health coverage, Dan Carter noted that "by the time the new health care proposal is in full effect around 2013, Coburn will be 65 and--you guessed it--basking in the warm glow of a government run, publicly funded plan called Medicare." A perfect example of a seamless transition to a public health plan.

On Friday, Sen. Al Franken said he was willing to take Coburn up on his offer. NewsOK reports:

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said in a speech on the Senate floor that he wants to join Coburn’s effort to force senators to join any public plan created by Congress.

"I will have no problem at all enrolling in this plan,” Franken said. He said he recently told his wife that they should enroll in a public plan if Congress creates one and that she wholeheartedly agreed.

"So, yeah, I’m perfectly serious about this,” Franken said.

Will Coburn show he's every bit as serious as his colleagues across the aisle and walk the talk on health reform? By the time the final vote is cast, we'll know who was bluffing.


I swear this man is the best damn thing to happen to Congress in a long time!

Former cannibal island seeks closure...

In the 1830s, the Reverend John Williams was the most famous missionary of the age in the south pacific.

In 1839 while visiting a part of the New Hebrides, along with fellow missionary James Harris he was killed and eaten by cannibals on the island of Erromango during an attempt to bring them the Gospel. A memorial stone was erected on the island of Rarotonga in 1839 and is still there. Mrs Williams is buried with their son (Samuel Tamatoa Williams, who was born in the New Hebrides) at the old Cedar Circle in London's Abney Park Cemetery; the name of her husband and the record of his death were placed on the most prominent side of the stone monument.

Now a British man who is Williams great-great grandson has taken part in a unique reconciliation event on a south pacific island. Today, 170 years after his murder, the descendants of those responsible felt the need to put old ghosts to rest.

Very odd video of the ceremony at the link.
Akuma River

Stupak the sequel will be introduced/voted on in the Senate today.

The Senate is meeting now and still bitching/preaching debating the bill and various amendments to add to it.

It made known yesterday by Harry Reid that several votes will take place today on amendments and possible the big the vote to bring the bill to the next stage.

What is really big news is that are going to introduce/vote on the Senate version of the Stupak amendment today.

On the eighth day of the health care debate, votes are expected on two Medicare amendments, one on the Medicare Trust Fund from Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and another on enrollees from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR). Today, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) said an abortion amendment would also be taken up.


(no subject)

Is Hollywood Afraid To Let Women Be Physically Strong?

As I think retrospectively about this year in film, it’s safe to say that it has not been kind to women, particularly strong female characters. Instead, it seems an uphill battle just to get a studio to highlight a female actress. In June, Nia Vardalos’s wrote in the Huffington Post about presenting a script idea to a male studio exec who asked her to change the lead from a woman to a man. Asked why, he replied that women do not go to the movies—in Hollywood talk, there’s just no money in it.

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Nursing Mom: Target Called the Cops

Jose and Mary Martinez visited a Target store in Harper Woods on Sunday. The mother says she started breast-feeding her child, security said it was illegal, they disagreed, and then the cops were called.

She's a mother of three. The youngest, her four-week-old girl, Raka. Breast-feeding is a daily part of life whether at home or at the store. That's why Mary Martinez was surprised to be stopped at the Target store. She and her husband told this by security: "He said, 'It's against the law. You have to go,'" said Jose Martinez.

Jose, a Detroit police officer, knew it isn't against the law even in the electronics aisle at Target. The couple say it wasn't crowded in that section at the time.

"It wasn't busy. One gentleman came through and... he complained about the prices," said Mary Martinez.

Harper Woods police were called to the scene. They joined Target security talking with the Martinez family until the couple and child left embarrassed.

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Source. Avoid the comments.

DNA Testing and Fatherhood

This is a fairly old article (Novermber 22nd, 2009) but I didn't see it posted here and it seemed interesting in light of recent discussion on fathers and child support. It's quite lenghty but worth the read IMO.

Who Knew I Was Not the Father?


It was in July 2007 when Mike L. asked the Pennsylvania courts to declare that he was no longer the father of his daughter. For four years, Mike had known that the girl he had rocked to sleep and danced with across the living-room floor was not, as they say, “his.” The revelation from a DNA test was devastating and prompted him to leave his wife — but he had not renounced their child. He continued to feel that in all the ways that mattered, she was still his daughter, and he faithfully paid her child support. It was only when he learned that his ex-wife was about to marry the man who she said actually was the girl’s biological father that Mike flipped. Supporting another man’s child suddenly became unbearable.

Two years after filing the suit that sought to end his paternal rights, Mike is still irate about the fix he’s in. “I pay child support to a biologically intact family,” Mike told me, his voice cracking with incredulity. “A father and mother, married, who live with their own child. And I pay support for that child. How ridiculous is that?”

Yet despite his indignation — and despite his court filings seeking to end his obligations as a father — Mike loves his daughter. Every other weekend, the 11-year-old girl, L., lives in Mike’s house in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Western Pennsylvania. Her bedroom there is decorated to reflect her current passion: there’s a soccer bedspread, soccer curtains and a soccer-ball night light. On her bed is an Everybody Loves Me pillow covered with transparent sleeves filled with photos of her and Mike, the man she calls “Daddy,” canoeing, fishing and sledding together.

As the two of them prepared breakfast together one Saturday in June, just after L. finished fifth grade, Mike sang a little ditty about how she was his favorite daughter. A few minutes later, when he noticed L. sneaking a piece of raw biscuit dough, he poked her. She looked at him impishly until they both giggled.

“Just because our relationship started because of someone else’s lie,” he said later, “doesn’t mean the bond that developed isn’t real.” Still, his love became entangled with humiliation and outrage, and each child-support payment stung so much that he felt compelled to take a stand on principle. In doing so, he also took the small but terrifying risk of losing his child.

Mike’s conundrum is increasingly playing out in courts across the country, a result of political, social and technological shifts. Stricter federal rules have pressed states to chase down fathers and hold them responsible for children born outside of marriage, a category that includes 40 percent of all births. At the same time, DNA tests have become easier, cheaper and more reliable. Swiping a few cheek cells and paying a couple hundred dollars can answer the question that has plagued men since the dawn of time: Am I really the father?

One hundred and twenty-two years ago, the playwright August Strindberg meditated on this quandary. “The Father” is the story of a cavalry captain whose wife hints that he might not be the father of the daughter he adores. Consumed with doubt, he rages at his wife: “I have worked and slaved for you, your child, your mother, your servants . . . because I thought myself the father of your child. This is the commonest kind of theft, the most brutal slavery. I have had 17 years of penal servitude and have been innocent.”

Without a biological tie, the captain cries, his paternal love is without foundation. But even as he laments that his daughter may not be his, the captain seeks consolation from his childhood nursemaid. With his mind unraveling, he rests his head in her lap and speaks of the comfort of “mother” — because that was the nursemaid’s role, biology notwithstanding.

Strindberg never reveals whether the captain’s fears were justified, and perhaps the answer doesn’t matter. As long as the captain believed he had a biological link to his child, their relationship was meaningful. It is that link, or perhaps the fear of its absence, that drives men today to DNA tests.

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I'm of two minds about these cases. It is deceptive and cruel to have someone get invested in being a father when they aren't. OTOH, being a father also means taking financial responsibility, that's inescapable. And what kind of man can just walk away from a child after so many years?!?!

And Stephanie? SMH. She's just triflin.

Jordan's Queen joins fight for action on honour killings

What a difficult issue, it's going to take years to combat.

ON ONE side is the fashionably dressed Queen Rania of Jordan, a symbol of progressive values for Arab women. On the other are her country's conservative social and religious leaders.

At stake is a political test case for reform in the Middle East, one that pits demands for greater democracy against the need to end so-called honour killings of women.

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doctor who - tardis

All Gays go to Hell

Cardinal: No Place in Heaven for Gays
By Christopher Mangum

Homosexuals and transsexuals "will never enter the kingdom of heaven," Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said Wednesday, reports Italian news agency Ansa.

Cardinal Barragan, of Mexico, declared that being gay is an "insult to God," but he added that discrimination against gays and transsexuals should not be condoned.

Barragan, who served as the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, also said being gay is something learned.

"People are not born homosexual, they become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence,” the cardinal said. “It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God.”

In April, Barragan retired from his post on the pope’s council, but he maintains positions on various Catholic Church bodies.


Evangelist preacher to Yale students: "You're going to hell."

Jesse Morrell — a 25-year-old evangelist preacher from Cheshire, Conn., who said he did three stints at the juvenile detention center on Whalley Avenue for selling drugs — says he knows where most Yale students are headed: hell.

For the past three days, Morrell has used Yale’s campus as the platform for his open-air preaching. A self-proclaimed born-again Christian, he has spent much of the past three days sermonizing about the “evils of sin” on Old Campus, Cross Campus and the section of Wall Street near Woodbridge Hall.

While Morrell failed to attract much attention from passersby during his first two days on campus, on Thursday afternoon, about 100 Yalies gathered to watch him rail against moral corruption at Yale. Several of those gathered wondered aloud if Morrell actually believed the things he said, and others heckled during his sermon, while others still took photos and videos on their cell phones.

“It seems like he’s really enjoying this, frankly,” Jeremy Poindexter ’11 said.

Yale Police Sgt. Brian Logan, whose car was parked nearby, said he was there to protect everyone and make sure the crowd did not block the road. Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, who is in charge of campus security, did not return a phone call Thursday.

In an interview Thursday, Morrell said the Yale Police Department issued him a trespass warning because students and University officials had complained about his preaching. As a result, he can no longer step foot on University grounds, he said, which is why he remained on the Wall Street sidewalk Thursday. (That warning could not be confirmed with any Yale officials.)

But Morrell said he has the right to profess his message. He added that he has been “unlawfully” arrested many times and has taken his complaints to court. Last August, he won $25,000 in damages from the New Haven Police Department for unnecessarily interfering with his sidewalk sermons. Of 24 students interviewed Thursday, 13 said they had heard Morrell preaching, nine of whom said they found him entertaining. But others were not amused.

“I don’t think people should be pressing their religion on me,” Simon Cozzens ’13 said.

Morrell is head of the Open Air Outreach, a Christian ministry founded in 2002 to “take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners through open-air preaching, calling them to forsake their sins and trust in Christ, and to train up other believers to do likewise,” according to the ministry’s Web site. Morrell told the News he is not here to attack Yale specifically but that his mission is to preach at universities because he thinks college students today are morally depraved.

Wearing a herringbone jacket and cap, Morrell said he converted to Christianity in 2001, right before he turned 16. Morrell said it was during his time at the Whalley Avenue juvenile center that he was persuaded to convert to Christianity by a hellfire preacher.

He said he is well aware of the inflammatory nature of his sermons.

“It’s controversial on purpose,” he said. “I’m trying to get everyone’s attention so I can spread my message and create a debate.”

He said he believes every religion other than Christianity is wrong and that people must “turn or burn” — convert to Christianity or burn in “the fires of hell.”

Rev. Andrew Cunningham, director of the International Christian Fellowship, said he does not know who Morrell is, what he preaches or what his motives are. However, he did question Morrell’s authority to judge others and emphasized that Christianity insists God is the only judge of peoples’ actions. “You are sure to find dogmatism within members of every religion,” Cunningham said. “I think tolerance is a basic tenet of Christianity.”

Morrell said he is not advocating hatred, but love. Carmen Chambers ’12, a member of Yale Students for Christ, said she talked to him and realized he has the right intentions but is blinded by his own judgement.

Chambers said she fears Morrell’s style of preaching will magnify the ill perception that people may have of Christianity, but thinks it may help people reflect on what they believe in.

Morrell said he is not sure whether he will continue to preach around campus today.

(via Yale Daily News, story source)

There was another picture, but I just loved that one. ONTD_Politics, judging by the list on Jesse's back, who's going to hell? I'm going to hell about three times.


Copenhagen summit opens, Guardian still can't spell. (Or maybe they can?)

Copenhagen climate change conference: 'Fourteen days to seal history's judgment on this generation'

This editorial calling for action from world leaders on climate change is published today by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages.

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

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Source is the Grauniad

Edit: Lol, point taken. Seems like my schadenfreude was a bit premature. You win this time, Guardian... *shakes fist*

Parents' Sex Talk with Kids: Too Little, Too Late

The sex talk is never easy. It's not comfortable for anyone involved — parents are afraid of it, children are mortified by it — which is probably why the talk so often comes after the fact. In the latest study on parent-child talks about sex and sexuality, researchers found that more than 40% of adolescents had had intercourse before talking to their parents about safe sex, birth control or sexually transmitted diseases.

That trend is troublesome, say experts, since teens who talk to their parents about sex are more likely to delay their first sexual encounter and to practice safe sex when they do become sexually active. And, ironically, despite their apparent dread, kids really want to learn about sex from their parents, according to study after study on the topic.

"The results didn't surprise me," says Dr. Mark Schuster, one of the authors of the new study, published in Pediatrics, and chief of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. "But there's something about having actual data that serves as a wake-up call to parents who are not talking to their kids about very important issues until later than we think would be best."

The study involved 141 families enrolled in the Talking Parents, Healthy Teens program, organized by the University of California Los Angeles/Rand Center for Adolescent Health Promotion and overseen by Schuster. Parents and their children, aged 13 to 17, responded to questions about 24 issues regarding sex and sexuality, including how women become pregnant, body changes that occur during puberty, how to use condoms and birth control, as well as issues around homosexuality.

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Obama jokes about needing a fake ID

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

"I was telling [Mel Brooks] that I went to see Blazing Saddles when I was 10. And he pointed out that I think, according to the ratings, I should not have been allowed in the theater. That's true. I think I had a fake ID. But the statute of limitations has passed."

• President Barack Obama at the Kennedy Center Honors Sunday night, joking about having to sneak in to see Brooks's famed 1974 comedy.

Mr. T Santa

Internal Review Finds ACORN Did Not Break Law

December 7, 2009

An internal investigation of the community-organizing group ACORN says there was no criminal conduct by employees caught on videos offering advice on how to hide assets and falsify lending documents.

In a 47-page assessment commissioned by the organization, former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger said ACORN leaders "appear committed to effect reform and are on their way to preserving ACORN and its mission in a reduced size and scope."

The report, which ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis described as "part vindication, part constructive criticism and complete roadmap for the future," was unlikely to stem continuing political criticisms of the group and its efforts.
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Gaga LoveGame

Man Chucks Tomatoes at Sarah Palin

The man misses and hits an officer instead

Published : Monday, 07 Dec 2009, 2:35 PM PST

Maggie Habashy

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - A man was arrested for throwing tomatoes at Sarah Palin during her book signing on Monday at the Mall of America.

The man allegedly threw two tomatoes from the second balcony, however did not come close to hitting Palin.

Bloomington Police report that a Bloomington commander was struck in the face with one of the tomatoes and may face charges for assaulting a police officer. The suspect was booked at the Bloomington jail.

More than 1,000 people turned out at the Mall of America Rotunda on Monday for Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" book signing.

Palin started signing books at noon for those brave enough to wait in a long line that started around 5 a.m.

Those hoping to get their copy of "Going Rogue" signed on Monday must come prepared. According to MOA organizers, you must have a mall-issued wristband, which requires a copy of the book purchased from Barnes and Noble or a Barnes and Noble receipt proving your purchase. "Going Rogue" sold more than 700,000 copies in its first week, outpacing President Barack Obama's 2006 book "The Audacity of Hope," which sold fewer than 100,000 first-week copies and Hilary Clinton's 2003 book "Living History," which sold roughly 600,000 copies. Palin recently passed the 1,000,000 book mark and has sat atop the New York Times bestseller list for two weeks.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate topped a Washington Post poll in November as the top choice among likely Republican voters if their caucus or primary were to take place today.

Following the book signing, Palin is scheduled to appear a private event at a Bloomington, Minnesota hotel hosted by The Freedom Club State PAC. Entry to the invitation-only event costs $5,000 per person or couple.

The invitation says all proceeds will go toward electing Republicans to the Minnesota House.

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    The Hood Internet - Modest Mouse vs Kanye West - Floating Paranoia | Powered by

Fat, gay and proud: A new kind of Venezuelan beauty queen

Music swells, lights flash and the contestants strut on to the stage, waving and blowing kisses. All wear high heels, bikinis and wide smiles.

It is another beauty pageant in Venezuela, a self-styled "beauty superpower" which worships physical perfection and has won the two most recent Miss Universe titles. But this show in Caracas is different. Even from the back of the theatre you noticesomething striking about the contestants. They are men. Large, chubby men.
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An interesting article, and I really liked it, despite the conflation of drag queens and trans women. Still, it's nice to see something a little different from the norm.

Abortion Battle Shifts to Clinic in Nebraska

The national battle over abortion, for decades firmly planted outside the Kansas clinic of Dr. George R. Tiller, has erupted here in suburban Omaha, where a longtime colleague has taken up the cause of late-term abortions.

Since Dr. Tiller was shot to death in May, his colleague, Dr. LeRoy H. Carhart, has hired two people who worked at Dr. Tiller’s clinic and has trained his own staff members in the technical intricacies of performing late-term abortions.

Dr. Carhart has also begun performing some abortions “past 24 weeks,” he said in an interview, and is prepared to perform them still later if they meet legal requirements and if he considers them medically necessary.

“There is a need, and I feel deeply about it,” said Dr. Carhart, visibly weary after a day when eight patients had appointments at his clinic here.

The late-term abortions, coming after the earliest point when a fetus might survive outside the womb, are the most controversial, even among some who favor abortion rights. A few of Dr. Carhart’s employees quit when he told them of his plans to expand the clinic’s work.

Opponents of abortion, who had devoted decades to trying to stop Dr. Tiller’s business with protests and calls for investigations, are now turning their efforts to stopping Dr. Carhart. Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group, said he had traveled from the group’s headquarters in Wichita, Kan., to Nebraska six times in recent months, portraying this suburb of fewer than 50,000 as a new battlefield in the abortion fight.

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Rose (purple)

prepare to be sad and mad at the same time.

Saving Grace: One Family's Struggle With Abortion and the Catholic Church

Wednesday 02 December 2009

by: Amanda Mueller, t r u t h o u t

At the home of Gail and Robert Anderson, a large statue of the Virgin Mary sits in the yard, welcoming guests into the home while protecting the family that lives there. Next to the statue of Mary, inside a labyrinth of daisies, daffodils, tulips and roses is a stone engraved with the word grace. For the Andersons' grace is not just a word or a concept taught through their strong Catholic faith, but the name of the daughter their hopes and dreams hung onto. It is the name of the daughter they said goodbye to in the Kansas office of a man named Dr. George Tiller.

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This is just gutting. Not only do you go through something like that, but then to have a total lack of support from the people who should care for you, should be there in a time of suffering and need...stories like this add to my cynicism about organized religion.
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GOP Fights Back (?), Demands President Obama To Take Socialized Medicine.

GOP Would Require President, Cabinet, Staff To Enroll In Public Option

Senate Republicans opposed to a public health-insurance option intend to introduce an amendment Monday that would require not just members of Congress to enroll in any such plan -- but also the president, vice president, cabinet officials and all political staff.

An earlier, narrower version of the amendment just covering Congress, proposed by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and David Vitter (R-La.), led to a Capitol spectacle on Friday as some Democrats called their bluff.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) tried to join their effort, but told the Hill that he was rebuffed. A Coburn spokesman said Brown would have been welcome to join and that the office had simply yet to get back to him.

Regardless, Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Brown all went to the Senate floor to ask unanimous consent to be added to the amendment, a request that was approved.

Franken said on the Senate floor that he had discussed the situation with his wife Frannie and they had agreed to go on the public option if the bill became law. (If the amendment doesn't become law, Franken wouldn't legally be able to make that choice since he has employer-provided coverage.)
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We Do Not Hire Faggots

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has filed an employment discrimination suit against an Orlando McDonald's after learning that a manager had left a voicemail for a transgender applicant stating, "We don't hire faggots." Zikerria Bellamy, 17, had applied online for a job with the restaurant. The TLDEF notes:
Zikerria’s story is all too common. Transgender people face tremendous discrimination in the workplace. According to a recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of transgender people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, just because of who they are. Few protections exist for transgender people who experience employment discrimination. In 38 states, there is no law protecting transgender people from being fired because of who they are. Federal law similarly offers no job protection for transgender people. In Florida, while no law explicitly addresses discrimination based on gender identity, administrative agencies in Florida have ruled that transgender people are protected by the Florida Human Rights Act’s prohibitions on sex and disability discrimination. The Competitive Workforce Bill, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Florida Civil Rights Act, was introduced in the Florida legislature on November 20.
In late November, openly lesbian Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehand proposed adding transgender protections to the city's ordinances. Mayor Buddy Dyer has strongly endorsed the proposed legislation. Fifteen Florida cities have such protections, including Tampa, which passed a transgender anti-discrimination bill last month after an ugly public debate.


My dad always said hate was a strong word, but in this case it is NOT strong enough!

Sarah Palin's Popularity Grows, Poll Finds

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released today finds that Sarah Palin's favorable rating has risen to 46 percent. That represents an increase from the 39 percent favorable rating for Palin in CNN polling over the summer, following her decision to resign from her job as Alaska governor.

Palin, the former GOP vice presidential candidate, remains a polarizing figure, of course: 46 percent view her unfavorably, matching her favorable rating. Just 8 percent of those surveyed did not offer an opinion on Palin, who is currently on a book tour for memoir "Going Rogue: An American Life."

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CEOs Running Scared! Vaccines Running Out!

Corporate employers got scarce flu vaccine

When the swine flu vaccine was most scarce, health officials gave thousands of doses to corporate clinics at Walt Disney World, Toyota, defense contractors, oil companies and cruise lines, according to a USA TODAY review of vaccine distribution data from three states.

USA TODAY examined how state health departments distributed H1N1 vaccine after public outcry last month over Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs receiving doses while doctors and hospitals encountered shortages. The data show other companies got the vaccine in October and early November. In some cases, early doses went to people not deemed most at risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Now we have evidence of what my suspicions were," said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chair of a House health subcommittee. "I'm afraid when you have these corporate initiatives, it's not primarily needs-based."

Pallone said he would send the CDC a letter Tuesday asking it to revise guidelines to states on the use of corporate health clinics.

Each state health department must decide how to provide the vaccine to people most at risk, and employers are a legitimate venue, said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's immunization director. CDC's priority groups include pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, health care workers and people ages 6 months to 24 years. "This is much less about what you do for a living and much more about how do you get the vaccine in the path of those target populations," she said.

The Toyota Family Health Center in San Antonio, which got 2,120 doses, initially focused on the CDC's priority groups, but since Nov. 16 has offered the vaccine to any employee, contractor or family member, spokesman Craig Mullenbach said.

Norwegian Cruise Line in Miami used its 300 doses "to vaccinate critical on-board staff on our ships," spokeswoman AnneMarie Mathews said. She said recipients included medical staff, youth counselors and "key officers responsible for the safe operation of the vessel" but did not address how the counselors and officers fit into CDC's priority groups.

Of the 2.42 million doses in Texas and 2 million in Florida distributed through mid-November, fewer than 1% went to employers, according to USA TODAY's analysis of data obtained under state open-records acts. Thousands of registered providers — doctors, hospitals, schools, pharmacies — in Texas alone got no doses in that period.
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* metamorphosis
  • schmiss


Santorum ‘absolutely’ considering 2012 bid, says Palin has ‘some explaining’ to do if she runs.

In September, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told Catholic leaders that he was “thinking about” a run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012. “I hate to be calculating, but I see that 2012 is not just throwing somebody out to be eaten, but it’s a real opportunity for success,” he said. Today on ABC’s Top Line, Santorum appeared to be leaning more towards running. “Absolutely — absolutely taking a look,” he said, adding, “[W]e need to stand foursquare on the traditional values.” When asked if Sarah Palin — another potential GOP candidate — is qualified to be president, Santorum dodged and later took a veiled shot at the former Alaska governor:
SANTORUM: No, I’ll let the people decide that. I think, you know, she’s done a lot to draw attention to herself that’s positive. She’s done some things that, you know, certainly are going to cause her to have to do some explaining if she runs for president. But right now I think she’s on a roll, she’s having a good time, she’s having an impact.
Watch it:

Back in July, Santorum said his wife is one of Palin’s “biggest fans” but added that Palin’s resignation as Alaska governor “hurt women in politics.”


GO FOR IT, RICK. Dare I hope for a rivalry that could be Huckabee vs Romney 2.0??

Bankers Against Banking Reform? I am Shocked!

Shock: American Bankers Association Comes Out Against Bank Reform

The American Bankers Association is glad that the House Financial Services Committee made a number of changes to a financial reform package that it requested, but, regretfully, will have to oppose the bill on the floor, the lobby said in a letter to House members Monday.

The interest group first thanks the committee for including "a very important" bank-backed change to the way accounting is done -- or, more accurately, not done. The amendment the bankers are so grateful for would allow traditional accounting rules to be defenestrated when a crisis could threaten the financial system.

The lobby's principal objection, however, is the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The banks argue that consumers protections must be considered at the same time the "safety and soundness" of the financial industry is taken into account. Preventing banks from ripping people off, apparently, could hurt their ability to be profitable.

"ABA has consistently maintained that consumer protection should not be separated from safety and soundness in the regulation of insured depository institutions," reads the letter.

It goes on to complain: "The CFPA would have broad authority to impose 'fairness' standards and set sales practices. The agency would write rules for banks, both large and small, and this consumer regulatory authority would not be responsible for considering safety and soundness."

The House Rules Committee will determine on Tuesday what amendments will be allowed and the bill will hit the floor later in the week. One particular amendment will only increase the zeal of banks' opposition: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) are pushing an amendment that would allow bankruptcy judges to renegotiate home mortgages. Known as cramdown, the measure is fiercely opposed by banks and has been defeated on the floor in the past.
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Suck it NASA ...(Here is what $200,000 seat will get you)

Roll-out for Richard Branson's spaceliner

Sir Richard Branson is unveiling the rocket plane he will use to take fare-paying passengers into space.

SpaceShipTwo is being presented to the world in Mojave, California.

The vehicle will undergo testing over the next 18 months before being allowed to take ticketed individuals on short-hop trips just above the atmosphere.

Sir Richard, who heads the Virgin Group, intends to run the first flights out of New Mexico before extending operations around the globe.

Built from lightweight carbon composite materials and powered by a hybrid rocket motor, SS2 is based on the X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne concept - a rocket plane that is lifted initially by a carrier vehicle before blasting skywards.

"We want this programme to be a whole new beginning in a commercial era of space travel," Sir Richard told reporters before the official unveiling.

Full video at the link.

The new Spaceport in New Mexico US

Update ! Now with much cooler video...