Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, November 21, 2009

About Friking Time, now give your citizens a good PUBLIC OPTION

...59 ...60!

Last Two Democratic Holdouts Say They'll Block GOP Filibuster

At least for the moment, Democrats are united behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

All 60 members of the party's caucus have publicly pledged to back him in key vote on the Senate floor Saturday night -- this one to allow debate to proceed on Reid's health care reform bill.

But that unity may not last.

"That was the easy part. Now it's only going to get tougher from here on out," Reid spokesman Jim Manley told HuffPost.

Back-to-back announcements on the Senate floor on Saturday from the two remaining holdouts -- Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, followed by Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln -- put Reid over the top, giving him the 60 votes he needs to overcome the expected Republican filibuster.

The official vote will be called at 8:00 Saturday evening. The Senate will then move to several weeks of floor debate and amendments, followed by another crucial vote to end a second expected filibuster and move to a final tally.

A handful of Democrats are still threatening to filibuster the final bill if certain changes aren't made. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is insisting on the removal of a public health insurance option that would compete with private insurers, many of which are based in his home state of Connecticut.

Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Landrieu and Lincoln are also withholding their final support, and trying to extract concessions.

"My vote today to move forward," Landrieu said on the floor, "should in no way be construed" as an indication that she'll back the final bill. "Much work needs to be done," she said.

Lincoln, who could face a primary challenge over her health care stand, similarly said she'd work to amend the bill and expressed her concerns with protecting private insurers from being required to compete with a public plan.

Will the Senate Dems muster 60?

The Rights fearmongering political strategy

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

GOP Needs Six Weeks To Debate Health Care Bill That All Republicans Will Oppose

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued last Sunday that Republicans deserve at least six additional weeks to consider health care reform before letting the bill come to a vote. But on Friday, his top lieutenant said the entire GOP has already made up its mind on the legislation.

Appearing on Fox News Friday morning, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) insisted that "every single Republican will oppose" even debating health care reform because "they know it will only get worse."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ahahahahahah, don't you love it.

Palin "Fans" -- too stupid to come in out of the rain.
A person who takes off from work to get a Sarah Palin signature deserves to have his job given to another worthy American.

Palin Booed By Book Tour Crowd

Unhappy fans of Sarah Palin went rogue on the Alaska Republican during her book tour stop in Noblesville, Indiana on Thursday.

The local Borders outlet had handed out 1,000 wristbands to book purchasers; the wristbands were supposed to procure fans Palin's signature on their hardback copies of "Going Rogue." But several dozen people who had been promised signatures were turned away empty-handed after waiting hours in poor weather, a local news outlet, the Indy Channel, reported.

"We gave up our entire workday, stayed in the cold, my kids were crying," one man was quoted saying. "They went home with my wife. She was out here in the freezing cold all day. I feel like I don't want to support Sarah."

Another woman told Indy Channel, "We bought two books from Borders to have our receipt and our wristband to get it signed tonight. My books are going back to Borders tomorrow."

The angry crowd turned on Palin as she returned to her "Going Rogue" tour bus. Video below shows people booing and shouting at the bus, and shouting "Sign our books Sarah!" as the engine revved up and Palin departed.
Unhappy fans of Sarah Palin went rogue on the Alaska Republican during her book tour stop in Noblesville, Indiana on Thursday.

DailyKos put together a compilation reel of local news coverage:

Pictures from Gaza, Israel and the West Bank

Small Town To Liz Cheney: We Want Gitmo Detainees, Not Your Fearmongering

Officials in a small Michigan town featured in a new video about Guantanamo by Liz Cheney’s national security group want her to know that they’re not falling for her “fearmongering” — and tell us they want Gitmo detainees in their town.

Cheney’s group, Keep America Safe, has released a short documentary starring several residents of little Standish, Michigan, slamming the Obama administration over a proposal to transfer some Guantanamo detainees to the town’s maximum security facility, one of several facilities being discussed.

The vid, which is below, ominously warns that unnamed “politicians” want Gitmo detainees placed in their “small farm town,” without saying who the politicians are or whether they’re Federal or local. A resident says those politicans “aren’t listening to us little people in Standish.”

But Standish’s City Manager tells us that local leaders and residents want the facility, and dismissed Cheney’s efforts as “fearmongering.”

Cheney is “certainly not representing the views of our community,” the City Manager, Michael Moran, told our reporter, Amanda Erickson.

While some local residents do appear to have expressed mixed feelings or opposition to the plan, Moran says that they’re an isolated minority that Ms. Cheney’s video elevates out of proportion in a way that’s “off base.”

What’s more, the Standish city council recently passed a unanimous resolution expressing support for bringing Gitmo detainees, citing job losses in the wake of the closing of the facility.

Seems that the good people of Standish just don’t have Liz Cheney’s understanding of the nature of the threat.

One thing the media does not like to talk about - itself.

Orwell Rolls In His Grave - PART 1 of 11

Jim Leach remarks on cultural diversity. National Press Club

Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and former Iowa representative, spoke at a National Press club luncheon. He talked about the need to bridge different cultures. LinkHere

Rupert Murdoch denies he said Obama made a racist comment.

Earlier this month, News Corp. president Rupert Murdoch said that President Obama made “a very racist comment” when Obama inserted himself into the July spat between Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Officer Jim Crowley. Murdoch also said Fox News host Glenn Beck “was right” to say Obama is a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” Today on Capitol Hill, Media Matters’ staffers asked Murdoch to be more specific about what “racist” comments Obama allegedly made, but Murdoch denied he had made the charge:

MMFA: Mr. Murdoch, can you be more specific about what racist comments the President allegedly made?

MURDOCH: I denied that absolutely. I don’t believe he’s a racist.

“But you said that he made racist statements,” the staffer noted as Murdoch walked away. LinkHere

. US lawmakers: New tax should pay for Afghan war

"Hit the Rethugs good" especially Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Oliely, Lieberman,

(AFP) – 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Influential US lawmakers on Thursday called for levying a new income tax to pay for the war in Afghanistan, warning its costs pose a mortal threat to efforts like a sweeping health care overhaul.

The proposed "Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010" came with Obama set to announce within weeks his decision on whether to send more US troops to fight the war, now in its ninth year.

The proposal, a heavily symbolic measure seen as having next to no chance of becoming law, would impose a war surtax on income beginning in 2011 -- though it would allow the president to delay implementation by one year upon deciding the US economy is too weak to sustain such a tax shift.

It would also exempt members of the US military who have served in combat since the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes, their families, and families of soldiers who died as a result of combat.

"The only people who?ve paid any price for our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families," the lawmakers said. "We believe that if this war is to be fought, it?s only fair that everyone share the burden."

If the war is not paid for, its costs "will devour money that could be used to rebuild our economy by fixing our broken health care system, expanding educational opportunities and job training possibilities, attacking our long term energy problems and building stronger communities," they said.
Arianna Huffington went on MSNBC's Countdown to discuss a new report from the Anti-Defamation League on anti-government rage, that calls Glenn Beck the "Fearmonger-in-Chief."

The report calls Beck "the most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped stoke the fires of anti-government anger."

Arianna argued that although Beck may not be legally liable, he is "morally liable" for the violence and anger his show may provoke. LinkHere

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Oprah To End Talk Show, Announcement On-Air Friday
CHICAGO — "The Oprah Winfrey Show," an iconic broadcast that grew over two decades into a daytime television powerhouse and the foundation of a multibillion-dollar media empire, will end its run in 2011 after 25 seasons on the air, Winfrey's production company said Thursday night.

Winfrey plans to announce the final date for her show during a live broadcast on Friday, Harpo Productions Inc. said, bringing an end to what has been television's top-rated talk show for more than two decades, airing in 145 countries worldwide and watched by an estimated 42 million viewers a week in the U.S. alone.

A Harpo spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday on Winfrey's future plans except to say that "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will not move to cable television.

Winfrey is widely expected to start up a new talk show on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a much-delayed joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc. that is expected to debut in 2011. OWN is to replace the Discovery Health Channel and will debut in some 74 million homes. An OWN spokeswoman declined comment Thursday.

CBS Television Distribution, which distributes "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to more than 200 markets blanketing the United States, held out hope that it could continue doing business with Winfrey, perhaps producing a new show out of its studios in Los Angeles.

Special interests rally for Senate house bill

New Orleans: Where Accountability Failed, Liability Follows

The Army Corps of Engineers' liability for damages to at least three New Orleans plaintiffs has been made official by a Federal district judge. The question now is whether the Justice Dept. will appeal. LinkHere

Torture Memo Author Sets Up Defense Fund to Fight Possible Impeachment

Michael Isikoff
The federal judge who helped draft Justice Department memos on torture has set up a legal defense fund to pay the costs of defending against possible disciplinary or impeachment proceedings. Jay Bybee, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Las Vegas, quietly set up the fund last July following widespread news reports that he and a former deputy, John Yoo, were the focus of a long-running investigation by the Justice Department's internal ethics unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), over their role in crafting the memos.

But there were no public references to the fund until this, week when Declassified noticed that a link to the fund had popped up on the Web site of Keep America Safe, an advocacy group set up last month by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, that is highly critical of President Obama's national-security policies. The fund is listed as one of Keep America Safe's "causes we support."

The defense fund may be about to become extremely useful for Bybee, who anticipates legal expenses "well in excess of $500,000" as a result of the Justice investigation, according to a letter from the U.S. Judicial Conference ethics committee posted on the fund's Web site. Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that, after a nearly year-long delay and numerous internal reviews, the OPR report into the torture memos was finally slated to be released at the end of this month.

As NEWSWEEK reported last February, the initial draft of the report, completed during the waning days of the Bush administration, concluded that Bybee (at the time assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel) and Yoo may have violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they drafted a controversial Aug. 1, 2002, memo on torture.

But then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey rejected the draft report and directed that copies of its findings be sent for comment to the targets (including Bybee, Yoo, and Steve Bradbury, who had by then become assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel). Since then, the report has been redrafted and, after a further round of comments, is now being reviewed for final release by David Margolis, a veteran career prosecutor at the Justice Department.

The initial 2002 memo, signed by Bybee but believed to have been principally drafted by Yoo, concluded that during wartime, President Bush as commander in chief could unilaterally disregard a federal law banning torture in the prosecution of the war on terror. It also concluded that harsh interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA did not constitute torture unless they resulted in the "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." That conclusion opened the door for the CIA to use a wide array of "enhanced" interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that were approved in a separate memo by Bybee and Yoo on the same day.

Huckabee Calls Knee-Jerk GOP Attacks On Obama 'Deplorable' And 'Shameful'

During a relatively unnoticed speech in early November, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said he found it "deplorable" and "shameful" that his fellow Republicans were attacking the president for even the most trivial or well-intentioned matters.

Appearing before the Hudson Union Society to discuss his forthcoming book, "A Simple Christmas", Huckabee took umbrage with the criticism levied by some conservatives over Obama's visit to Dover Air Force base to see the coffins of returning soldiers.

When he [Barack Obama] was at Dover the other day, and went there to pay respect for soldiers, I heard a lot of people on the Right say "Aw, that's just a cheap photo-op." No, I think it was the Commander-in-Chief of our military paying respect to a dead soldier, and I'm grateful that he did that, and I was proud of him for doing that. And I think we all -- as Americans -- should give him credit for doing that.
He continued:

When he and Michele hosted the tricker-treaters on Halloween, quit finding something wrong with that. Say "Good, I'm glad that he and the First Lady are treating children to an experience at the White House." And I just find it deplorable that some people on my end of the aisle want to find everything wrong and nothing right about the man as a man.
The underlying point, Huckabee concluded, was that knee-jerk criticism to the president was counter-productive to civil debate. "I hated it when people did that to George Bush," he said. "They couldn't even laugh at the man's jokes they found something wrong with everything and if we do that to Barack Obama, then shame on us, shame on us. No wonder our country is so divided when that happens."

A reality show president.

Bob Cesca
Famous for Being Famous: The Sarah Palin Show Is On the Air
She's nothing more than an overrated celebudoof.

I'm not sure what I have more contempt for. Sarah Palin's pathological lying or the people who can say with a straight face that Sarah Palin is qualified for anything other than a reality show contestant or the the Edie McClurg role in a remake of Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

What's even more alarming is the constant reporting from the cable news people this week: Sarah Palin is famous! Wow! But no one is digging into exactly why she's famous.

And that's the heart of the matter here. She's nothing more than an overrated celebudoof. She's the equivalent of an ex-reality show star that's somehow tricked enough people into believing that a convention speech and a series of embarrassing winks qualifies her to be a national political leader -- even president -- when, in fact, she's only really qualified to be famous. She's famous for being famous.

I have yet to hear a pitch from her supporters that elevates her in any substantive way to a level beyond that of the other Republicans in the current field of potential candidates. She's famous. And. Hmm. She's famous. That's about it. Oh, and she can repeat hard-right ideology without swallowing her own tongue in the process.

It's very possible that Bill Kristol and whoever Palin's ghost-handlers happen to be are cynical enough to believe that Sarah Palin could ride a celebreality rocket ship into the White House.

They've taken a hard look at the present climate of celebrity gossip and reality television ratings and they've identified an opening in America's obvious infatuation with chewing-gum superficiality -- and they're ready to exploit it for political power. Where Ronald Reagan was a celebrity in the old-Hollywood framework, Palin is a celebrity in the talentless, Balloon Boy, reality show, Prejean, new-Hollywood framework.

Suffice to say, this strategy further devalues what it means to be considered "presidential." It chips away at all of the basic but necessary prerequisites for the gig, replacing them with nothing but the base notion of fame. Not even popularity as it applies to fame, but merely the quality of being known.

Consequently, this can only contribute to a future when we choose a president based solely upon his or her ability to achieve the most real life drama, irrespective of any sort of inherent talent for leadership, natural intelligence or any notable skills whatsoever.

A reality show president.
Friking Idiot!!!!!! The dumbing down of America
Palin Confuses Iraq And Iran

The Rogue Warrior

FLASHBACK: GOPers Were Happy To Try Moussaoui In Federal Court

Sessions, Giuliani Backed Trying Moussaoui In Fed Court, Other GOPers Praised Outcome
Addressing the Department of Justice's decision to try terrorist suspects in civilian court rather than a military tribunal, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), on Wednesday, called the move unprecedented and indefensible.

Only, it's happened before, and Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, once defended it.

Back in 2002, when the Bush Department of Justice put Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker, on trial in a federal court in northern Virginia, the Alabama Republican was willing to grant presidential deference.

"[The White House] probably thought it might be good to try this one in public," Sessions said, according to a Lexis-Nexis transcript of a January 2, 2002, Gannett News Service article.

Sessions, who the news service described as backing Bush's decision, noted that the hearings would come with additional hurdles. "Jurors will have to be sequestered and taken back and forth to court in armed motorcades," he said. "Jurors will probably have to be provided protection after the verdict." He also made it clear that if the decision were left to him, he would have opted for the military tribunals. "I hope they thought this through and don't expose intelligence techniques," he said.

But he was far more lenient and forgiving of Bush than he has been towards the Obama administration for choosing the same judicial path. On Wednesday, the Alabama Republican told Fox News that Attorney General Eric Holder's current decision was "really not a defensible position."

"It represents a historic change in how we treat those who are at war with the United States," he said. "It is going to create a lot of complications once we are at trial."

Sessions isn't the only one whistling a harsher tune now than he did nearly eight years ago. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been dispatched by the Republican Party this past week to savage the Obama White House for its decision, insisted that putting detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial would give "an unnecessary advantage... to the terrorists."

CIA Secret 'Torture' Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy

The CIA built one of its secret European prisons inside an exclusive riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania, a current Lithuanian government official and a former U.S. intelligence official told ABC News this week.

Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at a café, the CIA installed a concrete structure where it could use harsh tactics to interrogate up to eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists at a time. A full report on the can be seen on ABC's World News with Charles Gibson tonight.

"The activities in that prison were illegal," said human rights researcher John Sifton. "They included various forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions."

Lithuanian officials provided ABC News with the documents of what they called a CIA front company, Elite, LLC, which purchased the property and built the "black site" in 2004.

Lithuania agreed to allow the CIA prison after President George W. Bush visited the country in 2002 and pledged support for Lithuania's efforts to join NATO.

"The new members of NATO were so grateful for the U.S. role in getting them into that organization that they would do anything the U.S. asked for during that period," said former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant. "They were eager to please and eager to be cooperative on security and on intelligence matters."

Sources Tell ABC News Top Al Qaeda Figures Held in Secret CIA Prisons
10 Out of 11 High-Value Terror Leaders Subjected to 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques'

Two CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following Human Rights Watch reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.

Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert.

CIA officials asked ABC News not to name the specific countries where the prisons were located, citing security concerns.

The CIA declines to comment, but current and former intelligence officials tell ABC News that 11 top al Qaeda figures were all held at one point on a former Soviet air base in one Eastern European country. Several of them were later moved to a second Eastern European country.

All but one of these 11 high-value al Qaeda prisoners were subjected to the harshest interrogation techniques in the CIA's secret arsenal, the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" authorized for use by about 14 CIA officers and first reported by ABC News on Nov. 18.

Rice today avoided directly answering the question of secret prisons in remarks made on her departure for Europe, where the issue of secret prisons and secret flights has caused a furor.

Without mentioning any country by name, Rice acknowledged special handling for certain terrorists.

List of 12 Operatives Held in CIA Prisons

Judge Blames Army Corps Of Engineers For Katrina Flooding

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers' failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina, a decision that could make the federal government vulnerable to billions of dollars in claims.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval sided with six residents and one business who argued the Army Corps' shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to the flooding of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish. He said, however, the corps couldn't be held liable for the flooding of eastern New Orleans, where two of the plaintiffs lived.

Duval awarded the plaintiffs $720,000, but the government could eventually be forced to pay much more in damages. The ruling should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses and government entities a better shot at claiming billions of dollars in damages.

The ruling is also emotionally resonant for south Louisiana. Many in New Orleans have argued that Katrina, which struck the region Aug. 29, 2005, was a manmade disaster caused by the Army Corps' failure to maintain the levee system protecting the city.

"Total devastation could possibly have been avoided if something had been done," said Tanya Smith, one of the plaintiffs. "A lot of this stuff was preventable and they turned a deaf ear to it."

The 36-year-old registered nurse anesthetist lived in Chalmette close to the channel when Katrina hit. She was awarded $317,000 in property damages, the most of any of the plaintiffs.

Duval referred to the corps' approach to maintaining the channel as "monumental negligence."

Joe Bruno, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, said the ruling underscored the Army Corps' long history of not properly protecting the New Orleans region.

Obama's Fox News Interview Is 'Lightning Round' Format

Hasan's Supervisor Warned Army In '07

NPR: Hasan's Supervisor Wrote 'DAMNING' Memo To Army In 2007, Warning Them
November 18, 2009 Two years ago, a top psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was so concerned about what he saw as Nidal Hasan's incompetence and reckless behavior that he put those concerns in writing. NPR has obtained a copy of the memo, the first evaluation that has surfaced from Hasan's file.

Officials at Walter Reed sent that memo to Fort Hood this year when Hasan was transferred there.

Nevertheless, commanders still assigned Hasan — accused of killing 13 people in a mass shooting at Fort Hood on Nov. 5 — to work with some of the Army's most troubled and vulnerable soldiers.

The Damning Memo

On May 17, 2007, Hasan's supervisor at Walter Reed sent the memo to the Walter Reed credentials committee. It reads, "Memorandum for: Credentials Committee. Subject: CPT Nidal Hasan." More than a page long, the document warns that: "The Faculty has serious concerns about CPT Hasan's professionalism and work ethic. ... He demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism." It is signed by the chief of psychiatric residents at Walter Reed, Maj. Scott Moran.

When shown the memo, two leading psychiatrists said it was so damning, it might have sunk Hasan's career if he had applied for a job outside the Army.

"Even if we were desperate for a psychiatrist, we would not even get him to the point where we would invite him for an interview," says Dr. Steven Sharfstein, who runs Sheppard Pratt's psychiatric medical center, based just outside Baltimore.

Sharfstein says it's a little hard to read the evaluation now and pretend that he doesn't know that Hasan is accused of shooting dozens of people. But he says if he had seen a memo like this about an applicant, Sharfstein would have avoided him like the plague.

The memo ticks off numerous problems over the course of Hasan's training, including proselytizing to his patients. It says he mistreated a homicidal patient and allowed her to escape from the emergency room, and that he blew off an important exam.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Separation 'an amazing moment'

First twin awake after surgery
Second remains asleep
Further tests to be carried out today

"AMAZING." That's how neurosurgeon Wirginia Maixner summed up the moment she knew she and her surgical team had successfully separated conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna.

After 27 hours of surgery, during which she and fellow neurosurgeon Alison Wray had to stop several times to rest the girls' brains, Ms Maixner realised the procedure to separate their conjoined heads was a success.

"Some time in the early hours of Tuesday I looked at Alison and Alison looked at me and I said 'I think we've done it', and that was an amazing moment, I have to tell you," she said today.

"To have struggled for so long, to have worked so hard for what was not just that day, what was a whole two years of work, to be able to say: 'I think we've done it'."

The head neurosurgeon at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital also spoke of the time, during the two years the Bangladeshi sisters were in Melbourne, when she realised they were dying and something had to be done.

"It's absolutely unbelievable, and I think it's a real credit to this hospital we have been able to do what we've been able to do," she said.

"The journey started a long time ago.

"Every step of the way, we've been innovative, we've had to think about the way we do things ... that's where the expertise of the staff has come through.

"I don't think you can possibly imagine how proud I am to have worked with such an extraordinary team."

The test of any child's surgery is how they wake up, and the girls were deliberately not woken straight away, Ms Maixner said.

Trishna was allowed to wake up overnight yesterday.

"She is talking, she is being Trishna, she's behaving the way she always has, she's fantastic...''

But surgeons have "gone slower'' on Krishna, while her body and brain re-adjust.

"Krishna has a little bit ahead of her at the moment,'' Ms Maixner said.

"We would plan to wake her up later today, but it will be a very slow wake-up.''
Read more on the conjoined twins surgery at the Herald Sun

Rove, Cheney, Gingrich and Kristol Fail To Rally 9/11 Trial Foes

More Republican Coverups?
Boulder Liberal
What do these relics of the failed Bush (43) Administration fear?
Is there something they want to cover up? Does the most secretive, corrupt, and incompetent Administration in US history have yet more secrets?
It is time for a massive investigation.

On Monday, Karl Rove sent a tweet to his 92,000 followers: "Don't sit out: 9:30am 11/18 Dirksen Senate Bldg Rm G-50 to oppose Atty Gen's testimony on trying terrorists on U.S. soil." On Tuesday, Newt Gingrich dispatched a similar message to his 1.2 million Twitter devotees: "Join @keepamericasafe at 9:30am Wed at Dirksen Senate Bldg to protest Holder's testimony on bringing terrorists to US." Keep America Safe is Elizabeth Cheney's new hawkish group—neocon godfather Bill Kristol is one of its three board members—and on Tuesday it tweeted followers: "Reminder 9:30 am show Holder and Obama what you think about the terror trial decision." The Keep American Safe website also posted a "call to action," urging protesters to storm the Senate on Wednesday morning, when Attorney General Eric Holder was scheduled to testify about the Obama administration's plan to bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorism detainees to New York City to stand trial. Cheney's outfit asked its supporters to send Obama and his allies in Congress a clear message: "WE WILL FIGHT YOU ALL THE WAY."

No such message was delivered on Wednesday morning. When Holder arrived at the committee room in the Dirksen Building, there were no demonstrators, no angry mob. Some 9/11 relatives who oppose trying KSM in New York were in the house. (There are 9/11 families on both sides of this debate.) But the scene was the same as that accompanying most hearings. There was not even a standing-room-only crowd. Plenty of empty chairs could be found in the seating section for the general public. No throng of irate citizens was gathered in the hallway or outside the building. The Capitol Hill police reported no signs of any protest. This was no tea party. LinkHere

Economists Opposing Fed Audit Have Undisclosed Fed Ties

As the debate over an audit of the Federal Reserve intensifies in the House, one camp is trotting out eight academics that it calls a "political cross section of prominent economists."

A review of their backgrounds shows they are anything but.

In a letter to the House Financial Services Committee earlier this month, all eight wrote that they support the type of amendment now being introduced by Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.). Watt's approach purports to increase Fed transparency while it actually would tighten restrictions on any audits that could go forward.

The letter was sent around Wednesday by Watt's staff to members of the committee in advance of a vote scheduled for Thursday.

Watt's measure is in competition with an amendment cosponsored by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), which would repeal the restrictions that Watt leaves in place.

But far from a broad cross-section, the "prominent economists" lobbying on behalf of the Watt bill are in fact deeply involved with the Federal Reserve. Seven of the eight are either currently on the Fed's payroll or have been in the past.

The Fed connections are not outlined in the letter sent around to committee members on Wednesday, but are publicly discernible through a review of their resumes, which are all posted online.

In September, Huffington Post reported that the Federal Reserve has accomplished a soft form of effective control over the field of monetary economics simply by employing -- and being the means for career advance -- for an overwhelming proportion of the discipline.

Fox News Runs Old Palin Campaign Footage, Reports It As Book-Signing Crowds

Last week, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show caught Fox News' Sean Hannity running old footage of September Tea Party crowds in an attempt to make Michele Bachmann's smaller November Tea Party shindig appear to be more well-attended than it was. Is Fox up to the same tricks today? Faiz Shakir at ThinkProgress thinks so, and he pulls a segment that seems to tout the crowds that greeted Sarah Palin on the stump during the 2008 campaign as throngs that are gathering to purchase Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue.

In the clip below, watch as Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett describes "pictures just coming into us" as "huge crowds" that have amassed while Palin is "promoting her new book." The pictures that are supposedly "just coming in" are actually year-old video from the presidential campaign:

For what it's worth, I think this appears to be little more than a momentary disconnect between newsreader and news producer than a conscious attempt to mislead. I am sure that Fox News is more than aware that crowds are mainly gathering today at a mall in Michigan, where Palin is expected to appear, and not at some rally that Palin presided over today. Of course, the fact that Fox was caught manipulating footage in a misleading manner is only going to spur further suspicions when things like this happen.

MSNBC has also been reporting on Palin's book signing all day today. It's not something that Fox is likely to have missed, and it looks a little something like this: LinkHere

GOP Blocks Freeze On Credit Card Interest Rate Hikes

That's How It's Done
There is a place called Hell and it will have a sign above the front door that says "Welcome Republicans" it's time for payback.

Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic effort Wednesday to immediately freeze increases in credit card interest rates, fees and finance charges.

Shortly after Democrats passed credit card reform legislation in May, the card companies began jacking up rates in advance of its implementation. Major parts of the act won't take effect until February and August of 2010.

Earlier this month, to combat the rate hikes, the House passed legislation to move the effective date up to December 1st. The Senate moves much more slowly and the credit card industry has been arguing that it can't practically get its act together to implement the reforms that quickly.

Okay, said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who sponsored the original bill that passed 90-5. Instead of implementing the entire basket of reforms, Dodd proposed instead simply freezing interest rate and fee hikes in advance of the holidays. Surely, he said, that's not too difficult to implement.

"We worked long and hard to enact the safeguards included in the Credit CARD Act," said Dodd. "And no sooner had it been signed into law, but credit card companies were looking for ways to get around the protections this Congress and the American people demanded. This bill would end those abuses and further protect customers today."

The Senate schedule is packed with nominations, health care and appropriations bills, leaving no time for a prolonged floor fight over credit cards.

The only way Democrats could pass the bill in time for the holidays would be with the support of the GOP -- all but five of which voted for it initially.

Dodd, on Wednesday afternoon, asked for unanimous consent to move the bill forward.

"On behalf of several senators on this side of the aisle, I object," said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). And that's the end of it.

The Senate moved on to a tribute to the service of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who became the longest-serving senator in the history of the institution Wednesday. LinkHere

America's interests not a priority for war profiteers

C Street loses tax exemption

Silence is consent.
....Obama Death Threats....
The Latest In Thinly-Veiled Evangelical Christian Obama Death Threats

Democrats Crush Filibuster: Obama Judicial Nominee Passes Senate

David Hamilton Survives The Senate As Democrats Crush GOP Filibuster

WASHINGTON — Democrats on Tuesday crushed a Senate filibuster against a controversial appeals court nominee, demonstrating to Republicans they can't stop President Barack Obama from turning the federal judiciary to the left.

The 70-29 vote limited debate over the qualifications of U.S. District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana, and assured his elevation to the Chicago-based appeals court. Sixty votes were needed to end the filibuster, but confirmation only requires a simple majority of the 100-member Senate.

Ten Republicans repudiated their own party leaders and voted to limit debate. The Obama administration made a crucial decision from the outset by getting the support of Hamilton's home-state Republican senator, Richard Lugar.

The vote emphatically warned Republicans that with only 40 senators, they're too outnumbered to prevent Obama from making major inroads into a judiciary that was populated over eight years with conservative judges chosen by President George W. Bush.

Republicans have objected to holding a vote on Hamilton's confirmation since June, when the Judiciary Committee reported his nomination favorably to the full Senate.

Conservative Republican senators and their judicial-watching outside groups then launched a major political assault on Hamilton.

They criticized his rulings against Christian prayers in the Indiana legislature and against a menorah in the Indiana Municipal Building's holiday display.

Conservatives were furious that Hamilton struck down part of an Indiana law requiring women to make two trips to a clinic for counseling before they could get an abortion. He said the requirement placed an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to choose to end a pregnancy. LinkHere

Hoffman, talking absentees, doesn't have his facts right

Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman was on Glenn Beck's radio program Monday where, in a two-minute span, he managed to get three facts about the 23rd Congressional District election results wrong.

Mr. Hoffman told the conservative commentator that he's within "a little over 2,000 votes" from Democrat Bill Owens. In fact, he was 3,176 votes behind Mr. Owens before absentees were counted and allegedly 2,951 after absentees in three counties he won were counted. (I only say "allegedly" because I haven't had an opportunity to get these numbers myself.)

The candidate then said twice that there were 10,000 absentee votes to be counted - although there were never more than 7,419 absentee ballots returned and, according to the Gouverneur Times, there are 6,123 left.

Finally, Mr. Hoffman says "there's a lot of military votes coming in and militaries tend to go with the conservative." But Jefferson County had the largest segment of military voters, and they received a less than 8.5 percent return. (Six hundred five ballots were sent out; 51 were returned.)

Mr. Hoffman said he needs to win between 56 and 65 percent of the absentee vote to win, although I've previously discussed how impractical, yet technically possible, a win will be to achieve.LinkHere

NY-23 absentee counts
Three counties - Oneida, Madison and Hamilton - in the 23rd Congressional District have counted their absentee votes and reported tallies.

This table places each candidate's absentee votes in parentheses next to each candidate's election night total.

Rachel Maddow Explains Stupak’s ‘Draconian’ Amendment

Yesterday on Office Hours we discussed with WaPo’s Howie Kurtz whether the Stupak amendment was getting as much coverage in the press as it deserved, and whether, because it didn’t have polarizing figures opposing it (a la Beck, Bachmann, Armey) the amendment hadn’t generated the kind of controversy cable news loves to cover. Howie’s take was, if this is actually the case the media is falling down on the job. Yes, well.

Rachel Maddow, however, is certainly not letting Stupak go unnoticed. Last night she took another pass at the last-minute amendment that bans government funded coverage of abortion except in instances of rape or incest (great explanation of possible fallout here), this time taking aim at Stupak himself: “the man who sneaked the strongest anti-abortion legislation in a generation into the health reform bill is now walking around Wash like he owns the place.” Stupak is as Stupak does!

Maddow proceeds to further vet the amendment — explaining why is it not merely an continuation of the current rule that won’t allow the government to fund abortions but a “draconian,” “dishonest” development. She also reveals how the amendment came about in the first place, with the possible help of the Catholic church. If you are curious why some people are up in arms about this addition to the health care bill here it is explained. (Video below).

As it stands, the law says federal funds cannot be used to pay for abortion. The President has said he want to keep abortion rights the status quo…he’s said this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. Congressman Stupak and his supporters say that the Stupak amendment will simply maintain the status quo. It should be noted that that’s baloney, the Stupak amendment doesn’t just say you can’t use your Federal insurance subsidy to pay for an abortion, it says if you’re getting a federal subsidy of any kind you’re not allowed to buy an insurance plan that covers abortion…even with your own money. LinkHere

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Stupak: I'll Kill Bill If Abortion Amendment Goes
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) pledged on Tuesday that he would kill health care reform legislation if his anti-abortion amendment is taken out.

"They're not going to take it out," Stupak said on Fox News. "If they do, health care will not move forward ... We won fair and square."

Asked about a comment from White House senior adviser David Axelrod this weekend suggesting that the language should be adjusted, Stupak was dismissive. "That is why Mr. Axelrod is not a legislator," he said. "He doesn't really know what he is talking about."

Stupak said 10 to 20 Democrats would join him in voting against the bill if his language was stripped out. The amendment would bar any insurance plan that is purchased with government subsidies from covering abortions. LinkHere

Brown: Senate GOP can't get even a majority for abortion provision
By Michael O'Brien - 11/17/09 09:10 AM ET
Republicans won't even have a majority in the Senate to add abortion provisions to the health bill, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) suggested Monday night.

Brown said that the Senate bill faces no threat from Republicans and pro-life Democrats looking to add language to the bill that would impose new rules on federal subsidies for abortion, mirroring an amendment attached by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to the House bill.

"I don't think that it's a threat at all," Brown said Monday night during an appearance on MSNBC. "There aren't more than four or five Democratic senators that I would say are anti-choice. There are at least, I think, two Republican senators who are pro-choice."

Sarah Vain and Simple

The most divisive politician of our time.

Geoffrey Dunn, 11.16.2009
Going Rogue sinks even further into Palin's unique brand of narcissism and victimhood. She remains an unapologetic warrior in our country's culture wars and the most divisive politician of our time. LinkHere

Award-winning writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn's book The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power will be released by St. Martin's Press in spring 2010.

"Countdown" Producer Attends Health Care Clinic In New Orleans: "There Are No Words"

One of the free health clinics launched due to the generosity of "Countdown" viewers took place over the weekend in New Orleans.

While Keith Olbermann was unable to attend himself due to his father's illness, "Countdown" producer Rich Stockwell — who Olbermann credited on air as the brains behind the drive to raise money for the clinics — did attend, and he wrote an essay for MSNBC.com about his experience.

In the essay, Stockwell relays several stories of patients who came to Saturday's clinic: the 50-year-old woman with stage four breast cancer whose cancer was likely diagnosed so late because she didn't have insurance; the nurse who holds down two part-time jobs but can't work enough hours to qualify for medical benefits; the woman sent to the hospital with a 220/180 blood pressure who didn't know why she wasn't feeling well.

"After watching for hours as the patients moved through the clinic, it was hard to believe that I was in America," Stockwell wrote. "Health reform is not about Democrats or Republicans or who can score political points for the next election, it's about people. It's about fairness and justice in a system that knows none. I'd defy even the most hardened capitalist-loving-conservative to do what I did on Saturday and continue to pretend that the system in place right now is working....There are no words that can accurately describe the quiet desperation on the faces of the patients. Every single one I spoke to, and every one I heard talking with doctors, expressed their gratitude for the event and wished that they were held more often."

Stockwell noted that the last time the media convened in the New Orleans convention center was to cover Hurricane Katrina; this time, however, "we were there to cover a man-made disaster of even larger proportions," he wrote.
The next clinic is set for Saturday in Little Rock. LinkHere

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Soldier Suicides To Top Those In 2008

WASHINGTON — Soldier suicides this year are almost sure to top last year's grim totals, but a recent decline in the pace of such incidents could mean the Army is starting to make progress in stemming them, officials said Tuesday.

Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli said that as of Monday, 140 active duty soldiers were believed to have died of self-inflicted wounds so far in 2009. That's the same as were confirmed for all of 2008.

"We are almost certainly going to end the year higher than last year ... this is horrible, and I do not want to downplay the significance of these numbers in any way," he said.

But Chiarelli said there has been a tapering off in recent months from large surges in suspected suicides in January and February.

"Our goal since the beginning has been to reduce the overall incidence of suicide and I do believe we are finally beginning to see progress being made," Chiarelli told a Pentagon press conference.

He attributed those hints of a turning to some unprecedented efforts the Army has made since February to educate soldiers and leaders about the issue.

Officials are still stumped about what is driving the historically high rates across the military force. When asked whether the rates reflect unprecedented high stress from long and repeated deployments to provide manpower for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chiarelli said he didn't know.

"The reality is there is no simple answer," he said. "Each suicide is as unique as the individuals themselves."

Major retailers reportedly selling Palin's Going Rogue below cost

Sarah Palin's memoir Going Rogue: An American Life has garnered attention in part because of the number of copies sold before publication. But the book has been offered at below-cost prices from major online retailers, and Newsmax has used the book as a loss leader to promote its magazine, potentially inflating the book's sales.
Amazon, Walmart.com, Target.com in price war over book
Walmart.com dropped price from list price of $28.99 to $10, then to $9 and below as other retailers matched it. On October 15, Walmart.com began offering preorders of Going Rogue, along with nine other new book releases, for $10. After Amazon.com reportedly matched the price, Walmart.com "str[uck] back, slashing its prices to $9" [AOL Daily Finance, 10/16/09]. Amazon also dropped its price to $9 [Buzzflash.com, 10/19/09]. Target.com joined in the price war, prompting Walmart.com to drop its price further [The New Yorker, 11/9/09]. By November 5, Walmart.com was selling the book for $8.98, Target.com was selling it for $8.99, and Amazon was selling it for $9. The respective retailers were still selling the book at those prices as of November 16. All three retailers give the book's list price as $28.99. Screen shots of the November 5 prices are below:

Afghanistan, Iraq among the world's most corrupt

Source: AP

BERLIN – Afghanistan and Iraq, countries that receive billions of dollars a year in international support, are among the world's most corrupt nations, a watchdog group said in a report released Tuesday.

Lawless Somalia remained the world's most corrupt country, followed by Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan and Iraq, Transparency International said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index.

Singapore, Denmark and New Zealand were the most principled countries around the globe, it said.

"The results demonstrate that countries which are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn their governance infrastructure," the report said

Israel approves 900 new homes in east Jerusalem

Israel doesn't want peace--it wants Palestine.
Piece by piece.

God, I get sick of paying for their aggression.

Source: AFP
Israel approved the construction of hundreds of new housing units in annexed east Jerusalem on Tuesday, driving another stake into troubled US efforts to restart Middle East peace talks.

The interior ministry said it approved the construction of 900 new units in Gilo, one of a dozen of Israeli settlements in mostly Arab east Jerusalem, adding that the project still faced review.

Earlier, Israeli media reported that hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had refused a request from main ally Washington to halt construction in Gilo. It was not clear whether the request concerned the project approved on Tuesday.

The approval is likely to further hamper Washington's so-far futile efforts to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the peace table, amid deep disagreements over the thorny issue of settlements.

20-Year-Old Letterhead points to Israeli Forgery in Francop Affair

Iran's PressTV says it has caught Israel forging documents in an attempt to implicate Iran in arms smuggling.

The Israelis have been maintaining that a ship, the Francop, that their forces boarded near Cyprus originated in Iran and was bringing arms to Hizbullah and Hamas. Many US news outlets published the accompanying picture, which seemed to indicate that the arms were being supplied by the Ministry of the Sipah [i.e. of soldier].

The name of that ministry was changed 20 years ago, however, to the Ministry of Defense. One Iranian journalist opined, "So this begs the question of what the emblem of a nonexistent body was doing on the cargo?"

Syria had all along accused the Israeli operation of being a forgery

It is tempting to speculate as to how the Israelis got the letterhead of the Iranian Ministry of the Soldier. It should be remembered that in the 1980s, Israel was allied with Khomeini and received petroleum and other goods from Iran in return for helping against Iraq. It is likely during that era of good feeling that Israel received the letterhead, and whoever dredged it back up to plaster on the goods carried by the intercepted ship did not realize that in the meantime the Iranians had changed the name of the ministry concerned.
LinkHere Read more: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=111410§ionid=3...

free hit counter