January 28th, 2011

  • wemblee

GOP Wants To Privatize Medicare, Has Not Changed Platform Since Movies Were Called "Talkies"

House GOP considers privatizing Medicare

WASHINGTON – Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for his idea to replace Medicare with a fixed payment to buy a private medical plan from a menu of coverage options.

Party leaders will determine if the so-called voucher plan will be part of the budget Republicans put forward in the spring.

"No decisions have been made on the details of our House GOP budget," Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday. "There are a lot of ideas out there, and we're going to listen to our members and the American people."

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LOLOL, okay, bbs, you try that. I'm sure it's gonna work out real well for you.

Pennsylvania school experiments with 'segregation'

(CNN) -- A Pennsylvania high school says some students are separated by race, gender and language for a few minutes each day in an effort to boost academic scores, raising controversy over the historically contentious issue of segregation in schools.

The initiative is a pilot program intended to capitalize on "enriching students' experiences through mentoring" and is derived from school research "that shows grouping black students by gender with a strong role model can help boost their academic achievement and self esteem," according to a statement from McCaskey East High School in Lancaster.

"Educators immediately noticed strong bonds being formed between all students and mentor teachers," the statement said.
The junior class at McCaskey East is voluntarily segregated by the students, who organize themselves "by gender, race and/or language," said school spokeswoman Kelly Burkholder.

But some school experts say the experiment is misguided.

"When we talk about reducing the achievement gap, do we mean merely reducing the discrepancy of test scores of white students and students of color?" asked education consultant Sam Chaltain. "Or do we mean reducing the predictive impact that things like race, class and gender have on all aspects of student engagement, performance and learning?"

The school's principal defended the policy.

"One of the things we said when we did this was, 'Let's look at the data, let's not run from it. Let's confront it and see what we can do about it,'" said school principal Bill Jimenez. "In visiting the classrooms, I saw students planning their path for success after graduation."

But while McCaskey East students are "segregated" for six minutes each day and 20 minutes twice a month, some say other school systems in the country appear to be reverting to real segregation.

Last month, the NAACP held a three-day education summit in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Wake County School Board, bolstered by the election of four new conservative members last year, ended the school system's 10-year-old diversity policy that used the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches to assign students to schools.

They plan to replace the policy with a "neighborhood schools system" that critics say will establish real segregation.

"School boards across this country are rolling the clock back to the time before Brown vs. the Board of Education," NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement. "The NAACP will not let this happen."

The 1954 case from Topeka, Kansas, ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, overturning an earlier ruling in a decision that determined "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

But as educators look for new ways to improve student aptitude, some point out that McCaskey East High School could have the right idea. A national study from UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies claims to show that girls from single-sex schools have an edge over their co-ed peers.

"Single-sex education appears to produce favorable outcomes for female students, especially in terms of their confidence, engagement and aspirations, most notably in areas related to math and science," the 2008 study said.

Source, with video.

[misc] landscape

Early morning Egypt update

Minute-by-minute updates from the Guardian
Live video from Al Jazeera (requires RealPlayer plugin)
Anonymous News Network
Operation Egypt

Egyptian government on last legs, says ElBaradei
Exclusive: Mohamed ElBaradei says he is sending a message 'to the Guardian and to the world'
Jack Shenker in Cairo and Haroon Siddique
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 January 2011 09.47 GMT
Article history

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Police members remove suits and join protests
Egypt police struggle to crush anti-regime protests

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BREAKING: Protesters storm Misr Helwan road

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Egypt protests: 'Something has changed in the Egyptian psyche'
The demonstrations this week against the Mubarak regime have gripped Egypt – while the world has looked on. We asked local bloggers and photographers for their frontline reports

BBC Arabic corespondent beaten and covered in blood

Wikileaks releases Egypt-related cables

Guardian confirms police have given up in Alexandria

GuardianThe protesters are in control of the central square in Suez says al-Jazeera. There is no police presence. Jamal Elshayyal, their reporter in Suez, says:

The police has been quite comprehensively defeated by the power of the people.


EDA: Quick updates:
Curfew is currently in effect and the army has been called in to enforce it. Reports of tanks moving into Suez and Cairo, protesters are waving at them, hoping to get them to side with them. NDP headquarters on fire in Cairo. President Mubarak set to speak soon. Live stream from Al Jazeera still up.
*morticia addams rose

Forcing more impoverished rape victims to give birth: a top Republican priority

The House GOP's Plan to Redefine Rape

Drugged, raped, and pregnant? Too bad. Republicans are pushing to limit rape and incest cases eligible for government abortion funding.

— By Nick Baumann

Fri Jan. 28, 2011 3:00 AM PST

Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith's spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old's parents wouldn't be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn't be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Wanna see the birth certificate? Pay up.

HI bill would give anyone Obama birth info for fee

Anyone would be able to get a copy of President Barack Obama's birth records for a $100 fee under a bill introduced in the state Legislature that backers hope will finally dispel claims he was born elsewhere.

The bill would change a privacy law barring the release of birth records unless the requester is someone with a tangible interest, such as a close family member.

The measure was introduced by five Democrats but has not yet been scheduled for a public hearing, a required step before it can move forward. A decision on considering the bill will be made by the House's Democratic leadership and committee chairmen.

The idea behind the measure is to end skepticism over Obama's birthplace while raising a little money for a government with a projected budget deficit exceeding $800 million over the next two years.

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While there is a BIG privacy issue that could end up being abused, part of me lols at the idea of charging birthers $100 a pop for their stupidity.
kirk/sulu DUUUUDE
  • mrasaki

South Korean footballer's monkey impression angers Japan

The South Korean footballer Ki Sung-yeung has sparked a row with Japan amid accusations that he directed a racist gesture at Japanese fans during the countries' Asian Cup semi-final this week.

Replays of the match, which Japan won on penalties, show Ki pulling a monkey face after opening the scoring against Japan, South Korea's fiercest football rival.

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tl;dr: S.Korean football player has racist monkey noises made at him at another game (it's not clear who or what nationality the hecklers were), he makes a monkey face after scoring at the Asian Cup semi-final against Japan. His target is unclear; the Japanese don't appreciate the implication that it's them.

History: Korea and Japan have had tension/on-and-off conflict for pretty much forever, but in the first half the 20th century Korea was occupied by Japan (preceded by Japan assassinating Korea's last dynastic ruler, Queen Min), until the end of WWII. This period is characterized by atrocities (not just comfort-women, but destruction/suppression of culture and destruction/theft of cultural artifacts, and forcing children to speak only Japanese) that Japan has yet to apologize for or fully acknowledge, and to this day Japan still whitewashes what they did, including in school textbooks. There is still a lot of anger, as many people still have grandparents or parents who lived through this and the aftermath.


ETAA: This guy plays on a Scottish Premier League team, so claiming that he was racially heckled by Scottish fans doesn't seem too out there. Doesn't excuse his own racism, but yeah.

Doctor investigated for selling tickets to brain surgery

Prominent Sydney brain surgeon Charlie Teo is being investigated by medical authorities after auctioning tickets to watch him at work in the operating theatre.

Dr Teo, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia this week, sold off the tickets at a charity auction in October.

Sydney University public health professor Simon Chapman was at the auction and says selling the tickets was unethical, even if the patient has given consent.

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  • mrasaki

In case you haven't had your fill of rage today

Conviction of 16-year-old girl for falsely claiming rape

The conviction of a 16-year-old girl for falsely claiming she was raped has caused alarm among campaigners

She should have been in a classroom working towards her GCSE exams, making sure she achieves the grades she needs to study photography at college.

Instead after a gruelling three-day trial the teenager found herself in front of a judge being convicted of falsely claiming that she was raped last summer when she was just 15.

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I--I just...can't. Victim-blaming? Check. 'But think of the poor men!' Check. 'She didn't say no!' Check. WTFFFF

Great Mystery of The Century: Tax Cuts Not Producing Any Profits! Conservative Math Collapses!!

Tea Bagger Declares Mission Accomplish in Long Island's War on Taxes

Long Island Tax Cut Debacle A ‘Black Eye For The Tea Party’

In 2009, Republican Edward Mangano was one of the first politicians to channel the Tea Party’s anti-tax fervor into a political victory when he knocked off Democrat Tom Suozzi for Nassau County Executive in New York State. Suozzi was a major political figure with ambitions for statewide office, and Magnano was a local legislator “given little chance of winning leading up to Election Day.”

Upon taking office, Mangano — who ran on both the Republican and Tax Revolt Party lines — made good on a key campaign promise. On his inauguration day, Mangano signed a repeal of an unpopular home energy tax, instituted by Suozzi. The tax was implemented two years before as part of a deferred-pay deal Suozzi brokered with public worker unions, which was intended to spread around the sacrifice to deal with the county’s budget problems.

In a special report, Reuters details how the repeal of that tax lead to a budgetary crisis and ultimately a takeover of the county’s finances by a state-appointed fiscal overseer. Noting that Mangano’s actions are “a black eye for the Tea Party,” the report explains how the Tea Party county executive had no plans for how to replace the lost tax revenue:
The home energy tax cost households on average $7.27 each month — a fraction of most tax bills. But in an area already paying some of the highest taxes in the country, it took on symbolic importance. [...]

[Mangano's] struggle began almost the minute he repealed the energy tax. “I’m not sure that (Mangano) understood the magnitude of the fiscal problems that he faced and he had promises from the campaign that he had to keep,” said Lawrence Levy, a dean at Hofstra University and a former member of the editorial board at Long Island daily Newsday. Eliminating the energy tax “blew a bigger hole in his budget and added to the problem with really no plan to replace the revenue,” he said.

Within two working days of Mangano’s inauguration, a letter from [the Nassau County Interim Financial Authority] landed on his desk — the opening salvo of what would fast become a testy relationship. In a two-page letter, NIFA’s chairman Ronald Stack requested a revised multi-year plan and asked Mangano how he planned to make up for the lost revenue.

He never did provide an answer that satisfied them. On Wednesday, NIFA said the county’s $2.6 billion budget was out of balance by $176 million, meaning it could take control of its finances. Mangano said he would sue NIFA….In November, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the county and put its finances on outlook negative, citing weak liquidity and an over-reliance on nonrecurring revenues. The rating agency singled out the energy tax repeal as problematic.
A June 2010 study found that 65 percent of counties in the United States are suffering from large budget shortfalls. Reuters quotes Richard Ravitch, who advised New York City during its fiscal crisis in the 1970s, about the situation in Nassau: “It’s a metaphor for what is happening in the Western world,” he said. “People don’t want to tax but there is a point below which they don’t want to cut.”

If politicians like Mangano continue to demagogue against reasonable tax measures, many communities may reach that point and beyond. Last year, for example, the “tax-averse” city of Colorado Springs, CO shut off one third of its streetlights and laid off large numbers of public workers, including police and firefighters, after voters continually rejected tax increases.

Sometimes, I hate my city...

LIVE POST: Egyptian Protests Discussion


In order to cut down on duplicate submissions, post all Egypt related articles/videos/pictures/social media links here. DO NOT MAKE ANY MORE SEPARATE POSTS ON EGYPT. IT WILL BE REJECTED BY THE MODS.

If anyone has a cool banner/image to use for this, post in the comments!

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Twitter Links:
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Sultan Al Qassemi
  • sfrlz

Indiana Girl's National Anthem Rendition Stirs Flap

An Indiana school district that told a black teenager to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a "traditional way" after receiving complaints about her performance is drawing questions now about whether the complaints and directive were racially motivated.

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Source - with video of the "offensive" rendition

The people in this article saying that it sounds "unrecognizable"... really?

Ben Ali allies dropped from cabinet: Key ministers from the heavily criticised former government rep

Ben Ali allies dropped from cabinet: Key ministers from the heavily criticised former government replaced while interim Tunisian prime minister remains.

Mohammed Ghannouchi, the Tunisian prime minister, has reshuffled the interim government, dropping key ministers from the heavily criticised government of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

"This is a temporary government with a clear mission - to allow a transition to democracy," he said in a live television address on Thursday.

"Its mission is to organise elections in which the people will be completely free to choose."

Ghannouchi, also a key figure in the previous administration, said he would stay in his post as the country prepares for parliamentary and presidential elections which are expected to be held in the coming months.

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It's all good

Joe Biden Laughs With US

A mock photo of Vice President Joe Biden washing a Trans-Am shirtless. Strange? Distasteful? Crossing the line?

Not so, Biden says.

"I think it's hilarious," Biden told Yahoo! in a wide-ranging interview Thursday.

Satirical publication The Onion has repeatedly made the Vice President a target for particularly randy news stories and online cartoon spoofs -- and the jokes have been a viral sensation.


In The Onion's stories Biden invites the "nation's women" to talk taxes at a "private ski chalet", bounces a check at a liquor store, gets banned from Dave & Buster's, and most famously...

"I saw the one of me washing a Trans-Am automobile in the driveway shirtless with tattoos all over myself and out there," Biden said with a smile. He took some issue with the story, though. "By the way, I have a Corvette-- a '67 Corvette-- not a Trans-Am."

Biden laughed that he's probably not supposed to encourage the mocking, but he said he still gets a kick out of it.

"Most people refer to me who know me, and even in the press, of being a little bit square," Biden said. "And now, I'm the philanderer. I think it's hilarious, the stuff they do on me."

Biden's staff had previously refused to comment on the The Onion coverage. "Let me get this straight: You want to interview the vice president about stories about him in The Onion?" spokesman Jay Carney asked The New York Times when they tried to get the scoop. "Well, I'll give you credit for trying," Carney said.

The Times was attempting to verify reports from The Onion staff that Biden's team had emailed the publication to tell them "keep it up."

It appears The Onion may not have been joking about that one.

Anna Robertson and Erin Green produced the interview for Yahoo! News.

Video at the Source

Additional video of Biden below.

The Onion: Biden Criticized For Appearing In Hennessy Ads
Jon: tea?

Jon Stewart named to 9/11 memorial board

New York (CNN)
-- Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," was appointed to the board of directors of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's board of directors.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the chairman of the board, introduced Stewart to the board during its quarterly meeting this week, according to a news release from the memorial and museum.

Memorial President Joe Daniels explained why Stewart was an obvious choice. "Jon Stewart is an incredibly important figure in today's news media, but he's also a New Yorker who felt -- as we all did -- the world changed in a matter of minutes on September 11.

"Since then, he has taken a definitive stance on so many issues that relate directly to our organization's mission of commemoration and education."

Stewart garnered national attention after dedicating an entire broadcast of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central to pushing for federal money to be used for health care of first responders at ground zero. President Obama signed the 9/11 health bill into law earlier this month.

"Jon loves New York as much as I do," Bloomberg said in news release. "He understands how important the memorial and museum are, both to the city and the whole country."

"I'm very humbled," Stewart told the New York Times.

"Luckily for me, it appears as if they've done 95 percent of the hard labor on this. So I'm hoping to help in any way I can offer." And he added, the Times said,, "I'm like their intern at this point."

Victims' family members, 9/11 survivors, business pioneers and leading philanthropists are also members of the now 48-member board. Other members who have careers in the entertainment industry include Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal.

The memorial and museum will be located on eight of the 16 acres of the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. The memorial is scheduled to open to the public on September 12 of this year and the museum on September 11, 2012.

What do you think? Good choice?

Source http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/28/new.york.stewart.9.11/