January 18th, 2011

Kirk/can't be unseen by norfolkdumpling
  • lidane

The Battle Hymn of Sarah Palin

I just...I cant. Processing this much fail is too much work.


Supporters of Sarah Palin have recorded a tribute song set to the tune of the famous Civil War-era 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.'

The 'Sarah Palin Battle Hymn' -- which was posted on YouTube last October but was being passed around Twitter on Monday -- was written by Tom Dempsey and sung by Gary Mcvay, according to credits posted on YouTube. It appears to have been performed in a church.

Check it out below, along with a few other musical tributes we found dedicated to the former governor of Alaska.


Republicans to arm College Professors to fight The Libural Threat

Arizona GOP Pushing For Guns On College Campuses

Arizona has become a national leader in the gun rights movement in recent years as the state enacted law after law to protect the people's right to bear arms nearly anywhere, at anytime.

The shooting rampage that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a former legislative colleague, has done nothing to slow down the Legislature.

Gun rights bills were introduced in the days after the shootings last week, and more proposals are to come.

"I don't think it really changes anything," Republican state Sen. Ron Gould said of the mass shooting. "I don't see how gun control could have prevented that shooting unless you take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens."
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once upon a time

Life with an STD

Susie Carrillo was 21 years old and a mother of two young children when an abnormal Pap smear yielded a triple-whammy nightmare. She was shocked not only by a diagnosis of high-grade cervical dysplasia -- a serious precancerous condition -- but also by its apparent cause: human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted infection (STI, more commonly known as STD, for sexually transmitted disease). A doctor had found it two years earlier but had largely dismissed it, saying, eh, it'll probably clear up on its own. With no warnings about the risks of cancer, or transmission, Carrillo says she "just didn't think about it" and told no one. And that's what led, in part, to the third and perhaps biggest whammy of all: her husband's reaction to the cause of her cancer. "He turned it into hell for me. He demanded to know how many people I'd slept with, accused me of cheating and called me a slut," she says. Even though Carrillo had never strayed — she believes she contracted HPV from a pre-marriage ex — her husband's abusive words began to infect her, too. "I started to wonder if maybe it was my fault," she says. Ashamed and embarrassed, she went through cancer treatment alone.

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You know, even I'm guilty of making "catch something" jokes every now and then towards people I despise. Maybe that's another rhetoric we could tone down. That, and the unequal way women are stigmatized with...pretty much anything society throws at us. 

walking on

Opinion: Stop Sanitizing MLK's Message

Tim Wise
Special to AOL News

Perhaps it's no great surprise that Glenn Beck would distort Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message, as he did when he held a rally for mostly white reactionaries on the 47th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech in August, all the while suggesting that the group was "reclaiming the civil rights movement." After all, what do you expect from Beck?

But Michelle Obama really should know better.

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White Supremacist Site MartinLutherKing.org Marks 12th Anniversary

Recently, a diverse group of New York City high school students was assigned to write reports on Martin Luther King, Jr. Searching the Internet, several students learned that the renowned civil rights leader had in fact been a drunken philandering con man. Others concluded that the federal holiday marking King's birthday should be repealed.

Where in the www did these kids search?

Google, for starters.

If you enter "Martin Luther King, Jr." as a search term, the site netting the third-highest ranking is martinlutherking(dot)org, which purports to be "A valuable resource for teachers and students alike." Visit the site and you can read the "truth" about King -- communist, wife-beater, plagiarist, sexual deviant and all-around fraud. There are flyers to the same effect that children can download, print and bring to school.

As you have probably guessed, this site is not run by the King Center, the memorial established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King to the advance her husband's legacy (TheKingCenter.org ranks seventh on Google). Rather, MartinLutherKing(dot)org is a spinoff of Stormfront(dot)org, the "white nationalist" online community created in 1995 by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Don Black. Stormfront's Web forum now claims nearly 214,000 participants. Black registered martinlutherking(dot)org on January 14, 1999, later adding MLKing(dot)org and MLKing(dot)com.

A Google spokesman told me, "Our search results are generated objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. A site's ranking in Google's search results is automatically determined by computer algorithms using hundreds of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query. The only sites we omit from our search results are those we are legally compelled to remove or those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results."

MartinLutherKing(dot)org also ranks third on Yahoo and Bing.

According to sociologist Jessie Daniels of RacismReview, "The decision to register the domain name 'martinlutherking(dot)org' relatively early in the evolution of the web was a shrewd and opportune move for advocates of white supremacy."

While proponents of the King Center message would love to pull the plug, they face multiple obstacles, not least of which is the First Amendment. Unless the Web content contains libel, a credible threat or incitement to imminent lawless action, the law offers little recourse. In a 2008 Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview, King Center CEO Isaac Farris, Jr., cited the "thin line between opinion and slander," adding, "You never authorize a lawyer to do whatever it takes because that could be a black hole."

The law also insulates Internet Service Providers from liability to the same extent telephone companies aren't responsible for crimes committed over their wires. Per the Telecommunications Act of 1996, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Providers may prohibit racist or bigoted messages of their own volition, however--such prohibitions don't violate constitutional rights because a commercial provider isn't a government agency. MartinLutherKing(dot)org's ISP, Dallas-based SoftLayer, has a strict acceptable use policy. "We try to be as proactive as possible in eliminating any and all content from our network that breaches the terms of this policy," a SoftLayer spokesperson told me. "But this is not always an easy task. In aggregate we have nearly 80,000 servers under management, and we host millions of domains."

Daniels sees general awareness about the way propaganda works online as a more effective agent of change. "We have to get smarter about racism," she says.

Adds educational psychologist Brendesha Tynes, "We need media literacy programs that foster the development of a critical lens to help children recognize the difference between propaganda and legitimate sites."

Toward that end, the Anti-Defamation League offers a Combating CyberHate Toolkit that suggests steps to counter pernicious sites, including posting videos, counterpoints, or comments that oppose offensive content--for example, constructing counter-MartinLutherKing(dot)org programming on YouTube or Facebook.

And as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."

Editor's note: We have intentionally broken outgoing links from this post to two of the sites discussed in Mr. Thomson's post. To visit these sites, replace (dot)org with .org


Wow, charming.  A serious reminder that the First Amendment protects even those whose words make our blood boil.

Parents' preference for pink or blue is not enough

A VICTORIAN couple's decision to fight a law that forbids the use of IVF to choose their child's gender has gained national attention. The couple, whose identity remains secret, terminated IVF-conceived twins on learning they were boys.

They have three sons already and the tragic death of their infant girl has left the woman "obsessed" – according to news reports – with having a girl.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Cherokee Nation court says treaty declares freedmen members

Cherokee Nation court says treaty declares freedmen members

A Cherokee Nation judge ruled Friday that the descendants of freed Cherokee slaves are protected citizens of the tribe under an 1866 treaty, throwing out a tribal constitutional amendment that required tribal blood for citizenship.

The tribe’s attorney general signaled a possible appeal to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, while an attorney for freedmen descendants said he hoped the tribe would now treat all Cherokee citizens equally.

The issue of freedmen citizenry has spawned repercussions far beyond Tahlequah, where the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is based. Some Democratic members of Congress, mostly blacks, filed legislation aimed at stripping the tribe of federal funds and called for a Justice Department investigation.

The tribe mounted a multimillion-dollar public relations and lobbying blitz to counter the congressional effort, and the legislation never advanced in a Democrat-controlled House.

In the decision Friday, Cherokee Nation District Court Judge John Cripps wrote that the post-Civil War treaty signed by the Cherokee Nation and the U.S. government specifically addressed the status of freedmen — former slaves who had been owned by tribal members. The treaty provided that freedmen and their descendants “shall have all the rights of native Cherokees,” Cripps wrote.

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donk... donk... donk...

(no subject)

In 2004, the star-making machine, in the form of a Sports Illustrated reporter, descended on a 14-year-old basketball player from Fontana, Calif., named Demetrius Walker. The scouting newsletter The Hoop Scoop had recently proclaimed Walker the best eighth grader in the country; now the pre-eminent sports magazine was going to take that hype to a new level. While the article about Walker carried the requisite caveats — about whether he would fulfill his potential and whether it was even fair to be placing such expectations on a kid — it described him as “14 going on LeBron.” The reason was not just Walker’s physical gifts, but also his Amateur Athletic Union coach, Joe Keller, who, according to Keller himself, was keeping Walker on a righteous path — arranging for him to be home-schooled by a tutor, checking to make sure he did his academic work and paying as much attention to the boy’s well-being as to his jump shot. “I’m not going to get a thing out of this,” Keller told S.I. “My only hope is that maybe, one day, when Demetrius is in the N.B.A., he can come back and sponsor my team.”

Much in the article was wildly off the mark, but not because Walker never became “the next LeBron.” (He averaged 4 points as a freshman last season at Arizona State and then transferred to New Mexico.) Rather, it was because Keller was no Father Flanagan. As George Dohrmann points out, the coach had arranged for Walker to be home-schooled so that he could repeat eighth grade — and thus remain eligible for the A.A.U. team. What’s more, there was no tutor supervising Walker’s education, meaning that for one year he received no instruction at all. Finally, Keller expected to get a lot more out of Walker than just a future team sponsorship. He was counting on a $500,000 cut from Walker’s first N.B.A. contract, plus several hundred thousand dollars from agents and colleges interested in securing the services of some of Walker’s teammates. “Within six years,” he predicted, “I am going to be a ­millionaire.”

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New York Times
Shaun of the dismayed

(no subject)

PepsiCo Inc. is betting that consumers want to "snackify" drinks.

As part of its strategy to tap into the market for more nutritious convenience foods, the company is hoping people will pay a premium for a new pureed fruit product that it considers thick enough to be a snack rather than a beverage.

Tropolis, an 80-calorie fruit puree, which comes in brightly colored pouches, will be marketed to moms and kids. PepsiCo's Tropicana unit is rolling out apple, grape and cherry Tropolis pouches in test markets in the Midwest next month, at $2.49 to $3.49 for a four-pack.

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Wall Street Journal
once upon a time

America in the age of primitivism

Forget Democrats and Republicans. What America needs is two new parties: The Regressives and the Modernists

Is the 21st century a Dark Age, compared to the 20th? Is the culture of modernity and enlightenment slipping away, in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world? Is this really an age of neo-primitivism and superstition?

These questions can’t be dismissed by pointing to new technology. Medieval Europe had gadgets unknown to, or undeveloped by, the ancient Greeks and Romans -- moldboard ploughs, stirrups, advanced water-wheels, clocks. But few would disagree that the Europe of Charlemagne was more backward in its mindset, at least at the elite level, than the Rome of Augustus or the Alexandria of the Ptolemies.

Nor are the great gains of decolonization and personal liberation in recent decades necessarily incompatible with an intellectual and cultural Dark Age. After all, the fall of the Roman empire led to the emergence of many new kingdoms, nations and city-states, and slavery withered away by the end of the Middle Ages in Europe.

A case can be made that yes, we are indeed in a period of rising irrationalism. This irrationalism permeates our politics, from the right to the center to the left. And it has done so for some time.

We can understand our own regressive era by contrasting it with the period that preceded it. From the 19th century up until the 1970s, religion and premodern traditionalism were retreating before the advance of science and modernity, symbolized by large-scale, bureaucratic organizations in government and industry. The great ideological struggles of the twentieth century were between secular political religions that all claimed the sanction of science and glorified technology. While liberals and Marxists claimed the heritage of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment that produced the American and French revolutions, Mussolini and Hitler denounced Enlightenment ideals, but did not reject science. Nazi racism, like Soviet communism, was justified by appeals to pseudoscience. Totalitarianism is best understood as a perverted version of modernity.

Following the world wars, the U.S. and other liberal democracies rebuilt themselves as modern, technology-based, progressive societies that offered a higher standard of living to ordinary people than ever before. Gradually they liberalized their cultures, shedding the vestiges of priestly control, moved toward meritocracy away from aristocracy and dismantled racial caste systems. They devoted themselves to great civil engineering projects, like hydropower dams, nuclear power plants, continent-spanning highways and space exploration.

And then their people suddenly got tired of modernity and tried to crawl back into the past.

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Not really sure I agree with everything this guy is saying, specially concerning Star Wars, but that's because I'm a nerd. He does, however, retain a point on how we seem to be regressing.   

Sen. Conrad's Exit to Pressure Democrats


WASHINGTON—Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota announced his retirement Tuesday morning in a letter to supporters, a setback for his party's hopes of retaining its Senate majority in 2012.

Mr. Conrad's departure after next year will make it harder for Democrats to hold his seat in what could be a tough election season for the party. Democrats will defend 23 Senate seats, many of them in conservative or swing states such as North Dakota, Missouri and Nebraska. Republicans are defending only 10 Senate seats in 2012.
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The Wall Street Journal Online

It just keeps getting worse for us Nodaks.
No Enbridge
  • romp

Should circumcision be outlawed? 'Intactivists' think so

In an empty lot behind his Winnipeg home, seven-year-old James Loewen and another boy had launched into an innocent game of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” That’s when he made his startling discovery.

“I thought with great shock that the head of his penis had been cut off,” recalled Mr. Loewen, now 56.

“He explained to me that, no, it was I who had had something cut off. He showed how me how his foreskin pulled back, and the recognition of what he was saying was one of the more profound shocks of my childhood, perhaps even of my whole life.”

Mr. Loewen’s experience propelled him toward “intactivism,” a growing movement against male infant circumcision. Intactivists say the procedure is excruciatingly painful, sexually harmful, medically unsupported and violates the human rights of newborns who cannot consent.

The campaign is seeing a groundswell of support, from young men as well as expectant mothers, who question the convention of circumcision just as they consider other issues concerning breastfeeding, home births and vaccines.
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I don't care for the term "intactivist"--it sounds so fringe. The idea is just that you don't perform cosmetic surgery on children so this affects those who are intersexed as well.
Jon Refugee

2 students shot in L.A. high school; suspect arrested

By Michael Martinez, CNN
January 18, 2011 5:59 p.m. EST

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A 17-year-old boy arrested after a handgun in his backpack accidentally discharged and wounded two other high students Tuesday was able to bring his automatic pistol on campus apparently because the Los Angeles school does only random metal detector checks, police said.

The chief of Los Angeles Unified Schools District police, Steve Zipperman, said the district's policy calls for random screening with metal detectors, to be determined by each school's principal.

"It is a possibility that the student who walked on with that backpack was not checked," Zipperman told reporters.

The arrested student, a senior whom authorities didn't identify, entered a health class Tuesday morning and set his backpack on a desk, Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon said.

When the backpack landed on the desk, the automatic handgun discharged, firing a single round that struck a girl in the temple and a boy in the neck, Zipperman said.

The student then fled, prompting a police search, Gannon said. Police were told the boy went to another classroom, and he was taken into custody about two hours after the shooting, Zipperman said.

Zipperman said the shooting appeared accidental. "Based on the information we have, it appears that it's a possible accident," he said. "There was no struggle taking him into custody."

The 15-year-old girl was in surgery early Tuesday afternoon and was in critical condition with a head wound, and the 15-year-old boy was in stable condition with a neck wound, Gannon said.

Students and faculty dismissed from the school at 1:52 p.m. PT, authorities said. The high school had been under lockdown shortly after the 10:41 a.m. PT shooting.

Those students who witnessed the shooting were giving statements to authorities and will be given an opportunity to speak to counselors, if needed, Zipperman said.

Police corrected an earlier report that at least three people were shot at the school, Gannon said.

In 2002, two students were seriously wounded in another shooting on the campus when three other students demanded money from one of them, the Los Angeles Times reported. Both students recovered from the gunshot wounds, and the three student assailants were sentenced to jail, the newspaper reported.



Preexisting Conditions Afflict Up To Half Of Americans Under 65

A government study released today shows that up to 50 percent of Americans under age 65 have some type of pre-existing health condition.

The study predicts that 30 percent of currently healthy Americans will likely develop a pre-existing condition over the next eight years.

Under the Affordable Care Act -- the President's signature health care reform legislation -- policies set to be in place by 2014, these 129 million Americans can receive health coverage despite their previous conditions; if the new law is repealed, millions could risk losing health care or being forced to pay more.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released these figures on the same day Republican leaders plan to debate a bill to repeal the new health care law entirely. GOP leaders claim the study is an effort to sway American public opinion in favor of the current law.

From the Washington Post:

Republicans immediately disparaged the analysis as "public relations." An insurance industry spokesman acknowledged that sick people can have trouble buying insurance on their own but said the analysis overstates the problem.

Conditions insurance companies may consider "pre-existing" range from heart disease, cancer and diabetes to asthma, high blood pressure and arthritis. Uninsured people with such conditions now have access to health insurance through a temporary Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, which serves as a bridge until 2014.

Before the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies determined whether something was considered a pre-existing condition, and could thus refuse to sell a policy or charge two or three times more for coverage.


Wow, I knew the pre-existing condition issue was, to use Joe Biden's words, a "big fucking deal", but hadn't realized just how big before.  When basically half of your population is getting screwed over something like this, it's kind of a no-brainer that it needs to be fixed.  As for Republicans calling this "public relations", it should be pointed out that insurance companies have been using their own "public relations" for decades to screw over their customers (Just ask Wendell Potter).  I think it's about time we started fighting fire with fire.....the difference being these are actual FACTS instead of the bullshit propaganda that comes out of the insurance companies..

garf tired

Josh Silver Josh Silver President, Free Press Posted: January 18, 2011 12:06 PM BIO Become a Fan

Comcastrophe: Comcast/NBC Merger Approved By FCC

Today, the Federal Communications Commission blessed the merger of Comcast, the nation's largest cable and residential Internet provider, with NBC-Universal. The Justice Department immediately followed suit, removing the last obstacle to the unprecedented consolidation of media and Internet power in the hands of one company. (FCC press release here)

You should be afraid and mad as hell.

The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, including the NBC broadcast network, numerous cable channels, two dozen local NBC and Telemundo stations, movie studios, online video portals, and the physical network that distributes that media content to millions of Americans through Internet and cable connections.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts called it "a proud and exciting day for Comcast," and showered Obama's FCC and DoJ with praise.

Culmination of the deal, combined with the FCC's recent, loophole-ridden "Net Neutrality" rules, sets the table for Comcast to turn the Internet into cable television, where it has the ability to speed up its content, slow down or block its competitors such as Netflix, and hike the rates for its programming and services. We'll all end up paying more -- whether you're a Comcast subscriber or not.

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TW tales square
  • aviv_b

(no subject)


SPOKANE, Wash.— A backpack discovered along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr.
march in Spokane contained a bomb "capable of inflicting multiple casualties," the FBI said

The FBI said a suspicious backpack was found about 9:25 a.m. PST on Monday on a bench at
the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.

A bomb disposal unit was called in and neutralized the device. The FBI said in a
statement on Tuesday that "the backpack contained a potentially deadly destructive
device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties."

Collapse )Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41139894/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts

Bolding in red is mine. How long until someone on the right says: "Well, it was obviously a Democrat/Obama supporter/leftie who did this?

Does Contraception Count as Prevention?

The Nation -- Dozens crowded into the National Academies building in a snow-blanketed Washington last Wednesday morning to attend a meeting of the committee charged with making recommendations as to whether birth control and other women’s health services will be considered preventive health care – and thus available without a co-pay to enrollees in health insurance plans, including those offered through the Affordable Care Act.

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Iranian men to be stoned to death over gay sex

 Two young men who filmed themselves having sex have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.

The film was discovered on the mobile phones of Ayub and Mosleh, 20 and 21 years old, by agents of the Iranian regime in the Kurdistan city of Piranshahr in northwest Iran.

The pair’s full names have not been released.

Pictures of President Ahmadinejad and a headshot of Supreme Leader Khamenei pasted over a donkey were allegedly incorporated into the film.

Reports say that the young men’s stoning was immediately ordered for this Friday “to instill fear in the people of Iran”.

News of the sentence originates from a Kurdish newspaper and has been distributed by the International Committee Against Stoning, which launched the worldwide campaign against the stoning of Sakineh Ashtiani for adultery.

It has since been confirmed by other sources.

Iranian LGBT activists and human rights organisations have reported a number of other death sentences for homosexuality in the past two years. However the Iranian government maintains that “most of these individuals have been charged for forcible sodomy or rape”.

The original newspaper report claimed that the boys raped another.

Soheila Vahdati, an independent human rights defender for Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Iranian Queer Organisation based in San Francisco, said: “They don’t differentiate between rape and homosexual acts. As well, there is a culture of shame. The families won’t defend their loved ones from this brutal punishment.”

“We are very concerned even though we haven’t got all the details,” she added. “We’ll try to save their lives but unfortunately Iran has quickly executed people in the past.”

Judges order execution by stoning under a 1983 law detailing offences proscribed by God, and then under the general Islamic penal code. Some senior Shia clerics have spoken out against stoning.

The International Committee Against Stoning has urged “the young people of Piranshahr to hasten to the aid of Ayub and Mosleh and declare that they will not permit this tragedy to occur”.

The Association of British Muslims, alongside an international coalition of Muslim organisations, has condemned the sentence and says it does not see anything in the Koran to justify such punishment.

The group said: “Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, ‘…if anyone slays a human being unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth – it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind…’”

Last month Human Rights Watch published a large scale report on the repression of LGBT in Iran. It said that those charged with same-sex offences stand little chance of receiving a fair trial.

There are few reliable statistics on the frequency with which stonings take place in Iran. Recent years have seen a rising number of cases reported. Some members of parliament are reportedly hoping that the Supreme Leader will pass a fatwa against stoning.

Source: Pink News

Joe Lieberman to retire in 2012

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) will not seek a fifth term in 2012, according to two Democratic sources familiar with the decision.

Lieberman's office did not offer any comment on his plans, saying only that he would make an announcement tomorrow in Stamford, Conn. "The Senator's remarks tomorrow will stand on their own," said a Lieberman spokeswoman.

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JL: Annoyed J. Law

Sargent Shriver: A life of grace

It took only a walk with Sargent Shriver to learn how deeply loved and loving he was. Former Peace Corps volunteers, from the early days of the program that he began in 1961, or ones just back from stints in Third World outposts, would stop Sarge to thank him, embrace him and tell him stories about their life-changing service.

Countless others approached him on airport concourses, city sidewalks and elsewhere: people whose lives were changed because of the anti-poverty programs that Shriver started in the Johnson administration - Legal Services, Head Start, Job Corps, Community Action, VISTA, Upward Bound. Or the parents of children in Special Olympics, the program began by Shriver and his wife, Eunice, that revolutionized the way we treat those with mental disabilities. Occasionally, it was someone from Massachusetts who voted for the McGovern-Shriver ticket in the 1972 presidential campaign - Massachusetts and the District being the only places they won while the rest of America, narcotized, backed the soon-to-be disgraced Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

In the three years - 1966-69 - that I worked as Sarge's speechwriter, traveling companion and suitcase carrier, I saw hundreds of these random moments. Hale and always effulgent, Sarge gave full attention to each greeter. It was a style of honest generosity that came naturally, a pole removed from the grip-and-grin fakeries of American politics.
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This was written by my former professor and I thought it was great, if it's totally appropriate for this community I totally undersand. RIP


Horror! Socialized Medicine & Death Panels Now Trying to Steal Our Guns!!!

Stop the Hate. Guns are People too!

Proposed Law would Ban Docs from Asking if Patient Owns Gun

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A state lawmaker has filed a bill that would ban doctors from asking their patients if they have a gun in the home.

Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, said he has heard of a number of cases in which doctors asked their patients that question, which he thinks should be off limits.

"What we don't want to do is have law-abiding firearm owners worried that the information is going to be recorded and then sent to their insurance company," he said. "If they're on Medicaid maybe it's sent to the government. If the overreaching federal government actually takes over health care, they're worried that Washington, D.C. is going to know whether or not they own a gun and so this is really just a privacy protection."

Under the legislation, a doctor could face a fine of up to $5 million or be sent to prison for up to five years for asking about guns in the home.

The restriction would apply to conversations with adult patients or the parents of child patients.

Brodeur says he's concerned about doctors asking patients about guns in the home and then allowing that information to get into the hands of the government or insurance companies.

He says he's trying to protect people's privacy.
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This is a witty Space Ghost reference.

$100 Bribe to Ticket Agent Allows Unknown Package to Fly on JetBlue

Although millions of dollars are spent on airline security each year in the United States, it only took $100.00 for a JetBlue ticket agent to allow a unknown package to go onto a flight, coming from an unknown person.

On November 19, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was at Charlotte Douglas Airport testing out JetBlue's security. Their goal was to try and get an unaccompanied package onto a flight headed to Boston and unfortunately, they succeeded. An undercover TSA agent told a JetBlue ticket agent that he needed to get a package to Boston that day and would pay the agent $100.00 for helping. The agent took the $100, put it in his pocket and proceeded to follow the unknown person's instructions. The ticket agent chose a passenger's name at random, which just happened to be an unaccompanied minor, and the package went through the screening process with no problems. Although the package was harmless, the TSA pulled the package just before being loaded onto the aircraft.

"That's really alarming," Anthony Amore, a former high-ranking TSA official at Logan Airport told a local Boston CBS station. "When you have multiple layers in place you hope that they all stand in the way of a terrorist or someone who wishes us harm. In this instance, many of the layers were cast aside and we were left with this one layer of checked baggage screening."

When the local station asked the TSA for a comment, they were told, "While we cannot comment on the specifics of an open investigation, TSA can assure travelers that, like checked baggage, every package tendered at the airline counter is screened for explosives." JetBlue confirmed that they are "fully cooperating with the TSA's investigation" and "the involved crew member is no longer employed at JetBlue."

I do not share this story to cause additional security-related fear, nor do I want to "teach the terrorists" how to commit crimes against passengers. I share it, since I think it shows how spending so much money on the front door of airline security and so little attention on the back is a big mistake. Although JetBlue is partly to blame for training issues, this could have happened with almost any airline. They just happened to have a bad-seed-employee in the wrong place at the wrong time. Currently, the TSA is not talking about how often they conduct these sorts of tests and how often they get a package through.

Sadly, this story is just one of many that place many questions on back-door airport security. At the same exact airport, just a few days earlier, a teenager was able to sneak onto the airport secured area, illegally board a US Airways aircraft without being caught (unfortunately, he died en-route). There is also the story of the pilot who pointed out that airport security workers could by-pass security and caused him a lot of grief. Similar stories keep popping up and I have a feeling more will continue to do so. As passengers continue to give up their freedoms and are willing to put up with many annoyances to fly, while at the same time seeing how porous the security is behind the scenes, people will take note and demand for change.

Seattle PI
donk... donk... donk...

Student Pays Tuition In $1 Bills, Parents In Sacramento React

A Sacramento native paid his $14,000 tuition to the University of Colorado, Boulder in $1 bills.

Nic Ramos says he's trying to get people thinking about the increasing cost of an education. The $14,000 out-of-state tuition is for one semester at his university.

"It was quit a sight and they said that nobody had even payed in ones before," Ramos told KDVR in Colorado.

Ramos calling his mom, Kathleen Ramos, in Sacramento to tell her about his unusual way of paying his tuition.

"Little surprised that he would go to those lengths and then at the same time not surprised because Nic has always been different," said Kathleen Ramos.

What started out as a cool idea for Nic Ramos turned into something bigger: a way to put the cost of education on the table.

"Tuition has gone up so much and there are a lot of kids who don't have a family who can send them to school. There are a lot of children who have to pay for their own education, who have to take out loans," says Kathleen Ramos.

Los Angeles Times
really. look.
  • chaya

Douchebag Retail Comic Guy Gets Raided

Police investigate Heavy Ink president, seize weapons
Posted on January 18, 2011 - 05:21 PM by Kevin Melrose

Police in Arlington, Mass., have seized a “large amount” of weapons and ammunition from a comics retailer who last week sparked controversy with his comments about the Tuscon shooting that left six people dead and 13 others, including a U.S. Congresswoman, wounded.

The Boston Globe reports that Arlington police suspended the firearms license of Heavy Ink president Travis Corcoran on the grounds of “suitability” pending the results of an investigation whether comments he made in a blog post titled “1 down, 534 to go” were intended as a threat. (There are 535 members of Congress.)

Corcoran surrendered his weapons and ammunition to police at his home last week. He has not been charged with a crime.

The 39-year-old, who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist,” had written that, “It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot ‘indiscriminately.’ Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.” Following online outcry, Corcoran elaborated on his political beliefs in another post, explaining that “I dislike Representatives and Senators, and I think that each and every one of them is doing grave harm to the United States, and to the freedoms of the citizens of the US.” He has since taken his blog offline.

According to the Globe, police consider the threat to be credible until proved otherwise. Federal law enforcement agencies have been notified of Corcoran’s comments.


Spiritually Unfit Soldiers FORCED to see Chaplains, to get “born again”

Spiritually Unfit Soldiers FORCED to see Chaplains, to get “born again”
By Justin, on %date('F jS, Y')

I just received this chilling letter from a Soldier who recently took the mandatory Soldier Fitness Tracker test, shared to me with permission, from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). The name has been withheld out of fear, but I’m assured that this matter is being worked very hard.
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