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    • The Democratic Ethics Of Brexit
      The bottom line here is that there was a referendum, and “leave” won. All my life I have eaten election and referendum results I hated. I have done so because of democratic legitimacy: the people, even if I or anyone else think they are wrong, are the source of legitimate rule. There was a referendum. […]
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Monday, a Summer News Break

 

General News

One Step Was Plenty

First Man to Walk on the Moon Stoically Backpedals on Earth

It’s not fair to call Armstrong a “recluse,” as many accounts of his life after Apollo 11 invariably have. He’s no cosmic J.D. Salinger or Howard Hughes, shunning the world out of spite or madness. Armstrong makes the occasional public appearance and speech, as he did Sunday at the Smithsonian and as he will do again Monday at NASA’s official commemoration of the moon landing.
. . .
Yet for the 40th anniversary, Armstrong has once again carefully rationed himself. He told planners at the Smithsonian and NASA that he would speak at their events, but not as the keynoter, not at length and only in conjunction with other Apollo alumni. A book-signing at the Air and Space Museum featuring his Apollo 11 crew mates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, was out of the question (Armstrong stopped signing anything some years ago when brokers began peddling bogus signatures on the Internet). Media interviews? Not a chance. “He’s always been this way,” says one person involved in planning the events.

16 Killed in Copter Crash at Afghan Base

NATO officials in Kandahar ruled out insurgent fire as a factor, as the helicopter was well within the perimeter of the military base, crashing just after it took off more than a mile inside the camp, said Capt. Glen Parent of the Canadian Army.

With More Children at Peril, a Call to Unarm

Chicago Church Pushes for Gun Regulations as Deaths of Youth Increase

Murdered Fla. Couple’s Daughter Will Care for 13 Siblings

Ashley Markham, 26, said that it was her mother’s wish for her to care of the children. Markham also defended her parents whose lives and histories had come under national media attention following the murders.

Another possible Zodiac suspect put forth

Tarbox says that on an evening in the early 1970s, a walk-in client appeared at his Montgomery Street office with a merchant mariner’s identification document. He paid $50 for what the lawyer presumed would be a consultation for a shipboard injury claim.

Instead, in the hour that followed, Tarbox says, the seaman admitted he was responsible for the Zodiac crime spree – five murders in Vallejo and San Francisco that remain unsolved today despite 40 years of intense investigative effort by law enforcement.

And THIS should be in a category of it’s own…. I’ve never imagined such a thing:

‘I wed Iranian girls before execution’

In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a “wedding” ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard – essentially raped by her “husband.”

“I regret that, even though the marriages were legal,” he said.

Why the regret, if the marriages were “legal?”

“Because,” he went on, “I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their ‘wedding’ night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die.

“I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over,” he said. “I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her.”

Health & Science

In Britain, the Dept of Health clarifies flu advice for pregnant women

Let us look at two extremes. Keeping yourself in isolation for nine months – tricky with all those ante-natal checks – is a non-starter.

The other extreme would be to go to every rock concert in town and go to as many crowded places as possible. Also not sensible.

And for two three sides of the same story:

  1. White House Less Firm on Date for Health Care Bill

    “It’s still the goal,” Mr. Orszag said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” after he was asked if the president still wanted a bill on his desk before the summer recess. “We think we can make that.”

    Mr. Orszag also appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” where he said “I think the chances are high” that both the Senate and House would deliver a bill to Mr. Obama by August.

  2. UPDATE 3-White House stands by August goal for healthcare

    “There are those who are advocating delay just as a desperation move to try to kill this,” director Peter Orszag said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

    Asked on FOX News Sunday whether the House of Representatives and Senate would meet a target and pass a bill before the August recess, he said, “I think the chances are high.”

  3. White House: ‘It’s time to raise the stakes’ on health care plan

    “Our strategy has been to allow this process to advance to the point where it made sense for the president to take the baton. Now’s that time,” senior adviser David Axelrod told the Washington Post. “I don’t know whether he will Twitter or tweet. But he’s going to be very, very visible.”

    Placing Obama on the front lines carries huge risks for the president. If he fails to convince a legislative body that is controlled by Democrats, he will have to explain his failure publicly.

The Chris Matthews Show: On Health Care Reform, Won’t Someone Think About Us Rich People???

BROOKS: You know, they made some progress on the Hill, they got a House bill out, they got a Senate bill moving forward. They’re scaring the dickens out of the moderates in their own party, let alone the Republicans. They’re scaring the dickens out of them because the House bill calls for raising the top tax rate to 52 or in some cities, 57%. That’s higher than in France, Spain, Italy…

Chemicals That Eased One Woe Worsen Another

The chemicals, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), were introduced widely in the 1990s to replace ozone-depleting gases used in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foam.

They worked: The earth’s protective shield seems to be recovering.

But researchers say what’s good for ozone is bad for climate change. In the atmosphere, these replacement chemicals act like “super” greenhouse gases, with a heat-trapping power that can be 4,470 times that of carbon dioxide.

HOT ISSUE: Should we deliberately move species?

About 20 to 30 percent of species worldwide face a high risk of becoming extinct possibly by 2100 as global temperatures rise, estimated a 2007 report by the Nobel-winning international climate change panel. The group noted that current conservation practices are “generally poorly prepared to adapt to this level of change.”

Deliberating moving a species has long been opposed by some, who believe we should not play God with nature and worry that introducing an exotic species — intentionally or not — could upset the natural balance and cause unforeseen ripple effects. It has happened before with dire results. Two decades ago, zebra mussels were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes and millions are now spent every year removing the pest from water pipes.

Others counter that given the grim realities of a warming planet, it would be irresponsible not to intervene as a conservation strategy. Otherwise, trees may suffer from ravaging disease epidemics while critters unable to head north may find themselves trapped in a declining landscape.

Economy

CIT reaches tentative $3 bln deal with bondholders

CIT’s board plans to meet later on Sunday to discuss the terms of the deal, and the lender is expected to announce the deal on Monday if the board approves it, according to the source, who declined to be identified because talks are private.

Bailout Overseer Says Banks Misused TARP Funds

The report, which will be published Monday, surveyed 360 banks that got money through the end of January and found that 110 had invested at least some of it, that 52 had repaid debts and that 15 had used funds to buy other banks.

TARP watchdog says Treasury lacking bank data

In a report to be released on Monday, Neil Barofsky said banks that have received money from the $700 billion bailout package passed last year are able to indicate how they are using taxpayer money and that Treasury should require banks to be more transparent.
“The fact that there may be some limitations on the precision of the data that could be collected,” Barofsky said in the report, “does not mean that such reporting could not generate meaningful information.”

Wal-Mart backs employer mandate for health coverage

Wal-Mart and the Service Employees International Union drafted a joint letter along with the Center for American Progress, a self-described progressive think tank based in Washington, D.C., to tell Obama they believe today’s soaring health care costs are a result of so many people being uninsured. The solution, they wrote, is an employer mandate “which is far and broad in its coverage.”

Arts

Frank McCourt – ‘Angela’s Ashes’ Author Dies at 78

Mr. McCourt was a retired teacher in his mid-60s when he wrote “Angela’s Ashes,” an unflinching and unforgettable account of his family’s misery in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s and 1940s.

A Wizard Is a Whiz at the Box Office

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the delayed sixth installment in the Warner Brothers franchise, sold an estimated $159.7 million in tickets in its first five days in North American theaters, according to box office tracking services.

Finding lessons for life in Harry Potter books

Slack relates all sorts of social issues back to themes in the Harry Potter books. Using the opinions of Harry’s mentor Albus Dumbledore as a moral compass, Slack suggests Potter fans should fight prison torture because Dumbledore was against Dementors and that they should be pro-fair trade because Dumbledore agreed with Potter friend Hermione Granger on giving rights to house elves.

‘Hurt’ and ‘angry’ Paula Abdul may not return to ‘American Idol’ next season

Due to the stalled negotiations, chances of the “Idol” judge returning for another season seem unlikely.

“Very sadly, it does not appear that she’s going to be back on ‘Idol,’” he said.

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66 Responses

  1. Personal financial disasters are minor compared to this:

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2009-07-19-space-toilet_N.htm

    overflowing toilets at zero gravity? yuk!

  2. Good morning, Katiebird! Thank you for the news break.

    I don’t buy the Zodiac story, but I’ll be interested to see what Joseph Cannon has to say about it. He’s back!

  3. Mr Change is changing again -Politio on the fading of the honeymoon
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/obama-had-a-speech-on-friday/

    • “I don’t know whether he will Twitter or tweet. But he’s going to be very, very visible.”

      Oh Lord–how can he be any MORE visible?!

  4. Lunacy:

    • Hey, pretty good punch. It’s about time someone decked one of those creeps.

      • lol, Buzz has still got it! 6% of the population believes the moon landing is a hoax.

  5. I’m shocked! Obama appoints GS exec as a State Dept. advisor:

    President Obama said Friday he would nominate Robert Hormats, a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, to a top economic position at the State Department. Mr. Hormats, 66, will be under secretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs. He was deputy trade representative from 1979 through 1981 and held other posts at the State Department throughout his career. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, said in a speech on Wednesday that she hoped to make economic policy and trade a larger part of United States diplomacy.

  6. Add your name: http://wewantthepublicoption.com./ We’ll air this in Washington DC on CNN, MSNBC, and other places where senators and staffers will pay attention.

    • Is Obama beginning to see that 76% of the people want a Public Option/Single Payer ala HR 676 and will he finally stop taking care of the GREEDOS the ‘POOR MILLIONAIRES’ like Tweety Chris Mathews?

  7. That story about the forced weddings and rape of young girls designated for execution is really devastating. How can any culture or religion institutionalize at a national level such practices/

    When you hear about such things and also hear about the Chicago convention this week end of a group pushing for Islamic/Sharia law world-wide and the death of capitalism and the institution of Islam for all, it makes you think—deeply.

    • Sharia Law here would have to mean a re-write of the constitution and if that started up it would be a horrible time indeed. I would never wear a burka, My GOD wouldn’t have made so many beautiful people only to hide the work is my belief.

      Sharia is a way to oppressive/murder/torture women, plain and simple.

    • If they try that with women PUMAs, we’re going to get all Buzz Aldrin on them…

    • Approach this story with extreme caution. Both sources are anonymous, and there’s no corroborating evidence. Until there is, I’m putting it in the same category as the Kuwaiti babies tossed out of their incubators to die by Iraqis–propaganda designed to inflame and give an extra impetus to prospective war.

      Here’s Amnesty International’s report on executions of minors and persons convicted as minors. Note that the overwhelming majority of victims are male, there is no mention of rape, and the female victims were charged with “crimes against chastity,” i.e., were not virgins.

      http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/059/2007/en/b95aae3b-d38d-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/mde130592007en.html

    • So how do you feel about evangleica Christians’ similar plans?

      Except for the captialism bit, of course. The “God wants you to be rich!” crowd believes capitalism is decreed in the Bible. They insist on poking their noses into people’s private (read sex and reproductive) lives, but handily ignore the command to “Go and sell all that thou hast, and give it to the poor…”

      • Religion has been used as an excuse to carry out brutality and oppression of women for as long as recorded history. IMO, if we are going to progress as a species then we need to stop using man-made myths to condone our atrocities.

        Another Amnesty International link:

        Amnesty International has campaigned to end the use of the punishment of stoning, calling it gruesome and horrific. This killing of Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow demonstrates the cruelty and the inherent discrimination against women of this punishment.

        • Religion, and politics, and just about any other institution you’d care to name–but all such that oppress women are products of the patriarchal mindset and assumption of male entitlement, which precedes any of them. The US soldiers who raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdered not only her but her whole family had no religious motivation.

          None of which, however, speaks to the truth or otherwise of this “news” story.

          • Whether the original story is true or not doesn’t change the fact that religion is used as a tool to oppress women. As you admit, religion is the product of a patriarchal mindset; it’s not divine truth but it is treated as such in order to absolve the oppressors. Religions feign to bestow morality, but instead they create an atmosphere that justifies, condones and promotes gender abuse. It’s insidious and children are raised from birth in this environment of hate.

            I have no idea why you sidetrack the topic under discussion; I never said religion was the only tool. But it is certainly one of the most widespread and deeply ingrained ones.

          • “As you admit, religion is the product of a patriarchal mindset;”

            That’s not what I said; that’s your own particular hobby horse. I said that religions *that oppress women* are products of a patriarchal mindset. Not all religion is patriarchal, and not all oppresses women.

            Pardon me, but I’m not sidetracking the topic. That would be you, in your attempt to make this strictly about religion, when it is not. My concern for whether this story is true or not is a political one. It reads exactly like the stories of the Kuwaiti babies who were turned out of their incubators to die on the floor by the wicked forces of Saddam Hussein. That was propaganda designed to demonize and dehumanize “the enemy,” and to present a pre-emptive attack as justifiable, something I suspect is also going on in this piece.

            But congratulations. You didn’t even need the propaganda to demonize and de-humanize. You’re already there.

      • excuse me, but there are no similar plans among evangelical Christians, not in over a hundred years. You can not compare suggesting that church members who are women voluntarily submit to their husbands as the head of the house with stoning, burning or flogging women for being raped as a matter of law.

        • I do NOT consider women who have been brainwashed into submitting to their husbands being a voluntary submission to their husbands. Those wing-nut Christian churches main focus is in controlling and tearing women down, in fact all male dominated organized churches main focus is in control of their women.

          Women in these churches are perfect examples of the lab rat experiments called LEARNED HELPLESSNESS.

          It is the males who came up with this stupid submissive woman propaganda in the churches of the patriarchy.

        • Women raised in conservative religious cultures (regardless of what that religion is) do not CHOOSE oppression voluntarily. Women do not VOLUNTARILY choose to submit to their husbands any more than they VOLUNTARILY choose to wear burqas. When cultural pressure is brought to bear, personal choice is restricted but the illusion of personal choice is bolstered.

        • Ever hear of the Dominionists? They’re evangelical Christians who in fact wish to turn the United States, and ultimately all nations, into a theocracy based on “Biblical law.” “Biblical law,” according to them, includes the death penalty for adultery, defying one’s parents, “crimes against chastity,” etc., and it has none of the requirements for evidence that even Shariah law demands.

          Some of their followers are in Congress right now. Check out The Family.

    • Why would young girls be given the death penalty? Isn’t is because they had sex outside of marriage usually? So they wouldn’t be virgins by the time they were jailed. Also, if it’s illegal to execute virgins then why would they get the death penalty to begin with? I’m just not buying this guy’s story. Maybe he is just a rapist with a guilty conscience or has some other motive. It’s all too easy to believe that jailers rape prisoners on their own. I can’t imagine a religious government requiring forced marriage and rape before execution though. I realize that I don’t understand most of what goes on in Iran but I think marriage is as sacred in Islam as it is in other religions. I think the rapists are trying to justify their acts so they don’t break Islamic law? I hope this guy is a lying pos. Too horrible to imagine, otherwise.

      My fervent wish is that he is a lying pos. Too horrible to contemplate otherwise.

      • Darn you, WordPress! Sorry for the repetition at the end.

      • When we lived in Saudi Arabia, it was rumored that one of the local muktars had drowned one of his daughters in the swimming pool as punishment for lack of chastity.

        • yes, we occasionally get some nut job in America who does something similar. But they are NOT part of the government and it is not legal and they get prosecuted.

          ** this comment a preemptive against the “I hate all religion” folks who would claim we have the same problems with Christianity in America.

      • “Maybe he is just a rapist with a guilty conscience or has some other motive. It’s all too easy to believe that jailers rape prisoners on their own. ”

        Bingo.

        In light of the AI report, I’m inclined to doubt that these girls were sentenced to death in the first place. I do wonder, though, if the rapist(s) didn’t then kill them to cover up his/their own crimes. That’s essentially what happened to that poor child in Somalia. The same criminals who assaulted her railroaded her through a kangaroo court in absolute definace of actual Islamic law.

  8. If Hillary doesn’t have a shot at 2012 nom,
    Romney-Palin ticket might be the Repubs’ answer to Obama.

    Rasmussen 2012 poll:

    Obama 45% Romney 45%
    Obama 48% Palin 42%

    • Ah, choo, it would be:
      Palin/Romney but more likely Huckabee as Romney’s people are the ones with the meme about her (the daughter of a school teacher) not knowing things and being a diva. So, that would be my guess and besides I would only ever consider Romney on a ticket if he was supporting HR 676.

    • Palin is only down 6…. after QUITTING!!!!!!?!?!?!?!?!? Wait, I thought her political career was OVER!!!

      Someone get David Shuster on the phone.

      • Hillary’s career has been declared dead more times than Jason Voorhies and she’s still going.

      • Wasn’t her favorable in the seventies and Romney below the forties? Yes, get that Shuster dude on the phone and ask. Besides weren’t ROmney’s people the ones that started the ‘Wassilla Hillbillies’ meme and hiding while telling stories of the great clothing robbery?

        Yea, like Palin would run back to the back stabbers for a second round.

    • I still can’t get over the fact that Palin has been under near constant assault in the media and from both sides of the aisle for nearly a year… and she only polls 6 down to Obama, and 3 down to Romney who has been left relatively unscathed? I suspect that 42 is the low water mark for her and she has nowhere to go but up.

      Obama should be scared, imho.

  9. I watched the news shows this week-end, including Orszag on Fox’s Chris Wallace. The health care story is getting scarier. From that I came to understand that in exchange for AMA support, the Dem leadership traded out of the bill cutbacks in physician payments through medicare—a big piece that would make the House bill more deficit neutral. I listened to Gregg of the Repubs. He supports the principles Obama laid out and noted that the problem with the House and Senate bills so far is that they do not make the changes that will make a difference in health care costs in the out years—on is that payments in medicaid and medicare be made not for delivering treatments but for delivering improved health care results. He also talked about taxing employer paid health benefits over 17,000 per year that subsidize excessive treatment and health care costs. I was pretty amazed to find myself agreeing with the Republican. I also found myself looking at Orzag and reading his bonafides and wondering if it is really a good thing to have our economy in the hands of a very young liberal elite.

    • Several of these young “elites” remind me a lot of Brownie in actual competence. Heck of a job, “elites”.

  10. Don’t you think it is telling that the poll numbers show that while Americans overwhelmingly want health care reform, the majority also believes that congress is likely to make things worse?

    • I think it shows the public is somewhat realistic. Lots of them know they’ve been sold out, even if not to what extent.

      Congress has not really given the public any reason to believe otherwise since the late 1960s.

  11. DrudgeReport is funny sometimes… current headline there:

    RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $2,531,600 FOR ‘HAM, WATER ADDED, COOKED, FROZEN, SLICED, 2-LB’…
    RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $1,191,200 FOR ‘2 POUND FROZEN HAM SLICED’…
    RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $351,807 FOR ‘REPLACE AND UPGRADE THE DUMBWAITER’…
    RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $1,562,568 FOR ‘MOZZARELLA CHEESE’…
    RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $5,708,260 FOR ‘PROCESS CHEESE’…
    RECOVERY.GOV // AWARDED: $16,784,272 FOR ‘CANNED PORK’…

  12. R.I.P. Frank McCourt. Angela’s Ashes was a great read–incredibly funny in the midst of grueling poverty.

    • I’ll chime in with your R.I.P. Frank McCourt.

      I remember reading excerpts from the book in NYT Magazine and simply loved it. When I later read the book, I realized that NYT had printed the best part. Still liked the book, but it was a little like going to the movies and realize you have already seen the best parts in pre released trailers.

  13. WomenCountHappy Monday! Check out what @jpippert had to say about the coverage of Kirsten Gillibrand last week on the blog, http://bit.ly/s2tmM

    Good on ’em for calling out the sexist treatment of a Senator that just happens to be a woman! Go Women Count Go!

  14. Zodiac Killer — another one to add to the suspect list.

    I think that this killer helped law enforcement learn about serial killers. His crimes took place in several jurisdictions — from rural remote to Urban S.F. There have been many serial murderers before the Zodiac — but were probably ignored because they often prey on the throw away of our society (like prostitutes or runaway kids).

    I knew two of his victims – one lived and one died.

    Graysmith is an author of a couple of books about the Zodiac killer, he’s the one who decoded the Zodiac messages and has been following this case for years. I’ve been hoping that this monster would be positively identified — for the sake of the familes of his victims.

    Thanks for this update.

  15. The story about the executions/rapes of young women in Iran made me want to scream. And then I found this about the after-effect of the Bush Admin “abstinence” and “no sex ed” approaches. Want to scream again!
    The Centers for Disease Control says years of falling rates of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease infections were reversed or stalled in the Bush years. Birth rates among teenagers aged 15 or older had been in decline since 1991 but are up sharply in more than half of American states since 2005. The number of teenage females with syphilis has risen by nearly half after a significant decrease. A two-decade fall in the gonorrhea infection rate is being reversed. AIDS cases in adolescent boys nearly doubled.

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