January 1st, 2010

Mr. T Santa

Dems Turning GOP Attacks On Senate Health Bill Into Campaign Cash

Defeat it. If you can't defeat it, repeal it. If you can't repeal it, blanket it with lawsuits. These tried and true political tactics are being taken up anew by Republicans fighting the health care overhaul effort in Congress, and will make for a dizzying January. But Democrats are already fighting back before that famous ball drops in Times Square.

Democratic fundraisers say they are using GOP threats against the health bill to their advantage to rake in more dollars via fundraising letters sent out last week.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's New Media Director Brian Young tells Talking Points Memo that people receiving those letters have been 30 to 40 percent more likely to donate on the basis of the repeal threat than in other drives this year./Collapse )
franklin sherman

TSA Threatens Blogger Who Posted New Screening Directive

AKA. "No, you cant know the rules, and if you publish them, we'll threaten to arrest you." or "lol free speech? Not anymore bub."


Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber.

Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.

The document, which the two bloggers published within minutes of each other Dec. 27, was sent by TSA to airlines and airports around the world and described temporary new requirements for screening passengers through Dec. 30, including conducting “pat-downs” of legs and torsos. The document, which was not classified, was posted by numerous bloggers. Information from it was also published on some airline websites.

“They’re saying it’s a security document but it was sent to every airport and airline,” says Steven Frischling, one of the bloggers. “It was sent to Islamabad, to Riyadh and to Nigeria. So they’re looking for information about a security document sent to 10,000-plus people internationally. You can’t have a right to expect privacy after that.”

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said in a statement that security directives “are not for public disclosure.”

“TSA’s Office of Inspections is currently investigating how the recent Security Directives were acquired and published by parties who should not have been privy to this information,” the statement said.

Frischling, a freelance travel writer and photographer in Connecticut who writes a blog for the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, said the two agents who visited him arrived around 7 p.m. Tuesday, were armed and threatened him with a criminal search warrant if he didn’t provide the name of his source. They also threatened to get him fired from his KLM job and indicated they could get him designated a security risk, which would make it difficult for him to travel and do his job.

“They were indicating there would be significant ramifications if I didn’t cooperate,” said Frischling, who was home alone with his three children when the agents arrived. “It’s not hard to intimidate someone when they’re holding a 3-year-old [child] in their hands. My wife works at night. I go to jail, and my kids are here with nobody.”

Frischling, who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in Massachusetts and New Jersey and didn’t mention a subpoena until an hour into their visit.

“They came to the door and immediately were asking, ‘Who gave you this document?, Why did you publish the document?’ and ‘I don’t think you know how much trouble you’re in.’ It was very much a hardball tactic,” he says.

When they pulled a subpoena from their briefcase and told him he was legally required to provide the information they requested, he said he needed to contact a lawyer. The agents said they’d sit outside his house until he gave them the information they wanted.

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Indian NGO Fights Bribes with 0 Rupee Notes

Imagine that you are an old lady from a poor household in a town in the outskirts of Chennai city, India. All you have wanted desperately for the last year and a half is to get a title in your name for the land you own, called patta. You need this land title to serve as a collateral for a bank loan you have been hoping to borrow to finance your granddaughter’s college education. But there has been a problem: the Revenue Department official responsible for giving out the patta has been asking you to pay a little fee for this service. That’s right, a bribe. But you are poor (you are officially assessed to be below the poverty line) and you do not have the money he wants. And the most absurd part about the scenario you find yourself in is that this is a public service that should be rendered to you free of charge in the first place. What would you do? You might conclude, as you have done for the last 1-1/2 years, that there isn’t much you can do…but wait, you just heard about a local NGO by the name of 5th Pillar and it just happened to give you a powerful ally: a zero rupee note.

In Doha last month, CommGAP learned about the work of 5th Pillar, which has a unique initiative to mobilize citizens to fight corruption. In India, petty corruption is pervasive – people often face situations where they are asked to pay bribes for public services that should be provided free. 5th Pillar distributes zero rupee notes in the hopes that ordinary Indians can use these notes as a means to protest demands for bribes by public officials. I recently spoke with Vijay Anand, 5th Pillar’s president, to learn more about this fascinating initiative.

I thought this was an interesting idea. The World Bank has been all over fighting corruption this year and I'm curious to see how much impact this NGO campaign will have.


ROCK THE VOTE - Vote for your new moderator(s)!

Poll #1505878 ONTD_P Moderator Elections



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Candidates feel free to campaign for the next day, results will be finalized at noon tomorrow - at which point there will be a party post. People can CHANGE their vote up until then.
' jules
  • schmiss


The 12 Legislative Battles To Look Forward To In 2010

The past year was grueling for Democrats trying to getting major legislation passed -- with most of the focus on health care reform. But 2010 will be filled with more hard fights for the Obama administration. Here's what to look forward to.

Nominees Blocked By Senate GOP

A Republican block on President Obama's nominee for TSA head has renewed attention on the 75 or so unconfirmed nominees being held up in the Senate, including Dawn Johnsen, Obama's choice to lead the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel.

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For more on Dawn Johnsen who is being held up by the Senate and might not get re-nominated:
Dawn Johnsen's belief in the rule of law disqualifies her from Senate confirmation

Rush Limbaugh Given Clean Bill of (Heart) Health

Having heart made of piss and vinegar is perfectly normal, apparently.

Tests find 'nothing wrong' with Limbaugh's heart

Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) -- Tests that were performed on Rush Limbaugh after he was admitted to a Hawaii hospital for chest pains "found absolutely nothing wrong," the conservative talk show host said Friday.

"It was a blessing," Limbaugh, 58, said at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, where he was admitted Wednesday.

Doctors gave Limbaugh an angiogram Thursday that revealed no evidence of arterial or coronary disease, he said.

The cause of his pain -- which he called "real" -- has not been determined. He said one possibility is a spasm in an artery.

He was discharged from the hospital Friday.

Limbaugh said his ordeal started Wednesday afternoon, when he began experiencing pain in his upper left chest "like I've never experienced before.""

He praised the care of the medical staff and called their work "confidence-inspiring."

"The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer," he said. "I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine."

Limbaugh said the experience was a good lesson as he approaches his 59th birthday January 12.

"It takes things like this in life to prepare you for the eventuality that you are getting older," he said. "You're not as young as you were and not as invincible as you once thought you were."

He urged anyone who experiences heart or chest pain to seek medical help immediately.

"Don't mess with it," he said.

Limbaugh's radio show is broadcast on more than 600 stations and is heard by more than 13.5 million listeners each week.

Last year, he struck a deal with Clear Channel Communications to extend his contract through 2016. The deal is worth more than $400 million.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/01/01/rush.limbaugh/index.html

If there's nothing wrong with the health care system, why is he always bitching about illegal immigrants and the uninsured burdening it and driving up health care costs for the rest of us? :X

BREAKING NEWS: Va. woman fails to give up child to ex-partner

A woman at the center of a complex dispute with her former lesbian partner defied a court order to give up custody of her 7-year-old daughter Friday, opening the door to possible criminal charges.

A Vermont judge had ordered Lisa Miller to turn over daughter Isabella to Janet Jenkins at 1 p.m. Friday at the Falls Church, Va., home of Jenkins' parents. Miller did not show up with the girl, according to Fairfax County, Va., police and Jenkins' Vermont-based attorney

"She's very disappointed, obviously," said Sarah Star, Jenkins' lawyer. "She's very concerned about Isabella and asks that if anybody sees Isabella, that they please contact the authorities."

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