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Archive for December 25th, 2009

Jane Ciabattari on Kurt Vonnegut

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Jane Ciabattari on Kurt Vonnegut
A wondrous new collection of previously unpublished vintage Vonnegut confirms his enduring and subversive ear for the absurd and the tragicomic.

vonnegut

A wondrous new collection of previously unpublished vintage Vonnegut confirms his enduring and subversive ear for the absurd and the tragicomic.

Related Entries



Obamas Send Christmas Greetings To Troops In Joint Weekly Address (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

Obamas Send Christmas Greetings To Troops In Joint Weekly Address (VIDEO)
Scroll Down For Video WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama offered Christmas wishes to the nation on Thursday, including a special…

David Vines: Upholding the Constitution
There is no “oh, well, except for terrorists” clause to the Sixth Amendment. And that is what makes our country so great.

C-SPAN Caller: I’m So Mad About Health Bill Passing, I Took My Christmas Tree Down! (AUDIO)
On the day before Christmas, one C-SPAN viewer took their unhappiness with the Senate’s newly passed health care legislation to a new, personal, level: taking…

Dodd Chastises Senate’s ‘Newest Members’ For Their Behavior
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Wednesday ripped the Senate’s “newest members” for the lack of comity in the upper chamber. In a floor speech Wednesday…

David Sirota: 60+ House Democrats Say “Any” Health Bill With No Public Option Is “Unacceptable”
The battle over the public option isn’t over. Somehow, everyone’s forgotten that 60+ House Democrats signed a letter demanding it just a few months ago.


GOP State AGs Prepare To Challenge Health Care Provision

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:42 am by HL

GOP State AGs Prepare To Challenge Health Care Provision
South Carolina’s attorney general is leading nine other state AGs — all Republicans — in threatening to sue over the provision of the health care bill that exempts Nebraska from new Medicaid costs, a measure secured by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE).

Media On Palin’s ‘Banned List’ Ejected From Going Rogue Event
The woman who once called on the press to “quit makin’ things up” took it a step further yesterday by allegedly banning four members of the media from a book event in Wasilla, Alaska. TPMmuckraker talked to a blogger and videographer who made the list.


Blackwater, Already On The Ground In Afghanistan, Now Gunning For More Contracts
It looks like the Obama Administration just can’t quit the company formerly known as Blackwater.


Karl the Contortionist Extortionist: A Twisted Christmas Tale

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Karl the Contortionist Extortionist: A Twisted Christmas Tale
Written by Ye Olde Scribe Come gather round kiddies for a quaint little Christmas tale featuring the skeleton of a certain Karl, visitors, an Ant and so much more socked into our stocking that Santa is going to have to be told to “go stuff it” somewhere else. It all happened around Christmas time. Many Christmas times. Once […]


Clayton Swisher Reports From Kandahar

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Clayton Swisher Reports From Kandahar
My friend, Clay Swisher at Al Jazeerah, , reports on choices American military personnel must make in Afghanistan. Check it out. Anyone who think Afpak choices are easy especially need to see this. PS Clayton, be careful. At least, for…


AfghanistanUnited StatesMilitaryAsiaWarfare and Conflict

Moving up the Pace of Reform
When Congress passed Medicare in 1965, it went into effect one year later. In contrast, the major provisions of the health-care reforms now before Congress would not go into effect for three years (January 1, 2013, under the House…



MedicareHealth careUnited States CongressSenateHealth

Defend and Demand: The Progressive Way Forward
The 2009 health reform end game — yes, the end of the beginning is in sight — has been excruciating for progressives. Reforming health care in the real world in which we live means paying to include millions more…


United StatesHealth careSenateHealthHealth Policy


Ugandan official on gays: ?Killing them might not be helpful?; life imprisonment would be better.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Ugandan official on gays: ?Killing them might not be helpful?; life imprisonment would be better.
Reuters reports that Uganda may “soften” its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a draconian attempt to severely punish gay men and women by making some homosexual acts punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty. However, Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo is now saying that officials may drop the death penalty in order to impose a […]

Reuters reports that Uganda may “soften” its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a draconian attempt to severely punish gay men and women by making some homosexual acts punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty. However, Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo is now saying that officials may drop the death penalty in order to impose a “life sentence” on gay men and women, during which time they could work to cure them of their sexual preferences:

Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo told Reuters that the revised law would now probably limit the maximum penalty for offenders to life in prison rather than execution.

“There have been a lot of discussions in government…regarding the proposed law, but we now think a life sentence could be better because it gives room for offenders to be rehabilitated,” he said in an interview.

“Killing them might not be helpful.”

In recent weeks, Uganda has been facing intense criticism from Western government officials and religious leaders. Most recently, five GOP lawmakers wrote a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Musaveni urging him to block the legislation, although they added that they still believe “marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.”

GOP Lawmaker Behind The Anti-‘Happy Holidays? Resolution Sent A ?Happy Holidays? Greeting Last Year
Leading the fight to defend Christianity in the so-called “War on Christmas,” Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) introduced congressional resolution 951, which “urges protection of the symbols and traditions of Christmas.” Despite criticism from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) against frivolous legislation, Brown has pressed forward and collected 74 GOP cosponsors. The religious meaning of […]

Leading the fight to defend Christianity in the so-called “War on Christmas,” Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC) introduced congressional resolution 951, which “urges protection of the symbols and traditions of Christmas.” Despite criticism from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) against frivolous legislation, Brown has pressed forward and collected 74 GOP cosponsors. The religious meaning of Christmas is serious to Brown. In an explanation of his resolution to the Christian Broadcast Network, Brown noted that, “we’re in a troubled world,” so “we can’t lose sight of our deep faith by some how or another diminishing the value of Christmas.”

The main threat to Christmas, Brown contents, is the use of the term “happy holidays” rather than an emphasis on “Christ and Christmas.” In an interview with Fox Business last week, Brown lashed out at the use of “happy holidays”:

BROWN: We forget the real meaning of Christmas by using “happy holidays” or “joy to the seasons” or some other word rather than “Merry Christmas.” […]

Every year, more and more people are shying away from “Merry Christmas” and using “happy holidays” or some other means of expressing this special time for us.

Watch it:

Indeed, Brown has even attempted to use his resolution as a jab against President Obama. Declaring that the Obamas’ holiday card doesn’t mention Christmas, Brown said, “I believe that sending a Christmas card without referencing a holiday and its purpose limits the Christmas celebration in favor of a more ‘politically correct’ holiday.” Brown’s fight to preserve Christmas and shun “happy holidays” has earned him the title of “patriot” from noted culture warrior Bill O’Reilly.

However, Brown’s 2008 December newsletter wished a “happy holiday” to his constituents for the “holiday season.” Although the newsletter had a link to the White House Christmas tree website, it made no other mention of Christ or Christmas. (Click here for a screenshot) And as Slate’s Chris Beam has observed, Brown didn’t introduce his resolution last year, even though President Bush’s 2008 holiday card didn’t mention Christmas either.


Senate confirms USTR, USAID and NHTSA officials

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Senate confirms USTR, USAID and NHTSA officials
The U.S. Senate confirmed Miriam Sapiro as deputy trade representative Thursday in one of its final acts before adjourning for the year. Senators also approved administrators for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Gates proposes $2 billion in funds to aid unstable countries
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has proposed a major overhaul of the way the Pentagon and State Department do nation-building, seeking to end friction between the bureaucracies by putting them jointly in charge of three huge new funds aimed at stabilizing strife-ridden countries.

During health-care vote, Ted Kennedy is gone — but not forgotten
The president pro tempore of the Senate, 92-year-old Robert Byrd, shot his finger into the air to signal his “aye” vote.

U.S. promises unlimited financial assistance to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
The Obama administration pledged Thursday to provide unlimited financial assistance to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an eleventh-hour move that allows the government to exceed the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid without seeking permission from a bailout-weary Congress.

Senate votes to raise federal debt limit by $290 billion
The Senate voted primarily along party lines Thursday to increase how much the government can be in debt.



Health Bill Represents Giant Step Forward

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 25th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Health Bill Represents Giant Step Forward

A Toast to Our Heroes
David Ignatius, Washington Post

31 Million Reasons to Support This Bill
Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio
American families know first-hand that health insurance premiums have been skyrocketing,” Brown said. “This bill will lower costs for middle class families with insurance, while providing help to 31 million Americans who lack it. And insurers will have to play by a new set of rules, including an immediate ban on pre-existing condition exclusions for children.The bill also invests in small businesses – providing an immediate tax credit to help employers cover their workers. If we're going to rebuild our economy, we need to ensure that small businesses – which create more than 64…

What Would Real Health Care Reform Look Like?
Ronald Bailey, Reason
While congressional reform efforts screech and shudder along, let's take a moment to dream about real health care reform. Imagine a system that is genuinely transparent, competitive, and driven by consumers.Right now, thanks to incentives built into the tax code,patients are locked into the health plans their employers choose.Consequently, most of us don't have a clue what our healthinsurance and health care cost. We have no way to reduce thosecosts and no incentive to do so even if we could. Worse yet, it'sprecisely when you need the system the most that it fails you. Inthe…

Man-Made Global Warming is a Farce
Alexander Cockburn, The Nation