February 10th, 2011


Its Official: JPMorgan Bankers are Mobsters. Law Breaking, Fraud, and Homicide is Part of Business.

Bob Filner: JPMorgan Responsible For 'Homicide' Of Soldiers

A leading House Democrat said on Wednesday that executives at JPMorgan Chase are responsible for the deaths of soldiers who take their own lives under illegal financial pressure from the bank.

That charge, leveled by Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, came at the panel's hearing Wednesday on violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by the megabank.

The law limits interest rates that banks can charge soldiers who are deployed abroad at 6 percent, a rule an executive at the hearing admitted the bank has broken.

"People who are under pressure commit suicide. I would call it homicide, frankly, because you are putting them under pressure. You are responsible for that,"
Filner told Stephanie B. Mudick, a JPMorgan Chase executive vice president of consumer practices.
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once upon a time

What the right won't admit about Reagan

Nothing better symbolized Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday celebration than that it should fall on Super Bowl Sunday, with Air Force jets roaring unseen over a hermetically sealed stadium, almost, but not quite, drowning out a tarted-up former Mouseketeer who mangled the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner.

It was all there: the bombast, the grandiose self-congratulation, the willful blindness, the elevation of showbiz spectacle to patriotic rite. After which, thankfully, a pretty good NFL football game broke out. It's for pseudo-events like the Super Bowl, I believe, that a merciful God gave us high-def DVRs.

How fitting that George W. Bush, the late President Reagan's vicar on Earth, was seated in a front-row celebrity box to witness the spectacle. Reagan's genius as a politician was that he repackaged and sold to millions of Americans the comforting daydreams of the 1950s. Not the '50s as they were -- no Korean War, no Army-McCarthy hearings, no lynchings, no John Birch Society denouncing commie traitor "Ike the Kike" -- but as depicted in TV sitcoms like "Ozzie and Harriet, "Leave It to Beaver" and "The Andy Griffith Show."

Playing the president, Reagan essentially recapitulated the Robert Young role in "Father Knows Best" -- firm but fair, and unfailingly optimistic. True, Reagan had a disconcerting habit of conflating film scripts with reality: talking feelingly, for example, of his experiences liberating Nazi death camps at the end of World War II, which never happened.

Captain Reagan of the First Motion Picture Unit served in California for the duration of the war. But he got away with exaggerating, biographer Edmund Morris believes, because he'd spent weeks editing raw film footage from Buchenwald. His emotional reaction was sincere.

To an America still nursing a Woodstock, Kent State, Vietnam and Watergate hangover, Reagan's performance was reassuring. Although his personal coolness was notorious -- aides wondered if he knew their names, and even his children complained that he treated them like strangers -- the character Reagan played in the Oval Office was hard to dislike.

That's not to say Reagan did no harm. George W. Bush's epic failures came about largely because, unlike Reagan, whose fealty to right-wing ideology was at best inconsistent, he put dogmatic "Reaganism" into action.

Hence the Tea Party, an otherworldly faction greatly reminiscent of daffy '60s leftists who argued that Marxism hadn't really failed because true Communism had never been tried.

Consider a telling exchange on -- where else? -- Rush Limbaugh's program last week.

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Oh, Salon.com, I love you more and more each and every day.

FOX NEWS INSIDER: “Stuff Is Just Made Up” In other news: bears shit in the woods, etc

Asked what most viewers and observers of Fox News would be surprised to learn about the controversial cable channel, a former insider from the world of Rupert Murdoch was quick with a response: “I don’t think people would believe it’s as concocted as it is; that stuff is just made up.”

Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch’s cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

“It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.”

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Is anyone here surprised, though?
Pride & Prejudice

The Conservatives were the designated defenders of tradition. Until now.

If there was one thing you could rely on in this fast-changing world, it was that the Conservative party would be conservative. Everything else might be upside down, but at least you could trust the Tories to defend those institutions that were timelessly and for ever British. If nothing else, the Conservatives would conserve.

Of course, there are plenty who would say that ceased to be true years ago. For old-school Tories, the rot set in about the time the party came out against hanging and the birch, the cause finally lost with the advent of David Cameron and his Notting Hill modernisers. Nevertheless, and despite the radicalism of the Thatcher revolution, most Britons still regarded the Conservative party as the natural defenders of our customs and heritage. Whether it was protection of the countryside or the nostalgic hope that Britain, even without its empire, would punch above its weight in the world; whether it was passing on the wisdom of elders to future generations or the hallowed principles of charity and thrift, the Tories held their place as the designated defenders of tradition.

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Miss. license plate proposed to honor KKK leader

Miss. license plate proposed to honor KKK leader


A fight is brewing in Mississippi over a proposal to issue specialty license plates honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to sponsor a series of state-issued license plates to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which it calls the "War Between the States." The group proposes a different design each year between now and 2015, with Forrest slated for 2014.

"Seriously?" state NAACP president Derrick Johnson said when he was told about the Forrest plate. "Wow."

Forrest, a Tennessee native, is revered by some as a military genius and reviled by others for leading the 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, Tenn. Forrest was a Klan grand wizard in Tennessee after the war.

Sons of Confederate Veterans member Greg Stewart said he believes Forrest distanced himself from the Klan later in life. It's a point many historians agree upon, though some believe it was too little, too late, because the Klan had already turned violent before Forrest left.

"If Christian redemption means anything - and we all want redemption, I think - he redeemed himself in his own time, in his own actions, in his own words," Stewart said. "We should respect that."


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Stock - Pink Sakura

Pregnant Woman Gets Abortion Drug Instead of Antibiotic

Mareena Silva was six weeks pregnant when a pharmacist gave her a powerful abortion drug that can cause miscarriages and birth defects, instead of the antibiotic her doctor had prescribed.

Now, nearly a week later, the 19-year-old from Ft. Lupton, Colo., may lose her baby because of the mistake.

"I am kind of overwhelmed now," said Silva, who only just learned she was pregnant. "I don't feel like talking to anyone."

"I am so worried about myself and the baby right now," she said, crying in an interview with ABCNews.com. "They [the media] haven't stopped coming to my house."

The drug, methotrexate, is used for chemotherapy and has "very serious side effects," and "may harm the fetus," according to the National Center for Biotechnology. It is sometimes used for early-stage pregnancy termination.

"It couldn't be a worse mix up than that," said Dr. Paul Doering, professor emeritus of pharmacology at the College of Pharmacy University of Florida. "There is no excuse for them. I can't think of anything worse."

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More at the source
  • chaya

"Good News" Might Mean Mubarak Resigning As Early As Tonight

Reports: Mubarak May Step Down
Cairo Protesters Told Their Demands Will Be Met, but It Remains Unclear How Much Power Egyptian President Will Give Up

Commanders of Egypt's armed forces were meeting Thursday amid numerous reports that President Hosni Mubarak was planning to take another step in conceding to massive protests and giving up power.

Al-Arabiya television reported that an announcement would come shortly - possibly from the military or possibly from Mubarak himself - announcing plans to "respond to people's demands."

It was not clear that Mubarak was actually considering stepping down as president. Al-Hurra reported that Mubarak was planning to step aside as commander of the armed forces. But Britain's Channel 4 News - citing a high-ranking member of Mubarak's ruling party - reported that Mubarak would indeed step aside, ceding power to Vice President Omar Soleiman.

Protesters in Cairo's central Tahrir square were also told by loudspeaker that an announcement - "good news" - would be made soon, reports CBS News' Khaled Wassef. A high-ranking officer told protesters all their demands would be met, Wassef reports.


Not a definite announcement, but the signs are good. I'm cautiously hopeful.

ALSO I have no linkable source for this, but CNN is reporting that Mubarak may speak again today, according to ruling party sec gen.

edit: CNN as well. Still waiting on the time of the speech, assuming it happens. Is there going to be a live post up soon or should this become one, or...?

Poll: New Hampshire voters oppose repealing marriage equality law

While Republican legislators are stepping up efforts to repeal New Hampshire’s marriage equality law, a new poll suggests that the majority of voters are not necessarily on their side

A WMUR-TV Granite State Poll showed 62 percent of survey respondents oppose repeal of the 2009 law that legalized same-sex marriage in New Hampshire

Republicans took control of New Hampshire’s state legislature in the November 2010 elections, and even though GOP leaders said that such a repeal is not a party priority in 2011, two New Hampshire legislators have already introduced bills to repeal the marriage equality law.

Governor John Lynch (D), who signed the original marriage equality bill into law, has said he would veto a repeal bill. But Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in both houses.

According to the poll, and only 29 percent of voters responding support repealing the law, which took effect more than a year ago.

“Strong opponents of repealing same-sex marriage outnumber strong proponents by a factor of two to one,” said Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which interviewed 520 New Hampshire adults for the poll.

“Politically, this represents powerful resistance to changing the current law,” he said.


Don't Let the Door Hit Ya....

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl announces 2013 retirement

PHOENIX - U.S. Senator Jon Kyl has announced he will retire after his third term ends in 2012.

He made the announcement Thursday at a 10 a.m. news conference in Phoenix with his wife, Carol, at his side.

Kyl, 68, said he will retire in January 2013. He said health was not an issue.

Kyl was first elected to the Senate in 1994 after serving 10 years in the U.S. House. He is currently the Senate Republican Whip and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees.

Kyl is the fifth senator to announce plans to retire, with Jim Webb, D-Va., Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., all leaving after 2012.

In explaining his decision Kyl said, "I thought that I would only serve two terms … and I thought that would be enough."

He said there comes a time to consider other things and he and his wife had concluded that now was his time.

"I never anticipated I would be in public service for 26 years in the U.S. Congress," Kyl said.

Kyl said he would not turn down an offer to run on a Republican ticket as Vice President, but saw the possibility of that happening as zero. He said he would remain active in politics but did not anticipate returning to public office.

Kyl said emphatically that he would not run for Arizona governor or any other public office in Arizona.

He said he spoke with Sen. John McCain Wednesday where they shared plans to "make the next 22 months exciting."

"I hope that they will remember I cared very much about my state," Kyl said. "That I was a good person, that I was ethical, that I tried to achieve my goals in a reasonable way … with all the energy I could muster."


'Forcible Rape' Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding

After significant public blowback, House Republicans last week promised to drop a controversial provision in their high-priority No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape. But almost a week later, that language is still in the bill.

Last week, a spokesman for the bill's principal sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), said, "The word forcible will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment." The Hyde Amendment bans taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions, except in cases of incest and rape -- not just "forcible rape," as the Smith bill, H.R. 3, would have it.

But as The New York Times first noted on Wednesday, the "forcible rape" language remains. Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top-ranking Democrat on the House judiciary subcommittee focusing on constitutional issues, told The Huffington Post that while Nadler hopes the bill will soon be changed, they have been treating it as it's written.

"So the fact remains: more than 150 Republicans lent their name to this bill, as drafted, which includes the forcible-rape provision," the Nadler spokesman said. Several conservative Democrats also signed on as cosponsors of Smith's bill.

Smith's spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

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Cardassian guuurl

Egypt’s Army Signals Transfer of Power

CAIRO — Egypt’s armed forces on Thursday announced that they had begun to take "necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people,” a step that suggested the military intends to take a commanding role in administering the strife-torn nation.

The announcement of an enhanced role for the military came as officials in President Hosni Mubarak’s government suggested a momentous shift in power was underway, including a possible transfer of power from Mr. Mubarak to his Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Hossan Badrawi, secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP), told Egyptian state news outlets and the BBC that Mr. Mubarak would "most probably" speak to the nation soon, and that he would likely step down from his post.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, C.I.A. Director Leon E. Panetta said that there was a “strong likelihood” that Mr. Mubarak would step down by the end of the day.

Although the shape of a new Egyptian government remained unclear, television images on Al Jazeera showed the masses in Tahrir Square cheering the news of an impending shake-up, waving flags and chanting: "The Army and the people in one hand."

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Source (from NYT)

UnCollege: Home-Schooling For College Students

Dale Stephens thinks there's no reason why home-schooling can't extend to college.

The young entrepreneur, currently a freshman at Hendrix College, is developing a community of self-directed learners he calls UnCollege -- a site offering support and guidance for students who would prefer a non-conventional learning experience to study at a traditional college, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Stephens was home-schooled and believes that his independent experience taught him more than formal courses. He told the Chronicle: "I don't feel that I've learned things that I couldn't have learned on my own." Stephens also questioned the worth of a traditional degree -- on his site, he writes, "With 70.1% of high school graduates going to college, a college degree no longer guarantees success. School no longer requires analytical thinking or independent thought. In a traditional college setting the joy of learning is easily lost."

UnCollege, which is slated to enroll its first class in fall 2011, still contains traces of a more traditional institution. Although it will not grant degrees, UnCollege costs $100 per month to attend and has a few required assignments, including edicts to "write about why you're participating in UnCollege," "find a mentor," and "live abroad for three months." UnStudents are encouraged to complete at least fifteen projects in three different "learning domains" -- introspection, experience and application -- before a non-official graduation.

Boston University professor Hillel Levine, who is among Stephens's personal mentors, said that he is intrigued -- if not entirely convinced -- by Stephens's mission. He told the Chronicle that colleges should take experiential learning more seriously, adding "the problem is real, but I'm not sure [Stephens has] come up with the solution."

Check out UnCollege and Uncollege's Facebook page to learn more, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.


I actually know this guy (as he goes to my school), and thought I would post this just to see what ontd_p thought of all of this

LIVE POST: Egyptian Protests Discussion Part 10.

PREVIOUS LIVE POSTS: nine | eight | seven | six | five | four | three | two | one

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Will update this entry as notable link suggestions/updates come in.

NOTE: Separate submissions related to Egypt will likely be rejected. Please link articles in THIS post for discussion/entry spotlights.

F#cking Internetz, How Does It Work?

In 4Chan, Anonymous Hacks You

EXCLUSIVE: US Chamber’s Lobbyists Hired Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents

ThinkProgress has learned that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign.

According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams to spearhead this effort. Hunton And Williams’ attorney Richard Wyatt, who once represented Food Lion in its infamous lawsuit against ABC News, was hired by the Chamber in October of last year. To assist the Chamber, Wyatt and his associates, John Woods and Bob Quackenboss, hired a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

According to one document prepared by Team Themis, the campaign included an entrapment project. The proposal called for first creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” to give to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then to subsequently expose the document as a fake to undermine the credibility of the Chamber’s opponents. In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to “generate communications” with Change to Win. View a screenshot below:

The security firms hoped to obtain $200,000 for initial background research, then charge up to $2 million for a larger disinformation campaign against progressives.

The e-mails ThinkProgress acquired are available widely on the web. They were posted by members of “Anonymous,” the hacktivist community responsible for taking down websites for oppressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and American corporations that have censored WikiLeaks. Anonymous published the emails from HB Gary Federal because an executive at the firm, Aaron Barr, was trying to take Anonymous down. Barr claimed that he had penetrated Anonymous and was hoping to sell the data to Bank of America and to federal authorities in the United States. In response, members of Anonymous hacked into Barr’s email and published some 40,000 company e-mails.

It is widely believed that Wikileaks has sensitive information about Bank of America, and plans to expose it later this year. This revelation prompted Bank of America to hire the law/lobbying firm Hunton and Williams, which in turn, according to the e-mails posted online by Anonymous, hired HB Gary Federal and other firms to go after Anonymous and supporters of Wikileaks. For instance, one proposal from HB Gary Federal and its associates proposed targeting Salon reporter and Wikileaks-supporter Glenn Greenwald with “actions to sabotage or discredit” him.

ThinkProgress has published a series of articles investigating the Chamber and its activities. We exposed the Chamber’s efforts to coordinate a lobbying campaign on behalf of large banks, including JP Morgan, to kill significant portions of financial reform. In October, we published a series looking into the Chamber’s efforts to solicit donations from foreign corporations for the same account the Chamber used to run partisan attack ads during the midterm campaign, as well as the Chamber’s participation in secret fundraising meetings convened by the billionaire plutocrats David and Charles Koch.

ThinkProgress will be posting more details of the Chamber lobbyist campaign to target progressives soon.

– With reporting from Scott Keyes

No Anonymous or Hacktivist tag? I am disappoint.

TWiB! Season 4 Ep#1 - "Please leave Negroes out of it..."


In the latest installment of the award winning web series "This Week in Blackness" host Elon James White jumps into Season 4 discussing Tyler Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum and the concept of "Womb Lynching."

Cardassian guuurl

Senate passes bill to teach Bible in Ky. schools

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Bible classes could be taught in Kentucky public schools under a bill that's made it halfway through the legislature.

The Senate voted 34-1 to approve the measure on Wednesday.

Under the Kentucky proposal, Bible courses would be offered as electives, meaning students could decide whether to take them.

Republican Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro, the bill's sponsor, said the intention is to acquaint students with a book that has had tremendous impact on American society and western culture.

Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein of Lexington said the measure is unnecessary because nothing currently prohibits Kentucky public schools from teaching about the Bible.

A similar measure overwhelmingly passed in the Senate last year only to die in the House.

The legislation is Senate Bill 56.



Nancy Pelosi's extremely blunt assessments of the true motives of Republicans are why her supporters love her and her enemies hate her with equal passion, and on a conference call with bloggers just now, she unleashed a slashing attack on the House GOP's new anti-abortion push that may churn up emotions on both sides.

Pelosi -- who promised a huge fight against House Republicans over the issue in the days ahead -- didn't hold back one bit, claiming the new legislative push by Republicans "disrespects the judgment of American women."

"I don't know if they ever give that a thought," she added.

Pelosi described the GOP push as the "most radical assault" on women's reproductive rights "in our lifetimes." And she was equally blunt in her assessment of right-wing assaults on family planning.

"They are at a different philosophical place," she said, characterizing their view as: "all engagement has to result in a child." Pelosi noted that contraception and family planning is "not consistent with their belief that it's all about procreation."

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Tunisia: now what?

Now what?
Putting the country back together

“WE’VE become so preoccupied by Egypt’s revolution that we’re neglecting our own,” runs the joke in Tunis these days. Tunisians feel proud that their spark has ignited a regional upheaval. Yet more than three weeks after the departure of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali for Saudi Arabia, the situation in Tunisia has still not stabilised.

Although the government is now rid of most ministers from the former ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), Mohammed Ghannouchi, the prime minister, remains. He has just appointed 24 provincial governors, 19 of whom are former members of the RCD. Across the country, civil servants and citizens have protested loudly about this. In several cases, they have prevented the new governors from taking up their jobs.

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fleur de lis

Obama's Big Budget Cut Proposals Target The Poor

Reported by Arthur Delaney

WASHINGTON -- As Democrats and Republicans wrangle over fiscal austerity and the shape of the 2012 federal budget, the White House is targeting programs in the $4 trillion budget that benefit low-income Americans.

It's a sop to moderates and conservatives, and it's likely to infuriate voters who put President Barack Obama in the White House.

In the past week, the Obama administration has signaled that it will propose significant cuts to community service block grants and an energy assistance program that helps poor people stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

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Cardassian guuurl

Hospitals Shift Smoking Bans to Smoker Ban

Smokers now face another risk from their habit: it could cost them a shot at a job.

More hospitals and medical businesses in many states are adopting strict policies that make smoking a reason to turn away job applicants, saying they want to increase worker productivity, reduce health care costs and encourage healthier living.

The policies reflect a frustration that softer efforts — like banning smoking on company grounds, offering cessation programs and increasing health care premiums for smokers — have not been powerful-enough incentives to quit.

The new rules essentially treat cigarettes like an illegal narcotic. Applications now explicitly warn of “tobacco-free hiring,” job seekers must submit to urine tests for nicotine and new employees caught smoking face termination.

This shift — from smoke-free to smoker-free workplaces — has prompted sharp debate, even among anti-tobacco groups, over whether the policies establish a troubling precedent of employers intruding into private lives to ban a habit that is legal.

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Source (NYTimes)