September 13th, 2011

The Gang
  • acmeeoy

'Hackgate' and the British ruling class - Richard Seymour

On the evening of July 2, just before the Hackgate scandal took a devastating new twist, the 'Chipping Norton set' were at their leisure in the home of Elizabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud.

The complete set includes a glittering array of PR and media executives, politicians, and people whom, in a less innocent age, we used to call capitalists. Peter Mandelson, Steve Hilton (Cameron's policy adviser), Robert Peston and Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC, Newscorp chief executive Rebekah Brooks, and Tory education minister Michael Gove were among those present. This gathering of the doomed has a glittering, gilded-age feel - but also a lurking tawdriness. They're like the rich in Diego Rivera's mural for the Rockefeller building, partying in obscene opulence, while the syphilis cell floats menacingly over their heads.

What exploded the next day was a lesson not only in tabloid morality, and the decline of the newspaper industry, but in ruling-class cohesion. Andy Coulson, now a former PR adviser to David Cameron, was editor of the News of the World while it engaged in systematic hacking of phones belonging to politicians, celebrities and members of the public. This much had been known since 2005, with detail accumulating since then to undermine the paper's "one rotten apple" story to explain the phone hacking. Cameron nonetheless employed Coulson, reasonably expecting that the scandal would not reach a critical mass if it hadn't already done so.

But on July 3, it emerged that the paper hacked into the voicemail messages of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler. Worse, the paper had deleted messages on the phone when it noticed the inbox filling up, in order to leave space for more newsworthy materials. The result was to give the parents false hope that Milly may be alive and deleting the messages herself. As if to bring the disgrace to a natural climax, the paper then sent reporters round for an exclusive interview with the family about their hopes. This was just a little bit less forgivable than snooping on celebrities.

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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

We refuse to live in fear!

President Obama, in his weekend radio address to the nation

They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear.

ABC News, yesterday:

Fighter planes were scrambled, bomb squads were called, FBI command centers went on alert and police teams raced to airports today, but in the end two separate airline incidents were caused by apparently innocent bathroom breaks and a little "making out," federal officials said.

 Earlier this year, the Obama White House reversed the Attorney General's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for his alleged crimes in a federal court in New York, and Congress prohibited Guantanamo detainees generally from being tried on U.S. soil, due to fears that the Terrorists would use their heat-vision to melt their shackles and escape or would summon their Terrorist friends to attack the courthouse and free them into the community -- even though none of that has ever happened, and even though almost every other country on the planet that suffered similar Terrorist attacks (Britain, Spain, India, Indonesia) tried the perpetrators in their regular courts in the cities where the attacks occurred.  In 2009, President Obama demanded the power to abolish the most basic right -- not to be imprisoned without having been convicted of a crime  -- by "preventively detaining" people who, in his words, "cannot be prosecuted yet [] pose a clear danger."  During the Bush years, The Washington Post quoted a military official warning Americans that the most extreme security measures are needed against Guantanamo detainees because these are "people who would chew through a hydraulic cable to bring a C-17 down."

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Ron Paul to Build Colosseum to Feed the Sick Uninsured to the Lions. It is The Humane Thing to Do.

Tea Party Debate Audience Cheers Idea Of Letting Sick Man Without Insurance Die (VIDEO)

The last two Republican presidential debates have been some of the most macabre on record. Last time around, at the Reagan Library, the crowd gave the biggest applause of the night to the 234 executions that have occurred in Texas while Rick Perry was governor.

In Tampa, Florida at the CNN/Tea Party Express debate Monday night, the tea party-filled audience literally cheered aloud for the uninsured to be allowed to die.

The moment came during an exchange between moderator Wolf Blitzer and Ron Paul, whose libertarian views often make for good theater at Republican debates.

Blitzer asked if under Paul’s libertarian philosophy, a sick man without insurance should be allowed to die in the hospital rather than have the state pay his medical bills. Before Paul could answer that question, shouts of “yes!” and cheering bubbled up from the audience.


Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Black babies not 'normal,' according to DHS website

Black babies not 'normal,' according to DHS website

A reader points out some racially charged wording on the Arkansas Heart Gallery website, where the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services houses info about adoption. In the FAQ section, under the question "WHAT ABOUT ADOPTING AN INFANT?" is this passage:

Over the past few decades, the number of healthy, Caucasian infants, who are relinquished to DHS/DCFS for adoption has decreased sharply. DHS/DCFS is not taking applications for normal, healthy newborns. DHS/DCFS continues to accept applications to adopt a healthy, African American child from birth to two years.


Post-racial, y'all. :/
Pride & Prejudice

Gender-confused boy, 10, goes back to Worcester school dressed as a girl

A boy of ten who wants a sex-change has gone back to school dressed as a girl – after braving ‘barbaric’ verbal taunts from adults.

The child has been praised by relatives and teachers after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria during the summer holidays.

Fellow pupils at the school in Worcester have been told of the identity change at special assemblies called at the start of term.

The child’s mother, 36, said: ‘She is within her mind a girl but she has a boy’s body. She is a girlie girl.’ But she also revealed her child had been branded ‘a freak’ by other adults and reduced to tears by one man while shopping.

Gender surgery is banned for under-18s but the youngster intends to start taking hormone tablets before reaching puberty.

The child’s stance has been backed by therapists, while the school has also been hailed for its ‘inclusive’ approach – although some parents have complained about what they say is a lack of consultation.

The mother said: ‘She has suffered bullying but is happier to be going to school as a girl.

‘When we made her dress as a boy, she would get into a right state – it just doesn’t feel natural to her.

‘It’s going to be a hard school life for us and for her as well. But she is a strong person and I’m sure we will get through it as a family. The other pupils have been little stars who have accepted my daughter into the fold.’

Michelle Bridgman, a psychotherapist and project manager for the Gender Trust charity, described the child’s bullies as ‘barbaric’.

‘What it comes from is total ignorance around the subject,’ she said.

It's good that the other kids are okay with it, but God. So much fail in this article I don't even.
  • kangofu

Watching Spongebob is hazardous to your kids

SpongeBob in hot water from study of 4-year-olds
- AP News

Posted on Sun, Sep. 11, 2011 11:08 PM

The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.

The problems were seen in a study of 60 children randomly assigned to either watch "SpongeBob," or the slower-paced PBS cartoon "Caillou" or assigned to draw pictures. Immediately after these nine-minute assignments, the kids took mental function tests; those who had watched "SpongeBob" did measurably worse than the others.

Previous research has linked TV-watching with long-term attention problems in children, but the new study suggests more immediate problems can occur after very little exposure - results that parents of young kids should be alert to, the study authors said.

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Mel C.

North Carolina to Vote on Marriage Amendment

Senate vote puts marriage amendment issue to the voters

RALEIGH, N.C. North Carolina voters will get to decide next May whether ban on same-sex marriage needs to be written into the state constitution after the state Senate voted Tuesday to put the issue on the ballot.

The state House voted 75-42 Monday in favor of the measure. North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such a provision.

The debate began just after noon, and Democrats quickly spoke out against the move. Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, said, "Most of us have gay neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members. Know that if you vote for this amendment, you will cause them pain."

Stein opened his comments by asking, "What are we doing here?" He noted the daily cost to taxpayers of the session and the need for aid in eastern counties still cleaning up from Hurricane Irene.

"With the state of our economy, we do not have the luxury to make anyone feel unwelcome. We need those jobs," Stein said.

Gov. Bev Perdue expressed disappointment Tuesday that the legislature is spending time on such an emotionally charged and divisive issue. Supporters of the ban and those against it rallied in Raleigh as the lawmakers met inside.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said, "There is one thing that I don't think anyone can disagree with. If we don't go ahead and address this issue now, it will continue to come up.

"It is time to let the people of this state decide," he concluded.

Legislators on both sides of the debate mentioned the weight of history and the consideration of future generations in their comments. Many cited relationships with children or grandchildren as the reason for their stance.

State law already bans same-sex marriage, and opponents of a constitutional amendment contend that it is unnecessary. The Chapel Hill Town Council approved a resolution Monday night affirming that view.

Amendment supporters argue that putting it in the constitution would help the state against challenges from same-sex couples married in the six states that allow the unions.


Absolutely furious at my state! The rights of a minority should never be put to a majority vote! Besides, this is the same state that didn't ratify the 19th Amendment until 1971, didn't make marital rape illegal until 1993, and until 2006 had laws making cohabitation illegal and a class 2 misdemeanor! Sorry if I don't exactly have faith in North Carolina to do the right thing!

This amendment will also make civil unions and common law marriages illegal. So this really reaches a lot of people, though LGBTQ will be effected the most.

For what it is worth, the comments to this article are only mildly rage inducing. Most people who have commented are actually against this amendment which is a shock to me considering how many stupid uber-conservative comments are usually posted on there. Still, it may not be for the faint of heart.
No Enbridge
  • romp

Jeering, booing Tea Party audience looms large in latest Republican debate

There were eight candidates on a Florida stage on Monday night vying to become president of the United States, engaging in a fiery Republican debate — but some of the most stunning moments were provided by the Greek chorus of Tea Party adherents in the crowd.

The most surreal instance of the debate, a CNN/Tea Party Express collaboration, came when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked a hypothetical question about whether a young man who had failed to buy health insurance should be provided state-financed medical care in the event of a serious accident.

"Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Blitzer asked congressman Ron Paul, the tough-talking libertarian who seemed fleetingly taken aback when at least two audience members boisterously shouted "yeah!" when he hesitated.

It was the second Republican debate in less than a week to feature such a show-stopper from the audience. Last week in California, Rick Perry got the most boisterous cheers of the night when he noted proudly that 234 people had been executed in Texas in the 11 years he's been governor.

"Given all the applause for death in the last two GOP debates, the Grim Reaper would be a very strong candidate," read a Tweet by ThinkProgress, the liberal political watchdog.
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A view from across the border that reads like a good summary to me. Tiny paragraphs so no bolding.

CSI: IRL of the Day

A teenage rape victim from the UK says she learned how to leave behind the evidence that helped convict her attacker by watching shows like CSI.

While she was trapped in the back seat of a car, the girl ripped out some of her hair and dropped it where it wouldn’t be found by the rapist. She also left DNA evidence by spitting on the car seats, and made sure to remember the area where she was attacked so she could describe it for the police.

“It sounds silly, but I have always been a fan of CSI programs. I’ve watched so many of them, I know what to do and how things work,” the teenager told theDaily Mail.

Her attacker, 32-year-old British Army Lance Corporal Jonathan Haynes, was also convicted of two other rapes and two attempted kidnappings. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

  • kangofu

Political cartoon post! Part 1

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  • kangofu

Political cartoon post! Part 2

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Evil Kitty
  • mschaos

That was my brother's death you were cheering, you a$$holes

To all of those tea-jadist assholes at last night’s GOP debate: I don’t generally care to use profanity, but I fear that English is above your comprehension level, so in terms you might better understand, may God damn your worthless souls to hell for all eternity.

I had not planned on watching the debate because it conflicted with more important activities, like a new episode of The Closer.  More importantly, it was being held at a time when I had committed to posting a diary for The Grieving Room.  That diary was about the death of my brother from a very painful, uninsured struggle against metastatic cancer.

I had planned to write about his journey through what passes for health care in a nation fixated on the profits that that care brings.  In a nation where his death was cheered in front of a panel of politicians, none of whom had the decency to object.  It is not a capital crime in this nation to be uninsured.

Steve worked 14 hours a day building beautiful guitars.  Songs will not be sung because he died and will make no more.  Thanks to the Republican Party’s theft of our national wealth, he barely eked out an existence with financial help from my husband and me. Money for health insurance?  Don’t be ridiculous.

He was 63.  He had to start Social Security early so he could afford to eat.  He was too young for Medicare and too male for Medicaid.  This nation does not recognize the years he spent working for others and making this economy grow, it only focused on the years he worked for himself, creating instruments of rare beauty.

When he had a pain in the butt, he had to wait until early in the morning of December 3rd to present himself at the ER of Highland Hospital, the Alameda County medical facility.  There are guards at Highland, and a football field full of plastic chairs for the indigent to use while they wait treatment.  He was sent home with a handful of Vicodin and a suggestion to follow up with a pulmonologist for the 3 cm spot the Xray showed on his lung.  The soonest appointment was Feb 25.

He was in so much pain that he could not stand up for more than a few seconds at a time.  He got Vicodin.  And steroid suppositories.  

His buddies came up with the $2000 a proctologist wanted to do an outpatient surgery.  But the hospital wanted $20,000 for use of the room for the brief procedure because he was uninsured.  Because the pain didn’t matter half as much as the profit.

For six weeks he suffered at home.  You bastards, you would have liked to watch that, wouldn’t you?  Too bad there were no cameras to catch him as he collapsed when he tried to microwave his oatmeal.  No microphones to catch his cries of pain or despair.

He was finally admitted to Highland after his heart started to fail in the emergency room late one night early in February.  The staff there are dedicated, caring compassionate people who work their hearts out trying to save the sickest and poorest Americans.  They have only limited resources with which to do that.  And they make every one of those resource count.

By then, of course, the cancer from his lung had spread to his buttock where it attacked the bone.  It wrapped itself into the nerves that travelled up its spine.  The pain was indescribable.  Perhaps his medical records could serve as pornography to sate your sick lust for the pain of others.

The morphine and the cancer combined to cause psychotic breaks from reality.  Worse, he knew they had occurred.  He was so intelligent, so very caring that these breaks wherein he would roundly curse the staff that cared for him, throwing whatever was handy at the walls, were incredibly shaming and emotionally devastating to him.  Cancer is so very cruel, but not half as cruel as the cheers you uttered last night.

The county nursing home where they finally had to warehouse him as the cancer weakened him to the point where chemotherapy would have killed him, looks like a minimum security prison.  Half of the staff did not understand English which further frustrated him as the morphine clouded his mind.  It was dirty and depressing and I was so grateful that he often did not even know he was there.

He hated it there and was so grateful when an infection sent him back to Highland for treatment.  He only lasted a few more days at Highland. I was holding his hand as he drew his last breath.  Have you ever seen a man die, you bastards?  His fingertips turn grey, his breathing becomes shallow.  His grip weakens.  And he simply stops breathing.  And all of the laughter and love goes away with that last breath.  The intelligence, the creative beauty, the caring compassion.  They all disappear.  But that probably wouldn’t matter to you since it is doubtful you would recognize any of it.

Love, compassion, beauty.  Laughter, intelligence.  And the ability to realize a dream.  A dream that never included cruelty or indifference to the suffering of others.  

And I cannot, for the life of me fathom why he is only ashes today and you are walking this earth.  But then, I am not the hero my brother was.  He would have forgiven you.  He would have understood the source of your fear that caused those cheers.  I don’t want to.  

I think you are scum.



my heart is breaking here and I know he is only one of so very many

US government warns Cherokee nation not to exclude black freedmen

In 2007 the Cherokee passed an amendment to its constitution that required members to have Cherokee blood.

The US government has stepped into a bitter ethnic dispute between a powerful Native American tribe and the descendants of black slaves the tribe used to own.

The argument touches on some of the most difficult and heartbreaking chapters in American history, encompassing the brutal treatment of Native Americans as well as the bitter legacy of slavery.

The fight centres on the tribal membership of the Cherokee nation, a Native American group who were kicked out of their ancestral lands in south-eastern America and forced to relocate to Oklahoma.

For a long time, the tribe has included among its members people who called themselves 'freedmen', who were descendants of the black slaves that the tribe used to own, but who were given their liberty after the American civil war. Being a member of the tribe gives certain rights and benefits around tribal-run healthcare schemes, and the spending of money the tribe earns from casino operations.

However, the Cherokee's tribal leadership has recently moved to expel an estimated 2,800 freedmen from the tribal rolls, which will cut off their access to Cherokee services and also stop them from voting in upcoming tribal elections. In 2007 the tribe passed an amendment to its constitution that required members to have Cherokee blood. The dispute has been fiercely fought on all sides amid accusations of greed and racism.Collapse )