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Archive for January 6th, 2012

French Implant Firm Made Testicles Too

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:48 am by HL

French Implant Firm Made Testicles Too
The French breast implant manufacturer whose products are being recalled over safety concerns also made testicle implants for male patients. Two former employees of Poly Implant Prothese said the firm made testicle, buttock and chest implants, mainly destined for export, Le Parisien reports. One former employee said the gel used in buttock and chest implants for men was the same as the industrial material used in breast implants.



Lakeside Diner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:47 am by HL

Lakeside Diner
A variety of links to articles/interviews on current topics that may, or may not, be of interest.

Mmm…boudin and eggs with hash browns (photo: jeffreyww/flickr)

The coffee’s freshly ground, there’s a wide variety of teas and the sticky buns are homemade.

  • “The euro has dropped to its lowest rate against the dollar and pound in 16 months, as concerns continue over the health of Europe’s banks. The euro fell as low as $1.2780 against the dollar and was at an 11-year low versus the yen. Against the pound, it fell to 82.52p, the lowest since September 2010.”
  • Ray McGovern: “President Barack Obama desecrated the Constitution that he and I swore to defend when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which includes language violating the Bill of Rights and other constitutionally protected liberties. The NDAA affirms that the president has the authority to use the Armed Forces to detain any person ‘who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners’.”
  • “Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, has demanded that the United States detention center at Bagram Air Base be handed over to Afghan control within a month, along with all Afghan citizens held by the coalition troops across the nation.”
  • “China’s increasing engagement with Africa has become a subject of great controversy. The country’s commercial interests in Africa have been called a new form of colonialism by some in the West, but many Africans say that China is a better partner than Europe or the US. But what is the reality in the African nations with the longest standing links to China?”
  • “Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced Thursday that stricter rules would be put in place regarding uneven prisoner exchanges, such as the one that freed Sargent Gilad Shalit. Shalit, who was held by Hamas for five years after being captured in a cross-border raid, was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in October 2011. Over 400 of those prisoners were high-profile criminals convicted of manslaughter, attempted murder or intentionally causing death.”
  • “Israel barred 12 Jewish extremists suspected of violence against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, from entering the West Bank for three to nine months, the Associated Press reported. The military made the announcement, saying it was acting preemptively, but wasn’t able to launch criminal proceedings against the extremists due to lack of information. The extremists were not identified.”
  • “The highest ranking woman in Kuk Sool Won worldwide, she wrote her memoir, Iron Butterfly, with the help of one of her students to try to help people understand how difficult life can be and the value of appreciating what you have.”

From Real News:

Editorial cartoon

Marx in the Morning

Richard Wolff: The Call for a New Capitalism

The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.


Obama Avoids Alignment With Israel Against Iran

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:46 am by HL

Obama Avoids Alignment With Israel Against Iran
Obama dodges Netanyahu’s attempts to suck the U.S. into a war against Iran; Stephen Colbert’s many fictional faces are interfering with real world politics; meanwhile, the Argentine LGBT community is combatting the country’s deep-rooted stereotypes. These discoveries and more below. On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies. The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top. Obama Seeks to Distance U.S. from Israeli Attack President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are engaged in intense maneuvering over Netanyahu’s aim of entangling the United States in an Israeli war against Iran. Banksy inspires Polish art student’s gallery stunt An unknown art student has boosted his profile after hanging one of his own works at the National Museum in Poland. Porn yesterday: Roman brothel tokens and the rise of erotic art Bronze discs depicting sex acts, like the one discovered in London, were used to hire prostitutes—and directly led to the birth of pornography during the Renaissance. How Many Stephen Colberts Are There? There used to be just two Stephen Colberts, and they were hard enough to distinguish. Muslims revere the Koran. But its study is not taboo Religions invite stereotypes, holy texts even more so. Should we erase painful memories? “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” could soon become a reality—but the concept raises some thorny questions. How Gay Populations Influence Housing Prices Exactly how gay populations affect the urban housing market is something of an open question. Newt has super PAC buyer’s remorse Not long ago Newt Gingrich seemed to be a big fan of super PACs. The illusion of Internet freedom How many people made New Year’s resolutions to spend less time on the Internet? Same-sex marriage legal, Argentinians ready to fight for full equality LGBT rights advocates secured a major legal victory last year in Argentina, but culture change will be a much slower process. Mountain Dew Will Dissolve Rats On Contact Defending itself from a lawsuit claiming that an Illinois man found a dead mouse inside a can of Mountain Dew, PepsiCo contends that a rodent would have disintegrated and been transformed into a “jelly-like” substance between the time of the soft drink’s bottling and the day the plaintiff reportedly purchased the soda from a vending machine at his office.

Obama dodges Netanyahu’s attempts to suck the U.S. into a war against Iran; Stephen Colbert’s many fictional faces are interfering with real world politics; meanwhile, the Argentine LGBT community is combatting the country’s deep-rooted stereotypes. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Obama Seeks to Distance U.S. from Israeli Attack
President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are engaged in intense maneuvering over Netanyahu’s aim of entangling the United States in an Israeli war against Iran.

Banksy inspires Polish art student’s gallery stunt
An unknown art student has boosted his profile after hanging one of his own works at the National Museum in Poland.

Porn yesterday: Roman brothel tokens and the rise of erotic art
Bronze discs depicting sex acts, like the one discovered in London, were used to hire prostitutes—and directly led to the birth of pornography during the Renaissance.

How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?
There used to be just two Stephen Colberts, and they were hard enough to distinguish.

Muslims revere the Koran. But its study is not taboo
Religions invite stereotypes, holy texts even more so.

Should we erase painful memories?
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” could soon become a reality—but the concept raises some thorny questions.

How Gay Populations Influence Housing Prices
Exactly how gay populations affect the urban housing market is something of an open question.

Newt has super PAC buyer’s remorse
Not long ago Newt Gingrich seemed to be a big fan of super PACs.

The illusion of Internet freedom
How many people made New Year’s resolutions to spend less time on the Internet?

Same-sex marriage legal, Argentinians ready to fight for full equality
LGBT rights advocates secured a major legal victory last year in Argentina, but culture change will be a much slower process.

Mountain Dew Will Dissolve Rats On Contact
Defending itself from a lawsuit claiming that an Illinois man found a dead mouse inside a can of Mountain Dew, PepsiCo contends that a rodent would have disintegrated and been transformed into a “jelly-like” substance between the time of the soft drink’s bottling and the day the plaintiff reportedly purchased the soda from a vending machine at his office.

Related Entries


Not So Fast, Mitt
This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: Bill Boyarsky complicates the conventional wisdom on Mitt Romney, The Rev. Madison Shockley has a beef with the Catholic Church, a judge wants to ban Mexican American education in Arizona, Mr. Fish applies his skeptical wit to the political process and Robert Scheer on Iowa.

This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: Bill Boyarsky complicates the conventional wisdom on Mitt Romney, The Rev. Madison Shockley has a beef with the Catholic Church, a judge wants to ban Mexican American education in Arizona, Mr. Fish applies his skeptical wit to the political process and Robert Scheer on Iowa.

Related Entries



Newly Disclosed Documents Reveal Details Of Gun Probe Operation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:45 am by HL

Newly Disclosed Documents Reveal Details Of Gun Probe Operation
WASHINGTON — In a probe of arms trafficking during the George W. Bush administration, a federal prosecutor said it was wrong that law enforcement agents…

Newt Gingrich To African-Americans: Demand Paychecks, Not Food Stamps
WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday he is willing to go before the NAACP and urge blacks to demand paychecks, not food…

Craig Crawford: Dog Whistle Politics
Rick Santorum gripes about “blacks” getting welfare, Newt Gingrich calls Obama a “food stamp president,” Mitt Romney parrots the KKK line, “America for Americans” and…

Amtrak Bridge’s Jam Delays Northeast Riders, Highlights Rail Troubles
NEW YORK — A critical bridge between Newark and New York could not be swiveled into place for more than two hours late Wednesday night,…

Jon Huntsman Wins Major Newspaper Endorsement
Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign received a major boost on Thursday evening when the former Utah governor received the endorsement of the Boston Globe, the most…


Fox & Friends ?Ignores Historic GOP Obstructionism In Attacking Obama Over Cordray Appointment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:44 am by HL

Fox & Friends ?Ignores Historic GOP Obstructionism In Attacking Obama Over Cordray Appointment

Fox & Friends attacked President Obama over his recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), calling it “scary” and a “vigilante act of an imperial presidency.” But Fox & Friends ignored that congressional Republicans have engaged in unprecedented obstructionism that is preventing hundreds of Obama nominees from being confirmed; moreover, former Bush administration legal experts have said that Obama should exercise his recess appointment power.

“Scary” Act Of “Imperial Presidency”: Fox & Friends Attacks Cordray Appointment

Kilmeade: Obama Has “Essentially Declare[d] Congress Null And Void.” On the January 5 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade reacted to Cordray’s appointment by claiming that “[i]t’s kind of scary” and that President Obama “essentially declare[d] Congress null and void.” From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: It’s kind of scary in that he’s pressing the edges of the Constitution by doing so and he’s also making — no doubt about it — fraying the relationship between Republicans in Congress and the presidency. Just what kind of year is this going to be? A day after getting back from Hawaii, he essentially declares Congress null and void. I’m going to do what I want. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/5/12]

Doocy Claims Recess Appointments Are “All Part Of [Obama’s] Plan To Go Around Congress.” Later during the broadcast, co-host Steve Doocy claimed that the recess appointments were “all part of [Obama’s] plan to go around Congress.” Doocy then said that “it will probably all be part of his re-election strategy.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/5/12]

Fox’s Johnson: Obama’s Recess Appointments Are A “Vigilante Act Of An Imperial Presidency.” Later on the broadcast, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. called the recess appointments a “vigilante act of an imperial presidency.” From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: Peter is this — is this allowed? 

JOHNSON: This is for an imperial presidency. In my view, this is not a recess appointment. A recess appointment means that the president is not complying with Article 2, Section 2, of the Constitution that gives the Senate the opportunity to confirm people. 

KILMEADE: Right.

JOHNSON: And that can be done when the Senate is not in session. The Senate was in session, but the president said, “Well, no, that’s a gimmick. I don’t believe that you’re really in session. So I’m going to do what I want because this needs to be done in terms of my people in the labor community and in terms of stopping predator lending and like that. So I’m going to do it.” So, in my view, this is a vigilante act of an imperial presidency.

Johnson later asked, “If our chief executive doesn’t have respect for the law, then what does that say about the respect for other executives, other branches of government in terms of abiding by the Constitution?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends,

[Constitutional Accountability Center, 8/4/11, emphasis original]

The House Is Preventing The Senate From Recessing For Longer Than Three Days. From a December 2011 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report:

During the first few months of the 112th Congress, the House and Senate passed concurrent resolutions of adjournment prior to periods of absence of more than three days. Throughout this period, the Senate did not use the pro forma session practice during the resulting recesses.

During the middle of the first session of the 112th Congress, a new related practice appeared to emerge. On May 25, 2011, in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, 20 Senators urged him “to refuse to pass any resolution to allow the Senate to recess or adjourn for more than three days for the remainder of the president’s term.” The letter stated that “President Obama has used recess appointments to fill powerful positions with individuals whose views are so outside the mainstream that they cannot be confirmed by the Senate of the United States,” and it referred to the Senate practices of 2007 as “a successful attempt to thwart President Bush’s recess appointment powers.” The request of the Senators appeared intended to similarly block President Obama from using the recess appointment power. 

In a June 15, 2011 letter to the Speaker of the House, the House majority leader, and the House majority whip, 78 Representatives requested that “all appropriate measures be taken to prevent any and all recess appointments by preventing the Senate from officially recessing for the remainder of the 112th Congress.”

As of December 8, 2011, no concurrent resolution of adjournment had been introduced in either chamber since May 12, 2011. During periods of extended absence, the Senate has used pro forma sessions to avoid recesses of more than three days. [Congressional Research Service, “Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions,” 12/12/11]

Obama Has Made Fewer Recess Appointments Than Previous Presidents. From the December 2011 CRS report:

President William J. Clinton made 139 recess appointments, 95 to full-time positions. President George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments, of which 99 were to full-time positions. As of December 8, 2011, President Barack Obama had made 28 recess appointments, all to full-time positions. [Congressional Research Service, “Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions,” 12/12/11]

… And Bush Legal Officials Have Suggested Obama Exercise His Recess Appointment Power

In 2010, Former Bush OLC Head And Deputy Assistant AG Urged Obama To Consider “Exercising His Recess Appointment Power To Challenge The Use Of Pro Forma Sessions.” From an October 2010 op-ed in The Washington Post by Steven G. Bradbury and John P. Elwood, who, from 2005 to 2009, served as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Justice Department and deputy assistant attorney general, respectively:

The Senate, of course, does not meet as a body during a pro forma session. By the terms of the recess order, no business can be conducted, and the Senate is not capable of acting on the president’s nominations. That means the Senate remains in “recess” for purposes of the recess appointment power, despite the empty formalities of the individual senators who wield the gavel in pro forma sessions.

The president should consider calling the Senate’s bluff by exercising his recess appointment power to challenge the use of pro forma sessions. If the Senate persists, then the federal courts may need to resolve the validity of the Senate’s gambit.

The alternative will likely be greater gridlock in Washington. This practice will inevitably become the standard operating procedure, and the recess appointment power could become a virtual dead letter — undermining what the Founders viewed as an essential tool for the effective functioning of our government. [The Washington Post, 10/15/10]

  • In A Follow-Up, Elwood Outlined Argument Why Pro Forma Sessions At Which No Business Is Conducted Do Not Interrupt A Recess Of The Senate. From a blog post by Elwood on the libertarian blog Volokh Conspiracy:

In addition to the power to make appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate, the President has an auxiliary power under the Recess Appointments Clause “to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” The few discussions during the ratification debates to broach the subject (during which people argued both for and against such a power) tended to focus on how, absent such a power, the Senate would have to be continually in session to advise the President on the appointment of officers. That was also how Joseph Story framed the issue in his Commentaries on the Constitution: either “the senate should be perpetually in session, in order to provide for the appointment of officers; or, that the president should be authorized to make temporary appointments during the recess, which should expire, when the senate should have the opportunity to act on the subject.”

Both the Senate and the Executive Branch traditionally have given the Recess Appointments Clause a practical construction that focuses on the Senate’s ability to provide advice and consent. The earliest opinion of the Attorney General on the issue (which first took the position, which also has been controversial, that the President can make appointments not only to fill vacancies that arise during the recess, but also which happen to continue to exist during such a recess) focused on the Senate’s ability to provide advice and consent. Executive Authority to Fill Vacancies, 1 Op. Att’y Gen. 631, 633 (1823) (“all vacancies which . . . happen to exist at a time when the Senate cannot be consulted as to filling them, may be temporarily filled by the President”).

One of the most important documents on the scope of the Recess Appointments Clause is the report the Senate Judiciary Committee issued on the question in the wake of President Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to make recess appointments during a truly brief gap between two sessions of Congress. That report likewise advocated a practical interpretation that focused on the ability of the Senate to perform the advise and consent function.

It was evidently intended by the framers of the Constitution that [“recess”] should mean something real, not something imaginary; something actual, not something fictitious. They used the word as the mass of mankind then understood it and now understand it. It means, in our judgment, . . . the period of time when the Senate is not sitting in regular or extraordinary session as a branch of Congress, or in extraordinary session for the discharge of executive functions; when its members owe no duty of attendance; when its Chamber is empty; when, because of its absence, it cannot receive communications from the President or participate as a body in making appointments.

S. Rep. No. 58-4389, at 2 (1905).

The argument is that the sort of pro forma sessions that are now going on don’t give the Senate the opportunity to conduct any business. Indeed, the resolution that preceded this recess specifies that no business will be conducted at these sessions.

Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate completes its business today, it adjourn and convene for pro forma sessions only, with no business conducted on the following dates and times, and that following each pro forma session the Senate adjourn until the following pro forma session: Tuesday, December 20, at 11 a.m.; Friday, December 23, at 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday, December 27, at 12 p.m.; Friday, December 30, at 11 a.m.; and that the second session of the 112th Congress convene on Tuesday, January 3, at 12 p.m. for a pro forma session only, with no business conducted, and that following the pro forma session the Senate adjourn and convene for pro forma sessions only, with no business conducted on the following dates and times, and that following each pro forma session the Senate adjourn until the following pro forma session: Friday, January 6, at 11 a.m.; Tuesday, January 10, at 11 a.m.; Friday, January 13, at 12 p.m.; Tuesday, January 17, at 10:15 a.m.; Friday, January 20, at 2 p.m.; and that the Senate adjourn on Friday, January 20, until 2 p.m. on Monday, January 23; that following the prayer and pledge, the Journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day; further, that following any leader remarks the Senate be in a period of morning business until 4 p.m., with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each, and that following morning business, the Senate proceed to executive session under the previous order.

Concluding that such pro forma sessions (which by design are not for conducting business) interrupt the recess of the Senate and thus prevent recess appointments would present a risk to separation of powers because it would allow the Senate unilaterally to frustrate the President’s exercise of a power granted him by the Constitution, which the Framers considered to be important to keep the government functioning by filling offices.  Cf. McAlpin v. Dana, No. 82-582, slip op. at 14 (D.D.C. Oct. 5, 1982) (“[T]here is no reason to believe that the President’s recess appointment power is less important than the Senate’s power to subject nominees to the confirmation process.”). [Volokh Conspiracy, 1/4/12]


Ted Haggard Swaps Wives With Gary Busey On Celebrity Wife Swap

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:43 am by HL

Ted Haggard Swaps Wives With Gary Busey On Celebrity Wife Swap
Former New Life Church pastor and self-described “bisexual” Ted Haggard swapped wives with actor and self-described “church” Gary Busey for the ABC reality show Celebrity Wife Swap.


Accused Of Retaliation, Sheriff Joe Wants DOJ To Name His Department’s Alleged Victims
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office — the same law enforcement agency accused of retaliating against political opponents — wants the names of “each and every” resident interviewed by Justice Department officials who accused the MCSO of racial discrimination.


The Typical Christopublican Family, Circa 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:40 am by HL

The Typical Christopublican Family, Circa 2012


When Fiction Meets Reality

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:39 am by HL

When Fiction Meets Reality
The New York Times magazine has a great profile of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert.

“The new Colbert has crossed the line that separates a TV stunt from reality and a parody from what is being parodied. In June, after petitioning the Federal Election Commission, he started his own super PAC — a real one, with real money. He has run TV ads, endorsed (sort of) the presidential candidacy of Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana, and almost succeeded in hijacking and renaming the Republican primary in South Carolina.”


Guess Who Obama Was Channeling in Kansas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:38 am by HL

Guess Who Obama Was Channeling in Kansas
You can’t get more egg on your face than Barack Obama’s neoliberal Washington apologists did after his big speech in Kansas. That’s because a portion of the speech reads as if he were channeling the Beltway pundits’ nemesis, the political…


Palestine’s Economic Hallucination
It’s the end of the year and time to turn the page after a bit of reflecting. What better way to reflect than to contrast image and reality, and even more so when the topic is Palestine’s economy? For starters,…


Sneaking Women Into Video Games

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2012 5:36 am by HL

Sneaking Women Into Video Games
Topless Robot hasan awesome post on video game characters whose genders started out ambiguous and were eventually revealed to be female. I have mixed feelings about this as a tactic generally: obviously it would be nice to assume that consumers in any media see a character’s specific traits in the foreground and their gender in […]

Topless Robot hasan awesome post on video game characters whose genders started out ambiguous and were eventually revealed to be female. I have mixed feelings about this as a tactic generally: obviously it would be nice to assume that consumers in any media see a character’s specific traits in the foreground and their gender in the background (unless, of course their sex or gender performance is the most important thing about them). But if this is a way to force those traits to the foreground and deliberately sideline gender for a minute, or to set up a situation where gender expectations are subverted, then it seems like a worthwhile tactic at least some of the time. Eowyn’s gender reveal to the Witch King remains a gold standard in gender-subverting awesome, and if we can get joy and surprise along with the monster-conquering, so much the better.