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Archive for November 17th, 2011

Manson Follower Up for Parole

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Manson Follower Up for Parole
Charles “Tex” Watson, a 65-year-old member of Charles Manson’s cult “family,” has his latest parole hearing scheduled Wednesday. Four relatives of Watson’s victims will ask that his parole be denied for killing actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant, and four others at her Beverly Hills home on Aug. 9, 1969. The next night, he helped kill grocery owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Watson married and divorced in prison and has four children from conjugal visits.



Late Late Night FDL: La Donna È Mobile Redux

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: La Donna È Mobile Redux
East Village Opera CompanyLa Donna È Mobile Redux.

East Village Opera CompanyLa Donna È Mobile Redux.

What’s on your mind?

So, the usual schtick
Right-wing conservatives can be hypocritics, idiots, torturers and perpetual war-mongers running for higher office just to set themselves up on life’s grand buffet tour. But for the Left it always comes down to being dirty fucking hippies, the media — even those mocking the media — can portray them no other way. As Digby noted […]

Right-wing conservatives can be hypocritics, idiots, torturers and perpetual war-mongers running for higher office just to set themselves up on life’s grand buffet tour.

But for the Left it always comes down to being dirty fucking hippies, the media — even those mocking the media — can portray them no other way.

As Digby noted it has usually been that way, May 1970:

“Who do you think was primarily responsible for the deaths of four students at Kent State University?”

Eleven per cent placed responsibility on the National Guard, 31 per cent expressed no opinion, and 58 per cent put the blame on demonstrating students.

If another Kent State happened now FoxNews would make it into the greatest patriotic moment in history then they would move on to decrying whoever in the Islamic world is the protest crushing Monster of the Day.



The Easiest Way to Cut the Deficit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

The Easiest Way to Cut the Deficit
Here is a surefire way to cut $7.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Do nothing.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Here is a surefire way to cut $7.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Do nothing.


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Rick Perry Knocks President Obama’s Upbringing, Attitude

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Rick Perry Knocks President Obama’s Upbringing, Attitude
President Barack Obama’s “privileged” upbringing and inability to accept responsibility makes him out of touch with struggling Americans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday. “This…

Yusef Bunchy Shakur: Dear Occupy Detroit
We recognize that Occupy Detroit has attracted the participation of people from across Michigan. This is a good thing, if people take the time to understand the current work of Detroit’s social movements.

Ned Ryun: OWS and Tea Party Agree: Big Banks Are a Big Problem
Yes, big banks are a big part of capitalism. But OWS and the Tea Party both see that what the big banks are doing on the backs of the taxpayer is not capitalism. It’s a Frankenstein’s monster-version of capitalism masquerading as free enterprise.


Washington Post’s Gerson Ignores Catholics’ Opinions To Accuse The Obama Administration Of “Anti-Catholic Bias”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Washington Post’s Gerson Ignores Catholics’ Opinions To Accuse The Obama Administration Of “Anti-Catholic Bias”

In a Washington Post column, Michael Gerson accused the Obama administration of “systematic anti-Catholic bias,” pointing to its decision to end funding for anti-sex trafficking programs run by Catholic bishops that do not refer women who have been raped for abortions. In fact, large majorities of Catholics support allowing women who have been raped to have access to abortion.

Gerson Attacked The Obama Administration For Decision Not To Fund Bishops’ Anti-Sex Trafficking Programs

Gerson: Will Catholics In The Obama Administration “Betray Their Co-Religionists?” From Gerson’s November 14 column, headlined “Obama turns his back on Catholics”: 

[T]he conscience protections of Catholics are under assault, particularly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). And Obama’s Catholic strategy is in shambles.

Shortly before Obama spoke at Notre Dame, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts brought suit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), seeking to eliminate a grant to programs that aid victims of human trafficking. Because Catholic programs don’t refer for abortions, the ACLU alleged that public support amounts to the establishment of religion.

The Obama Justice Department defended the grant in court. But last month, HHS abruptly ended the funding. It did not matter that an independent review board had rated the bishops’ program more effective than those of its competitors — or that career HHS employees objected to the politicized handling of the grant. HHS announced it was giving preference to grantees that offer “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.” This was described by one official as “standard procedure.” So it is now standard procedure in the Obama administration to deny funding to some Catholic programs based solely on their pro-life beliefs.

[…]

Broadly applied, the HHS policy would amount to systemic anti-Catholic bias in government programs.

[…]

How will the White House respond? More specifically, how will the Catholic chief of staff and America’s first Catholic vice president respond? They gave up their own adherence to Catholic teaching on abortion long ago. But are they really prepared to betray their co-religionists who still hold these beliefs? [The Washington Post, 11/14/11]

The Bishops’ Anti-Sex Trafficking Programs Do Not Refer Trafficking Victims For Abortion …

The Bishops’ Organization “Would Not Refer Women Directly” For Reproductive Services, And “Refused To Reimburse The Subcontractors With Federal Dollars.” From an October 31 Washington Post article:

The ACLU, in the lawsuit it filed in U.S. District Court in Boston in 2009, argued that many women are raped by their traffickers and don’t speak English, making it hard for them to find reproductive services without help.

While the bishops’ organization would not refer women directly, it allowed subcontractors to arrange for the services, but it refused to reimburse the subcontractors with federal dollars. [The Washington Post, 10/31/11]

… But A Study Found That Trafficking Victims Are Often Sexually Assaulted …

Nine Out Of Ten Women Have Been “Physically Forced Or Intimidated Into Sex Or Doing Something Sexual.” From a 2006 study conducted by The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, titled “Stolen smiles: a summary report on the physical and psychological health consequences of women and adolescents trafficked in Europe”:

Nearly all women (95%) reported physical or sexual violence, with three-quarters of respondents having been physically hurt, and 90% reporting having been sexually assaulted.

[…]

Women were asked if they were physically forced or coerced by fear or threats to have sex or do something sexual. Nine out of ten women in this study (90%) reported having been physically forced or intimidated into sex or doing something sexual. The majority of women who reported being coerced into sex (83%) were also physically forced (92%). [The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2006]

 The study included the following chart:

[The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2006]

Recommendations Of The Study: “Respect Women’s Reproductive Rights By Offering Access To Safe Abortion Services.” Recommendations for health service providers and organizations providing services to trafficked women from the 2006 study by The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine:

3. Provide physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health support adapted from models of good practice used for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and torture, also relying on good practice guidelines for minority communities and refugees.

4. Respect women’s sexual and reproductive health rights by offering access to safe abortion services, counselling (sic) for voluntary HIV testing, anti-retroviral drugs, and post-prophylaxis, as required. [The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2006]

… And American Catholics Think Rape Victims Should Have Access To Abortions

Poll: 78 Percent Of Catholics Think Women Should Be Able To Obtain An Abortion When A Pregnancy Is The Result Of Rape. From A Catholics for Choice pamphlet, titled “The Facts Tell the Story”:

86% of Catholics approve of abortion when a woman’s health is seriously endangered, and 78% think it should be possible for a woman to obtain an abortion when a pregnancy is the result of rape. (GSS 2008) [Catholics for Choice, 2011]

Gerson Also Attacked The Obama Administration For Potentially Requiring Catholic Employers To Provide Birth Control Coverage ….

Gerson: Proposal To Require Employers To Cover Contraception Is A “Provocation” Against Catholics. From Gerson’s November 14 column:

Broadly applied, the HHS policy would amount to systemic anti-Catholic bias in government programs. And the provocation is one in a series. HHS has drawn conscience protections so narrowly that Catholic colleges, universities and hospitals — any Catholic institution that employs and serves non-Catholics — will be required to offer health coverage that includes contraception and drugs that cause abortion. [The Washington Post, 11/14/11]

… But Catholics Also Support Health Insurance Coverage For Contraception

Survey: 63 Percent Of Catholic Voters Support Health Insurance Coverage For Contraception And The Use Of Condoms To Prevent HIV/AIDS. A September 2009 national opinion survey of Catholic voters found that when asked, “Do you think health insurance policies — whether they are private or government — should cover … [c]ontraception, such as birth control pills,” 63 percent said yes. [Belden Russonello & Stewart, September 2009]


Giffords Shooting Survivors Slam Grassley’s ‘Disregard’ For Gun Violence Victims

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Giffords Shooting Survivors Slam Grassley’s ‘Disregard’ For Gun Violence Victims
Eleven survivors and family members of victims of the January 2011 shooting in Arizona that nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) are criticizing Sen. Chuck Grassley for what they say was a “dismissive and political response” to Tucson shooting survivor Patricia Maisch’s testimony in support of legislation which would close holes in the background check system.


John Liu Bundler Arrested On Fraud Charges
The investigation into the prodigious fundraising of NYC comptroller John C. Liu doesn’t look like it will be going away anytime soon. Xing Wu Pan was arrested this morning on charges of attempted wire fraud and conspiracy, The New York…


Americans Less Optimistic About Future

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Americans Less Optimistic About Future
A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll indicates that only 44% of Americans believe that things will be going well in the country a year from now. That’s down from last fall, when 55% were optimistic about the coming year, and from November, 2009, when 63% felt that way.

Romney Leads Republicans in California
A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds Mitt Romney is the clear front-runner in California’s Republican presidential primary.

Romney leads the GOP field with 27%, followed by Herman Cain at 20%, Newt Gingrich at 14% and Ron Paul at 6%. All others are below 5% in support.

The California Republican primary will not be held until June 2012.

Republicans Can’t Reconcile Romney
New Bloomberg polls in New Hampshire and Iowa find wide majorities of likely Republican voters view Mitt Romney as “smart, business-savvy and fit to be president” however “substantial numbers, almost half in Iowa and two out of five in New Hampshire, also view him as someone who will do or say anything to get elected, ‘a flip-flopper,’ or not a true social conservative.”

“Those warring impressions help explain how Romney has attained front-runner status in national polls while remaining unable to secure enough backing to break away from his rivals.”

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “They see the competence, and they see that the problems that are immediately to be solved are in his wheelhouse, but there’s sort of this lurking suspicion about whether they can trust him or that he is going to be their guy on social, moral issues.”


As Obama Mishandled the Economy, His Chroniclers Misread the Politics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

As Obama Mishandled the Economy, His Chroniclers Misread the Politics
The least bad assessment of Obama’s failure to reform our political economy that has come thus far from the Washington Beltway worldview (or Beltanschauung, as I immortalized it here in an essay that launched a thousand links) comes from Washington…

Arms Industry Job Claims: Don’t Be Scared, Be Skeptical
Military spending should not be seen as a jobs program. To paraphrase President Dwight D. Eisenhower, we should spend everything we need to defend the country, and not one penny more. But that hasn’t stopped the arms lobby from attempting…


Big Oil Doesn’t Need Handouts
Here’s a scary fact: Last year, the biggest five oil companies alone scored $76 billion in profits. And here’s an even scarier fact: Last year, the oil industry received more than $4 billion in tax breaks. These numbers don’t lie…


Berlin Forming Grand Coalition To Build Misguided Urban Freeway

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Berlin Forming Grand Coalition To Build Misguided Urban Freeway
A “grand coalition” featuring both the center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats would probably be the best possible German government for the world right now. Currently, the Christian Democrats’ coalition with the liberal-but-nationalistic Free Democrats is to an extent holding Chancellor Angela Merkel back from taking the steps that need to be taken […]

A “grand coalition” featuring both the center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats would probably be the best possible German government for the world right now. Currently, the Christian Democrats’ coalition with the liberal-but-nationalistic Free Democrats is to an extent holding Chancellor Angela Merkel back from taking the steps that need to be taken to resolve the European economic situation. So in that sense, it probably augurs well for the world that the Berlin branch of the SPD just formed a collation with the CDU rather than with the Green Party. But my heart sank when I read that Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowerweit “ditched talks with the Greens, fearing they would hamper infrastructure projects such as a city-motorway extension and the opening of a new airport.”

City-motorway extension? Yes sir. As you can see at the right, Berlin was — like many other cities around the world — afflicted with an intra-urban freeway, Autobahn 100, during the 1950s. But Berlin was partially rescued by the Cold War, which prevented the East Berlin half proposed ring road from actually being built. Now the plan is to finally finish the thing which will damage the neighborhoods directly afflicted by construction and, by speeding automobile commutes, encourage commuters to sprawl out into the surrounding suburbs.

Why is Discovery Channel Cutting Climate Change Episode From Popular, Groundbreaking Series?
by Jocelyn Fong, in a Media Matters repost For the past few weeks, we’ve had to wait patiently while our friends across the Atlantic enjoy the BBC’s seven-part Frozen Planet series on life at the poles, which won’t air in the U.S. until the new year. This sequel to Blue Planet and Planet Earth – […]

Discoveryby Jocelyn Fong, in a Media Matters repost

For the past few weeks, we’ve had to wait patiently while our friends across the Atlantic enjoy the BBC’s seven-part Frozen Planet series on life at the poles, which won’t air in the U.S. until the new year.

This sequel to Blue Planet and Planet Earth – two of the greatest programs to have ever come through my television — took four years, dozens of cameramen, 28 helicopters and 2 ice-breaking ships to make. The effort has been described by producer Vanessa Berlowitz as perhaps “our last chance to record these astonishing wildernesses that have existed untouched by humans for millennia and that, within a century, may change beyond recognition.”

Series narrator Sir David Attenborough, who has previously been reluctant to discuss the human environmental footprint in his films, spends the final episode “on location, talking to the camera in his own measured words about shrinking glaciers, warming oceans and the threat posed by man-made global warming,” according to The Guardian.

But now we learn that after earning “massive ratings” from Planet Earth and collaborating with BBC to produce the sequel, the Discovery Channel will not air the climate change episode of Frozen Planet in the U.S. due to a “scheduling issue.”

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The Arctic is called ground zero for global warming because it’s heating up faster than anywhere else on the planet, and changes there can further amplify warming and push up sea level against the world’s coasts. U.S. Geological Survey scientist Steven Amstrup says “the Arctic is a different world than it was in 1980 when I first started going up there.” While we’ve read reports and seen data about the changes, it’s been difficult to really grasp since the region is so unfamiliar and so rarely depicted in the media.

Which is why Frozen Planet would seem like an ideal opportunity for us to learn what is going on up there — an indispensable opportunity, really, given the scale and distinction of this project. The decision to nix the final episode feels very “heads in the sand,” even if Discovery incorporates some “elements” of the climate change discussion into the other episodes, as it reportedly plans to do.

Not to mention that there is precious little science on the Discovery Channel these days. Yesterday Discovery aired four hours of “American Chopper,” a reality show about guys who build motorcycles; seven hours of “Auction Kings,” a reality show about people selling old stuff; and two hours of “Cash Cab,” which, OK, I don’t really have a problem with. But what exactly is the “scheduling issue?” To cut 15 percent of a one-time production of the highest quality for one of those shows is simply incomprehensible.

Give us the science, Discovery, we can handle it.

– Jocelyn Fong, Media Matters

Related Post:


GOP report: TSA hasn’t improved aviation security

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 17th, 2011 5:34 am by HL

GOP report: TSA hasn’t improved aviation security

After a $56 billion federal investment in airline security, flying is no safer than it was before the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks and the bare hands of passengers might be the best defense once a terrorist gets on board, two members of Congress said Wednesday.

Deriding the Transportation Security Administration as a bloated bureaucracy that recruits security personnel with ads on gas pumps and pizza boxes, the two House Republicans said it needed to undergo almost a dozen reforms.

Read full article >>

Report shows federal workers are increasingly dreary about their jobs

The damp and dreary day on Wednesday was a good setting for the public release of a report that shows federal workers are increasingly dreary about their jobs.

Best Places to Work in the Federal Government,” produced by the Partnership for Public Service, shows declining job satisfaction, and that includes the pay blues. That’s not good news for Uncle Sam’s efforts to recruit and retain talent.

Read full article >>

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