March 5th, 2010


(no subject)

SC may gut programs for 26,000 disabled residents

By JIM DAVENPORT (AP) – 1 day ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Lawmakers are considering cutting all services for nearly 26,000 people with disabilities as South Carolina tries to plug a $560 million budget hole.

Parents say the proposed cuts to day care programs and other services would force them to give up much-needed jobs to stay home and care for their young and adult children.

Andrew J. Imparato, chief executive of the American Association of People with Disabilities, said he is hearing horror stories about budget cuts around the country, but South Carolina is the most extreme example. Shutting down everything but federally required residential care is "the most draconian kind of thing I've heard," he said.

Lawmakers say they have little choice. They are trying to close a shortfall in next year's budget in a heavily Republican state where tax increases are not considered a viable option.

Mary Bennett, a single mother of three, said the budget cuts would mean sending her 11-year-old autistic son to an institution or giving up her job at a Columbia program that helps parents like her. Her son goes to public school a few days a week and a state-funded program cares for him the other days.

"He's completely dependent on other people. He can't do anything himself," said Bennett, 47. "I wouldn't be able to work if they cut his services."

The budget approved by a House committee last week would provide services only for 4,800 people with disabilities living in group homes or institutions, the only type of care the federal government requires the state to provide.

Theoretically, others who need help could move to those facilities, but there are only two open slots in the entire system and those are reserved for those in most dire need.

More than half of the proposed cuts in the current version of next year's $5 billion budget — about $113 million in all — affect Medicaid and other human services programs. The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs would see its funding slashed by $42 million, or 28 percent.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper, a Piedmont Republican, said he's trying to find a way to soften the cuts, but there's simply not enough money in other agency budgets to readily make up the difference.

House Minority Leader Harry Ott, a St. Matthews Democrat, railed against the proposed cuts, but doesn't believe they're being used as bargaining chips to free up money elsewhere in the budget. They "just misread their numbers in their haste to get the budget out," Ott said. "They just kept cutting and nobody really looked at the ramifications of what those cuts meant."

Other states have raised taxes to deal with similar problems, but that's unlikely in South Carolina.

"There's just not a willingness to raise taxes in a Republican House," Cooper said.

On Wednesday, activists and people with disabilities packed the Statehouse lobby to ask legislators not to cut their programs. Disabilities Advocacy Day is an annual event, but has more urgency this year.

State Rep. Lanny Littlejohn, R-Spartanburg, was on the House floor reading letters from disabled people who would lose adult day care and work programs.

"We are the only the ones that can help these people and it's our responsibility to do that," he said.

Advocates say the cuts will make it tougher for people to survive or thrive: No more door-widening or ramps for people using wheelchairs; parents caring for adult children with disabilities would lose day care programs where they learn basic skills and earn a little money; 48 percent of the state's Medicaid recipients would lose prescription coverage as the state imposes a three-drug cap instead of the current maximum of 10.

"We just by necessity have to cut that optional stuff," Cooper said.

Other states, like Oklahoma and California, are also cutting services for people with disabilities, but the changes are minor in comparison. Advocates say the South Carolina cuts are shortsighted because they eliminate early-intervention programs that could help prevent more expensive problems down the road.

In Aiken County, Board of Disabilities Executive Director Ralph Courtney says budget cuts in the current fiscal year already have forced him to shut down programs that offer in-home help for parents of children ages 3 to 5 who have disabilities including autism or at risk of developing them. The need for help is "generally decreased if you get to them soon enough," Courtney said.

The state Department of Disabilities and Special Needs estimates that at $9,000 to $13,000 a year, providing in-home services for people with disabilities is less expensive than sending them to an institution or group home, where full-time care costs between $28,500 and $114,000 annually.

Shelia Dull, 46, said that under the proposed budget she would lose day care services for her 24-year-old daughter in Dorchester County that allow her to work a couple of days a week, as well as catheters and other supplies. Her daughter has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair.

"I can't leave her alone for eight hours by herself," Dull said. "What happens if she fell in the bathroom? Who would help her?"

Carolyn Myers, an advocate for people with disabilities, said people often believe parents have the sole obligation to provide care. She said many don't understand how physically demanding it is to care for a child who is older than 13 or an adult.

"You're talking about someone who has to have a lifetime of this kind of care," she said. "It's not like you can go out and hire the neighborhood teenage baby sitter to come in and do the job, either."


As someone with Asperger Syndrome who knows from personal experience how vital early intervention is for people with disabilities, this makes me RAGE. SO much.
asoneill - Yahoo Me

Gunman Killed After Shooting at Pentagon

WASHINGTON – The gunman who shot two Pentagon police officers was heavily armed and spent weeks driving to the Capital area from the West Coast, authorities said Friday. Resentment of the U.S. government and suspicions over the 9/11 attacks have surfaced in writings by the Californian identified as the man fatally wounded in a hail of return fire.

John Patrick Bedell, 36, of Hollister, Calif., was identified as the shooter and authorities said he'd had previous run-ins with the law.

Investigators have found no immediate connection to terrorism, and the attack at the massive Defense Department headquarters appears to be a case of "a single individual who had issues," Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police, said in an early morning press conference.

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I hate this "no immediate connection to terrorism" bullshit. If you cross the country with semiautomatics and a pile of ammo and start shooting at one of the government's highest institutions, YOU ARE A FUCKING TERRORIST. Why can't we call this for what it is? Just my $.02.

"We're not terrorists!" calls out a climber. "Tell Gordon Brown!"

Iceland,when the talk turns to how the country has been treated in the financial crisis, however, the sunny disposition of the climbers turns a little sour.

"We're not terrorists!" calls out a climber. "Tell Gordon Brown!"

Voters will decide whether to honour a deal with the UK and Netherlands
The bitterness springs from the seizure in 2008 of Icelandic assets under UK anti-terrorism legislation, something that stunned Iceland, a Nato-ally and a devout follower of Premier League football.

The seizure followed the collapse of Icesave, an Iceland-based internet bank that hundreds of thousands of Britons had put savings into as they chased what proved to be highly unrealistic interest rates.

The UK government - fearful at that time of near-panic, of a collapse of confidence in the banking system - guaranteed the savings of investors. And then it turned to the Icelandic government for compensation to the tune of £2.3bn.

The Netherlands followed suit, looking for just over £1bn.

A deal was struck with Iceland, which the parliament in Reykjavik subsequently passed, but then, buoyed by a tide of popular anger, President Olafur Grimsson rejected it.

A referendum to be held on Saturday will decide whether the deal will be honoured.
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michael mackintosh foot, 1913-2010: the case for…

“So lets put a stop to defeatism, and put a stop too to all those sermons about Victorian values. The Labour Movement – the Labour Party and the Trade Unions acting together, came into being, as one of our poets, Idris Davies, said, to end ‘the long Victorian night.’ It was a fight to introduce civilised standards into the world of ruthless, devil-take-the-hindmost individualism.”

So went a part of Michael Foot’s 1983 Labour manifesto, the so called, “longest suicide note in history” (Gerald Kaufman). And with Michael Foot’s death yesterday, dies too the idea of socialism brought about via parliamentary means. The current ‘Labour’ government would hardly even dream of using terms such as a Labour Movement and are only seen to attack the Trade Unions, ever favouring the concerns of big business; New Labour is just that – New Business.

I wonder, are New Business quoting poets in their manifestos of late? It’s a ripe and hideous testament that during the perfidious press campaign against MF, ‘old bibliophile’ was deemed a term of abuse. Michael Foot had seeped himself in literature throughout his long life: Byron, Shelley, Hazlitt, Swift, Burke being among his particular favourites. It was this book learning that had made him into such a great orator. “The only man I ever knew who could make a curse sound like a caress”, Aneurin Bevan said of him.

Indeed, he would have been a formidable foe if the 1983 battle had been fought on sound grounds. Margaret Thatcher had refused to debate openly with him, knowing full well her intellectual inferiority. But the Murdoch consortium feigned concern with his lack of interest in fashion. Of course, he was sunk even before that campaign began by the SDP-Liberal alliance, the eventual result being SDP-L – 25.4%, Labour – 27.6%, Con – 42.4%. He resigned his leadership of the party after this and was succeeded by Neil Kinnock from where the rot of New Labour was begun.

Michael Foot was from a privileged background, going from prep school to the Quaker public school, Leighton Park (known as the Quaker Eton) and thence unto Oxford where he read philosophy, politics and economics. He became a Labour man as soon as he saw the true conditions of the working class in the thirties whilst working in Liverpool. In 1940 he co-wrote ‘Guilty Men’ under the pseudonym, Cato. The book exposed the then Conservative government for their willingness to appease Nazism. MF, in spite of his CND credentials, being one of its founding members, was not a pacifist. He denounced fascism wherever he saw it, whether in Franco’s Spain or Stalin’s Russia, (making an absolute nonsense of the Sunday Times allegations in 1995 that he was Russia’s agent Boot).

But when in 1933, the multilateral disarmament talks broke down he begun the fight, fought and lost all his life for Britain’s unilateral disarmament. And that was his political history – battles mostly fought and lost. A staunch defender of the Trade Unions, most of his ideas, implemented whilst he was employment secretary, were thrown out by Thatcher, only ACAS and health and safety laws remaining. He would have seen the back of the House of Lords, but sadly never did, and so on with all his socialist ideals.

He was principled throughout – twice turning down government positions over matters of increased defence budgets, opposing his government’s (under Wilson) moves to restrict immigration. Against the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq, more than once turning down a peerage and a knighthood.

I will end as I began with his own words: “we are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer, to hell with them! The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.”

Source: The Commune
Yes, we've already had a post announcing his death here, but I thought this was a really awesome obituary for him, one of the last great socialist politicians. RIP, Michael.
' jules

Hello... is it me you're looking for

Post Watch: Whiz Kid on the Block

Steve Pearlstein, the Washington Post’s veteran business columnist, looks around the paper’s new newsroom and realizes he’s probably the oldest guy on the scene. At 58, he has started a political publication, has edited a magazine, has reported on defense and economics for the Post, and now writes a column on business and economics.

“I’m not a big blog reader,” Pearlstein says. About a year ago, a friend suggested he check out Ezra Klein’s work for the American Prospect. “I was blown away by how good he was—how much the kid wrote—on so many subjects,” he says.

Pearlstein sent samples of Klein’s work to managing editor Raju Narisetti.

At 24, Klein had been writing a blog and magazine articles for the liberal American Prospect. A few weeks after he heard from Pearlstein, Post foreign correspondent John Pomfret asked Klein to have lunch with him and financial editor Sandy Sugawara. Narisetti quickly hired Klein to be the Post’s first pure blogger on politics and economics.

Today Klein’s blog frequently gets more hits than any other on He puts up about 20 posts a day—ranging from analysis and commentary to interviews—along with links to other bloggers and the occasional recipe.

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I already liked him but he achieved Internet Hero status in the past year cause of his excellent health care blogging.
also sexy, cute, do me on it, etc

Utah Anti-Abortion Bill Citing ‘Reckless Act’ Is Withdrawn (But Still Ridiculously Anti-Choice)

A sweeping anti-abortion statute in Utah that would have allowed up to life in prison for a woman whose fetus died from her intentional or reckless behavior was withdrawn by its sponsor on Thursday and will be revised to be narrower in scope.

The original bill, which was sent to Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, for his consideration — and set off a firestorm of anxiety and criticism from abortion rights and women’s advocacy groups around the country — now goes back to the Legislature, neither signed nor vetoed.

The sponsor, Representative Carl D. Wimmer, a Republican, said he had removed a key clause that would have allowed prosecution under Utah’s criminal homicide laws for a “reckless act of the woman” that resulted in death to a fetus. Language will remain, he said, that makes a woman’s “intentional” actions, if resulting in the death of her fetus in an illegal abortion, a felony.

The bill was prompted by a case last year in which a 17-year-old who was seven months pregnant sought to induce a miscarriage by paying a man to beat her. She was arrested, but released by a judge who said seeking an abortion was not a crime.

Legal abortions, performed by a doctor, would not be affected by the old bill or its replacement. But Utah has statutes on the books intended to discourage abortions, including a parental consent requirement for minors.

The Legislature adjourns Thursday. Abortion rights groups had urged the governor to veto the bill, saying the language about “reckless” acts could open the door to a witch hunt where every miscarriage was potentially subject to police questioning.

Angie Welling, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Mr. Herbert supported the bill’s aims but “also believes very strongly that the state should not enact a law with unintended consequences.”


Japanese Princess Aiko unable to go to school after boys treated her harshly+

Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, has been reluctant to attend school since Monday after being "treated harshly" by boys in her grade, an official of the Imperial Household Agency said Friday.

But an official of the school denied that the 8-year-old princess was directly subject to rowdy behavior of the boys, after the unusual announcement by Issei Nomura, the top aide to the crown prince and princess, about the princess' absence citing problems in school.

Princess Aiko, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and a second grader at Gakushuin Primary School in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, has been complaining of strong anxiety and stomachache, Nomura, grand master of the crown prince's household, told a regular news conference.

The princess missed school in late February due chiefly to mild fever, and attended school Tuesday but left early and has since been absent, he said, adding there are no prospects for her to return to school.

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asoneill - Yahoo Me

Panel: DC Metro has flaws. In other news: water is wet, bears crap in woods, Pope is Catholic.

Metro safety unrelated to yesterday's shooting:

Metro "Not Doing Enough" To Protect Riders: Audit

Metro has repeatedly said it is addressing safety issues, but a federal panel says much more needs to be done to ensure the safety of riders. A just released audit from the Federal Transit Administration calls for sweeping changes to Metro.

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski asked for the audit last November after learning that Metro had denied safety inspectors access to its train tracks.

The report identified Metro has inadequate authority, resources expertise and communication.

“Our audit makes clear that these two agencies are not doing enough to guarantee the safety of Metro passengers or Metro workers,” said Peter Rogoff, the administrator of the Federal Transportation Administration. “While we have observed some improvements in recent months, a great deal more needs to be done to ensure that Metro passengers are receiving the safest possible service.”

In one section, the audit says Metro also failed to report accidents in a timely manner. The audit finds Metro notified the Tri-State Oversight Committee “12 to 24 hours late regarding the occurrence of a reportable accident.”

As far as the safety resources devoted by Metro, the report found the agency’s safety department has been reorganized six times since 2005.

The audit recommends that Metro take a serious look at itself by conducting a comprehensive review of its own Safety Department. Metro executives say the recent accidents have placed additional burdens on the department, which is already stretched thin.

If you’re interested in reading the report, you can find it here.


Toyota's Black Boxes Declared "Trade Secret". Free Market Trumps Justice!

Toyotas Run on 'Windows Me': "System Error, Please Reboot After Crash" (I am Going to Hell after This)

Toyota 'Black Boxes': Automaker Secretive, Inconsistent About Device Recordings

Toyota has for years blocked access to data stored in devices similar to airline "black boxes" that could explain crashes blamed on sudden unintended acceleration, according to an Associated Press review of lawsuits nationwide and interviews with auto crash experts.

The AP investigation found that Toyota has been inconsistent – and sometimes even contradictory – in revealing exactly what the devices record and don't record, including critical data about whether the brake or accelerator pedals were depressed at the time of a crash.

By contrast, most other automakers routinely allow much more open access to information from their event data recorders, commonly known as EDRs.

AP also found that Toyota:

* Has frequently refused to provide key information sought by crash victims and survivors.

* Uses proprietary software in its EDRs. Until this week, there was only a single laptop in the U.S. containing the software needed to read the data following a crash.

* In some lawsuits, when pressed to provide recorder information Toyota either settled or provided printouts with the key columns blank.

Toyota's "black box" information is emerging as a critical legal issue amid the recall of 8 million vehicles by the world's largest automaker. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this week that 52 people have died in crashes linked to accelerator problems, triggering an avalanche of lawsuits.

When Toyota was asked by the AP to explain what exactly its recorders do collect, a company statement said Thursday that the devices record data from five seconds before until two seconds after an air bag is deployed in a crash.

The statement said information is captured about vehicle speed, the accelerator's angle, gear shift position, whether the seat belt was used and the angle of the driver's seat.

There was no initial mention of brakes – a key point in the sudden acceleration problem. When AP went back to Toyota to ask specifically about brake information, Toyota responded that its EDRs do, in fact, record "data on the brake's position and the antilock brake system."

But that does not square with information obtained by attorneys in a deadly crash last year in Southlake, Texas, and in a 2004 accident in Indiana that killed an elderly woman.

In the Texas crash, where four people died when their 2008 Avalon ripped through a fence, hit a tree and flipped into an icy pond, an EDR readout obtained by police listed as "off" any information on acceleration or braking.

In the 2004 crash in Evansville, Ind., that killed 77-year-old Juanita Grossman, attorneys for her family say a Toyota technician traveled from the company's U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif., to examine her 2003 Camry.

Before she died, the 5-foot-2, 125-pound woman told relatives she was practically standing with both feet on the brake pedal but could not stop the car from slamming into a building. Records confirm that emergency personnel found Grossman with both feet on the brake pedal.

A Toyota representative told the family's attorneys there was "no sensor that would have preserved information regarding the accelerator and brake positions at the time of impact,"
according to a summary of the case provided by Safety Research & Strategies Inc., a Rehoboth, Mass.-based company that does vehicle safety research for attorneys, engineers, government and others.

One attorney in the Texas case contends in court documents that Toyota may have deliberately stopped allowing its EDRs to collect critical information so the Japanese automaker would not be forced to reveal it in court cases.

"This goes directly to defendants' notice of the problem and willingness to cover up the problem,"
said E. Todd Tracy, who had been suing automakers for 20 years.

Randy Roberts, an attorney for the driver in that case, said he was surprised at how little information the Avalon's EDR contained.

"When I found out the Toyota black box was so uninformative, I was shocked," Roberts said.

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' hex

Shenanigans Friday: March 05, 2010.

"Nixon is a purposeless man, but I have great faith in his LOLwardice."-Jimmy BresLOLn
Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
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  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)
MOAR Picture Sources:

by i_said_boourns

Cutting spending: the BBC warning

The BBC’s proposal to cut 6Music and the Asian Network is, I fear, a portent of coming cuts in government spending – because it shows that when a top-down organization makes cuts, it does so on the basis of power, not efficiency.

Put it this way. If the BBC were to restructure itself according to public service broadcasting principles it would abolish BBC3 (£115m a year for a pile of crap), privatize Radio 1 and possibly Radio 2 , and stop paying huge salaries for “talent” – though the fact that Anne Robinson gets £3m a year suggests this word is used very elastically.

So, why does it leave all these alone and target instead two radio stations which seem to fulfil the public service remit by offering things which the commercial sector probably wouldn’t?

The answer is simple. Mark Thompson is a bully. And bullies respect not principles, but power. Radios 1 and 2 and BBC3 have large staffs and bureaucracies, and (mistakenly?) popular presenters, so they have lots of lobbying power. 6Music and the Asian Network have much less. Thompson would rather upset Lauren Laverne than Chris Moyles or Steve Wright.

And herein lie two paradoxes. One is that the areas of the BBC that should be cut in many cases the areas that are hardest to cut politically. This is because bloated bureaucracies fight like hell to save themselves, with the result that cuts fall upon departments that do their jobs well rather than spend time in office politics.

Secondly, the areas of the BBC that are most vulnerable to cuts are often those with smaller audiences, as these have less public support. But in many cases, a small audience is evidence that the BBC is fulfilling its public service remit, because it’s doing something that the private sector – motivated by the desire for large audiences – wouldn’t.

Which brings me to my concern. The BBC’s cuts could be the bastard model for government spending cuts. These too might be determined not by genuine efficiency, but by what bullying bosses feel they can get away with most easily.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy

Daily KOS report: Real Americuns can rely on canned laughter and editin'

Micheal Stinson  author  Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book  reports on the real reaction of Leno's audience to the Palin Guest spot. He claims that NBC didn't want to let her show appear as bad as it was. Don't know how to feel about this one.  On one hand I would not be surprised, I'm inclined to believe him. It is amusing to read of the apparent FAIL the show was, and sad that it couldn't be broadcast for what it really was, but on the other hand-it's a late night "comedy" show. Is canned laughter something new? Don't they do that for ALL their guests?  Show producers are in the business of at least pretending to be funny and part of that is to make it look like their guests are being funny. thus the very reason for canned laughter. 
Perhaps one couild argue that since she is a political figure - who is trying to look funny and this blurs the lines of "responsible" presentation of someone's um- persona(?) or message- or whatever. I've known since the beginning that she's fraud in almost everything she does. IMO, she's been an "entertainer" and an "actress"  from the beginning so this new avenue is organic to her nature.
I'm also not so um - amused-  about the "prick tease" analysis of her body language this author makes. I will let someone who actually saw the show comment on that.

Leno's Tonight Show Reality Hacking, adds Laugh Track to Sarah Palin Appearance

Source: Daily KOS: 

Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 07:35:46 PM PST  Who needs teleprompters when a studio can simply insert canned laughter?

I've dealt with sound engineering for 30 years, as a film maker, interviewer, musician, working with master reel to reel tapes/decks at EMS Music in Seattle in the 80's as a sound duplication engineer, or setting sound levels for my and other bands in live situations at shows. I won a Hollywood award for animation in 2000. I know sound. And it's my opinion that audio portions of Sarah Palin's March 2nd appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight show were added or amplified, edited before broadcast to make it appear that Sarah Palin was more welcome than she was.
I know. I was there.

They added laughter where there was none during uncomfortable portions. Well, there was some laughter. Mine, of derision. During those pregnant pauses in her performance I was laughing long and loud, couldn't help myself as much of what she was saying was utterly surreal, ridiculous, hypocritical - nonsense, spewed platitudes, pushed buttons. I was seriously thinking of leaving as it was getting hysterically unfunny.

After sitting through the taping of the show in the studio I can recount many portions where there was little or no laughter or response, but at the later broadcast they are smoothed over with applause and laughter that WERE NOT THERE at the taping. Groans, hoots, grumbling, or just dead silence - all missing.Collapse )

Shocking News! McCain Haz The Zombie Army at His Command!

"Zombies for America" Thanks McCain for Fighting for Their Zombie Rights and Keeping The Gays Out

McCain's DADT Support Letter Signed By A Bunch Of Dead Guys

On the matter of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) once promised that he would listen to "leaders in the military," telling people that the "day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it." But when those military leaders came to him and told him it was time to change the policy, McCain retreated from his previous pledge, because it turns out he gets to pick and choose which military leaders he gets to heed.

And in this case, McCain has chosen the signatories of a letter signed by "over a thousand retired and flag general officers," among other folks. But, as noted by Amanada Terkel, that letter turns out to be something of an exercise in ghost whispering:
...a new Servicemembers United report obtained in advance by DC Agenda severely undermines the legitimacy of this letter. Some of the problems:
- The average age of the officers is 74. The "oldest living signer is 98, and several signers died in the time since the document was published." Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson added that only "a small fraction of these officers have even served in the military during the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' period, much less in the 21st century military," so it's hard to believe that they "know how accepting and tolerant 18- and 21-year-olds are today."
- "At least one signer, Gen. Louis Menetrey, was deceased when the letter was published and didn't sign the document himself. According to a footnote on the letter, his wife signed the document for him after his death using power of attorney -- six years after Alzheimer's disease robbed him of the ability to communicate."
Additionally, there's the little problem of those living signatories who "never agreed" to sign the letter, as well as a handful who have some remarkably backward views on the world in which we live, such as this guy.

Anyway, for his next trick, John McCain will produce an 1876 letter from General George Armstrong Custer that reads, "No, no, don't worry, I can totally take these guys!"

Members of Vatican Involved in a Homosexual Prostitution Ring. In Other News, the Bear is Catholic.

Vatican Hit by Gay Sex Scandal

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The Vatican has been thrown into chaos by reports that one of the Pope's ceremonial ushers, as well as a member of the elite Vatican choir, were involved in a homosexual prostitution ring.

The allegations came to light after Italian newspapers published transcripts of phone calls recorded by police, who had been conducting an unrelated corruption investigation.

The tapes appear to record Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Nigerian Vatican chorister, about men he wanted brought to him for sexual purposes. Balducci was allegedly paying 2,000 euros ($2,714) for each man he met, according to the Irish Times.

Balducci is recorded describing precise physical details of the men he wanted. The transcripts record that during five months in 2008, Ehiem procured for Balducci at least 10 contacts with, among others, "two black Cuban lads," a former male model from Naples, and a rugby player from Rome.


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Car Crash Thrusts Russian Oil Company Into PR Nightmare

LUKoil, the biggest Russian oil company, faces a public relations nightmare after one of its vice presidents was involved in a car crash that killed two people and has ignited a storm of protest about a possible police cover-up.

Bloggers are seething over what they interpret as insensitive comments made by the company about the accident, while some have called for a boycott of LUKoil gas stations and a popular rapper has written a song declaring that the vice president, Anatoly Barkov, will go to hell.

Barkov, 62, sustained minor injuries in the accident.

What exactly transpired on Feb. 25 remains a matter of speculation, but this much is undisputed: Barkov's heavy Mercedes S-500 sedan collided head-on with a Citroen C3 hatchback carrying prominent gynecologist Vera Sidelnikova, 72, and her daughter-in-law Olga Alexandrina, 35, during morning rush hour traffic on Leninsky Prospekt in southern Moscow, killing the two women.

Police immediately blamed the Citroen for the crash, saying it had illegally pulled into the oncoming lane and hit the Mercedes.

The case looked as good as closed until the victims' relatives appealed to journalists for help after running into a brick wall with the police and LUKoil's slow and heavy-handed response angered the public.

“The public started to react to this accident when people understood that they had been manipulated,” said Sergei Kanayev, head of the Moscow branch of the Russian Federation of Car Owners, a public group that says it has found three eyewitnesses to the accident.

Kanayev told The Moscow Times that two of the eyewitnesses were driving ahead of the Mercedes and saw it swerve into the opposite lane and hit the Citroen.

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batman + dick;

S Korea child 'starves as parents raise virtual baby'

A South Korean couple who were addicted to the internet let their three-month-old baby starve to death while raising a virtual daughter online, police said.

The pair fed their own premature baby just once a day in between 12-hour stretches at an internet cafe, the official Yonhap news agency reported.

Police officer Chung Jin-won told Yonhap they "lost their will to live a normal life" after losing their jobs.

He said they "indulged themselves online" to escape from reality.

The 41-year-old father and his 25-year-old wife were arrested in the city of Suweon, south of Seoul, earlier this week, five months after they reported the death of their baby.

An autopsy showed her death was caused by a long period of malnutrition.

The couple had become obsessed with nurturing a virtual girl called Anima in the popular role-playing game Prius Online, police said on Friday.

The game enables players to interact with Anima and as they do so, help her to recover her lost memory and develop emotions.


I have... no words, at all.

RNC Attacked For Being Too Honest. Truth is Overrated!

RNC Angers The Monster Tea Masters! Conservative Math Does The Impossible, Divides By Zero!

RNC Fundraising Presentation Upsets Tea Party

controversial RNC fundraising presentation released earlier this week is now creating a stir among members of the Tea Party movement.

"They don't get it," Judson Phillips, the organizer of last month's National Tea Party Convention,
told the Daily Beast about the RNC. "They freaking don't get it."

"Can they be any more insulting? I guess they could have called us teabaggers, but Holy Cow, I'm so blown away by the whole thing I'm just sitting here stunned," Phillips said, according to a report by the Daily Beast's Benjamin Sarlin.

The power point presentation repeated notorious depictions of President Obama painted like the Joker from Batman and described "small donors" as "reactionary" and motivated by "fear" and "extreme negative feelings toward existing administration."

The RNC has since scrambled to distance itself from the document. Michael Steele, who spokespeople have said had nothing to do with the presentation itself, appeared on Fox News Thursday to try to make amends.

"Certainly we love our donors and we thank them for the support that they've given us over the past year, and continue to give us," Steele said. "Our donors are compassionate, concerned activists out there who support a party that they believe in. And we want that to continue."
disney || look at me
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day five

Voices of Haitian Women Highlighted

United Nations, New York — The voices of Haitian women and their families were highlighted at a side event in relation to the Commission on the Status of Women on 3 March, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Haiti to the United Nations along with UNIFEM, UNDP and the Huairou Commission. The panel addressed Haitian women’s challenges and opportunities, offering the international community firsthand knowledge of their situation and needs in the aftermath of the 12 January earthquake.
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Cuccinelli asks colleges to rescind policies protecting gay state employees

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has asked the state's public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, arguing in a letter sent to each school Thursday that their boards of visitors have no legal authority to adopt such statements.

In the letter, Cuccinelli (R) wrote that only the General Assembly can extend legal protections to gay state employees -- a move the legislature has repeatedly declined to take, including as recently as this week.

"It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity,' 'gender expression,' or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly," he wrote.

Colleges that have included such language in their policies -- which include all of Virginia's leading schools -- have done so "without proper authority" and should "take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia," Cuccinelli wrote.

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Space - lol models

Has this been posted yet? Because I am posting it.

Sarah Palin Is Basically Snooki
without the self-awareness.

by Amelie Gillette
March 4, 2010

Snooki, aka Schnickers, aka Snicks, is a cast member of MTV's anthropological study of the northern reticulated guido, The Jersey Shore. Sarah Palin is the former governor of Alaska, a former Vice-Presidential candidate, and a current Fox News rambler. On the surface, these two women have very little in common. But upon further inspection, Snooki and Sarah Palin are basically the same person. So how does Snooki compare to Sarah Palin? Let us count the ways:

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delicious sauce

so who is The Situation?
aladdin applause by l o v e icons
  • gmth

Bennet: Washington Has It Wrong, But We Can Make It Right

Unveils ‘Plan for Washington Reform' - Takes Aim At Outd Influence of Lobbyists and Special Interests on Political Process

Would Also Reform Senate Rules that Impede Progress, Force Members of Congress to Live By Same Rules as American People

Washington, DC - With the U.S. Senate paralyzed by partisan gridlock that has all but upended efforts to make real progress for the American people, Michael Bennet today unveiled a sweeping set of legislative reforms that will help fix the worst parts of a broken Washington.

Bennet's Plan for Washington Reform will limit increases in salaries of Members of Congress; end Federal health insurance benefits for Members of Congress until they have passed health insurance reform; usher in sweeping changes that will limit Members of Congress and their staffs from becoming lobbyists; institute reform that will provide more transparency and accountability in the earmarking process; reform the filibuster rule in a responsible and practical way; and implement new rules for campaign finance.

"Before going to the Senate just a year ago, I'd spent my life in the real world -- the world of business, of local government, of public schools, and most important, family," said Bennet. "But since going to Washington I've discovered that career politicians learn to live in an entirely different world, an echo chamber shut off from the reality of life in America that defies common sense at every turn, and uses the Senate's rules to defy the rule of reason."

Bennet continued, "The United States Senate needs a big dose of Colorado common sense. But Washington can't get out of its own way, much less our way. That is why I'm introducing a bill that will end lobbyist abuses, reform the ways of the Senate, stop the outd influence of special interests, and put Washington to work for the American people."

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More (including a transcript of Bennet's comments) at the source.

Probably no chance of it actually happening, but I have the give him credit for trying. Between this and the public option letter, this guy is someone to keep an eye on going forward, IMO. Also, I'm embarrassed as hell because I've been writing to my own Senators asking them to sign the "Bennett" letter not realizing I was spelling his name wrong. D'oh!

CBO: $10 trillion jump in debt under Obama budget

NEW YORK ( -- If President Obama's 2011 budget were put into effect as proposed, the U.S. federal government would add an estimated $9.8 trillion to the country's accrued debt over the next decade, according to a preliminary analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.
Of that amount, an estimated $5.6 trillion will be in interest alone
By 2020, the agency estimates debt held by the public would reach $20.3 trillion, or 90% of GDP. That's up from 53% of GDP in 2009.
Research done by economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart has shown that such high levels of debt can cause a drag on economic growth.
The CBO cited two big contributors to the jump in debt.
One is the president's proposal to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the majority of Americans. The other is the proposal to protect middle- and upper-middle-income families from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

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I have no idea what to make of this...economics is not my strong point.


Would you like some gender inequality with that rage?

Salary Gap Widens Between German Men and Women

According to Germany's Federal Statistical Office, average hourly wages for women in Germany are 23.2 percent lower than they are for men, and the gap is growing. The European Commission is now demanding that Germany take action.

When it comes to equal pay, Germany has regular protests, plenty of initiatives and even an anti-discrimination law. Even so, the salary gap between men and women continues to widen -- with women getting the short end of the stick. On Friday, Germany's Federal Statistical Office in the western city of Wiesbaden published figures showing that average gross hourly earnings for women in 2008 were 23.2 percent lower than they were for men.

They also showed that things are getting alarmingly worse. In 2007, the gap was 23 percent; in 2006, 22.7 percent.

What's more, the gender pay gap in Germany is much wider than the European Union average of 18 percent. Out of the other 26 EU member states, the gap was only wider in Estonia (most recent figures, 2007: 30.3 percent), the Czech Republic (26.2 percent), Austria (25.5 percent) and the Netherlands (most recent figures, 2007: 23.6 percent).

The EU countries with the narrowest gender-related income gaps, on the other hand, were Italy (4.9 percent), Slovenia (8.5 percent), Romania and Belgium (with 9 percent each), and Malta and Portugal (with 9.2 percent each).

At the same time, the figures do not reflect income differences for men and women in the same position, performing comparable tasks and with corresponding education levels. Among the causes for the discrepancy are the facts that more women work part-time jobs, there is a higher proportion of women in low-paying jobs and women are often denied access to management positions.

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Underpaid Sauce

That is ridiculous. How is that shit still GROWING? This bodes well for next year when I hit the job market. 30%? >_>; (ILU Berlin, but seriously brb moving)

Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan passes

The Greek parliament approved new spending cuts and taxes Friday aimed at defusing the country's debt crisis, while protesters fought with police in the streets of Athens.

The violence came as Prime Minister George Papandreou went abroad to seek European leaders' support for his efforts to address the country's debt crisis.

He met in Luxembourg with Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of eurozone finance ministers, and was scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later in the day.

In Athens, riot police used tear gas and baton charges to disperse rioters who chased the ceremonial guards in 19th-century kilts and tasselled garters away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the parliament, while a top trade union leader was roughed up by left-wing protesters.

It was the biggest outburst of violence since Greece's debt crisis escalated late last year. Police say they arrested five people, and seven officers were injured.

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It's really unfortunate what is happening in Greece right now. I'm glad that the US was able to handle a similar situation without resorting to riots.

BUT I actually find the most interesting thing about this article is the comments.

I can't believe people giving me a thumbs down on my last post. The world's economy troubles all started with 9/11. That was their plan all along. Why do you think they hit the towers? Combine that with the fact the US went to war and bankrupt itself, raising the price of oil all over the world and you have a recession. Nothing else can be blamed! The terrorists have won.

9/11 DID THIS!

As I have stated in another post,Now that Geece will probably have to start selling off it's islands,this is the problem with socialism/liberalism,eventually you begin to run out of islands.


Other News Sources

You go, Glen Coco.

David Brooks: "Tea Party Movement Are Radically Anticonservative"

About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

Today, another social movement has arisen. The people we loosely call the Tea Partiers also want to destroy the establishment. They also want to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

There are many differences between the New Left and the Tea Partiers. One was on the left, the other is on the right. One was bohemian, the other is bourgeois. One was motivated by war, and the other is motivated by runaway federal spending. One went to Woodstock, the other is more likely to go to Wal-Mart.

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This post needs a Brooks macro. Also, watch this site for angry comments.