March 24th, 2010

The Gang

Fast Money, Big Bust - Iceland



As the overwhelming majority of Icelanders reject a bill that would saddle each citizen with almost €50K of debt, here's a look at the country's thirst for new business models.

"We are a small people, accustomed to bad weather and difficulties. We find challenges rather inspiring", says a designer for ELM, a start-up fashion label that embodies Icelands new approach to business. Tired of bankers Monopoly games, Icelanders place their future in the hand of creative innovators.

"Sustainable economics - the aim to do well and do good business" has become the investors new credo. Recent mass mobilizations against the controversial Icesave bill reflected how much Icelanders reject the old ways.

As singer and businesswoman Bjork puts it: "We focused on far too many big companies and forgot about the small businesses".

For Iceland now, its all about successful downsizing.


Source
The Gang

Amanpour isn't fit for This Week because Facebook haters are citeable and she's Iranian!

Washington Post TV Critic Showcases His Own Bias


Originally published on The Huffington Post.

On Thursday, March 18th ABC News announced that Christiane Amanpour will host This Week, the network’s premiere national political news show, airing in the plum Sunday morning slot. Sometimes second, sometimes third in the ratings against stalwart shows Meet The Press and Face The Nation, This Week was until recently hosted by George Stephanopoulos, who decamped for Good Morning America several months ago.

The announcement was thrilling to those of us who follow politics and media, and not just because Amanpour is a fresh voice who brings decades of field experience and vast international expertise. It was also exciting because the Sunday pundit hours, while some of the most influential in American media in terms of impact on policy and politics, remain highly segregated. A 2007 Media Matters survey found that one in four guests was female and that white guests outnumbered people of color by seven to one. The hosts, of course, were all white men. Until now.

In a perplexing and misguided column in today’s Washington Post, “ABC’s Choice of Amanpour for This Week Has Critics Inside The Network and Beyond” the prominent television critic Tom Shales inveighs against the choice of Amanpour to host the prestigious show. He describes the 27-year broadcast veteran as “widely considered to be deficient,” raises questions about her personal politics, refers to ABC insiders thinking of her as a “celebrity interloper” and ultimately declares:

From many angles, it was a bad choice – one which could create so much consternation that [ABC News President David] Westin will be forced to withdraw Amanpour’s name and come up with another ‘nominee’ for the job. That would hardly be a tragedy – considering how many others deserve it more than she does.

To support his assertion that Amanpour is “the opposite of the perfect candidate,” Shales cites two formidable critics: a Facebook group against Amanpour and a conservative media think tank’s blog who he quotes as saying she has “the standard liberal outlook on the world.” This is a bland critique from a marginal source – why is Shales including this stuff in his assessment of Amanpour? Rather than examine her actual journalistic credentials – beyond considering her Facebook detractors, of course – Shales focuses exclusively on Amanpour’s Iranian ethnicity, noting that she has “steadfastly rejected claims about her objectivity” while slyly raising the issue of her possible bias against Israel. Naturally, an Anglo-Iranian woman is ethnically incapable of reporting Middle Eastern stories objectively.

Despite his argument that a reporter’s history directly informs her objectivity, Shales has been known to swoon over George Stephanopoulos, saying of his November departure for Good Morning America, “it’s unpleasant, a potential squandering of talents which are ideally suited to ‘This Week’” “Ideally suited?” It seems that Stephanopoulos’s resume, which includes campaign manager and Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, doesn’t raise any objectivity flags for Shales.

Then again, his standards for the male candidates seem slightly more lax than those for Amanpour. After all, he can’t help but comment that either White House correspondent Jake Tapper or ‘Nightline’ co-anchor Terry Moran “would have made a better This Week anchor.” Really? Jake Tapper would have made a better anchor? He seems like a nice enough man, but compared to Amanpour he is a lightweight. In 1999, Tapper penned an unauthorized bio titled Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story, a book whose blurb on Amazon reads: “In every arena, Jesse Ventura puts a headlock on the competition–now he’s turning the country on its ear.” By that time, Amanpour had won 2 Peabody Awards – one in 1993, which stated “CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour represents the best of the profession” - and one in 1998 which stated “she reminds us of all that is good and great in television journalism.” In 2002, the same year Tapper did a story on Lynyrd Skynyrd for VH1, Amanpour won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting, and had been a reporter for 60 Minutes for 6 years, and at CNN for 10 years.

Nothing against Tapper, but Shales’s assertion that he holds a candle to Amanpour – much less out-merits her journalistically – is just plain insulting to the informed public. Beyond her Iranian background and her gender, exactly what is Shales claiming against Amanpour?

It’s easy to make the argument that a journalist primarily known for international affairs is a counter-intuitive choice to host one of our country’s top national affairs shows. But ABC News President David Westin made the point that her perspective and experience are nothing but assets, and we agree. That’s why at the Women’s Media Center, we issued a statement supporting the choice of Amanpour and thanking ABC for taking an important first step in diversifying the voices heard on Sunday talk. But Shales’s beef with Amanpour steers clear of any reasonable concerns. There is no substance presented in his “body slam” of Amanpour – none of his inferred critiques hold up, mainly because he doesn’t bother to support them. So we have to ask, why does Shales go out of his way to characterize this much-lauded journalist as an insubstantial joke, “a bad choice” while supporting the talents and qualifications of Stephanopoulos and Tapper? Is one of America’s top TV critics damning a broadcast colleague because she’s not a man?

Source

Murasaki Shikibu

Well, we knew it was coming...

China thwarts Google's detour around censorship

Google's attempted detour around China's Internet censorship rules was met with countermeasures Tuesday by the communist government, which blocked people on the mainland from seeing search results dealing with such forbidden topics as the pro-democracy movement.

China's maneuver, as well as its public rebuke of Google's decision to stop censoring searches for the government, rattled some of the company's investors, advertisers and users.


The chief concern is whether Google poisoned its business in one of the world's most promising Internet markets. One analyst critical of Google's move predicted the maneuver will cause the company's stock to fall by as much as $50 — or about 10 percent — in the coming weeks.

The stock fell $8.50, or 1.5 percent, to $549 Tuesday.

Last month, Google said it no longer felt comfortable complying with the country's demands that it censor Web content deemed objectionable by the communist rulers. On Monday, Google began sending Web searchers in mainland China from the China-based Google.cn to Google.com.hk, based in Hong Kong. The former British colony has an open Internet, and Google is not legally required to censor results there.

But that end-run doesn't prevent China's government from using its Internet filters — known as the Great Firewall — to block some search results and Web sites from being seen in the mainland.


On Tuesday, a search request from within mainland China about the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests returned a notice that the "page cannot be displayed." It also caused the Web browser to disconnect for several seconds. Under the old google.cn, a similar query usually returned a list of sanitized sites about Tiananmen Square.

If the Chinese leaders really want to foil Google, they could block all mainland access to the Hong Kong service. Or they could exert their control of Chinese telecommunications companies to slow the speed of queries and responses, to help drive traffic to homegrown rivals.

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I wonder what the next move in all this is going to be.
  • Current Music
    Boa - Winding Road
Archer Is My Prison Bitch

A Tory Two-fer

Tories 'airbrushed' ethnic minority candidates from campaign leaflets
Party denies keeping photographs of its non-white candidates out to pander to the BNP's supporters

The Conservatives have been accused of "pandering to prejudice" by omitting pictures of their non-white election candidates from campaign literature in areas where they are fighting the BNP.

Claims by the Tory leader, David Cameron, to be promoting ethnic diversity were called into question after an entire series of campaign calendars issued in east London – the front line of the fight against the BNP – contained only photographs of their white candidates.

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Source.

If you're interested in the photoshopped leaflets:



Image obtained from Tory Stories.

Oh! I said this was a two-fer. Prepare for second-hand embarrassment:


Cameron slips up on gay equality
In an interview with Gay Times magazine, Conservative leader David Cameron displays uncertainty over support for key votes on equality legislation in European and UK parliaments. Labour MP Ben Bradshaw has called it a "major gaffe."

In the interview, which will be shown exclusively on Channel 4 News at 7pm tonight, the Tory leader becomes confused when questioned on MEP votes for homophobic legislation, and UK votes on civil partnerships in Quaker churches – specifically on whether those votes would be free or whipped for his MPs.

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Video that basically is this article:


Source.

Maddow: 'I'm not running for office'

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is asking voters to donate to his 2012 campaign so a certain "liberal MSNBC anchor" who lives in Western Massachusetts won't win the office instead. "Rachel Maddow has a nightly platform to push her far-left agenda," Brown writes in a fundraising letter. "What about you?"

source

Obama to Sign Executive Order in Private

There was plenty of hoopla in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday when President Obama signed the health care bill into law. But when Mr. Obama signs an executive order that secured the votes of some anti-abortion Democrats, he will do so in private.

The White House announced Tuesday evening that Mr. Obama would sign the order — which it said reaffirms the health bill’s “consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion” — in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon.

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Source.

Can't win 'em all? SMH.
asoneill - Yahoo Me

You know what is totally related to health care reform? Letting gays marry in DC.

GOP Amendment to Health Care Bill Tries to Force Same-Sex Marriage Vote in D.C.

The New York Times has started posting all the Senate Republican amendments to the health care reform bill, and, surprise, surprise, one of them concerns the District of Columbia's same-sex marriage law:

Bennett amendment: To protect the Democratic process and the right of the people of the District of Columbia to define marriage. (#3568)

That'd be Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, of course, and we understand that he has the support of Senators Wicker, Brownback, Hatch, Roberts, Inhofe and Cornyn as well. The amendment basically seeks to force D.C. to allow a ballot measure on same-sex marriage, despite numerous Board of Elections and court decisions to the contrary. It would also suspend issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples until such a vote is held.

It's incredibly unlikely that this amendment would actually pass. The Republican gameplan in the Senate is to offer up a litany of these sorts of "poison pill" amendments in an effort to muck up the reconciliation bill enough so that the House would be forced to vote again. And this amendment frankly seems ripe for simply being ruled out of order, since it doesn't concern the budget. Still, it's helpful to be reminded that conservative senators have this local issue on their minds -- this won't be the last time a member of Congress tries to find a way to interfere with D.C.'s same-sex marriage law.

Source

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Headdesk.
Citadel

5 Dystopias Healthcare Reform Could Prevent (And One It Could Cause)

We've heard a lot of hype, on both sides, about the healthcare reform bill President Obama signed today. But how will it really affect our future? Here are five dystopias it may save us from, and one it could cause.

Oh, and there are spoilers in this post. Watch out!

So the House of Representatives passed The White House/Congressional Leadership Reconciliation Bill (H.R. 4872) on Sunday, and President Obama signed it today. (There are still procedural hurdles in the Senate, but it's basically a done deal, by all accounts.) So now it's all over except for the court cases, giant stacks of regulations, and the inevitable followup bills.*

You can read the whole text of the bill here, and there's a great comparison with the previous House and Senate bills here (PDF). So what does the bill actually do, in its final form, and how could it make our future more or less dystopian? Glad you asked. Here are some dystopian scenarios that the bill makes less likely:

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Source.
Sufjan Smile

Making children a target



THREE THOUSAND heavily armed Israeli security service forces locked down large parts of the Old City of Jerusalem on March 16, as battalions of police fired rounds of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian protesters in the occupied eastern part of the city.

Nearly 40 Palestinians were wounded and treated at nearby hospitals, as 25 were arrested during intense clashes.

Protests were aimed at the Netanyahu administration's announcement of expanded illegal settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the five-day closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Palestinian institutions within the Old City.

Fundamentalist settler groups held an opening ceremony for a synagogue constructed against the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which was seen as a provocation to the Palestinian community in the area.

Clashes took place in several areas of East Jerusalem, including the Shu'afat refugee camp, Wadi Joz and Silwan. This comes on the heels of accelerated attacks by Israeli forces and Jewish settlers inside Silwan in particular, directed toward the community's youngest and most vulnerable population.

Since January, at least 33 children from the area have been arrested, detained and interrogated by Israeli forces as home demolitions and settler takeovers continue apace.
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Source: Socialist Worker

This story comes on the tail of the death of two Palestinian teens in Nablus, kids who weren't even involved in demonstrations shot dead by Israel. Their defense? "Live fire was not used." Nevermind that the bullets lodged in the dead beg to differ. Israel has been imprisoning teens and kids even younger, and is indiscriminate in its oppression. It's pure terror.
hope / watts

Divorce in Pakistan

Divorce deals a cruel blow to Pakistani women

Women have little say when the man wants out, yet little way to leave if he's abusive but wants to keep her in. Once divorced, they often lose custody of their children.

Zahida Ilyas looks every inch the demure Muslim woman, dressed from head to toe in black, her face ringed by a head scarf, the epitome of outward modesty.

Then her eyes flash and her jaw hardens as she recounts how she was beaten dozens of times, saw her husband take away their five young daughters, divorce her without telling her and leave her with nothing, least of all her dignity and confidence.

"He could kill me and no one would care," Ilyas, 32, said. "The police, courts, they're all on the men's side. No one listens to us."

With divorce and domestic violence on the rise in Pakistan, all too often women are dealt a doubly bad hand, family experts say. Women have little say when the man wants out, yet little way to leave if he's abusive and wants to keep her put.

Although statistics are difficult to come by in Pakistan and are often unreliable, the Aurat Foundation, which tracks women's issues, found 608 police reports of domestic violence in 2009, compared with 281 in 2008. Experts say most cases go unreported. Violence in marriages may be as high as 90%, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says, with most women unaware they're being abused.

On paper, Pakistani family law is among the more progressive in the Islamic world, although there's still no statute on domestic violence. But corruption, weak implementation, patriarchal thinking and legal gaps often leave men holding all the cards.

"The major problem is a feudal mind-set," said Zia Awan, head of the Madadgar Helpline, which helps women in crisis. "Women are treated like chattel."

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yyh || annoyed
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day twenty-four

Violence against women and girls: significant challenges in El Salvador



GENEVA (22 March 2010) – The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, warned Saturday that the recommendations made by her predecessor six years ago to the Salvadorian authorities “are still applicable and relevant.” Ms. Manjoo shared her views and recommendations in a public statement prepared at the end of a three day follow-up visit to El Salvador.

While acknowledging that the country “has come a long way in institution building and human rights protection since the end of the twelve year civil war in 1992,” the independent expert expressed her concern “at the significant challenges that continue to exist in the area of violence against women and girls” in El Salvador.
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[info]open_the_blinds)

Source: Pentagon set to ease policy on gays in the military

Source: Pentagon set to ease policy on gays in the military

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to announce changes Thursday easing the Defense Department's controversial "don't ask don't tell" policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military, a senior Defense Department official has confirmed to CNN.

The official said one of the changes will be that outings by third parties may no longer be automatic grounds for initiating separation proceedings, especially if it is proven that the person making the allegation has a grudge against the military member.

Gates' announcement will focus on regulatory changes that can be made at the Pentagon without the approval of Congress, which has been debating whether to change the law. President Barack Obama has asked for a repeal of the controversial measure.

source
normal

Good News Everyone!! We Can Destroy Socialism Forever!!

Conservative Doctors Will Use a Scalpel Butchering Knife To Restore America's Constitution! GOP's Wet Dream: "No More Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid! Real Americans Will Love It!"

Successful Legal Challenge Of Health Care Reform Could Topple Medicare, Social Security: Legal Expert

A successful legal challenge of health care reform wouldn't just bring down the legislation signed into law by the president on Tuesday, but could topple Medicare and Social Security as well, according to a prominent lawyer.

Legal challenges to health care reform are focused on the requirement that starting in 2014, individuals must buy health insurance or pay a penalty for going without it. Simon Lazarus, public policy counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, said on a conference call with reporters that a challenge of the constitutionality of the so-called "individual mandate" also applies to the constitutionality of longstanding programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

"There are ways in which the the challenges to the validity of the mandate do implicate Medicare and Medicaid,"
said Lazarus, who has written a brief arguing for the constitutionality of health care reform. "The people who are challenging the constitutionality of the mandate are people who believe that Medicare and Social Security ought to be unconstitutional also. The arguments they're making would certainly call those programs into question.

"Essentially, Medicare is a program which requires people to pay rather substantial taxes ultimately to be in a position to receive benefits of health coverage when they're over 65," Lazarus continued. "This program is a tax-and-spend program as well as a regulatory program. In order to get to the point where you could declare the program unconstitutional, you'd have to involve 200 years of precedent under the spending clause and Congress's tax-and-spend powers.

"You couldn't really challenge this program without throwing some question over Medicare and Social Security."
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normal

Tea Baggers Love Pre-existing Conditions! Republicans Promising To Bring It Back at All Cost!!

'Between a Rock & a Hard Place Gazette': Conservative Economics Indicates That Pre-Existing Conditions Are an Essential Tool For America's Economy: "It Motivates The Poor and Welfare Queens To Buy Bootstraps!"



The "repeal" trap

In just those few characters, we see the difficulties Republicans will have -- especially in Blue districts and states -- in running on that repeal platform the teabagger base is demanding. Fact is, this health care reform law (yes, law!) is not as unpopular as they think it is. Already, we're seeing a marked shift in popular opinion in its favor, and the intensity gap the GOP has enjoyed all year should narrow significantly as Democrats finally have something worth fighting about.

Those trends will be particularly pronounced in those solid blue states Republicans need to win to take a significant bite out of the Democratic majorities. Like Illinois:
If elected, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk is promising he will "lead the effort" to repeal the health care reform package Democrats are working furiously to pass. The North Shore Republican made the statement at a New Trier GOP Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner last Friday.
That may win him plaudits from Rush Limbaugh and some fundraising juice, but Rasmussen's last poll of the race showed that 52 percent supported reform, while 46 percent opposed (and that's with Rasmussen's cooked numbers). You can bet Kirk won't be bragging about "leading" the repeal effort, but that cat's out of the bag (the Giannoulias campaign has Kirk's vow on tape), and he voted against the reform in the House.

Same with Mike Castle in Delaware, where his reputation as a "moderate" has propelled him to a dominant lead in the race for Joe Biden's old Senate seat.
Thus far, Castle has dodged the repeal question, refusing to answer whether he's for repeal. Yet he voted with his party to obstruct reform, against eliminating recissions and pre-existing conditions.

The DSCC is certainly pushing Republicans hard to make their feelings on repeal known.
Although many Republican Senate candidates have taken the pledge to repeal health care reform, other have stayed silent [..] Congressman Mike Castle in Delaware, Carly Fiorina in California, Jane Norton in Colorado, Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons in Connecticut, Rob Portman in Ohio, Senator Chuck Grassley in Iowa, John Hoeven in North Dakota, Congressman John Boozman in Arkansas, and Dan Coats and John Hostettler in Indiana.
Those Republicans supporting repeal include California's Tom Campbell, New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, Florida's Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, Nevada's Sue Lowden, North Carolina's Richard Burr, Missouri's Roy Blunt, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Trey Grayson, and Louisiana's David Vitter.

The DSCC shouldn't get too excited about Vitter's opposition, since his Democratic opponent Charlie Melancon also voted against it (and remember, money to the DSCC is money to neanderthal Dems like Melancon). However, the repeal position should prove politically advantageous to Democrats in all of the other states on that list.

As to those Republicans who have thus far steered clear of staking out a position, Democrats (and the media) should pressure them to stake out a position. It's a win-win for us. If they bow to reality and refuse repeal, then they anger their teabagger base, costing them intensity and money. But if they cave to that base, then they risk ending up on the wrong end of public opinion, facing ads like Ebert's up above. Either way, they lose.
asoneill - Yahoo Me

"The Cooch" Used State Health Insurance Program

State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-Va.) knows how to talk the talk, but does he walk it, too?

Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit against the federal health care bill in U.S. District Court as soon as it was signed into law. On Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) backed up Cuccinelli's actions, saying he had reviewed the attorney general's draft pleadings and concluded that Cuccinelli has "a meritorious claim," the Roanoke Times reported.

McDonnell and Cuccinelli plan to invoke the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which passed the General Assembly last month. It states no resident can be forced to have health insurance or pay a fine or penalty for refusing coverage.

Cuccinelli calls the law an unconstitutional overreach of federal authority.

But while he's been busy talking about how awful it is for the government to take care of its uninsured citizens, it turns out he's been using the government to take care of the health of him, his wife and their seven children -- and he's been doing it for years.

Before becoming attorney general, "The Cooch" served for almost eight years as a State Senator. Legislators are not usually eligible for state health insurance, but there is a provision for them to buy into state health care at the cost of full-time or virtually full-time (32 hours +) state employees, according to NotLarrySabato:

So when given the "public option" to insure his family through the state health insurance program, The Cooch chose to do so instead of insuring his family through his law firm. Why would he do this? The General Assembly program allows members to enroll their families for $105 per month -- or $1,260 per year. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, these benefits would cost about $13,375 for a family policy on the open market.

In other words, The Cooch saved about $100,000 over his eight years in the Virginia Senate by enrolling in the voluntary state health insurance program -- which he wouldn't even be eligible for with his work hours if the General Assembly hadn't carved out an exception for itself!

Forget the "welfare queens" of the 1990's. Now we've got the "health care queens" -- led by none other than Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.


Cuccinelli will speak at 4 p.m. at George Mason University's law school, where a protest has been planned on a separate Cuccinelli matter: his letter to Virginia’s public universities warning them that they could not adopt policies that prohibit discrimination on sexual orientation.

GMU officials stressed that, while the university "is not involved" with Cuccinelli's event because it's connected to the law school, it's still committed to maintaining its current policy of non-discrimination.

"It's extremely important to recognize that the university is on record as supporting non-discrimination," Peter N. Stearns, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at GMU, said in an interview on Connect2Mason. "And it has a current written policy that includes sexual orientation as one of its specified categories and we are committed to maintaining that policy."



We need a tag for The Cooch, I think. :P
Kathy and Levi

I am taking my ball and going home!

GOP Senators Refusing To Work Past 2PM, Invoking Obscure Rule
Senate Republicans fuming over the passage of health care reform are now refusing to work past 2 p.m. -- a tactic they can employ by invoking a little-known Senate rule.
On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee was forced to cancel a hearing as was the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted today : "Disappointed. Rs refusing to allow hearings today. Had to cancel my oversight hearing on police training contracts in Afghanistan."

Sen. Mark Udall also complained that he had to delay a hearing on the cause of Western forest fires.

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  • Current Mood
    angry
florence

Remembering the Argentine coup of 1976

Revolution Was One of Their 3 Rs
The Class of '73 at Buenos Aires' El Colegio came of age amid idealism and turmoil, losing classmates to Argentina's 'dirty war.'


BUENOS AIRES — At their 30-year reunion, the survivors of the Class of 1973 walked up the stone steps of their old campus and remembered their first day in school, and all the improbable, funny and unbearably tragic things that happened afterward.

They remembered listening to the rector read a list of the famous alumni of El Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires National High School), a roster of presidents, novelists and Nobel Prize winners so intimidating it made them laugh.

They remembered their Latin teacher, who sneaked in subversive messages between verb conjugations, and they remembered their truncated graduation ceremony, where they decided in a fit of self-righteousness that they would break with tradition and not throw eggs.

They remembered the photograph of classmate Pablo Lepiscopo taken by his torturers, weeks or days before he was killed. And they remembered Eduardo Bekerman, arguably the brightest kid in their class and the first to fall into the hands of the clandestine executioners who terrorized Argentina for a decade.

But most of all, the members of the Class of 1973 celebrated the fact that they had survived at all. Theirs is a generation devastated by the "dirty war" waged by right-wing death squads and a military junta against "subversives" in the 1970s and '80s, virtually wiping out the nation's intellectuals and leftist activists.

An estimated 10,000 people were killed and many more driven into exile.


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SOURCE
This article is a few years old, but it's still very good, I think, and shows how much pain the Dirty War inflicted on the country. I posted it because I couldn't find any other articles in English commemorating the coup today.

For further reference, a couple of websites documenting the
disappeared.
BTS - agust d

Florida tries to screw up education even more

TALLAHASSEE — The Senate passed a controversial bill Wednesday morning that will tie teacher pay directly to student performance.

Senate Bill 6 was passed in a 21-17 vote with all 13 Democrats in the Senate and four Republicans voting against it.


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I'm fascinated that Thrasher thinks it must be OK since his daughter, an ex-teacher who is now supported by a husband doesn't have a problem with it. As a former Florida public school educated student and child to a Florida public school educator, I just honestly don't get this. Instead of using money to develop new programs and foster those that are succeeding, they want to cut teacher pay to 20k and make them earn the rest by baiting the smart kids to their classes, further ostracizing those who fall behind. Plus, a large part of education is what the parents do AT HOME.

Hopefully it doesn't get through the house.


Source

Dutch Muslims and Wilders, revised because of LJ fuckup

Muslims quietly take Wilders' abuse

Published: 24 March 2010 13:26 | Changed: 24 March 2010 13:27

Insult after insult is hurled at Dutch Muslims by a member of parliament . Why aren't they standing up against him?

By Sheila Kamerman and Dirk Vlasblom


Day in and day out, Dutch Muslims are told their religion is "a fascist ideology" and "a threat to Dutch society". They hear their "so-called prophet Muhammad" is "a barbarian, a mass murderer and a paedophile", or words to that effect. The indignities come from a member of parliament: Geert Wilders.

After leaving the right-wing liberal VVD party in 2006 and setting up his own Party for Freedom (PVV), Wilders has made criticism of Islam his one main issue. He is being heard by native Dutch people who fear the country of 16 million is suffering under the burden of its estimated one million Muslim citizens. Wilders obtained 5 of the 25 Dutch seats in European parliament last year. His PVV did very well in the two municipalities in which it participated in recent local elections. Some polls have predicted his party could become the biggest in parliament after the upcoming national election.

One wonders why the Muslims he is targeting are not standing up against his attacks and letting themselves be heard.

 

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Source: NRC Handelsblad

Hey sorry you guys! LJ accidentally posted my unfinished post, I hope it's let through the queue.
Murasaki Shikibu

I less-than-three my president

10 letters a day: humanizing talismans for Obama

He kept coming back to the letters.

Perhaps nothing crystallized President Barack Obama's determination to press forward on health-care legislation more than the 10 letters he reads each day from ordinary Americans.

The letters became talismans for him: He carried them around. He recited their stories. He used them as rallying cries. (Or as props, as his critics saw it.)

And when at last it came time to sign the landmark health care bill, Obama still had them very much in mind.

The guests invited to Tuesday's signing ceremony in the East Room included the family of an Ohio woman who wrote to Obama that soaring premiums had forced her to give up her insurance and a small business owner from California who e-mailed the president about his struggle to insure his five employees. Other letter-writers were invited to a midday celebration of the legislation, including a 17-year-old girl from Pennsylvania who got a letter back from Obama after she wrote that her family of five had lost their insurance.

In his first week as president, Obama asked his staff to select 10 letters a day for him to read from among the tens of thousands that were flooding into the White House. He wasn't looking for a folder full of pats on the back, aides say.

"I don't want to tell you what to put in this folder," Obama told his correspondence director, Mike Kelleher, at one point early on.

Obama joked recently that he's sure his staff is sending him a representative sample — "because about half of these letters call me an idiot."

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The answer to the last letter made me grin.
Murasaki Shikibu

Aww, the poor widdle banks ;_;

Banks on verge of losing student lending business

Banks and other private lenders are about to lose a $70 billion-a-year student loan business, part of a massive overhaul of college assistance programs that has received an unexpected boost from President Barack Obama's health care success.

Industry lobbyists have watched helplessly as Democrats and the Obama administration appear on the verge of shifting student lending from private banks to the federal government.

Under the measure, private banks would no longer get fees from the government for acting as middlemen in loans to low- and middle-income students. With those savings, the government would increase Pell Grants to needy students and make it easier for workers burdened by student loans to pay them back.

The bill would mean the loss of billions of dollars in business to student lending giant Sallie Mae as well as large financial institutions such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.


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I know there are a lot of college students and college-bound students, so I figured y'all'd be interested in this.
Christian Bale

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Student Yells At Students, Professor



University of Wisconsin Milwaukee student Robyn Foster may have crossed the line last Monday, March 15, during a discussion with Anthropology professor Kathleen Foley Winkler.

In a video posted to YouTube, a student identified as Foster yells back-and-forth with Foley Winkler, who remains off camera, reportedly arguing over the wording of a question on a recent exam.

Things got heated and when a fellow student told Foster to sit down. Foster allegedly threw a water bottle at the student, compelling the professor to call campus police. That's when an unnamed fellow student and intern at a Milwaukee TV station began recording the incident.

Campus police arrived and took Foster to the ground when she refused to leave the classroom. Foster now faces a charge of disorderly conduct. A witness told WTMJ radio that before calling police, Foley Winkler gave Foster "four or five chances" to leave the classroom on her own.

UWM officials and a witness described the exchange to radio station WTMJ:

A witness says another student told Foster to sit down. Foster responded by throwing a water bottle at the other student. Foster was allegedly swearing at both fellow students and the instructor. The instructor then called UWM police.

That's when a student sitting near Foster began recording on her camera.

"I don't have to leave nowhere. I paid to ****ing be here. What are you talking about?" Foster says to the instructor, in the video posted on YouTube.

"You're disrupting and you're threatening students," the instructor, identified as Kathleen Foley-Winkler, responds.

"No, I'm not! I threatened this ***** right here," the student says, pointing to a classmate.

source
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JPMorgan Tells Unemployed Welfare Queens To Get That $50 an Hour Lettuce Picking Jub

Knuckle Dragging Neanderthal Conservative Math: "Me Give Money to Bank and CEOs Good!! Me Give Money to Poor People Bad!!"

JPMorgan Chase Report Says Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Increase Unemployment

A recent report by JPMorgan Chase claims that the enhanced unemployment benefits which were enacted to fight the recession have actually increased the unemployment rate by 1.5 percent.

Since the start of the recession, Congress has passed several measures that ultimately have increased the length of time a person can receive unemployment benefits to 99 weeks in some states, with 53 of those weeks fully paid for by the federal government. Congress passes these measures with broad bipartisan support because unemployment benefits are widely regarded by economists to be among the most effective forms of economic stimulus, since benefits recipients immediately plow the money back into the economy by using it to pay for things like rent and food.

JPMorgan's analyst looks at it a different way: "[T]he availability of these benefits has almost certainly played a significant role in the record rise in the duration of unemployment," the report says. "Consequently, they have also had a role in the stunning rise in the unemployment rate over the last two years."


The two-page report also suggests that the "jobless recovery" we've so far witnessed -- expanding national output but stagnant job growth -- is also the fault of the extended benefits, since laid-off workers are spending the money they receive but not taking available jobs.
"[T]he program's support to consumption and restraint on forming employment matches may have a role in explaining the good growth/great productivity/bad labor market nexus that has characterized the recovery so far."

More than six million people -- 40 percent of the total unemployed -- have been out of work for longer than six months.
Per JPMorgan's report, some of those people are counted as unemployed because the benefits they receive may encourage them to continue to seek jobs (people who have given up hope of finding work are not counted as unemployed). But some of the unemployed are just being picky:
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bod

George W. Bush Wipes Haitian's Handshake off on Bill Clinton's Shirt



During a visit to Port Au Prince, Haiti, former US Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton met with locals as they worked to rebuild their destroyed city. BBC video captured George W. Bush shaking hands with a Haitian local, and immediately wiping his hand on Bill Clinton's shirt.

George W. Bush apparently has an issue with shaking hands even before the H1N1 scare, as President Barack Obama discovered first-hand.

"Obama!" Bush exclaimed, according to Obama's account of the meeting in his second memoir, "The Audacity of Hope." "Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours -- that's one impressive lady."

The two men shook hands and then, according to Obama, Bush turned to an aide, "who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand."

Bush then offered some to Obama, who recalled: "Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt."

It's difficult not to draw a direct line between this handshake-wipe and Bush's treatment of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina trashed the city. When all eyes are on you, you simply have to develop better personal PR skills.

The story that this video tells is either "this guy doesn't like black people" or "this guy doesn't like poor people". Neither is the message that any aid group would willingly send: after all, an earthquake rebuilding zone will be, by definition, dirty.

Bush and Clinton are in Haiti on behalf of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

Source: http://www.nowpublic.com/strange/bush-wipes-haiti-handshake-clintons-shirt-2595433.html
Citadel

(no subject)

Gay-rights supporters from across the country are offering to buy everything from boutonnieres to dinner for a Bleckley County High School senior who was granted permission to take his boyfriend to the prom.

At least two supporters have offered to rent a stretch limo for Derrick Martin and his boyfriend.

Martin asked his principal this year if he could take another male to his senior prom, set for April 17.

At first school officials told the 18-year-old that the town of Cochran, with a population of 5,200, wasn’t ready for it.

The high school only had a policy that barred bringing a date older than the age of 21, so school officials subsequently told Martin they granted his request.


Many gay-rights activists are now posting the story on their Facebook pages. And an Atlanta filmmaker said he hopes to document the story.

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Source.
MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

Lose weight the quick and painful way!

Painful tongue patches the latest controversial weight-loss technique
By Amy Husser

A controversial new weight-loss technique has tongues wagging — and feeling tender.

The medical procedure involves stitching a small piece of polyethylene mesh onto a patient's tongue, making it painful to ingest solid foods and forcing a low-calorie, liquid diet.

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Source

I don't even... Even ignoring the insane idea that associating pain with eating is somehow a good or effective technique or that weight loss is, for some reason, this important, how is this healthy? 750 calories? Losing 5 pounds a week? That's terrifying!

Also, here's hoping this doesn't cause wank...
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Freepers Running Out of Ideas On How to Scare Americans

Obamacare: "Without Pre-Existing Conditions, Real Americans Wont Be Able to Meet Jesus Quicker"

Freepers Just Brainstorming Some GOP Marketing Ideas, That’s All 

This is a good idea and will make Republicans look better!

Let’s see let’s see what will make Americans realize that getting some basic assurances of health care in this country is a super-bad & extra-terrible thing?

Uhh … health insurance for poor people causes delayed meeting with the Lord Jesus, in space? How about overpopulation, is that something we’re for or against? Against? Shit okay think think think — Mark Kirk’s already doing that “restore the pre-existing conditon” thing, right? And we’re … for that, because of whatever, Liberty? Okay but we need our own thing, uhhhh … we still do that racist thing where we call minorities racist for being against racism, right? Okay let’s go with that, “Obamacare Is Slavery,” perfect, good work everybody.

OH WAIT, some of you have even *better* ideas?
Jeff Head had the best meme for this: Obamacare - The Final Solution.
That is good. Because you want something catchy, and not too hyperbolic, and of course nothing that would offend anybody, or that, say, mocks the extermination of six million Jewish people. Do we still believe in the Holocaust? Right, right, not that much, but enough to keep in line with AIPAC, so Jesus can return to slaughter the Jews once and for all. Okay, breakout sessions! [Free Republic via Wonkette operative "Ty B."]
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Alf Landon to Drive GOP's Bus Over The Cliff: "I am Telling You! It Can Fly!"

95% of ONTD_Political Wonders "Who The Hell is Alf Landon?"

Kaine: GOP Is 'Going To Own' Tea Party's Rhetoric

Leading Democratic Party officials plan to link Republican candidates to the vitriol and offensive behavior that was witnessed at Tea Party protests during the last days of the health care debate.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine accused GOP leadership of "trying to stoke anger" with "flat-out lies" about the president's health care reform policy. Asked about the racist and anti-gay epithets that were directed towards House Democratic lawmakers during the closing days and hours before they passed legislation, Kaine wasn't subtle in assigning blame.

"The Republicans knew all that stuff was completely false, but they tried to stoke public anger based on that, and the anger has taken some very, frankly, predictable forms that I don't think they can't walk away from and explain," he said.

"[Republicans] are going to own part of that," the DNC chair added. "They're going to own part of the slurs cast at members of Congress, people vandalizing members of Congress' offices. Twice Republican members of Congress, sitting in the well of the House, behaved in rude and outrageous ways, yelling at a president in one instance with Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), and then with [Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.) yelling 'baby killer.'] When it's okay for leaders to do the rude, outrageous stuff like that, it sure sends a signal that the followers should do it too."
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Poll: Tea partiers like GOP

While tea party activists have described themselves as political free agents disgusted with both parties, a new poll by Quinnipiac University shows that a majority have a close connection to the GOP.


Almost three quarters of those who identified themselves as part of the tea party movement – 74 percent – also identified themselves as Republicans or independents who lean Republican, according to the poll. Only 16 percent of tea partiers said they are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.


And 60 percent of voters who identify themselves as members of the tea party movement have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, compared to only 20 percent who view the GOP unfavorably.

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Cheers

Teen Gets Abortion With Help of Her Seattle High School

A Seattle mother is irate after she said her 15-year-old daughter's school arranged an abortion for her daughter without her knowledge. The mother, whose name has been withheld at her request to protect her privacy, told ABC News' Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV that the clinic gave her daughter a pass and helped her get a taxi that took her to a facility where she underwent an abortion.

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' jules

Where there is fuckery, there is also hope (I think that's an ancient proverb)

Coffin placed on Carnahan's lawn

A coffin was placed on a Missouri Democrat’s lawn, another in a string of incidents against lawmakers after their vote Sunday on a health care overhaul.

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) had a coffin placed “near his home,” a spokesman said Wednesday evening.

This came after Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother’s gas lines were cut, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) received death threats and Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) received a message saying snipers were being deployed to kill children of those who voted for health care overhaul.

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Tom Perriello Standing Tall

Jake Sherman and Marin Cogan have a good luck at various unhinged attacks on pro-reform members of congress, including a series of incidents in which tea partiers have been vandalizing congressional offices. The Tom Perriello part, however, is the best:
A fellow tea party blogger said he thought it was fine for Troxel to post Perriello’s home address. “They have our home addresses,” said Kurt Feigel, who complained that protesters had little choice but to go to Perriello’s home because Perriello’s office doesn’t “respond to e-mail; they don’t respond to letters; they don’t respond to us showing up at his office. So what am I going to do?”

Perriello said his family doesn’t want him to be afraid. But when asked if he was scared anyway, the Virginia Democrat replied: “Whatever.”

“I’ve lived in Sierra Leone for two years, where the life expectancy is 34 years old. If the worst thing that happens is that special-interest groups spend millions of dollars against me and my most ardent opponents organize against me, it’s hardly a ‘cry me a river’ moment — as long as people act civil and within the law.”
Members of Congress who are able to put their own careers in proper perspective are exactly the kind of members of Congress that we need the most.

Source

Obviously the second one was written before Perriello's brother's gas lines were cut but it's still badass, brave, special, inspiring, etc -- btw the kid he is being adorbs with in that pic is his niece, the daughter of his brother that is being targeted

and Carnahan's threat is especially gruesome because his dad was killed while campaigning for Senate (you may have heard of it because he was posthumously elected, beating the still-alive Republican and man who would in a few months become our Attorney General, John Ashcroft.)
Murasaki Shikibu

Google continues its Don't Be Evil policy

Google tells Australia its 'Net filters go way too far

This can't be the way that Australia wanted it. One day after Google announced its decision to stop censoring its search results in China, the Australian government released the results of a public consultation on its own Internet censorship proposal. Predictably, Google has some objections (PDF), including its oblique comment that Australia's mandatory filtering scheme could "confer legitimacy upon filtering by other Governments."

"Australia is rightly regarded as a liberal democracy that balances individual liberty with social responsibility," continues the Google filing. "The Governments of many other countries may justify, by reference to Australia, their use of filtering, their lack of disclosure about what is being filtered, and their political direction of agencies administering filtering."

Google is unlikely to come right out and compare Australia to China, but the implication is obvious—and has been made explicit by other groups. Reporters Without Borders said recently that Australia would "be joining an Internet censors' club that includes such countries as China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia."


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Google is on fire right now, wow.
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