January 21st, 2010

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Korean supreme court rules cyber money is equal to real money

Ruling to Boost Sale of 'Cyber Money'

The Supreme Court made a landmark ruling Sunday, allowing "cyber money," or fictional money used in online games, to be exchanged for hard cash.

This is the first such ruling in Korea, court officials and game experts say, raising expectations that it will provide new territory for the booming online game industry by attracting people seeking not only entertainment but also money.

The court acquitted two gamers, who were indicted on charges of illegally making nearly 20 million won by selling 234 million won worth of cyber money earned in the online game Lineage to other gamers.

According to game experts, the cyber money, called "Aden" by Lineage, was surreptitiously traded at a ratio of one million Aden for 8,000 won.

The accused were indicted in 2008 and a provincial court slapped them with fines of two and four million won, respectively, citing a law banning the exchange of cyber money for hard currency.

But an appellate court overturned the decision, drawing a clear guideline on such exchanges.

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So basically, in-game money can be legally sold for real world money in Korea. I wonder how the game companies are going to react to this. And if this means there will be more people trying to make in-game money and get items to sell.

Also, a ten percent tax on this would most definitely not be chump change.
  • Current Music
    Shakira - Dreams For Plans
LOLitics | From Her Mama

ontd_political Photo of the Day: Jan 20, 2010.

A Hindu holy man takes a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers on the auspicious day of Basant Pachami during the month long 'Magh Mela' in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus take a bath at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 30 days celebrated as 'Magh Mela', to rid themselves of their sins and attain prosperity.

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Rajesh Kumar Sing | AP Photo

Ohai Balkans!

Exiting Croat leader says he’d attack Bosnian Serbs

RIJEKA, BANJA LUKA -- Outgoing Croatian President Stjepan Mesić said that he would send the military to cripple RS if it called a secession referendum.

The Croatian military, according to Mesić, would incapacitate the Republic of Srpska (RS) in case there was a referendum on independence in this Bosnian entity, that would violate the Dayton accord.

The peace deal ended the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and organized the coutnry into two entities: the Serb RS, and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

Mesić said, according to Rijeka daily Novi List, that if Republic of Srpska (RS) Prime Minister Milorad Dodik was to call a referendum for toppling the Dayton Agreement, he would send the Croatian military immediately, which would cripple the RS, “which would then have to disappear”, by closing the corridor by near the northern town of Brčko.

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“Radical extremism”

RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik believes that Mesić’s latest statements constitute for a disturbing threat by a man who “started his career with war and wants to end it with war”.

“Such radical extremist statements should never have been heard again in the region,” Dodik said.

“They are all the more dramatic calls for war as Mesić is still president of Croatia and commander in chief of its army, and Croatia is a NATO member,” Dodik added.

The RS premier also said he expects all politicians in the region, international community representatives, NATO officials and all peace-loving people in Croatia and other countries to condemn “war threats of the false peacekeeper Mesić aimed at the Serb people and RS”.

“It is well known that Mesić used the language of hate and threats to create an atmosphere for mass crimes against Serbs and for their expulsion from Croatia in the last war,” Dodik said.

Tadić: Mesić engages in warmongering

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Boris Tadić says Stjepan Mesić’s latest statements amount to threats against the region’s security and warmongering.

Mesić, who will step down as Croatia’s president in February, yesterday said he would send his country’s army to “incapacitate” the Bosnian Serb entity, RS, in case of a “secession” referendum.

Tadić stated in Belgrade this evening that such pronouncements are threatening the security of all people and nations that live in the region, and that this will be discussed at the Security Council, since this is the highest body of the UN that deals with worldwide security issues.

Tadić will travel to New York this week, where he will address the Security Council, set to discuss Kosovo on Friday, Jan. 22.

sources:  http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2010&mm=01&dd=19&nav_id=64600 and http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2010&mm=01&dd=20&nav_id=64633

Now, as a Serbian, I am completely ashamed of not knowing enough about my own country's history. I never bothered to learn too much about the wars (COUGHMilosevic'sgenocideCOUGH) because it made me rage too much and all I remember from that period was my mom saying 'War's over, we might get oil now'. So I'm not really educated when it comes to the Dayton Agreement :(


John Edwards finally admits paternity of Rielle Tucker's daughter

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has finally come forward to admit that he fathered a child with a videographer that he hired before his second White House bid. Edwards confirmed this in a statement released to The Associated Press Thursday, after initially denying that he'd fathered a child during his affair with the videographer, Reille Hunter. "I am Quinn's father," the former senator declared in his statement, as the second birthday of Frances Quinn Hunter approaches.

A former Edwards aide, Andrew Young, initially claimed paternity of the child shortly before the 2008 president
primary contests began. Young is scheduled to release a book on Feb. 2 that details the scandal Frances was born Feb. 27, 2008, indicating that the child was conceived in the middle of 2007, several months after Hunter stopped working for Edwards.

John and Elizabeth Edwards renewed their wedding vows in July of 2007 to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Elizabeth Edwards, whose cancer returned in an incurable form in March 2007, has stood by her husband despite the affair. She has said that it does not matter to her whether her husband fathered a child with Hunter, saying, "that would be a part of John's life, but not a part of mine."

Since admitting the affair in August 2008, John Edwards has largely gone into seclusion. He has acknowledged a federal investigation into his campaign finances while both Young and Hunter - with her child - have made appearances at a federal courthouse in Raleigh.

In the statement Edwards released Thursday, he said, "I will do everything in my power to provide her (Frances) with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace."


Justices Block Key Part of Campaign Law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.

By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

Critics of the stricter limits have argued that they amount to an unconstitutional restraint of free speech, and the court majority apparently agreed.

"The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion, joined by his four more conservative colleagues.

However, Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting from the main holding, said, "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined Stevens' dissent, parts of which he read aloud in the courtroom.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

Advocates of strong campaign finance regulations have predicted that a court ruling against the limits would lead to a flood of corporate and union money in federal campaigns as early as this year's midterm congressional elections.

The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, removes limits on independent expenditures that are not coordinated with candidates' campaigns.

The case also does not affect political action committees, which mushroomed after post-Watergate laws set the first limits on contributions by individuals to candidates. Corporations, unions and others may create PACs to contribute directly to candidates, but they must be funded with voluntary contributions from employees, members and other individuals, not by corporate or union treasuries.



Inhofe Is Scared of Brown People. I am Shocked!

Inhofe: ‘I Believe in Racial and Ethnic Profiling’

Not many senators are willing to own up to this, but here’s Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in today’s Fort Hood hearing in the Armed Services Committee. He made it clear he’s talking about the Northwest Airlines Flight 253 case as well. Notice how he portrays himself as a brave truth-teller instead of, you know, a racist.
I’m, for one — I know it’s not politically correct to say it — I believe in racial and ethnic profiling. I think if you’re looking at people getting on an airplane and you have X amount of resources to get into it, you get at the targets, and not my wife. And I just think it’s something that should be looked into. The statement that’s made, it’s probably 90 percent true with some exceptions like the Murrah federal office building in my state, Oklahoma. Those people, they were not Muslims, they were not Middle Easterners. But when you hear that not all Middle Easterners or Muslims between the age of 20 and 35 are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims or Middle Easterners between the age of 20 and 35, that’s by and large true. And I think that sometime we’re going to have to — at least, I’m going to have to have a better answer than I give the people back home, when people board planes or get into environments such as the environment we’re dealing with with this report.
Funny thing. There are some Bush administration officials who think profiling is not just disgusting but stupid:
Bush administration officials Michael Chertoff and Mike Hayden publicly oppose profiling. Abdulmutallab “would not have automatically fit a profile if you were standing next to him in the visa line at Dulles,” Hadyen, a former CIA and NSA director, said on ‘Meet The Press’ on Jan. 3. “One of the things al-Qaeda’s done is deliberately tried to recruit people who don’t fit the stereotype, who are Western in background or appearance,” Chertoff, a former secretary of Homeland Security, said on the same program.

Free At Last! Supreme Court Decides Money Greatest Freedom of Speech! Wal-Mart for 2010!

John McCain, Russ Feingold diverge on court ruling

Russ Feingold is seething mad. John McCain is giving more of a disappointed shrug.

The senators whose names were associated with the landmark campaign finance bill that was partially overturned by the Supreme Court on Thursday had divergent reactions — perhaps reflecting the impact the ruling may have on each of their parties.

“This decision was a terrible mistake,” said Feingold, echoing sentiment among Democrats that the ruling would open the floodgates for corporate money in elections. “Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”

McCain, whose party leaders praised the court decision, wasn’t as tough as Feingold. “I am disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions,” he said.

Most Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who fought the bill from the beginning, are celebrating.
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Supreme Court Rolls Back Campaign Finance Restrictions

By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday rolled back restrictions on corporate spending on federal campaigns. The decision could unleash a torrent of corporate-funded attack ads in upcoming campaigns.

"Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy -- it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people -- political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority.

In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens accused the majority of judicial activism and attacked the use of corporate personhood in the case: "The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court's disposition of this case."

Republicans offered measured praise for the decision, but progressive good-government groups and Democrats responded angrily and vowed to fight back with legislation.

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," said President Obama in a statement. "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans... That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision."

Democracy 21's Fred Wertheimer, for years a leading advocate of campaign finance reform, called the decision a "disaster for the American people and a dark day for the Supreme Court."

"The Supreme Court majority has acted recklessly to free up corporations to use their immense, aggregate corporate wealth to flood federal elections and buy government influence. The Fortune 100 companies alone had combined revenues of $13 trillion and profits of $605 billion during the last election cycle," Wertheimer wrote.

"Under today's decision, insurance companies, banks, drug companies, energy companies and the like will be free to each spend $5 million, $10 million or more of corporate funds to elect or defeat a federal candidate -- and thereby to buy influence over the candidate's positions on issues of economic importance to the companies."
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Won't Someone Think Of The Children~

According to the census, in 2008, same-sex couples were raising close to 250,000 children. Today's NY Times takes a look at the growing numbers of kids helping to redefine the term "family values."

In a well-reported piece (placed in the, uh, Fashion & Style section of the paper), Sarah Wildman explains how more and more children are stepping to the forefront of the debate over same sex marriage. Some, like ten year old Kasey Nicholson-McFadden, make their stances clear:

"It doesn't bother me to tell kids my parents are gay," he said in a clear voice. "It does bother me to say they aren't married. It makes me feel that our family is less than their family."

Marriage rights activists are starting to involve the children of same sex partnerships more and more, to counter the rhetoric from organizations that believe marriage as an institution should be about heterosexual procreation and nothing more.

Supporters for initiatives like Proposition 8 argue that "society is not forcing same-sex couples to raise children" - in essence, that these children should not be extended the same courtesy and societal protections of children who are the progeny of heterosexual unions.

"The real question is whether same-sex relationships benefit children to the same extent that living with a married mother and father does, and we believe they do not," said Peter S. Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, the conservative Christian organization. "Children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage."

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Aid groups urge halt to new Haiti adoptions

Three aid groups called Thursday for an immediate halt to any new adoptions of Haitian children after last week's earthquake.

Save the Children, World Vision and a unit of the British Red Cross said the focus first must be on tracing any family members that children may still have and reuniting them.

"Any hasty new adoptions would risk permanently breaking up families, causing long-term damage to already vulnerable children, and could distract from aid efforts in Haiti," the agencies said in a joint statement.

The disaster in Haiti has led to an outpouring of support around the world, with the United States alone donating more than $305 million as of Wednesday, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, a newspaper covering nonprofit organizations.

Stories of Haitian orphanages struggling after the quake and the plight of the children there also has led many to ask about adopting children.

After reading a CNN report on Haitian orphans, CNN.com reader Dana Fanning wrote, "It broke my heart. My husband and our 4 children want to know if and how we could adopt [any] of the children orphaned by the earthquake."

Save the Children Chief Executive Jasmine Whitbread said the "vast majority" of children on their own in Haiti are not orphans, but were simply separated from their families in the chaos.

Their family members may still be alive, she said, and "will be desperate to be reunited with them."

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Akuma River

Social media and distance learning can help 'fix' Afghanistan

Could a ‘Virtual Surge’ Fix Afghanistan?
•By Nathan Hodge
•January 20, 2010 |
•12:36 am |
•Categories: Miscellaneous


Afghanistan, like Haiti, is a country in need of a major reboot. Yet despite billions in reconstruction dollars and an influx of civilian development experts, it remains at the bottom of every development and transparency index.

But according to Ashraf Ghani, the country’s former finance minister and a onetime presidential contender, Afghanistan doesn’t need an army of consultants and contractors. It needs you and your laptop.

Ghani is promoting the idea of a “virtual surge” as a development alternative in Afghanistan. The idea is simple: In order to help Afghanistan, you don’t need to be in Afghanistan. You can use distance learning and social networking tools to provide the information and expertise the country needs, and save money, time and lives in the process.

“The United States is a society where voluntary activity is ingrained in the culture — and where online community has become very, very real community,” Ghani said. “My idea is to harness the power of online community as the other side of America.”

Call it an alternative, or perhaps an adjunct to, the current troop surge. “The sense of sacrifice by the American soldiers is extremely well appreciated,” Ghani said. “But they don’t have counterpart civilians. There are very few really qualified civilians who can come and take the conditions of hardship. But that doesn’t mean that they cannot contribute.”
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I think this is a brilliant idea. Like someone says in the comments, in the past two decades with the advent of personal computers and internet we have stopped more wars, shared more knowledge, and gained more understanding of our neighbors. It is through education that we can save this world. At least, that is what I naively believe.

What are your thoughts ontd_p?
  • spondee

Victim in Roman Polanski rape case expected to take new legal step on his behalf

Victim in Roman Polanski rape case expected to take new legal step on his behalf

January 21, 2010 |  9:48 am

Polanski In the 33 years since she accused Roman Polanski of rape, Samantha Geimer has publicly forgiven the acclaimed director, accused the American justice system of mistreating him and urged a dismissal of his still pending criminal case.

On Friday, Geimer is expected to take yet another step on Polanski’s behalf – asking that a Los Angeles court force U.S. authorities to abandon their ongoing attempt to extradite the filmmaker from Switzerland.

In papers served on Polanski’s lawyers Wednesday and expected to be filed in Superior Court this morning, Geimer’s lawyer contends that the L.A. County district attorney’s office violated the state's victims rights statute by not consulting with her prior to making the extradition request.


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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Women Healthcare Executives—Where Are They in the Health Reform Debate?

By Dr. Sharon Ufberg

The author, an activist for women’s health and safety, looks in vain for leadership from women in corporate healthcare boardrooms as negotiations on reform reach the final stage.

Here we are at a pivotal moment in United States healthcare policy, with women’s healthcare rights a big part of the story. So where are the voices of the women healthcare executives at this important time? Where has their leadership and advocacy been during this watershed moment in our history?

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franklin sherman

Kucinich shreds Democrats for betraying the promise of change

Slams health bill 'madness'

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on Wednesday said the Massachusetts election was a "wake up call" for Democrats and that his party had better change course or it could suffer devastating losses come November.

"People elected Democrats in 2008 to change the direction," he told Raw Story in a nearly hour-long interview.

"And the same entrenched interests that George Bush could not shake, this current White House is having great difficulty in shaking. One could suggest they might be more entrenched than ever."

Kucinich staunchly defended liberalism but alleged that Democrats are not behaving like liberals.

"There's nothing liberal about the bailouts. There's nothing liberal about standing by and watching banks use public money to get their executive bonuses. There's nothing liberal about giving insurance companies carte blanche to charge anything they want for health care... Since when did that become liberal?"

"There's nothing liberal about letting coal and oil write climate change legislation,"
he added. "Are you kidding me?"

The 13-year congressman lamented the lack of change in economic policies, tying it to the major problems Democrats are facing.

"The minute the president appointed Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to key policy positions, and the minute that [Ben] Bernanke was named to head the Fed again, we're looking at people who participated in the decline of the economy," he said. "This group has done us a disservice."

"Every area of the economy is still about taking wealth from the great mass of people and putting it into the hands of a few. If you don't have a economic democracy, you don't have a political democracy."

"We have to be more defined as being on the side of the people and not on the side of interest groups that are so entrenched," said Kucinich, who is widely regarded as a champion on progressive issues.

Dems 'jumped in bed with insurance companies'

Kucinich said he's deeply disillusioned with what health reform has become, suggesting Democrats should "slow down" and "take a step back."

"Health care became too complex and too riddled with concessions to insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies," he said. "It's really time to take a new direction and that direction has to be back to the American people."

One idea Democrats are floating is to pass the Senate bill through the House, which would then allow the President to sign it into law.

"I don't think that's going to happen," he said. "The senate bill is so totally flawed that I don't think it can get the votes in the House to pass. I certainly wouldn't vote for it."

"It hits very sharply at people who gave wage concessions to get health care benefits," he said, citing the excise tax on health care benefits. "We're going to ask Americans to take a wage cut? Why?"

"We lost the initiative the minute that our party jumped into bed with the insurance companies. And soon they were looking at increasing taxes as a way of subsidizing insurance companies. It's just madness."

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rachel says WTF?

Air America folds

Air America, the radio network founded to be a progressive alternative to conservative talk radio, announced today that it is ceasing live programming operations immediately.

The company, which cited a "very difficult economic environment," will file under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, according to a statement on its Web site.

Air America launched in April of 2004, and Sen. Al Franken and Rachel Maddow (pictured) have been among its hosts.

"At a critical time in our nation's history — when dissent on issues such as the Iraq war were often denounced as 'un-American' — Air America and its talented team helped millions of Americans remember the importance of compelling discussion about the most pivotal events and decisions of our generation," the company said in its statement.

Air America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in 2006, according to the Washington Post, and was sold for $4.25 million three years ago.

The company's employees have been let go, and it will run "encore programming" through Monday. Read Air America's full statement here.



More post-election derechista douchebaggery from Chile

Jovino Novoa (UDI) believes it is fit to close Human Rights trials

In an interview with Radio Bio Bio, and asked about the possibility of abolishing the Amnesty Act, the president of the Senate, expressed his refusal to keep open processes concerning crimes that occurred during the military regime.

The law, which prohibits the prosecution of some individuals involved in abuses that occurred during the military dictatorship, is against international rules.

"After thirty years, the processes remain open without an end result that satisfies neither the interests of justice nor the interests of victims. And somehow, it also harms the image of the institutions." Said the parliamentarian, who said he does not believe that the slow pace of the investigations are due to the amnesty law.

Lorena Pizarro, president of the Association of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees protested against the statements of the senator, arguing that although throughout the years, they will continue to demand the punishment of individuals who were responsible for human rights violations.

SOURCE in Spanish

This dude is another Pinochetista UDI douche. I hate that these people are gonna hold important positions in the government now. Fuck. Also, LJ just screwed up my html so I'm trying this again.

Christian Bale

Ron Paul: After ‘CIA coup,’ agency ‘runs military’

US House Rep. Ron Paul says the CIA has in effect carried out a "coup" against the US government, and the intelligence agency needs to be "taken out."

Speaking to an audience of like-minded libertarians at a Campaign for Liberty regional conference in Atlanta this past weekend, the Texas Republican said:
There's been a coup, have you heard? It's the CIA coup. The CIA runs everything, they run the military. They're the ones who are over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries. ... And of course the CIA is every bit as secretive as the Federal Reserve. ... And yet think of the harm they have done since they were established [after] World War II. They are a government unto themselves. They're in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators ... We need to take out the CIA.

Paul's comments, made last weekend, were met with a loud round of applause, but they didn't gather attention until bloggers noticed a clip of the event at YouTube.

Paul appeared to be referring to news reports that the CIA is deeply involved in air strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A suicide bombing late last year against Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan took the lives of seven of CIA operatives, including two contracted from Blackwater. The event highlighted the CIA's deep involvement in the war effort.

Paul's reference to the CIA being "in the drug business" refers to long-running allegations that the CIA has funded some of its covert operations with proceeds from drug-running. That claim was most famously made in a 1996 investigative report from the San Jose Mercury-News, which alleged that cocaine from the Contra-Sandinista civil war in Nicaragua was making its way to the streets of L.A. via the CIA.

Akuma River

Torturing poor kids for dental fraud on Medicaid

'Small Smiles' Dental Chain Reaches Settlement for Medical Fraud
Children Put Through Agonizing and Often Unnecessary Procedures -- Government Charges the Motive Was Profit
Jan. 20, 2010


It's a promise many parents make before taking their children to the dentist: Don't worry, it won't hurt too much. But at some "Small Smiles" dental clinics catering to low-income families on Medicaid, that promise was broken behind closed doors.

FORBA Holdings LLC, the parent company of the nationwide pediatric dental chain "Small Smiles," reached a $24 million settlement with the Department of Justice Wednesday for allegedly performing medically unnecessary or substandard procedures on children insured by Medicaid, to turn a profit.
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Yes, that means that NO ONE will be going to jail and the business will not be shut down. On the news, it is mentioned repeatedly that one child had 18 root canals on BABY TEETH.

This is torture. Plain and simple and it was all for MONEY.
Christian Bale

Overweight Woman Sentenced in Boyfriend's 'Sitting' Death

A woman avoids jail time in the death of her boyfriend. Authorities say she sat on him after an argument which caused his death. Fox 8's Kathleen Cochrane explains...

CLEVELAND -- The details are shocking and hard to believe, but authorities say a woman -- who was believed to weigh around 300 lbs. at the time -- sat on her boyfriend and killed him last summer.

On Wednesday, Mia Landingham, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 120 lb. boyfriend, Mikal Middleton-Bey.

It happened back in August during an altercation between the couple, who share three children together.

During Landingham's sentencing, her boyfriend's family spoke of the pain she has caused their family.

"I just want to let you know how much you have hurt us by taking Mikal away from us," said Sharon Phillips, the victim's step-mother.

Landingham's public defender told the judge there was a long history of domestic abuse between his client and her late boyfriend.

He also pointed out she has no prior criminal record.

Landingham, then told the judge she was sorry for squashing the father of her children. "I just want to say that I am sincerely sorry about this situation... I wish I could take it back."

Judge Carolyn Friedland sentenced her to three years probation and 100 hours community service.

Landingham was then immediately released from jail.

While Middleton-Bey's family hoped Landingham would eventually be able to take part in her children's lives, they were surprised that she got no additional jail time.

"So basically you can say that I can go sit on somebody and get probation?" said one of the victim's sister.

"I feel there wasn't no justice."

Landingham faced a maximum of five years behind bars.


Tea Party to Protest... The Tea Party? But What About the Free Tea Baggings!?

Latest tea party target: Its own convention

The convention is being held at a fancy resort, features $550 ticket prices, a steak and lobster dinner and a guest speaker with a $100,000 speaking fee. It’s sponsored by a for-profit company with a mysterious wealthy benefactor, and its organizers, who have been accused of secrecy and corruption, have threatened lawsuits against dissenters and clamped down on news coverage.

Sounds like just the kind of thing that tea party activists, whose populist outrage is directed at the Washington and Wall Street establishments, would be up in arms over.

Except it’s a tea party convention.

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That Pink House is getting red...

Mrs. Kirchner cancels trip to China: claims she can’t trust Vice-president

Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced Tuesday during a press conference at the Government House that she suspended her business trip to China because she does not trust in Vice-President Julio Cobos, and accused him of trying to “block” the decisions of the Executive Branch.

"If others do not fulfill their role as they should, I will," said the Head of State due to the possibility that the Vice-President calls for extraordinary sessions during the trip to China.

The President said that she suspends her business mission "especially because the one who will be in charge of the Executive Branch (referring to Cobos) does not fulfill his duties because he is currently the leader of the opposition and he also blocks measures applied by the President."

Mrs. Kirchner added that "I must stay in the country to handle the public affairs because (I fear) any measure will be to destabilize the situation."

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yes i do

Specter to Bachmann: 'Act like a lady'

A heated political debate and charges of sexism erupted on Philadelphia talk radio Wednesday when Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, told Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, to "act like a lady."

Specter and Bachmann appeared on WPHT radio to discuss the what President Obama has accomplished in his first year in office. When Specter began to respond to Bachmann's claim that Scott Brown's special election victory in Massachusetts was a repudiation of the Obama administration's policies, Bachmann interjected - to the clear frustration of the longtime Senator.

"I didn't interrupt you," Specter said. "This is beginning to sound like a TV talk show."

When Bachmann interrupted again, Specter angrily responded. "Now wait a minute, I'll stop and you can talk," he said. "I'll treat you like a lady, so act like one."

"I am a lady," Bachmann retorted.

She again interrupted Specter later in the interview. And again, Specter told her to "act like a lady." Bachmann one more time confirmed that she is a lady.

"Well I think you are too, that's why I'm treating you like one," Specter said. "But just don't interrupt me."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is hoping to defeat Specter this November if he survives a Democratic primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak, seized on the comment

"Instead of belittling his female colleagues, Arlen Specter should take his own advice and act like a gentleman," said NRSC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand. She said that the five-term Senator would be held accountable by women in his state "if he makes it to the General Election in November."

Calls to both the Specter and Bachmann press offices were not immediately returned.

ETA: Source: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/01/21/specter-to-bachmann-act-like-a-lady/

Prop 8 Trial today. Dr.Tam: The crazy is here and it had teh Internet.

Boies (plaintiffs): But you believe that homosexuals are 12 times more likely to molest children?
Dr. Tam (Defendents): Yes, it says it here
B: Where did you read it, in a journal or a book
T: Could be something I read

B: (Angry now) I am asking you not what you could have read, but what you read?
T: Don’t recall
B: Was it a book?
T: Don’t recall
B: Was it an article?
T: Don’t recall
B: WHO WROTE IT? (angry now)
T: I don’t remember

source@  http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/25526

I was off the Internets for most of today. Upon reading the testimony of Dr. Tam  today, I had to walk around take a breath take a drink take a walk cry scream laugh and then well- repeat.

Today We heard from one of the most ignorant bigoted minds behind the Prop 8 campaign, Dr. Tam Prop 8 used this man to motivate a large base of conservative voters and now is trying to disown him in the same way that politicians use the local crazy fundy fucker to stir up all their base- but then disown him after he sees Jesus in his soup and  moons a tv reporter - or  something.  If Dr. Tam had claimed he saw Jesus in his soup and mooned the whole courtroom he would have presented a more reliable testimony that was her presented today. Dr Tam was torn to shreds by the Plaintiff's atty.  There are many many many moments in today's hearing that were EPIC INTERNET LUZwtfIdon'teven WHAT THE HELL.. etc. I will settle with posting Prop8's summary, but seriously- please please  Take THE TIME TO GO to the link and READ THIS TESTIMONY.  I can't even begin to tell you how Awesome Boies was for our side, how laughable this idiot was and how outraged i  am that little idiots like this can affect the lives of so many people in CA and the country.

What disgust I have in reading this testimony is tempered by the absolute gratitude I feel for the fact that we get to see this man on the stand and see his "views" put throught the ringer.  Also making an appearance was the epically lolz "A Storm Coming" commercial.

Just few of the many fine moments in the court room today.. Collapse )

Russia claims ownership of all Orthodox cathedrals.

More than 100 years ago, the last Russian Tsar built the imposing Saint-Nicolas Cathedral at his Mediterranean watering hole of Nice on the French Riviera.

PARIS – A French court ruled Wednesday that a Russian Orthodox cathedral built on the French Riviera nearly a century ago under Czar Nicholas II now belongs to Moscow.

The ruling by the Nice court is the latest development in Russia's bid to obtain ownership of Orthodox edifices around the world; Italy last year amicably returned to Russia a church in the southern city of Bari.

Wednesday's ruling was a defeat for an association founded by Russians who fled the Bolshevik Revolution that has been fighting to maintain its control over the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Nice, and its archbishop is accusing the Russian government of a land grab as part of a national pride campaign.

Father Jean Gueit, the cathedral's archpriest, said the ornate cathedral has become a "political tool" — and he vowed to appeal the court decision.

But Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Archpriest Nikolai Balashov said, "We see the ruling of the Nice court as the restoration of historical justice," according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia said the only change it plans is to stop charging an admission fee to people visiting the building.


Angola's new constitution

Angola abolishes presidential polls in new constitution

Angola's parliament has approved a new constitution which abolishes direct presidential elections.

The head of state will now automatically be the leader of the party with the parliamentary majority.

The main opposition, Unita, boycotted the vote, accusing the government of trying to destroy democracy.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been in power for more than three decades and the next polls are not expected until 2012.

The oil-rich nation is recovering from a long civil war which ended in 2002.

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Diretas já!
grrm sux

'Sorcerer' sentenced to death

A SAUDI man reported to have raped more than 100 women after posing as a spell-caster to lure them into his clutches has been sentenced to death, Saudi media reported.

The "Qatif sorcerer" was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes, but after more victims came forth the sentence was changed to execution, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported overnight.

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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Haiti: Absent in Life, Death and On the Evening News

By Amanda Furness

The author, who has worked in Cite Soleil, a poor district hit hard by the earthquake, asks us to see her partner and friends in Port-au-Prince through her eyes, not as they are customarily portrayed in the media.

I pictured them at first huddled on top of one another in a huge, human pile. My friends and adopted family, who live in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti—quaking from the shocks that gripped them, trying hard to hold each other down during tragic times, as Haitians are often forced to do. Are they there? Still alive? Phone lines continue to ring silently into the night, and the media mentions Cite Soleil only to say that, as a slum, it exists.

Envisioning my 24-year-old partner Robinson—who runs an orphanage and medical clinic on this landfill-plantation of 300,000 along the capital’s coastline—rescuing the orphans that he cares for is what keeps my heart beating. But if there is no longer a Robinson? For me and the thousands of Cite Soleil residents that he serves on a daily basis that would be an enormous loss, but to the rest of the world, men like Robinson simply don’t exist. They are suspiciously absent from the media because their realities lie far from those of the “mainstream.” To see them would require reporters to dig deeply into history and various political agendas but most of all to immerse themselves in places that they are usually unwilling or afraid to go to. Places like Cite Soleil.

Because of the media’s limited perspective, Haiti’s story and the stories of its good, honorable, hygienic and hardworking masses—even in Cite Soleil—never get told on the evening news. Collapse )

Akuma River

The Twilight Rapist and no the cops don't think he is a vampire

Perry creates task force to find ‘Twilight Rapist'
By Peter J Holley - Express-News

A year after the first known assault, Gov. Rick Perry requested Thursday that the Texas Department of Public Safety establish a multi-jurisdictional major crime task force to help local law enforcement agencies catch a violent serial rapist who targets elderly women.

Using DNA evidence, authorities linked the “Twilight Rapist” to eight sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults, and four burglaries or attempted burglaries in small towns across South and Central Texas. The victims, mostly widows who lived alone, ranged in age from 65 to 91. Authorities dubbed the suspect the “Twilight Rapist” because of his early-morning attacks that often took place in the dark.

“The viciousness of these attacks warrants a combined effort to bring this criminal to justice,” said Gov. Perry. “The creation of this task force will leverage our state's law enforcement personnel, in coordination with local law enforcement, to bring an end to this heinous crime spree.”

In a press release, the governor asked DPS to make all its resources, including the Texas Rangers, available to assist in capturing the suspect. Authorities, however, acknowledged as early as last fall that the Texas Rangers were involved in much of the investigation's day-to-day operations.

The suspect was described as a thin, young and dark-skinned man between 5 ½- and 6-feet tall. While DNA linked the suspect to several crimes, no specific suspect was identified in the state DNA database. The most recent attack occurred Nov. 24 in Luling, an hour's drive east of San Antonio. The victim told officials she awoke with the man's hand over her nose and mouth around 4 a.m. Authorities released a photo Jan. 4 of an ornate wall clock taken from a Leon County home in September in hopes that the image would jog someone's memory and lead to the arrest of the suspect.

I heard about this guy months ago when New Moon came out in theatres and remember laughing at the name the cops gave the guy.

I don't think I live within his target zone. Luling is close in Texas distance but it's still over an hour's drive away. Not to mention I'm too young for him.

Sadly, I don't think they will ever catch this guy. He just hits in too many areas across the state. And have you seen our state? It's fucking huge.


Republicans To Take Credit For Bringing Health Care Reform. We Are Saved!

New Dem Worry: GOP Taking Credit For Health Care Reform

Health care reform advocates are concerned that passing a scaled-back version of reform legislation -- an option being considered by President Obama and Democratic Party leaders -- could end up playing into the hands of Republican electoral politics.

On Thursday, House Democrats debated two ways of getting a health care reform bill passed. The first is to pass the Senate's bill -- though only on the condition that additional reforms would be tackled in a separate filibuster-proof bill, to be passed through a process called reconciliation. The second approach is to pare down the package -- stripping it to its unobjectionable core (insurance regulation, money to help people buy care, etc.) -- and use that as a building block for future legislation.

That the latter strategy is being seriously considered by progressive lawmakers is a testament to how large an albatross health care reform has become for the party. But the worry, for some, is that it could lead to Republicans claming victory.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "will have his whole caucus vote for it and make it a political win for the Republicans," one well-connected Democratic health care strategist said. "They'll say, 'This was the Republican plan from the beginning. We're glad the Democrats joined us.' And take all the credit for passing reform."

Lo and behold, on Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that the Republican Party do just that, arguing that it would be "clever" for the GOP to pass non-controversial reform measures with "huge bipartisan majorities."

Alternately, some Democrats might welcome such a move. "Hell yeah," a Democratic congressional aide said. "We would have created a bi-partisan bill. We would have shown leadership. And we'd get credit for that."

Indeed, it's hard to see Republican lawmaker -- let alone a majority of the caucus -- moving away from their strategy of full-throated opposition.

"The situation as I see it is that Republicans have decided that this bill will win them elections -- if we don't pass it, it especially does," said one leadership aide. "Aiding us in a victory lap is not the game they want to play."

Moreover, the presumption among party insiders -- at least for now-- is that Democratic leadership will ultimately settle on passing the Senate package (with promises of additional change.)

"I think if people are talking about the piecemeal approach it's without really thinking about it in detail," emailed one Hill aide. "I mean, everything I've heard is it's just not doable. I predict that the dynamic will change in the next couple weeks. I think House leadership is going to start pushing -- through polls, strategists, etc -- that abandoning reform now is suicide. That we can't allow '94 to repeat and you'll see the [progressives] get on board for a strategy that passes the senate bill while saving face in other ways."

Befuddlement. Anger. Shock.

-Coakley aides paint portrait of missteps on campaign trail

Democrats were feeling lots of things yesterday, none of them very good, as they woke up to a new political reality: They had lost the Senate election, given up a seat they had owned for six decades, and were forced to accept that a Republican, Scott Brown, is headed to Washington, D.C.

What went wrong? A lot, according to a portrait of Democrat Martha Coakley’s campaign painted by people who either closely observed it or were involved in some fashion.

They described a campaign that was too sure of its own success, that waited too long to call in the cavalry, that made key missteps, including focusing on abortion at the expense of the economy, and that did little to court voters in the communities that led Governor Deval Patrick and President Obama to huge victories.

Coakley and her advisers also lost the new media war, allowing Brown to generate far more attention online through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And by many accounts, they paid insufficient attention to the bread and butter of political campaigning, such as blanketing the state with signs and getting out and meeting voters.

The lapses were particularly noticeable in minority communities, traditionally bastions of Democratic votes, which did not turn out in high numbers Tuesday.


Update. Here is an video interview Coakley gave the Globe today. She still doesn't get it.


Non-Christian Infidels Says No To Jesus Rifles. No More +10 Faith Bonus of Truth.

Trijicon Will Remove Secret Biblical Codes From Gun Sights Sold To US Military

A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company's gear.

In a statement released Thursday, Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., says it is also providing to the armed forces free of charge modification kits to remove the Scripture citations from the telescoping sights already in use. Through multimillion dollar contracts, the Marine Corps and Army have bought more than 300,000 Trijicon sights.

The references to Bible passages raised concerns that the citations break a government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are predominantly Muslim countries.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command initially said the Trijicon sights didn't violate the ban and compared the citations on the sights to the "In God We Trust" inscription printed on U.S. currency.

On Thursday, however, Army Gen. David Petraeus, Central Command's top officer, called the practice "disturbing."

"This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan," Petraeus told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

In a statement issued later by the command, Petraeus said that "cultural and religious sensitivities are important considerations in the conduct of military operations."

New Zealand announced Thursday that they would remove the citations from the sights they have, and Australia, which also uses the sights, is assessing what to do.
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Akuma River

Whaling Wars may change the way protests/wars are conducted

Whaling Protesters Pioneer Non-lethal Warfare
•By David Hambling
•January 15, 2010 |
•4:18 pm |
•Categories: Less-lethal


An altruistic millionaire spends a fortune on high-tech vehicles and an arsenal of non-lethal weaponry — including sonic blasters and photonic disruptors — for a vigilante battle against similarly-armed villains. Nope, it’s not a comic book plot. This is real life, according to a story in the New Yorker about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s recent tussle with some Japanese whalers. And it raises interesting questions about the future of non-lethal devices as tools of protest.

In an article called “Streetfight on the High Seas,” the magazine interviews Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson. He describes how the group went into action in a converted whaling ship and a 78-foot wave-piercing trimaran, capable of 45 knots. This boat is often described as looking like something out of a Batman movie; a million dollars of the purchase price was supplied by Hollywood lighting magnate Ady Gil, and the boat was named after him.
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In conjuction with that article is this one:

A Sonic Blaster So Loud, It Could Be Deadly

•By David Hambling
•January 18, 2010 |
•9:32 am |
•Categories: Less-lethal


All kinds of of devices have been dubbed “sonic blasters” — from the Long Range Acoustic Device super loudhailer to the piercing Banshee to the Inferno (”most unbearable, gut-wrenching noise I’ve ever heard in my life” according to Danger Room’s own Sharon Weinberger). But a new device, developed in Israel, merits the “sonic blaster” label more than most: the Thunder Generator really is a blaster, producing a series of ear-splitting explosions. Some are so loud, they could be deadly.
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