March 3rd, 2010

stock | Teddy and Puppy

ontd_political PotD: March 2, 2010.

Three days after one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded struck the South American nation of Chile, the massive extent of the damage is becoming clearer, and the number of known victims has climbed to 723 deaths so far, many thousands still missing, and nearly 2 million displaced. World governments made immediate pledges of aid after Chilean President Michelle Bachelet requested mobile bridges, field hospitals, satellite phones, electrical generators, disaster assessment teams, water purification systems, field kitchens and restaurants, UN officials said.

Collected here are recent photos from areas in Chile damaged by Saturday's 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
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How you can help Chile. ♥


Chile earthquake relief

As most of you must know, Chile was hit by a major earthquake and tsunami this past saturday. Chile is a country prepared for this kind of natural disasters but sadly the situation it's catastrophic so we need all the help available.

How can I help?

If you are in the U.S. you can text the following organizations:

SMS text “CHILE” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross

SMS text “CHILE” to 25383 to donate $10 to Habitat for Humanity

SMS text “CHILE” to 20222 to donate $10 to World Vision

SMS text “REBUILD” to 50555 to donate $10 to Operation USA

SMS text “CHILE” to 52000 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army

SMS text “YOUTH” to 20222 to donate $10 to UNICEF

Or donate with a credit card to the International Medical Corps.

Worldwide and in the U.S.:

You can donate through the following organizations using a credit card

* American Red Cross

* Oxfam

* World Vision

* Doctors without borders

* SOS Children's Villages

* Habitat for Humanity

* Global giving (paypal also available)

* Or you can donate through Google to UNICEF and Direct Relief International.

Others ways to help

The community help_chile has been created and it's operating in a similar way as help_haiti.

You can also contact your local Chilean embassy or consulate if you would like information about other ways to help (links in spanish).

Finding people

If you or someone you know needs information about missing people there are two websites set up: Google person finder (english and spanish) and Buscador de personas (spanish).


If you have any information about other ways to help, let me know and I'll edit this post. Please let know everyone you can about the need of help, every little thing is appreciated; In the name of my fellow Chileans I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you mods for approving this post.
Me in Hawaii.

Maine panel weighs cell phone cancer warning

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Ignoring the health risks of heavy cell phone use invites a cancer epidemic, supporters of a bill requiring manufacturers to put labels on mobile phones and packaging said Tuesday.

"We can do nothing and wait for the body count. That's what happened with smoking" before warnings on cigarette packs were mandated, David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany, told Maine lawmakers.

The Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on a bill that would make Maine the first state to carry warnings that they can cause brain cancer, especially among children. Opponents dismissed research pointing to the risks and said the bill is more about politics than science.

The sponsor, Rep. Andrea Boland, said the United States lags behind other countries that have either mandated similar warnings or endorsed policies warning the public about cell phone use.

Carpenter, a Harvard Medical School graduate and researcher with expertise in electromagnetic fields, said the strongest evidence of cell phone dangers comes from Europe, where the devices have been in use longer than in the United States. He told lawmakers that the U.S. "may face an epidemic of brain cancer" if nothing is done to warn consumers of risks.

Boland, D-Sanford, said the risks diminish markedly if the phone is held away from the head.

Olle Johansson, a scientist at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, submitted testimony saying that "very serious biological changes" that include cancer risks have been noticed for years from exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields like those emitted from cell phones.

Supporters also included brain cancer patient and relatives of victims who said the disease was triggered by cell phone use.

"When you put that phone to your head, you are unknowingly playing Russian roulette," said Alan Marks of the San Francisco Bay area, who's been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

An industry group, TechAmerica, said Boland's bill "substitutes political judgment for the collective scientific judgment of experts around the world."

Kim Allman, senior vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based group, said in a statement that scientific evidence so far does not indicate a public health risk and added that warning labels would be misleading and confusing.

Gov. John Baldacci's administration also opposes the bill.

Dora Anne Mills, director of the state Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said research by federal health and safety agencies does not justify a warning, although she acknowledged that uncertainty exists about the effects of long-term cell use.

Mills said the federal Food and Drug Administration is already taking precautionary action by urging the industry to do further research and to design cell phones to minimize exposure to risks.

But Mills said that if the state was to require warnings on everything with undefined risks, everything "from apples to xylophones" would have to be labeled.

The committee is expected to review the bill further in about a week.


Posted via

¶ | ± | forty-two

Jonathan Freedland: The BBC is caving in to a Tory media policy dictated by Rupert Murdoch

Like a man who fears he's about to get knifed in the heart, so plunges the blade into his own leg instead, the BBC has decided its best strategy for self-preservation is to suffer a little pain now to avoid a lot of pain later.

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It perplexes me that only a few people have commented on the political ramifications of the review, especially in light of a possible Tory government.

Citing same-sex marriage bill, Washington Archdiocese ends foster-care program

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District rather than license same-sex couples, the first fallout from a bitter debate over the city's move to legalize same-sex marriage.

Catholic Charities, which runs more than 20 social service programs for the District, transferred its entire foster-care program -- 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members -- to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families. Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), the D.C. Council member who chairs the Committee on Human Services, said he didn't know of any problems with the transfer, which happened Feb. 1.

In addition to foster care, the center runs programs in Montgomery County and the District for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

The marriage bill, which was approved and signed in December, is expected to become law in the next couple of weeks if it clears a congressional review period.

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Uncle V wants you

Don McLeroy loses his seat on the Texas State Board of Education

Austin Statesman: McLeroy, Miller upset in SBOE elections

By Kate Alexander | Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 01:35 AM

Thomas Ratliff upset State Board of Education member Don McLeroy in a Republican primary nail-biter.

McLeroy, a dentist from Bryan, lost by about 800 votes. No Democrat has filed for the District 9 race so Ratliff will take the seat next year.

Appointed board chairman in 2007, McLeroy has been the poster-child for the board’s conservative bloc with his affable tone but strident ideology. Last year, his nomination as chairman was blocked by Democrats in the Texas Senate.

His defeat is substantial blow to the conservatives, who have largely driven the recent rewrites of curriculum standards. Ratliff, son of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, has made it clear that he will be a more moderate vote on the closely divided 15-member board.

More about the other two races at the link.

As a scientist and educator, I can't help but think this is a good thing. I found McLeroy's efforts on behalf of creationism and historical revisionism appalling.


Let These Women Pray! Women Stage Pray-In Protest At DC Mosque.

In an uprising reminiscent of the lunch-counter protests of the 1960s, women at one of Washington D.C.'s most popular mosques are copying the tactics of the civil-rights movement, and refusing to follow rules that ban them from praying with the men. Asra Q. Nomani on the arrest threats and outrage that followed.

Shortly after noon on a recent Saturday, Fatima Thompson, a Muslim convert, and three other women prayed in the men’s section of the lavishly decorated Islamic Center of Washington, in a moment akin to Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat.

A bearded, middle-aged man scolded one of the women. “Sister, go there!” he said, pointing to a back corner, dubbed the “penalty box” by one disgruntled woman. The seven-foot wooden barrier separated the men and women’s sections in a visual metaphor of gender apartheid. She ignored him.

Defiantly, they continued to pray behind a row of men at the front of the mosque, when their numbers unexpectedly quadrupled. A tour group of about 100 Muslims, including about 30 women, from Hagerstown, Maryland, had hurriedly entered after the prayer had already began, unsuspectingly joining the protesters.

But the mood shifted when mosque officials called the cops.

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franklin sherman

DEA Marijuana Seizures Nearly Double Under Obama

The total amount of marijuana seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nearly doubled from 1,539 metric tons in fiscal 2008 to 2,980 metric tons in last year.

The numbers were disclosed as part of the DEA’s budget request for fiscal 2011.

A spokesman for the DEA declined to elaborate on the reason for such a dramatic rise in seizures of marijuana.

“Several factors play into this number and in any given year the amount of drugs seized by DEA can fluctuate,” said spokesman David Ausiello.

Aaron Houston, the director of government relations of the Marijuana Policy Project, a lobbying group that advocates the legalization of marijuana, said he suspected the increase was a result of drug seizures from cartels.

Despite Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that targeting individual users of cannabis for medical purposes was no longer a priority, the DEA budget request spoke dismissively of the benefits of medical marijuana, even placing the word patients in quotation marks.

“DEA does not investigate or target individual ‘patients’ who use cannabis, but instead the drug trafficking organizations involved in marijuana trafficking,” the request stated.

Houston applauded the Obama administration for its decision to stop raiding medical marijuana facilities in states that allow the practice. But said Houston, “on the rest of their drug policy, they’re on Bush administration auto-pilot.”

The DEA request said that there has been no Food and Drug Administration research that shows the benefits of medical marijuana. But the DEA has blocked such research from taking place, according to Houston. Just a few days before Obama was sworn into office, Houston said, the DEA refused to grant approval for a University of Massachusetts Amherst study into medical marijuana.

“It’s pretty cynical for DEA to claim on the one hand that we have to wait for the science to come in, and with the other hand literally block that research from happening,” said Houston.

The DEA’s full budget request is available on the Justice Department’s Web site.


edit: Btw, federal raids on medical marijuana have not stopped.

Nude Snow Woman

MYFOXNY.COM - Police told a Rahway, New Jersey family to cover their nude snow woman after an anonymous complaint.

Maria Conneran's family sculpted Venus de Milo in last week's snow outside their home on Colonia Boulevard.

Gonzalez says Sgt. Dominick Sforza was apologetic when he went to the house and asked the family to dress the snow woman.

The family added a green bikini top and a blue sarong bottom.

The snow woman melted as the temperatures warmed up this week.

Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Zombies have free speech rights too, US court rules

WASHINGTON (AFP) – They're said to utter little more than an occasional groan, but zombies -- the blood-drenched monsters of Hollywood "B" movies -- still have a right to free speech, a US court ruled this week.

An appeals court in the northern US city of Minneapolis, Minnesota on Wednesday allowed a group of zombies -- or rather, several protesters costumed as such -- to press ahead with their lawsuit against police who arrested them for disorderly conduct.

The appeals court overturned a lower court in finding that the group of seven "zombies" had been wrongfully detained during a 2006 shopping mall protest against consumerism.

The three-judge panel, by a two-to-one vote, ruled that Minneapolis police lacked probable cause to arrest the demonstrators for disorderly conduct.

At the time of the protest, the plaintiffs were wearing makeup that gave them a "living dead" look: white face powder, fake blood and black circles around their eyes.

They lurched stiff-legged through the halls of the mall urging shoppers to "get your brains here" and "brain cleanup in aisle five."

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UPDATE: For more info on the zombies, including their mugshots, click here.
The Truth

AFA has lost it's marbles, as if this is news

American Family Association: Stone To Death Killer Whale Who Killed Trainer

The American Family Association, a religious right group, is urging that Tillikum (Tilly), the killer whale that killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, be put down, preferably by stoning. Citing Tilly's history of violent altercations, the group is slamming SeaWorld for not listening to Scripture in how to deal with the animal:

Says the ancient civil code of Israel, "When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable." (Exodus 21:28)

However, the group is going further and laying the blame for the trainer's death directly at the feet of Chuck Thompson, the curator in charge of animal behavior, because, according to Scripture,

But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, "the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:29)

SeaWorld has no plans to execute Tilly.

Fish Sauce

I would like to see the rock big enough myself. Also, no mention on if they plan on executing Chuck Thompson.

TRADITIO! Republicans Betrayed Deficit Hero! Plebs Demands Bunning To Be Fed To The Lions!

Bunning to Cornyn: Et Tu, Brute Cornyn?

After initially applauding Bunning’s obstruction, Cornyn now runs away.

This week, there has been a significant public backlash against Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), the obstructionist who has been blocking the temporary extension of unemployment benefits. The Republican Party is also coming under fire for largely staying away from criticizing Bunning (with the exception of Sens. Susan Colllins and James Inhofe). Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was doing damage control today, insisting that Bunning was just “one senator. This does not represent the position of the caucus.” On Friday, however, Cornyn was singing a very different tune, and actually took to the Senate floor to laud Bunning:
I admire the courage of the junior senator from Kentucky, Senator Bunning. It’s not fun to be accused of having no compassion for the people who are out of work, the people for who these benefits should be forthcoming, and I believe will be forthcoming. But somebody has to stand up, finally, and say enough is enough, no more inter-generational theft from our children and grandchildren by not meeting our responsibilities today. And that’s what I interpret him to have done.
Looks like Cornyn isn’t too interested in standing up for Bunning’s “courage” now that it’s not politically popular.

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Bachmann Loves Libural ACORN Census!

Bachmann Demands Wingnuts on Her District To Be Counted Accurately 

Bachmann To Vote For Resolution Promoting Census After Leading Campaign To Smear It

This week, the House will vote on a resolution that encourages U.S. residents to participate in the U.S. Census and indicates support for designating March as Census Awareness Month. The resolution describes the Census as “safe, and easy to complete,” adding that “2010 Census data are strictly confidential and Federal law prevents the information from being shared with any entity.”

Surprisingly, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who last year refused to complete her Census form and decried it as a tool that has been used to aid in the imprisonment of Americans, indicated that she will vote in favor of the resolution:
Bachmann communications director David Dziok explained to The Hill that the congresswoman recognizes the importance of Americans participating in the census.

“We are where we are right now in 2010, and she hopes the population is counted accurately as the resolution calls for,” Dziok said. …

“In the past she expressed concerns with certain groups like ACORN that were involved in the census … and the intrusiveness of the questions that have been added throughout the years, particularly on the American Community Survey. And to address some of those concerns, she introduced the Census Improvement Act to work toward fixing the census process going forward,” Dziok said.
As part of her Census fearmongering that began last year, Bachmann said she won’t trust the government with the new Census information because the Bureau was involving ACORN as a national partner. She claimed ACORN would be conducting the Census and that the organization would “assist with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers” counting residents. PolitiFact dubbed these claims as “pants on fire” lies. Moreover, ACORN has said they “will not have any role in collecting Census responses” and the Census Bureau said ACORN and other partner organizations will “have no role in the terms or conditions of employment beyond promotion of the availability of temporary jobs.”

According to Talking Points Memo, Bachmann may have been convinced to cease her attacks on the Census after The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the state’s largest newspaper, opined that Bachmann’s stance on the Census could contribute to the state losing a seat in the House. In that event, Bachmann would be at the mercy of the state legislature, which is controlled by Minnesota’s Democratic–Farmer–Labor party. They would likely carve up her 9th District, making re-election especially difficult for Bachmann.

Firefox sees popularity fade

Firefox, the open source browser launched in 2004, appears to be losing some of its luster, according to a new set of data crunched by NetApplications. Since November of last year, Firefox has watched its market share fade, dropping in popularity three months in a row for the first time in its history. New February numbers now place the upstart browser at 24.23 percent. That leaves Firefox a hair under the 25 percent mark that has long eluded the team at Mozilla, the company that manages Firefox.

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eta: holy fuck, i didn't expect so many comments. my poor inbox. :[ anyway, i use safari now. firefox when i need to log into school-related junk.
angel || happy
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day three

Hat tip to tintinnabular for this article. I want to cover a wide range of women's issues, and how they are different as well as how they are alike and this is a perfect match for yesterday's post imo.

Hundreds protest homebirth restrictions

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is stripping away a woman's right to have her baby at home, protesters around the country have been told.

Hundreds of people have come together across Australia at 13 simultaneous rallies to protest against the government's planned overhaul of maternity care.

NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon told a crowd of about 100 in Sydney that access to a homebirth was a woman's right.
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Vote - or else?

And for the record, I absolutely support compulsory voting (which makes me part of the 70 percent of Australians who do). I know the arguments for and against it, but simply put, Politicians simply can't afford to overlook any electorate or locality because every adult is a potential voter so everyone is represented. I've mostly come across criticism of this from Americans, very rarely from other Australians. I think that might be a matter of cultural difference, after all, every Australian is taught and brought up to vote, and I doubt many Australians think there is anything unusual with this.

And I do like compulsory voting here, even if Julie Bishop who wrote this column isn't that keen.

What does Australia have in common with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Ecuador, Fiji and Greece? How about Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Nauru, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and Uruguay?

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, these are the nations that, along with Australia, have compulsory voting in national parliamentary elections and enforce it through fines, sanctions and other penalties.

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' jules

WTF is even going on here (besides saltiness)

Getting Strange

So initial reports had Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) not running for re-election because he's had a recurrence of cancer. But now Politico is reporting that Massa has been dogged by allegations of sexual harassment of a male staffer (Massa is married with two kids). Politico cites "several" anonymous House aides on "both sides of the aisle."

Asked about the allegations by Politico, Massa reportedly said, "When someone makes a decision to leave Congress, everybody says everything. I have health issues. I'll talk about it [later]."

Massa was the congressional candidate who after losing his 2006 bid was sued for libel by his campaign manager, a case which was settled with a rather unusual statement issued jointly by the two men. Massa went on to win election in 2008.

Massa fired his campaign manager, Sanford Dickert, and later accused him, among other things, of "providing alcohol to underage boys and inviting a teenage boy to spend the night with him," according to a November 2, 2006 report in the Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette (via Nexis). After being fired Dickert filed suit to force arbitration of the employment dispute. The libel lawsuit was apparently filed by Dickert later. I reached Dickert by phone a few minutes ago and he declined to comment.

Late Update: In a conference call with reporters, Massa rejected the sexual harassment charges as "unsubstantiated without fact or backing," adding: "Do I or have I ever used salty language especially when I'm angry, in the privacy of my inner office or at home? Yes I have and I've apologized where it's appropriate." he said the real reason for his decision not to run was his health and the need to slow down the pace of his life.


Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism

By Mark Potok

The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.

Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called "Patriot" groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.

The anger seething across the American political landscape — over racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the relatively liberal Obama Administration that are seen as "socialist" or even "fascist" — goes beyond the radical right. The "tea parties" and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism.

“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year. "We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage."

Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Just a quarter think the government can be trusted. And the anti-tax tea party movement is viewed in much more positive terms than either the Democratic or Republican parties, the poll found.

The signs of growing radicalization are everywhere. Armed men have come to Obama speeches bearing signs suggesting that the "tree of liberty" needs to be "watered" with "the blood of tyrants." The Conservative Political Action Conference held this February was co-sponsored by groups like the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a Communist agent, and Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps. Politicians pandering to the antigovernment right in 37 states have introduced "Tenth Amendment Resolutions," based on the constitutional provision keeping all powers not explicitly given to the federal government with the states. And, at the "A Well Regulated Militia" website, a recent discussion of how to build "clandestine safe houses" to stay clear of the federal government included a conversation about how mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph were supposedly betrayed at such houses.

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British Empire's Army Soon to Collapse. Rightwing Studies Blames The Gays and Women.

GOP Soon to Consult with Al-qaeda on Military Policy to Placate Rightwing Masters.

Missouri lawmaker: Allowing gays to serve openly increases a military’s casualty rate.

Missouri State Sen. Gary Nodler (R), who is running for Congress, recently argued that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) “would offend the terrorists” and be a “cultuaral [sic] affront to the Muslims in who’s [sic] country we are operating.” When blogger Eli Yokley asked Nodler to clarify his comments, noting that many U.S. allies do not discriminate, Nodler suggested that the UK has a higher causality rate than other allies because it allows gay men and women to serve openly:

NODLER: The fact is, in Iraq, and for a period of time in Afghanistan, that happens to be the force that had the highest casualty rate. I can’t say with any certainty that I have any proof that that’s because there’s less comfort from the Iraqis and Afghanis in dealing with those forces, but it might be. And so, I believe the highest casualty rate in any of the allied forces has in fact been Great Britain.

Listen here:

As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, Nodler is advocating a policy that allows foreign nations and cultures to “guide U.S. military policy.” Nodler has also expressed concern with women serving, saying that the policy might not be “advancing the goals of the U.S. military.” Moreover, every NATO member except the U.S. and Turkey allow gay men and women to serve openly. A recent report from the Palm Center found that “preliminary findings that open gays do not disrupt military effectiveness hold over time, including in Britain, whose policy of non-discrimination marked its ten-year anniversary last month.”

Judge Grants Asylum to German Home Schoolers

On a quiet street in this little town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains lives a family of refugees who were granted asylum in the United States because they feared persecution in their home country.

The reason for that fear has rarely, if ever, been the basis of an asylum case. The parents, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, want to home-school their five children, ranging in age from 2 to 12, a practice illegal in their native land, Germany.

Among European countries, Germany is nearly alone in requiring, and enforcing, attendance of children at an officially recognized school. The school can be private or religious, but it must be a school. Exceptions can be made for health reasons but not for principled objections.

But the Romeikes, who are devout Christians, said they wanted their children to learn in a different environment. Mr. Romeike (pronounced ro-MY-kuh), 38, a soft-spoken piano teacher whose young children greet strangers at the front door with a startlingly grown-up politeness, said the unruly behavior of students that was allowed by many teachers had kept his children from learning. The stories in German readers, in which devils, witches and disobedient children are often portrayed as heroes, set bad examples, he said.

“I don’t expect the school to teach about the Bible,” he said, but “part of education should be character-building.”

In Germany, he said, home-schoolers are seen as “fundamentalist religious nuts who don’t want their children to get to know what is going on in the world, who want to protect them from everything.”

“In fact,” he said, sitting on his sofa as his three older children wrote in workbooks at the dining table, “I want my children to learn the truth and to learn about what’s going on in the world so that they can deal with it.”


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Get Your Shit Together, Earth

 Strong earthquake hits Taiwan; injuries reported

Image and video hosting by TinyPic TAIPEI, Taiwan — A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked southern Taiwan on Thursday, causing widespread damage and disrupting communications around the island. Local news reports said several people were injured.

The quake was centered in the county of Kaohsiung, and struck at a depth of about 3.1 miles (5 kilometers). Kaohsiung is about 249 miles (400 kilometers) south of the capital Taipei.

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people | cary grant

Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion

Barack Obama gets a surprise visit in the night from ex-Presidents Bush Sr., Bush Jr., Clinton, Ford, Reagan and Carter to get a few pointers about the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and why it's so important.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Dana Carvey, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Darrell Hammond, Fred Armisen & Maya Rudolph. Directed by Opie The Narrator Ron Howard.

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Video | text | newsletter
yes i do

The $50 question: Grant or Reagan?


Should Ulysses S. Grant, the legendary Union general and 18th president of the United States, be bumped from his 96-year stint on the $50 bill?

Yes, according to one North Carolina Republican.

Rep. Patrick McHenry announced that he will introduce a measure that would replace Grant's face with Ronald Reagan's, just in time for the 40th president's 100th birthday next February.

"President Reagan was a modern day statesman, whose presidency transformed our nation's political and economic thinking," McHenry said in a statement. "Through both his domestic and international policies he renewed America's self confidence, defeated the Soviets and taught us that each generation must provide opportunity for the next."

McHenry says it's only logical for Reagan to replace Grant on the $50 bill because several historians have ranked Reagan as a much better president than Grant. McHenry specifically cites a 2005 Wall Street Journal survey of scholars who placed Reagan at No. 6 and Grant at No. 29.

"Every generation needs its own heroes," McHenry also said. "One decade into the 21st century, it's time to honor the last great president of the 20th and give President Reagan a place beside Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy."


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Turd Blossom's New Book: How The Iraqi's Greeted Us As Liberators And How It is All The Dems' Fault

Karl Rove Memoir 'Courage and Consequence': Iraq War Was Good Idea But Failure To Find WMD's Hurt White House Credibility

Political strategist Karl Rove says President George W. Bush made the right decision to launch the Iraq war in 2003, but the former White House adviser admits the failure to find weapons of mass destruction badly damaged the administration's credibility.

In his new memoir, "Courage and Consequence," Rove blames himself for not pushing back against claims that Bush had taken the country to war under false pretenses, calling it one of the worst mistakes he made during the Bush presidency.

Rove says Bush did not knowingly mislead the American public about the existence of such weapons.
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love love love this - Chile

Chile's Socialist Rebar

Ever since deregulation caused a worldwide economic meltdown in September '08 and everyone became a Keynesian again, it hasn't been easy to be a fanatical fan of the late economist Milton Friedman. So widely discredited is his brand of free-market fundamentalism that his followers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories, however far-fetched.

A particularly distasteful case in point. Just two days after Chile was struck by a devastating earthquake, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens informed his readers that Milton Friedman's "spirit was surely hovering protectively over Chile" because, "thanks largely to him, the country has endured a tragedy that elsewhere would have been an apocalypse.... It's not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick -- and Haitians in houses of straw -- when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down."

According to Stephens, the radical free-market policies prescribed to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by Milton Friedman and his infamous "Chicago Boys" are the reason Chile is a prosperous nation with "some of the world's strictest building codes."

There is one rather large problem with this theory: Chile's modern seismic building code, drafted to resist earthquakes, was adopted in 1972. That year is enormously significant because it was one year before Pinochet seized power in a bloody U.S-backed coup. That means that if one person deserves credit for the law, it is not Friedman, or Pinochet, but Salvador Allende, Chile's democratically elected socialist President. (In truth many Chileans deserve credit, since the laws were a response to a history of quakes, and the first law was adopted in the 1930s).

It does seem significant, however, that the law was enacted even in the midst of a crippling economic embargo ("make the economy scream" Richard Nixon famously growled after Allende won the 1970 elections). The code was later updated in the nineties, well after Pinochet and the Chicago Boys were finally out of power and democracy was restored.

Little wonder: As Paul Krugman points out, Friedman was ambivalent about building codes, seeing them as yet another infringement on capitalist freedom. As for the argument that Friedmanite policies are the reason Chileans live in "houses of brick" instead of "straw," it's clear that Stephens knows nothing of pre-coup Chile. The Chile of the 1960s had the best health and education systems on the continent, as well as a vibrant industrial sector and rapidly expanding middle class. Chileans believed in their state, which is why they elected Allende to take the project even further.

After the coup and the death of Allende, Pinochet and his Chicago Boys did their best to dismantle Chile's public sphere, auctioning off state enterprises and slashing financial and trade regulations. Enormous wealth was created in this period but at a terrible cost: by the early eighties, Pinochet's Friedman-prescribed policies had caused rapid de-industrialization, a ten-fold increase in unemployment and an explosion of distinctly unstable shantytowns. They also led to a crisis of corruption and debt so severe that, in 1982, Pinochet was forced to fire his key Chicago Boy advisors and nationalize several of the large deregulated financial institutions. (Sound familiar?)

Fortunately, the Chicago Boys did not manage to undo everything Allende accomplished. The National copper company, Codelco, remained in state hands, pumping wealth into public coffers and preventing the Chicago Boys from tanking Chile's economy completely. They also never got around to trashing Allende's tough building code, an ideological oversight for which we should all be grateful.

TY SFM Naomi Klien. And I would even go father to say honestly that Allende inadvertently, by nationalizing the copper industry in the 1970s, was the real "savior" of Chile's economy, because COLDECO was one of the things that pulled Chile of the recession very early, IIRC (but I may just be a stan, so). And Pinochet defenders make me want to vomit.