June 20th, 2010


Play on, Nero. Play on.

G.O.P. Stalwart Says Come, the Gulf’s Fine


GULFPORT, Miss. — “Get a picture of that beach!” Gov. Haley Barbour ordered a group of television photographers standing along an oil-less stretch of sand Monday.

“They are gorgeous, pristine,” the governor gushed on Tuesday about Mississippi’s shores.

“Beautiful,” he reiterated Wednesday at a La-Z-Boy plant in Newton. “The coast is clear, and come on down.”

He is a former lobbyist, Republican National Committee chairman, White House political director and a familiar enough piece of the national political furniture to be known simply as “Haley” within certain Washington circles.

Now, for the second time in five years, Mr. Barbour finds himself in a highly visible role during a Gulf Coast catastrophe. As he nears the end of his eight-year stint as governor, Mr. Barbour’s performance could help shift his political image from that of an insider party boss to an out-front crisis manager — and possible presidential candidate in 2012.
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Licensed therapists drop gay patients over 'moral convictions'

There's a debate raging in Nebraska over proposed regulations related to psychologists, therapists and counselors in that state who might soon be able to drop a patient simply due to religious or moral reasons. This includes a scenario where a counselor might disapprove of his/her patient's homosexuality.

According to the Fremont Tribune:

Nebraska "'We believe that a therapist has the right to refuse service based upon religious or moral convictions,' said Terry Werner, director of the Nebraska chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. 'However, they absolutely must provide a thorough and comprehensive referral. Anything less than that, in our minds, is in violation of our code of ethics and is not in the best interest of the client.'"

Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer at State of Nebraska, gives the Tribune a hypothetical situation of how this could potentially play out.

"A patient seeks help for depression, then later reveals he or she is gay and wants counseling for a same-sex relationship. A counselor with a moral or religious conviction against gays or same-sex relationships could refer the patient elsewhere for treatment of depression, without having to provide a referral for the relationship counseling."

Several state boards are amidst discussions on whether to approve the rules.


I'm confused by the wording of this, they have to give a referral but don't have to with relationship therapist because they don't believe in them? Also does this apply to state community health centers where they receive federal money? What happens if they get some who is depressed and mormon or black or a single mother that never got married?
Community: Abed - Christmas

Gay dads study: Happier, working less, getting less sleep

San Francisco — A new study of gay dads finds that having kids is a good thing.

The Rockway Institute research focused on stable two-dad couples who had babies through surrogacy. The fathers' median age was 41 and most of the children were toddlers.

As is typical with any parent, most of the dads reported they were getting less sleep and spending less romantic time with their partners.

"Our findings reinforce the growing research evidence that the sexual orientation of the parents makes little difference in parenting," said Dr. Robert-Jay Green. "At this early stage of child development, the infant's or toddler's needs drive the family interactions and structure the couples' relationships with friends and relatives. This is as it should be."

53 percent of the gay dads said they had missed opportunities at work and had changed career goals after having children.

Most of the gay couples were financially able to scale back work expectations (their average salary was $270,000 per year), but this part of the study did lead researchers to an interesting conclusion.

"Many of these gay fathers negotiated their career prospects downward and focused on their parenting responsibilities as being primary, at least for the time being while their children were so young," the study found. "This is in sharp contrast to heterosexual fathers, who often augment their work hours and career commitments after having children."

However, the dads who were working said they were getting along better with their coworkers, because they were able to share parenting experiences.

The gay fathers also reported that overall, their relationships with extended family members improved. That's partly because the arrival of a baby cemented the dads as "couples."

95 percent of the dads said that having a baby made them feel good about themselves, and virtually all of the dads reported an increase in self-esteem.

The study is published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of GLBT Family Studies.


I figured that since today is Father's Day and it's Pride, it would be nice to combine the two.

New invention gives women fangs for their vaginas

South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse.

"She looked at me and said, 'If only had teeth down there,'" recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. "I promised her I'd do something to help people like her one day."

Forty years later, Rape-aXe was born.

Ehlers is distributing the female condoms in the various South African cities where the World Cup soccer games are taking place.

The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man's penis during penetration, Ehlers said.

Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it -- a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.

"It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on," she said. "If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter... however, it doesn't break the skin, and there's no danger of fluid exposure."


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I dunno.  This sounds like a really cool idea, but what about the rapes committed by someone the victim knows?  They probably wouldn't anticipate the rape at all and so would not insert the condom.  And what if a man that get bit by one of these became angry and took it out on the woman?

panda bear

(no subject)

Kyrgyzstan in state emergency as over 2,000 killed in ethnic clashes

Kyrgyz forces started removing barriers dividing the burnt-out city of Osh on Sunday as the government extended a state of emergency in some regions where up to 2,000 people have been killed in ethnic clashes.

Cars, tires and piles of scrap metal, however, remained in place across alleys in central Osh leading to neighborhoods occupied by ethnic Uzbeks, still fearful of more violence.

"We have become like Palestinians. They attack us with rifles while we can use only stones," said Mavlyuda Mamadzhanova, 53, an ethnic Uzbek who fled her home when it was attacked.

Ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan have killed 2,000 people and uprooted 400,000, who are crammed into squalid camps on Kyrgyzstan's sun-parched border with Uzbekistan with little access to clean water or food.

The United States and Russia, which both operate military air bases in the strategic Muslim country, are concerned that turmoil in Kyrgyzstan could spread to other parts of Central Asia, a vast former Soviet region north of Afghanistan.

The violence erupted on June 10 with coordinated attacks by unidentified individuals in balaclavas and quickly led to fierce fighting between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.

Mainly Uzbek households were attacked in three days of unrest, with entire neighborhoods burned to the ground. The United Nations says an estimated 1 million people were affected.

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panda bear

(no subject)

Israel Ends Eases Gaza Blockade

Israel's government decided Sunday to draw up a list of items banned from Gaza limited to weapons and materials deemed to have military uses and said the easing of the three-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory would be implemented immediately.

The list of banned goods replaces an old list of allowed items that permitted only basic humanitarian supplies for the 1.5 million Gazans. Under the new system, the government said practically all non-military items can enter Gaza freely.

"From now on, there is a green light of approval for all goods to enter Gaza except for military items and materials that can strengthen Hamas' military machine," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.

Israel decided on Thursday to ease the blockade under intense international pressure after its raid on a blockade-busting international flotilla bound for Gaza killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.

In a critical shift, Israel said it would allow construction materials into Gaza for projects approved by the Palestinian Authority, such as housing and schools, as long as the projects are under international supervision. Up to now, Israel has banned most construction materials, including cement.

Construction materials are a critical need in Gaza. Thousands of buildings were destroyed or damaged in Israel's military operation in Gaza a year and a half ago, aimed at stopping years of daily rocket attacks by Gaza militants. Because of the blockade, little repair or rebuilding has been done since the war ended.

The list of banned items was not released Sunday, but the government said it will be published.

A Hamas Cabinet minister, Ziad al-Zaza, rejected the Israeli decision, calling it "deception." He told The Associated Press the blockade must be lifted completely "to allow Gaza to import all necessary materials, particularly cement, iron, raw materials for industry and agriculture, as well as import and export between Gaza and the world."

Under its blockade, Israel has banned all exports from Gaza, further crushing its economy. It has not yet said whether there will be any change in the export ban.

In Washington, President Barack Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs welcomed the easing of the blockade and said Israel responded to calls of the international community.

"Once implemented, we believe these arrangements should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons," he said.

The White House also announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be meeting with President Obama in Washington On July 6.

"We need to seize this moment of opportunity here in the region to finally make peace," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on ABC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday.

A majority of Palestinians want peace with Israel, Haaretz reported Sunday, according to a new poll.

Israel imposed the blockade after Hamas overran the Gaza Strip, aiming to choke off support for the Islamic militant group, keep weapons out of the territory and win the release of an Israeli soldier held in Gaza since 2006. None of the goals has been accomplished, adding to pressure on Israel to change the rules.

The original system, allowing only certain items provided by aid groups into Gaza, came under fire because of its vagueness. Palestinians complained that only Israel knew what was on the list of permitted items, and the categories seemed arbitrary.

Netanyahu explained the new procedures to Tony Blair, the former British premier who is the envoy for the "Quartet" of Mideast peacemakers – the U.S., U.N., EU and Russia. In an AP interview, Blair said now, the decision must be implemented.

"This is a a very significant step forward," he said. "It also allows Israel to maintain its security."

The government said the purpose of the new regulations was to protect Israeli citizens from "terrorism, rocket attacks and any other hostile activity." It said the goal was "to prevent the entry of weapons and war material into Gaza, while at the same time widening the entry of civilian products into Gaza."

Israel is maintaining its sea blockade of Gaza. Israel fears that without searching incoming ships, Hamas could receive unlimited shipments of missiles and other weapons.

Gas Mask Grrl

Lady Gaga joins boycott of BP

Mother Nature Network: Lady Gaga joins boycott against BP
Pop singer becomes latest to participate in a growing effort by bands to boycott all BP products while on tour.
Michael d'Estries

While bands across America have responded to the disaster in the Gulf by pledging donations from concerts or organizing benefits, a new effort is underway to boycott BP products altogether for the 2010 tour season.

Pop icon Lady Gaga is the latest to sign on to an initative started by heavy metal group KORN. Other acts going "BP Free" during the course of their tours include Disturbed, Rise Against, Godsmack, Backstreet Boys, Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Slightly Stoopid, Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Black Label Society with Zakk Wylde, Anthrax, Creed, Filter, Hellyeah and Flogging Molly.

"This is the worst thing that has ever happened to the environment in U.S. history," said Jonathon Davis of KORN. "From everything we're hearing about now, it's become clear that BP cut corners to put profit ahead of safety. The message we are sending should tell all the oil companies to spend the money and take the necessary precautions to make sure this doesn't happen again. I'm really proud that this many artists have already come on board, and I hope more will join soon."

While some of the acts above may not be recognizable, it's important to note that a few days ago KORN and The Backstreet Boys were the only ones involved. The potential for this to snowball and include even more mainstream tours is great -- especially as the summer drags on and the oil continues to flow.

KORN estimates that close to 100 vehicles, trucks and buses from the committed artists will be involved in the boycott this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if fans latch onto the idea as well.

What do you think? Is a boycott of BP by music groups a good idea? Or, as some have suggested, should we continue to purchase fuel from the oil giant so that it can remain solvent and able to fund the cleanup in the Gulf for years to come?
Boycotting BP is now officially cool.

(no subject)

Louisiana lawmakers propose prayer to stop oil disaster
By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are proposing a different approach: prayer.

State senators designated Sunday as a day for citizens to ask for God's help dealing with the oil disaster.
"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week's unanimous vote for the day of prayer. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."
The resolution names Sunday as a statewide day of prayer in Louisiana and calls on people of all religions throughout the Gulf Coast "to pray for an end to this environmental emergency, sparing us all from the destruction of both culture and livelihood."

Also Sunday, wildlife officials were planning to transport and release 40 pelicans that rescuers rehabilitated after finding them covered with oil. The birds will be moved from New Orleans, Louisiana, to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Port Aransas, Texas.

As much as 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons) of oil may be gushing into the Gulf every day, new government estimates found last week.

BP said it was able to capture roughly 8,480 barrels of oil from midnight to 12 p.m. Saturday. The company said it captured 24,500 barrels -- just over a million gallons -- of oil Friday, a little less than it captured the day before.

BP said Saturday that it has paid $104 million to residents along the Gulf Coast who have filed claims related to the Gulf oil spill, issuing more than 31,000 checks in the past seven weeks.

There was no immediate response from local, state or federal officials to BP's tally of its payments.

Meanwhile, oil recovery efforts in the Gulf resumed Saturday morning on the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise, after work was suspended for about 10 hours because of a mechanical problem.

A venting device aboard the drilling ship as not working properly, said Ayla Kelley, spokesperson for the Deepwater Horizon command center.

Other recovery efforts continued during the time that the Discoverer Enterprise was idled, she said.

She said the problem was with a blocked flame arrester, designed to prevent oil from combusting by extinguishing the flame.

stock | road hazard

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 18, 2010.

Some 100,000 minority Uzbeks fleeing a purge by mobs of Kyrgyz massed at the border Monday, an Uzbek leader said, as the deadliest ethnic violence to hit this Central Asian nation in decades left a major city smoldering. With fires raging in the southern city of Osh for a fourth day Monday, the official death toll of 124 killed and nearly 1,500 injured from the clashes that began Thursday appeared way too low. An Uzbek community leader claimed at least 200 Uzbeks alone had already been buried, and the Red Cross said its delegates saw about 100 bodies being buried in just one cemetery. The United States, Russia and the United Nations worked on humanitarian aid airlifts while neighboring Uzbekistan  hastily set up camps to handle the flood of hungry, frightened refugees. Most were women, children and the elderly, many of whom Uzbekistan  said had gunshot wounds.
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