Click here to watch video. (Play button is located at bottom of screen.)Seen at The Left Coaster.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
If you'd like to go on an HIV treatment holiday, you may want to make sure you have an undetectable viral load first, according to the results of a massive study of HIVers in the United Kingdom. The researchers found that, if a person had an undetectable viral load when they took their treatment break, they were more likely to reachieve and maintain an undetectable viral load after restarting treatment than people who had a detectable viral load when they took their break. The study also found that, the more treatment breaks a person took, the less likely their viral load was to remain undetectable after they restarted therapy. (Web highlight from AIDS)
From The Body.
In a new report, CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said its household survey shows about one-half of one percent of adults ages 18 to 49 are infected with HIV.
This rate is stable, and the report confirms the results of other surveys showing that black men in the United States are far more likely than other Americans to be infected with HIV. The NCHS survey said black men ages 40-49 had the highest infection rate -- close to 4 percent.
The report combines data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2006. Survey participants volunteer to have their blood tested for a variety of conditions, and they also undergo physical exams. Due to the "very low prevalence" of HIV, "you have to combine all the years," said study leader Gerry McQuillan.
"In 1999 to 2006, the prevalence of HIV infection among adults aged 18-49 years in the civilian non-institutionalized household population of the United States was 0.47 percent," according to the report.
This percentage equates to between 447,000 and 841,000 people, with 618,000 being the middle number, McQuillan said. NCHS included 11,928 adults in the survey and extrapolated these numbers to the full population. The report does not include data on how many persons are newly infected with HIV.
In the survey, men were more likely to be infected (0.7 percent) than women (0.2 percent). People infected with herpes simplex type 2 virus (genital herpes) were 15 times more likely to be co-infected with HIV.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
So Florida matters after all. The heavy voter turnout in the state's presidential primary election did not produce a stunning upset or a big surprise in either party's nomination battle. However, John McCain's victory over Mitt Romney made him the Republican front-runner, at least for now. Florida Democrats, meanwhile, tapped the brakes on Barack Obama's momentum coming off a crushing victory over Hillary Clinton in South Carolina last Saturday.
McCain needed the Florida victory to show that he can win in a Republican-only primary and to recharge his fundraising campaign. For Romney, a win here was his best hope of gaining the advantage going into Super Tuesday on Feb. 5, when 22 states will provide the big bang of this primary season.
Rudy Giuliani gambled everything on the Sunshine State and came in a distant third, just ahead of Mike Huckabee. There were reports that Giuliani plans to drop out of the race and endorse McCain, perhaps as early as today.
Florida's Democratic vote cannot be ignored, even though some candidates have dismissed it as a meaningless beauty contest.
In agreeing not to campaign in Florida to appease the early caucus and primary states, her Democratic rivals gave Clinton a free pass. We will never know if Obama might have upset Clinton, or at least run a close race, had he actively campaigned in Florida. The Obama campaign spin is that the Florida vote doesn't amount to much because the candidates didn't campaign here and no Democratic delegates were at stake.
After ignoring Florida, Clinton wasted little time trying to make Tuesday's vote appear to be a "resounding" political victory. Even though she went along with the boycott, Clinton flew into the state Tuesday after the polls closed to assure state Democrats that if she is the nominee, she will see that Florida's delegates are seated. At least she now acknowledges that Florida exists.
To their credit, Florida Democrats did not allow their candidates' snub to keep them from voting in this historic election.
OUR OPINION: CONVENTIONS SHOULD SEAT FULL DELEGATIONS
The growing possibility that the presidential races will go down to the wire adds a new element of suspense to Tuesday's Florida primaries. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have punished the state for jumping out of line on the national electoral calendar, but if the decision comes down to a floor fight, Florida's delegate votes suddenly become worth fighting for on the floor of the convention. We may not have seen the end of this story yet.
As things stand, the GOP delegation of 114 members has been cut in half, which is bad enough. But the Democratic National Committee chose to impose its equivalent of the death penalty -- no delegates and no pre-primary campaigning. Considering that the decision to jump ahead on the calendar was made by a Republican-controlled Legislature, this makes no sense at all. It ignores Florida's four-million-plus registered Democrats in what is sure to be a battleground state come November.
In this instance, we are obliged to agree with Sen. John McCain, who told The Miami Herald's Beth Reinhard that, ''To punish states who want to move up earlier, I think is stupid.'' Now the issue becomes whether any candidate is willing to take on the establishment of the respective parties and fight to have the decision reversed at the conventions.
We urge them to do so if they want to maintain any credibility with Florida's voters, particularly in the Democratic Party. Sen. Hillary Clinton said days before the vote that she would support seating the delegation. Our appreciation for that statement, however, is tempered by her knowledge that she was ahead in the state polls, making her move appear entirely self-serving.
Why didn't she speak up earlier? Real leadership -- and this goes for all the candidates -- would have consisted of ignoring the campaign ban instead of following orders to do otherwise. Real leadership would have consisted of telling the Democratic National Committee that it's wrong to seek campaign donations from people in Florida even as the candidates acquiesce in a decision to deny them a vote that counts. Real leadership would have consisted of showing some courage by speaking up for the people of Florida instead of meekly obeying the party insiders.
Real leadership, in other words, would have consisted of acting to change the rules of the game, instead of simply talking about change. By the rules of this game, well-heeled party contributors who can afford to attend fundraising events are fawned over and wooed by the candidates, but garden-variety citizens are consigned to second-rate status. Is this what the Democratic Party wants to stand for?
(But I'm not saying invade them.) Story here.
Iran bans public executions amid death sentence boom
Iran's judiciary chief moved to curb the increasingly common spectacle of public executions yesterday by banning the practice, except in cases approved by him. Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a moderate conservative cleric tipped by some as a future potential supreme leader, said the death penalty should be carried out behind closed doors, and barred the publication of television footage or photographs of executions. . . .
While executions will likely continue behind closed doors, the order was interpreted as an effort to ensure that capital punishment takes place beyond the scrutiny of the outside world. It follows a dramatic rise in public hangings, coinciding with a general increase in the use of the death penalty. Around 300 executions were carried out last year, compared with less than 200 the previous year.
Sixty men convicted of a range of capital offences, including murder, rape and drug trafficking have been hanged from cranes in public since last July, in scenes usually witnessed by large crowds. Several executions have been screened on state television, including one on Monday of two men convicted of raping and murdering several women in the central city of Arak. Armed robbery, apostasy, drug trafficking and homosexuality are also punishable by death in the Islamic republic. . . .
Human rights groups say Iran carries out more executions than any other country, apart from China. Its use of the death penalty has been criticised by the EU. . . .
The cleric was behind moves two years ago to open the doors to Iran's notorious Evin prison to international media. And in 2004, he ordered a ban on the use of torture in obtaining confessions - a decision widely seen as the first public acknowledgment of the practice of torture in Iran.
From Salon's War Room.
Hillary Clinton won a significant victory today in the Florida primary with biggest turnout in Florida Democratic primary history. She will end up with more votes than John McCain, the winner of the Republican primary. And Floridians cast more votes than were cast in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and New Hampshire combined.
A large, broad, and diverse group of voters came out and voted for Hillary in Florida. She won women, men, and just about every age category. She won nearly 6 in 10 Latinos and nearly 3 in 10 African American voters.
The vote turned out to be far more than symbolic. Well over 1.5 million Democrats cast their ballots, more than twice the number of voters who came out to vote in the 2004 primary.
Most of the voters in Florida fully expect that their votes will not be wasted again -- they too have a voice at the convention, and Hillary has asked her delegates to support their being seated.
This result comes after Senator Obama ran TV commercials that reached Florida homes and after the enormous publicity he received for South Carolina and for the Ted Kennedy endorsement. The exit polls show widespread recognition of the endorsement -- but even so among those who decided on Election Day, a plurality of those chose Hillary.
But any momentum seemed to run out today -- among those who decided on Election Day, a plurality of those chose Hillary.
842,653 Votes for Hillary in Florida
Sorry, but that's a BIG something in my book. That's 842,653! That's a crazy number. 300,000 more than Obama. She'd be a fool not to fight to have them seated. Not like that will happen, but it's a statement loud and clear. Altogether, 1.5 million people who want their voices heard. Someone should listen.
It is a big deal
Florida is one of the largest states in the nation, and it is likely to play a pivotal role in the November elections. This is like the biggest, most official, poll that will be done in Florida, and the winner is Clinton. That bodes well for her. The spin, however, is a different matter. It is being played out as "Clinton wins meaningless victory". It would actually be more realistic to assign the "meaningless victory" to South Carolina, since it is unlikely to play any role in the eventual election of a Democratic President. A realistic assessment, however, does not fit the media storyline involving the rise of Obama, so I won't expect to hear it anywhere prominent.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I'm reading an article in this week's New Yorker about the artist John Currin. Unfortunately, the article is not available online at The New Yorker's website, but the website does have a slideshow that includes one of his most recent oils.
From Salon's Blog Report.
McCain has a "secret plan" to get bin Laden? GOP presidential hopeful says he can get al Qaeda leader, but doesn't want to tell anyone how - I realize that Republicans and campaign reporters continue to perceive John McCain as a credible person when it comes to matters of national security and military affairs — but that doesn’t make it sensible.... McCain says he has a secret plan to capture Osama bin Laden. He could share his secret plan with the White House, so it could be implemented now and the al Qaeda leader could be taken into custody before he can launch additional attacks, but McCain doesn’t want to. He has his “own ideas,” which presumably he won’t share — even in private, with the Commander in Chief — unless he’s elected. I’m curious, does John McCain think we’re children?
Monday, January 28, 2008
Saw this at TPM.
That's what The New York Times is now reporting.
“I don’t read anything negative into Clinton’s observation," the paper quotes Jackson, an Obama supporter, as saying.
“Bill has done so much for race relations and inclusion, I would tend not to read a negative scenario into his comments," Jackson is also quoted as saying. Jackson tells the paper he sees Bill's remarks as a recognition of his own success in the state. . . .
'JOSH SHOWS UP TEN YEARS LATER! Josh Marshall, throwing hay to the rubes, finally shows up—ten years later'
Here's last Friday's installment of The Daily Howler.
A bit of background: Our opinion of Josh has dropped and dropped over the past several years. In our view, he was out there in the summer of 2002, saying things he knew were untrue, and he has refused to tell you, over the years, about the real shape of your politics. (Today’s post in an example.) With growing surprise, we’ve watched him turn himself into the Inconsequential Republican Blow-Job Police, presumably as a way to throw bones to his readers, whom he apparently takes to be dimwits. (If we may borrow from the Steinbeck: Whenever an inconsequential state senator gives someone a blow job, Josh will be there.) A few months ago, we reviewed his work from 1999 and 2000, and we were truly stunned by its brilliance—stunned because we’d grown accustomed to the dumbed-down version of Josh we’d been reading over the past several years. . . .
Campaigns routinely “explain away” their defeats—and journalists do the same thing, all the time. When Huckabee won in Iowa, for example, every journalist from here to Saigon rushed to explain the outcome, noting that 40 percent of the Republican electorate in Iowa was evangelical. In this instance, Bill Clinton is “explaining away” a defeat in the same manner—although at best he’s doing so clumsily. And by the way: Every journalist from here to Moscow has been saying, for the past seven months, that South Carolina’s high percentage of African-American voters made it a state Obama needed—a state in which he held a theoretical advantage. This has been a very standard analysis. Every big pundit has said it. Every big pundit has applied this standard of analysis.
Why was it suddenly wrong when Bill Clinton “explained away” a defeat, offering a type of analysis which is elsewhere so typical? We’ll offer several reasons:
First: Bill Clinton’s statement was, at best, stupidly artless. Intentionally so? We can’t tell you (more below).
Second, and wondrously obvious: Bill Clinton’s statement was judged to be wrong because the press hates Bill Clinton. As Kevin partially notes, there had been a fair amount of “idiotic (racial) mischaracterization” in the press corps before Bill Clinton’s remark. (Glenn suggests something like this too.) And guess what? Those “idiotic mischaracterizations” were formed, in large part, because the press corps hates the Clintons! Kevin is a bit too polite on matters like this, and so he doesn’t mention that fact. But just as a basic point of caution, we’ll note that the journalists who ran with that “idiotic mischaracterization” about Hillary Clinton are the same people who are now urging us to construe Bill Clinton’s comment least favorably.
Did Bill Clinton try to play a “race card?” We don’t know. We do know that the mainstream press corps has been playing their own race cards quite aggressively —for example, Bob Herbert in this pitiful column, and Darryl Fears in this “news report.” We all say we think that race is important, and we all pretend to revere Dr. King—but there is no topic where so many people will run so fast to condemn their neighbors in so many ways (as Dr. King never would). For that reason, we’d be slow to judge Bill Clinton’s intent . . . .
Go read it all.
Eriposte at Left Coaster does an analysis, with easy-to-read charts. See here.
[I]f the [NBC] exit poll results are correct, then, outside of the significant increase in African American turnout compared to 2004 that benefited Sen. Obama, the significance of the South Carolina race is quite different from what is being portrayed in the media. . . .
- Sen. Obama actually underperformed on the white vote (significantly) - and it is possible he might have also underperformed on the black vote (by a small amount, although within MoE this may be a wash) - in South Carolina compared to Nevada. Hence, his impressive margin of victory over Sen. Clinton was largely because of the huge Black turnout.
- Sen. Clinton actually might have slightly gained some share of the Black vote from Sen. Obama, going from NV to SC (or it may have been a wash within MoE). This raises the question as to whether Bill Clinton actually hurt her cause in SC or likely helped her in SC with black voters. However, she lost a chunk of the White vote to Sen. Edwards in SC. I suspect this is because she decided to not really compete in SC and focused much of the campaign activity in SC on wooing Black voters.
- The most understated story in SC is that of Sen. Edwards. He held his miniscule share of the Black vote but grabbed significant chunks of the White vote from both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama in SC. Why? I don't know but it may have been due to his debate performance as well as the ad he ran in SC using his debate performance. To me, this is really the second biggest story out of SC.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming with the Nail Bill Clinton (NBC) network.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Sounds like he can't wait to start them and screw the taxpayers over even more for these costly follies--not to mention sacrifice U.S. soldiers--at a time when so much needs to be done here at home, like fixing the broken health care system. See the video here at Huffington Post.
(I appreciate her shorter posts.)
So, this ugly race is over and it looks like all the racial talk was overblown and overplayed. The voters, once again, made their voices heard and the politicians will have to heed them.
I would hope that the media will take a little breather as well. Watching the concern trolling about Democratic racial divisiveness among people like Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough and Bill Bennett is enough to make me sick and should give progressives pause. As I wrote last night, I don't think this helps Senator Obama any more than it helps Clinton.
It would be really nice if the media, both liberal and otherwise, would calm the hell down. They've been out of their minds since Iowa with the identity politics, pushing both the gender and the racial angles beyond all measure. But the fact is that this is much more complicated than they are letting on with lots of demographic information that they are ignoring. Obama, for instance, once again did extremely well among young people of all races, which it seems to me is much more salient than the media have yet to acknowledge. If he keeps this up, we will see an entire generation making its home in the Democratic Party and that is a tremendous advantage.
This is a great win for Barack Obama, and I'm genuinely thrilled that he was able to win a bi-racial majority in a three person field. It's a nice bounce going into Super Tuesday, where, hopefully it will be so complicated for the press that they will actually be forced to report on the campaign instead of pontificating at length about things that are going to screw us in November no matter who ultimately wins.
During the Republican debate recently held in Florida, there was a very strange moment when a whisper was heard over the television. Apparently, those in the auditorium, including the candidates, were unable to hear it, but those watching on television heard it clearly.
Moderator Tim Russert asked Romney the question on Reagan -- “Will you do for social security what Ronald Reagan did in 1983?” Immediately following Russert’s question, there is an audible statement in just one channel of audio saying “not raise taxes.”
Then Romney says “I’m not going to raise taxes…” [Click below to hear it.]
From Turkana at The Left Coaster.
I want to clarify something. Nobody claims that the Clintons aren't playing rough. But many are acting as if the Obama camp isn't. Both sides are, and both are responsible for the nasty tone to the campaign. But the corporate media are enamored of Obama, and they have always hated the Clintons, so they are playing the Evil Clinton angle to the hilt. The Obama camp is playing the victim. If you read the blogs, the shrill has been deafening. The Obama camp themselves are showing immeasurably more class than are many of their supporters.
Politics can be hard-hitting, and both the Clintons and Obamas know it. Obama says Wal*Mart, Clinton answers with Rezko. That's the dynamic, in a nutshell. Sometimes she'll fire first, and he'll respond, but it's dishonest to claim that either is a saint. What's more frustrating, though, is that the corporate media are again doing what they did during Bill Clinton's presidency, and many Obama supporters are playing along, giving credence to writers and narratives that in other years they'd have ridiculed. But that, too, is how this campaign is being fought.
The worst part, though, is that the media are also again focusing on the "Divided Dems" stereotype. They're ignoring the even more bitter Republican campaign. The Democratic candidates are all basically centrists, and their differences are mostly about style, tone, and personality. The Republicans not only have personal animosities, they have serious ideological differences, too. The Neocons, Theocons, and Corporate Kleptocrats have been bound together by mutual loathing of the Democrats, and by a desire to each get a bit of their way, rather than none getting any. That's changing.
With the Republican brand tanking, and the different factions having so much more to lose, they are all standing their ground with an intensity that is only going to grow. No matter the current rivalries, the Democrats will come together out of a mutual understanding that they share a mutual common interest. The Republicans are beginning to realize that they never shared a common interest, in the first place.
From Jeff Dinelli at The Left Coaster. (Read the whole thing. It's long.)
Looking ahead to February 5th's Super-Duper-Tsunami-Mega-Fat Tuesday, we should be able to look back and learn a thing or two from what's happened so far. One of those revelations is it's clear that America is ready, willing and able to elect its first African-American president. It's a wonderful development and fills all of us with an unprecedented optimism for this country's enlightenment and its future.
At the same time, however, it's abundantly evident that this same country is not necessarily ready to support the candidacy of a strong woman looking to lead from the Oval Office. The most discouraging aspect of this uncomfortable truth is the right wing hasn't floated this theme; indeed, it hasn't even had a chance to assign its formidable slime machine towards injecting some subtle sexism into the 2008 campaign. No, it's the media, the lefty netroots and even members of the Democratic Party that have led the runaway train of shoddy treatment handed to Senator Hillary Clinton. . . .
(He doesn't accept comments on his site.) Regarding this post ("The Problem with Bill 2.0"):
I personally don't see a problem, but what you say appears to be the conventional MSM wisdom. So I guess you're mainstream now and have to worry about keeping your readership numbers up in order to support your family with your advertising revenues. It's now "he said, she said" and the "horse race" at TPM (the usual mainstream stuff) (with the conventional slant against the Clintons). (I wonder what Bob Somerby is saying about TPM, if anything. I'll have to go look.) I guess I'll have to rely on other sources for serious analysis of what the candidates actually stand for and how they propose to address the very serious ills of this country (to which you may now be immune). (My favorite for this actually is Paul Krugman.) Why don't you seriously analyze the candidates' proposals for universal health care, for example? I read TPM all the time and don't seem to get any information on this. . . .
As one commenter to Glenn Greenwald's column in Salon writes:
I'm not a big Hillary booster, nor do I necessarily disagree with the point of your post; frankly, I haven't yet read enough about what Bill Clinton said to have formed an opinion. However, I do know, that I would not base my opinion primarily on what The Anonymous Liberal (much as I admire his blog in general) and Andrew Sullivan wrote about Clinton's remarks, since both are extreme Obama partisans. I'm a bit surprised and disappointed that you are not being a little more objective about this. As an Edwards supporter, I don't really have a dog in this hunt, but my general feeling about what I've seen of all of this so-called nastiness between the Clinton and Obama campaigns is that most if it is either manufactured or blown way out of proportion by a media that has nothing else of any substance or interest to talk about. It's all very tiresome.
-- Kristine Collins
It seems gratuitous. I won't even link to it. It's nasty (again).
I know why. It's because the Clintons (correctly) talk about the press's bias against them. And the press doesn't like it.
Since Mr. McCain doesn’t kick reporters like dogs, as the Clintons do, he will no doubt continue to enjoy an advantage, however unfair, with the press pack on the Straight Talk Express. . . .
If Mr. Obama doesn’t fight, no one else will. Few national Democratic leaders have the courage to stand up to the Clintons. Even in defeat, Mr. Obama may at least help wake up a party slipping into denial. Any Democrat who seriously thinks that Bill will fade away if Hillary wins the nomination — let alone that the Clintons will escape being fully vetted — is a Democrat who, as the man said, believes in fairy tales.
Frank Rich is always on his own power trip, the good of the country be damned.
(In 1994.) But they can stay "100 years" in Iraq? (See my post here.) We invaded Haiti to restore a democratically elected president to power. We invaded Iraq on the basis of George Bush's lies, because Saddam Hussein "tried to kill my dad." 3932 Americans have died and 28,938 have been seriously wounded in Iraq as a result, along with tens of thousands of civilians. (Not to mention that 4 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes.) And, not only is the war not cheap but apparently doable ($2 billion a week--roughly the cost of a universal health care plan in the U.S.), but American taxpayers have been cheated out of more billions by Bush's war-profiteering cronies (see Alan Grayson post below and follow the links).
Saturday, January 26, 2008
(This is the last item from Hullabaloo for now!)
Another good one from Chris in Paris.
Cut taxes, hooray! Lower spending, yippee! Oh boy, to think that he criticizes Romney for being a panderer. How can anyone take McCain seriously when he admits himself that he he doesn't know what he's talking about? At least he now has the common sense to quit laughing about his ignorance on the issue.
Like Mike Huckabee, who joked recently that he "may not be the expert that some people are on foreign policy, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night," McCain suggested to reporters Monday that American consumer culture offered a short cut to expertise. "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," McCain said. "I've got Greenspan's book."
McCain believes if the Bush tax cuts are made permanent everything will be just fine. Otherwise it's a tax and tax cuts always pay for themselves, he says, except that they don't. He supports tax cuts by saying Americans "want to be wealthy people" though he fails to see that that dream has been held back for decades by Republicans who insist on jury-rigging the system to protect the elite, effectively blocking economic mobility. The middle class has been stuck in neutral since the early 1970s and to suggest otherwise is a lie. Why would anyone want someone so ignorant about the economy, being the lead on the economy in 2008?
From Chris in Paris at AmericaBlog.
But killing a hundred thousand Iraqi people is just fine. Promoting war through the media is OK too. Heck, losing billions upon billions of dollars is just peachy as well. But don't think for one second that you can show a naked body on TV or else the FCC will fine you $1.43 million for indecency. Talk about disturbing and indecent, our priorities in government are screwed up.
For the FCC, the episode of "NYPD Blue" was an indecency twofer.
"We find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs -- specifically an adult woman's buttocks," the FCC wrote in its ruling.
My goodness. These people require a serious dose of psychological assistance. It's always wonderful to be lectured on morality by the same Southern Baptists who stand at the top of Christian denominations with divorce rates. The Bible Belt leads the nation in divorce, yet they always cry and point the finger at everyone else as the root of evil. Look in a mirror and quit spending everyone else's money for silly puritan campaigns. If only they cared so much about peace in the world.
Glad to hear that, not because Hillary won but because the system worked as it was supposed to. (Kucinich actually lost a few votes. He should let it go, but he's not.) Story in Salon.
[T]he recount revealed only minor changes. Among the major candidates, Bill Richardson's total was most significantly altered by the recount [+1.23%] -- and among the top four candidates, he was the only one to gain votes in the recount.
Friday, January 25, 2008
While headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., Scientology makes its biggest splash in L.A. According to a recent article in The New Yorker, one of its recruitment strategies is to use celebrity converts to draw favorable attention to the church. It also favors recruiting artsy types who would be famous (thus its presence in L.A.).
Royce . . . said that if a non-artist or non-celebrity wanted to pursue Scientology at Celebrity Centre, “they wouldn’t be turned away, but we might recommend a different church.”
Since 1973, the L.A. headquarters--Celebrity Centre, in Hollywood--has been housed in a former apartment hotel for movie stars, built in the late 1920's as the Château Élysée. The church has since bought and restored other Hollywood landmark buildings.
Jan 25th, 2008 PORTLAND, Ore. -- The wishes of a 12-year-old boy should be considered in a dispute between his divorced parents about whether he should be circumcised, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The father, James Boldt, converted to Judaism in 2004 and wants the boy to be circumcised as part of the faith. The mother, Lia Boldt, appealed to the high court, saying the operation could harm her son physically and psychologically. . . .
Thursday, January 24, 2008
From The Advocate.
British people's attitudes to sex and marriage have grown increasingly liberal over the last two decades, according to a study released Wednesday. But behavior has changed less than opinions.
The annual British Social Attitudes Survey said 70% of people think premarital sex is acceptable, while less than a third believe homosexuality is wrong.
In the 1980s, almost half of Britons surveyed disapproved of premarital sex and three quarters thought homosexuality was always or mostly wrong. . . .
From Salon's Blog Report.
When Savage criticisms work: After series of controversies, advertisers flee from Michael Savage's right-wing talk-show - What a very pleasant surprise. Brave New Films recently launched a campaign to target sponsors of right-wing shock-jock Michael Savage’s nationally syndicated radio show. If you’re not familiar with Savage, imagine what Rush Limbaugh would sound like with twice as much hate and half the sense of humor. (Media Matters has some of this clown’s recent notable on-air comments.) Those of us on the left have seen these kind of efforts to implore to advertisers before, but in most instances, the campaigns come up short and fizzle out. This one, thankfully, produced results.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
From what I gather, this is the story of the day. (But we all knew it.)
A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." . . .
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida. . . .
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
· Canadian considered eating own leg to survive
· Chance rescue by hiker ended 96-hour ordeal
Grisly Guardian story here.
A man has been rescued after spending 96 hours trapped under his quad bike in a remote Canadian district with nothing to eat or drink but rotting animal carcases and morning frost. Ken Hildebrand, a paramedic, even considered amputating and eating his own right leg to survive.
Hildebrand's ordeal began when he was checking animal traps in an area 80 miles southwest of Calgary and his quad bike hit a rock, throwing him off and settling on his legs. He made several attempts to get out from under the vehicle but did not have enough leverage to move it.
After four nights of constant harassment by wolves and coyotes, which he kept at bay by blowing a whistle, he began to accept that he might not be found before the cold, malnourishment or animals claimed his life.
Because of his medical training, Hildebrand knew that people start losing heat quickly from their upper body. He took a beaver carcass and used it to keep his body warm, with another as a makeshift windbreak and pillow. He tied orange surveyors' tape around his wrist and threw it at different angles to make an X shape so if anyone flew over the area, they would see him.
"It was time to get ready for survival mode," Hildebrand said. "I ate a lot of dirt to get a little moisture." By the second evening, he was so hungry he started to pick at the beaver bones. "I tried to eat pieces of that, but it made me sick." . . .
From The Huffington Post here.
Roseanne has again taken to her personal blog to eviscerate Oprah and Barack Obama. Two weeks ago she wrote Obama is a supporter of "corporate racist anti worker bullshit" and Oprah Winfrey, "plays the race card and the gender card."This time Roseanne furious at Oprah for not having Hillary on her show:
Hilary deserves to have been able to address the huge female demographic that Oprah's billions came from. How very disgusting, and how very very telling!! Maybe if Hilary was discussing her fat thighs Oprah would have had her on. . . .
Phone makers' own scientists discover that bedtime use can lead to headaches, confusion and depression. . .
Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study.
The research, sponsored by the mobile phone companies themselves, shows that using the handsets before bed causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them, interfering with the body's ability to repair damage suffered during the day.
The findings are especially alarming for children and teenagers, most of whom – surveys suggest – use their phones late at night and who especially need sleep. Their failure to get enough can lead to mood and personality changes, ADHD-like symptoms, depression, lack of concentration and poor academic performance.
The study – carried out by scientists from the blue-chip Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University in Sweden and from Wayne State University in Michigan, USA – is thought to be the most comprehensive of its kind. . . .
It also complements other recent research. A massive study, following 1,656 Belgian teenagers for a year, found most of them used their phones after going to bed. It concluded that those who did this once a week were more than three times – and those who used them more often more than five times – as likely to be "very tired". . . .
Dr William Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute added: "Anything that disrupts the integrity of your sleep will potentially have adverse consequences in functioning during the day, such as grouchiness, difficulty concentrating, and in children hyperactivity and behaviour problems." . . .
From Walter Shapiro at Salon.
Jan. 22, 2008 MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- In an inspiring tribute to the nonviolent legacy of Martin Luther King, whose holiday they honored, the three leading Democratic candidates talked calmly and dispassionately about their policy proposals Monday night in a two-hour CNN debate. Of course, there was also that seven-minute interlude when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stood gesturing at each other angrily from behind their rival lecterns as they all but shouted at each other, "Your mother wears combat boots."
The final Democratic debate before Saturday's South Carolina primary was, in truth, about as ugly as you could get, given that the three candidates on the stage agreed with each other on 95 percent of the issues and have no long histories of personal animosity. The winner -- partly by default -- was John Edwards, who managed to stay above the fray except when he would suddenly swoop down to score a debating point against a surprised rival. The reason that Clinton and Obama allowed themselves the luxury of turning the evening into a "this time it's personal" face-off was that they no longer feared losing votes to the underfunded Edwards, already badly weakened by third-place finishes in New Hampshire and Nevada.
For those who crave the blood sport aspects of politics, it was a night to remember. Clinton demonstrated that she has the ability to pile one attack on top of another without pausing for breath. (Obama's purported sins ranged from having uttered a few complimentary sentences about Ronald Reagan last week to harboring a few small inconsistencies in his record of staunch opposition to the Iraq war.)
Finally, like a soda jerk adding the cherry atop an ice cream sundae, Clinton referred to the time when Obama was "practicing law and representing your contributor [Antoin] Rezko in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago." Rezko -- who is certain to become a familiar figure in Republican attack ads if Obama is the Democratic nominee -- raised more than $150,000 for Obama's political campaigns (some of the money was later donated to charity) and aided the Obamas in a 2005 real-estate transaction. Rezko was indicted in 2006 by the federal government on totally unrelated corruption charges and goes to trial next month.
But Obama demonstrated that (unlike turn-the-other-cheek insurgents like Bill Bradley in 2000) he could fight back. Referring to his years as a community organizer in Chicago, Obama said to Clinton, "While I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Wal-Mart." Also in a telling reference to the tag-team attacks from Bill and Hillary Clinton, Obama snapped, "Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." . . .
At LiberalOasis here.
There will likely be a lot of complaining about last night's debate brawl, but in fact it was both a relatively entertaining and substantive debate (though the media could do more to truth-squad and not be mere passive observers).
More importantly, every candidate did what they needed to do.
Clinton had to keep the pressure on Obama in hopes of keeping him down. Obama had to stand up for himself, and use the inaccurate attacks against him to make the case he could better forge a working majority. Edwards needed to try to exploit Clinton-Obama squabbling and rise above the fray.
Some might say Clinton was shrill in her attacks, but the same was said in New Hampshire, and proved irrelevant. Some might say Obama lost his cool, but as with Clinton before sometimes you need to show a little fire when your credibility is on the line.
Yet Obama is still the one with the most work to do. . . .
I didn't watch them tonight. I've already made up my mind (I'm for Hillary).
His spoofing about Romney aside, Joshua Marshall hasn't endorsed a candidate, although tonight he wrote this ("Concluding Thoughts"):
It's hard for me to think of much good from this debate. If you view debates like a boxing match, I guess it was lively and perhaps entertaining, in the sense that a good boxing match can be, though the fighting was more intense than well executed. But that's only if you have no investment in the outcome. If you're watching this with a mind to wanting one of these three to be president in 2009, as I do, it wasn't a great thing to watch.
One observation stands out to me from this debate. Hillary can be relentless and like a sledgehammer delivering tendentious but probably effective attacks. But whatever you think of those attacks, Obama isn't very good at defending himself. And that's hard for me to ignore when thinking of him as a general election candidate.
In most of these cases -- such as the Reagan issue -- I think Obama's remarks have been unobjectionable but ambiguous and certainly susceptible to both misunderstanding and intentional misrepresentation. And if you're going to talk like that -- nuance, as we used to say -- be able to defend it when people play with your words. And I don't see it.
Let's hope Mitt wins Florida.
One of Josh's readers writes here:
I submit that your mixed feelings about Hillary are the result of two different desires: to nominate the best Democrat, and to nominate the best candidate. I suffer from the same problem -- the idealist in me is disquieted by Hillary's attacks and backhanded smears on Obama, while the pragmatist in me sees her ability to throw elbows as a plus. The general election will be a bitch-slapping muckfest no matter who gets the nomination. I've been a longtime Obama guy, mainly out of the belief that he has the best chance in the general, but Hillary is starting to seem pretty good. Every time she (or Bill, or another of her surrogates) gets in a shot at Obama, part of me is disgusted . . . but another part of me counts it as a point in her favor.
Hillary is who she is; she can't change her spots just for the primary race. A lot of people who now condemn her for being a cunning operator will despair when Obama, if he wins the nomination, responds to bitch slaps from the right with "hope and unity" language. But you can't have it both ways. I'm reminded of people who hate lawyers because they're too contentious and sleazy and aggressive -- but when they get sued, they insist on getting the meanest bull dog of a lawyer they can find.
Amen. Hillary is ripe for that fight.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Interesting article on plug-in cars here. If these catch on, they'll have to rewire all the garages and parking lots at the condos, apartment buildings and office buildings so that each parking space has an electrical outlet, and also figure out how to charge the users for electricity. Each parking space would have to have some kind of meter on it (most likely in a computer at the electric company).
From what I've read lately, biofuels may not be feasible. The car article talks about the arable land needed for growing plants for biofuel. Why can't they build enormous, light-filled skyscrapers in rural areas in which to grow the plants? Plants don't need to grow in the ground itself and take up space. And they can also be grown hydroponically (feasible or not, I don't know). Just a thought.
Jan 21st, 2008 BANGKOK, Thailand -- A popular new Thai soap opera about love and infidelity in the high skies has angered Thai Airways flight attendants who demanded Monday that the show be canceled for casting their profession in an unrealistic and immoral light.
"The Air Hostess War," which broadcast its first three episodes last week, has captivated viewers with a story line about a dashing married pilot having an affair with one of his tall, slim flight attendants. There are love triangles that lead to fighting in the aisles and steamy sex scenes at stopover cities.
The Thai Airways International union issued a letter Monday urging the Culture Ministry to order the show to be pulled from the air [no pun intended?].
"This soap opera is insulting and damaging to the reputation of flight attendants," said Noppadol Thaungthong, a Thai Airways flight attendant leading the union's action. "It's all about sex and air hostesses beating each other up in the cabin because of love and jealousy. This kind of thing never happens."
The letter says that young Thais aspiring to become flight attendants might be turned off from the profession after seeing the show. . . .
Women in Saudi Arabia can now stay in a hotel or a furnished [?] apartment without a male guardian, according to a government decision that comes as the country faces increasing criticism for its severe restrictions on women.
The daily Al-Watan, which is deemed close to the Saudi government, reported Monday that the ministry issued a circular to hotels asking them to accept lone women — as long as their information is sent to a local police station.
The decision was adopted after a study conducted by the Interior Ministry, the Supreme Commission of Tourism and the religious police authority known as the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
Saudi women, under strict Islamic law, suffer severe restrictions on daily life: They are not allowed to be anywhere with an unrelated man, cannot drive, appear before a judge without a male representative, or travel abroad without a male guardian's permission.
The paper interviewed some Saudi women who complained that they had been severely inconvenienced by the rules banning them from staying in the hotels alone.
It quoted a woman identified as saying that she once arrived late at night at King Fahd airport on an internal flight and was denied a hotel room because she was alone.
Another woman, Fatima Ibrahim, said her son-in-law quarreled with his wife and daughters and threw them out of the house. When they tried to get a hotel room, they were asked to get a permission from the police. . . .
(Robert Greenwald has a mad-on for Henry Kravis. Maybe we all should.)
As Towleroad put it, "Bravo's reality shows are cross-breeding. Project Runway's Jack Mackenroth and Top Chef's Dale Levitski are dating, according to Bravo's OutZone." (See Jack's interview in the Jan./Feb. issue of HIV Plus Magazine below.)
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Scientists say the 10,000 miles of canals dug through the Mississippi delta to provide access to oil wells have largely contributed to the loss of protective wetlands. Story here.
[A] substantial body of evidence points to oil's heavy toll.
The canals, most dug to access wells by bucket dredges between the 1930s and 1970s when restrictions and mitigation requirements were lax to nonexistent, crisscross the marshy coast like a liquid maze. [I have lots of problems with this paragraph but you get the drift.]
In many places, they run perpendicular to the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, allowing salt water to intrude far inland. . . .
The muddy slop dredged from the canals had to go somewhere. Oil companies piled it where they found it, creating an estimated 13,000 miles of tide-blocking spoil banks. . . .
The damage doesn't stop with the canals. For example, U.S. Geological Survey scientists say the sucking out of the ground of so much oil and gas likely caused the land in many places to sink by half an inch a year. In oil's heyday 30 years ago, Louisiana's coastal wells pumped 360 million barrels a year, an eighth of what Saudi Arabia ships to the market today.
Oil wells also discharged about a billion gallons daily of brine, thick with naturally occurring subsurface chemicals like chlorides, calcium and magnesium, as well as acids used in drilling.
"It was poured into the marshes," said Virginia Burkett, a longtime researcher of the Louisiana wetlands and the chief scientist for climate change at USGS. It contaminated soils and killed plants and animals, she said, before brine dumping was finally regulated in coastal marshes in 1985. . . .
"It seems that the government should hold them accountable for some of the problem," Griffin said from behind his cash register.
At mid-20th century, marsh-borne oil derricks towered over Leeville's shacks as far as the eye could see, replacing fields of cotton. Today, those same places, chopped up by bucket dredges, are open water. A town cemetery lies in the water, its tombs barely visible. And as Leeville goes under, New Orleans, 50 miles to the northeast, becomes that much more exposed. . . .
In the early 1980s, then-Gov. David Treen proposed a coast-and-levee tax by slapping a levy of 36 cents on every barrel of oil and 6 cents on every 1,000 cubic feet of gas that crossed the coastal plain; but the measure didn't muster the two-thirds majority needed in the state Legislature. . . .
Eventually, petrodollars may provide relief. In 2006, Congress approved a plan to give Louisiana and other Gulf states a large portion of offshore royalties the industry now pays to the federal Treasury. By 2017, Louisiana hopes to get as much as $650 million a year.
Meanwhile, the anything-goes days for oil are over. Regulators demand the use of less-damaging techniques - directional drilling, rerouting of pipelines, wetlands mitigation. . . .
"It's like strip mining. A good strip miner will repair the land." . . .
For its part, the industry balks at talk of paying for the damage. . . .
For now, the oil companies are winning the public relations battle, in part by spending $5 million on a marketing campaign called America's Wetland. "Tell Washington to shore up America's energy coast. It fuels the nation," one TV ad implores, calling on Congress to spend the money it will take to restore the delta. Nowhere is oil's responsibility mentioned.
Many Louisiana politicians, including former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, have backed the campaign. . . .
Sounds like a classic example of the folly of unregulated capitalism. And not only have these companies despoiled the land and wreaked all manner of havoc as a result, they now deny it and concoct a PR plan to have the taxpayers clean up after them. Brilliant.
[G]iven that Clinton voters will certainly support Obama in a general election if he is our nomimee, because we are focused on the real goal (which is to get control of the White House, and not to get a particular individual in the White House), why do I see so many signs in even our own comment threads that Obama voters will sit on their hands and not support Clinton, even as they claim to be liberals? And if Obama "liberals" are so willing to sit on their hands and not vote for the Democratic nominee in the general election if it is Hillary Clinton, then how is that different than being a Ralph Nader supporter in 2000, and allowing your vote to deliver the election to the GOP?
"The divisions, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame the plight of ourselves on others, all of that distracts us from the common challenges we face: war and poverty; inequality and injustice," Obama said. "We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing each other down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late." . . .
Story here. Here's more:
Obama said blacks often have been the victims of injustice, but he said they also have perpetrated divisions with gays, Jews and immigrants.
"If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community," he said to applause. . . .
They don't have a clue. (See post immediately below.) This is the blurb on the N.Y. Times website:
Hillary Rodham Clinton won the vote, giving her a second consecutive victory, but Barack Obama won more delegates to the national convention.
The Nevada delegates to the national convention haven't even been decided on yet.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
OK, I just spoke with Jill Derby, the head of the Nevada State Democratic Party. Regarding the Obama claim that he'll actually get more delegates out of this, essentially that's spin. Derby said that the caucuses are an "expression of the support of Nevadans today." Around 11,000 delegates were elected today. That will be winnowed down at county conventions and eventually at the state convention in May to the 25 that will go to Denver for the DNC. In 2004, Kerry didn't win every delegate on Election Day, but most of the delegates that eventually went to the DNC were his. Once there's a presumptive nominee, the delegate numbers are subject to change. It's non-binding.
If that makes your head spin, the short version is that this was a beauty contest, and you can't project delegate numbers at this time. . . .
Statement by Nevada Democratic Party Chair Jill Derby Regarding the Nevada Caucus
(Las Vegas, NV) Today, two out of three Nevadans who caucused chose a Democrat instead of a Republican for president. That is an overwhelming majority vote for a new direction. Just like in Iowa what was awarded today were delegates to the County Convention. No national convention delegates were awarded. The calculations of national convention delegates being circulated are based upon an assumption that delegate preferences will remain the same between now and April 2008. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.
A couple of the comments:
People who thin[k] it is not problematic that a candidate can clearly win the most votes in a contest, yet lose the contest must think this is all a big game. It is one thing to have proportional division of delegates rather than winner take all, but to allow the loser to get a bigger share is patently undemocratic. The democratic party of Nevada should be ashamed.
In Defense of the Caucus System.
First of all -- no one knows tonight how many delegates Clinton or Obama got, -- Why not, because the delegates to the National Convention will not be selected till Nevada holds first its county conventions, and then the state conventions. What was elected today were County Convention Delegates, and according to the DNC rules, no one elected at one level is compelled to support the same candidate at the next level. In other words, don't necessarily accept the Candidate Campaign or News Media spin on the outcome. The Media in particular are very uninformed on how this system works, and they constantly botch their reporting. They want a quick answer, and that is not the priority of a caucus.
Apparently Edwards did not prove viable, and I would imagine at the County and State level, he will not be viable, thus his delegates to the county conventions will redistribute to one of the two surviving candidates.
I like the Caucus System, and have chaired my share of them since I became active in the DFL in 1966. I agree that it makes possible the candidacy of persons who depend more on organization within the party, and less on big money.
Remember -- the only reason Paul Wellstone was able to run for the Senate was because of our Caucus System. Likewise -- last year our Caucus system produced Keith Ellison. You can't do that if you weigh money and all heavier than ability to organize Party Supporters.
A caucus is much more likely to only attract Democratic Voters, and not be open to others playing in your endorsement process than anything but a closed primary -- and many of us do not like voter lists ID'd by party.
Nevada just went to a Caucus System this year -- and they need party rules and perhaps some state laws that accomodate those who have to work or are ill during caucus. We've been using the Caucus System all the way back to 1956 in Minnesota, and we have those accomodations.
I have a piece posted last week over at The Next Hurrah describing the origin of Democratic Party Rules on the Delegate Selection Process -- rules that emerged from our party reforms of 1972 and the McGovern-Fraser Commission, and I would really like for people to consider knowing some party history before making judgments on one or another system.
An armada of robot submarines and marine sensors are to be deployed across the Atlantic, from Florida to the Canary Islands, to provide early warning that the Gulf Stream might be failing, an event that would trigger cataclysmic freezing in Britain for decades.
The £16m system, called Rapid Watch, will use the latest underwater monitoring techniques to check whether cold water pouring south from melting Arctic ice sheets is diverting the current's warm waters away from Britain.
Without the Gulf Stream, the UK would be as cold as Canada in winter. Ports could freeze over and snowstorms and blizzards would paralyse the country. An extreme version of this meteorological mayhem provided the film The Day After Tomorrow with its plotline. . . .
The Gulf Stream starts in the Gulf of Mexico and follows the eastern US seaboard before crossing the Atlantic towards western Europe. The heat it brings across the Atlantic gives Britain its temperate climate. The former chief scientist, Sir Robert May, once calculated that the Gulf Stream delivered 27,000 times the warmth that all Britain's power stations are capable of supplying.
But scientists have recently warned that the current is threatened by meltwater from Greenland and the Arctic. As global warming takes a grip, glaciers and ice sheets are disappearing faster and faster. This could bring major cooling to western Europe. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last year, the Gulf Stream is particularly warm and salty, and increasing amounts of fresh water pouring into it from the Arctic are likely to disrupt it. . . .
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's foreign ministry, responding to pressure from close allies, said on Saturday it would remove the United States and Israel from a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured.
Both nations expressed unhappiness after it emerged they had been listed in a document that formed part of a training course manual on torture awareness given to Canadian diplomats.
Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said he regretted the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual, which also classified some U.S. interrogation techniques as torture. . . .
This is a good one. See here. (Good for John!) Read the whole thing.
Does Huckabee pray to Jesus with that mouth? So much for our Christ-invoking preacher. Now he's suggesting that civil rights advocates shove flag poles up their ass. Not a very nice, or mature, thing for any adult candidate to be saying, let alone the guy who says that God wants him to be president and that he's going to amend the Constitution to bring it in line with the Bible. I don't think the Bible says anything about shoving flag poles up your ass. . . .