Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Prominent Chinese AIDS activist missing - AIDS -

"BEIJING - A Chinese AIDS activist who was organizing a symposium to help people with the disease fight for their legal rights has gone missing after meeting with police, his advocacy group said Saturday.
Although Beijing launched a more open and energetic fight against AIDS two years ago, the apparent disappearance of the activist, Wan Yanhai, highlights the government's lingering antipathy toward its more outspoken critics.
Four police officers showed up at the Beijing offices of the AIDS advocacy group Aizhi on Friday and questioned Wan for much of the day, the group said on its Web site."

7M in U.S. jails, on probation or parole - Yahoo! News

"WASHINGTON - A record 7 million people — or one in every 32 American adults — were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday. "

Iain Hollingshead wins Bad Sex prize - Yahoo! News

"Judges were moved by Hollingshead's evocation of 'a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.' His description of 'bulging trousers' sealed the win, the judges said.Judges were moved by Hollingshead's evocation of 'a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.' His description of 'bulging trousers' sealed the win, the judges said."

Cost of being a stay-at-home mom: $1 million - MSN Money

"Cost of giving up a career: $1 million
She uses herself, a writer (ahem), as an example of what happens when women decide to leave the workforce. Most not only forfeit their income, but also retirement savings, pension and other benefits. All told, Crittenden says, she gave up about $700,000. Shocking? Yes. Unlikely? Nope. Economists say that the stay-at-home parent who relinquishes a career may lose about $1 million over the years.
Crittenden doesn't regret a minute of the time she spent with her son; nor do any of the mothers she interviewed. But the financial tradeoffs she lists are a stunning indictment of a mother's financial vulnerability. To combat these realities, Crittenden recommends a slew of smart policy changes that would reduce the financial penalty of having kids, especially for stay-at-home moms (or SAHMs, as they're increasingly abbreviated). But if you, like me, would like to consider staying home before the glacial pace of government acts on your behalf, here are some practical ways to shore up your financial (and emotional) security now.
Reconsider the prenup
Don't sign your rights away in a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are meant to protect the financial assets of both partners, so make sure yours does. By choosing to stay at home, you're limiting your future income prospects, so make sure any agreement you sign takes into account your somewhat special status as a stay-at-home parent. (If you've already signed one and are now thinking of having children, you and your spouse can renegotiate.) Katherine Stoner, a certified family law specialist in San Francisco, recommends the following precautions:
Many premarital contracts are boilerplate, so it's important to weed out any offending clauses. You don't want to sign anything that waives your right to spousal support or future spouse rights in the event of death or divorce.
Get a lawyer to help you plan this, Stoner says. Or you'll be leaving an awful lot up to chance and the generosity of the courts.
Even if the exact details are fuzzy, spell out your future financial plans in the prenup. For example, some couples stipulate that in the event of divorce, since the wife gave up 10 years of her career to raise Jack and Jill, the court should take that into consideration when determining her settlement. You don't need the details, as long as the intention is clear.

Leap second - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"A leap second is an intercalary, one-second adjustment that keeps broadcast standards for time of day close to mean solar time. Leap seconds are used to keep time standards synchronized with civil calendars, the basis of which is astronomical."

Broadcast standards for civil time are based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a time standard which is maintained using extremely precise atomic clocks. In order to keep the UTC broadcast standard close to mean solar time, UTC is occasionally corrected by an intercalary adjustment, or "leap", of one (1) second. Over long time periods, leap seconds must be added at an ever increasing rate which corresponds to a parabola near 31 s/century² (see ΔT).

I would like a leap second or two. No word yet on my fate. This is torture.

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

"At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.
'How's your boy?' Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
'I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,' Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
'That's not what I asked you,' Bush said. 'How's your boy?'
'That's between me and my boy, Mr. President,' Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House [...]

If the exchange with Bush two weeks ago is any indication, Webb won't be a wallflower, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. And he won't stick to a script drafted by top Democrats."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gay Marriage Is Still Evil? / Because the funny thing is, despite all the frantic state bans, no one can really say why

"What would happen to the nation were it to become legal? Real answer: They really don't know. Probably nothing. So why is gay marriage so wrong? Because, well, it just is. What was that again? It. Just. Is.
And there you have it.
This is, I believe, the last remaining detestable thing. It is a vagueness of mind, of spirit, a tepid sort of oatmealy hate that knows no real reasoning or heat or nuance. It just is. It is the banality of evil, distilled into a single phrase, a fuzzydumb but yet weirdly powerful mind-set that means nothing but which still lashes out at the world.
This is my guess: Most Americans, even if they voted to ban gay marriage, really have no clear answer as to why they did it. Deep down, if they really looked, they would know: There is no threat. There is no danger to children, the economy, sunshine, puppies. They are merely scared to death of change, of the Other, of their own buried impulses.
In other words, they don't like gay love because it's not what they do and it's not what their neighbors do and therefore it must be evil and wrong and bizarre, and, being Americans, if we don't understand something we either kill it or ban it or poison it or vote against it about 1,000 times until we exhaust every possible angle of idiocy. " - Silicon Valley last among tech hubs

"SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley ranks last in an annual ranking of 12 U.S. technology hubs because of the region's notoriously high housing costs, traffic congestion, unemployment rate and other quality-of-life problems.
According to a survey by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the nation's top-ranked tech hub is North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham area, which enjoys relatively affordable housing and a thriving job market. The region also wins points for local kids' performance on eighth-grade math tests, as well as comparatively low sales taxes and affordable utility bills."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Slashdot | Online Video Begins To Threaten Television

"The BBC has an article reporting that a survey of 2,070 Britons revealed that online viewing is on the rise against television. From the article: 'Some 43% of Britons who watch video from the internet or on a mobile device at least once a week said they watched less normal TV as a result.' The figures the BBC is reporting are up from last year when they ran the same survey. It seems the digital world has disintermediated Magazines, Music, & Newspapers but somehow never really tapped books. Will the internet also take on the role as the family television?'The BBC has an article reporting that a survey of 2,070 Britons revealed that online viewing is on the rise against television. From the article: 'Some 43% of Britons who watch video from the internet or on a mobile device at least once a week said they watched less normal TV as a result.' The figures the BBC is reporting are up from last year when they ran the same survey. It seems the digital world has disintermediated Magazines, Music, & Newspapers but somehow never really tapped books. Will the internet also take on the role as the family television?'"

reason number 2378 to hate the Bush administration

"Many economists believe the dollar will decline in value - and needs to decline - rela- tive to other currencies. The reason: The record US trade deficit shows no signs of shrinking on its own accord. The larger it grows, the greater the risk of a 'hard landing' for America if other nations become worried about America's ability to repay foreign creditors, who are now lending some $1.6 million per minute to finance overall US spending.
The hard landing scenario, which could spark a global recession, remains a possibility rather than a consensus forecast. But policymakers worldwide, from finance ministers to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), take the threat seriously.
'The thing that's driving the international focus is the concern that the adjustment [in the dollar] could easily be disorderly and really painful,' says Charles McMillion, president of MBG Information Services, an economic consulting firm in Washington. 'This imbalance will dominate Paulson's and [Federal Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernanke's efforts, for the rest of their terms.'"

Deep thoughts first thing on a Monday

"But science is as much about method as anything. The scientific method posits hypotheses and theories that can be tested. Is that something Buddhism does as well?
Not in the same way. I wouldn't want to overplay the case that Buddhism has always been a science, with clear hypotheses and complete skepticism. It's too much of a religion, and so there's a lot of vested interest in the Buddhist community not to challenge the statements made by the Buddha and other great patriarchs in the Buddhist tradition. So there are some fundamental differences. At the same time, science is not just science. This very notion that the mind must simply be an emergent property of the brain -- consisting only of physical phenomena and nothing more -- is not a testable hypothesis. Science is based upon a very profound metaphysical foundation. Can you test the statement that there is nothing else going on apart from physical phenomena and their emergent properties? The answer is no.
You're saying we don't know for sure that the physical functions of the brain -- the neural circuits, the electrochemical surges -- are what produce our rich inner lives, what we call the mind?
Cognitive science has plenty of hypotheses that are testable. For instance, is Alzheimer's related to a particular malfunctioning of the brain? More and more, scientists are able to identify the parts and functions of the brain that are necessary to generate specific mental states. So these are scientific issues. But now let's tap into what the philosopher David Chalmers has called 'the hard problem' -- the relationship between the physical brain and consciousness. What is it about the brain -- this mass of chemicals and electromagnetic fields -- that enables it to generate any state of subjective experience? If your sole access to the mind is by way of physical phenomena, then you have no way of testing whether all dimensions of the mind are necessarily contingent upon the brain.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

 Dobbs: Populist tide has elitists running scared -

"And in the mind of those elites, any call to curtail illegal immigration is xenophobic, even though ours is the most racially and ethnically diverse society on the planet; even though we bring in one million immigrants legally to this country every year. Without question, I am an independent populist, and as I've said before, the antonym of populism is elitism, which I reject as simply un-American.
The chairman of the elite business lobbying organization, the Business Roundtable, Terry McGraw, took issue with the newly elected 'Lou Dobbs Democrats.' He dismissed the controversy over the business practice of outsourcing American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets, except 'in certain areas and especially in areas where manufacturing companies have been particularly affected.'
Unfortunately, those affected areas are expanding, not diminishing. And one has to wonder why the effect of putting our middle class in direct competition with the cheapest labor in the world isn't as clear to them as it is to most working men and women in this country. McGraw is a capable and intelligent businessman who should know better, and so should the CEOs of the multinational corporations the Roundtable represents.
Almost a century ago, Henry Ford doubled his workers' salaries so the people on the assembly line could afford the automobiles they manufactured. Ford and his employees helped build the strongest middle class in the world. But today, American business leaders seem intent on destroying jobs and looking at their American employees as liabilities, not assets"

Daily Kos Inspires Humanist Muslim Activism

"Eteraz is an online forum whose goal is to mobilize people of conscience throughout the world to identify, discuss, and take action on political and religious issues involving Islam and the Muslim world. Eteraz seeks a humanist vision of Islam for the future and looks to illuminate the wisdom and spirituality that made Islam a great religion historically by creating community, promoting informed opinions and more than anything else, moving its members to real world action.
Most, if not all topics touching on the religion and politics of Islam are appropriate at Eteraz. This forum represents people of widely diverging (and even conflicting) theologies. However, the soul of Eteraz is, and always has been, a) the simple idea that every human, man or woman, believer or atheist, wealthy or poor, has the same intrinsic worth, and can only be judged on the basis of his actions; and b) that it takes more than emails, and more than flowery articles, to stand up for the intrinsic worth of individuals."

Video Dog -

"The cheese stands alone
Let's state the obvious: Tom Cruise has no style. Naturally, the sophistication and fabulousness of his Italian nuptials never threatened to displace, say, JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette's big day from the celebrity wedding hall of fame. Even so, there was something so promlike and disappointing about the TomKat wedding photos, particularly those shots of Katie, dressed like Catherine Zeta-Jones 20 years from now. But nothing compared to the news that Tom serenaded Katie at the reception with -- what else? -- 'You Lost That Lovin' Feelin'.' We can understand Tom (see also the Least Self-Aware Human on the Planet) choosing the frat-boy anthem he sang in 'Top Gun,' but what about his friends and family? Does no one love this man enough to look him in the eye and say, 'Come on, guy!'?"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Conservative plan to protest Wal-Mart - Yahoo! News

"Conservative leaders viewed these actions as a betrayal of Wal-Mart's traditions, which have included efforts to weed out magazines with racy covers and CDs with explicit lyrics.
'This has been Christian families' favorite store — and now they're giving in, sliding down the slippery slope so many other corporations have gone down,' said the Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America. 'They're all being extorted by the radical homosexual agenda.'
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spokesman David Tovar said the company's outreach to the gay-rights groups was part of a broader effort to best serve its diverse customer base.
'We take pride that we treat every customer, every supplier, every member of our communities fairly and equally,' Tovar said Tuesday. 'We do not have a position on same-sex marriage. ... What we do have is a strong commitment to diversity. We're against discrimination everywhere.'"

So mostly I find this stuff funny to watch, but every now and then you have to wonder why these people are so obsessed with gay sex?

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | If you feel a commotion beneath your feet today, that'll be gazillions of unbaptised children moving out of Limbo

"Since the Middle Ages, Limbo has been for Catholics a place (in Dante's vision, a castle) where the souls of unbaptised children go. Aborted foetuses, too. But a 30-strong commission of theologians established by John Paul II has concluded that a nicer destiny is necessary - namely that all children who die do so in the expectation of 'the universal salvation of God', whether baptised or not. 'In effect, this means that all children who die go to Heaven,' a papal source told the Times earlier this week.
But this can't be right. There must be some naughty children who don't go to Heaven, but wind up in Purgatory awaiting intercessory prayers, and others who go straight to Hell. What is a papal source anyway? Why weren't they prepared to go on the record?
The Pope's announcement nevertheless will end centuries of heartlessness typified by Pope Pius X (1903-14), who declared Limbo to be a place where the unbaptised 'do not have the joy of God but neither do they suffer . . . they do not deserve Paradise, but neither do they deserve Hell or Purgatory'. What a revolting invocation of deserts! Instead, the Catholic church now believes that God wishes all souls to be saved. It seems remiss, to put it mildly, that the church took seven centuries to come to this more compassionate position.
Today Limbo's children will be able to scamper with their satchels and protractors towards Heaven, where - fingers crossed - God will make Heavenly sandwiches for packed lunches. Ovid's were rubbish."

Daily Kos: Bernanke Is Flooding the Economy With Money

"This is a classic case of 'ignore what they are saying, because what they are doing is speaking so loud:' While the Federal Reserve has been reporting rather flat money supply growth in M2 (blue line), in reality they have been dramatically increasing the cash (red and blue line) available for speculation.
Hence, that sloshing sound you heard. They have been providing the fuel for the rally, the huge M&A activity, the explosion in derivatives -- even the eye popping Art auctions are part of the shift from cash to hard assets. It is just supply and demand -- print lots of lots of anything, and that thing becomes increasingly devalued. It works the same for cash as it did for Beanie Babies.
Its not just the increase in Money Supply that should be concerning to investors -- its the misdirection about it. If Money Supply matters so little, as Fed Chair Bernanke has been out explaining to anyone who will listen, why pray tell has the Fed been working those printing presses overtime?"

Those bastards really will wreck the world economy...and why? Seriously, why?

Vatican concludes study on condoms - Yahoo! News

"Barragan said that Pope Benedict XVI is 'greatly concerned' by the issue and that the dossier was prepared at his request.
The Roman Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms as part of its overall teaching against contraception. It advocates sexual abstinence as the best way to combat the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
But several leading churchmen have spoken out on the issue in recent years as the Vatican has come under increasing criticism for its position. Some — such as a one-time papal contender, retired Milan Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini — say that condoms were the 'lesser evil' in combatting the spread of AIDS. Other cardinals, however, have rejected their argument — an indication that the issue is still undecided at the Vatican."

Maybe I am being judgemental, but I think these bastards should end up in hell for dithering on this issue. Mind you I don't really believe in hell, but if there is one...they belong there for pontificating while millions die.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fear - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Fear is a basic emotional sensation and response system ('feeling') initiated by an aversion to some perceived risk or threat."

I slept almost not at all last night. I knew before I tried to go to sleep, when I read a whole book in one gulp that sleep was unlikely. I used to love when that happened, but last night I was pissed. I knew I was doing it because my brain was panicking. Panicking over today, its implications and the unknown unplannable future. I war within myself all the time with this....the reliable, persistant and insatiable brain and the desirous, adventurous, insatiable self.

It is the passion flowing right on through your veins
And it's the feeling that you're oh so glad you came
It is the moment you remember you're alive
It is the air you breathe, the element, the fire
It is that flower that you took the time to smell
It is the power that you know you got it well
It is the fear inside that you can overcome
This is the orchestra, the rhythm and the drum

Com uma força, com uma força
Com uma força que ninguem pode parar
Com uma força, com uma força
Com uma fome que ninguem pode matar

It is the soundtrack of your ever-flowing life
It is the wind beneath your feet that makes you fly
It is the beautiful game that you choose to play
When you step out into the world to start your day
You show your face and take it in and scream and pray
You're gonna win it for yourself and us today
It is the gold, the green, the yellow and the grey
The red and sweat and tears, the love you got. Hey!

I told my brain in strong terms that it was a COWARD. That its fear was no only irrational but ineffecient, which is deeply challenging to its notions of methodical observation, incorporation and forward planning based on the best available assessment of data. My jaw slackened a little bit and I think I ended up sleeping a little bit and I hoped that the dream of Machu Picchu was a good omen.

Gender-bending boy fruit flies fight like girls - Yahoo! News

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a study that sheds light on the biology of aggression, scientists swapped genes in gender-bending fruit flies to make boys fight like girls and girls fight like boys."

This is Your Story - The Progressive Story of America. Pass It On.

"As a citizen I don't like the consequences of this crusade, but you have to respect the conservatives for their successful strategy in gaining control of the national agenda. Their stated and open aim is to change how America is governed - to strip from government all its functions except those that reward their rich and privileged benefactors. They are quite candid about it, even acknowledging their mean spirit in accomplishing it. Their leading strategist in Washington - the same Grover Norquist – has famously said he wants to shrink the government down to the size that it could be drowned in a bathtub. More recently, in commenting on the fiscal crisis in the states and its affect on schools and poor people, Norquist said, 'I hope one of them' – one of the states – 'goes bankrupt.' So much for compassionate conservatism. But at least Norquist says what he means and means what he says. The White House pursues the same homicidal dream without saying so. Instead of shrinking down the government, they're filling the bathtub with so much debt that it floods the house, water-logs the economy, and washes away services for decades that have lifted millions of Americans out of destitution and into the middle-class. And what happens once the public's property has been flooded? Privatize it. Sell it at a discounted rate to the corporations.
It is the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime. I'll be frank with you: I simply don't understand it – or the malice in which it is steeped. Many people are nostalgic for a golden age. These people seem to long for the Gilded Age. That I can grasp. They measure America only by their place on the material spectrum and they bask in the company of the new corporate aristocracy"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

War, religion, and gay rights - The Boston Globe

"The human race is undergoing a massive cultural mutation. The meaning of sexuality is being transformed as biology revolutionizes reproduction. Women are demanding equality across the globe. Men are being forced to reimagine their familial and social roles. Gays and lesbians are at the center of these changes. Their refusal to be silent and invisible is one of the era's great resources, a magnificent sign of hope."

Rape law reform roils Pakistan's Islamists - Yahoo! News

"Rape is already a common tool of revenge and settling tribal scores in Pakistan. The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated in 2002 that a woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours."

This is theoretically a hopeful article that the requirement of producing 4 male witnesses to rape is being reformed, but I read this sentence and I find hope elusive. Not because I don't think that eventually this won't be true anymore, but that within the human condition this is ever true and that for so many places in the world right now....this is "normal". How can we all be human if this is "normal"?

MathFiction: A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)

"'And the fourth?' 'Well, I guess if you want to put it into mathematical terms you'd square the square. But you can't take a pencil and draw it the way you can the first three. I know it's got something to do with Einstein and time. I guess maybe you could call the fourth dimension Time.' 'That's right,' Charles said. 'Good girl. Okay, then, for the fifth dimension you'd square the fourth, wouldn't you?' 'I guess so.''Well, the fifth dimension's a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go the long way around. In other words, to put it into Euclid, or old-fashioned plane geometry, a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.' For a brief, illuminating second Meg's face had the listening, probing expression that was so often seen on Charles's. "

I dreamt last night about Machu Picchu and felt time jump. It was as if I really climbed the mountain and come upon it and it was one of the few times where the hope and desire for a place was overwhelmed by the actuality. I love those dreams.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Letters to AZ

"If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

I have just spent some time, the last times presumably with the people I have met in AZ. I drove off thinking what if it was all a terrible failure? A mistake that cost me a year and half of my life....I should not have worried. For such a long time I have struggled with fear and envy of people who seem certain of things. I struggle with listening to my own internal voice. I have issues of faith, only not the kind pondered by philosophers or poets or religious folks. I struggle with having faith that living your life true to what you believe is enough. period. I was reminded of that this week. Hopefully I can begin anew. Thank you AZ. I wouldn't be near where and who I am without you.

Total ban on junk food ads for kids in UK

"New rules put forward by the media regulator Ofcom would also ban the use of celebrities, characters, free gifts and nutritional claims in the advertising of products aimed at primary school children.
The announcement comes as part of a drive to tackle the nation's growing problem of childhood obesity and follows a public consultation involving a variety of individuals and organisations.
According to Department of Health statistics, one million children could be obese by 2010 unless steps are taken to halt this rise."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Heart valves grown from womb fluid cells - Yahoo! News

"CHICAGO - Scientists for the first time have grown human heart valves using stem cells from the fluid that cushions babies in the womb — offering a revolutionary approach that may be used to repair defective hearts in the future. "

This stuff freaks me out....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Broadsheet -

"Sit down, this one's going to blow your mind: According to the Associated Press, a 16-member Missouri legislative panel has submitted a report asserting that the U.S. has created a market for illegal immigrants by aborting all the Americans who would otherwise have held their jobs.
The report, from the state's House Special Committee on Immigration Reform, is so embarrassing that none of the six Democrats on the panel would sign their name to it, though all 10 Republicans did.
The report also includes the claim that 'liberal social welfare policies' keep government aid recipients living so high on the hog that they are unmotivated to get jobs, again creating a vacuum that pulls illegal immigrants across the border to work in terrible conditions for pennies an hour in their place. "

Some Women Allergic to Sex

"Women can be allergic to sex with men, but doctors are finding women can overcome this allergy through regular sex combined with treatments derived from semen."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Daily Kos: Why the Student Loan System in the U.S. should be Investigated

"Take the student loan industry, for example. Since 1994, the cost of attending college has skyrocketed, to where the average student can expect to graduate with over $18,000 in debt for a four year degree.
Sallie Mae, the largest provider of student loans, and former Government Sponsored Entity has seen its stock price rise by nearly 2000% during the same period. Its executives have paid themselves billions in stock bonuses. Its Chairman recently attempted to purchase a major league baseball team. Its CEO again topped the list of highest paid CEO's in Washington D.C.
Many don't realize that Sallie Mae lobbied for- and got- draconian legislation passed during the same time period. This legislation took away bankruptcy protection for all student loans- federally guaranteed or not. This legislation made it illegal for most borrowers to refinance their consolidated debt, even with lenders willing to accept less profit. This legislation gave the lenders collection powers that would 'make a mobster envious', to quote Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren. These powers include termination of public employment, income tax seizure, wage garnishment, suspension of professional licenses and certificates, and seizure of social security, and disability payments. This legislation has actually made it more profitable for lenders when students default, as opposed to remaining in good stead with their loans." Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse -- Page 1

"Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "

Let the cards start falling!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

so much for never again...

"November 10,2006 SNAGOVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Forensic experts said Friday they found a new mass grave in northeastern Bosnia believed to contain the remains of more than 100 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre where Serb forces buried some of the almost 8,000 victims.
The grave in Snagovo village, about 30 miles north of Srebrenica, was found after experts received a tip-off from an undisclosed source, said Murat Hurtic, head of Bosnia's Missing Persons Commission.
It is the seventh mass grave Hurtic's team has found near Srebrenica, the scene of Europe's worst massacre since World War II."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Britney dumps K-Fed, saves America at

"America and Britney became eye-averting trainwrecks together, but I wasn’t serious about their connection. Until now.
Two days ago, Britney Spears kicked K-Fed’s ass to the curb. And she did it via a humilating, well-deserved kick to the nuts: by sending him a text message. Similarly, America filed for divorce from the Republican Congress with a humiliating, well-deserved kick to the nuts: by taking custody of not one, but both Houses. "

I am embarrassed but I totally watch this show....

"There's more to the Girls Next Door than meets the eye. (Or maybe I was just naive ) Someone very involved in the Playboy world filled me in on what we DON'T see on the reality show. I'm not going to name names, so you'll have to figure it out, but it makes watching the show a LOT more interesting, looking for clues. Apparently ONE of the three girls (Holly, Kendra, and Bridget) is a hard-core lesbian and not the LEAST bit interested in men. Another of the girls is super freaky and into almost any kind of kinky sex. The third girl seems to have a genuine crush on Hef and just wants to keep him happy. The lesbian has claimed the super freak for her girlfriend and they regularly get it on in a wide variety of ways for Hef's amusement. The third one joins in if Hef says to. At his age, he's happy just to watch."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Funny story

So I have spent more time with cousins and uncles in the last week than I have in the past decade. It has been very informative to meet the extended family and I am amazed to see what behaviours might be more genetic rather than learned:)

On one of these occasions, our cousin who is currently residing in Jamaica Plain generously offered to host dinner. Thus my mom and another cousin trekked in to JP to have dinner with cousins, uncle and brother and sister. We of course also brought Brandy the family dog.

It is important to understand that Brandy is likely 16 years old, half blind and either deaf or really excellent at selective hearing. She is also rather spoiled.

So family has just eaten a great meal with much laughing and barb slinging when my mom asks "Where's the baby?" referring to Brandy. This launches an all out hunt for the dog. 8 people wandering around JP way calling out for the dog. Stress and concern as both my parents will likely descend into deep depression when we really do lose this dog.

Sister comes back around to cousin's house and notices that the humane society truck has pulled up across the street. She asks if our family called them and he says "No, #51 called us because they just found a dog" Sister looks at him funny, "really, cuz we just lost our dog..." The humane society fellow and my sister enter the house across the street and find Brandy SLEEPING in front of the fire place. Joy at the reunion you imagine? Nope. My sister calls Brandy, who ignores her completely. She has to walk over to Brandy and tap her before Brandy recognizes her and jumps up as if everything is perfectly normal. She brings Brandy back to cousins house where we all alternately tell her she is bold and hug her tremendously.

Evangelical summer camp shown in film to end | Entertainment | Film |

From the files of "the bigger they are, the harder they fall..."

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Organizers of an evangelical summer camp for children featured in the documentary 'Jesus Camp' are discontinuing the camp because of negative reaction sparked by the film and recent vandalism at the camp site in Devils Lake, North Dakota.
'We have decided to hold different activities in future,' Pentecostal pastor and camp organizer Becky Fischer told Reuters.
Fischer was the central figure in 'Jesus Camp,' a documentary about Pentecostal evangelical Christians, some of whom send their children to summer camp where they pray, 'speak in tongues' and are urged to campaign against abortion."

How the World Works - Ted Haggard

"I'm looking for someone to turn the other cheek
I'll go on Larry King and tell him, Larry, I was weak
Deliver me from evil and deliver me from greed
Deliver me a hot stud and a couple grams of speed "

Oh the way

Democrats kicked ass!

YouTube - Ted Haggard - Daily Show

It really is a problem when you cede the moral high ground to a drug dealing prostitute:)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Crooks and Liars » OLBERMANN: “This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.”

"Not four years removed from the most dismissive, the most condescending, the most ridiculing denials of the very hint at, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, this 'nonsense'…
There you were, campaigning in Colorado, in Nebraska, in Florida, in Kansas — suddenly turning this 'unpatriotic idea'… into a platform plank.
'You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources,' you told us. 'And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following.'
Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and re-written the constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about 'timelines' but instead extolled 'benchmarks'…
You've now resorted, Sir, to this?
We must stay in Iraq to save the two-dollar gallon of gas?"

Call, vote and keep up the hard work!

Call For Change

Monday, November 06, 2006

Beautiful Wedding, Christening and Comedy

Hello all,

I haven't been able to post recently as life has been a whirlwind of activity. Absoultely amazing fabulous weekend though. I am sick as a dog and utterly exhausted but happier than a pig in shit! My sister's wedding was a crazed logisitcal emotional frenzy of activity. Her twin's maid of honor dress' zipper busted 20 minutes before the limo was to arrive to take us to the chapel. Thanks to the cool head of a family friend, we found a tailor who fixed it in under 7 minutes and we made the limo. My friend Ann who had flown in from NC, because she loves me, had no luggage and showed up to the wedding barefoot carrying shoes that didn't quite fit.

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and the wedding reception was amazing. Dancing laughing and drinking all around. We all retired to hotels and chatted until far too late.

Sunday I became Theo's godmother in a greek orthodox ceremony. Theo was highly displeased with the baptism, but it was great to actually participate in the ceremony. That night a bunch of friends went out for Alex's birthday to Grafton Street and the Hong Kong comedy club.

So now I am sick and exhausted and deeply happy. My sister is off to her honeymoon. I am defintiely staying in Boston and life is better than it has been in ages. I can't stop smiling.

Worried Sick

It started at the airport—the nausea, the headache, the dizziness—but I didn't say anything to my boyfriend