March 11th, 2010


Conrad: "I am strongly supportive of the education package...buuut Sallie wanks my campaign coffers"

March 10, 2010
Obama’s Student Loan Overhaul Endangered

WASHINGTON — With Democratic Congressional leaders and the White House struggling on Wednesday to finalize the details of major health care legislation, House Democrats were desperately trying to prevent another of President Obama’s top legislative priorities – a sweeping overhaul of student loan programs – from becoming a casualty of the health care battle.

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“I am strongly supportive of the education package,” Mr. Conrad said in an interview. “But I am also insisting that it be paid for.”

Private, for-profit student lenders, including Sallie Mae, have lobbied fiercely against the president’s plan. But they were unable to stop House Democrats from approving a bill. Critics of the industry say it reaps large, and unjustified profits, by originating loans made with taxpayer money. The industry insists that it provides valuable services to borrowers and competition for the direct government lending program.

  • Current Mood

Stupid Media! Swamp Monster Wont Move To Costa Rica. Will Just Use Their Free Socialized Medicine!

Is Official: Costa Rica's Socialized Medicine Way Better Than Obamacare and His Death Panels

Limbaugh Now Says He Won’t Move To Costa Rica — Will Just Go There To Use Its Public Health System

On Monday, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh pledged to leave the country and go to Costa Rica if Congress successfully passes and implements its health care legislation. Yesterday, Limbaugh claimed that he never said he’d leave the country. The host explained that what he meant was that he would go to Costa Rica to “get major medical care,” meaning he’d travel there exclusively to use their health care system:

LIMBAUGH: I did not say I’m going to Costa Rica. The stupid people in the media who cannot trouble themselves to read my transcripts or listen to this program, listen to out of context stuff. I was asked yesterday where will I go for health care if Obama’s health care passes, and I said if doctors here are not permitted to form private practice little clinics with individuals paying a fee, a retainer, and for services, then I’ll go to Costa Rica to get major medical health care. I didn’t say I would move there. They’re all over these websites: “Limbaugh says he’d move to Costa Rica. Why, what more incentive do we have to pass health care to get Limbaugh to move to Costa Rica?” Now, New Zealand is reading about this and they’re all bent out of shape that I’m somehow not coming there, all because of the stupid media. They are not competing for me because Costa Rica doesn’t think I’m going to move there, which I wouldn’t. Gosh.

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Rush Limbaugh Continues to Entertain Audience With Palin's Definition of Satire

Satan CEO of Hell, Inc. To Extend Limbaugh's Contract Another 100 Years

Rush Limbaugh Hurls Racist 'Massa' Comment At David Paterson (AUDIO)

Rush Limbaugh hurled a racist comment towards embattled New York Governor David Paterson on his radio show Tuesday.

Discussing the resignation of Rep. Eric Massa and the possibility that Paterson would appoint his replacement or call a special election, Limbaugh invoked Massa's last name in a reference to slavemasters, also known as "massas."

"I am reasonably sure that Paterson will be appointing the replacement, assuming that he, you know, doesn't resign in the next 60 or 90 days," a caller said to Limbaugh.

"Let's assume you're right," Limbaugh responded. "So, David Paterson will become the massa...who gets to appoint whoever gets to take Massa's place. So, for the first time in his life, Paterson's gonna be a massa. Interesting, interesting."

LISTEN (via MediaMatters):


Massa Jointed The Navy After Watching Popular Music Video

Massa Making Self-Hating Homophobe Closeted Republicans Look Like Prudes

Eric Massa's Navy Files

A couple years ago, I got a tip about Eric Massa. It involved his aggrieved former campaign manager, Sanford Dickert, who was involved in an ugly dispute. Dickert claimed Massa had fired him and refused to pay him for work he'd done on Massa's unsuccessful 2006 run for Congress. Massa, he said, had retaliated by issuing a series of salacious charges against him, which Dickert denied, including that he had hired, and then given alcohol to, underage staffers, and also that he had made a pass at Massa's teenage son. This seemed like a personal dispute that didn't have much news value and was, furthermore, impossible for me to adjudicate. I didn't write about it. Dickert wound up filing a libel suit against Massa, and in the court documents, which you can read here, the strange and bizarre charges are all laid out.

Then came last week's news that Massa, a 20-year Navy veteran elected to the House in 2008, was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly groping three young male staffers. Massa sort of denied it, while claiming that the House Democratic leadership had set him up. All this made the earlier episode worth revisiting. Dickert, who had since reached a settlement with Massa, declined to comment when I reached him. (Update: I see that Massa rescinded his allegations against Dickert and issued this joint statement on Dickert's blog.) But in conversations yesterday and today with some of Massa's Navy shipmates, it became clear that the behavior toward his subordinates that got Massa into trouble in Congress is part of pattern that dates to his time in the Navy.

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Satan Is in the Vatican, Catholic Exorcist Says


(March 10) -- The Rev. Gabriele Amorth, the man who has served as the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years, says the signs are there: The devil has infiltrated St. Peter's.

Specifically, Amorth cites recent sexual abuse and pedophilia scandals as well as what he deems a cover-up in the shooting deaths of two of the Vatican's Swiss Guards and one of the guard's wives as proof that the Catholic Church's most famous site is less than pure.

"When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' in the holy rooms, it is all true -- including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia," Amorth was cited as saying by The Times of London. The smoke of Satan references a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI.

The Vatican, according to Amorth, was also home to "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon."

Many of Amorth's claims are made in a new autobiography, titled "Memoirs of an Exorcist."

Amorth, who is the founder and president of honor of the Association of Exorcists, became an official exorcist in the Catholic Church in 1986, The Times reports. But Amorth's diagnosis may not mean that the church is preparing a Vatican exorcism any time soon.

Saying that Amorth had "gone well beyond the evidence" for Satanic possession of the Vatican, Rome-based exorcist the Rev. José Antonio Fortea Cucurull told The Times, "Cardinals might be better or worse, but all have upright intentions and seek the glory of God."

In an interview in 2002, Amorth was asked what defines an exorcism.

"Exorcism is a public prayer of the church done with the authority of the church," Amorth replied. "Because it is done by a priest name by the bishop; it is a prayer for the liberation from the demon, from the evil influence of the demon or of the evil provoked by the demon."

Popular conceptions of the practice are largely based on the 1973 film "The Exorcist," which Amorth called "exaggerated," but also praised for presenting an accurate picture of the possessed.

In the past, Amorth has attributed events ranging from fires in Sicily to the business woes of the airline Alitalia to the workings of Satan.
Fix the Bible

Mississippi - thy name is SUCK

Miss. school prom off after lesbian's date request

JACKSON, Miss. – A northern Mississippi school district will not be hosting a high school prom this spring after a lesbian student sought to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

The Itawamba County school district's board decided Wednesday to drop the prom because of what it called recent distractions but without specifically mentioning the girl's request, which was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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How Young Is Too Young to Face Life in Prison?

The father of a 12-year-old Pennsylvania boy charged last year with murder says his son is "just an all-around good kid" who doesn't deserve to face life in prison. Chris Brown believes son, now 12 years old, is innocent of step-mom's murder.

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Idk how I feel about this. Yes he's young but he committed the crime. What do you good people think?

ALSO, What do you guys think about his dad giving him a SHOTGUN as a gift?

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Pro-Choice Candidate Will Challenge Stupak in Primary

Yesterday and this morning, I spoke briefly with Connie Saltonstall, the former county commissioner from Kent County, Michigan who is working on filing to mount a primary challenge against Bart Stupak.

While our conversation was brief and RH RealityCheck is scheduled to interview Saltonstall formally in the next two days, I asked if she was pro-choice. Her unwavering answer: "I am without a doubt pro-choice."

Saltonstall told the Detroit Free Press that she plans to run against Stupak for the Democratic nomination of Michigan’s First Congressional District, citing Stupak’s efforts to stop health care reform if he does not get his way on a full abortion ban.

Stupak, a former state trooper from Menominee, has held the seat since 1993. No one really knew who he was until he teamed up with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to bully his and their way into holding health reform hostage to their own fundamentalist Catholic agenda by threatening to derail the whole thing unless the "Stupak Amendment" was passed. He continues even now threatening to withhold votes, though many say his position is substantially weakened.

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Uncle V wants you

No-fly list grows; even the dead can't get off of it.

Wired: No-Fly List Includes the Dead
By Kim Zetter

You may be dying, figuratively, to get off the government’s no-fly list, but death won’t guarantee removal.

The government’s no-fly list includes the names of dead suspects to help catch people who may try to assume the suspect’s identity, according to government officials who spoke with The Associated Press.

The no-fly list has been shrouded in mystery since it was first developed after the 9/11 attacks. How people get on the list or get off it has been a closely guarded secret, with only bits of information made public during congressional hearings.

The AP has pieced together the broad steps it takes for someone to get on the list, and some of the changes the list has undergone since it was created nine years ago.

The no-fly list has grown from 3,400 people to about 6,000 since last December, but it did not contain the name of airline passenger Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the AP said. The Nigerian tried to bomb a Detroit-bound Northwest airlines flight on Christmas Day using explosives packed in his underwear.

Abdulmuttalab’s name appeared in a terrorism database after his father tipped off U.S. embassy officials in Nigeria that his son might be involved in extremist activity. The government determined that the information did not meet the standard for placing him on the list or for revoking his U.S. visa.

The new names added to the list since his bombing attempt include people associated with al-Qaida’s Yemen branch (with whom Abdulmuttalab had ties), as well as other people from Nigeria and Yemen who might be connected to Abdulmuttalab, the AP said.

The current number on the no-fly list represents a pared down version of the list in 2004 when 20,000 people were on it. Those numbers were culled in 2007, and people who were no longer considered a threat were removed. These included, for example, some former members of the Irish Republican Army who were considered no longer active in terrorist activity.

More at the link in the title, including details of how one gets on and off the list.

Cue the comparisons to Chicago politics in five, four, three...


Kansas City closes HALF it's schools.

I can't even think of a witty headline for this.  The board  is closing HALF the schools in the city. The teachers - which will be less in number- will have reapply for their jobs then have to handle twice as many kids in their classrooms.  The students will be sitting next to their rivals in over packed classrooms. I know a woman who was going to be promoted to principal at one of these schools, now she has to go find a job ( but where?) This is what happens after years of "white flight" depletion. It pisses me off so much. People come from the burbs into KC every weekend for their food, their culture, their sports and their entertainment but they sure as hell won't pay MO taxes and support our school systems. Most of the families with any money whatsoever move to the Kansas suburbs to school their kids. The city school budgets are left to rot and have been rotting for years. Now this... I'm just so sad. Supposedly this will stave off a worse disaster... but ... fuck it feels like the beginning of the end. We're screwed.  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City school board narrowly approved a plan Wednesday night to close nearly half the district's schools in a desperate bid to avoid a potential bankruptcy.

(Note: This image is not of K.C., MO. but seemed suitable for the subject cause this is how half the city is going to look by next year.)

Source Huff Po via associated press

The board voted 5-4 after parents and community leaders made final pleas to spare the schools even as the beleaguered district seeks to erase a projected $50 million budget shortfall. The approved plan calls for shuttering 29 of 61 schools – a striking amount even as public school closures rise nationwide while the recession eats away at academic budgets.
"The urban core has suffered white flight post-the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education, blockbusting by the real estate industry, redlining by banks and other financial institutions, retail and grocery store abandonment,"
Kansas City Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks said to applause from a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people.
"And now the public education system is aiding and abetting in the economic demise of our school district," she said. "It is shameful and sinful."
Many school board members said the vote was difficult. An emotional Duane Kelly called it "the most painful vote" he has cast in 10 years on the board.
Under the approved plan, buildings will be shuttered before the next school year. Teachers at six other low-performing schools will be required to reapply for their jobs, and the di.strict will sell its downtown central office. About 700 of the district's 3,000 jobs – including 285 teachers – also are expected to be cut
"My analogy is we took a meat ax to the district," said board member Joel Pelofsky, who voted for the closures. "Now we have to figure out how to sandpaper it into place."
Some parents called for Superintendent John Covington's departure after the vote, shouting, "He has to go."
Covington, one in a long line of superintendents, has spent the past month making the case to sometimes angry groups of parents and students that the closures are necessary. He declined to discuss the closures after the meeting but planned to talk at a news conference Thursday.
Laura Loyacono, 45, the parent of a 13-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy, served on a committee that helped draft the closure proposal.
"It's not an easy thing," Loyacono said. "We knew going into it that we would have to close a significant number of schools because of the budget issues and because the resources have been so diluted and so spread out that I think some of the program quality has really suffered."
Despite the need, she said nobody likes to see schools closed.
"None of us liked voting for this," board member and former desegregation attorney Arthur Benson said, "but it was necessary."
Covington has stressed that the district's buildings are only half-full as its population has plummeted amid political squabbling and chronically abysmal test scores. The district's enrollment of fewer than 18,000 students is about half of what the schools had a decade ago and just a quarter of its peak in the late 1960s.
Many students have left for publicly funded charter schools, private and parochial schools and the suburbs.

Fewer students means less money from the state. For the past few years, the district has been plowing through the large reserves it built up when money from a $2 billion court-ordered desegregation plan was flooding its coffers.
School administrators have said that without radical cuts, the district could be in the red by 2011.
Further stressing the budget, the district will lose $23.5 million in the upcoming academic year that it had received from the state for educating students who attended seven schools that have switched to a better-performing neighboring district. The school district isn't the only one serving students in Kansas City; several smaller districts operate in the city's boundaries.
Nationally, many big districts are closing just one or two schools. Detroit closed 29 schools before classes began this fall, but that still left the district with 172 schools.


An Interview With Karl Rove

Karl Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy White House chief of staff under President George W. Bush, on Tuesday published a memoir, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.” The Times caught up with him in New York to talk about democracy in Iraq, the impact of the C.I.A. leak case and questions about his mother’s suicide and his father’s sexual orientation. This is an edited transcript:

Question: You’ve said you wanted to use the book to set the record straight and you write about the “Myth of Rove.” What do you think is the biggest misconception about you and about President Bush?

Mr. Rove: One of the biggest myths is that Bush needed a brain. Bush is a very smart, able leader and people who didn’t like his policies tried to diminish him by depicting me as his brain. The second thing is the myth that Bush got there by – he got there by running a campaign that was based around big ideas, running into a headwind and won, and then won reelection in a year with a lot of headwinds, again by emphasizing big things. This was not mini-ball.

Question: And what about you personally?

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Karl Rove: Not a fan of answering questions about the absense of WMD but does have gay friends, believes Obama called him an anarchist, and was made to feel like a ham sandwich during the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plume scandal. Also his dad may or may not have been gay.

Only the Beautiful Need Apply

Image and video hosting by TinyPic 

Study Flags Damaging Effect of Joining a Sorority on Body Image and Eating Behaviors 
ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2010) — Undergraduate women who join a sorority are more likely to judge their own bodies from an outsider's perspective (known as self-objectification) and display higher levels of bulimic attitudes and behaviors than those who do not take part in the sorority's recruitment process. Over time, those women who join the group also show higher levels of body shame.
These findings, part of Ashley Marie Rolnik's senior honors thesis at Northwestern University in the US, are published online in Springer's journal Sex Roles.

On college campuses across the US, thousands of women join sororities every year through a structured recruitment process -- the sorority rush. Although these sisterhoods provide college women with opportunities for personal growth and enrichment, they have been criticized for their potential to lead their members to focus excessively and unhealthily on their appearance.

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This just in: all your vaginas are belong to us.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law Monday a bill that would allow a woman who arranges an illegal abortion to be charged with criminal homicide.

The new law is in response to a case last year where a 17-year-old pregnant girl paid a man $150 to beat her in hopes of inducing a miscarriage. A judge ruled there was no law on Utah's books allowing the mother to be charged with a crime.

The bill's original version drew national headlines because it allowed criminal charges if the mother's behavior was "reckless." That raised concerns that a mother who fell on the ice or was an avid jogger and suffered a miscarriage could be charged with a crime.

Herbert balked at signing that language and the bill's sponsor, Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, quickly revised the legislation to remove the word "reckless."

Herbert vetoed the original legislation, HB12, Monday -- his first veto as a governor -- and signed the revised version, HB462.

"I appreciate the willingness of Representative Wimmer to re-evaluate the impact of potential unintended consequences arising from the inclusion of 'reckless' behavior" in the original bill, Herbert wrote in his veto letter. "[The revised bill] is more consistent with the true intent of the legislation and addresses those situations in which the termination of a pregnancy is intentional and is not conducted at a physician's direction."


So beware all ye possible mothers of Utah! You are now not allowed to drink/eat/touch/smell/be near things that MAY cause cause you to miscarry, speak to strangers, work, touch sharp things, menstruate, drive, ride a bike, walk outside your house, or generally do anything that may endanger the precious little life in you that is now more important than your own. BECAUSE HOW WE DO KNOW YOU DIDN'T DO IT ON PURPOSE, BWAHAHA.

Won't Nickelodeon Think Of The Children?!!

A national parents' organization is upset about a television show on a network traditionally devoted to children's programming, at a time young children may see it.

In cities across the country, the show called 'Glenn Martin DDS' about a traveling dentist, airs at eight in the evening on the Nickelodeon network. A recent episode shows the main character in Vegas, in a strip joint, where he's pole dancing to pay off a gambling debt. Other scenes are even more sexually explicit.

"They've had references to pornography, there's an ongoing story line about the family dog, which has an extraordinarily large anus," says Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council. She's also the mother of 18-month old Josiah.

"If this is acceptable now," she says, "when my son is 7, 8, 9 years old, what kind of content are we going to be seeing on programs he may be asking to watch?"

Henson says Nickelodeon has billed the show as something the whole family can enjoy together.

"If your kid's watching Nickelodeon at 7:30pm, all of a sudden it's 8 o'clock and they're going to be seeing this kind of thing. It's really a bad fit I think for Nickelodeon," says Henson.

"This is a PSA for what NOT to do!" exclaimed Jeff Kogok, a Reston resident.

Others had the same reaction.

"This shouldn't air at 8 o'clock," said Tim Martin, of Falls Church. "There's exposure to a lot of things I don't even want to be exposed to!"

Added Kogok, "If I had a kid, I definitely would not approve."


From a ~capitalist~ perspective, Nickelodeon airing this show pre watershed will only end up hurting their bottom line.

Georgia judge bars release of photos of hiker's nude, decapitated body

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- Photos of the nude and decapitated body of a murdered hiker, sought by a writer on assignment for Hustler magazine, will not be released, a judge in Georgia ordered Wednesday.

The decision came as state lawmakers considered legislation that would ban public release of graphic photos of crime victims. First Amendment lawyers say the legislation could have a chilling effect on open records requests.

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I just hate that this whole argument is being done up by Hustler.  As if the magazine really wants the pictures for anything related to journalistic integrity.

Infighting Among Teabaggers... How delicious.

(CNN) -- It's a grass-roots protest movement composed of the newly politicized and people distrustful of hierarchy. So how is it possible to be an illegitimate Tea Party member?

Ask Republicans in Nevada. Some are accusing Jon Scott Ashjian, a new Tea Party candidate running for U.S. Senate, of being a fake. The allegation? He was put in the race by agents of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to siphon votes from the GOP.

"No doubt about it," says Danny Tarkanian, one of the many Republican Senate candidates hoping to challenge Reid in November.

"Nobody in the Tea Party knows who he is. He didn't know any of the principles of the Tea Party," Tarkanian tells CNN.

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Young!Snape Emo
  • ook

First Black Woman in SC Legislature Freezes to Death Alone

Once-revered SC lawmaker freezes to death alone

By SEANNA ADCOX, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Juanita Goggins became the first black woman elected to the South Carolina Legislature in 1974, she was hailed as a trailblazer and twice visited the president at the White House.

Three decades later, she froze to death at age 75, a solitary figure living in a rented house four miles from the gleaming Statehouse dome.

Goggins, whose achievements included key legislation on school funding, kindergarten and class size, had become increasingly reclusive. She spent her final years turning down help from neighbors who knew little of her history-making past. Her body was not discovered for more than a week.

Those neighbors, as well as former colleagues and relatives, are now left wondering whether they could have done more to help.

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TxVoodoo layout icon

Johnny Weir Deemed “Not Family Friendly” Enough to Perform in Stars on Ice Tour

The sponsors of the Stars on Ice Tour, which include Smuckers and IMG Entertainment, have refused to allow 3-time US National Champion and 2-time Olympian Johnny Weir to participate because they claim that he is “not family friendly.”

To say that Weir is “not family friendly” would be a clear jab at his perceived sexual orientation. Weir is extremely involved with his family. He is putting his younger brother through college, and supports the family financially because his father’s disability prohibits him from working. Weir’s dedication to his family can be clearly documented in the Sundance series, Be Good Johnny Weir, which follows him and his family and friends through his life and career as a championship skater.

Weir’s performance and costume style is sometimes considered flashier than those of other skaters, leading to questions about his perceived sexual orientation. While Weir has not officially announced his sexual orientation, he has garnered a significant amount of LGBT fans. He remains one of the most outspoken skaters today, and won an online poll asking fans “Who would you like to see guest star on Stars on Ice?”

Weir recently announced that he is taking a break from skating in order to “rework his technique.” This news does not release the Stars on Ice sponsors from asking him to participate. The door should be opened to him as one of the most influential skaters in the field today.

GLAAD encourages its members and anyone concerned about this type of exclusion and prejudice to sign the petition here.


ETA: Stars on Ice on Facebook - tell them you want to see Johnny there! (Come on, ONTDP, you can do it!)

Clegg praises Thatcher, calls for more savage cuts

Fraser Nelson previews The Spectator’s interview with Nick Clegg, in which the LibDem leader has “put his heart into showing his hidden Tory side” according to the Speccy editor, who awards him a blue rose in noting his bid for a heir to Thatcher accolade.

It sounds as though it could be a major talking point at the LibDem spring conference in Birmingham this weekend, where it may not meet with universal acclaim among party members.

The LibDem leader is back in “savage cuts” territory, by arguing that the deficit should be dealt with only by spending cuts and no tax rises, which outflanks Cameron and Osborne on the right. (Nelson contrasts that with a Tory approach of 80% cuts to 20% tax rises ratio, and Labour 66% to 33%).

Age, he claims, has taught him the point of Maggie Thatcher. And, apparently, he now seems to see her as something of an inspiration, praising her for her victory over the trade unions.

Clegg may well be decisively outflanking the voters on their right too. (Left Foot Forward had an interesting discussion of this question of the tax/spending balance last Autumn; and this month showed public fear of spending cuts may outweigh fears of the deficit).

The timing of the high-profile interview suggests that the LibDem leader tends to seek sharper public definition through the Blairesque tactic of aggravating many of his own activists.

It would also seem to signal that Clegg has his sights rather more on anti-Tory defence in the south-east and south-west than in taking the urban fight to Labour.

Last Autumn, Clegg retreated on the “savage cuts” language which horrified shadow cabinet colleagues, while Steve Webb swiftly dismissed the leader’s desire to means test child benefit.

I wonder if the oppose all tax rises line will survive.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy
And there goes the last bit of "Oh well, at least the Lib Dems are ahead of the Tories for this seat" relief I had. Bugger.

This Stranger...

Chile Leader Enters Changed Political Landscape

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile’s powerful earthquake buried people and homes in a broad section of the coastal south, but it may also have given the country’s new right-wing coalition government a chance to entomb the ghosts of the former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The Feb. 27 quake struck during a pivotal transition, just as Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire businessman and former senator, prepared to assume the presidency as the first elected right-wing leader in Chile in 50 years. When he takes office on Thursday, he will be the first president from the right of any kind since General Pinochet stepped down in 1990, returning Chile to democracy after a bloody dictatorship.

Mr. Piñera, who campaigned on a platform of job creation and law and order, may now have a freer hand to crack down on delinquency and drug trafficking. He is already billing himself as the “reconstruction president,” embarking on an open-ended endeavor that could give him a lasting edge over the rival center-left Concertación coalition, which was viewed as responding slowly in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Benjamín Leal, 38, a psychology professor, survived the tsunami that barreled through the port city of Talcahuano, leaving close to half of its 250,000 residents homeless. Then he endured the riotous aftermath, as looters and vandals stole what they could while the government of the departing president, Michelle Bachelet, hesitated for 36 hours to call in the military.
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Gawd...I hope people now won't be like "Pinochet is in the past, let's forget about him and move on and  ~look toward the future~" Because when people still don't have bodies for their missing loved ones (because they were probably dropped into the ocean from a helicopter), "moving on" is not an option.
misc. | UNF

"The Obamas honor Intl. Women's Day; tell jokes".

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama helped celebrate International Women's Day today with some one-liners reminiscent of the old vaudeville routines of George and Gracie Allen, or perhaps of Sonny and Cher Bono.

"So, I get so speak first while he stands and watches -- I love this!" Mrs. Obama said of her husband, to the chuckles of the mostly female audience in the East Room at the White House.

"Look at me adoringly." she told the president.
To which he responded: "I can do that ..."
To which she said: "... with sincerity!"

Later, Mrs. Obama, cracked, "it is my pleasure to introduce one of the few men in the room."

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video link

Their pillowtalk/sex banter must be uh-mazin'/MAJA~
Akuma River

Harry Reid's wife & daughter in bad car accident

Reid's wife, daughter injured in accident
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Laurie Kellman, Associated Press Writer – 2 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's wife and daughter were being treated in a hospital Thursday for serious injuries they sustained when their vehicle was rear-ended by a truck, a spokesman said.

Reid's wife, Landra, 69, broke her back and neck in the accident, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said.

She and the couple's adult daughter, Lana, were being treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital in suburban Virginia. Neither woman's injuries appeared to be life-threatening, Manley said.

"While driving on a Washington, D.C., highway, their vehicle was rear-ended by a semi-truck," Manley said in a statement.

"Mrs. Reid has a broken nose, broken back and broken neck. Lana has a neck injury and facial lacerations. Both Mrs. Reid and Lana are conscious, can feel their extremities, and according to doctors their injuries are non-life threatening," Manley said. "Sen. Reid has been to the hospital and appreciates the support he and his family are receiving from Nevadans and his colleagues in the Senate."

Reid later returned to Capitol Hill, where he was meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on efforts to pass health care legislation. He planned to return to the hospital after the meeting, Manley said.

Reid, 70, met Landra while they both were attending Basic High School in Henderson, Nev. They were married in 1959. Lana was born two years later. The Reids also have four sons: Rory, Leif, Josh and Key.
Akuma River

Student Loan Reform to wed Health Care Reform in Reconciliation Ceremony

Health Care and Student Loan Programs Collide
Published: March 11, 2010

WASHINGTON — The chairmen of the Senate and House education committees said on Thursday that they would fight to attach President Obama’s proposed overhaul of student lending programs to the budget reconciliation package, which will include final revisions to the Democrats’ sweeping health care legislation.

But defenders of the private student loan industry in the Senate are intent on keeping the student loan initiative out of the health care legislation, and some Democrats are also worried that including the education measure could hinder efforts to pass the health care bill.

The White House, torn between two priorities — reshaping the financing of health care and overhauling student loan programs — has not said whether it wants them attached at the legislative hip.
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NELNET needs to DIAF. I'm supposed to have a direct loan from the Dept of Education - My Uni completely dumped private student loans through banks - but I get a letter that Nelnet wormed their way in to service the loan.

Also, I completely forgot about this until I got an e-mail from Firedog about signing a petition for congress to the bill passed otherwise it will be killed. The e-mail also mentioned these student loan providers, Sallie Mae, JP Morgan, BofA, and Citigroup, as bringing the big lobbyists guns against the student loan reform act.
disney || excited
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day eleven

This is a little bit old but I love this article because it's written by a Brazilian feminist. I can't overstate how important I think it is for everyone to be able to tell their own stories.

Brazilian feminists on the alert

Recognized as one of the most articulate and influential women’s movements in Latin America, the feminist movement in Brazil has taken important strides beyond national limits, making its presence positively noted in global spaces. We were present at the UN from its very beginnings, Bertha Lutz, a Brazilian feminist who led our struggles for women’s right to vote (won in 1932), was one of the only four women delegates to the UN founding Charter in 1946. She played an important part in securing the inclusion of clauses against sexual discrimination and regarding equality between the sexes in the San Francisco Charter. And it was partly under her influence that Brazil pushed for the creation of the CSW as an organ of the Social and Economic Council.
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Court rules "Under God" in Pledge of Allegiance legal

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency, rejecting arguments on Thursday that the phrases violate the separation of church and state.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected two legal challenges by Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who claimed the references to God disrespect his religious beliefs.

"The Pledge is constitutional," Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority in the 2-1 ruling. "The Pledge of Allegiance serves to unite our vast nation through the proud recitation of some of the ideals upon which our Republic was founded."

The same court ruled in Newdow's favor in 2002 after he sued his daughter's school district for having students recite the pledge at school.
That lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, but the high court ruled that Newdow lacked the legal standing to file the suit because he didn't have custody of his daughter, on whose behalf he brought the case.

So Newdow, who is a doctor and lawyer, filed an identical challenge on behalf of other parents who objected to the recitation of the pledge at school. In 2005, a federal judge in Sacramento decided in Newdow's favor, ruling that the pledge was unconstitutional.

"I want to be treated equally," Newdow said when he argued the case before the 9th Circuit in December 2007. He added that supporters of the phrase "want to have their religious views espoused by the government."

In a separate 3-0 ruling Thursday, the appeals court upheld the inscription of the national motto "In God We Trust" on coins and currency, saying that the phrase is ceremonial and patriotic, not religious.

Reached on his cell phone, Newdow said he hadn't been aware that the appeals court had ruled against him Thursday."Oh man, what a bummer," he said.

Newdow said he would comment further after he had read the decisions.


Parks and Rec Leslie and Ben

(no subject)

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explaining the path forward on health insurance reform. In the letter, Senator Reid details the steps that Senate Democrats have taken to secure bipartisan support for health reform despite the lack of cooperation from Senate Republicans. Reid said he will seek an democratic, up-or-down simple majority vote to revise the health reform bill already passed by a supermajority of 60 Senators last December. Reid also reiterated the commitment of Senate Democrats to deliver meaningful health reform that will ensure access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.


Below is the text of the letter to Senator McConnell:

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Source prefers snail mail

I Say This Mr. Adams Fellow Strikes Me As a Red Coat, Royalist, British Sympathizer! The Rope I Say!

"Boston Massacre Truthers" Uncovers Evidence That "Massacre" Was a Hamiltonian Conspiracy To Crown George Washington as King of America!

Thiessen’s Inconsistency Undermines Claim That Detainee Lawyers Can’t Be Compared To John Adams

Despite the backlash from prominent conservative lawyers against Liz Cheney and Keep America Safe’s “al Qaeda 7″ ad that questions the loyalty of Justice Department lawyers who worked on behalf of detainees, some on the right have risen to Cheney’s defense. On Monday, torture advocate Marc Thiessen dedicated his new Washington Post column to defending the ad, saying that Cheney asked “legitimate questions about Obama administration lawyers who defended America’s terrorist enemies.” Keep America Safe subsequently referred reporters to Thiessen’s column when asked to comment on the conservative criticism.

Today, Thiessen is up with another defense of the Cheney-led attacks, writing on the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog that defenders of the Justice Department lawyers are wrong to invoke John Adams’ defense of British soldiers after the Boston massacre:
Defenders of the habeas lawyers representing al-Qaeda terrorists have invoked the iconic name of John Adams to justify their actions, claiming these lawyers are only doing the same thing Adams did when he defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate.

For starters, Adams was a British subject at the time he took up their representation. The Declaration of Independence had not yet been signed, and there was no United States of America. The British soldiers were Adams’ fellow countrymen — not foreign enemies of the state at war with his country.
Thiessen’s argument that Adams was defending “fellow countrymen” and “not foreign enemies” is clever, but it’s undermined by the fact that some of the lawyers Thiessen and the ad impugn did work on behalf of American citizens. In a National Review blog post promoting his PostPartisan column, Thiessen directly attacks a lawyer who advocated on behalf of a detained American citizen:
Eric Holder vs. John Adams [Marc Thiessen]

I have a piece up for the Washington Post explaining why the al-Qaeda lawyers are wrong to wrap themselves in the mantle of John Adams. Thanks to the spade work of Bill Burck and Dana Perino, we now know why Holder was stonewalling on the identities of the “Al Qaeda 7” — he was one of them! If Holder and co. are simply carrying on the traditions of John Adams, why were they hiding their roles in seeking the release of enemy combatants? If they are proud of their work, why don’t they stand up and say so?
Yesterday, Perino and Burck published an article on National Review Online detailing how Holder contributed to, but neglected to tell the Senate about, an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held as an enemy combatant. Another one of the lawyers smeared by the ad, Joseph Guerra, now Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, worked on a brief urging that the Supreme Court hear Padilla’s case. Another DoJ lawyer, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, worked on the case of “American Taliban” Johh Walker Lindh, an American citizen.

The discrepancy between Thiessen’s PostPartisan argument and the facts is indicative of his arguments in general. In discussing another one of Thiessen’s inconsistent arguments, Time’s Michael Scherer — who considers Thiessen’s vocal crusade to defend the Bush administration’s torture policies “a good thing” — remarked that he was “disappointed with the quality of Thiessen’s arguments, which seem to be designed more for cable news soundbites than for serious discussion.”
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Betrayal! Republicans Say NO To Real American Census!

Michael Steele Getting No Love This Year...

170 House Republicans rebuff Steele by voting to ban RNC’s ‘Census’ mailer.

Under Chairman Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee has been using
controversial mailers posing as official Census documents to raise money. “Calling itself the ‘Congressional District Census,’ the letter comes in an envelope starkly printed with the words, ‘DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT’ and describes itself, on the outside of the envelope, as a ‘census document,’” notes Politico. Although the mailers have been used before, they were heavily criticized this year because they coincide with the actual Census; many observers worried that people would confuse the two. Yesterday, the House voted 416-0 to ban “misleading mailings designed to appear they’re from the Census Bureau”:
The legislation passed 416-0, after two Republicans who sit on the House panel overseeing the census, Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, agreed to co-sponsor the measure. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has said he intends to move forward with legislation in the Senate.

“With millions of census forms due to hit mailboxes within days and a multimillion advertising campaign meant to encourage completion and return of those forms, too many nongovernmental organizations are trying to piggyback on that brand awareness,” said the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
170 Republicans voted to ban the RNC letters, and Issa and Chaffetz blasted Steele’s tactics in a recent committee hearing on the matter. “I have seen the Republican Party send out documents that say ‘census.’ I think it’s wrong, I think it’s deceptive, and I wish they wouldn’t do it,” Chaffetz said. Steele recently defended the mailers, saying, “If it’s against the law, I won’t [send them]. Until such time, this is an aggressive fundraising season.” (HT: DailyKos)

State board of education member walks out of textbook debate

SAN ANGELO, Texas — AUSTIN — A longtime State Board of Education member accused her colleagues of “whitewashing” curriculum standards Thursday and walked out of the panel’s meeting in frustration amid heated debates about race and the inclusion of Hispanics in lesson plans.

The board had rejected an effort to include the names of two Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients and one black recipient in lessons for a world history class, but agreed to revisit the amendment for an American history class. It also approved an amendment that deletes a requirement that sociology students “explain how institutional racism is evident in American society.”

“I mean we’ve already been whitewashing all of social studies up to this point and now we’re doing it in sociology?” Democratic board member Mary Helen Berlanga said after Republican Barbara Cargill’s amendment was proposed. “You’ve got to leave some integrity in this.”

The amendment was adopted on a 10-5 party line vote.

Decisions by the board — long led by social conservatives who have advocated ideas such as teaching more about the weaknesses of evolutionary theory — affects textbook content nationwide because Texas is one of publishers’ biggest clients.

Berlanga, who has served on the board since 1982, walked out of the meeting after reviewing upcoming amendments involving the inclusion of Hispanic names in the standards.

“I’ve had it, this is it,” she said. “I’m leaving. We can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

Debate on the social studies standards has been marked by ideological squabbles over religion and reflection of political viewpoints. Several people have asked the board during previous meetings to include more examples of prominent Hispanics.

Berlanga said race relations in the U.S. have progressed, but Hispanics “are still going through discrimination if we can’t even put two names as recipients of the Medal of Honor.”

But Republican board members argued that pinpointing three war heroes out of the thousands that have been honored “diminishes the accomplishment of other recipients.”

“I would rather give teachers the ... freedom to possibly pull a winner from that school, that those children can relate to and emulate,” said Terri Leo of Spring.

Conservative members scored a string of victories in a burst of activity on the second day of a three-day meeting.

A party-line vote defeated an amendment by Democrat Mavis Knight of Dallas that would have required students to study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

The board agreed to strengthen nods to Christianity by adding references to “laws of nature and nature’s God” to a section in U.S. history that requires students to explain major political ideas.

They also agreed to strike the word “democratic” in references to the form of U.S. government, opting instead to call it a “constitutional republic.”

The board also added a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class and agreed to require economics students to “analyze the decline of the U.S. dollar including abandonment of the gold standard.”


So...much...RAGE! Please stop disappointing me, home state! It is ALL completely idiotic and ridiculous, but I mean you hate liberals SO MUCH you cannot even use the word "democratic" anymore? Do not think I did not notice the new phrase has "republic" in it, you evil villains!

New York City settles post-9/11 illness, injury claims


New York (CNN) -- The WTC Captive Insurance Co. announced settlements Thursday with more than 10,000 plaintiffs who claimed sickness or injuries after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The settlements could total up to $657 million.

WTC Captive was created with a $1 billion FEMA grant and provides insurance coverage to the City of New York and its debris-removal contractors. In the aftermath of attacks of September 11, 2001, New York was unable to get adequate amounts of liability insurance for the rescue, recovery and debris-removal work done at the World Trade Center site.

The settlement would provide a system to pay for the compensation of the injury claims made by people working on the rescue and debris removal for the city and its contractors. This would include construction workers, firefighters, police officers and other workers and volunteers. The settlement would also fund a special insurance policy, which provides additional compensation to any plaintiff contracting certain types of cancer in the future.

Christine LaSala, president of WTC Captive, said in a statement: "We have reached a settlement that is fair under difficult and complicated circumstances. This agreement enables workers and volunteers claiming injury from the WTC site operations to obtain compensation commensurate with the nature of their injuries and the strength of their claims, while offering added protection against possible future illness."
In order to make a claim, plaintiffs will have to submit proof they were present and participated in the post-9/11 efforts. They will also have to present specific medical documentation, including a diagnosis confirming their illness or injury.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the resolution, "This settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution to a complex set of circumstances. Since September 11th, the city has moved aggressively to provide medical treatment to those who were present at Ground Zero, and we will continue our commitment to treatment and monitoring." A spokesman for the mayor declined further comment.

After the 9/11 attacks, individuals who worked or volunteered in the rescue, recovery and debris-removal project were entitled to and have received free medical care, which has been funded by the City of New York and the federal government. Participating in the settlement would not deter access to that care.
Former New York firefighter Kenny Specht told CNN's Campbell Brown, "You really can't put a price on your health, so I hope that this settlement was done the right way and I hope that it was done with people's health and safety and future in mind." Specht, 37, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008.
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Usurper Uses Libural Money To Fund Socialist Organizations

Conservatives Suggest to Send Bootstraps Instead

Obama's Nobel Money: President Chooses Charities To Receive Prize

President Barack Obama plans to donate the $1.4 million from his Nobel Peace Prize to helping students, veterans' families and survivors of Haiti's earthquake, among others, drawing attention to organizations he said "do extraordinary work."

Obama is giving a total of $750,000 to six groups that help kids go to college. Fisher House, which provides housing for families with loved ones at Veterans Administration hospitals, will receive $250,000, the White House said Thursday. And the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, for which two former presidents are raising money to rebuild earthquake-ravaged Haiti, will receive $200,000.

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