Thursday, August 26, 2010

Iran Begins Fueling Nuclear Reactor at Bushehr

Iran on Saturday began fueling its Bushehr nuclear power plant, a process that is likely to take many days. The reactor’s operations must then be tested before it starts producing electricity, which is expected in about two months. Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear power company, which built the reactor, has assigned Russian technicians to jointly operate the reactor for several years, as Iranian technicians gradually gain full control over the operations.

The startup of the reactor is another sign of Iran’s steady progress across many nuclear fronts. Although the Bushehr reactor is a relatively minor proliferation risk, because it will be monitored by IAEA inspectors and Iran has much better options for obtaining bomb-grade fissile material from other sources, the impending startup is one more nuclear threshold that Iran is on the verge of crossing. This has fueled speculation about the increasing likelihood of an Israeli preventive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Iran’s Defense Minister, Ahmad Vahidi, warned Israel against such an attack: “We may lose a power plant, but the whole existence of the Zionist regime will be jeopardized.”

Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also made an appearance on Sunday to participate in the ongoing war of nerves between Iran and the West. Appearing at a press conference to unveil the prototype of a long range drone aircraft, Ahmadinejad said that Iran should seek the ability to make preemptive strikes against an enemy. He said: “We should reach a point when Iran would serve as a defense umbrella for all freedom-loving nations in the face of world aggressors. We don’t want to attack anywhere, Iran will never decide to attack anywhere, but our revolution cannot sit idle in the face of tyranny, we can’t remain indifferent.”

Author: James Phillips

U.S.-Mexico Only Nabbing a Fraction of Drug $$$ Being Smuggled South into Mexico

By Allan Lengel

Despite their efforts, U.S. and Mexican authorities are seizing no more than one percent of the billions of dollars in drug proceeds being smuggled south into Mexico, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.
The cash is being smuggled in spare tires, engine transmissions and truckloads of baby diapers, the Post reported. In other words, any way you can imagine.

In all, the drug traffickers and the Colombian suppliers smuggle $20 billion to $25 billion a year in U.S. bbank notes across the border, the Post reported.

“If we fail to curtail these money flows, the confrontation with organized crime will generate more violence and more corruption,” Carlos Pascual, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said at a border conference in El Paso this month, according to the Post.

To read more click here.

For Atty. Gen. Holder: With the Tough Job Comes a Little Glamour

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t been all glamour for Eric Holder Jr. as Attorney General. For one, there’s the less than friendly receptions on Capital Hill from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who seem to enjoy grilling him like a burger at a 4th of July gathering.

Then there’s the  second guessing by the public, the political pundits and others on the Hill.

But there are times when the job does have some glamour.   Enter Vogue magazine. The magazine September issue has dedicated two-full pages of photos and then a two page write up on the guy it labels “Man of the Hour.”

Holder tells the magazine that the job is not easy. In fact, he shares, that his teenage son remarked that he doesn’t smile as much as he used to.

“You have a responsibility to keep the American people safe,” he tells the magazine. “It weighs on you. You literally go to bed and think, Have I done what I can?

He’s gotten grief over Gitmo, Miranda Warnings and the 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But he tells the magazine he’s unfazed by the negativity.

“It’s the reality of being the attorney general,” he says. “When I am dealing with some congressman who is trying to get me to engage so that he can end up on television, I have to think, What do I want people to think about this department 50 years from now?”

And then he offers an interesting perspective on the law.

“The law is not always right. “It kept my people slaves for years, segregate African-Americans, and kept women from voting, but it’s the place you go. You have to have an inner compass that tells you the right thing to do. That’s what I tell the people who work for me. Trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s where yo need to look.”

As for ambition, the magazine quotes former Justice colleague turned D.C. Judge Robert Richter: “Eric was never a particularly ambitious person. His goal was to make a difference, not end up on top.”
His wife, a physician, isn’t so certain, the magazine writes.

“It’s a question I wonder about. When I roll back the time and ask, ‘Did I think I was marrying a nakedly ambitious man?’ I answer no, but, then again, he was a judge at 38. In his case, I think, it’s there; it’s just not particularly offensive.”

Biosynthetic corneas restore vision to humans

Dr. May Griffith displays a biosynthetic cornea 
that can be implanted into the eye to repa...
By Ben Coxworth

Dr. May Griffith displays a biosynthetic cornea that can be implanted into the eye to repair damage and restore sight

A study made public this Wednesday has shown that biosynthetic corneas can and do restore eyesight in humans. Researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa in Canada, along with Linköping University in Sweden, conducted a clinical trial using ten Swedish patients with advanced keratoconus or central corneal scarring. Each patient had the damaged corneal tissue in one eye surgically replaced with a biosynthetic cornea made from synthetically cross-linked recombinant human collagen. After two years, six of the patients’ vision had improved. After being fitted with contact lenses, their vision was comparable to that of someone who had received a real human cornea transplant.

"This study is important because it is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea can integrate with the human eye and stimulate regeneration," said Dr. May Griffith, who holds positions at OHRI, the University of Ottawa and Linköping. "With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation."

Over a decade ago, Dr. Griffith started developing biosynthetic corneas in Ottawa, using laboratory-produced human collagen molded into the shape of a cornea – collagen is what “real” corneas are made from, too. After extensive testing, she began her collaboration with Dr. Per Fagerholm, an eye surgeon at Linköping, to provide the first-in-human experience with biosynthetic cornea implantation.

The patients in the trial didn’t experience any rejection reaction or require long-term immune suppression, which are complications that sometimes occur when human tissue is transplanted. During the two-year follow-up period, the researchers observed nerves and cells from the patients’ own corneal material growing into the implants, ultimately resulting in normal-looking “regenerated” corneas. The biosynthetic corneas also became sensitive to touch, and stimulated tear production to keep the eye oxygenated.

"We are very encouraged by these results and by the great potential of biosynthetic corneas," said Dr. Fagerholm. "Further biomaterial enhancements and modifications to the surgical technique are ongoing, and new studies are being planned that will extend the use of the biosynthetic cornea to a wider range of sight-threatening conditions requiring transplantation."

The research was published in the current issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

You Don't Have to be Gay to Do the Right Thing.

On one hand it's a good thing that former RNC Chair and Bush's 2004 campaign manager Ken Mehlman came out of the closet, the most prominent Republican to do so thus far.

I of course applaud anyone who comes out, even if they've been comfortable with their sexual orientation personally for some time. Some people treat being gay like it's a dirty secret, a "private matter" that shouldn't be mentioned in polite company, but in addition to the fact that straight people freely parade their sexuality all over the place, keeping mum about your sexual orientation helps gay people remain the invisible targets of discrimination. Statistics show that someone is more likely to support gay rights if he or she knows someone gay personally -- and vice versa -- so one can only hope that having a prominent Republican come out will help, at least in a small way, the party move away from its virulently anti-gay agenda.

However, as critics have pointed out, Mehlman stood by idly as the Bush administration pushed the Federal Marriage Amendment -- a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage nationwide -- and as Karl Rove used gay marriage as a wedge issue during the 2004 elections. He regrets this:
[Mehlman] said that he "really wished" he had come to terms with his sexual orientation earlier, "so I could have worked against [the Federal Marriage Amendment]" and "reached out to the gay community in the way I reached out to African Americans."
The reasoning here is tough to follow. Mehlman doesn't explain exactly how his discomfort with his sexual orientation and his complicity with the Bush administration's anti-gay policies relate to each other. Was he afraid that if he objected, he'd be outed? Or was his complicity with the Bush agenda a reflection of self-hatred? Who knows.

One can feel sorry for Mehlman and his personal struggle with his sexuality, but we are not talking about just any  conflicted 40-something trying to figure out who he is. Mehlman is also a public figure, and my sympathy ends where his responsibility to the public begins.

The Federal Marriage Amendment was, as Andrew Sullivan said, the "most radical attack on a minority since Jim Crow" -- one that threatened to inject prejudice into our founding document and permanently strip gay people of the right to fight for marriage through the political process. Thankfully, that did not come to pass. But, fueled by Bush-era anti-gay fervor no fewer than 13 states amended their constitutions to forbid gay people form getting married; six stripped gay people of adoption rights. Riling up anti-gay prejudice isn't a harmless political ploy; it has real consequences for how gay people are able to move and live in the world.

As a powerful Republican tasked with advising Bush's political team, Mehlman had the moral obligation -- and was in an ideal position -- to voice opposition. He didn't need to hold a gay pride parade to do it, either -- as a conscientious member of Bush's political team, he could merely have suggested that bigotry wasn't the best political platform. Put another way, Mehlman's personal struggles and sexual orientation are irrelevant. Straight people have a moral obligation to stand up to prejudice when it arises, too. Failing to do so just means you have no courage, gay or straight.

-- Gabriel Arana

Establishment Beware

By Bill Wilson
A definitive trend has emerged with Tuesday’s primary election results of Republican Party contests: 2010 is an anti-establishment year. Career politician Bill McCollum was defeated in the Florida gubernatorial contest by outsider Rick Scott, and incumbent Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is losing to tea party-favorite Joe Miller, who was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Couple that with incumbent Republican Senator John McCain spending $21 million to defeat former Representative J.D. Hayworth. Despite claims by U.S. News & World Report that the Arizona race sent a “mixed message,” in order to win, McCain had to run decidedly more conservative than in previous runs. He tested the political winds and got out in front of a tough challenge by running to the right, and did so convincingly to Arizona voters, winning over 60 percent of the vote.

Then there’s the ascendency of another tea party candidate, Rand Paul, to the Republican nomination for Kentucky’s open Senate seat, and Marco Rubio taking the Republican nod for Senate in Florida. And the defeat of incumbent Republican Senator Bill Bennett in Utah to tea party-backed Mike Lee, plus conservatives Ken Buck and Pat Toomey in Colorado and Pennsylvania, respectively.  Not to mention the victory of Sharron Angle as Republican Senate nominee in Nevada, yet another tea party favorite.
See a pattern? In consequential contest after contest, heads are rolling, and the establishment is losing.

Get full story here.

ObamaCare—Then and Now

Get permalink here.

NYT “Green Column” Promotes Renewable Efforts in Australia that Collide with Economic Realities

By Kevin Mooney
So called renewable energy sources comprise just 6 percent of Australia’s power supplies, but this could change dramatically in the next few years if environmentalists have their druthers, according to a New York Times “Green Column” that highlights pending projects. Current plans call for the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere to be built between now and 2013, the report says.

Although the report concedes that there are enormous logistical challenges connected with the project, it permits renewable industry advocates to talk around the engineering obstacles. The NYT also claims the renewable energy initiatives will generate modest costs for Australian citizens. But the experiences of European countries and U.S. states suggest otherwise and should be reported.

Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain, has produced a study that shows green jobs are mostly temporary, heavily subsidized and subtract away from economic performance. The study also describes how higher energy prices associated with renewable have worked against Spain’s ability to compete internationally. The same is true in the U.S. where electricity rates are almost 40 percent higher in states with renewable standards than they are in states that do not have such standards, according to the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

Readers would greatly benefit if these numbers were juxtaposed with some of the blanket assertions made in the NYT piece. Unrealistic cost estimates are typically attached to political agendas at odds with the public interest. Ideally, journalists should work to expose rather than advance government perfidy.Get full story here.

World Gold Demand Jumps 36% with ETF Investment Demand Rising 414% to 291.3 Tonnes

Gold demand reached 1,050.3 metric tons in the second quarter, 36% higher than the same quarter in 2009, mostly thanks to soaring investment demand

According to the WGC’s Gold Demand Trends report for Q2 2010, published today, demand for gold for the rest of 2010 will be underpinned by the following market forces:
* India and China will continue to provide the main thrust of overall growth in demand, particularly for gold jewellery, for the remainder of 2010.
* Retail investment will continue to be a substantial source of gold demand in Europe.

* Over the longer-term, demand for gold in China is expected to grow considerably. A report recently published by The People’s Bank of China and five other organizations to foster the development of the domestic gold market will add impetus to the growth in gold ownership among Chinese consumers.

* Electronics demand is likely to return to higher historic levels after the sector exhibited further signs of recovery, especially in the US and Japan.

Investors are making the switch from buying gold only in times of crisis to having gold as part of a diversified portfolio, said Jason Toussaint, a managing director for the World Gold Council.

“Gold is the ultimate diversifier,” he said. “Correlation to U.S. equities is zero” in addition to its proven ability to not only hold value in times of crisis but increase.

Marcus Grubb, Managing Director, Investment at the WGC commented:

“Economic uncertainties and the ongoing search for less volatile and more diversified assets such as gold will underpin investment demand for gold in the immediate future. Further, in light of lingering concerns over public debt levels and the euro, European retail investor demand has increased significantly.

Over the past quarter, demand for gold jewellery in key Asian markets has been challenged by rising local prices. Nevertheless, we are seeing a deceleration in the pace of decline in demand, providing a strong outlook for ongoing recovery in this crucial market segment.”


* Total gold demand1 in Q2 2010 rose by 36% to 1,050 tonnes, largely reflecting strong gold investment demand compared to the second quarter of 2009. In US$ value terms, demand increased 77% to $40.4 billion.

* Investment demand2 was the strongest performing segment during the second quarter, posting a rise of 118% to 534.4 tonnes compared with 245.4 tonnes in Q2 2009.

* The largest contribution to this rise came from the ETF segment of investment demand, which grew by 414% to 291.3 tonnes, the second highest quarter on record.

* Physical gold bar demand, which largely covers the non-western markets, rose 29% from Q2 2009 to 96.3 tonnes.

* Global jewellery demand remained robust in Q2 2010. In the face of surging price levels, consumption totalled 408.7 tonnes during the second quarter of 2010, just 5% below year-earlier levels.

* Gold jewellery demand in India, the largest jewellery market, was little changed from year-earlier levels, down just 2% at 123.0 tonnes. In local currency terms, this translates to a 20% increase in the value of demand to Rp216 billion.

* China saw demand for gold jewellery increase by 5% to 75.4 tonnes3. While growth in demand in tonnage terms was hindered by extreme weather conditions, the growth in the local currency value measure of demand was 35% to RMB 19.8 billion.

* With the return of demand for consumer electronics, industrial demand grew by 14% to 107.2 tonnes, compared to Q2 2009.  Industrial usage of gold rose mainly thanks to a 24% increase in demand for gold in the electronics sector. Gold is used in a variety of consumer electronics, including smartphones.
Marcus Grubb added:

“While many investors turned to gold as a ‘flight to quality’ in response to the uncertain financial environment, this interest has proved resilient even though a sense of optimism has started to return to some sectors of the investment community. In addition to the ETF market and physical bar and coin market, the demand for gold through internet based investment platforms is likely to provide further sources of investment demand.”

Michael Jackson’s Hometown Plans Birthday Tribute

Michael Jackson

Officials in Gary, Indiana, the birth place of Michael Jackson, is planning a tribute for the late King of Pop Saturday, August 28, a day before his birthday.

The event will be held outside of Jackson’s childhood home and will feature local entertainment and an MJ impersonator, according to the Associated Press.

The Jackson family moved out of Gary in 1969 when the Jackson 5 found fame but the town still remembers MJ as a very generous person and the world’s best entertainer, says African-American Mayor, Rudy Clay.

Soraya Yd For Ronnie Fieg x Asics Gel Lyte III

Ronnie Fieg released a few more photographs today for his next Asics installment, ones that will perhaps go down as his best sneakers to date. That could be wholly subjective since I’m a huge fan of shades of blue and the backstory behind the color placement and chosen materials grabbed my attention. This guy Ronnie is like the Ghostface of kicks and his mind just sees things differently.
“Six months ago I went down to the Bahamas and I took a picture that you might remember. It was taken at The Cove, a prestige resort located in The Atlantis Bahamas. The trip took place right after the holiday season and i was able to clear my head and soak in the scenery. It was necessary for me to express the amazing visuals through my favorite silhouette and share it with the world. A few months ago I set up the photo shoot in Aruba with Colombian model Soraya Yd and this was all shot with my father’s 26 year old film Nikon FG. I was able to capture the same scenery on a private beach with amazing waters. Those close to me can tell you how long I’ve been excited about this project, my favorite Gel Lyte III I have worked on thus far. Release info and product shots coming soon.”
See more shots of Soraya & the shoes over at Ronnie’s house.

Posted in GENERAL,

Single Error Costs NJ Race to the Top Funds

race to the top

New Jersey was almost a finalist for some of the millions in Race to the Top education grants. Almost. But an error in one of the questions cost the state five points, which put it behind 10 other states. And so the Garden State lost out.

Heads are rolling, of course, Gov. Chris Christie angry and the state’s Assembly Speaker has called for an inquiry. But what the N.J. ranking really shows is that, like standardized tests and kickball, one innocent human error can lose the game for everyone. Only in kickball, well, who cares, right?

Race to the Top was supposed to encourage states to get it together and also provide an impetus for ignoring America’s long tradition of local rule when it comes to education and, instead, get everyone on board with nationwide standards. Problem is, there are winners and losers — the winners are those leaders who can claim they secured the money for their states children. The losers? Well, theirs and the non-winning states children. As we can see with the loss in N.J., time and resources will be spent trying to figure out why they won’t get money. Where will the money come from? Who will take the time to produce the documents? This is starting to sound rather distant from education itself.

While I applaud the Education Secretary Arnie Duncan’s attempt to encourage states and schools to improve education in the U.S., the competitive Race to the Top strategy means 40 losers and only 10 winners. And, in the end, not a lot of innovation if a single error — the wrong year — can cost a state so dearly.

Posted by Madeline Holler

Israeli President: Iran Threatens to Use Nuclear Weapons

Having been snubbed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Amano Yukiya visited with Israel’s President Shimon Peres instead.

Amano’s visit was presumed to be part of his overall goal to pressure Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but instead his visit became, as so many official visits to Israel do, all about Iran.

Peres, whose position in Israel is largely ceremonial, demanded that Amano and the rest of the world “acknowledge the danger” Iran poses to Israel and the rest of the world, adding that Iran “threatens to use nuclear weapons.”

Which of course isn’t true, because Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Israel and a few allies have claimed Iran might be trying to develop the technology that would hypothetically allow them to develop a nuclear weapon in the future if they wanted to.

But Iran of course has been denying this, and has certainly never “threatened” to use nuclear weapons. Indeed, Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against the nation even possessing such weapons.

Israel, on the other hand, is known to possess the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East and is also the only nation in the region which is not a member in good standing of the NPT. This was supposed to be the goal of Amano’s visit as, after all, the IAEA is pressing to create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

by Jason Ditz,

Coordinated Attacks Strike 13 Iraqi Cities


BAGHDAD — Insurgents unleashed a wave of coordinated attacks across Iraq on Wednesday in a demonstration of their ability to strike at will, offering their counterpoint to American aspirations of bringing the war in Iraq “to a responsible end.”

In attacks in 13 towns and cities, from southernmost Basra to restive Mosul in the north, insurgents deployed their full arsenal: hit-and-run shootings, roadside mines and more than a dozen car bombs. The toll was in the dozens, but the symbolism underscored a theme of America’s experience here: its deadlines, including the Aug. 31 date to end combat operations, have rarely reflected the tumultuous reality on the ground and have often been accompanied by a wave of insurgent attacks.

“The message the insurgents want to deliver to the Iraqi people and the politicians is that we exist, and we choose the time and place,” said Wael Abdel-Latif, a judge and former lawmaker. “They are carrying out such attacks when the Americans are still here, so just imagine what they can do after the Americans leave.”

In coming days, the Obama administration will seek to portray the reduction in troops here to fewer than 50,000, reached Tuesday, as a turning point in seven years of invasion, occupation and war. President Obama will deliver a speech on Tuesday marking the deadline. The next day, the mission will be renamed “New Dawn” at a ceremony expected to draw much of the military brass to a sprawling base near the Baghdad airport.

(More here.)
posted by TM

No jail for Germany HIV popsta

An HIV-positive German popstar accused of infecting a former partner with the virus has been given a two-year suspended sentence.

Nadja Benaissa, 28, admitted having unprotected sex and keeping her HIV status secret, but denied deliberately infecting anyone.

The No Angels singer was found guilty of causing bodily harm to one man, and of two cases of attempted bodily harm.

At the trial she said she was “sorry from the bottom of my heart”. (Continue Reading…)

Islamophobe Asks Cab Driver "Are You a Muslim?" Then Stabs Him in the Chest!

Reference- NY Post:
With all the brouhaha regarding the building of the Community Center Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, Islamophobia is rising to a frothing, violent frenzy in some Americans! On Tuesday, a drunk upstate New York filmmaker who had recently returned from Afghanistan where he was filming the Marines took his anger out on a Muslim cabbie -- asking the driver if he was a Muslim before brutally attacking him with a knife, police said. The attack occurred at about 6 p.m.
Tuesday after Michael Enright, 21, of Brewster, hailed a yellow cab at the corner of 24th Street and Second Avenue, police said.
While the two engaged in a conversation, Enright asked the driver, Sharif Ahmed, "Are you Muslim?" Ahmed, 43, responded, "Yes." At one point, Enright greeted Ahmed by saying, "Al salaam aalaykum" -- the Arabic greeting meaning, "Peace upon you."

Ahmed replied, "Wa alaikum salaam" -- meaning, "And on you be peace!" "Then, he asked me how my Ramadan was going," Ahmed told The Post in an interview this afternoon, adding that Enright had a sarcastic tone. As the cab neared east 41st Street, about a block away from Enright's destination at 42nd Street and Third Avenue, he barked, "This is the checkpoint motherf---er. I have to f--- you up this time," police said.

That's when Enright allegedly pulled out a silver-colored folding knife and slashed Ahmed in the throat, arm and face through the taxicab partition. Ahmed was briefly able to lock the man inside the cab, but Enright was able to open the door and run off. The driver ran after Enright and was able to flag a police officer on patrol along Third Avenue, who spotted the filmmaker sitting in the middle of the street blocking traffic. Ahmed identified Enright to the cop as his attacker.

"I [told the cop]: He stabbed me because I’m Muslim," Ahmed said. The knife used in the attack was not found. Ahmed was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition. His received stitches for his wounds and was released. “I’ve lived in this country for 35 years," Ahmed said. "I’ve worked hard. This country has helped me a lot. Before yesterday, I never felt like I didn’t belong here."

Enright, who was intoxicated at the time of his arrest, was also taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation, police said. The accused attacker told cops he works for an Internet media company and had recently spent time with a combat unit in Afghanistan filming military exercises until this past May. On the youtube trailer for Enright's "Home of the Brave" film about his military friends in Afghanistan, Enright filmed his friend saying, "I joined the Marine corps to literally get rid of all the bad people in the world." (at minute 1:40) Is that what Islamophobic Enright thought he was doing?

This is a wake-up call for All Americans! Follow the words of our Founding Fathers! Our Country was founded on Religious Freedom and All Men/Women are Created Equal! Give Peace a Chance!


While I, and others here, maintain a tight focus on Dukes v. Walmart, the case will almost certainly go before the Chief Justice Roberts’ version of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the players are positioning themselves for that final showdown.
From Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog:
Dukes is likely to affect certification of antitrust class actions (and thus, the incentives to settle cases of questionable merit). As one court has put it, because of the enormous stakes involved in class actions, the “basic truth about class action litigation” is that “the fight over class certification is often the whole ball game.” Because Dukes lowers the bar to class certification in the Ninth Circuit, businesses that may be targeted by antitrust class actions should be prepared to face more litigation there, and should be sure to preserve important issues for potential Supreme Court review.
Walmart, as the proxy for all corporations doing business in the United States, doesn’t need to just win Dukes, it needs to have the whole process thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. What is at stake here is corporate dominance of the American legal and political systems, not back pay owed to a few (relatively speaking when the case is viewed in light of workers for all corporations) Walmart employees.

Max Baucus: ". . .You Want Me To Waste My Time To Read . . . The Health Care Bill"

ObamaCare /  BaucusCare
Since President Obama signed the Obama, Baucus, Reid, Lincoln, Pryor, et al, massive, unpopular health care overhaul into law earlier this year, there has been a steady stream of news reports showing that it will not be able to live up to the promises made by Democrats as they were pushing the bill. Americans have heard now that the bill won’t slow the growth of health care costs, won’t strengthen Medicare, won’t help small business owners, increases the size of government, increases premiums, and will cost thousands of jobs, despite numerous Democrat assertions to the contrary. And today, we get yet another broken health care promise. Over and over, President Obama assured Americans, “If you like your current [health care] plan, you will be able to keep it.”

But today, the AP reports, “A plan by Medicare to try to make it simpler for consumers to pick drug coverage could force 3 million seniors to switch plans next year whether they like it or not, says an independent analysis.”  The AP even points out, “That risks undercutting President Barack Obama's promise that people can keep their health plans if they like them. And it could be an unwelcome surprise for many seniors who hadn't intended to make a change during Medicare's open enrollment season this fall.”

As the article explains, “Medicare has already notified insurers they will no longer be able to offer more than one ‘basic’ drug plan in any given location. Several major prescription plans, including CVS-Caremark and AARP, offered two basic options throughout the country this year, Washington said. Eliminating that particular form of duplication among the top plans would force 2.75 million beneficiaries to find new coverage . . . .” In fact, the AP notes, “When other changes are taken into account, as many as 3.7 million Medicare recipients may have to switch, the analysis concluded. That amounts to about 20 percent of the 17.5 million enrolled in stand-alone drug plans.”

But that’s not the only story showcasing how the administration’s health care plans are likely to break their “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” promise. Yesterday, Kaiser Health News reported, “Colleges and universities say that some rules in the new health law could keep them from offering low-cost, limited-benefit student insurance policies, and they're seeking federal authority to continue offering them. . . . Without a number of changes, it may be impossible to continue to offer student health plans, says a letter that the American Council on Education sent Aug. 12 to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, signed by 12 other trade associations that represent colleges.”

And this isn’t the only broken health care promise highlighted by a news story this month. A few weeks ago, the AP reported, “the new health care law doesn't improve Medicare’s solvency by much,” even though Obama claimed, “This law doesn't weaken Medicare; it strengthens it and extends its life almost by a decade.” And Politico noted that when it came to the “agencies, boards and commissions created under the new health care law, “Estimating the number is ‘impossible,’ a recent Congressional Research Service report says, and a true count ‘unknowable.’” That’s despite a claim from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) that “this bill does not increase government.”

Max Baucus was one of the Democrats’ point men on their unpopular health care bill. Yesterday in Montana he responded to his constituent:“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the healthcare bill." The Hill has the story picked up from the Flathead Beacon in Montana:
Speaking at a forum in his home state, Baucus and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were asked by an audience member if they had read the whole bill and "if not, that is the most despicable, irresponsible thing.” “I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the healthcare bill," Baucus said, according to the Flathead Beacon. "You know why? It’s statutory language ... We hire experts." . . .

At the town hall event, Baucus defended the sweeping law.  “It’s not perfect, nothing’s perfect, but I’m telling you, ma’am, it’s a good start,” Baucus said. “Mark my words, several years from now you’re going to look back and say, ‘eh, maybe it isn’t so bad.’”
Baucus response to the lady's question sounded more like the reply of a deranged assailant speaking to his distraught victim saying "several years from now you’re going to look back and say, ‘eh, maybe it isn’t so bad."

This is the same Senator Max Baucus who in 1979 failed to get the facts and sided with unions to call for the United States Air Force to investigate an Air Force contracting officer's contracting decisions on a multimillion dollar housing renovation contract at Malmstrom AFB. MT. The Air Force Inspector General did investigate with a team headed by an Air Force Brigadier General. The Air Force IG investigation identified that the officer had acted properly. Baucus still pandering to his union constituents refused to accept the findings of the Air Force IG and called for the General Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate. The GAO did investigate and found that the Air Force officer's decisions were fair and reasonable and in accordance with the required rules, regulations and procedures. These investigations affected numerous lives and increased cost to the government. But, Max Baucus achieved his objective of securing constituent support for his future elections.

Baucus seems to have the dysfunctional pattern of trying to get by without completely reviewing and reading required information. Now it is the massive take over of health care. But his habit began over 30 years ago when he failed then to make an unbiased inquiry into the situation which would have prevented the unnecessary investigations, when he brought political pressure on military officers in Montana, when he refused to accept (probably didn't read that either) the Air Force Inspector General investigation report and when he called for further investigations thereby wasting even more government money.

Baucus actions 30 years ago only cost the taxpayers money and threatened a few peoples careers. But today, his behavior has escalated to the point of having devastating affects on all Americans. We could just as well have called the health care bill BaucusCare verses ObamaCare.

Baucus and other liberal Democrats were continually warned that the health care bill would not do what Democrats were claiming, and in fact would often do the opposite: raise taxes, increase premiums, grow government, increase health care costs, cut Medicare, reduce benefits, and force many Americans off the health care plans they currently like. This is exactly what is happening and the American people don't like it. Regardless of what you call the bill - ObamaCare / BaucusCare / LincolnCare / ReidCare / PelosiCare - it should be repealed!

And for Montana voters, it is time to Repeal Max Baucus!  Neither you nor America can afford his ineptitude any longer. 
Posted by Bill Smith

NEW YORK CITY: Cab Driver Stabbed After Being Asked If He Is Muslim

A New York City cab driver was stabbed repeatedly Monday night after a passenger reportedly demanded to know if he was Muslim.
Michael Enright, 21, hailed a cab on Monday night on Manhattan's east side. After entering the vehicle, the AP notes that Enright allegedly asked his driver, Ahmed H. Sharif, if he was Muslim. Sharif responded with a yes, prompting the intoxicated Enright to allegedly pull out a pocket knife tool, reach for the driver's seat and slash him. New York Police Department spokeswoman Kim Royster told the wire service that Sharif was treated for gashes to his throat, upper lip, forearm and thumb. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance identified Sharif by name, and in a related news release, added that the confrontation "occured amid tension" over plans for the new cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. Within that same document, Sharif, who has served 15 years as a cab driver, expressed sadness over the current climate his profession is facing.
The passenger has been charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. Congratulations go to Pam Geller, Glenn Beck, and Pat Robertson
posted by Joe