December 21st, 2009

garf tired

McCain: Obama Created More Partisan Environment Than Bill Clinton

McCain: Obama Created More Partisan Environment Than Bill Clinton

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ripped into the president on Sunday for abandoning his pledge to foster bipartisanship in Washington, accusing Obama of creating a more toxic political environment than that which existed during the Clinton administration.

"In some ways, of course, yeah," McCain told Fox News Sunday when asked if the Obama White House was more partisan than Bill Clinton's. "At least under Hillarycare they tried to seriously negotiate with Republicans. There has been no effort that I know of -- of serious across the table negotiations -- such as I have engaged in with other administrations. And that was the commitment that the president made."

McCain, who squared off against Obama during the 2008 campaign, harped on two main issues: the deal the White House made with the pharmaceutical industry to secure its support of health care reform, and the fact that no C-SPAN cameras had been brought into Senator Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office as the majority leader tinkered with the health care legislation.

"There has never been serious cross-the-table negotiations on any serious issue that I've engaged in -- and that I and others have engaged in -- with other administrations both Republican and Democrat," said McCain.

If blame for the partisan environment was to go mutually to Republicans as well as the president, McCain wasn't offering it. The Arizona Republican never mentioned the role played by the GOP (nor was he asked by host Chris Wallace) in overtly trying to derail health care reform. He was, however, asked if he had grown more conservative and combative in the 11 months since the election.

"I, unfortunately, have always been combative," he said, adding that's he's always been conservative as well.


Stolen Auschwitz sign found

WARSAW, Poland - Polish police have recovered the infamous Nazi sign stolen from the former Auschwitz death camp cut into three pieces, and said Monday it appeared to have been taken by common criminals seeking profit.

Five men were arrested late Sunday after the damaged "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Sets You Free") sign was found near one of their homes in a snowy forest outside Czernikowo, a village near the northern Polish city of Torun, on the other side of the country from the memorial site.

The brazen pre-dawn Friday theft of one of the Holocaust's most chilling symbols sparked outrage from around the world. Polish leaders launched an intensive search for the 16-foot sign that spanned the main gate of the camp in southern Poland where more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed during World War II. The men's arrest late Sunday came after more than 100 tips, said Andrzej Rokita, the chief police investigator in the case.

Police said it was too soon to say what the motive for the theft was but they are investigating whether the Nazi memorabilia market may have played a part. The suspects do not have known neo-Nazi or other far-right links, Rokita said. Museum authorities welcomed the news with relief despite the damage. Spokesman Pawel Sawicki said authorities hope to restore it to its place as soon as it can be repaired and was working to develop a new security plan.

The grim slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" was so counter to the actual function of the camp that it has been etched into history. The phrase appeared at the entrances of other Nazi camps, including Dachau and Sachsenhausen, but the long curving sign at Auschwitz was the best known. "Robbery and material gain are considered one of the main possible motives, but whether that was done on someone's order will be determined in the process of the investigation," added deputy investigator Marek Wozniczka. "They are ordinary thieves," Rokita said. The suspects have not been identified publicly, but Rokita said they were between the ages of 20 and 39 and that their past offenses were "either against property or against health and life," implying that at least one of them has a record for violent crime.

Four of them are unemployed and one owns a small construction company, he said. He would not give any other details. 'Hidden in the woods' Four of the five men are believed to have carried out the theft, removing the 65- to 90-pound steel sign from above the Auschwitz gate in the town of Oswiecim, about 30 miles west of Krakow.

"It seems they cut the sign up already in Oswiecim, to make transport easier," Rokita said at a news conference in Krakow. It was "hidden in the woods near the home of one of them."

Democrats Declares Jihad to Real America! Social Security and Medicare Will Kill Us All!

Matalin slurs health reform advocates as ‘health care jihadists.’

Yesterday on CNN, Republican strategist and CNN contributor Mary Matalin railed against Democrats for pushing forward with health reform efforts. “They’ve been on this jihad for 70 years, and they’re going to throw over all their competitive seats to do it,” she said, adding:

And I don’t know what kind of party that is. That leaves left in the Democratic Party the urban centers, this is tyranny of the minority. Two-thirds of the country don’t want this. And one-third of these jihadists, these health care jihadists do. I guess that’s how democracy in the Obama era works.

Moments later, she smeared the prior efforts to establish Social Security and Medicare as “entitlement jihads” as well. Watch it:

Matalin has employed the concept of “holy war” in her political debates before. On Meet the Press in 2006, she attacked David Gregory for going “on a jihad” in covering the Vice President’s accidental shooting of his friend Harry Whittington. Gregory responded, “That’s an unfortunate use of that word, by the way. This is not what that was.”


MATALIN: They’ve been on this jihad for 70 years, and they’re going to throw over all competitive seats to do it. And I don’t know what kind of party that is. That leaves left in the Democratic Party, the urban centers, this is tyranny of the minority. Two-thirds of the country don’t want this. And one-third of these jihadists, these health care jihadists do. I guess that’s how democracy in the Obama era works.


And furthermore this is the worst thing. They’re going to strip out all the few good things that are in there and the entrenched things will stand. That’s what’s happened with every entitlement jihad from the ’30s and the ’60s and that’s what happened.

From ‘Vibrator’ to ‘Cougar Town,’ It’s Still a Man’s World

“Is not this new instrument wonderful?” Dr. Givings exclaims in Sarah Ruhl’s Broadway debut, “In the Next Room, or the vibrator play.” “Thank goodness for Benjamin Franklin and his electrical key!”

Neither the 19th-century doctor nor his contented new patient, Mrs. Daldry, realize that the electrical contraption he has designed to cure hysteria, a common female ailment in the Victorian era, is actually a sexual aid or that her sensation of “dancing on hot coals — and down — down there — cold and hot to the touch — my heart is racing” has anything to do with erotic pleasure.

The point, as Ms. Ruhl shows, is how much control the mostly male medical establishment exercised over women, and the degree of ignorance women (and men) frequently had about their own bodies.

To a 21st-century audience, bombarded 24/7 with graphic sexual images and language, such prim naïveté is hard to imagine. American culture so openly embraces sexuality that you practically expect souvenir vibrators to be sold in the lobby of the Lyceum Theater, just as umbrellas with parrot heads are for sale nearby at “Mary Poppins.”

But as Ms. Ruhl herself acknowledged in an interview, today’s overexposure can exert its own brand of tyranny over attitudes toward sex. The difference now, say media, feminist and cultural critics, is that the mostly male-run film and television industries, as well as the profit-driven medical and pharmaceutical establishment, can aggressively promote their own self-interested standards of beauty, sexiness and normality.

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Not a Very Good Week for Mahmoud Ahmaididntcheat

Cleric's Death, Torture Case Jolt Iran

Iran's opposition on Sunday seized upon the death of one of the Islamic republic's founding fathers -- a revered ayatollah who was also a fierce critic of the nation's leadership -- to take to the streets in mourning.

Fearing that mourners could quickly turn into antigovernment protesters, Iranian authorities tightened security across the country. In Tehran, crowds held up pictures of the dead cleric and chanted, "This is the month of blood, the regime is coming down," according to eyewitnesses and videos posted on YouTube.

But the death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who passed away in his sleep, was only one of two surprises to shake Iran over the weekend.

Hours earlier, on Saturday, military prosecutors alleged that prison guards tortured to death at least three student protesters in July, contradicting months of denials by top leaders. The reversal is one of the biggest blows to Tehran's credibility since government protests first erupted six months ago.

Either development, by itself, would provide a rallying point for the opposition, which claims last summer's presidential election was a fraud and is demanding a political overhaul. Together, they represent the widening array of challenges facing the Iranian regime.

The murder allegations center on Tehran's notorious Kahrizak prison, where three protesters died in July. A young doctor who claimed to have evidence of torture at the prison, Ramin Pourandarjani, later himself died under mysterious circumstances. In recent weeks Dr. Pourandarjani, who was the subject of a page-one article in The Wall Street Journal on Saturday, has emerged as a martyr figure for the opposition.

Complicating matters, the weekend's events coincide with the 10-day Muharram religious holiday, during which Shiite Muslims traditionally hold emotionally charged street processions to honor a revered Shiite saint.
The opposition already had vowed to mark this year's ceremonies with massive daily protests against the government.

Iran's leadership maintains a firm grip on power and quickly moved to assert its control, using tools that have proved effective in the past to tamp down unrest. Prominent opposition figures and activists reported receiving threatening phone calls from security agents on Sunday, warning them against attending Monday's funeral, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Five prominent opposition figures were reportedly arrested on the road to the holy city of Qom, where the ayatollah's funeral service was planned.

On Sunday, as news spread of the death of Ayatollah Montazeri, 87 years old, spontaneous protests erupted in several Iranian cities and at university campuses,
according to video circulating on the Internet Sunday afternoon. In one clip from Najafabad, Mr. Montazeri's home town, crowds chanted, "Our green Montazeri, congratulations on your freedom." Green is the adopted color of the Iranian opposition movement.

At several Tehran universities, professors canceled classes. Students staged sit-ins and marches, reciting verses from the Quran and chanting, "It's a day of mourning in Iran, the Green people of Iran are in mourning." Iran's main student-activist group called on students across the nation to take to the streets Monday in a sign of respect for Ayatollah Montazeri.

The family of Ayatollah Montazeri said it would hold the funeral Monday in Qom. By midday Sunday, opposition Web sites were calling on supporters to join them for Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral.

His death provides an opportunity for Iran's dissident clergy members, who have mostly remained on the sidelines, to publicly show support for the opposition. This is significant because, in Iran, political movements have little chance to succeed without backing from the clergy.

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XCKD- Citation Needed

Remember the kids suspended for drawing Jesus on the cross? About that...

Remember this post? Yeah, about that....little late on the update, but since I had to explain to several people yesterday that the original story wasn't accurate, I realized most people didn't hear the follow-up...

Taunton officials dispute reports on Jesus sketch

Say boy not suspended, no evaluation ordered

By David Abel
Globe Staff / December 16, 2009

TAUNTON - City officials sharply disputed yesterday widely distributed reports that a local elementary school suspended a second-grader and required the boy to undergo a psychological evaluation for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross.

The story, initially reported by the local newspaper, raised questions of religious bias days before Christmas and was broadcast by local television stations and other news media. Making the story more compelling, the boy’s father held court for much of the day at his girlfriend’s apartment, granting interviews to reporters from Providence to Boston, demanding that the school district compensate him for his family’s pain and suffering.

“It hurts me that they did this to my kid,’’ Chester Johnson, the boy’s father, said in an interview with the Globe. “They can’t mess with our religion. They owe us a small lump sum for this.’’

But school officials say that the account in yesterday’s Taunton Daily Gazette was rife with errors and that the father’s description of what happened is untrue.

“The report is totally inaccurate,’’ Julie Hackett, superintendent of the Taunton public schools, said in an interview in her office yesterday. “The inaccuracies in the original media story have resulted in a great deal of criticism and scrutiny of the system that is unwarranted.’’

Dino F. Ciliberti, editor of the Gazette, did not return calls yesterday.

Hackett said the student, age 9, was never suspended and that neither he nor other students at the Maxham Elementary School were asked by the teacher to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas or any religious holiday, as the Gazette and other media reported and the father suggested, although his story changed as he explained it.

She said it was unclear whether the boy, who put his name above a stick figure portrait of Christ on the cross, had drawn the picture in school, which his teacher discovered Dec. 2.

“Religion had nothing to do with this at all, 100 percent nothing to do with it,’’ Hackett said, adding that Taunton is known as “The Christmas City.’’

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Sheriff Arpaio Declares War on The Judicial System. "There is No Constitution. I Am The Law"

Sheriff Arpaio Incites Widespread Anger for implicating Judges In Alleged Conspiracy

On Monday at a quarter past noon, local lawyers will convene on the Central Courthouse steps to demonstrate against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, the chief prosecutor of the fourth most populous county in the country.

Thomas, along with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, filed a suit against nearly all of his political foes and indicted a handful on criminal charges. Arpaio is the famous Arizona sheriff known as "America's Toughest Sheriff" for his hard-nosed stance against immigration lawbreakers and his tent-based jails. He and Thomas have worked hand-in-hand to curb illegal immigration and human trafficking, which has earned them staunch enemies and allies.

Thomas and Arpaio allege that much of the county government, including the judiciary system, is mired in corruption and conspiracy. The inclusion of local judges in the RICO suit, criminal investigations, and indictments made national headlines and earned sharp rebukes from many usual allies of Thomas and Arpaio.

Lawyers coordinating Monday's demonstration want to be clear, "We are not a group of political opponents." The protest was sparked, they say, by the persecution of local judges. Shawn Aiken, a lawyer helping coordinate the demonstration, explains in an email to HuffPost that many in the legal community believe the sanctity and independence of the judiciary is at stake:

The issue has become this: may the county attorney file a criminal complaint against a judge for having issued routine, conventional rulings? We have seen attacks against judges before, over many years, in this country -- Judge Carl Muecke, for example, and others have been targets here in Arizona -- for nothing more than having done their (important) job. But Mr. Thomas has now taken (as far as I know) an unprecedented step in filing this felony complaint against Judge Donahoe.

The Arizona Republic Editorial Board, who has penned several editorials on the situation, wrote this week, "If Thomas and Arpaio are wrong about the existence of such a massive conspiracy, they are themselves guilty of an assault on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Maricopa County."

Defense lawyers have begun filing motions to disqualify the Maricopa County Attorney's Office from prosecuting cases on the grounds that a conflict of interest exists when a judge hearing a case could be under investigation by the office prosecuting the case. Defense attorneys argue that judges could be afraid to rule against Thomas for fear they, too, could be implicated. Some legal observers fear convictions could later be overturned based on the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"Some judges are afraid," Denise Quinterri, a local defense attorney who is in the process of filing charges against Thomas with the Bar, told HuffPost, "Let's face it, who wouldn't be? This adds an entirely unfair burden to their already difficult job. The public smearing of the judiciary causes a lack of faith in the system which hurts the entire county, the state, and perhaps this country."

According to the Quinterri, Aiken, and other lawyers organizing the protest, Thomas has violated legal ethical rules when he included Judge Gary Donahoe and Judge Barbara Mundell in the RICO suit and filed felony charges against Donahoe.

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Avatar - a Greenie Movie?

Interesting opinion piece on this film.

Don't just watch Avatar, see it

There's a delicious irony in the fact that James Cameron has made a greenie movie that is the world's most expensive.

That he is urging us to put the brakes on our rapacious appetite for consumption with a film that has prompted many cinema owners to upgrade their biggest screens to 3D. That he has made an anti-military film that celebrates his love of warrior machines. That he reportedly directed his anti-authoritarian missive with all the cuddliness of Josef Stalin the morning after a three-bottles-of-vodka bender.

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Posh Zoom

(no subject)

Sen. Whitehouse on GOP: "The Lying Time Will Be Over. There Will Be a Reckoning."

This is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a few minutes ago on the floor of the Senate chamber lambasted Republican's for their lies, fear-mongering & hatred of Barack Obama (h/t DKos' Gorette):
"All to break the momentum of our new young president. They are desperate to break the president. The birthers, the militias, the lifers--- it is unbearable to them for the presidency of Barack Obama to exist."

"...the lying time is over....there will be a reckoning."


If the video doesnt work, go to the source and watch it. Whitehouse is full of so much awesomeness in this video I really can't begin to explain it.
franklin sherman

Obama to Continue Bush Policy of Infinite Detention Without Trial: Welcome to Gitmo North

The Obama administration announced today that it will create a new "supermax" facility in Thomson, Illinois, and will transfer to it many of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo. Critically, none of those moved to Thomson will receive a trial in a real American court, and some will not be charged with any crime at all. The detainees who will be given trials won't go to Thomson; they'll be moved directly to the jurisdiction where they'll be tried. The ones moved to Thomson will either (a) be put before a military commission or (b) held indefinitely without charges of any kind. In other words, they'll have exactly the same rights -- or lack thereof -- as they have now at Guantanamo.


The administration has already announced that it will rely on the Bush/Cheney theory to justify its indefinite detention power -- that Congress implicitly authorized that when it enacted the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. But because Congress has banned the transfer of any Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. for any reason other than to be tried in a court, the administration will now seek express legal authority to transfer detainees inside the U.S. to hold them without charges indefinitely.

And the super-orwellian:

Traditionally, what happens when such evidence is insufficient is not that the state just imprisons them anyway with no trial or puts them before some less rigorous tribunal; what's supposed to happen when the state cannot convict someone is that the individuals are not charged and therefore not imprisoned. But here, the Obama administration is turning that most basic principle on its head: only those who it knows it can convict will get trials, but the rest will be shipped to Thomson -- Gitmo North -- to be put before a military commission or simply imprisoned without charges of any kind.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero had this to say today:

The creation of a "Gitmo North" in Illinois is hardly a meaningful step forward. Shutting down Guantánamo will be nothing more than a symbolic gesture if we continue its lawless policies onshore.

Alarmingly, all indications are that the administration plans to continue its predecessor's policy of indefinite detention without charge or trial for some detainees, with only a change of location. Such a policy is completely at odds with our democratic commitment to due process and human rights whether it’s occurring in Cuba or in Illinois. In fact, while the Obama administration inherited the Guantanamo debacle, this current move is its own affirmative adoption of those policies.
(Article is full of links to PDFs and other news reports on this subject)
Shirley Animated

In case you need a summary re: health care...

WASHINGTON - A crucial, middle-of-the-night test vote behind them, Senate Democrats prepared Monday for more votes at odd hours in their drive to pass historic legislation to cover the uninsured and to try to curb rising medical costs.

All 58 Democrats and the Senate's two independents held together early Monday against unanimous Republican opposition to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. They provided the exact 60-40 margin needed to shut down a threatened GOP filibuster. The next vote is now expected around 7:20 a.m. EST Tuesday.

Obama called the vote "a big victory for the American people," adding that it will make a "tremendous difference for families, for seniors, for businesses and for the country as a whole."

Monday's Senate vote came shortly after 1 a.m. with the nation's capital blanketed in snow, the unusual timing made necessary in order to get to a final vote by Christmas Eve presuming Republicans stretch out the debate as much as the rules allow. Despite the late hour and a harshly partisan atmosphere, Democrats' spirits were high.

"Today we are closer than we've ever been to making Sen. Ted Kennedy's dream of universal health insurance coverage a reality," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said ahead of the vote, alluding to the late Massachusetts senator who died of brain cancer in August.

"Vote your hopes, not your fears. Seize the moment," Harkin urged colleagues.

Kennedy's widow, Vicki, watched the vote from the visitor's gallery along with administration officials who have worked intensely on the issue. Senators cast their votes from their desks, a practice reserved for issues of particular importance.

Lieberman, Nelson won over
The outcome was preordained after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrangled his fractious caucus into line over the course of the past several months, culminating in a frenzy of last-minute deals and concessions to win over the final holdouts, independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and conservative Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

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Just a nice summary so people can figure out where things stand.

Thanks, afa_mom, for derailing the thread!

Obama: Health care progress a victory for American people

President Obama on Monday called the Senate vote to end debate and move toward passing a health care bill "a big victory for the American people."

In remarks at the White House, Obama rejected arguments by Republican opponents of the bill that it will increase the federal deficit.

"That argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water," Obama said.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the Senate bill will reduce the deficit by $132 billion in the first 10 years, Obama said.

The Senate will hold more procedural votes on the health care bill this week, with a final vote scheduled for Christmas Eve. If the bill passes, as expected, the Senate version would then be merged in a conference committee with a House health care bill passed last month.

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Abortion roster is blocked

Women's medical information will not be posted online in Oklahoma -- for now.

Oklahomans who believe in a little thing called the "right to privacy" can breathe a big sigh of relief, for now. Late Friday, a judge extended a temporary restraining order against a bill that would publish online extensive details about women's abortions. Now, enforcement of the law will be set aside until a February 19 hearing on its constitutionality, thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Reproductive Rights. In a press release, staff attorney Jennifer Mondino said the organization is "very pleased with today’s ruling" because "women in Oklahoma should not have to jump through hoops to access legal medical care."

The loathsome law, which we've written about before, requires women to fill out a highly personal 10-page questionnaire before they terminate a pregnancy. In particular, the cross-examination focuses on the reason for the woman's decision to have an abortion. Answers are then posted anonymously on a state Web site that can be accessed by anyone -- next-door neighbors, parents, friends, you name it. Despite the results showing up without a name or address attached, it's still possible -- especially in a small town -- for women's identities to be discovered. Even the most amateur of detectives could visit the site and put together the various puzzle pieces -- age, marital status, race and approximate gestational age of the (note the bill's wording here) "unborn child subject to abortion."

The measure's anti-abortion bent is clear, but proponent Sen. Todd Lamb insists it's just a way to "collect hard data that can be a useful tool in helping prevent future unwanted pregnancies." But, as Linda Meek, executive administrator of the Tulsa clinic Reproductive Services, brilliantly told NPR, "If they want to reduce the number of abortions, then they need to concentrate on educating women about preventing unwanted pregnancies, educating them about emergency contraception, birth control -- and making birth control more accessible." Yes, if only they were actually interested in education and prevention.

Source. And in related news, In Support of Doctor LeRoy Carhart.
new anderson

Mexico City 1st in region to approve gay marriage

The Associated Press
updated 4:19 p.m. ET, Mon., Dec . 21, 2009

MEXICO CITY - Mexico City lawmakers have become the first in Latin America to legalize gay marriage.

City legislators passed the bill 39-20 on Monday with five lawmakers absent.

Gay marriage is currently allowed in only seven countries and some parts of the United States.

Leftist Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is widely expected to sign the decision into law.

The bill calls for changing the definition of marriage in the city's civic code. Marriage is currently defined as the union of a man and a woman. The new definition will be "the free uniting of two people."

stock | Teddy and Puppy

ontd_political Photo of the Day: Dec 21, 2009.

Young evacuees living at the foothills of the rumbling Mayon volcano pray during a special class at a temporary shelter in a village near the town of Guinobatan in Albay province on December 21, 2009. More than 3,000 villagers remaining in a no-go zone around the Philippines' rumbling Mayon volcano on December 21 began to evacuate after officials threatened to force them out. Scientists warned that powerful booms emanating from the Southeast Asian country's most active volcano, located about 330 kilometres (200 miles) southeast of Manila, indicated that a major eruption was imminent.
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Photographer | TED ALJIBE (AFP/Getty Images)
{default} this is how I roll

On Holding Movie Producers Responsible for Racefailage

At a meeting with Paramount Pictures regarding the depictions of Asian Americans in The Goods, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans brings up the casting controversy over The Last Airbender.

On Thursday, November 12th, 2009, Asian American advocacy leaders met with several Paramount executives, including President of Paramount Film Group Adam Goodman. This meeting was held in response to the August 2009 protest of the film The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard.

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post @ the Mothership

For those of you having trouble keeping up with these multiple examples of racefails, this is the M. Night Shyamalan-directed venture based on the Nickelodeon show, not the James Cameron movie. To support the protest, you can email the NAACP Hollywood Bureau ( or visit here for more ideas.
garf tired

Droopy sez he wasn't pressured by the Pres on Public Option

Lieberman: Obama Never Pressed Me On Public Option

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) insists that the White House did not pressure him to get in line behind either a public health insurance option or a Medicare buy-in compromise during the health care debate this year.

"Well, no. I think I got pressure from the president to be for health care reform," Lieberman said when asked by HuffPost about any pressure from the administration to support either the public option or the Medicare buy-in. "I'd have to think about this, but I didn't really have direct input from the White House on this."

He added that Nancy-Ann DeParle, a top administration health care aide, downplayed the public option's significance early in the debate.

"Early on, Nancy-Ann DeParle came in, I told her my argument, I said, 'Nancy, I don't remember this ever being in the presidential campaign debates -- or discussions. I don't mean just the debates. And she said, 'You know, it's interesting. We went back and checked and there's one mention in the bottom of a paragraph of an Obama presidential policy statement on health care where it's mentioned as an option.' But most of the negotiation I had on that was with Senator Reid."

When Obama addressed the Democratic caucus towards the end of the debate, as the public option was teetering on the brink, Lieberman said the president told him simply to work it out.

"When he came to the caucus he said, 'Just try to work this out as you get to the end here.' And I said, 'OK,'" explained Lieberman.

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:(, boyd, teen wolf

Robber Returns Money

Money robbed from Pa. bank is mailed back

WEST NEWTON, Pa. - Someone mailed an envelope filled with money to a western Pennsylvania bank that was robbed earlier this month, and the FBI suspects it was either the repentant robber or an acquaintance of his.

Special Agent Jeff Killeen says the returned money doesn't cancel out the crime that was committed Dec. 9 at the PNC Bank in West Newton, a tiny borough about 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

The FBI won't say how much the robber took, but say the money in the envelope was about 80 percent of the amount stolen. It was separated into stacks of $5s, $10s, $20s and $100s. The FBI announced the mailing on Tuesday and says it is checking the package for fingerprints and other clues.

They believe the robber is local because he was wearing a yellow Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt.

Similar stories:
June 3rd -- Store owner gives would-be robber $40, bread
December 10 -- Ex-thug repaid deli owner who helped him
So, ONTD_P, what should the FBI do if/when they catch this guy. He returned the money, does that undo the crime in your opinion?

edit: Sorry Mods, the formatting is wonky today ^^;

With Public Option Dead. Stocks Soars! But Wait Public Option Haz Been Zombified?

Seeing Public Subsidy (Not Public Option) Investors Flock to Health Insurers

Investors are seeing the Senate's version of health care reform as a massive public subsidy for insurance companies -- and as a result, are sending the sector's stock prices shooting up, up, up. Stripped of a government-run insurance plan, the bill would give tens of millions of Americans no option but to start paying hefty premiums to private companies.

The rise in stock prices has been particularly striking in the period since Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said on October 27 that he would filibuster a Senate health care reform bill if it included a public option - a threat that caused Senate leaders to cave without much of a fight.

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Key Dem: The Public Option Will Be 'Revisited'

One of the public option's strongest Congressional supporters insisted on Monday that while the Senate is poised to pass health care legislation that does not offer consumers a government-run insurance plan, he will bring the idea up again -- most likely after that bill is passed.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told reporters that the public option is not dead. "It will be revisited,"
he said. "I'm just saying, I believe it is so vital and so important that it is going to be revisited. Believe me." The Iowa Democrat said that "even next year," senators "may be doing some things to modify, to fix, to compliment what we've passed here."

The idea of pushing for the public plan as a stand-alone piece of legislation sometime down the road has been championed by other supporters of the provision.

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Israel Admits That They Harvested and Stole Organs from The Dead... WAIT, WUT????

Israel Admits Harvesting Organs From Dead Bodies Without Permission

Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without permission of their families.

The issue emerged with publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel's Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic, who released it because of a huge controversy last summer over an allegation by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Israel hotly denied the charge.

Parts of the interview were broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 TV over the weekend. In it, Hiss said, "We started to harvest corneas ... Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

The Channel 2 report said that in the 1990s, forensic specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives. In a response to the TV report, the Israeli military confirmed that the practice took place. "This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer," the military said in a statement quoted by Channel 2.

In the interview, Hiss described how his doctors would mask the removal of corneas from bodies.
"We'd glue the eyelid shut," he said. "We wouldn't take corneas from families we knew would open the eyelids."

Many of the details in the interview first came to light in 2004, when Hiss was dismissed as head of the forensic institute because of irregularities over use of organs there. Israel's attorney general dropped criminal charges against him, and Hiss still works as chief pathologist at the institute. He had no comment on the TV report.

Hiss became director of the institute in 1988. He said in the interview that the practice of harvesting organs without permission began in the "early 1990s." However, he also said that military surgeons removed a thin layer of skin from bodies as early as 1987 to treat burn victims. Hiss said he believed that was done with family consent. The harvesting ended in 2000, he said.

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Tighter rules sought for anti-psychotic drug use in nursing homes

-Report shows elderly, frail patients are being 'chemically restrained' with powerful medication.

Health advocates are calling for tough new rules on the use of anti-psychotic drugs in Illinois nursing homes, including tighter controls on doctors who prescribe the powerful medications.

"Medical care should help you get better, not get worse," said Wendy Meltzer of Illinois Citizens for Better Care, an advocacy group for nursing home residents.

A Tribune investigation recently showed how many frail and vulnerable Illinois nursing home residents have been unnecessarily dosed with anti-psychotics, leading to harm and an increased risk of death. One psychiatrist, the Tribune found in a joint investigation with ProPublica, provided assembly-line care to thousands of mentally ill patients.

The advocates want Gov. Pat Quinn's Nursing Home Safety Task Force to address these problems. While the task force has focused on violent felons housed in nursing facilities, chairman Michael Gelder said the group will also target the misuse of psychotropic drugs.

"We want people to be safe and cared for in nursing homes, not threatened or unwillingly sedated," he said.

Reforming the system likely will be challenging. The FDA has approved anti-psychotic drugs to treat serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, but doctors may also prescribe them to geriatric patients with other conditions, such as dementia, in a common but controversial practice called "off-label" use.

The rest of the article at the link.,0,3977364.story

Big Pharma strikes again !
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Military Science to bring sci-fiction weapons to reality

Threats of Zeus' thunderbolts against our enemies may soon become reality.

Military Science: Hack Stormy Skies to Lord over Lightning

The military’s scientific fringe has toyed with weather manipulation and geo-engineering for years. Recently, ideas like adding iron to the ocean, or covering the Arctic with dust, have been floated in a bid stave off global warming. But the Pentagon’s also got a long track record of plotting to screw with enemy climates and improve their own operational abilities.
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The incestuous relationship between reporters and think-tanks

Think-Tanks and the Reporters Who Heart Them

The relationship between reporters and think tanks used to be, well, pretty simple. You called up defense expert X for a quote on, say, cost overruns on a stealth fighter jet, and if you were lucky, you’d get something lively. (Free tip to aspiring defense wonks: Try more pop-culture references.) You could attend one of their conferences, listen to one of their panels and perhaps pick up half a sandwich.

Now it’s nearly 2010: Print is dying, newsrooms are shrinking and the media industry is generally in the toilet. The relationship between reporters and think-tanks, at least in the national-security arena, is starting to shift. Think tanks are starting to become full-time patrons of the news business, and they are bankrolling book projects, blogs and even war reporting.
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google's big-brother attitude won't let it share what info it keeps

Google Talks Transparency, But Hides Surveillance Stats

Google likes to trumpet transparency and free expression, especially when it concerns the internet, part of its commitment to the corporate motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”

But despite the company’s recent online public policy posts espousing unfettered online expression, we aren’t buying it.

The Mountain View, California, search and advertising giant said Wednesday, for example, that it was a “company that believes deeply in free expression” and that it was “determined to continue to do our part and make new, significant contributions to promote free expression in 2010.”

But juxtapose those and other recent statements on its public policy blog with the real facts — facts that Google won’t cough up.
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I wonder what they do with the information they get from Chrome.
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TJX hacker was informant who had an obsessive personality

Threat Level Privacy, Crime and Security Online TJX Hacker ‘Will Never Commit Any Crime Again’

Confessed hacker Albert Gonzalez’s turn as a Secret Service informant led him down a dark path of obsession, culminating in the largest identity-theft spree in history.

Frances Gonzalez Lago, Gonzalez’s sister, wrote his sentencing judge that her brother’s work as an informant for the agency between 2003 and and 2008 seemed to act as a reward for his obsession with computers. “All this seemed okay at the time, but psychologically it was feeding an obsession that in the end would become my brother’s downfall,” she told the court.

The information appears in a 24-page sentencing memo originally filed Tuesday by Gonzalez’s attorney, Martin Weinberg, before it was sealed, along with several exhibits. The memo was unsealed on Friday, with several pages redacted. Threat Level disclosed on Tuesday the information that was revealed in the redacted pages.Collapse )
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Netflix privacy issue (update)

Netflix Spilled Your Brokeback Mountain Secret, Lawsuit Claims

An in-the-closet lesbian mother is suing Netflix for privacy invasion, alleging the movie rental company made it possible for her to be outed when it disclosed insufficiently anonymous information about nearly half-a-million customers as part of its $1 million contest to improve its recommendation system.

The suit known as Doe v. Netflix (.pdf) was filed in federal court in California on Thursday, alleging that Netflix violated fair-trade laws and a federal privacy law protecting video rental records, when it launched its popular contest in September 2006.

The suit seeks more than $2,500 in damages for each of more than 2 million Netflix customers.

In order to get a better movie recommendation algorithm, the online DVD rental company gave more than 50,000 Netflix Prize contestants two massive datasets. The first included 100 million movie ratings, along with the date of the rating, a unique ID number for the subscriber, and the movie info. Based on this data from 480,000 customers, contestants had to come up with a recommendation algorithm that could predict 10 percent better than Netflix how those same subscribers rated other movies.
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Dark Liquor = bad

Dark Liquor Makes For Worse Hangovers

A new study may help drinkers pick their poison. In a head-to-head comparison, bourbon gave drinkers a more severe hangover than vodka, report Damaris Rohsenow of Brown University and colleagues in an upcoming issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

But vodka drinkers aren’t off the hook: Drinkers’ sleep suffered equally with both drinks, as did their performance on tasks requiring attention and quick responses. Understanding the lingering effects of alcohol after a night of heavy drinking is important for people who engage in safety-sensitive tasks, such as driving, while hung over Rohsenow says.
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Okay ontd_p'ers time for sharing. What's your worst hangovers? Got any hangover remedies? Favorite and least favorite drinks? People wanna know.

Rude Pregnant Lady Interrupts EMTs Coffee Break: "Learn How to Call 911 and Leave Us Alone."

Eutisha Revee Rennix, Unborn Baby Die After Being Ignored By EMTs On Coffee Break

Two emergency medical technicians accused of refusing to help a pregnant woman who collapsed in the coffee shop where they were taking a break were suspended Monday, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called their behavior inexcusable.

The Fire Department of New York suspended Jason Green, a six-year veteran, and Melissa Jackson, a four-year veteran, without pay while the Dec. 9 incident is investigated, spokesman Steve Ritea said.

Witnesses, first speaking to The New York Post, said the EMTs told employees at the eatery in downtown Brooklyn to call 911 and then left when they were asked to help Eutisha Revee Rennix, an employee who had collapsed.

An ambulance was called, and Rennix, 25, was taken to Long Island College Hospital, where she died a short time later. Her baby girl was too premature to survive. A message left for Rennix's mother Monday wasn't immediately returned.

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Ok, what exactly is wrong with these Bastards??