January 7th, 2010

RI Allows Unmarried Partners To Make Funeral Arrangements

Rhode Island's state legislature opened their 2010 session yesterday by voting overwhelmingly to override Governor Don Carcieri's veto of a bill that allowing same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples to make funeral arrangements for each other, reports the Providence Journal. 


The issue was introduced to the General Assembly last year after Mark Goldberg, a Providence man, struggled for five weeks to reclaim the body of his deceased partner.  Although the couple had been together for seventeen years and had wills attesting to their partnership, the state refused to release the body to Goldberg because he was not legally considered family.



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This Stupak ass!

January 7, 2010
Democrat Wears Scorn as Medal in Abortion Fight

MENOMINEE, Mich. — Representative Bart Stupak often endures things others find unbearable. He crisscrosses a Congressional district so vast that some constituents live eight hours apart and so cold that the beer at his beloved football games sometimes freezes. Years ago, as a state trooper, he blew out his knee chasing a suspect, and he has since had so many operations that he now returns to work the same day, toting crutches and ice.

After his younger son committed suicide in 2000, using the congressman’s gun, Mr. Stupak soon resumed his predawn commute to Washington and his solid voting record with the National Rifle Association.

Now he is enduring more hatred than perhaps any other member of Congress, much of it from fellow Democrats. His name has become a slogan: “Stop Stupak!”

Scott Schloegel, his chief of staff, said wearily, “I can’t tell you how many New Yorkers have called me up and yelled at me about this Stupak guy.”

With final negotiations on a health care overhaul beginning this week, complaints about “the evil Stupak amendment,” as the congressman dryly called it over dinner here recently, are likely to grow even louder. The amendment prevents women who receive federal insurance subsidies from buying abortion coverage — but critics assert it could cause women who buy their own insurance difficulty in obtaining coverage.

Mr. Stupak insists that the final bill include his terms, which he says merely reflect current law. If he prevails, he will have won an audacious, counterintuitive victory, forcing a Democratic-controlled Congress to pass a measure that will be hailed as an anti-abortion triumph. If party members do not accept his terms — and many vow they will not — Mr. Stupak is prepared to block passage of the health care overhaul.

“It’s not the end of the world if it goes down,” he said over dinner.He did not sound downbeat about the prospect of being blamed for blocking the long-sought goal of President Obama and a chain of presidents and legislators before him. “Then you get the message,” he continued. “Fix the abortion language and bring the bill back.”

Mr. Stupak says his stand is a straightforward matter of Roman Catholic faith, but it also seems like the result of a long, slow burn. As dinner progressed, the congressman described years of feeling ignored, slighted or marginalized by his party for his anti-abortion views.

“We’re members without a party,” he said. “Democrats are mad at you, and Republicans don’t trust you.”

Mr. Stupak, 57, with a shock of thick gray hair and the stare of a law enforcement officer, is a Yooper, a resident of this state’s Upper Peninsula — snowy and hushed in winter, lush and tourist-filled in summer.

His father attended seminary before marrying and later sent his 10 children to Catholic school until tuition money ran out. As a state trooper, Mr. Stupak worked the highways but also trailed Ku Klux Klan members and drove home drunken state legislators. He attended law school at night, spent a term in the State Legislature, and then ran for Congress in 1992.

In the primary, he beat a candidate who supported abortion rights. But when he tried to hire Democratic political consultants for the general election, they refused — with expletives, he says — to work for a candidate with his views.

Mr. Stupak won anyway, and his freshman year in Washington, he requested but did not receive a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. “I had one or two members tell me I’d never get on because I’m right-to-life,” he said.

He cannot run for governor, he continued, because no one with his stands on guns and abortion can win in Michigan.

When Republicans ruled Washington, his fellow Democrats had to listen to anti-abortion views, he said. But with Democratic victories, abortion rights supporters felt their time had come.

“You’re never getting a right-to-life amendment,” Mr. Stupak said Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the Rules Committee, told him during health care negotiations. “We have pro-choice Democrats in the White House. We have majorities in the House and Senate. You’re done.”

In a phone interview, Ms. Slaughter said she did not recall the conversation.

But Democratic control of the House carries a paradox: because the party expanded by winning what had been Republican districts, it has more members who oppose federal financing for abortions and restrictions on guns. Mr. Stupak’s measure on abortion passed the House with the support of 64 Democrats.

“Before, when we talked about pro-life Democrats, you’d get a snicker and a laugh,” he said. “We were just always overlooked. We’re not overlooked anymore.”

Now the disagreement over abortion financing has become a game of chicken, with Mr. Stupak saying he and 10 or 11 others, whom he would not name, will vote against a final bill that does not meet his standards, and some backers of abortion rights threatening to do the same in what is expected to be a close vote.

Last fall, Mr. Stupak told constituents that even if his amendment failed, he would still vote yes on the overall health care legislation — he merely wanted to vote his conscience first. Now he says that statement applied only to the bill’s early version.

“You fight for a principle you’ve believed in your whole life, then you fold up the tent?” he said.

Some of Mr. Stupak’s colleagues on the other side of the abortion issue offer a different version of his lonely-man-of-principle story. He has hardly been an outcast within his own party, they say; two years after being elected, he joined the Energy and Commerce Committee, and now serves as chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Like Mr. Stupak, they say they have worked for months to avert precisely this sort of standoff. And they accuse him of being less of a brave holdout than an instrument of conservative Catholic and anti-abortion organizations.

“The National Right to Life Committee and the bishops saw this as a way to vastly increase restrictions on choice,” said Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, who is a chief deputy House whip and co-chairwoman, with Ms. Slaughter, of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.

Mr. Stupak was “not given very much negotiating room” by those organizations, Ms. DeGette said. Now “he’s gotten himself into a corner where he says it’s my amendment or it’s nothing.”

(Mr. Stupak says he urged the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to toughen its stance on the legislation; representatives from the conference and the National Right to Life Committee did not return calls.)

For now, as he mulls his return to Washington, Mr. Stupak is canvassing his district, adding to the 180,000 miles on his Oldsmobile, and grilling — in the snow, without a jacket — at his lakeside log-cabin home for his wife, Laurie.

He is trying to pass the health care overhaul, he insists, not sabotage it, and predicts that the legislation will ultimately collapse for reasons apart from abortion. But he will be blamed anyway, he is sure.

“I get the distinct impression that I’m the last guy the president wants to see,” he said.


Shocking News: Anti-Health Care Reform Republican Loves Socialized Medicine!

GOP Rep. Mike Coffman Says Single-Payer Health Care "Works"

There's no other way to read this story from Politics Daily and the Denver Post than to read it as Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman admitting that single-payer health care "works":
Coffman, a former Marine who keeps buff at age 54, was jogging on the golf course bordering his home in Aurora, Colo., when he stumbled on a rock or some other obstruction hidden in the snow. He fell, cracking his ankle.

The congressman and his wife went to an urgent care clinic in a strip mall, where he paid $30 for a temporary cast and a prescription, and later he went to the famed Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, where he paid $350 for an expert opinion, he told The Denver Post.

"I successfully tested our health care system," he said, with a laugh. "It works,"' he told the Post.

Of course the health care system worked for him, many Coloradans undoubtedly thought when they read the item in Saturday's Post. Coffman, a Republican member of Congress who voted against the health care reform bill in the House last year, is covered by the Cadillac of American health-care plans, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Plan.

That's why his X-ray, temporary cast and prescription cost him only $30. But if he didn't have insurance -- like some 45 million Americans --- the tab most likely would be closer to $375 ($150 for the visit, $150 for the splint, and $75 for the X-ray, according to prices quoted at a popular downtown Denver urgent-care clinic).
The FEHB is a single-payer government-sponsored health care system. The federal government is the single payer.* And as Coffman says very explicitly, "It works."

So why is Coffman, all Republican lawmakers, and a big chunk of Democratic lawmakers, so opposed to single payer that they ruled it "off the table" as part of the debate over national health care? Why aren't all Americans entitled to the very same health care system as members of Congress, if those members of Congress acknowledge their system "works"?

(h/t Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly)

* NOTE: There should be no debate about whether or not FEHB is a single-payer system. Of course it is - it is one particular form of single-payer - a form where the government is the single payer, but pays to insurance companies which administer benefits. Obviously, there are other forms of single-payer where the government pays directly to health care providers. The point here is not to debate which of the two forms are better or worse - only to point out that the FEHB is a single-payer system, one that Coffman says "works."

Secret Service Compares Birthers as Loser Crazy Obsessive Fans.

Is the Secret Service Targeting the Birthers?

Over the past year, Secret Service agents charged with protecting President Obama seem to have taken a keen interest in the Birther movement, the committed group of anti-Obama activists around the country who claim the president was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and is thus ineligible to serve. The idea has been widely and repeatedly debunked (see FactCheck.org's thorough takedown here), but that hasn't stopped Birthers from doggedly making their case in American courtrooms, to US attorneys, and even to a rural county grand jury, in the hopes that a judge will rule in their favor and Obama might eventually be removed from office. Those efforts have failed spectacularly, but they seem to have succeeded in placing the Birthers on the radar of the Secret Service.

At least a half-dozen prominent anti-Obama activists who've petitioned various federal agencies or courts to investigate the president's citizenship or publicly questioned his eligibility to serve say they've been visited by Secret Service or Homeland Security agents. Dr. Orly Taitz, the "Queen Bee" of the Birther movement, says, "A number of my supporters had visits from Secret Service, from different agencies, INS, Homeland Security. There are a whole number of people who got these visits to intimidate and harrass them." She says federal agents visited her home once; however, she was not there to be interviewed.*

Of particular concern to the Secret Service, it seems, are the individuals who are trying to interest federal prosecutors in bringing criminal charges against the president for fraud and treason, a movement spearheaded by a retired Navy lieutenant commander, Walter Fitzpatrick III. Last March, Fitzpatrick sent an "indictment" for treason to the US attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, asking the prosecutors to act on it. Two days later, he noted on his blog, two Secret Service agents showed up at his house along with a couple of local cops, to see what sort of threat he might pose to the president. "I'm still here," Fitzpatrick reported afterward. Fitzpatrick was contacted by the Secret Service again in July after he sent his complaint to the US attorney in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick has encouraged others to take the indictment to prosecutors around the country in the hopes that one will bite. Georgia computer-store owner Carl Swensson is a fan of Fitzpatrick's and a member of the American Grand Jury movement, which seeks to hold "citizen grand juries" that bring indictments against the president. In an interview, he said that last spring, he took Fitzpatrick's treason complaint to the US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Shortly afterward, two Secret Service agents showed up at his office.
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The Twisted and Dangerous Republican Record on Terrorism

The Republican record on terrorism is pretty damn terrible. Naturally, this hasn't stopped them from milking whatever remains of their purely cosmetic tough-guy reputation in order to fear-monger the failed Underpants Bomber incident irrespective of their lengthy history of failure, cowardice and stupidity on the issue.

I think we all understand and begrudgingly accept that Americans have a short attention span, and an even shorter memory, but the Republicans are really counting on it as they exploit the post-underpants freakout.

For example, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said the other day:
I'm hopeful that the president will become forceful, that we will return back to the direction where we are prosecuting the war on terror
I know. It doesn't read very well, but the senator was suggesting that we go back to the way the Bush/Cheney team ran the "war on terror" -- that the previous administration's strategy was much more effective. Another attempt to sell the inaccurate notion that shit-kicker boots, a southern drawl, a waterboard and hillbilly bumper-sticker justice succeeded in knocking al-Qaeda into oblivion.

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Tea Party Awesomest New Plan: Kill The Moderates!

Tea Party Leader: 'We Are Turning Our Guns On' Moderate Republicans

Dale Robertson doesn't mince words. The tea party spokesperson and head of Teaparty.org in Houston issued a strong statement this week warning state GOP leaders that if they didn't support strongly conservative candidates, their jobs were at risk.

"We are turning our guns on anyone who doesn't support constitutional conservative candidates," Robertson said. "If they don't get that, and their party chairmen don't get that, they are going to be ostracized."

Jim Greer, Florida's GOP Chairman, was forced to resign earlier this week under similar pressure from far-right activists following his endorsement of Charlie Crist, a "big-tent" Republican who has been criticized by some conservative factions for being too moderate. Tea Party activists have backed Crist's opponent, Marco Rubio, in the upcoming Republican open primary.

Crist has notably broken from the Republican party on a few key issues. He's supported green initiatives such as cap-and-trade legislation, and potential offshore drilling. Perhaps most markedly, Crist was a strong proponent of the stimulus bill, going as far as to hug President Obama while introducing him at a rally in Ft. Meyers.

"I think it's just all-around frustration with some in our party who have a very pure philosophy of how you should govern," Greer told the New York Times Magazine. "People want a common-sense approach to governing. And approaching it with purity won't get anything done."

Jenny Beth Martin, the national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, explains the Tea Party's latest offensive. "People in America are very tired of the irresponsible taxing and spending that has happened in Washington. They want a return to fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets."

Cameras allowed in same-sex marriage trial

A California judge ruled Wednesday to allow cameras in a federal courtroom to document a challenge to Proposition 8, a measure banning same-sex marriage.

The courtroom footage will not be streamed live, but will be uploaded on the Web site YouTube daily, CNN affiliate KGO reported.

Proposition 8 passed with about 52.5 percent of the vote in November 2008. A lesbian couple and a gay couple who were banned from marrying filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of the new measure, the affiliate reported.

The nonjury trial is to begin on January 11 in federal court in San Francisco.

The rare decision to allow cameras in a federal courtroom was influenced by intense media attention, court officials said.

The legal battle over Proposition 8 has prompted passionate debate and in the past has spurred protests outside courtrooms.

Opponents of the ban say it improperly altered the state's Constitution to restrict a fundamental right guaranteed in the state charter.

Ban supporters say Californians long have had the right to change their state Constitution through ballot initiatives.

Pride & Prejudice

Cameron claims Labour is 'deeply divided'- calls for a General Election

The attempted coup against Gordon Brown's leadership shows his government is "deeply divided", Conservative leader David Cameron has told the BBC.

Restating calls for a general election, Mr Cameron said Mr Brown did not have a mandate to rule and two years after becoming PM was in "deep trouble".

Cabinet ministers dismissed calls on Wednesday by two Labour veterans for a secret ballot on Mr Brown's leadership. Lord Mandelson told the BBC Mr Brown's future as Labour leader was secure.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme Mr Cameron said it showed the government was "deeply divided" at a time when Britain needed leadership on issues like Afghanistan and Britain's budget deficit.

He said if stories suggesting that Mr Brown does not have the support of senior colleagues were true "people will ask why should anyone else support him? If ever there was a time when our country needed strong leadership and united government it is today. We've got this massive budget deficit, we are at war in Afghanistan we've got deep social problems and yet we've got a government completely divided."

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Given that the deadline for calling the next election is June, and the vast majority are called in May, Cameron's got to know that the elections aren't going to happen now. It sounds like he's trying to paint himself as this great crusader against a dithering government, when in reality everyone knows that what he's asking for just won't happen. It could, theoretically, but it won't.
nobody / travis

Breastfeeding is not always best, claims Norwegian scientist

A NORWEGIAN professor has claimed today that feeding a baby breast milk does not make them healthier than those fed formula.

Professor Sven Carlsen found while breastfed infants are slightly healthier than bottle fed babies it is not the milk that is responsible.

Carslen claims a baby's overall health is determined prior to birth and dependent on hormone levels in the mother's womb.

"The answer is simple. If a mother is able to breastfeed, and does so, this ability is essentially proof that the baby has already had an optimal life inside the womb," the professor said.

When a woman has high levels of male hormones in the womb the flow of nutrients to the baby is affected, the report went on. The hormones also affect her ability to breastfeed, making her offspring more likely to be bottle fed.

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Wow, using government resources logically??? That's just crazy talk!

Can the world’s fastest supercomputer combat health care waste?

Energy computer scientist proposes using Oak Ridge's Jaguar for real-time analysis of claims

A computer scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the facilities behind the Manhattan Project and now the home of the world’s fastest supercomputer, has proposed putting those resources to use for government health care reform.


Combining and analyzing health care data in real time could save as much as $50 billion a year by eliminating waste and preventing fraud in government-run health care programs, and also could improve the quality of medical care, said Andrew Loebl, a senior researcher in the lab’s Computational Science and Engineering Division.


“We have never put all of this data together,” Loebl said. “My idea is to use the storage capacity of the supercomputers at Oak Ridge to analyze the data.”



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Now, I find this to be a very interesting idea.
Chibis- Goes Boink

I've heard her described as various things, but this is a new one....

Tea Party Email Warns Members: Beware Liberal Trolls Like Rachel Maddow

Tea partiers beware: "You can and will be banned for being a liberal."

Organizers behind the upcoming Tea Party Nation convention we wrote about this morning told members today that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow tried to join the group and "we banned her 7 minutes after she joined."

TPMDC, which also has signed up for the TPN mailing list, received an email to all members warning them that as the convention nears "we will in all likelihood be invaded by liberal trolls looking to disrupt the site." The subject line was "Liberal Troll Alert!"

"Tea Party Nation reserves the right to ban anyone for any reason we feel necessary to ensure the well being of the site and our members," the group writes in the email, which you can read in full after the jump.

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EDIT: Maddow says it wasn't her:

We asked MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for a response to the Tea Party Nation banning her from their site, and she suggests the idea is so ridiculous they made it up as a publicity stunt.

"I used to be an activist, too, so I understand the strategy of using the name of a well-known person to try to get publicity," Maddow told TPMDC in an email.

"Of course, this idea of me trying to join their listserv is completely made up, but still -- I'm flattered the Tea Party folks think I'm well known enough to help their cause," Maddow wrote. "I wish them all best luck with their conference."

Sauce 1.
Sauce 2

To sum up my reaction:

Watch Out World, Michael Steele is Angry!... *Yawn*

Steele Lashes Out: Critics Should 'Get a Life,' 'Shut Up'

Michael Steele has a message for Republicans criticizing his leadership: Shut up.

"I tell them to get a life," he told ABC News Radio on Thursday. "If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way."

The Republican National Committee chairman is under fire for saying that the GOP can't take back the House in 2010 -- and that the party isn't even ready to lead. And donors are upset with Steele for giving paid speeches and promoting a book while leading the party.

Poll: Lieberman approval rating just 25 percent

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., got himself some press -- and some power -- with his stance on healthcare reform. But it doesn't seem like he got himself the love of his constituents.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, is out with the results of a survey in which it asked Connecticut voters about Lieberman. What they found was fairly stunning: Only 25 percent of respondents said they approve of the job he's been doing. 67 percent disapprove. Much of that comes from Democrats, who disapprove of him 81-14. But even independents and Republicans have turned against the senator. His disapproval with independents is at 61 percent, compared to 32 percent approval, and a plurality of Republicans -- 48 percent -- said he's doing a bad job, compared to 39 percent who said they approve.

Respondents were basically split on the Democrats' healthcare proposals -- 47 percent support them, 43 percent are opposed, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. Even so, Lieberman's stance manage to alienate a strong majority, 68 percent; only 19 percent said they agreed with how he handled the issue. Presumably the difference in the two answers is due to a damned-if-you-do situation; those who support reform are angry with him for being a roadblock, while those who oppose it are upset he eventually decided to vote in favor.

Aya, Parasite Eve

California: Historic Vote On Cannabis Regulation To Take Place On Tuesday, January 12

On Tuesday, January 12, members of the California Assembly will hold a historic vote on statewide marijuana policy. Members of the Public Safety Committee will decide on Assembly Bill 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, which seeks to regulate and control the production, distribution, and personal use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older.

Tuesday’s vote will mark the first time since 1913, when California became one of the first states in the nation to enact cannabis prohibition, that lawmakers have reassessed this failed policy.

Read more at the source. Further reading here and here.

The Golden Girls Take on Gay Marriage

Could there be a more gay-friendly show with an entirely straight cast than The Golden Girls? A favorite of the LGBT crowd, not to mention those with weekend hangovers that love the ten-hour marathons on the Hallmark channel, The Golden Girls is proving relevant once again, if not for a 60-second lesson on the issue of marriage equality.

It's pretty funny thinking that a show from the 1980s could have been so far ahead of its time that it took on the issue of gay marriage, almost two decades before it became a reality (and at that, only in a few states). But Blanche, Sofia, Dorothy and Rose hit the gay rights issues pretty hard. Which might be why the show created a generation of homosexuals, at least according to some witty folks.

Here's the Girls' take on marriage equality. Blanche (Rue McClanahan) has a gay brother who wants to get married, and she can't understand why. She can accept him being gay, but why does he have to (in the immortal words of Beyonce) "put a ring on it."


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Tea Party to Pay Palin $100,000 To Tell Them How Awesome and Fiscally Conservative They Are...

Palin Tea Party Speech Netting Her $100,000?

How much would you pay to get Sarah Palin to speak at your next event? How does $100,000 sound?

Washington Independent's David Weigel has the latest on Sarah Palin's booking fee for the upcoming National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Palin, who twice turned down offers to speak at the yearly Conservative Political Action Conference before agreeing to appear at the Tea Party assembly, will join WorldNetDaily Editor-in-Chief Joseph Farah on the roster.

The ex-governor's choice to snub a spot on a $175-a-ticket CPAC program that, according to director Lisa de Pasquale, would not "pay honorarium, travel or hotel expenses for any speakers," in favor of the Tea Party event has had many people suspecting that Palin's decision was financially driven. Tickets to her speech are running a pricey $349, while tickets to the entire convention cost $549.

Eric Odom, executive director of the American Liberty Alliance, provided an estimate of the kind of money the former vice-presidential candidate might be seeing: "I'd speculate that Palin's making at least $35,000 or $50,000, with $50,000 being more likely," he said. "I mean, Glenn Beck charges $60,000, $70,000 and a private jet."

According to Conservative blogger Dan Riehl, that would be peanuts for Palin. "I'm hearing through sources Sarah Palin is getting $75k to speak," Riehl reports, though he has apparently also heard talks of a $100,000 booking fee as well.

Palin's decision to speak at the National Tea Party Convention makes sense. It's no secret that she has emerged as a darling of conservatives, and her appearance there will undoubtedly be highly anticipated. Moreover, a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll ranked a generic "Tea Party" as more popular than either Democrats or Republicans. That said, it doesn't take a genius to see that even the lowest estimate of $35,000 is a lot of money, especially when the other offer is nothing.

"Suspicious Package" Found Near The White House... You Hear Me...

Naked Jogger Caught At White House

Authorities say a man who took off his clothes and began jogging in near-freezing temperatures near the White House has been taken into custody and hospitalized for a mental evaluation.

The man was seen stripping Wednesday around 5 p.m. He left his clothes near the northeast corner of the Ellipse, the green space south of the White House.

Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford says the run lasted less than a minute before the man was apprehended. The president was at the White House at the time. But Blackford says the man, who left his clothing in a duffel bag, didn't make any threats. His bag was declared suspicious, but its contents were found to be harmless.

Temperatures were around 35 degrees.

It wasn't clear if the jogger would face criminal charges.
franklin sherman

UBS Whistleblower only one who gets a prison sentance, CEO plays golf with Obama 3 days later.

edit: democracy now coverage.

UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld deserves statue on Wall Street, not prison sentence

Barack Obama, who entered the White House promising all this change, should be hailing Bradley Birkenfeld as a modern-day hero.

He should erect a statue on Wall Street for this former banker for Swiss giant UBS who blew the whistle on the biggest tax-evasion scheme in U.S. history.

Instead of rewarding Birkenfeld, Obama's Justice Department is sending him to prison. He begins serving a 40-month federal sentence Friday for conspiracy and bank fraud.

What about his former bosses and fellow bankers at UBS and thousands of rich American clients who for decades stashed billions of dollars in secret UBS accounts to evade paying federal taxes?

Well, the government let them buy their way out of jail.

UBS pleaded guilty and paid a $780 million fine in February, while thousands of Americans with unreported offshore accounts have been allowed to belatedly disclose them and pay civil penalties.

Only Birkenfeld, the 44-year-old whistleblower, ends up in jail - the No. 1 example of injustice and hypocrisy in the age of Obama.

Who can forget that priceless photo of the President playing golf on Aug. 24 during his Martha's Vineyard summer vacation with Robert Wolf, president of UBS Americas?

Wolf and his employees donated $540,000 to Obama's presidential run. That made UBS the 12th largest source of his campaign funds.

Of all the people in America to choose for a golf partner, Obama chose Wolf.

The outing was only three days after Birkenfeld's harsh sentencing, and less than a week after UBS agreed to turn over the names of 4,450 of its American clients to the Justice Department. That's just a portion of 19,000 American accounts the bank has admitted keeping secret from U.S. tax officials.

So why is Birkenfeld, who gave hundreds of those names to prosecutors, going to jail?

"Without Mr. Birkenfeld ... I doubt ... this massive fraud scheme would have been discovered," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Downing conceded at the Aug. 21 sentencing hearing.

Prosecutors also claimed in that hearing and in a "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night that Birkenfeld withheld information on how he had helped his biggest U.S. client, California billionaire Igor Olenicoff, hide hundreds of millions in assets. So when Birkenfeld flew here from Switzerland in early 2008, they arrested and charged him.

Birkenfeld's lawyer Stephen Kohn denies those allegations. He says the government is sending a terrible signal to future whistleblowers.

Kohn filed a formal complaint yesterday with the U.S. attorney general's office of professional responsibility, claiming the "main allegations used to secure [Birkenfeld's] indictment and imprisonment were not based on accurate or truthful information."

Birkenfeld offered to provide every name he knew of secret account holders at UBS, Kohn said, but he first wanted a formal subpoena because he was then a resident of Switzerland. Under Swiss law it is illegal to disclose client information.

The Justice Department refused to issue the subpoena, so Birkenfeld then went to the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Senate during the summer of 2007 offering the information to them.

The Senate's permanent investigations subcommittee agreed to subpoena him. He gave the committee a detailed deposition on Oct. 11, 2007 about UBS fraud scheme with lots of names, including that of Olenicoff. E-mails Kohn provided back up that claim.

Birkenfeld gave the same information to the IRS and the SEC.

Several weeks later, Olenicoff was indicted. He pleaded guilty and paid a $53 million fine.

Kohn has asked Attorney General Eric Holder for a formal investigation of the actions of Justice Department prosecutors.

Holder has his own UBS headache. Last year, the attorney general recused himself from the case because he once served as a lawyer for the Swiss bank.

The Birkenfeld case has exposed a lot more than hidden bank accounts.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/01/06/2010-01-06_unveils_bank_fraud_gets_jail.html#ixzz0bxMOp6QG

Mark Kirk: "I am Not Gay" The Musical

Rep. Mark Kirk: I'm Not Gay

Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk has publicly denied being gay in response to attacks from a conservative challenger.

"No, it's not true," Rep. Kirk (R-Ill.) said at the Union League Club of Chicago on Thursday.

Andy Martin, a conservative dirty trickster running for the same Illinois Senate seat as Kirk, released an ad on local radio in which he pushed a "solid rumor" that Kirk "is a homosexual."

"I helped expose many of Barack Obama's lies in 2008," the ad goes.
"Today, I am fighting for the facts about Mark Kirk. Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a 'solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual.' Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals." In another ad, Martin called Kirk a "de facto pedophile."

Martin is well-known for pushing rumors that President Obama is a Muslim during the 2008 campaign.

Maybe Kirk's denial will satisfy Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, who went on a rant against Kirk Tuesday on Townhall.com. "American voters have a right to know if candidates are gay," she wrote, criticizing both Kirk and the press for ignoring the rumors. "So, where is the reporting? Where are the cameras? The gleaning of records? The follow up on accusations?"

Being Obama’s Brother

In November 2008, I stood in a bar in Kenya watching Barack Obama give his victory speech. From the wild cheering of the crowd on TV, and his repeated appeals to them personally—"You said," "You heard," "You called"—I felt as if the people of America knew this man far better than I, even though we shared the same father. If there was a leading light in the Obama clan, he was it; and if there was a shadowed place that no one liked to talk about, then that, I guess, was me.

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Conservative Math is So Hard!

To Justify Hypocritical Attacks, Rudy Giuliani Claims The Shoe Bomber’s Attempted Attack Happened Before 9/11

Last month, conservatives attempted to politicize the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas day by complaining that President Obama waited three days before publicly addressing it. “The President waits 72 hours before we hear from him, and it’s over 72 hours from the time of the incident to the time that the President spoke today,” said Karl Rove on Dec. 28, not noting that his old boss waited six days before commenting on the 2001 attempted shoe bombing.

But conservatives are now claiming that he
waited 10 days to respond. On CNN’s Larry King Live last night, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed that Obama responded10 days too late“:
GIULIANI: I think the president has to make a major correction in the way he is dealing with terrorism because I think he has mishandled the situation. First of all, it was 10 days too late. This is something you react to immediately, not 10 days later after your vacation. The president of the United States, when there is a potential massive attack on this country, which is what this guy was going to do, should have been on top of this immediately, not 10 days later, 11 days later, 12 days later.
When King pointed out that “President Bush took six days once in a similar incident,” Giuliani responded that “six days is less than 10″ and that he believed “that six days was before the September 11th attack.” King then clarified that “Bush waited six days on the shoe bomber,” to which Giuliani responded, “that’s correct.” Watch it:
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Honduran constitution strikes again

Honduras military chiefs charged over Zelaya's removal

Honduran prosecutors have charged three military chiefs with abuse of power in connection with the ousting and exile of President Manuel Zelaya last June.

The Supreme Court will now decide whether to start a case against them.

Mr Zelaya was removed from office amid a row with the courts, Congress and the military over his plans to look at rewriting the constitution.

He was flown out of the country but returned in secret last September and remains holed up in Brazil's embassy.

The attorney general's office has issued charges against the military high command - the armed forces chief of staff, General Romeo Vasquez, and five others.

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It's amazing how hard it is to sympathize with any of these people.

Health Care Reform Could Hurt Democrats and Help Republicans? You Lie!!

States ‘with the most to gain under health care reform are overwhelmingly represented by Republicans.’

On the Wonk Room, Igor Volsky highlights a new study in Health Affairs that shows how misguided — and political — Republican lawmakers’ opposition to health reform legislation is. “States with the most to gain under health care reform are overwhelmingly represented by Republicans, while those states likely to do worse are much more likely to have Democratic senators,” conclude the study’s authors. From their findings:
[T]he states most likely to “win” as a result of health care reform are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah. All of these states have a relatively high number of uninsured and all are in the bottom half of states in terms of cost under both financing mechanisms. … Among the states most likely to “lose” are Delaware, Nebraska, and New Hampshire as well as the District of Columbia. Each of these states has a relatively lower-than-average proportion of uninsured residents, and each would fall in the “High Cost” category under either of the financing options. There are four states — Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and Rhode Island — that while also “Low Benefit” are “Low Cost” as well.
Volsky writes that “if Senators and Representatives dropped their ideological allegiance and voted to advance the interests of their constituents, the health care reform effort would actually attract bipartisan support.”

Australian KFC advert has been axed.

I guess this was inevitable. ETA, rereads article again 'aborogines' really, oh dear.


Kentucky Fried Chicken has pulled a controversial Australian cricket ad and apologised for "any misinterpretation" as furious debate raged in the American media about whether it was racist.

The commercial, featuring a white Australian cricket fan offering fried chicken to West Indies supporters, has been pulled from the air in Australia.

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GOP: "OMG Michael Steele is Out of Control! Someone Do Something!!"

GOP Furious At Steele; RNC Admits Little Control

House and Senate leadership aides are furious with RNC chair Michael Steele and have angrily confronted the RNC's press shop over their inability to keep the chair on message.

In the course of a regular daily conference call between senior Congressional communicators, House and Senate aides berated RNC staffers over Steele's comments that the GOP would not be able to take back the House, and that even if they did, the party would not be prepared to lead.

A senior Senate aide brought up Steele's comments, arguing that he was ruining what should be several days of glowing press for the GOP in the wake of retirement announcements from Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Chris Dodd (D-CT).

"Steele is setting us far back with his comments and it needs to stop," the aide said, according to 2 sources who were on the call.

RNC research director Jeff Berkowitz called the Senate aide out of line, but the Senate aide called Steele a "fool," sources said.

In an effort to soothe feelings, a senior House aide interrupted and said he sympathized with RNC aides. But, he added: "You're putting our bosses in tremendously difficult situations."

A senior RNC press aide admitted the shop had no control over Steele's interviews as he embarks on a book tour to sell his blueprint for a GOP comeback. Steele has hired a public relations firm, the RNC aide said, and the press shop has no control over when interviews are scheduled.

After an awkward silence, another aide spoke up: "You really need to have him be quiet." The call ended shortly thereafter.

On today's daily conference call, the RNC offered no information on their daily schedule.

Even a private venting session in which top aides were allowed to voice their frustration has not slowed criticism. Berkowitz made the point that Steele has tried to walk back his comments through several appearances on other news outlets, but Congressional aides said he hasn't done enough.

"He has made no progress in walking back the recent comments. In fact, he dug the hole deeper by appearing unprepared and uneducated" on his party's actions on the Hill, a top House aide told Hotline OnCall. "Aides are collaborating with each other, both on and off the Hill, on ways to keep him quiet."

A call to the RNC's press line seeking comment went to voicemail.

WOW, it's a good thing Michael Steele has Fox News around to clean up after him.

Fox News Scrubs 'Honest Injun' From Steele Transcript

As you may have heard, two days ago while sitting for an interview with Sean Hannity, RNC Hip-Hop Guru Michael Steele made some unwanted waves when he used the phrase "Honest Injun" to underscore his contention that the GOP doesn't need to be more moderate.

Wordplay, apparently! Well, the phrase is a racial epithet that Native Americans find offensive, and Representative Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), who co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus, has demanded an apology from Steele.

Well, the good news is that Fox News is doing its part to alleviate the controversy. What, exactly, are they doing? I'm glad I posed this question on your behalf! Via Sarabeth at 1115.org, Fox is helping Steele out by altering the transcript of the segment:

HANNITY: But there's -- but there's a battle, and you know this is going on, because you're the chairman. I'm sure you deal with this a lot more than I do. There are those that are saying that, for the Republican Party to be successful, they've got to, quote, moderate -- be more moderate.

STEELE: No, no!

HANNITY: You hear that.

STEELE: That's what has gotten us into trouble, when we walked away from principle. Our platform is one of the best political documents that's been written in the last 25 years, honest engine on that.

Exactly! Surely we should ask of our lyin' ears if Steele didn't actually say "honest engine." Except: WTF is an "honest engine"? Well, as luck would have it, some Urban Dictionary user hooked on all the wrong phonics gives "honest engine" the exact same definition as "honest Injun." Or, maybe, Steele was referring to Sacramento, California's Honest Engine auto repair company, employing the hip-hop tradition known as the "shout out."

Or, maybe, Michael Steele literally is a machine into which gas is poured, that produces toxic exhaust.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/07/fox-news-scrubs-honest-in_n_415121.html
*betty draper reading

Glenn Beck: African-American is not a race

Beck: ‘African-American is a bogus, PC, made-up term. I mean, that’s not a race.’

Today on his radio show, Glenn Beck wanted to discuss the census. “Apparently the census has come out,” he said. Beck’s co-host then chimed in, “Yeah and there’s a little confusion because there’s three boxes you can check if you’re a certain race. … I don’t know what the race is because there’s three different terms for them. Black, African-American, or Negro.” Instead of having any consideration to take issue with the term “Negro,” Beck launched into a tirade against “African-American”:
BECK: African-American is a bogus, PC, made-up term. I mean, that’s not a race. Your ancestry is from Africa and now you live in America. Ok so you were brought over — either your family was brought over through the slave trade or you were born here and your family emigrated here or whatever but that is not a race.
Audio at source


Joe O'Biden is a Sekret Mooslim... Wait...

Steve Schmidt: Palin Debate Was Nearly 'Debacle,' Kept Calling Rival 'O'Biden' (VIDEO)

On CBS's "60 Minutes" Thursday night, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt revealed some of the behind-the-scenes wrangling that went into Sarah Palin's debate against then-Sen. Joe Biden.

Schmidt says that a campaign staffer prepping Palin made a desperate call to the chief McCain campaign strategist. "He told us the debate was going to be a debacle of historic and epic proportions," Schmidt told Anderson Cooper."She was not focused, not engaged. She was not really participating in the prep." Schmidt confronted Palin and "she said, 'You know, I think that's right.'" Schmidt took over the preparation and said she "more than held her own" in the final debate.

Palin had a reflexive tendency to refer to Biden as "O'Biden," Schmidt revealed. He says other people on the campaign staff came up with a solution. "It was multiple people -- and I wasn't one of them-- who all said at the same time, 'Just say, 'Can I call you Joe?'' which she did."

In fact, Palin did accidentally call the senator "O'Biden" once during the debate.

(no subject)

Gay Marriage Bill Defeated in New Jersey Senate

TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey's state Senate defeated a bill on Thursday that would have legalized same-sex marriage, a move that likely stalls the measure for several years.

The Senate, after an afternoon of debate, voted 20 to 14 against the bill. Backers had hoped to get it approved and signed into law before Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, a supporter, leaves office on January 19.

Incoming Republican Governor Chris Christie, who defeated Corzine in November, had said he would veto the measure.

With failure of the bill in the Senate, the proposal now could lie dormant for years while Christie is in office.

Political observers have said Christie's victory made some lawmakers wary of supporting the controversial measure.

New Jersey has a same-sex civil union law, designed to give gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. But advocates of gay marriage say civil unions are inadequate.

Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont have legalized same sex marriage. Another 40 states have specific laws banning it.

When The Man with Tin Foil Hat Tells You That You Are Not Helping...

Ron Paul Knocks Tea Party Movement: Won't Help GOP (VIDEO)

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), a darling of the tea party movement, cautioned that its activists may not be helping the Republican Party.

"They get frustrated, they act out and sometimes they act too angrily and sometimes it doesn't come off well," Paul told MCNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday. "They might not necessarily build the party."

Paul's comments came after a photo began circulating on the Internet that showed a tea party member in Texas with a sign carrying racial epithet.

"I think they're unhappy," Paul said on the program, but warned that the tea party movement was made up of both Republicans and Democrats disenchanted with "the establishment party."

Tea party activists have been flexing their political muscle in races across the country, including in Florida where the state's GOP chairman, Jim Greer, was recently forced to resign after endorsing Gov. Charlie Crist for Senate. Tea party members favor Crist's opponent, former State House Speaker Marco Rubio, whose views they see as a more closely aligned with their conservative values.

Paul told Maddow: "I don't think you can talk about the tea party as a party. It's made up of a lot of different people. And I don't even see them as being Republicans."

Pineapple Express | Saul laughs

Joe Arpaio investigated by grand jury

Two high-ranking Maricopa County officials confirmed late Thursday that they will testify next week before a federal grand jury exploring allegations that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has abused power.

County Manager David Smith and Assistant County Manager Sandi Wilson said they were preparing to testify before the grand jury on Wednesday.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio denied any knowledge of the grand jury, but news of sheriff's officials being called to testify before a federal panel has been circulating in county circles for months.

Republic sources have confirmed that at least three high-ranking sheriff's officials, including a captain and two chief deputies, have testified before a federal grand jury in the last four months, though the nature of their testimony remained unclear.

"I'm not going to comment on that situation," Arpaio said Thursday. "We're just going to continue doing our job and our investigations that we have in progress."

Sheriff's detectives have undertaken a series of controversial investigations into county officials in the last year which heated up in recent months with indictments of two members of the Board of Supervisors, and a wide-ranging racketeering complaint filed in federal court that alleges a vast conspiracy against county supervisors, judges, private attorney and administrators including Smith and Wilson.

But the allegations of abuse of power have dogged Arpaio since long before that claim was filed.

Public officials confirmed to the Republic in May that FBI agents were interviewing them about whether Arpaio had abused his authority.

Five public officials involved in ongoing disputes with the Sheriff's Office confirmed federal agents asked them questions that focus on one theme: possible misuse of power by Arpaio and other sheriff's representatives, perhaps related to the ongoing disputes between the sheriff, county supervisors and top county administrators.

As is customary, the FBI would not confirm the nature of its inquiry or even that one was taking place.

"They asked if we felt he (Arpaio) was intimidating us," said one source, referring to the FBI's line of questioning. "We talked a lot about the fight between the (Board of) Supervisors, (County Attorney Andrew) Thomas and the sheriff."

At the time, Arpaio said the claims were outrageous.

On Thursday night, he would only repeat his refusals to discuss anything related to a grand jury.

"I have no idea what's going on in the grand jury," he said. "I am not going to comment about grand jury activity- no matter what you hear."

A Department of Justice spokesman in Washington, D.C., said: "We have no comment as grand jury proceedings are secret and we can neither confirm or deny their existence."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix would not comment. The department defines a grand jury as citizens who listen to evidence of criminal allegations, which prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office present, in order to determine whether there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed.

A grand jury indictment would not be evidence of guilt, a factor determined in court.

Christian Bale

Pakistan: Taliban brainwashes kids with visions of virgins

Nawaz Kot, Pakistan (CNN) -- "When we got to this compound it was shocking for us," Lt. Col. Yusuf tells us, standing in the middle of what the Pakistani military says was a brainwashing center -- for children.

It was here, according to the Pakistani military, that children aged 12 to 18 were turned from innocent youngsters into cold-blooded killers, willing to blow themselves to bits as suicide bombers.

The discovery of the compound was first reported in Pakistani media last month. Yusuf says his unit took it over after a three day battle with militants.

Part of the compound consists of four rooms -- each wall adorned with brightly colored paintings in clear contrast to the barren and harsh landscape surrounding it. The children were told that this was what awaited them in heaven.

Each of the images has a river flowing through it. Some have people playing in the water. Others have women lining the banks.

The military says that the children are told that these are rivers of milk and honey, that the women are the virgins that await them in heaven. That the children were told that they will live in the company of the holy prophet and be served feasts.

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Former White House lawyer charged with attempting to kill wife in New Canaan

NEW CANAAN -- A prominent attorney and former White House lawyer was charged with attempting to kill his wife at his New Canaan home Wednesday night.

John Michael Farren, 57, of 388 Wahackme Road, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation after police received a panic alarm from his home shortly after 10 p.m.

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Trouble Train

Definitive Proof That Only Trolls, Pearl Clutchers, And Fundies Complain To The FCC!

The Smoking Gun obtained copies of complaint letters concerning Adam Lambert's AMA performance. Needless to say there's lots of ~interesting~ material within these complaints:

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More complaints and background info at the SOURCE

What's your favorite complaint letter ONTD_P? Mine is definitely the Godwin letter!

(no subject)

Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push

KAMPALA, Uganda — Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.

The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

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Jajaja, the drama!

Argentine president fires central bank chief

BUENOS AIRES — President Cristina Fernandez fired Argentina's central bank chief for dereliction of duty Thursday after he refused to step down in a dispute over whether international reserves should be used to pay debt.

An emergency decree signed by Fernandez and her entire Cabinet, and distributed by government news agency Telam, said Martin Redrado "failed to fulfill the duties of a public servant."

Redrado angered the president by refusing to comply with an order to use about $6.6 billion in reserves to help cover $13 billion in international debt falling due this year. He had said he would wait for Congress to ratify the measure.

Fernandez asked Redrado to resign Wednesday but he refused, setting up a standoff that rattled financial markets.

Fernandez's government named central bank vice president Miguel Pesce – who has opposed Redrado's stance on using the reserves to cover debt – to take over the institution on an interim basis, according to TN news channel.

Constitutional law professor Andres Gil called Redrado's firing unconstitutional, saying the bank chief does not serve solely subject to the president's pleasure and it would first fall to Congress to issue a recommendation on his ouster.

"He is not just a (Cabinet) minister whom the president can decide to fire," said Andres Gil, who teaches constitutional law at Buenos Aires University.


I liked the "I accept your resignation" vs. "I'm not resigning!" exchange LOL. Argentina is the 3rd largest economy in Latin America (behind Brazil and Mexico), that's why I posted.
panda bear

(no subject)

Man Removed From Flight in Miami for Yelling "Kill Jews"

A man who described himself as a Palestinian and said he wanted to "kill all the Jews" was hauled off a Detroit-bound Delta Air Lines flight in Miami and arrested, authorities said on Thursday.

The plane was taxiing away from the terminal at Miami International Airport on Wednesday night when 43-year-old Mansor Mohammad Asad of Toledo, Ohio, began making loud anti-Semitic comments and chanting, apparently in Arabic, Miami-Dade police said in a statement.

"I'm Palestinian and I want (to) kill all Jews," he said, according to witnesses.

The pilot returned the aircraft to the terminal and a Taser device was used to "neutralize" Asad after he charged an arresting officer, the police statement said.

The incident came amid heightened airline security concerns following the attempted bombing of a Northwest flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.

Police said Asad faced several criminal charges including threats against a public servant and disorderly conduct. The Delta plane departed for Detroit following a thorough security sweep.

  • de_wood

At least 140 killed in South Sudan clashes

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At least 140 people were killed in a remote region of south Sudan, a UN official said on Thursday as aid agencies warned of a new civil war on the eve of the anniversary of a fragile peace deal between north and south.

Concern is mounting over stability in Sudan because Africa's largest nation, which is blessed by huge oil resources, faces a crucial political test this year -- its first general election in 24 years.

Ninety people were also wounded in the violence in Wunchuei region of the southern Warrap state over the past week, but the United Nations found out about the clashes only two days ago when a security team visited the area.

"This a matter for deep concern," said Lise Grande, the UN Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, adding that in addition to the casualties, 300,000 head of cattle were stolen.

UN peacekeepers were on their way to the area to investigate, she said.

The dead were from the Dinka people, and local sources suggested they were killed by a rival Nuer group but this claim could not be immediately confirmed.

The violence reinforced concerns expressed by 10 aid agencies which warned in a report that Sudan could plunge into fresh turmoil if the world community fails to salvage the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

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President Takes Full Responsability. Karl Rove Takes Another Dump.

Rove Backs Off His Criticism Of Counterterrorism Center, Perhaps Remembering Chief Is A Bush Holdover

In recent days, attention has been turning toward Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), in the failed Christmas Day bombing. Politico’s Laura Rozen wrote that it appears that “knives [are] out” for Leiter. On Tuesday, former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove also jumped on the NCTC during an appearance on Fox News, saying that the agency was “where the problem probably occurred”:
VAN SUSTEREN: But somebody had the job, Karl, to coordinate all this information into one center place. I cannot believe that after 9/11, we didn’t figure out that we have to have some sort of central resource –

ROVE: Well, we did. We did. [...]

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, who’s in charge of that?

ROVE: The counterterrorism center is where the problem probably occurred because, look, there are lots of — we know that the State Department passed on the information. We know the CIA received it. We know the counterterrorism center received it.
It was surprising that Rove pointed the finger at the NCTC, since Leiter served with him in the Bush administration. Leiter became NCTC director in 2007, and then was retained by the Obama administration. But maybe Rove forgot these details and remembered them only after his Fox News appearance, because today during another Fox interview, he tried to shift blame away from the NCTC:
ROVE: In fact, the biggest problem is not within the NCTC and the intelligence community — Look, I want to say one word of defense for them. There’s a lot of information flowing through there. It seems to me this should have been caught, but there is a lot of information flowing through there, and the expectation that human beings are going to be perfect 100 percent of the time or that the system of computers and algorithms of detection software is going to be perfect 100 percent of the time is just wrong.

In both interviews, Rove insisted that the real problem was with the Obama administration, who decided to “treat the Christmas Day bomber as a criminal defendant” (just like the Bush administration did with the shoe bomber). Watch the two clips:

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Study Suggests Punishing Foreigners By Making Them Citizens So They Become Tax Payers. The Horror.

Study predicts $1.5 trillion increase in GDP if undocumented immigrants are legalized.

A new study by University of California at Los Angeles professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda suggests that comprehensive immigration reform, which includes an earned path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, could generate at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. Hinojosa explains the data behind his immense calculation:
All immigrant workers in this scenario have full labor rights, which results in higher wages — and higher worker productivity—for all workers in industries where large numbers of immigrants are employed. As wage and productivity levels rise, the U.S. economy’s demand for new immigrant workers actually declines over time as the market shrinks for easily exploited, low-wage, low-productivity workers. [...]

The higher earning power of newly legalized workers translates into an increase in net personal income of $30 to $36 billion, which would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue. Moreover, an increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending sufficient to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs
According to Hinojosa, a mass deportation program often cited by right-wing enforcement-only advocates would actually result in a loss of $2.6 trillion over ten years while a solution that only consists of a temporary worker program that labor unions vehemently oppose and some moderate Republicans support would only yield $792 billion increase in GDP and also lead to a decrease in wages.