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Archive for October 2nd, 2009

‘Spiraling Increases’ in Afghan Police Deaths

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:51 am by HL

‘Spiraling Increases’ in Afghan Police Deaths
International efforts to expand Afghanistan’s security forces are being undermined by “spiraling increases” in violent deaths among the nation’s police officers as the eighth anniversary of the U.S. war approaches. The Guardian: International efforts to rapidly enlarge Afghanistan’s national police force are being undermined by “spiralling increases” in deaths and the growing use of “quick fix” training courses that give recruits as little as three weeks to prepare for fights with the Taliban, two highly critical reports have warned. The documents, for different arms of the European Union mission in Afghanistan, warn that the soaring death rate among the country’s poorly trained and equipped police is deterring fresh recruits from coming forward and prompting many experienced officers to quit. Building up a large and effective force capable of keeping insurgents out of villages is seen as essential to quelling the Taliban insurgency. In a document leaked last month the US general commanding Nato forces, Stanley McChrystal, called for an increase in police numbers to 160,000 from the current 82,000. A European commission report recommends 136,000. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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International efforts to expand Afghanistan’s security forces are being undermined by “spiraling increases” in violent deaths among the nation’s police officers as the eighth anniversary of the U.S. war approaches.

The Guardian:

International efforts to rapidly enlarge Afghanistan’s national police force are being undermined by “spiralling increases” in deaths and the growing use of “quick fix” training courses that give recruits as little as three weeks to prepare for fights with the Taliban, two highly critical reports have warned.

The documents, for different arms of the European Union mission in Afghanistan, warn that the soaring death rate among the country’s poorly trained and equipped police is deterring fresh recruits from coming forward and prompting many experienced officers to quit.

Building up a large and effective force capable of keeping insurgents out of villages is seen as essential to quelling the Taliban insurgency. In a document leaked last month the US general commanding Nato forces, Stanley McChrystal, called for an increase in police numbers to 160,000 from the current 82,000.

A European commission report recommends 136,000.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Gay Marriage Bill Introduced In Illinois

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:50 am by HL

Gay Marriage Bill Introduced In Illinois
State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) announced today that she’s hoping to build on that momentum by introducing the Equal Marriage Act (SB 2468), the Senate…

Newt Gingrich Makes “World’s Best Persons” For Revoking Business Award He Gave To Strip Club (VIDEO)
Keith Olbermann named Newt Gingrich “World’s Best Person” for revoking two of his Business Defense and Advisory Council Entrepreneur Awards after he discovered that one…

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Jamie Metzl: My Hamid Karzai Daydream
Just back from Afghanistan, I began to daydream about Karzai speaking directly to the American people to take responsibility for his government’s failings and seek support for U.S. engagement in the country.


Fox News’ Hemmer latest to advance made-up charge that Jennings knew of “statutory rape” case and “never reported it”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:49 am by HL

Fox News’ Hemmer latest to advance made-up charge that Jennings knew of “statutory rape” case and “never reported it”

Fox News’ Bill Hemmer continued his network’s attacks on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings by claiming that Jennings knew of a “statutory rape” case involving a student but “never reported it.” However, Hemmer ignored that Jennings’ attorney wrote in a 2004 letter that the student was 16 years old, which Jennings’ book appears to support, and that 16 is — and was at the time — the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

Hemmer claims as fact that Jennings knew of “statutory rape” case and “never reported it”

From the October 1 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

HEMMER: I’m Bill Hemmer, top of the hour now, we are talking about a case that involves statutory rape, and Jennings never reported it. According to a book he wrote, had no regrets about how he handled it then.

MARTHA MacCALLUM (co-host): And now he has changed his story a bit. And Mike Emanuel joins us live at the White House with that. How do we know so much detail about this controversy?

EMANUEL: Well, Martha, Jennings has included this story in two books. He’s also spoken about it at public events at an education summit involving a gay, lesbian education group that he founded. He told the story that a 15-year-old came to him, said that he was meeting older men in a bus station restroom, and getting involved with them. And Jennings’ advice to the young man, the 15-year-old student, was, “Well, I hope you knew to use a condom.” The child said to him, “Well, why should I? My life is not worth living anyway.” And so a lot of people suggesting that should have thrown up all sorts of red flags for this teacher.

Jennings’ attorney stated in letter that student was 16, which is — and was — MA age of consent

Jennings’ attorney: Conversation was “with a sixteen-year-old student”; “no factual basis” that Jennings was “aware of any sexual victimization of any student.” In an August 3, 2004, letter, Constance M. Boland of the law firm Nixon Peabody — which represented the organization that Jennings ran — wrote that the “conversation” Jennings had was with “a sixteen-year-old student” and that there “is no factual basis whatsoever for” the “claim that Mr. Jennings engaged in unethical practices, or that he was aware of any sexual victimization of any student, or that he declined to report any sexual victimization at any time.” [Boland letter, 8/3/04]

Massachusetts age of consent is — and was at the time — 16. According to a footnote in the 1982 Massachusetts case Commonwealth v. Calvin D. Miller, chapter 265, section 23, of the General Laws of Massachusetts, as amended in 1974, at the time provided:

Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction, and for the second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, but not less than five years. [emphasis added]

According to the legislative history available in the Lexis database, the provision was not amended after 1982 until 1998. It was amended again in 2008 and now provides:

Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under 16 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction. A prosecution commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file. [emphasis added]

Jennings’ 1994 book: Student at least 16-years old

In his 1994 book, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, Jennings writes of “Brewster, a sophomore boy who I came to know in 1987, my first year of teaching at Concord Academy, in Concord, Massachusetts.” Jennings writes that “during the spring of 1988,” Brewster told Jennings “a story about his involvement with an older man he had met in Boston.” Jennings writes that he “listened, sympathized, and offered advice.” Later in the book, Jennings writes that on April 3, 1993, he “caught up” with Brewster at “the annual awards dinner of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights.” Jennings writes that Brewster was then “twenty-two, taking time off from college, and living with his boyfriend.” If Brewster was 22 in April of 1993, then Brewster would have been either 16 or 17 in the “spring of 1988,” when, according to Jennings’ book, Brewster told Jennings of the “older man.” From his book:

jenningsbook1

[…]

jenningsbook2

[…]

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Transcript

From the October 1 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

MacCALLUM: And there are some new questions now surrounding one of the president’s top advisers on education. White House safe schools czar Kevin Jennings taking some heat for an incident that happened about 20 years ago. He was a high school teacher counseling a gay student. The boy confided in him, told him he was having an affair with an older man. And wait till you hear what Jennings’ advice to him was. That’s what’s got him in some hot water.

Brand new hour now right now of America’s Newsroom. Welcome, everybody, I’m Martha MacCallum, in for Megyn Kelly.

HEMMER: Morning again, Martha.

MacCALLUM: Good morning, Bill.

HEMMER: I’m Bill Hemmer, top of the hour now, we are talking about a case that involves statutory rape, and Jennings never reported it. According to a book he wrote, had no regrets about how he handled it then.

MacCALLUM: And now he has changed his story a bit. And Mike Emanuel joins us live at the White House with that. How do we know so much detail about this controversy?

EMANUEL: Well, Martha, Jennings has included this story in two books. He’s also spoken about it at public events at an education summit involving a gay, lesbian education group that he founded. He told the story that a 15-year-old came to him, said that he was meeting older men in a bus station restroom, and getting involved with them. And Jennings’ advice to the young man, the 15-year-old student, was, “Well, I hope you knew to use a condom.” The child said to him, “Well, why should I? My life is not worth living anyway.” And so a lot of people suggesting that should have thrown up all sorts of red flags for this teacher.

MacCALLUM: Yeah, on so many levels. What is he saying now about this matter, Mike?

EMANUEL: Well, Jennings has expressed some regret, issuing a statement saying, quote, “Twenty-one years later, I can see how I should have handled the situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training and guidance about this kind of thing” — Martha.

MacCALLUM: So, what, you know, the White House has had a lot of heat about a number of these people in these positions. What is their response to this controversy about this new czar?

EMANUEL: Well, the Department of Education is pointing out that he was a 24-year-old teacher at the time; that since then he has been highly regarded and awarded for his work as an educator over the years. Education Secretary Arne Duncan putting out a statement saying, quote, “Kevin Jennings has dedicated his professional career to promoting school safety. He is uniquely qualified for his job, and I am honored to have him on our team.”

But some of the critics are saying at this point that it is not the fact that this was a man-on-man situation, a gay situation, it was the fact that any 15-year-old who says that he is or she is sexually active with an older man —

MacCALLUM: Right.

EMANUEL: — should have set off all sorts of warning flares, and he should have contacted parents, or law enforcement, or somebody else about this. And so that’s where a lot of people are faulting Jennings right now.

MacCALLUM: I mean, you try to imagine a 15-year old girl going to their teacher and saying, “Well, I just keep picking people up at a bus station.”

EMANUEL: Right.

MacCALLUM: And that the parents wouldn’t be alerted, and that, you know, something wouldn’t be sort of taken in — and taken to a higher level, and brought in some more experts on it. Thank you very much, Mike. We’ll see where this goes.

EMANUEL: Sure.

MacCALLUM: Mike Emanuel at the White House.


George Will Bamboozling Again On Global Warming

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:48 am by HL

George Will Bamboozling Again On Global Warming
Despite having been roundly denounced earlier this year for misleading Washington Post readers about global warming, George Will has waded back into the subject, calling in a new column for a “national commission to assess the evidence” on the issue.

Lobbyist’s Political Fundraising Paid For Mistress’s Gifts, Kids’ School Fees, Say Feds
Alan Mendelsohn, a Florida lobbyist, ran a scheme in which he raised money through political contributions and lobbyist fees, then diverted that money to personal expenses while avoiding lobbying disclosure rules, says prosecutors. Mendelsohn pleaded not guilty today.



Max Baucus’ New Bio

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Max Baucus’ New Bio


8 Reasons You Should Stop Drinking Milk Now

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:42 am by HL

8 Reasons You Should Stop Drinking Milk Now

Consuming dairy products — milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, etc. — is not green and it's not healthy.

Round 2 of Howard Dean vs. Rahm Emanuel: Dean Wins Again over Health Care Politics

In round 1, Emanuel and Dean boxed over what strategy was best for Dems to regain House seats in 2006. Dean was right there, and in the health care debate, he's right again.

Rick Scott Is Making a Killing off the Uninsured

A leading foe of healthcare reform owns a chain of clinics aimed at people who would benefit from a public option.


The new rapid SEC

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:40 am by HL

The new rapid SEC
Mary Schapiro has not got great press amongst financial bloggers ? however this time she beat me to the punch. Emergent Health Corp was a heavily promoted pink-sheets biotech which (fraudulently) claimed to have a pill (yes a simple oral…


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The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants To Tell You
Unemployment will almost certainly in double-digits next year — and may remain there for some time. And for every person who shows up as unemployed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, you can bet there’s another either too…


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Sen. Graham takes jab at Glenn Beck: ?Only in America can you make that much money crying.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Sen. Graham takes jab at Glenn Beck: ?Only in America can you make that much money crying.?
Today at the Washington Ideas Forum sponsored by the Atlantic, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sharply criticized “talk radio, MoveOn.org, the 24-hour news cycle” for the polarization in politics. He then specifically mentioned Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck: Can you imagine writing the Constitution — you know, O’Reilly says Ben Franklin’s giving in […]

Today at the Washington Ideas Forum sponsored by the Atlantic, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sharply criticized “talk radio, MoveOn.org, the 24-hour news cycle” for the polarization in politics. He then specifically mentioned Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck:

Can you imagine writing the Constitution — you know, O’Reilly says Ben Franklin’s giving in on something. Can you imagine having to do that in this environment? [Graham said]

Without missing a beat, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg next asked for Graham’s thoughts on Glenn Beck.

“Only in America can you make that much money crying,” Graham said.

Graham also claimed that Beck is “not aligned with any party as far as I can tell. He’s aligned with cynicism. And there’s always been a market for cynicism.” Watch it:

In recent weeks, there has been a conservative backlash against Beck. Right-wing radio host Mark Levin has called him “pathetic,” former Bush adviser Peter Wehner has said he’s “harmful to the conservative movement,” Rush Limbaugh characterized his role promoting the 9/12 march as “cheap and disingenuous,” and conservative pundit David Frum has warned conservatives against succumbing to Beck’s “mob rule.”

Rep. Broun says that constituent who has major depression should go to the emergency room.
One of the most radical opponents of health care reform is Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). He has said that a public option would “kill people.” Last Tuesday, Broun was confronted by a constituent at a health care town hall who explained that he has has gone into debt because he can’t afford insurance for his […]

One of the most radical opponents of health care reform is Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). He has said that a public option would “kill people.” Last Tuesday, Broun was confronted by a constituent at a health care town hall who explained that he has has gone into debt because he can’t afford insurance for his major depressive disorder. In response to his constituent’s story, Broun said that “people who have depression, who have chronic diseases in this country…can always get care in this country by going to the emergency room.” That comment prompted boos from the crowd. Towards the end of Broun’s answer, a constituent yelled, “That’s why we need a public option!” which brought cheers from the audience. Watch it:

As Georgia Liberal explains, “Treating major depression is not a one-shot deal. That is like saying cancer patients should get treatment one night in the E.R. and it is all better. You cannot treat chronic conditions in the ER.”


Soldiers’ Data Still Being Downloaded Overseas, Firm Says

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Soldiers’ Data Still Being Downloaded Overseas, Firm Says
The personal data of tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers — including those in the Special Forces — continue to be downloaded by unauthorized computer users in countries such as China and Pakistan, despite Army assurances that it would try to fix the problem, according to a private firm that…


Kerry-DeMint Clash Over Honduras Trip Highlights Policy Feud
A simmering feud over U.S. policy toward Latin America burst into the open Thursday when Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) tried to prevent a fact-finding trip to Honduras by a Republican senator who is blocking two important diplomatic appointments.

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Iran
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Senate Republicans Criticize Taxes in Health-Care Bill
As it drew close Thursday to finishing work on a health-care overhaul, a key Senate panel engaged in a spirited debate about whether the measure is “riddled” with tax increases that would violate President Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans.


Despite Facts, President Claims Stimulus Success

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 2nd, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Despite Facts, President Claims Stimulus Success
John Stossel, RCP

The Public Option Only Looks Dead
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post

President Obama’s Opportunity in Iran
Nicholas Burns, Boston Globe