December 20th, 2009

Ani: Amazon Warrior

U.S. offers to pay Native Americans $1.4 billion for lost funds

Washington (CNN) -- Thousands of American Indians would receive as much as $1,000 each if they accept a proposed $1.4 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit over government mismanagement of tribal lands.

The suit, filed in 1996, accused the U.S. Department of the Interior of failing to account for and provide revenue from a trust fund representing the value of Indian assets managed by the government.

As part of the settlement, the federal government would agree to establish a $2 billion program to buy small fractions of land to help sellers obtain value from ancestral property, which then would be held by tribal governments.

The missing funds at the center of the class-action case involve what are called Individual Indian Money accounts, which are supposed to represent the property of individual American Indians. The accounts are held by the United States as trustee.

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O'Reilly speaks out for civility? Next in shock and awe...

O'Reilly Slams Ingraham: 'You Are A Blind Ideologue' And 'A Kool-Aid Drinker'

Bill O'Reilly was having none of Laura Ingraham's teasing of him for "gushing" over Michelle Obama, whom he met at the White House Christmas party. O'Reilly called the First Lady "impressive" and said the First Couple were "very gracious" to him.
Ingraham repeatedly made fun of O'Reilly for these statements even as he started to get upset. He finally lost it and slammed her as a "blind ideologue" and a "Kool-Aid drinker":

Wait, a minute. I'm going to call you -- I'm calling you out on this. [...] I thought she was very nice at the party. [...] You are a blind ideologue who even if somebody's nice to you, won't admit it because you're talking about a Kool-aid drinker. [...] You have an IV attached to your arm on the Kool-aid.

WATCH: (H/t Think Progress)



Kill Bill (?)

Why I Still Believe in This Bill

Jacob S. Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. An expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy, he is author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books and articles, both scholarly and popular, including The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream (2006; paperback, January 2008) and Health At Risk: America’s Ailing Health System and How to Heal It (2008).

Now that the core demand of progressives has been removed from the Senate health care bill--namely, the public health insurance option--should progressives continue to support the effort?

For me, the question is particularly difficult. I have been the thinker most associated with the public option, which I’ve long argued is essential to ensuring accountability from private insurers and long-term cost control. I was devastated when it was killed at the hands of Senator Joe Lieberman, not least because of what it said about our democracy -- that a policy consistently supported by a strong majority of Americans could be brought down by a recalcitrant Senate minority.

It would therefore be tempting for me to side with Howard Dean and other progressive critics who say that health care reform should now be killed.

It would be tempting, but it would be wrong.

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Uh guys, keep an eye out if you go sailing or live in NZ

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old Dutch girl whose bid to sail solo around the world was blocked by a court, has gone missing, leaving behind her boat, police said Sunday.

Dekker appears to have left her father's home on her own, Utrecht police spokesman Bernhard Jens told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Her boat, Guppy, is still moored at its usual berth.

"We do not believe this is a crime," Jens said.

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Olympia Snowe Will Vote Against Health Care Reform

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), considered one of very few Republicans who might vote for the Senate health care bill, said Sunday that she would not.

"This process denies us the opportunity to thoroughly and carefully and deliberately evaluate what's at stake," she said on CBS.

She also told the New York Times it was a rushed vote on a "a take-it-or-leave-it package."

Democrats no longer need Snowe's vote -- but the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen points out that they courted her anyway only to have her object over the debate's speed.

I just can't figure out what on earth Snowe is talking about. She voted with Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee reform plan, but now appears to be looking for an excuse to oppose the effort. But to sound even remotely credible, Snowe will have to do better than this.

Snowe has been complaining about the speed of the legislative process since July, but therein lies the point: how could this possible get slower?



Eurostar train services canceled indefinitely

LONDON – The only passenger rail link between Britain and the rest of Europe has been shut down indefinitely, Eurostar said Sunday, promising more travel misery for thousands of stranded passengers just before Christmas.

Services have been suspended since late Friday, when a series of glitches stranded five trains inside the Channel Tunnel and trapped more than 2,000 passengers for hours in stuffy and claustrophobic conditions. More than 55,000 passengers overall have been affected.

Some panicked passengers stayed underground for more than 15 hours without food or water, or any clear idea of what was going on — prompting outrage from travelers and a promise from Eurostar that no passenger train would enter the tunnel until the issue had been identified and fixed.

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I hope this doesn't affect any of you Euro ONTD_P bbs.

Maine to consider cell phone cancer warning

AUGUSTA, Maine – A Maine legislator wants to make the state the first to require cell phones to carry warnings that they can cause brain cancer, although there is no consensus among scientists that they do and industry leaders dispute the claim.

The now-ubiquitous devices carry such warnings in some countries, though no U.S. states require them, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. A similar effort is afoot in San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom wants his city to be the nation's first to require the warnings.

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IDK how I feel about this.  I guess if the warning is just on the packaging and not the actual phone, then I won't mind.  But I can't imagine going without a cordless phone, let alone a cell phone.
Mr. T Santa

When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?

Critics have called alien epic Avatar a version of Dances With Wolves because it's about a white guy going native and becoming a great leader. But Avatar is just the latest scifi rehash of an old white guilt fantasy. Spoilers...

Whether Avatar is racist is a matter for debate. Regardless of where you come down on that question, it's undeniable that the film - like alien apartheid flick District 9, released earlier this year - is emphatically a fantasy about race. Specifically, it's a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people. Avatar and scifi films like it give us the opportunity to answer the question: What do white people fantasize about when they fantasize about racial identity?

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misc - microphone

good-ish news

Polish police find stolen Auschwitz gate sign
Nazi’s ‘Work Sets You Free’ slogan disappeared three days earlier

WARSAW, Poland - Polish police found the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that was stolen from the gate of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz after an intensive three-day hunt and arrested five suspects, police said early Monday. The sign was found cut into three pieces.

Police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo said that the sign was found Sunday night in northern Poland, the other end of the country from the southern Polish town where the Auschwitz memorial museum is located and where it disappeared before dawn Friday.

Padlo said police detained five men between the ages of 25 and 39 and took them for questioning to Krakow, which is the regional command of the area that includes the Auschwitz museum.

Another police spokesman, Dariusz Nowak, said the 16-foot sign, made of hollow steel, was found cut into three pieces, each containing one of the words. The cruelly ironic phrase means "Work Sets You Free" and ran completely counter to the purpose of Auschwitz, which began as a concentration camp for political prisoners during the Nazi occupation of Poland and evolved into an extermination camp where Jews were gassed to death in factory-like fashion.

The police refused to divulge any details of the circumstances in which the sign was found or to speculate on the motive of the perpetrators. They were expected to disclose more at a news conference in Krakow planned for 0800 GMT (3 a.m. EST) Monday.
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Whoops! Six Graders Shown Porn Movie

Picture unrelated (but still pretty fucking hilarious)

You could call it a lesson in anatomy.

A Grade 6 health teacher in Richmond Hill was transferred to another school after he inadvertently showed 30-plus students pornography that he had taped over with an educational video about the H1N1 virus.

When the public health segment ended, on came the adults-only video from his personal collection.

It was a matter of seconds before the Beverley Acres Public School teacher rushed to the front of the class and switched the VHS tape off, the school board contended yesterday, about three weeks after the incident.

But the damage was done.

Not until after concerned parents called the Neal Dr. school did the principal speak with the teacher about the incident and commence an investigation, York Region District School Board spokesman Ross Virgo said yesterday.

"The board is satisfied that this was really a video taping accident and that there was no intent on the part of the teacher to show the class these images," Virgo said.

In the interest of the students, school and teacher, Stefano Eudoxie-Wojedubokowski -- who worked at Beverley Acres since he was hired on with the board four years ago -- was transferred to Crosby Heights Public School, just down the street, Virgo said.

Contacted there yesterday, Eudoxie-Wojedubokowski -- known by students as Mr. Stefano -- called the incident "unfortunate," but said he was told by the board and union not to speak publicly about what happened. Virgo denied this.

"The whole principle behind that transfer is to allow the students in Mr. Stefano's Beverley Acres class to move forward with their learning and to enable Mr. Stefano to be able to continue with his career without having to suffer needlessly in this situation," Virgo said.

According to a parent of a student who saw the tape, Eudoxie-Wojedubokowski was seated at the back of the class when the H1N1 video ended and two naked men appeared engaged in a sex act.

"It's difficult to say what the kids saw," the mother said on condition of anonymity. "But the best I can describe it, from what I've heard (from my child), is the beginning of oral sex."

Citing privacy rules, Virgo wouldn't say whether Eudoxie-Wojedubokowski was suspended during the investigation.

Another mother who heard about the incident from her son called the ordeal "foolish," but said it shouldn't cost the teacher more than a transfer.

"Certainly he made mistakes, but I don't think any kids are damaged just by that," said the woman, whose son used to be in Eudoxie-Wojedubokowski's class. "I'm sure they've seen stuff like that on the Internet or on TV anyway."

Fool! This is why you only watch porn on your computer.

O Lawdy, here we go again...

Chavez: U.S. spy plane in Venezuela’s airspace
President alleges drone came from Colombia, flew over military base

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez on Sunday accused the U.S. of violating Venezuela's airspace with an unmanned spy plane, and ordered his military to be on alert and shoot down any such aircraft in the future.

Speaking during his weekly television and radio program, Chavez said the aircraft overflew a Venezuelan military base in the western state of Zulia after taking off from neighboring Colombia. He did not elaborate, but suggested the plane was being used for espionage.

"These are the Yankees. They are entering Venezuela," he said. "I've ordered them to be shot down," Chavez said of the aircraft. "We cannot permit this."

Chavez has accused Colombia of allowing the United States to use its military bases to prepare a possible attack against Venezuela.

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Hugo bb, quit trying to be a bad copy of Fidel Castro in his heyday, por favor?
Mr. T Santa

UN peace mission fuelling violence in Congo, report says

The world's biggest UN peacekeeping mission has been branded a failure by experts who say it is fuelling a surge of murders and rapes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN security force of 25,000, estimated to cost more than $1bn a year, has proved unable to defeat Rwandan Hutu rebels or to halt the plunder of lucrative minerals in the east of the country, according to a scathing report.

Among the most damning findings of the UN-mandated Group of Experts is the free rein given to a military commander and war crimes suspect known as "The Terminator", which the UN mission has previously denied.
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Here, have this humourless festive rant!

Something about the way Christmas 2009 is being marketed sticks in the craw. It's not just the creeping sense of frustrated greed, more bitter this year because of the extra hundreds of thousands out of work - it's the fact that we're all supposed to be so cheery about it, gleefully swapping our usual extravagances for home baking, knitting and making natty little baubles out of bits of string and glitter.

Newspapers are full of editorials urging their female readers to "have a crafty Christmas" by hand-making gifts and decorations. These articles are inevitably accompanied by soft-focus photos of terrifyingly blonde grinning women in shapeless knitwear fashioning entire kitchen sets out of balsa-wood, like a cross between a nuclear strike advice handbook and the Boden catalogue.

This bizarre fashion for retro handicrafts started some years before the credit crunch with the revival of Stitch'n'Bitch knitting circles in New York.

It was initially conceived as a fun, feminist reclamation of traditional skills. The meetings were free, the skill-sharing amiable. But as the recession has taken hold the trend has been co-opted by the dark machinery of the women's lifestyle press, desperate for a new manifesto to replace "shop 'til you drop."

Despite the impact of the recession on women, who are losing their jobs faster than men in the financial, leisure and hospitality information industries and facing redundancy and discrimination at work because of pregnancy or motherhood, there's an atmosphere of celebration.

According to the Evening Standard and many, many others, we're all becoming "domestic goddesses" again. Don't fret about losing your job - for the price of a shedload of specialist ingredients you too can bake sparkly fairy cakes, stave off economic Armageddon and save Christmas.

The most brain-bleedingly pointless domestic tasks are now thoroughly fetishised - as long as it's women acting out that fetish, of course.

Cookery classes and exclusive sewing circles encourage young, trendy women to indulge in a sanctioned fantasy of glamorous drudgery that never really existed. For just £310 a session, "recessionistas" can have a training day with Cookie Girl in Notting Hill. Sales of kitchen equipment are rising faster than an organic souffle.

Now, no-one's implying that a little more domestic dexterity wouldn't do all of us some good. Certainly, decades of aggressive marketing of home improvement products, the revolt against traditional gendered labour divisions and the male backlash against that revolt have led many to abandon the basic tools of self-care.

What is being lost is not a prim model of Beetonesque housewifery but the essential human tricks of keeping ourselves clean, clothed and fed.

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Source: Penny Red

If The Planet is Melting How Come It is So Cold?

Drudge Report: ‘Obama Races Home For Blizzard’

As President Obama brokered a last-minute deal with China, India, and other nations to jointly fight global warming, American conservatives continued their assault on reason when it comes to climate science. All through the week, right-wingers from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News highlighted the fact that Copenhagen, the site of the international climate negotiations, received snow at Christmastime, which they falsely characterized as a “blizzard.” Now the Drudge Report and others are highlighting the real blizzard sweeping up the East Coast as a supposed contrast to “global warming”:

Even CNN’s Ed Henry piled on, saying “DC snowstorm chills Pelosi’s global warming trip,” calling it a “strange twist.” Drudge, of course, linked to the story.

In reality, intense winter storms of this type are an observed result of climate change. As the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report issued by the federal government describes, warmer oceans and shifting atmospheric circulation are bringing “stronger and more frequent” winter storms to the United States:

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JFK Jr '88


Tony Blair insists: It's not true nobody likes me
Former prime minister says it is only in Britain he is attacked and accuses press of having a 'score' to settle with him.

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I'm curious as to what non- Brits think- Do you think he's as much of a dickhead as we do here?

The Guardian

Can we pray Lieberman away instead?

Sen. Coburn: ‘People Ought To Pray’ That A Senator ‘Can’t Make The Vote Tonight’

The Senate is expected to vote very late tonight/early Monday morning “on the first of three motions to close off debate” on the health care bill and proceed to an expected Christmas Eve vote on final passage. Speaking against the health care bill on the Senate floor just moments ago, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) expressed his hope that a Senator of the majority caucus would not be able to make the vote:

What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.

Just a few minutes later, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) interrupted while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was speaking to issue a challenge to Coburn:

I have been trying to reach Sen. Coburn. … This statement troubles me, and I’m trying to reach him come back to the floor and explain exactly what he meant about a senator being unable to make the vote tonight. … I’m reaching out to Sen. Coburn. I’ll be on the floor for the next 45 minutes, and I hope that he will join me there.

Watch it:

Standing on the floor earlier this month, Coburn told seniors, “I’ve got a message for you: you’re going to die soon.”

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