Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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"A submarine exploring the ocean's depths recently returned with an unexpected visitor: a crablike critter that has left many readers startled and horrified.
In a posting to social bookmarking site Reddit, a deep-sea technician detailed the finding, asking the site's readers to help identify what exactly the bizarre looking creature was.
The post reads, "I work for a Sub-sea Survey Company, recently this beast came up attached to one of our ROVs. It measures a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail, and we expect it latched onto the ROV at roughly 8,500 feet depth. Unfortunately, the e-mail that these pictures were attached to came from a contractor, and the ship he was operating from (and therefore location) is unknown, so I can't tell you what part of the Earth this beast was living."
The pictures reveal the creature to be a giant isopod, a large crustacean that dwells in deep Atlantic and Pacific waters. This particular creature is a Bathynomus giganteus, a deep-sea scavenger that feeds on dead whales, fish and squid."
"Two pivotal achievements happened today: First, the LHC finally managed to sustain a 7 TeV particle beam. Secondly, the first proton collides were achieved at this level of energy, which is a world record.
“With these record-shattering collision energies, the LHC experiments are propelled into a vast region to explore, and the hunt begins for dark matter, new forces, new dimensions and the Higgs boson. The fact that the experiments have published papers already on the basis of last year’s data bodes very well for this first physics run,” said ATLAS Collaboration Spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti.
Now it’s up to the scientists at CERN to analyze the data, which will probably take some time; look out for some exciting news from CERN in the days to come."
"Health insurance premiums for young adults are expected to rise about 17 percent once they're required to buy insurance four years from now. That estimate is from an analysis by Rand Health.
Young people will need to carry more of the burden of health care under the new health overhaul law. The new law limits an industry practice of charging older customers more."
"IT could go down in British cinema history as the great Easter turkey. A film about a stressed-out mother, featuring the Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman, has been withdrawn from show after just 11 cinema goers turned up to see it in its opening weekend.
Motherhood managed to gross £9 from the lone viewer who turned up on the debut Sunday. Takings for the full weekend hit £88.
The figures mean the film outflopped even its dismal performance in America, where it took just over £40,000 when it opened last September."
As I celebrate the freeing of my people from bondage, praying for the day when all people can be free (and adding the traditional 'next year in Jerusalem'), it was hard to ignore the intentional slap in the face by the RNC. The RNC reimbursed a donor for the few thousand they spent at a 'Bondage themed night club'. Coincidence; I think not. The donor may have repaid the expense, but the slap is still there.
Since this is an attack against Republicans this allegation should be enough to paint anyone who as ever supported a Republican candidate, or been friends with someone who voted for a Republican, as a confirmed anti-Semite.
As self designated representative of all Jews (other groups have them) I expect a personal apology from Steele and invitations from the media to go on their shows to express how upset I am at this intentional slight. If I also use the time to plug my non-existent book; that is just how these things work.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"The United States would like Canada to keep some of its troops in Afghanistan once its combat mission there ends next year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday.
In response, Canada reiterated its position that it will withdraw all 2,800 soldiers currently stationed in the southern city of Kandahar by the end of 2011."
In a vacuum you might be tempted to think there is nothing they could have done, but that is not the case. Canada, one of our closest allies, was snubbed by Obama and not personally brief on the new Afghan strategy.
Let’s go over that list again:
- Britain – Major Coalition partner, next highest troop commitment after the US.
- France – Has several hundred forces in combat areas, slightly over 3,000 troops overall.
- Germany – Refuses to commit to combat roles, although they have suffered attacks in other areas, slightly more troops than Canada.
- Italy – Fewer troops than Canada, mainly outside of combat roles.
- China – No troops in Coalition.
- Russia – No troops in Coalition.
Now why is Obama relegating Harper to Joe Biden while schmoozing coalition partners with less combat commitment — and two nations that aren’t even part of the effort? It’s a ridiculous, shameful, and embarrassing insult to an American combat ally and one of this nation’s closest friends."
"A fourth type of hominid, besides Neanderthals, modern humans and the tiny “hobbit”, was living as recently as 40,000 years ago, according to research published in the journal Nature.
The discovery by Svante Pääbo and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, is based on DNA sequences from a finger bone fragment discovered in a Siberian cave.
It further enriches the scientific picture of human life in the recent geological past. “Forty thousand years ago the planet was more crowded than we thought,” said Terry Brown, an expert in ancient DNA at Manchester University.
Until recently scientists believed there were just two members of the genus Homo alive at the time: Neanderthals whose ancestors left Africa 400,000 years ago, and modern humans, who left about 50,000 years ago. The picture changed in 2003 when archaeologists found remains of a third species, the tiny “hobbit”, which had survived on the Indonesian island of Flores until 14,000 years ago."
"CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Obama’s State Of The Union Behavior “Very Troubling:”
Responding to a University of Alabama law student’s question, Roberts said anyone was free to criticize the court, and some have an obligation to do so because of their positions. “So I have no problems with that,” he said. “On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum.
“The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court – according the requirements of protocol – has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.” . . . Roberts told the students he wonders whether justices should attend the speeches.
“I’m not sure why we’re there,” said Roberts, a Republican nominee who joined the court in 2005.
Justice Antonin Scalia once said he no longer goes to the annual speech because the justices “sit there like bumps on a log” in an otherwise highly partisan atmosphere. Six of the nine justices attended Obama’s address.
It’ll be interesting to see how many show up next year. Meanwhile, it seems clear to me that had a Republican President behaved similarly, we’d be hearing loud cries of “Fascism!” from all the usual suspects.
UPDATE: Not only did Alito’s mouthed response overshadow Obama this year — next year, there will be lots of stories on whether the Supreme Court justices show up or not, and either way Obama will have stepped on his own speech a second time."
Past related posts:
Berman Post: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Berman Post: Justice Alito Shakes Head And Mouths "Not True" During Obama's State of The Union Address
Berman Post: Reason.tv on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Berman Post: Democrats Consider a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election
Berman Post: Further Thoughts on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
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Monday, March 29, 2010
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"This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office."
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"At least 38 people were killed and more than 60 injured in two suicide bomb attacks on the Moscow Metro during the morning rush hour, officials say.
Female suicide bombers are believed to have carried out the attacks on trains that had stopped at two stations in the heart of the Russian capital.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for being behind the attacks.
But Russian security services believe the bombers are linked to militant groups in the North Caucasus region."
Sunday, March 28, 2010
"Federal prosecutors filed reduced charges Friday against conservative activist James O'Keefe and three others who were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office.
The new charges are contained in a bill of information, which typically signals a plea deal. The new filing charges the four with entering a federal building under false pretenses, a misdemeanor. They had been arrested Jan. 25 on felony charges.
O'Keefe, a videographer famous for wearing a pimp costume in a stunt that embarrassed the ACORN community organizing group, has said the group was trying to investigate complaints that constituents calling Landrieu's office couldn't get through to criticize her support of a health care reform bill."
"Barack Obama made his first trip to Afghanistan as U.S. president on Sunday, delivering a rousing speech to troops and telling Afghan President Hamid Karzai that progress on fighting corruption should match military gains.
Air Force One landed in darkness at Bagram airfield north of the Afghan capital, and Obama was whisked by helicopter to Karzai's palace in Kabul, where he was greeted by the Afghan president and a band playing the U.S. national anthem."
Video embedded below.
"at the Tea Party Express event on March 27 in Searchlight, Nev., which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke, CNN's Fredericka Whitfield wasn't quite prepared to give the rally credit it was due as far as participation. She estimated that hundreds, but if not, "at least dozens of people" were in attendance. (h/t fstaff with assist from Mark Finkelstein)
"Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin there in Searchlight, Nev., was the backyard of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but today it's the backdrop of this Tea Party Express - making a stop here," Whitfield said. "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people - we haven't gotten a count of how many people turned out there. We heard Sarah Palin talk about everything about the campaign, to unseat Sen. Reid to what she calls ObamaCare, on the heels of that health care vote and even talking about her definition of her love of America."
Politico's Kenneth Vogel had a little higher number, saying "an estimated 20,000 tea partiers gathered for a rally in a windswept desert lot," in his March 27 report on the event."
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Media Claimed Tea Party Protester Through Rock Through Democratic Office Window ... Office On The 30th Floor
"The Seattle Times reported today on another horrible political attack. The Times claimed that liberal democrat Rep. Steve Driehaus had a rock thrown though his office window:
Protesters have been demonstrating at Driehaus’ Ohio home, said Tim Mulvey, a spokesman for the anti-abortion Democrat who joined Stupak in voting for the health bill. A rock was thrown through the window of Driehaus’ Cincinnati office Sunday, and a death threat was phoned in to his Washington office a day later, Mulvey said.
“It’s getting out of hand,” Mulvey said.
And, they wonder why the American public doesn’t trust the left-wing media?"
"The Government Accountability Office Punk'd Energy Star recently by submitting fake products and companies for certification. The Environmental Protection Agency's arbiters of efficiency standards rubber-stamped 15 out of 20 bogus products and a handful of fake firms became Energy Star Partners."
"Talk of a "special relationship" between Britain and the United States should be dropped, a House of Commons committee said Sunday, adding the Iraq war carried important lessons for Anglo-US ties.
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee said Britain should be "more willing to say no" to the United States and warned that London will probably not be able to influence Washington as much in future.
"The UK must continue to position itself closely alongside the US but there is a need to be less deferential and more willing to say no where our interests diverge," the committee chairman, Labour's Mike Gapes, said, summing up the report.
He added that the phrase "special relationship" -- first coined by Winston Churchill in 1946, the year after World War II -- was "potentially misleading, and we recommend that its use should be avoided"."
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Past Alan Grayson posts:
Berman Post: Alan Grayson (D) - "The Republicans Want You to Die Quickly if You Get Sick"
Berman Post: Alan Grayson (D) Not Sorry For His "The Republicans Want You to Die Quickly if You Get Sick"
Berman Post: Grayson (D) Triples Down - Not Sorry For What he Said, Sorry For Not Voting Sooner to End This Holocaust
Berman Post: Alan Grayson - "Republicans Probably Wish There Was a Nobel Prize For Fear ... Hatred ... Racism"
Berman Post: Alan Grayson (D) Called a Female Lobbyist a "K Street Whore"
Berman Post: Cavuto Fires Back at Grayson (D)
Berman Post: MyCongressmanIsNuts.com
Berman Post: Alan Grayson (D) Wants His Critics Jailed For Five Years
"ANOTHER OBAMACARE TRIUMPH: AT&T will take $1B non-cash charge for health care.
AT&T Inc. will take a $1 billion non-cash accounting charge in the first quarter because of the health care overhaul and may cut benefits it offers to current and retired workers.
The charge is the largest disclosed so far. Earlier this week, AK Steel Corp., Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co. and Valero Energy announced similar accounting charges, saying the health care law that President Barack Obama signed Tuesday will raise their expenses. On Friday, 3M Co. said it will also take a charge of $85 million to $90 million.
Hope and change!
UPDATE: Claire McCaskill: Hey, maybe we “overpromised” on ObamaCare. Ya think?"
"However, it turns out that the Democrats who crafted this bill significantly – and I mean significantly – hamstrung the ability of the IRS or any other federal agency to enforce or collect on this mandate. Here is what the federal Joint Committee on Taxation had to say about this issue in a report released earlier this week:
Individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage in 2016 are subject to a penalty equal to the greater of: (1) 2.5 percent of household income in excess of the taxpayer’s household income for the taxable year over the threshold amount of income required for income tax return filing for that taxpayer under section 6012(a)(1);67 or (2) $695 per uninsured adult in the household. The fee for an uninsured individual under age 18 is one-half of the adult fee for an adult. The total household penalty may not exceed 300 percent of the per adult penalty ($2,085). The total annual household payment may not exceed the national average annual premium for bronze level health plan offered through the Exchange that year for the household size…
The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
According to a footnote in the report, “subtitle F of the Code” is the portion of the tax code which grants the IRS the authority to assess and collect taxes. In other words, as the law is written the federal government has no legal authority to enforce this mandate, nor will it have any recourse to collect any penalties that go unpaid!"
Friday, March 26, 2010
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"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid mistakenly called out "no" Thursday when asked for his vote on the health care reconciliation bill, setting the chamber howling with laughter.
Reid voted the wrong way when the clerk called for his vote, realized his error and quickly changed his vote to "yes.""
"GoDaddy.com, the world's largest domain name registration company, told lawmakers Wednesday that it will cease registering Web sites in China in response to intrusive new government rules that require applicants to provide extensive personal data, including photographs of themselves."
"President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation's economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.
In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president's budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.
"An additional $1.2 trillion in debt dumped on [GDP] to our children makes a huge difference," said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "That represents an additional debt of $10,000 per household above and beyond the federal debt they are already carrying."
The federal public debt, which was $6.3 trillion ($56,000 per household) when Mr. Obama entered office amid an economic crisis, totals $8.2 trillion ($72,000 per household) today, and it's headed toward $20.3 trillion (more than $170,000 per household) in 2020, according to CBO's deficit estimates.
That figure would equal 90 percent of the estimated gross domestic product in 2020, up from 40 percent at the end of fiscal 2008."
The definition is not the place they are supposed to get tripped up, so you can help them if they look like they are struggling with confusion or trying to wiggle out of answering. The definition is not the 'trap', the trap is calling them out on using Orwellian language to push through the bill (twice); with something I tried to point out months ago made zero sense; that is forcing companies to cover preexisting condition.
Here is my logic/trap:
1) Insurance is small payments (or premiums) in return for a promise that in the event of a specific event the company will give you a large sum. The small sums are a fee for the company to take on your risk.
2) Welfare is aid money, or that large sum, without the small payments because you need it and someone believes you should get it.
3) Which one of those (insurance or welfare) is forcing a company to cover preexisting conditions more like?
I think it is clear that coverage for preexisting conditions is welfare and not insurance. If you believe that we should provide for the sick without any health insurance that is fine, but make that argument. Do not use Orwellian doublespeak to try to convince people what you are pushing is something different then what it actually is.
You can approach pitching this to your representative in a number of different ways. You can ask them to define both one at a time and then ask the question of which one it is more like. You could define them both yourself and then ask which is closer to forcing a company to cover preexisting conditions. You could just come out and say that you think it is more like welfare and ask them to tell you why you are wrong. There are only two 'musts'; be respectful and video tape the exchange. Once uploaded, comment with a link or email me with it.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"The House of Representatives passed a slightly altered health care "fixes" bill Thursday night, completing legislative action on President Obama's top domestic priority.
The so-called "fixes" bill, approved by a 220-207 vote, now goes to Obama to be signed into law. It makes changes in the broader health care reform measure that Obama enacted Tuesday.
Approval by both the House and Senate on Thursday concluded a tortuous legislative struggle for the health care reform legislation, which received no Republican support in any of the major votes in either chamber dating back to last year."
"You may remember that a while back we launched remote sign out and information about recent account activity to help you understand and manage your account usage. This information is still at the bottom of your inbox. Now, if it looks like something unusual is going on with your account, we’ll also alert you by posting a warning message saying, "Warning: We believe your account was last accessed from…" along with the geographic region that we can best associate with the access.
By clicking on the "Details" link next to the message, you'll see the last account activity window that you're used to, along with the most recent access points.
If you think your account has been compromised, you can change your password from the same window. Or, if you know it was legitimate access (e.g. you were traveling, your husband/wife who accesses the account was also traveling, etc.), you can click "Dismiss" to remove the message."
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Baucus (D) - "This Legislation Will Have The Effect of Addressing That Mal-Distribution of Income in America"
"Sen. Max Baucus (D): "Too often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind. Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.""
"While it appears Cleaver may have experienced a spraying of sorts as a result of the yelling, it does not support a conclusion that he was intentionally spat upon, as claimed.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement late Saturday saying that he was spit upon while walking to the Capitol to cast a vote, leading the Capitol Police to usher him into the building out of concern for his safety. Police detained the individual, who was then released because Cleaver declined to press charges.
You can see it clearly at 1:25 seconds in. If that is indeed the case, then Cleaver owes an apology to protesters for his false accusation."
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"Police said Wednesday they have warned an airport worker who reportedly made a crude remark about a colleague's breasts as a newly-installed security scanner took a full body X-ray of her.
Jo Margetson, 29, walked into an X-ray machine at London's Heathrow Airport by mistake before the incident allegedly took place -- and told The Sun newspaper she is now "totally traumatised"."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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"The idea is that by securing even a slight adjustment in the language, the Senate will have to send the bill back to the House of Representatives for reconsideration. Drawing out the process makes it more likely for it to be tripped up.
On Tuesday, the GOP put its strategy into action, with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okl.) introducing an amendment beyond agreeable. Titled "No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs To Sex Offenders" it would literally prohibit convicted child molesters, rapists, and sex offenders from getting erectile dysfunction medication from their health care providers.
While it will undoubtedly be difficult for Democrats to vote against the measure (one can conjure up the campaign ads already), the party plans to do just that.
"Democrats in the Senate are very unified that this is not going back to the House," Sen. Wyden (D-Ore.) told the Huffington Post on Tuesday, minutes before the Coburn amendment was introduced.
Just how unified? If Republicans, in a bit of legislative trickery, offer an amendment to the Senate reconciliation bill that allows for the establishment of a public option for insurance coverage, Democrats -- despite longing for the proposal for more than a year -- won't even take the bait."
"Everyone get the joke here? If the Dems amend the reconciliation bill for any reason, they have to send it back to the House for yet another vote. So anything the GOP proposes — anything — they’re basically bound to vote no on. And Coburn knows it. One tasty shinola sandwich, coming up! Although I’m confused: If, as the left has convinced itself, ObamaCare is pure win for them politically (see, e.g., today’s ridiculously overhyped Gallup poll), what’s the aversion to another House vote? In fact, why not ping-pong the bill back and forth between the chambers for another month, loading it up with ever more crowd-pleasing amendments? It’s time to own the glorious political victory that looms in November, liberals."
"Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the Dean of the House of Representatives, defended ObamaCare on WJR’s Paul W. Smith show yesterday. In response to a question posed by Smith, Dingell admitted:
Let me remind you this [Americans allegedly dying because of lack of universal health care] has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.
"Hours after President Barack Obama signed historic health care legislation, a potential problem emerged. Administration officials are now scrambling to fix a gap in highly touted benefits for children.
Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.
Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.
However, if a child is accepted for coverage, or is already covered, the insurer cannot exclude payment for treating a particular illness, as sometimes happens now. For example, if a child has asthma, the insurance company cannot write a policy that excludes that condition from coverage. The new safeguard will be in place later this year.
Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That's the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems."
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
"Google's attempted detour around China's Internet censorship rules was met with countermeasures Tuesday by the communist government, which blocked people on the mainland from seeing search results dealing with such forbidden topics as the pro-democracy movement.
China's maneuver, as well as its public rebuke of Google's decision to stop censoring searches for the government, rattled some of the company's investors, advertisers and users."
"Three airports in the district of infamous fence-sitting and ultimately kowtowing Democrat Bart Stupak were awarded $726,409 in grants by the Obama Administration just two days before a vote on Obama and Pelosi’s government takeover of healthcare.
Did Stupak compromise his supposed principled stand against taxpayer funding of abortion in exchange for taxpayer dollars for pet projects?
Alpena County Regional Airport received a $85,500 grant, but had only 7,519 passenger boardings in 2008 (the most recent year for which there is information) according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data. Alpena County Regional Airport serves fewer passengers than even the late Rep. John Murtha’s famous “Airport for Nobody.”
Delta County Airport has even less customers than that, but still received a $179,209 grant.
Chippewa County International Airport received a $461,700 grant, but had only 13,733 passenger boardings in 2008.
Will Stupak come clean about this apparent backroom deal for his vote?"
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As Glenn Reynolds says; "I should also note — as Dana points out above — that when goons, wearing SEIU t-shirts even, beat up Ken Gladney and called him a “nigger” the press wasn’t interested at all despite the presence of video, and charges filed, while it’s been happy to run with a story about tea partiers that the video contradicts. So the whole have-you-no-decency routine here seems kinda contrived and desperate."
"Norrie May-Welby, 48, was born a man but had a sex change operation in 1990, at the age of 28.
After becoming unhappy as a woman, May-Welby decided to become a “neuter”. The 48-year-old is now officially recognised as a person of no specific gender.
Officials there altered the Briton’s birth certificate to include the new no-gender classification after doctors were apparently unable to determine the sex of the expat’s body.
May-Welby said: “The concepts of man or woman don’t fit me. The simplest solution is not to have any sex identification.”"
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Monday, March 22, 2010
"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that the nuclear power plant in Iran that is built by Russia would go on line this summer. At a meeting with officials in Volgodonsk, Putin said: "The launch of the first unit of Iran's nuclear power station should be implemented already this summer." However, he gave no exact date for the launch. His statement marked yet another postponement of the launch, which tentatively had been set for this spring.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Russia to delay the commissioning of the reactor until Iran proves that it will not use it for military means."
"If you're searching for something on the web, you don't just start randomly visiting pages looking for relevant content, you use a search engine. So we decided to apply some of Google's search experience to the problem of scheduling. We experimented with using ranking algorithms to return the most relevant meeting times based on specified criteria like attendees, schedule complexity, conference rooms, and time zones. Just like Google search ranks the web, our scheduling search algorithm returns a ranked set of the best candidate dates and times.
Today we're launching the result of that experiment, a gadget called Smart Rescheduler, in Google Calendar Labs. Once you turn it on, just select an event you'd like to reschedule, then click "Find a new time...":
You'll see ranked list of possible times for your meeting. By investigating the calendars others have shared with you, Google Calendar can make some educated guesses about how easy it might be to reschedule a conflicting meeting and even find you a replacement conference room nearby. This process is 100% automated — no Google employees are doing any work behind the scenes. You can refine the results by marking people as optional, changing the meeting duration, ignoring certain conflicts, or specifying the earliest and latest times you'll accept. The results will immediately update to reflect your new requirements."
The national group ACORN is folding, an official there, Kevin Whelan, said in an emailed statement:
The ACORN Association Board met on Sunday March 21 and approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months. These include:
* Closing ACORN’s remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st; and
* Developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues.
ACORN’s members have a great deal to be proud of--from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation—ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger to communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.
ACORN was always a very decentralized group, with a great deal of its activity and power concentrated in local chapters from New York to Arkansas -- the strongest of which will survive."
"China hit back at Google last night after the internet search giant closed its flagship Chinese site, carrying out a threat issued two months ago in a dispute over censorship.
The company stopped censoring its search results in China and redirected users of the Google.cn service to its uncensored Google.com.hk site based in Hong Kong. The White House, which had backed Google in its dispute, expressed “disappointment” that an American company felt compelled to take such a drastic step.
The world’s largest internet company has been in talks for two months with Beijing over its threat to shut down its Chinese-language search engine and close its offices, rather than kowtow to government censors. It delivered the ultimatum after alleged cyber attacks aimed at its source code and at the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The company said the attacks originated in China."
"Care at the hospital had previously been rated "good" by the Care Quality Commission.
The botched op took place last year.
The unnamed patient should have had his right epididymis — a narrow tube connected to the testes — removed but the surgeons took away his left one instead.
A second op was then needed to take away the right one, rendering him totally infertile."
"The bond market is saying that it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffett than Barack Obama.
Two-year notes sold by the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lowe’s Cos. debt also traded at lower yields in recent weeks, a situation former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. chief fixed-income strategist Jack Malvey calls an “exceedingly rare” event in the history of the bond market."
Sunday, March 21, 2010
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Drudge calls it A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFIRMARY in his big bold headline all caps style.
Liberty dies with thunderous applause! (video embedded below)
Democrats to America: Drop dead (via)
"Never before in American history has a measure of such importance been imposed on the country by the majority party over the unanimous opposition of the minority. Democrats have continually sought to create a halo effect for Obamacare by associating it with Social Security and Medicare. But the reality is that both of those landmark programs were approved with strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and House. The Senate vote on Social Security in 1935 was 77-6, with 64 Democrats being joined by 14 Republicans. In the House, the 373 votes for Social Security included 77 Republicans. When Medicare passed in 1965, the 68-21 Senate vote included 13 Republicans, while 65 Republicans were among the 313 affirmative House votes. Such bipartisan consensus was what the Founders sought with the Constitution. But Democrats made a mockery of bipartisanship by shoving Obamacare down the throats of Republican lawmakers and snubbing the popular majority that opposed it. The Democrats have undercut the credibility of the law they created."
The Future After Health Care (via)
"Regardless of what you think about health care, tomorrow we wake up in a different political world.
Parties have passed legislation before that wasn't broadly publicly supported. But the only substantial instances I can think of in America are budget bills and TARP--bills that the congressmen were basically forced to by emergencies in the markets.
One cannot help but admire Nancy Pelosi's skill as a legislator. But it's also pretty worrying. Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority? Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don't find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances."
Video embedded below.
"Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas), an ob-gyn, tells National Review Online that the Stupak deal is "unconstitutional," along with all other executive orders. "It's an outrage," he says. "Why does the Congress allow the executive branch to write law? Republicans do it, Democrats do it, it's lawlessness. Congress should be curtailing that rather than encouraging it.""
More at http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/96119
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ENSURING ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ABORTION RESTRICTIONS IN THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (approved March ¬¬__, 2010), I hereby order as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment. The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors—Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers—are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.
The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Section 2. Strict Compliance with Prohibitions on Abortion Funding in Health Insurance Exchanges. The Act specifically prohibits the use of tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments to pay for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) in the health insurance exchanges that will be operational in 2014. The Act also imposes strict payment and accounting requirements to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services in exchange plans (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered) and requires state health insurance commissioners to ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, OMB funds management circulars, and accounting guidance provided by the Government Accountability Office.
I hereby direct the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS to develop, within 180 days of the date of this Executive Order, a model set of segregation guidelines for state health insurance commissioners to use when determining whether exchange plans are complying with the Act’s segregation requirements, established in Section 1303 of the Act, for enrollees receiving Federal financial assistance. The guidelines shall also offer technical information that states should follow to conduct independent regular audits of insurance companies that participate in the health insurance exchanges. In developing these model guidelines, the Director of OMB and the Secretary of HHS shall consult with executive agencies and offices that have relevant expertise in accounting principles, including, but not limited to, the Department of the Treasury, and with the Government Accountability Office. Upon completion of those model guidelines, the Secretary of HHS should promptly initiate a rulemaking to issue regulations, which will have the force of law, to interpret the Act’s segregation requirements, and shall provide guidance to state health insurance commissioners on how to comply with the model guidelines.
Section 3. Community Health Center Program.
The Act establishes a new Community Health Center (CHC) Fund within HHS, which provides additional Federal funds for the community health center program. Existing law prohibits these centers from using federal funds to provide abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), as a result of both the Hyde Amendment and longstanding regulations containing the Hyde language. Under the Act, the Hyde language shall apply to the authorization and appropriations of funds for Community Health Centers under section 10503 and all other relevant provisions. I hereby direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure that program administrators and recipients of Federal funds are aware of and comply with the limitations on abortion services imposed on CHCs by existing law. Such actions should include, but are not limited to, updating Grant Policy Statements that accompany CHC grants and issuing new interpretive rules.
Section 4. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) authority granted by law or presidential directive to an agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This Executive Order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This Executive Order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,"
"- 1:00 pm ET: House comes in for 10 "ONE MINUTE" speeches.
- 1:20-ish: Debate on two "points of order" (i.e., objections) against the rule (having to do with budgetary impact). Each point gets 20 minutes debate.
- 2:15-ish: Vote on the POO's
- 2:45-ish: Debate begin on the rule
- 4:00-ish: Vote on the rule
- 4:30-ish: Two-hour general health care debate begins
- 7:00-ish: Debate ends. Vote on the SENATE bill begins (This is where John Boehner has asked for a manual vote, which would take much longer than a normal electronic vote. He isn't likely to get it, however.)
- 730-ish: Debate on a Republican "motion to recommit." This is the Republicans' best shot all day, a motion that would scuttle the whole thing. Substance is always a secret until last minute, but we can expect it to involve abortion in an effort to put the Stupak group on the spot.)
- 745-ish: Vote on motion to recommit
- 800-ish: If motion to recommit fails, then the final vote on reconciliation "fixes."
- 830-ish: Gavel comes down on final vote. If it's close, Dem leaders will extend the usual 15 minutes to twist arms."
"Top Democrats confirmed Saturday that the House would hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and the reconciliation bill, making fixes to it.
The move effectively kills the "deem and pass" strategy Democrats had been eyeing to make changes to the Senate bill through a rule on the bill, which at the same time would have deemed the original Senate healthcare bill to have passed the House.
The House appears set now to move toward an up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill, as well as a separate, up-or-down vote on the series of changes to that bill. There will still be a vote on the rule, as there always is for a piece of legislation, though it will not package the two bills together.
Democrats moved toward separating the votes after several members, including Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), had said they could not support the procedural maneuver.
Cardoza confirmed the change in position by House leadership during a Rules Committee meeting Saturday afternoon."
"How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?
The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.
In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion."
"Dear Speaker Pelosi:
It appears the House of Representatives will proceed with plans to vote this weekend on President Obama’s health care legislation, despite the well-documented objections of the American people to both the contents of the bill and the manner in which the Democratic leadership hopes to pass it.
This weekend’s votes will be among the most consequential votes we will ever cast as Members of Congress. As such, it is my belief that every Member should stand before the American people and announce his or her vote as the final decision is made.
With this in mind, I request that you use your discretion under the Rules of the House of Representatives, Clause 2 and 3 of House Rule XX, to conduct the record vote by call of the roll for both adoption of the Senate health care bill (i.e. the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3590, as passed on Christmas Eve this past year) and for the rule making that bill in order.
Thank you for your consideration of this request."
Dropbox (Max Free Space)
Creeper World (Maps)
Dilettante - by Bobby Fingeroth
Recommendations: as long as you are here you should read about an Abortion Compromise That Both Sides Will be Happy With, and learn How to Tell Grassroots and Astroturf Movements Apart.