September 26th, 2010

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

AP Poll: Repeal? Many wish health law went further

AP Poll: Repeal? Many wish health law went further

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has divided the nation, and Republicans believe their call for repeal will help them win elections in November. But the picture's not that clear cut.

A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1.

"I was disappointed that it didn't provide universal coverage," said Bronwyn Bleakley, 35, a biology professor from Easton, Mass.

More than 30 million people would gain coverage in 2019 when the law is fully phased in, but another 20 million or so would remain uninsured. Bleakley, who was uninsured early in her career, views the overhaul as a work in progress.

The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all.

The AP poll was conducted by Stanford University with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Overall, 30 percent favored the legislation, while 40 percent opposed it, and another 30 percent remained neutral.

Those numbers are no endorsement for Obama's plan, but the survey also found a deep-seated desire for change that could pose a problem for Republicans. Only 25 percent in the poll said minimal tinkering would suffice for the health care system.

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If only the people who wished it did more were as vocal as the people screaming "RABBLE RABBLE COMMUNISM RABBLE RABBLE SOCIALISM RABBLE RABBLE!!" against it.
comedy | Denise Huxtable

"CNN Anchor Don Lemon’s On-Air Revelation".

CNN anchor Don Lemon made a very personal admission in the most public of ways — during his live newscast. Lemon was discussing the sexual abuse cases against Bishop Eddie Long with three members of Long’s church who continue to support him. Lemon had just played a soundbite from the lawyer of one of Long’s accusers about how the bishop allegedly got close to one of the young men in his church.
Let me tell you what got my attention about this and I have never admitted this on television. I’m a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me.
Lemon’s admission led to an audible gasp from one of his guests. “I’ve never admitted that on television and I never told my mom until I was 30 years old,” Lemon said later in the segment. “Especially African-American men don’t want to talk about those things.”
Almost immediately, viewers began showing support on his Facebook page.

“I’m sorry for the pain you endured,” wrote one. “Very Brave….You Just Helped Someone…” wrote another. Lemon replied, “Thank you all for your kind words. I had no idea I’d say that on national TV. It just came out. Sadly it’s the truth for so many young men.”

Lemon had spent much of the 7pmET hour discussing the case against Long.

Video (gentle warning: contains people in denial):

The deafening silence @ 4:35. Squirming forever.

Oh, man. :( I don't even know what to say. I respect him so much for sharing something so personal and traumatic. It's true, he's likely helped many silent victims by being so frank.

Testing Hugo Chávez

Opposition hopes for comeback in Venezuela elections

Venezuelans are voting for a new parliament, with opposition parties poised to return to the National Assembly after a poll boycott in 2005.

They are set to take back seats from the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV) of President Hugo Chavez. But Mr Chavez hopes to hold on to a two-thirds majority in the Assembly.

Opinion polls suggest that the vote could be tight in what is seen as a test of Mr Chavez's popularity two years before presidential elections.

Mr Chavez has admitted that his party is likely to lose seats to the opposition umbrella group Table for Democratic Unity. He appealed to Venezuela's 17 million voters to prevent a derailment of the Venezuelan "revolution" and denounced the opposition campaign as "Operation Demolition".

Polls opened at 1030 GMT and will remain open until 2230 GMT.

New focus

Five years ago, opposition groups boycotted the legislative elections, a decision that helped left-wing parties loyal to Mr Chavez to get almost all of the Assembly's 165 seats.

The BBC's Will Grant in Caracas says the opposition has since changed its rhetoric. Rather than concentrating on their dislike for the president, the opposition has kept its campaign narrowly focused on issues like crime and the rising cost of living, our correspondent says.

Official statistics show that around 14,000 murders were committed in Venezuela last year, more than twice the number of murders than in 1999, the year Mr Chavez came to power.

The government disputes the figure, and Mr Chavez recently said on television that it was "simply not true that Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world".

Criticism of recent water and power shortages have also been part of the opposition campaign.

There have been heavy rains in Venezuela over the last few days with several people killed in landslides.

If the downpours continue on Sunday, that could affect turnout, our correspondent says.


Study: Economically Dependent Men More Likely To Cheat


Here’s a useful nugget for misogynists and man-haters alike: The more a man depends on his female partner’s paycheck, the better the chances he will cheat.

“Having multiple sex partners may be an attempt to compensate for feelings of inadequacy,” suggests a paper presented at the 105th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in August. The study looked at 18- to 28-year-old married and cohabiting heterosexuals who had been in the same relationship for at least a year. Data was culled from the continuing National Longitudinal Survey of Youth begun in 1997.

Men who were completely dependent on their female partner’s income — the vaunted Stay at Home Dad, for example, and his less appreciated cohort, Laid-Off Dad — were five times more likely to cheat than men who contributed an equal amount of money to the relationship. And, in a cruel twist for women, men who earn significantly more than their female partners are also more likely to cheat.

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What do you think about this? Have any of you ever been in this situation?

Egypt and Thirsty Neighbors Are at Odds Over Nile

BATAMDA, Egypt — One place to begin to understand why this parched country has nearly ruptured relations with its upstream neighbors on the Nile is ankle-deep in mud in the cotton and maize fields of Mohammed Abdallah Sharkawi. The price he pays for the precious resource flooding his farm? Nothing.

“Thanks be to God,” Mr. Sharkawi said of the Nile River water. He raised his hands to the sky, then gestured toward a state functionary visiting his farm. “Everything is from God, and from the ministry.”

But perhaps not for much longer. Upstream countries, looking to right what they say are historic wrongs, have joined in an attempt to break Egypt and Sudan’s near-monopoly on the water, threatening a crisis that Egyptian experts said could, at its most extreme, lead to war.

“Not only is Egypt the gift of the Nile, this is a country that is almost completely dependent on Nile water resources,” said a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Hossam Zaki. “We have a growing population and growing needs. There is no way we can accept this kind of threat.”

Ever since civilization first sprang forth here, Egyptians have clustered along the Nile’s silt-rich banks. Almost all of the country’s 80 million people live within a few miles of the river, and farmers like Mr. Sharkawi have hardly changed their farming methods in four millenniums. Egypt’s population is growing briskly, however, and by the year 2017 at current rates of usage the Nile’s water will barely meet Egypt’s basic needs, according to the Ministry of Irrigation.

And that is assuming that the river’s flow is undiminished. Under British colonial rule, a 1929 treaty reserved 80 percent of the Nile’s entire flow for Egypt and Sudan, then ruled as a single country. That treaty was reaffirmed in 1959. Usually upstream countries dominate control of a river, like the Tigris and Euphrates, which are much reduced by the time they flow into Iraq from Turkey and Syria. The case of the Nile is reversed because the British colonials who controlled the region wanted to guarantee water for Egyptian agriculture.

The New York Times has the entire article
Ani: Amazon Warrior

Seeing red over her green card plight

[cut part of article for complete irrelevance]

Everybody running for office these days wants to tell you how we need to be protected from all those people who come here looking for a handout instead of a hand up.

So, please, now that we’ve got that out of the way, explain to me why the federal government wants to deport 79-year-old Bridie Murphy.

Bridget Murphy — everybody calls her Bridie — is a sweet old lady who makes a mean cup of tea. She was born in Connemara, a rocky, beautiful place in the west of Ireland that produces some haunting landscape but not enough jobs. She first came to Boston as a teenager and got work keeping house for a family in Woburn.

“They survived my cooking,’’ Bridie said, sitting at the dining room table of the house in West Roxbury where she has lived since 1988.

In 1957, she married Patrick Murphy, a US citizen, in Jamaica Plain but they moved back to Ireland for a while because there was little work in Boston at the time. They eventually returned to Boston and Bridie got her green card in 1979 and she and the husband worked as meatcutters in Roxbury and raised four kids, all of them US citizens.
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source (VIDEO @ source)

Pentagon Buys Copies of "Operation Darkheart"

Back in 1971 The New York Times began to print a series of articles known as the Pentagon Papers that the government claimed contained top-secret information.

The government also asserted that release of the information would cause grave damage to the security of the United States.

The attorney general asked the Times, and later the Washington Post, not to publish the information, and both papers refused the request.

Over the next few weeks confusion reigned as attorneys on both sides argued fine points of press freedom and national security.

Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the newspapers, saying the government had not proven its claim of grave damage to the country.

Now, nearly 40 years later, the same kind of claims about national security are being made about another publication that contains classified information.

Late last month Saint Martin’s Press was supposed to release Operation Dark Heart, the story of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

After initially being cleared by the Defense Department, other agencies said the book contains top-secret information that will cause grave damage to the security of the United States.

Next the Defense Department offered to buy up all 10,000 copies of the book already printed, and then offered to edit, or censor, depending on your perspective, the book so it can be sold.

The Defense Department and the publisher did some negotiating, and a new edition containing some 200 deletions is supposed to go on sale this week.

It appears, however, that some of the deletions contain material more than 20 years old, and some of the information is already in the public domain.

If that is the case, then it appears the government is not so much interested in protecting secrets as it is in preventing the public from learning embarrassing information.

But here’s an interesting sidelight: Apparently copies of the original are in circulation.

There is an original copy for bid on e-Bay for more than $1,500, Washington Post officials have said they have a copy, and there are an unknown number of review copies floating around.

My guess is that multiple original copies will soon be on the internet, ready for download.

So actually attempts to censor the book will only make any disclosure of secret information worse.

After all, all I have to do is get a copy of the original and compare the deletions in the new version, and I will know specifically what the Defense Department considers so damaging.

Now it’s absolutely true we need to pay attention when government officials play the national security card.

But in too many instances in the not-so-distant past such claims have been used to cover up embarrassing information, or to promote pet projects or send us to war, rather than protect real secrets.

One has to wonder if that is happening again.

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Japanese protest plans for downtown Nike park

Japanese protest plans for downtown Nike park

About 200 protesters banged drums and waved "No Nike" signs while marching Sunday in downtown Tokyo to oppose plans for a Nike-sponsored skateboarding park where construction has displaced dozens of homeless squatters.

The faceoff between protesters on one side and the U.S. sneaker maker and the city on the other has underscored a relatively new debate in Japan about how to handle decisions on public space.

Under a 10-year deal signed August 2009, Nike Inc. is planning to build a skateboarding facility sporting its "swoosh" logo in a grassy area and is paying 17 million yen ($200,000) a year for "naming rights." The park, now called Miyashita Park, will continue to be owned and operated by the city government, but will be renamed Miyashita NIKE Park, serving as an ad for the world's biggest athletic shoe and clothing company.

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    Voices of the Lifestream - Collision (The North Cave)
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MISC - moustache

The most hated man in Israel - and the most heroic: An interview with Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy is the most hated man in Israel – and perhaps the most heroic. This “good Tel Aviv boy” – a sober, serious child of the Jewish state – has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defence Force, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk.” This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done. Nearly every week for three decades, he has travelled to the Occupied Territories and described what he sees, plainly and without propaganda. “My modest mission,” he says, “is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, ‘We didn’t know.’” And for that, many people want him silenced.

The story of Gideon Levy – and the attempt to deride, suppress or deny his words – is the story of Israel distilled. If he loses, Israel itself is lost.

I meet him in a hotel bar in Scotland, as part of his European tour to promote his new book, ‘The Punishment of Gaza’. The 57 year-old looks like an Eastern European intellectual on a day off – tall and broad and dressed in black, speaking accented English in a lyrical baritone. He seems so at home in the world of book festivals and black coffee that it is hard, at first, to picture him on the last occasion he was in Gaza – in November, 2006, before the Israeli government changed the law to stop him going.

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Pretty long but definitely worth reading.

Queen Of The Right Wing Shitstirrers Trolls Gay Republicans


Ann Coulter At Homocon: 'Marriage Is Not A Civil Right. You're Not Black.'

Ann Coulter doesn't mince words. And even when speaking to a gay conservative organization, GOProud, at their inaugural Homocon party on Saturday night, she apparently wasn't willing to start.

After a series of jokes about conservative that sounded -- and were received -- more like a stand-up act then a political speech, Coulter told the assembled (and predominantly wealthy) conservative gay crowd why they should oppose same sex marriage, adding, "I should warn you: I've never failed to talk gays out of gay marriage."

And then she did.

First, she ran down the stereotypical stand-up comedian's list of reasons, including that lacking the legal right to marriage allows the less-committed partner to weasel out of it. But in a more serious note, she parroted the losing arguments of the lawyers supporting California's Prop 8 and told the crowd that the reason she opposes (and they should oppose) same sex marriage is that it is strictly for procreation.

In one of a series of racially insensitive remarks that pervaded her speech, Coulter added, "Marriage is not a civil right. You're not black." It was part of a larger argument on which she later elaborated, telling the crowd that the 14th Amendment only applies to African-Americans and that it does not, in fact, apply to women, LGBT people or other minorities.

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SOURCE does not approve of the trolling
ETA: ONTD version of this post. The WTF gifs will probably kill your bandwidth

Gurl, what the fuck is wrong with you!?!! Nice work alienating an entire section of the GOP! Also while everyone's hating on her can we not have any transphobic "Mann Coulter" jokes? Thanks.
Janeway - Side

Wildlife Films: Seeing But Not Always Believing


Cheetahs walk across a savannah at the Mashatu game reserve in Botswana.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Europe
Cheetahs walk across a savannah at the Mashatu game reserve in Botswana.

Wildlife documentaries come with the promise that what you're seeing and hearing is genuine — but that's not always the case, according to a new book by a veteran environmental filmmaker.

In Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom, Chris Palmer exposes some of the dirty secrets behind nature documentaries, like manufactured sounds and staged animal fights.

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Source: NPR - Source includes an audio version of the story and an excerpt from Palmer's book.

The manufacturing of sounds doesn't bother me; I always assumed they were manufactured given how impossible it would be to get a mic into those situations.  But the manufacturing of scenes and possible animal abuse involved?  Yeah, that's disgusting.
Calvin & Hobbes: Hug
  • calybe

Obama argues his assassination program is a "state secret"

At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record.  In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims.  That's not surprising:  both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.  But what's most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets":  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

A very intense case of food poisoning in New York on Thursday, combined with my traveling home all night last night, prevents me from writing much about this until tomorrow (and it's what rendered the blog uncharacteristically silent for the last two days).  But I would hope that nobody needs me or anyone else to explain why this assertion of power is so pernicious -- at least as pernicious as any power asserted during the Bush/Cheney years.  If the President has the power to order American citizens killed with no due process, and to do so in such complete secrecy that no courts can even review his decisions, then what doesn't he have the power to do?  Just for the moment, I'll note that The New York Times' Charlie Savage, two weeks ago, wrote about the possibility that Obama might raise this argument, and quoted the far-right, Bush-supporting, executive-power-revering lawyer David Rivkin as follows:



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Source: Salon

Mods, is it possible to have a Glenn Greenwald tag?