Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What Would Jesus Do? Vote Against Nancy Pelosi, For Starters

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Nancy Pelosi recently told the Catholic Community Conference that she has a duty to pursue public policies in keeping with the values of Jesus.

Pelosi repeatedly referenced “The Word.” She didn’t, however, tell anyone that the word is “crazy,” but this video makes that quite evident:

Kind of like watching Jack Kevorkian trying to gain the trust of attendees at an AARP convention, isn’t it?

“The word was made flesh” — unless that flesh wasn’t wanted for any reason whatsoever.
Here’s a bit of Pelosi’s abortion voting record from On the Issues:

Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)Voted YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)Voted NO on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)Voted NO on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)Voted NO on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. (Dec 2003)Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance. (Dec 2006)
If there’s a bumper sticker slogan that best represents Nancy Pelosi, it’s “What Would Jesus Not Do?”

By Doug Powers

Justice Department Launches Criminal Investigation Against BP

Attorney General Eric Holder just launched criminal and civil investigations against BP.

From DOJ:

What we saw this morning was oil for miles and miles. Oil that we know has already affected plant and animal life along the coast, and has impacted the lives and livelihoods of all too many in this region. This disaster is nothing less than a tragedy.

There is one thing I will not let be forgotten in this incident: In addition to the extensive costs being borne by our environment and by communities along the Gulf Coast, the initial explosion and fire also took the lives of 11 rig workers. Eleven innocent lives lost. As we examine the causes of the explosion and subsequent spill, I want to assure the American people that we will not forget the price those workers paid.

BP is already facing thousand of private suits in what could easily be the biggest case in US history. Any criminal convictions would lead to a massive increase liability.

Prosecutors in a criminal case can seek twice the cost of environmental and economic damages resulting from the spill. Without criminal convictions, spill liability is limited to a 1-to-1 damage ratio.

Gus Lubin

Lady Gaga “Larry King Live” Sneak Peek: “I Was Going To Open For Michael Jackson”

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Lady Gaga makes her inaugural appearance on Larry King Live on Tuesday night, in a chat where music, lupus, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and Michael Jackson will take center stage.

The rising pop icon claims she was due to perform with music legend Michael Jackson as the opening act at his ill-fated This Is It comeback shows. The King of Pop died last summer after suffering a cardiac arrest just weeks before he was due to begin his 50-date residency at London’s O2 Arena.

“You know, it’s always very difficult because I don’t necessarily like to talk about those very personal things that happened. But I guess I can speak about it now. I was actually asked to open for Michael on his tour. We were going to open for him at the O2 and we were working on making it happen. I believe there was some talk about lots of the openers doing duets with Michael on stage, but Michael’s death was devastating for me regardless of whether or not I was supposed to go on tour with him. He’s such an inspiration and a remarkable human being.”

She continued:

“Lupus is in my family and it is genetic. My mother told me the other day that my fans were quite worried about me because I did talk about the fact that I was tested for lupus. The truth is I don’t show any signs, any symptoms of lupus. But I have tested borderline positive for the disease. As of right now I do not have it, but I have to take good care of myself.”

The singer, who is currently in the UK for the second leg of her Monster Ball Tour, will also preview a clip of her new music video, “Alejandro,” on Larry King Live tonight.

Stephanie R. Bush-Baskette, Esq., Ph.D. Misguided Justice: Book Signing This Friday In Trenton

Today’s News NJ & Classic Books

Meet the Author & Book Signing Misguided Justice: The War on Drugs and the Incarceration of Black Women

Stephanie R. Bush-Baskette, Esq, PhD, was astonished when she read that between 1986 and 1991, black women experienced the greatest percentage increase of any group, including black males, in imprisonment for drug offenses. Not only was she stunned by the statistic, but also that the impact of the war on drugs on black women is almost never discussed. As a former legislator, attorney, and gubernatorial cabinet member, Bush-Baskette is familiar with the development and implementation of public policies as well as the enactment and application of laws. This obscure fact concerning the status of black women in the criminal justice system became her touchstone as she earned a doctorate in criminal justice.

In Misguided Justice, Bush-Baskette uses her expertise in the law, criminal justice research, and the legislature to investigate and then discuss the effect of the war on drugs on the incarceration of black women in the federal system. She provides an overview of what the war on drugs is and how it has impacted women and black people in general, and then focuses on black women specifically. She provides background and context regarding how the laws were implemented and how they have affected the likelihood and length of incarceration of thousands of black women for more than two decades.
Rich Lee from the Hall Institute will interview her about the book.
Date: Friday, June 4, 2010 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Place: Gallery 125 125 South Warren Street Trenton, NJ 08608

Books will be available for purchase

This event is free to the public.

For more information about the book or the author visit: http://www.misguidedjustice.com/

Sponsored by Garces & Grabler Law Firm

253 East Front Street Trenton, NJ 08611

Al and Tipper Gore to separate after 40 years


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, are separating after 40 years of marriage.

According to an e-mail circulated among the couple's friends and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, the Gores said it was "a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration."

Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider confirmed the statement came from the Gores, but declined to comment further.

Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush. He has since campaigned worldwide to draw attention to climate change, which in 2007 led to a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

The Gores crafted an image as a happily married couple during his eight-year stint as vice president in the 1990s and a presidential candidate in 2000. The couple famously exchanged a long kiss during the 2000 Democratic presidential convention.

The image of their warm relationship stood in sharp contrast to the Clinton marriage rocked by Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, a scandal that hung over Gore's own presidential campaign.

Al Gore at the time said his wife was "someone I've loved with my whole heart since the night of my high school senior prom."

Tipper Gore was a co-founder in 1985 of the Parents Music Resource Center, which pushed for parental warning labels on music with violent or sexually explicit lyrics. The group drew the ire of musicians ranging from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister to Frank Zappa, who said warning labels were unnecessary and a danger to freedom.

Tipper Gore later became friends with the late Zappa's wife, Gail, and played drums and sang backup on daughter Diva Zappa's album in 1999.

The Gore's have four adult children, Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and Albert III.

White House admits using Clinton to pressure Sestak


Forced to disclose backstage political bargaining, President Barack Obama’s embarrassed White House acknowledged on Friday that it enlisted Bill Clinton to try to ease Rep. Joe Sestak out of Pennsylvania’s Senate primary with a job offer.

The admission left many questions unanswered, however, and Republicans aren’t likely to let the issue rest. For Obama, the revelations called into question his repeated promises to run an open government that was above back room deals.

Seeking to quiet the clamor from Republicans and some Democrats over a possible political trade, the White House released a report describing the offer that was intended to clear a path for Sen. Arlen Specter to win the Democratic nomination.

Presidential Counsel Robert Bauer rendered his own verdict in a two-page report that said there was no improper conduct. No one in the administration discussed the offer with Sestak, Bauer said. The report did not say what, if any, contacts or promises the White House had with Specter on the matter. It also did not reveal whether Obama was aware of the former president’s role.

The report didn’t impress Republicans.

“Regardless of what President Clinton or Congressman Sestak now say, it is abundantly clear that this kind of conduct is contrary to President Obama’s pledge to change ‘business as usual’ and that his administration has engaged in the kind of political shenanigans he once campaigned to end,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House oversight committee who unsuccessfully had sought a Department of Justice investigation.

Specter declined to comment.

The report said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted Clinton’s help as a go-between with Sestak. Clinton agreed to raise the offer of a seat on a presidential advisory board or another executive board if Sestak dropped his bid, “which would avoid a divisive Senate primary,” the report said.

Under the proposed arrangement, Sestak would have been able to remain in the House while serving on a board. It was not clear why the White House — which has the power to offer Cabinet posts and sought-after embassy jobs — believed Sestak would be interested in just an advisory position.

Sestak declined the offer. He defeated the five-term Specter, who had switched from Republican to Democrat last year at the White House’s urging, in the May 18 Democratic primary.

Sestak, who had said a job was offered but had provided no details, acknowledged Friday that he had had the conversation with Clinton. He said the former president told him he should stay in the U.S. House and perhaps join a presidential board.

In a statement released by his campaign, Sestak said, “I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer.”

Emanuel and Sestak both worked in the White House when Clinton was president in the 1990s, and both remain close with their former boss. Sestak was a supporter of Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her 2008 presidential bid.

Bauer, in the White House report, argued that previous Democratic and Republican administrations, “motivated by the same goals, discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office.” The report said such actions aren’t illegal nor unethical.

For weeks, the White House had insisted officials did not behave inappropriately but had declined to elaborate. But after Sestak won the nomination, Republicans renewed their questions of the administration and White House lawyers prepared to release a report they had been compiling for months.

At a White House news conference on Thursday, Obama told reporters a full accounting would be forthcoming.

“I can assure the public that nothing improper took place,” he said.

Two top Democrats — party chief Tim Kaine and Dick Durbin of Illinois, the party’s second-ranking leader in the Senate — said during the week that the White House and Sestak needed to address the questions. So, too, did Sestak’s Republican challenger in Pennsylvania, former Rep. Pat Toomey.

Poll: Increasing Number Of Americans Oppose Repealing Health Care Law

By Igor Volsky

Just days after Republicans released their third “bill” to repeal the health care law, a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll finds that “given the option to name the sections of the healthcare law they would most like to see the GOP repeal, 42 percent [of Americans] said they would leave the bill alone and repeal no parts“:

Polling for the new health care law doesn’t show the kind of “bump” Democrats had expected, but the numbers are slowly improving. For instance, according to a May 2010 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 55% of Americans said health reform should have a chance to work, versus 42% who said repeal and start over. Just 17% thought the health reform bill “would make things better, 36% said health care would get worse and 37% said it would stay the same.” “In April 2009, those numbers were 22 percent, 24 percent and 29 percent respectively.”

That same poll found that “when asked if they would be more likely to vote for a congressional candidate willing to give the law a chance to work and make changes as needed, or one who would repeal it entirely and start over, respondents picked the one who would give it a chance by 55-42.” Political independents also favored “giving the law a chance 57-40 in the poll.”

Still, the unpopularity of the individual mandate means that Democrats aren’t out of the woods just yet. Outside of the all-or-nothing repeal purists, Republicans in the states and in Congress believe that repealing the popular parts of reform is a non-starter but ending the individual mandate would effectively unwind the entire health care law. Democrats will argue that the move would dramatically increase premiums, but they will have to hold their coalition together against Republican efforts to undermine the policy and the strange left-right wing activists who also oppose the mandate.

1st court appearance for Ft. Hood shooting suspect

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist accused of opening fire at Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding dozens more, was to make his first military courtroom appearance Tuesday as his attorney seeks to delay the case.

Neither Maj. Nidal Hasan nor any witnesses were expected to speak during the hearing, at which military prosecutors and defense attorneys planned to discuss case preparations and other basic matters.

Defense attorney John Galligan said he would seek to delay Hasan's Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding in which a judge hears witness testimony to determine whether the case should go to trial. No date has been set, but authorities have said the trial could be held as early as July 1.

Galligan said the Article 32 hearing should not proceed before Oct. 1 because he still needs key documents, including some of Hasan's military records, FBI files on Hasan's alleged contact with a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen months before the shooting, and some government reviews of the shooting rampage.

Officials increased security at the court building Tuesday, blocking off the road to the Lawrence J. Williams Judicial Center, bomb-sniffing dogs searched the parking lot and visitors were screened with hand-held metal detectors. Usually none of those precautions are taken.


Ted Koppel's son, 40, found dead in NYC apartment

NEW YORK — The 40-year-old son of former ABC News anchor Ted Koppel was found dead in an apartment in upper Manhattan after a day of bar hopping with a man he met at a watering hole, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Andrew Koppel was declared dead around 1:30 a.m. Monday in the apartment in the Washington Heights neighborhood, Detective John Sweeney said. The cause of death has not been determined.

Koppel had been drinking heavily for hours with a man he met at a bar, according to a law enforcement official. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation into the death was not completed.

Koppel started drinking at Smith's Bar and Restaurant in Manhattan and went to several other locations with the man, the official said.

Russell Wimberly told the New York Post he was drinking with Koppel all night.

"He had a straw hat on, and I had one on, and he said, 'Nice hat, man,'" the drinking partner, Wimberly, told the newspaper. "We got to talking, and he started buying me drinks."

Wimberly said that Koppel drank whiskey, and that neither man had anything to eat all day.


Google to employees: 'Mac or Linux, but no more Windows'

We first heard rumors of this policy change a couple of months ago, but now it's made the papers: the Financial Times is reporting that Google is phasing out the use of Windows internally, as employees are migrated to either Linux or Mac OS X on machine turnovers or new hires. The policy change was precipitated in large part by the security breach attributed to Chinese hackers; Google's IT leaders apparently feel that Microsoft's OS represents too great a risk across the enterprise to leave it in place.

The story says that in January, subsequent to the security breaches, Windows installations on desktop computers were no longer allowed, although laptops were still eligible for Windows at the employee's discretion. Many Google staffers, however, were already heading for the Mac as a security measure, and at this point things have been pretty well laid down in stone: "Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval," according to one anonymous Googler quoted by the FT.

Google has long offered employees a choice of OS for their primary workstation, and some dissatisfaction with the new rules has been registered; however, the sentiment is apparently not that negative, considering the alternative possibilities. "It would have made more people upset if they banned Macs rather than Windows," says an unnamed employee. No doubt.

Business Insider suggests that Google's infrastructure represents about 20,000 Windows licenses that now will not be renewed or upgraded. Of course, the existing Wintel hardware will run Ubuntu Linux or the company's upcoming Chrome OS, but adding Mac OS X to the mix will mean purchasing Mac hardware. Maybe that's what the Steve-Eric Coffee Summit was about: truckloads of MacBook Pros heading for the Googleplex.

(As one commenter suggests below, this also means that malware developers may have new reason to focus their efforts on Mac OS X. Every silver lining has a cloud.)

It's official: 2 million iPads sold in less than 60 days

by Dave Caolo

How do you top selling 1 million iPads in 28 days? You sell the next million just as quickly. Apple announced today that they have sold 2 million iPads in under 60 days. International sales began on May 28th, just three days ago. In the official press release, Steve expressed his excitement at the iPad's success, and urged customers to be patient.

"Customers around the world are experiencing the magic of iPad," the CEO said, "We appreciate their patience, and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.

"That's a good problem to have: customers buying your product so quickly that production can barely keep up. We enjoyed receiving reports from happy customers around the world and look forward to receiving more.

Congratulations to Steve and Apple.

Israeli commandos open fire on Gaza aid ship, at least 16 reported killed

By David Neiwert

This is troubling news:

More than 10 pro-Palestinian activists were killed during a raid by naval commandos halting an aid flotilla heading toward the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said Monday.

An official said the soldiers were attacked with knives and clubs as they boarded the six vessels.

The Israeli military said the violence turned deadly after one of the activists grabbed a weapon from one of the commandos. The weapon discharged, though it wasn't clear whether the activist fired it or if it went off accidentally.

Al-Jazeera TV reported by telephone from the Turkish ship leading the flotilla that Israeli forces fired at the ship and boarded it, wounding the captain. The broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, "Everybody shut up!"

Turkey's NTV network reported that at least 30 activists were wounded.

Some 700 pro-Palestinian activists are on the boats, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly Holocaust survivor.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the incident as a "massacre," the official Wafa news agency reported.

The raid came just after daybreak, with the flotilla still well away from the Gaza shore. Israel had declared it would not allow the ships to reach Gaza.

In Istanbul, Turkey, police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli Consulate.

The UK reports indicate that the death toll is at least 16.

The Israeli ambassador to Turkey, the base of one of the human rights organisation which organised the flotilla, was summoned by the foreign ministry in Anakara, as the Israeli consulate in Istanbul came under attack.

One Israeli minister issued immediate words of regret. "The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities," Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister, told army radio.

But he added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.

Israeli military sources said four of its men had been injured, one stabbed, and that they had been shot at.

"The flotilla's participants were not innocent and used violence against the soldiers. They were waiting for the forces' arrival," they were quoted by a news website as saying.

As you can see in the CNN portion of the above video, the real casualty of this affair may be Turkish-Israeli relations, which have played a critical role in maintaining the balance of power in the Middle East.

R.I.P.- Ali “Ollie” Woodson of The Temptations Dies At Age 58

First Gary Coleman, now Ali “Ollie Woodson dies this week. Woodson, the former The Temptations star, was diagnosed with leukemia back in 2008. Woodson lost the battle with cancer on Sunday, May 30th, in California. Our prayers go out to his family. Woodson will be missed by many fans. Check out the video below of Woodson performing lead vocals of Treat Her Like A Lady, a song he co-wrote and co-produced.

U.S. Roman Catholic Church accused of scapegoating homosexuals trying to enter priesthood

Trainee priests are being grilled about their sexual experiences under tough procedures designed to stamp out child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

They are being confronted with a list of shockingly intimate questions from psychologists paid by Church officials in the U.S. to try tosimon weed out men who they think could go on to commit sexual assaults.

The questions include: 'When did you last have sex?', 'What kind of sexual experiences have you had?', 'Do you like pornography?', 'Do you like children?' and 'Do you like children more than you like people your own age?'

The process has led to accusations of 'scapegoating' and 'witch-hunts' by gay rights groups.
Men training to be priests are also asked detailed questions about their sexual fantasies, the reasons why any earlier romantic relationships failed and the nature of their relationships with their parents.

They are being routinely tested for HIV/Aids and made to sit exams to test such conditions as depression, paranoia and 'gender confusion' in an attempt to search for clues about possible deficiencies in their character.

The questions form part of a gruelling screening process introduced by the U.S. bishops following revelations in 2002 that hundreds of priests have abused thousands of young people over the past 40 years.

Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, a Church psychologist, said that the screening was 'very intrusive', but he added: 'We are looking for two basic qualities - the absence of pathology and the presence of health.'

The screening procedures were drawn up following an instruction from the Vatican in 2008 which warned the bishops that they had to go further than to simply establish that the candidate was capable of living a chaste life.

The Vatican insisted that the sexual orientation of the candidate must be determined as well - a demand which was interpreted as a witch-hunt for trainees who were homosexuals.
Critics said the orders - which apply solely to American dioceses and have been revealed in the New York Times - disqualify gay men from entering the priesthood even if they are celibate.

Seminary rectors had previously estimated that nearly half of U.S. seminarians were homosexuals by orientation. Some had reported flourishing gay sub-cultures among trainees and claimed the priesthood had become a largely 'gay profession'.

But the new screening process means very few homosexuals are being accepted as priests.
Dr Robert Palumbo, a New York psychologist who screens candidates for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said: 'We have no gay men in our seminary at this time. I'm pretty sure of it.'
Homosexual activists said the procedures proved the U.S. bishops were blaming the abuse crisis on gay priests.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, the executive director of DignityUSA, a Catholic gay rights group, said it was 'impossible in this atmosphere' for gay men to present themselves as candidates for the priesthood.
'The bishops have scapegoated gay priests because gays are an acceptable scapegoat in this society, particularly among weekly churchgoers,' she said.

The Vatican ordered a review of the U.S. seminaries after an analysis of abuse statistics concerning the U.S. Church revealed that more than 80 per cent of offences were of a homosexual character, rather than paedophilia, and involved young men and teenage boys rather than children.

Figures revealed by the Vatican earlier this year have similarly revealed that of 3,000 cases from the past 50 years, 60 per cent involved the homosexual abuse of adolescents or young men, 30 per cent were of a heterosexual nature against teenage girls or women while 10 per cent involved paedophile crimes against children.

Officials from the Brooklyn diocese have rejected claims of a witch-hunt of homosexual candidates.

'We do not say that homosexuals are bad people,' said Father Kevin Sweeney, the diocesan director of vocations. 'And sure, homosexuals have been good priests.
'But it has to do with our view of marriage,' he said. 'A priest can only give his life to the Church in the sense that a man gives his life to a female spouse.

'A homosexual man cannot have the same relationship. It is not about condemning anybody. It is about our world view.'

Obama Was Against Oil Spill Clean Up Before He Was For It

This is absolutely incredible.

Three months before the massive BP oil spill erupted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration proposed downsizing the Coast Guard national coordination center for oil spill responses, prompting its senior officers to warn that the agency’s readiness for catastrophic events would be weakened.
Accidents happen, “but what you’re seeing here is the government is not properly set up to deal with this kind of issue,” said Robbin Laird, a defense consultant who has worked on Coast Guard issues. “The idea that you would even think about getting rid of catastrophic environmental spill equipment or expertise at the Department of Homeland Security, are you kidding me?”

“Cutting a strike team is nuts,” said Stephen Flynn, a former Coast Guard commander and now president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington think tank. “Whether it’s an accident of man or an act of terrorism, it requires almost the exact same skill set to clean it up.”

When you add that to Obama’s “I Don’t Really Care About The Oil Spill” response, you have to ask yourself is this guy grossly incompetent, or just plain stupid.

Meanwhile, as we learned the top kill procedure did no t work to “plug the hole” Obama is resting easy on vacation in Chicago. After all, he can’t let a national catastrophe or Memorial Day ruin his R&R time.

Posted by Matt Margolis

Attorney General Eric Holder To Visit Gulf Area As Justice Dept. Considers Whether To Launch Criminal Investigation

Shouldn't the top priority of this Administration be to address the crisis the people in Lousiana are facing before assigning blame?...

People of the Gulf, you're in good hands...


Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will visit areas affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on Tuesday as the Justice Department considers whether to launch a criminal investigation into the disaster.

After a briefing and tour by the U.S. Coast Guard, Holder will meet with U.S. attorneys from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi and state law enforcement officials from the three states, the Justice Department said Monday.

The attorney general will then take questions from reporters. Officials declined to say if Holder will announce a criminal investigation or any civil action by the department, which has been monitoring the spill and cleanup for the past month.

"The point of going down and seeing it and meeting with people is that you can make news if you're ready to make news," said one senior law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Justice review is still pending. "He hasn't seen it in person yet."

Health Care Repeal Losing Steam


WASHINGTON — Toss it or fix it? Anxious backers of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law are starting to see a flicker of hope.

While polls show Americans remain sharply divided over the Democrats' landmark legislation, they aren't clamoring for its repeal.

Instead, the public seems willing to listen to candidates who would give the overhaul a chance and fix or improve it as needed. That's the signal from some surveys and a congressional race in a bellwether Pennsylvania district.

It's a pragmatic, somewhat counterintuitive outlook.

That could be a break for Democrats in the fall elections, since Republicans are campaigning hard for repeal of the health care law.

(More here.)

Maher: We Need a 'Real Black President'

On his HBO show, Bill Maher joked that we need a "real black president" to handle the oil spill disaster. "I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt so you can see the gun in his pants. ... 'we've got a motherfucking problem here?' Shoot somebody in the foot."

Maher got a lot of laughs with those lines. Were they in poor taste? What if Glenn Beck had uttered those same words? Would reaction be different? Is one person "racist" while the other gets a pass? Watch the brief video.

Posted by OohRah

The Finals: Rating the intangibles

As the days until Game One drag on, sports writers will be struggling to come up with new and different ways to fill space and air time writing about the 12th meeting of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

The Herald treats us to Kobe Bryant's studied nonchalance while the Globe offers us the fantasy game in which Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Bill Russell suit up for the Green across from Magic, Johnson, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (what no Paul Pierce?)

So in the interest of yet another perspective before Thursday night's tip-off, let me offer a few intangible match-ups:

On-the-court enforcer: The battle is between the Lakers' Ron Artest and the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace. Advantage Lakers. While Wallace has long been among the league leaders in scowling and collecting technicals, no one can match Artest for his 73-game suspension for inciting the Palace at Auburn Hills Fan Riot while a member of the Indiana Pacers.

Off-the-court: That would be Bryant versus Pierce. The LA shooting guard wins this one hands down. As a defendant in a sexual assault case dismissed when the accuser declined to testify, Bryant walks away from Pierce, who was merely an interested observer in the case where his knife-wielding attackers were sent to prison.

Ill-mannered journalist: Here the match up is closer, but KTLA's Ted Green edges out the Herald's Ron Borges. While the Plagiarizer tried to match Artest for incitement with a Game Six call-out against the Magic's Dwight Howard, Green wins this one with a cheap shot "Guide to Hating the Celtics" that mocked Pierce's stabbing. The LA Times unsuccessfully bleeped the offending words:

By the way, Pierce's idea of a fun night is going clubbing and getting stabbed. Good times!

Bench strength: No contest here. The whiny Sasha Vujacic has no real peer on the Celtics bench in matching big mouth with small accomplishments.

So the Lakers take the intangibles. What does that mean for the series? While Bryant says his team is aching for payback after the 2008 slapdown and has big man Andrew Bynum available at half speed, you can't ignore that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has morphed from first-time playoff contributor to one of the best players in the league.

Add to that the fact the Celtics are playing their best basketball of the season at the right time, knocking off Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Howard in succession and the prospect of Bryant and his supporting cast doesn't really pose a terrifying challenge.

Celtics in 6.

Massachusetts Liberal

Pakistani-Based High-Ranking al-Qaida Leader Killed

US says drone killed number 3 al-Qaida leader

A U.S. intelligence official says the third-ranking leader in the al-Qaida terrorist network, Sheikh Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, has been killed by a U.S. missile attack in Pakistan.

The anonymous official told U.S. news outlets intelligence officials have "strong reason" to believe Yazid, also known as Sheik Said al-Masri, was killed by an unmanned U.S. Predator drone while hiding out in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Private intelligence agencies say his death has been announced on several Islamic radical websites.

The Egyptian-born Yazid ran al-Qaida's activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with responsibilities ranging from finances to operational planning, and was its main conduit to Osama bin Laden. He had been increasingly appearing in the network's audio and video messages in recent years.

The official says Yazid's death would be "a big victory" in terms of counterterrorism.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.