Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good News For Spine Injuries

FDA approves Geron's groundbreaking study of embryonic cells - San Jose Mercury News: "A Menlo Park biotech firm said Friday that federal regulators will let it proceed with the world's first human test of a treatment made from embryonic stem cells, a much-anticipated but controversial study of patients with spinal cord injuries that had been placed on hold for nearly a year because of safety concerns.

If the treatment from Geron works, it 'would be revolutionary,' said Dr. Richard Fessler, a neurological surgeon at Northwestern University, who will lead the study of a stem-cell treatment designed to be injected into patients with spinal injuries to restore their motor function. 'The therapy would provide a viable treatment option for thousands of patients who suffer severe spinal cord injuries each year...'"

"No" To Kagan From Hutch

Laws, Life, and Legal Matters - Court Cases and Legal Information at Leagle.com - All Federal and State Appeals Court Cases in One Search: "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Friday that she will vote against Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination.

'I simply cannot reconcile Ms. Kagan's sparse record and my concerns about whether she will be an impartial arbiter of the law,' the Texas Republican said.

Hutchison, who also voted against Kagan's U.S. solicitor general nomination last year, explained her decision by focusing on Kagan's role in Harvard University's restrictions on military recruiters on its campus..."

Any excuse is better than no excuse, I guess.

The Other 13th Amendment

The Move to 'Restore' the 13th Amendment - Newsweek: "...There are, of course, other implications of Thirteenthism, such as ensuring that the United States never again suffers the humiliation of having a president win the Nobel Peace Prize. That was just what the Iowa Republicans had in mind, according to Plogmann, who wrote in an e-mail that the plank “was meant to make a statement about the delegates’ opinion about Mr. Obama receiving the prize.” (Presumably they didn’t mind if, in the process, they were also making a statement about any American scientist or writer unlucky enough to win a Nobel.) Unfortunately for them, the Department of Justice looked into whether Obama needed Congressional approval to accept the Nobel under the existing emoluments clause, and based on the meaning of “foreign state” (which would not cover the Nobel Prize Committee) concluded that he did not.

But they could be playing with fire. “We’re in a constitutional silly season,” says Bernstein, “and whether you are of the left or the right, if you take the Constitution seriously, it’s very troubling.” The threat posed by the 13th Amendment is remote; as far as can be determined, no other state has followed the Iowa GOP in calling for ratification, and no bill of ratification has been introduced into the Iowa legislature. As far as their platform goes, we should all be willing to defer to Iowa Republicans on the definition of manure as natural fertilizer. So long as they keep it on the fields, where it belongs."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Move Left And Win...

...but, of course, that depends on how far right you were to begin with.

Poll: Charlie Crist has slight edge in U.S. Senate race - Political Currents - MiamiHerald.com: "After leaving the Republican Party before the U.S. Senate primary, Gov. Charlie Crist's strategy of veering to the political left has given him the edge in the general election, a new poll shows..."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Shame At Arlington

Hostile senators unload on ex-Arlington chiefs - Arlington National Cemetery Investigation - Salon.com: "Jack Metzler, the former superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, and his ex-deputy, Thurman Higginbotham, faced a hostile Senate investigative panel on Thursday as they struggled to answer questions about the burial scandal that played out on their watch.

At various times, Metzler tried to say he was unaware of the issues at the cemetery, which include graves with no headstones, unknown remains in graves, urns of cremated remains tossed out in the landfill, and the apparent waste of millions in public funds that were designated to address the problems. (Salon documented these issues and others in a year-long investigative series.) Metzler also claimed that, as he became aware of problems, he fixed them -- but Sen. Claire McCaskill, who chaired the panel, would have none of that..."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is The Oil Gone?

BBC News - US scientist says much surface Gulf oil 'dispersed': "Oil from BP's damaged Gulf of Mexico well is clearing from the sea surface faster than expected, scientists say, 100 days after the disaster began.

Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said much oil had been 'biodegraded by naturally occurring bacteria'..."

If the bottom of the food chain is feeding, becoming fat and sassy, then fishing in the Gulf ought to be great in four or five years.

The Good Mother-In-Law

Chelsa Clinton's soon-to-be mother-in-law is one of the good guys. Read more here: Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hope For Vets (And America)

V.A. Eases Rules for Medical Marijuana - NYTimes.com: "The Department of Veterans Affairs will formally allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, a policy clarification that veterans have sought for several years.

A department directive, expected to take effect next week, resolves the conflict in veterans facilities between federal law, which outlaws marijuana, and the 14 states that allow medicinal use of the drug, effectively deferring to the states..."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

GOP Dream Team?

The Toad + Palin= Democratic GOP Dream Team.

Dean endorses a Gingrich candidacy - CNN.com: "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won't yet say if he's running for president in 2012, but he picked up an unlikely endorsement Sunday.

Gingrich, a leading conservative Republican, has 'a ton of ideas to move the country forward,' former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a past chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said on 'Fox News Sunday...'

I bet he does-- all of them bad.

Bloggers & Arson

Mitch Albom: In the Sherrod controversy, do shoot the messenger | freep.com | Detroit Free Press: "If a house is burned to the ground, you can whine about the firefighters or criticize the building material -- but first you blame the guy who started the fire, right?

Last week, a government worker named Shirley Sherrod was axed after a video clip of her NAACP speech was used to paint her as racist. In the blink of an eye, her reputation was burned down.

But once the whole speech was revealed -- proving the clip was way out of context -- her bosses were booed, the NAACP was blasted, even the president was chided.

And the guy who started the fire?

As of today, he still has matches..."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Taking A Hint From Success

Op-Ed Contributors - There’s Only One Way to Stop a Bully - NYTimes.com:

"...Look at Norway, where the prevention of such incidents became a major emphasis of the school system after three teenage victims of bullying committed suicide in 1983. There, everyone gets involved — teachers, janitors and bus drivers are all trained to identify instances of bullying, and taught how to intervene. Teachers regularly talk to one another about how their students interact. Children in every grade participate in weekly classroom discussions about friendship and conflict. Parents are involved in the process from the beginning.

Norway’s efforts have been tremendously effective. The incidence of bullying fell by half during the two-year period in which the programs were introduced. Stealing and cheating also declined. And the rate of bullying remains low today. Clearly, when a school and a community adopt values that are rooted in treating others with dignity and respect, children’s behavior can change..."

The Daily Uh-Oh: Hugo Edition

Long-simmering feud behind Venezuela-Colombia split: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Thursday his country would cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia after tension escalated last week over the activities of Colombian rebels.

It was followed by a notice from the Foreign Ministry ordering shutdown of the Colombian embassy in Caracas and immediate withdrawal of Venezuelan diplomatic staff within 72 hours.

Claiming Colombia was preparing for war against Venezuela..."

Horror In Germany

15 dead in Love Parade stampede - Telegraph: "

Friday, July 23, 2010

Racists Everywhere

In other news today … « The Confluence: "Well, I’m finishing up the summer semester and that’s taking up a lot of time! There’s a few other odds and ends news stories out there that aren’t about Shirley who got caught up in “post racial” America. What a mess! We’ve gone from seeing Communists under every bed to racists under ever bed!..."

Monday, July 19, 2010

BS Removal

Mel & The End

Op-Ed Columnist - The Good News About Mel Gibson - NYTimes.com: "...As utter coincidence would have it, the revelation of the latest Gibson tapes was followed last week by the news that a federal appeals court, in a 3-0 ruling, had thrown out the indecency rules imposed by the F.C.C. after Janet Jackson’s 2004 “wardrobe malfunction.” The death throes of Mel Gibson’s career feel less like another Hollywood scandal than the last gasps of an American era."

Female Priest Pedophilia Salvo

Op-Ed Columnist - Rome Fiddles, We Burn - NYTimes.com: "If the Vatican is trying to restore the impression that its moral sense is intact, issuing a document that equates pedophilia with the ordination of women doesn’t really do that..."

Two institutions no one should listen to-- MoDo and the Vatican.

Beck v. Jesus

Christian faith group hits back at Beck in radio ad campaign | The Underground: "...Beck has spoken out against social justice ideology that is based on faith, urging his viewers to leave churches that preach liberal social justice views.

According to Beck social justice is akin to wealth redistribution and is not in the Bible. Beck said that such ideology is founded on communism and Naziism and dramatically raised up a hammer and sickle and a swastika to further enhance his point, The Atlantic said..."

Oh. And he's going blind.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Then & Now: GOPer Edition

Robert Creamer: Dirty Little Secrets the Republicans Don't Want You to Know:

Then-- "...Over the course of eight short years -- between 2000 and 2008 -- the Republicans methodically executed their plan to transform American society. They systematically transferred wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest two percent of Americans -- slashing taxes for the wealthy. They eviscerated the rules that held Wall Street, Big Oil and private insurance companies accountable to the public. They allowed and encouraged the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks that ultimately collapsed the economy and cost eight million Americans their jobs. They ignored exploding health care costs, tried to privatize Social Security, gave the drug companies open season to gouge American consumers and presided over a decline in real incomes averaging $2,000 per family. They entangled America in an enormously costly, unnecessary war in Iraq, pursued a directionless policy that left Afghanistan to fester, and sullied America's good name throughout the world..."

Now-- "...Finally, meet Congressman Joe Barton. If the Republicans win back control of Congress, he would once again most likely serve as the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee -- the Committee that oversees the oil industry. Congressman Barton has never met an oil company he doesn't like. In fact, he's the guy who actually apologized to BP when they were forced by the Obama Administration to take economic responsibility for the disastrous Gulf oil spill. As a political matter, that's like apologizing to Jack the Ripper..."

Offensive Post Causes TP Rift

Tea Party Federation kicks out Williams over blog post - CNN.com: "The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that represents the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled conservative commentator Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote, federation spokesman David Webb said Sunday..."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fraud Faux Facts

Medicare Crackdown: "Prosecution Is Not the Solution" | NBC Miami:

It is often said that the death penalty does not deter crime, but as numerous wags have pointed out, it does deter one criminal. The example of the car with the keys in the ignition is a valid one, but the point about criminality remains-- I should be able to leave my car unguarded and if someone does take it, then he needs to be caught and punished.

Iran's GOP Squabbling

Iran’s President Renews Pressure on Conservatives - NYTimes.com: "Having successfully suppressed the opposition uprising that followed last summer’s disputed presidential election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters are now renewing their efforts to marginalize another rival group — Iran’s traditional conservatives..."

More Free Hype For Apple

Reactions to Steve Jobs' performance - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech:

Friday, July 16, 2010

UFO In China

Via Simply Left Behind, with good video at the following link-- UFO in China Closes Airport and Prompts Investigation - ABC News:

Palin's Negatives

The Plum Line - Only Republicans like Sarah Palin: "The new Gallup poll shows a striking disconnect in public opinion about Sarah Palin: While her favorability ratings are significantly higher among Republicans than all the other 2012 GOP hopefuls, her negative ratings among Americans overall are also significantly higher than those of her GOP rivals.

This is significant, I think, because it underscores the uniqueness of her political situation and suggests she will face major challenges if she decides to step outside the current role she's carved out for herself in American life..."

I've said it before and I'll say it again--I liked Palin a lot more before she became a media star and a spokesperson for the Tea Party.

Reid Leads

The Fix - Harry Reid takes the lead over Sharron Angle in Nevada:

First, The Good Gulf News

BP well remains sealed as pressure tests continue: "BP's blown-out gulf well remained sealed Friday morning, spewing not a drop of oil. But pressures in the well were still measuring at an ambiguous level that will require scientists and engineers to make a tough judgment call on whether to reopen the well..."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GOP Strategy

James Sharp: GOP must launch all-out assault on Democrats | Gainesville.com:
"President Obama has been continuing his seventeen-month campaign to blame all of our nation’s woes on the Bush administration..."

And O's strategy is wrong? If the GOP thinks it's still ok to blame Carter and Clinton, then Skippy the Wonder Chimp is fair game.

Gay Marriage Down South

Argentina approves gay marriage - chicagotribune.com:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some Notice Of Primary Screwing

At Long Last, Intimidation Of Hillary Voters Coming To Light : NO QUARTER: "But another piece of dirt coming out from under this rug of DOJ whistle blowing is something about which a number of us knew for some time. The threats of intimidation and violence toward Hillary Clinton supporters during the 2008 Primaries. The constant refrain that Obama ran a better campaign than Clinton is absurd, unless you think threatening people, lying, and cheating is “running a better campaign.” Personally, I do not, especially from the party to which I gave my loyalty for decades. I dunno, I kinda have a thing against liars, cheats, and thugs – maybe it comes from my vocation. Ahem.

At long, long, last, some in the media are finally paying attention. The documentary filmmaker, Gigi Gaston, was on Fox and Friends recently, speaking out about the corruption associated with the 2008 Democratic Primaries. Her film, “We Will Not Be Silenced 2008″ is a critical piece of history regarding how Obama and the DNC colluded against Hillary Clinton and the 18 million of us who voted for her. Below is Ms. Gaston speaking out about what she found:..."

Running Against Bush

Obama strategy against Palin, or other GOP foes? Run against Bush - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency:

No Veils In France

BBC News - French MPs vote to ban Islamic full veil in public: "France's lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public.

There were 335 votes for the bill and only one against in the 557-seat National Assembly.

It must now be ratified by the Senate in September to become law.

The ban has strong public support but critics point out that only a tiny minority of French Muslims wear the full veil..."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Child Rapist Goes Free

Swiss refuse extradition, free Polanski - latimes.com:...but everyone is getting their knickers in a knot over Mel Gibson. Where do you drink your cup of outrage?

Doomsday Castro

Fidel Castro returns to TV with dire warning of nuclear conflict | World news | The Guardian: "The Middle East is on the verge of a nuclear war triggered by a US attack on Iran in the name of preventing the country from developing its own weapons, according to ageing Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro..."

Gulf Hope

Tighter cap on, now testing can begin | Deepwater Horizon | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "BP technicians used robotic hands on Monday to place a new, 150,000-pound sealing valve on top of the blown out Macondo well, with the aim of shutting in the well and ending the Gulf oil spill.

Like BP's other struggles to wrestle down the wild well, this effort, though proceeding as planned, is no sure bet. It will depend on whether and how badly the well casing was damaged by the deadly surge of oil and gas in the April 20 blowout that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and triggered the spill..."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Common Sense Rules In Dowbloading Case

File-sharing damages reduced tenfold - The Boston Globe: "In a major setback for the recording industry, a Boston judge yesterday slashed by 90 percent a $675,000 damages award that a Boston University graduate student had been ordered to pay to four record labels for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them online..."

More Aid For Vets

PTSD: New regs will make it easier for war vets to get help - CSMonitor.com: "At least since the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., soldiers have recorded episodes of what we now call “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD). Greek historian Herodotus wrote of a physically uninjured soldier who went blind when the soldier next to him was killed.

During the Civil War, PTSD was called “soldier’s heart.” In World War II, it was “battle fatigue.” Studies estimate that nearly 30 percent of Vietnam veterans (some 830,000) have experienced some level of PTSD..."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Strange Praise

The Plum Line - Netanyahu praises Obama for ... his Cairo speech to Muslim world!: "For many hawkish and pro-Israel commentators, there are few events that are more infamous than Obama's speech in Cairo last summer. Though he reaffirmed in that speech that the U.S.'s bond with Israel is 'unbreakable,' many analysts have simply ignored this fact and pointed to Obama's outreach to the Muslim world as proof of anti-Israel intent.

So it's a bit surprising that at their joint press availability today, Netanyahu actually praised that Cairo speech, specifically citing it as proof that the President does not harbor ill will towards Israel. From the White House transcript, just out:..."

Bad Tea Leaves For Paul

Rand Paul Is No Longer Leading His Kentucky Senate Race: "Speaking of Ron Paul, his son Rand is no longer the front runner for the Senate seat from Kentucky.

According to Public Policy Polling, he's now tied at 43% with his Democratic opponent Jim Conway..."

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Where We've Been;Where We Are

Independence Day News « The Confluence: "...We’ve certainly come a long way since then. There have always been controversies, there have been wars, even a major civil war. There have been many, many corrupt politicians, and there have been disasters. But in recent years we have had some larger than life events that have shaken us to our foundation. We had a corrupt president who after impeached resigned in disgrace. We had a very questionable arms for hostages trading behind the scenes by people running for office that helped them get elected. We had an opposing party go on an endless witch hunt of a sitting president as a political tactic. We had a presidential election decided by the supreme court, with embarrassingly obvious conflicts of interest, selecting the loser of that election to be president. We’ve seen illegal wars for oil and profit a number of times, including our current wars. And finally in the latest blow to our system, we have someone who lost his party primaries but was installed by that party’s leaders nonetheless. He was backed when he was unheard of by major financial, insurance, and oil companies to the tune of more money than any established politician. And who has turned out to be a corporatist, uncaring, detached leader with seemingly endless disdain for the citizens. And further, we have two political parties that are effectively the same, owned by the same interests, making the whole system into a cruel joke..."

Steele Forgets Bush

Sen. Graham Blasts GOP Chairman on Afghanistan - Face The Nation - CBS News: "Sen. Lindsey Graham says Afghanistan is not 'Obama's war.'

The South Carolina Republican strongly condemned Republican National committee chairman Michael Steele for making a comment that Afghanistan is 'a war of Obama's choosing,' despite the fact that it began years before the president took office.

Graham, speaking from Afghanistan, told CBS' 'Face The Nation' that he was 'dismayed, angry, upset' at Steele.

'It was an uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment,' the senator said..."

Vampire Oil Cartels

Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies - NYTimes.com: "...But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process.

According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry..."

Giant Skimmer

Large-scale skimmer continues testing in Gulf - CNN.com: "The boat, which swallows water with oil then separates it, can skim about 21 million gallons of oil a day. That's at least 250 times the amount that modified fishing vessels currently conducting skimming operations have been able to contain, according to Taiwanese company TMT shipping, which owns the vessel..."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

WW II Vets Coming Home

Remains of 7 servicemen from WWII are identified - USATODAY.com: "U.S. military authorities have identified the remains of a seven servicemen missing in action since their cargo plane went down in Burma during World War II..."

Boner Planning GOP Reign

The partisan rancor beneath Boehner's rhetoric

'...If the GOP were to gain the upper hand, and Boehner were elected as speaker, the question is what he and his party would do with that power. Boehner listed three priorities. First, he said, was a renewed commitment to fiscal discipline -- a test his party badly flunked the last time it was in the majority. Second, he said, was to engage in "an adult conversation with the American people" about the need to rein in entitlement spending. And third, he wants to increase bipartisan cooperation in the House.

He offered few concrete thoughts about the GOP agenda but promised that the party will make that clearer before November. "I'm not Barack Obama and I'm not Nancy Pelosi," he said. "I say what I mean and I mean what I say, and we're not going to put anything in a document that we don't have every intention of accomplishing..."'

Another Example Of FIFA Unfairness

Uruguayan banned for game-saving handball - World Cup- nbcsports.msnbc.com

" FIFA has banned Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for one match for his deliberate handball to deny Ghana a winning goal in their World Cup quarterfinal match.

FIFA's disciplinary committee has ruled that Suarez was guilty of "denying the opposite team a clear goal-scoring opportunity" and imposed just a one-match suspension..."

And no, getting a penalty kick is not just reward. The point should have been awarded to Ghana. Suarez should have suspended for at least the rest of the World Cup and banned from playing for a year. Severe enough penalties might stop some of the cheating,though that will do nothing to solve the zebra problem.

Biden Squeezing Iraq

Biden in Iraq: Biden to meet with Iraq politicians - latimes.com

" Vice President Joe Biden, the White House point man on Iraq policy, arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for meetings with the two front-runners in slow-moving negotiations to lead the Iraqi government as U.S. troops pull out.

Iraqis voted on March 7, and there are widespread expectations that naming a prime minister and forming a new government could take many more weeks. In the meantime, a sense of uncertainty pervades the country and U.S. troops are in the process of drawing down to a total of 50,000 by the end of August..."

Friday, July 02, 2010

About The Recession

Read this post for a lucid explanation of our economic times. Economic Fairy Tales and other Bed time stories « The Confluence: "...To me, one REAL question remains. Why do President Obama and the Democratic Leaders continue to go against the will of the people and adopt policies that will fail and will bring more suffering? They must be designed to fail the American people and serve that class of people who will continue to wallow in an orgy of profit and excess if the Fairy Tale is maintained. That’s my only explanation."

Freedom

About That Unemployment Check

Simply Left BehindThe Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy: Yobs, Yobs, Yobs

"...You folks in Congress work three months out of the year, get your health insurance paid for, despite drawing a six figure salary, have a guaranteed pension plan in place, have healthclub privileges, get free cafeteria food, have expense accounts and that's just for starters with the LEGAL perks of being a Congresscritter! It seems to me the percentage of corrupt Representatives and Senators is a LOT higher than the percentage of folks on unemployment who might buy the occasional six pack to drown their sorrows!

Grow up, nut up, shut up, and butt out!"

The Lessons Of Hamas

How to win with Hamas - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

"Never has Israel had an enemy so perfectly attuned to the Jewish state's weaknesses, so impervious to its strengths. For more than 20 years - ever since Israel inadvertently midwifed the founding of Hamas at the outset of the first intifada - the organization has leveraged Israel's every tactic into tangible, stepwise political gain..."