September 4th, 2011

absinthe, wormwood

Health ministers 'oppose abortion advice changes'

The government has written to all MPs to tell them health ministers will vote against a proposal to change the advice given to women seeking an abortion.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has suggested abortion advice in England should not be given by organisations that carry out terminations.

The government says it is committed to making sure counselling is independent.

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For more background on the issue, see this article in the Guardian. The responses by Suzanne Moore and David Steel The best of ALL the Davids in Westminster are also highly recommended.

Ms Dorries' real views on abortion have been reported at Liberal Conspiracy and some people hav taken to writing to Ms Dorries about their wombs, in the hope that this will satisfy her somewhat unhealthy interest in other people's reproductive apparatus without curtailing women's rights. A masterlist of the letters written thus far can be found here.
  • omer

Some 450,000 Israelis march at massive 'March of the Million' rallies across country

Protests held in major cities across Israel represent biggest rallies in country's history; protest leader says 'we have chosen to see instead of walking blindly toward the abyss.'

By Oz Rosenberg, Ilan Lior and Gili Cohen

Over 450,000 protesters attended rallies across the country last night calling for social justice in what was the largest demonstration in Israeli history.

The main protest took place in Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina, where some 300,000 people gathered after marching from Habima Square about two kilometers away. Protest leader Yonatan Levy said the atmosphere was like "a second Independence Day."

Protest leaders Daphni Leef and National Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmuli both addressed the Tel Aviv crowd. "Mr. Prime Minister, the new Israelis have a dream and it is simple: to weave the story of our lives into Israel. We expect you to let us live in this country. The new Israelis will not give up. They demand change and will not stop until real solutions come," Shmuli said.
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there are some nice photos at the source, if you're interested. Also, if some of you have the Instagram app for iphone, you can search the j14 tag, and you might even see my pictures from the Jerusalem demonstrations!!! aaaahhh!!!!
  • kangofu

Hurricanes in the NW Pacific are called...

Typhoon Talas kills at least 20 as it passes Japan
Source - AP News
YURI KAGEYAMA, Associated Press
Updated 08:08 a.m., Sunday, September 4, 2011

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

TOKYO (AP) — Heavy rains and mudslides from powerful Typhoon Talas left at least 20 people dead in Japan on Sunday as it moved slowly northward past the country's western coast. At least 50 others were missing, local media said.

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued to 460,000 people in western and central Japan. At least 3,600 people were stranded by flooded rivers, landslides and collapsed bridges that were hampering rescue efforts, Kyodo News agency reported.

The typhoon dumped record amounts of rain in some areas. It was the country's worst storm since one in 2004 that left 98 people either dead or missing, the Yomiuri newspaper said.

Talas damaged Nijojo castle in the ancient city of Kyoto, tearing a large piece of plaster from the gate wall. The castle, a popular tourist destination, is designated an important cultural treasure.

Public broadcaster NHK showed a bridge swept away after intense rain caused a river to swell with brown torrents. People holding umbrellas waded through knee-deep water in city streets and residential areas. Cars were washed away.

The center of the season's 12th typhoon was moving slowly north across the Sea of Japan off the country's west coast, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It crossed the southern island of Shikoku and the central part of the main island of Honshu overnight Saturday.

That area is hundreds of miles (kilometers) from Japan's tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast.
Because of the storm's slow speed, the agency warned that heavy rains and strong winds were likely to continue and could cause more flooding and landslides. It issued landslide warnings in nearly all of the country's prefectures.

Fears were growing of additional damage from more mudslides because the ground was already soaked.

Three homes were buried in a landslide in Wakayama prefecture. One woman whose identity was still being confirmed died, four remained missing and a 14-year old girl was saved from the debris, police said.

Overall in the hard-hit prefecture, 10 people were dead and 32 people were missing, they said.
Seven people were reported missing in nearby Nara prefecture after their homes were swept down a river, NHK said.

Among the dead was a woman who appeared to be in her 30s whose body was found in a river in Ehime prefecture on Shikoku, police said.

A 73-year-old man in Nara prefecture died after a landslide caused his house to collapse, police said.

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  • kangofu

Parental dilemma: Whether to spy on their kids

Parental dilemma: Whether to spy on their kids
Source - AP News
September 3rd, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — In the 21st century, parenthood and paranoia often walk hand in hand.

For some, the blessed event is followed by high-tech surveillance – a monitoring system tracks the baby’s breathing rhythms and relays infrared images from the nursery. The next investment might be a nanny cam, to keep watch on the child’s hired caregivers. Toddlers and grade schoolers can be equipped with GPS devices enabling a parent to know their location should something go awry.

To cope with the uncertainties of the teen years, some parents acquire spyware to monitor their children’s online and cell phone activity. Others resort to home drug-testing kits.

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GOP assailed for gun raffle in Giffords' Ariz. district

Source: USA Today

Democrats and gun-control advocates condemned a Pima County Republican Party plan to raffle off the same brand of gun used in the Tucson shooting rampage that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

The GOP in Giffords' home district is "showing a shocking lack of judgment and sensitivity," Jeff Rogers, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, said Thursday. "The wounds are still healing (from the shooting), and this is like pulling a scab off a wound."

Caroline Brewer, spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said it doesn't matter that it is legal to raffle a gun. "Where is their moral compass? It boggles the mind," she said. "This is insensitive to Rep. Giffords and all the families in Tucson involved in the shooting."

The Pima County Republican Party is asking for $10 per ticket for a chance to win a Glock 23. The party is selling 125 tickets, and the gun is the prize for helping the party get out the vote. The news of the raffle was first reported by the Huffington Post.

Interim party Chairman Mike Shaw sees nothing inappropriate, the Associated Press reported. Shaw said that past gun raffles have been effective fundraisers and that responsible gun ownership is a constitutional right.

The Glock 23 is a version of the Glock 19 used in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage, which left six people dead and wounded 13 others. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was meeting with constituents at a Tucson grocery store.

Also Thursday, the Federal Election Commission approved Giffords' request to use campaign funds for improved security at her home in Houston, where she has been undergoing therapy. The U.S. Capitol Police recommended the changes, which include better exterior lighting, improved locks and an alarm button. The security improvements are estimated to cost about $2,200. The FEC previously has given Reps. Lee Terry, R-Neb., and Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., permission to use campaign funds for increased security.


Here's an earlier article about the gun's features and even a quote about how the senator had stated she owned a Glock back in 2008:
Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)


Scottish Tory Leadership favourite to "disband party"
The frontrunner for leader of the Scottish Conservatives has said he plans to disband the party if he wins the leadership election next month.

The MSP Murdo Fraser says the Conservatives carry too much baggage in Scotland and claims a new centre-right party would attract more voters.

The party would sit with the Tories in the Commons but have its own policies.

Mr Fraser said David Cameron was aware and the idea had the support of several senior Conservatives at Westminster.

He told the BBC: "What we have to do is get many more people elected from Scottish constituencies to support David Cameron and a future UK Conservative government and the best way to do that is to create a new progressive centre-right with a Scottish identity."

He added: "I think that will be much more attractive to many people in Scotland who share our values."

I can't. Imagining all the organisations who could disband if they decided they were unpopular enough.

New band Party name suggestions on a postcard please.


To Protect Our Freedoms We Must Prosecute Those Freedom Hating Mooslims and Their Protected Rant.

Government Sanctioned Speech is The Only Freedom of Speech You Need.

The DOJ's escalating criminalization of speech

Over the past several years, the Justice Department has increasingly attempted to criminalize what is clearly protected political speech by prosecuting numerous individuals (Muslims, needless to say) for disseminating political views the government dislikes or considers threatening.  The latest episode emerged on Friday, when the FBI announced the arrest and indictment of Jubair Ahmad, a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, charged with "providing material support" to a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)).

What is the "material support" he allegedly gave?  He produced and uploaded a 5-minute video to YouTube featuring photographs of U.S.

abuses in Abu Ghraib, video of armored trucks exploding after being hit by IEDs, prayer messages about "jihad" from LeT's leader, and -- according to the FBI's Affidavit -- "a number of terrorist logos."  That, in turn, led the FBI agent who signed the affidavit to assert that "based on [his] training and experience, it is evident that the video . . . is designed as propaganda to develop support for LeT and to recruit jihadists to LeT." The FBI also claims Ahmad spoke with the son of an LeT leader about the contents of the video and had attended an LeT camp when he was a teenager in Pakistan.  For the act of uploading that single YouTube video (and for denying that he did so when asked by the FBI agents who came to his home to interrogate him), he faces 23 years in prison.

Let's be very clear about the key point: the Constitution -- specifically the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment -- prohibits the U.S. Government from punishing someone for the political views they express, even if those views include the advocacy of violence against the U.S. and its leaders. One can dislike this legal fact.  One can wish it were different.  But it is the clear and unambiguous law, and has been since the Supreme Court's unanimous 1969 decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio, which overturned the criminal conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader who had publicly threatened violence against political officials in a speech.

In doing so, the Brandenberg Court struck down as unconstitutional an Ohio statute (under which the KKK leader was prosecuted) that made it a crime to "advocate . . . the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform." Such advocacy -- please read the part in bold -- cannot be a crime because it is protected by the First Amendment.  The crux of the Court's holding: "the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force" (emphasis added; for more on the First Amendment law protecting this right to advocate violence, see my discussion here).

To put this less abstractly, and as I've noted before, a person has -- and should and must have -- the absolute free speech right to advocate ideas such as this:

For decades, the U.S. Government has been engaging in violence and otherwise interfering in the Muslim world. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim men, women and children have died as a result. There is no end in sight to this American assault on the Muslim world and those of its client states. Therefore, it is not only the right, but the duty, of Muslims to engage in violence against Americans as a means of self-defense and to deter further violence against Muslims. That is the only available means for fighting back against the world's greatest military superpower. The only alternative is continuing passive submission to this onslaught of violence aimed at Muslims.

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Politics without purpose

It was another one of those weeks in the capital when our leaders debated matters crucial to the survival of American civilization.

Did President Obama try to upstage the Republican presidential debate by asking to address a joint session of Congress that same night? And did House Speaker John Boehner dis the president, and the presidency, by denying him that slot?

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I don't know if this article warrants a trigger warning? I put one in there just in case, and please note that the links to do all have images from the exhibit. I'll change the LJ cut if anyone thinks it needs to be better.
Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

For sale: One Health service (63); moderate condition

A German company has been in talks to take over NHS hospitals, the first tangible evidence that foreign multinationals will be able to run state-owned acute services, a market worth £8bn, the Guardian can reveal.

On the eve of the last Commons vote on the government's bill before it heads to the Lords this week, freedom of information requests reveal a series of meetings focused on "potential opportunities in London" between officials from the Department of Health, the NHS, the management consultant McKinsey and one of the largest German private hospital chains, Helios.

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