WTF are people supposed to do?? Hell, I wish my Grandfather was here so I could get some insight as to how to navigate through times such as these!!! He was born in 1898. I did listen to him when he spoke about the Depression– but I sincerely would like to of heard the deep ‘how tos’. God Bless those fromback then– and God Bless us from today!
Michael A. FletcherWashington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 TOMS RIVER, N.J. — Even before his unemployment checks ended, Dwight Michael Frazee’s days were filled with the pursuit of any idea that could earn him a buck. But few are working out, and now his nights are filled with dread.
In the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to resume its debate about whether to extend the emergency jobless benefits that were passed in response to the steep increase in unemployment caused by the recession. But people like Frazee, who have suffered the longest in the downturn, will not be part of that conversation. They are among the 1.4 million workers who have been unemployed for at least 99 weeks, according to the Labor Department, reaching the limit for the insurance. Their numbers have grown sixfold in the past three years.
The 99ers are glaring examples of the nation’s most serious bout of long-term joblessness since the Great Depression. Nearly 46 percent of the country’s 14.6 million unemployed people have been out of work for more than six months, and forecasters project that the situation will not improve anytime soon. Currently, the Labor Department says there are nearly five unemployed people for every job opening.
Frazee, 50, has applied for work at more places than he can remember since he lost his construction job two years ago. He has tried car dealerships, Kmart, Home Depot and the funky shops on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, near Toms River. He looked into becoming a commercial crabber, working in title insurance and as a bail bondsman. But no dice.
While searching for work, he lived on $585 a week in unemployment payments. But the checks were cut off in May when he reached 99 weeks. Now Frazee, who is married and has a 5-year-old daughter, is in a financial free fall with no safety net.
“My life has been total stress. I sleep maybe four hours a night, worrying about money,” he said. “I understood the president and Congress had to stabilize the banks, get Wall Street going. I figured something would be done for middle-class Americans, that they couldn’t abandon us. But I was wrong.”
Since the recession began in December 2007, lawmakers have passed several extensions that stretched the normal 26-week limit for unemployment benefits to as long as 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. In the Washington area, only workers in the District, where unemployment is 10.4 percent — well above the 9.5 percent national rate — qualify for the longest-term unemployment benefits. Virginia and Maryland residents can receive benefits as long as 86 weeks, including 60 weeks of federally financed benefits. The Labor Department has no statistics on the number of workers in each jurisdiction who have exhausted their benefits.
With the federal extensions now up for renewal, Congress has shown decreasing enthusiasm for them amid increasing concern about the ballooning deficit.
On several occasions, Senate Republicans have said they would not vote for stimulus bills that included unemployment extensions, saying any new spending must be offset by cuts elsewhere. With the extensions expired at least temporarily, more than 2 million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research organization. A report by the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that 21,700 Virginians, 12,300 Marylanders and 5,200 D.C. residents lost their benefits when the extensions ended.
Congress’s inaction has been accompanied by a growing sentiment among lawmakers that long-term unemployment benefits create a disincentive for the jobless to find work.
“Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,” said Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That is not to say that anyone is getting rich off unemployment, or that unemployed people are lazy. But it is simple human nature that people are a little less motivated as long as a check is coming in.”
That was disputed by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, who cited a recent study ordered by congressional Democrats. “These benefits do not inhibit job seekers from vigorously looking for or accepting work,” she said.
The growing backlash against unemployment insurance has left the 99ers with few political advocates. President Obama, buffeted by GOP criticism of his economic policies as unemployment rates hover at their highest levels in 28 years, has been struggling to win support for renewing the extended jobless benefits. Consequently, any help for the 99ers is off the table, at least for now — leaving them angry at their political leaders.
“President Obama talks a lot about making the victims of the gulf disaster whole, but what about the victims of this economic disaster?” Frazee said. “Nowadays, he seems mostly concerned with image. Now, he doesn’t want to be seen as a big spender. But people need help.”
A 34-year-old resident of Vienna, Va., named Brian, who withheld his last name because of his embarrassment about being out of work, worked in corporate finance for nine years before being laid off three years ago. He exhausted his unemployment benefits long ago and has been living off savings and credit. “Before this, I figured that if you can’t find a job in two years, you’re not looking,” he said. “But I keep looking and jobs just are not there. The economy is not recovering. It’s being propped up by government spending. But when that ends, I think this whole mess is not over with.”
Here in Toms River, Frazee has not earned a regular paycheck since working as a $75,000-a-year laborer during the construction of the Borgata hotel in Atlantic City. That was in July 2008, just as the economy was imploding — and just after he was returning to health after having a cancerous appendix removed.
Since then, he has not worked, save for a recent four-day stint cleaning up a construction site at a nearby state college. He has fallen behind on mortgage payments for his sunny townhouse, and he is staring at the prospect of foreclosure even after negotiating a loan modification with his lender, Wells Fargo.
Most of the time, Frazee said, he has been confident that things would work out, if only because they always have. He started as a construction worker after his father’s endorsement helped him land a spot in the Laborers’ International Union Local 415 shortly after he graduated from Toms River South High School in 1978.
When he wasn’t working construction, he had jobs on oil rigs off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., and in the Gulf of Mexico. He also was a bounty hunter. “I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself,” he said. “I’ve always worked.”
Until now. The longer he is out of a job, the more unemployable he feels. He suspects that potential employers are turned off by his age and by the fact that he has been out of work for so long. But he is moving near the top of the hiring list for his union. And in the meantime, he has been buying mail-order children’s quartz watches from China and selling them on consignment at local convenience stores. He clears close to $3 per watch.
“I’m a union construction worker, but I think I can be a hell of a salesman,” Frazee said. “A lot of the stores around here are owned by Indian Americans, and they like me. They’re taking my watches. Maybe India and China are going to help me out of this jam if my country won’t.”
Nation building in Afghanistan is not our job— it is theirs.
By Eugene Robinson
Friday, June 25, 2010
The good news? Nobody has to pretend anymore that Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew how to fix Afghanistan within a year. The bad news? No
President Obama was absolutely right to sack the preening McChrystal, whose inner circle, as portrayed in Rolling Stone magazine, had all the seriousness and decorum of a frat house keg party. And it was a brilliant political move to turn to Petraeus, who is made of purest Teflon. Critics who might have been tempted to blast the president for changing horses in midstream can hardly object when he has given the reins to the man who averted a humiliating U.S. defeat in Iraq.
Note that I didn’t credit Petraeus with “winning” in Iraq. He didn’t. What he managed to do was redeem the situation to the point where the United States could begin bringing home its combat troops. If the Obama administration’s aims in Afghanistan are recalibrated to accommodate objective reality, then Petraeus can succeed there, too. But this means that the general’s assignment should be a narrow one: Lay the groundwork for a U.S. withdrawal to begin next summer, as Obama has pledged.
After relieving McChrystal of his command Wednesday, Obama called in his national security team and read the riot act. No more bickering, sniping, backbiting or name-calling, the president ordered. Play nice.
But all the comity in the world doesn’t resolve the essential tension between those who believe our goal in Afghanistan should be defined as “victory” and those who believe it should be defined as “finding the exit.” Two thousand years of history are on the side of the “exit” camp, and the fact is that at some point we’re going to leave. The question is how much time will pass — and how many more young Americans will be killed or wounded — before that inevitable day comes.
McChrystal, who designed the counterinsurgency strategy being attempted in Afghanistan, didn’t disguise his opposition to administration officials such as Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who questioned whether the strategy could work. Petraeus is far too good a politician to fall into that trap. He won’t allow any daylight between himself and the civilian leadership.
But ultimately, there’s going to be no way to avoid the central question: What kind of Afghanistan will we leave behind?
One answer would be that we have to leave in place a durable, functional central government that has full legitimacy and control within the nation’s borders. This would provide the United States with a reliable ally in a dangerous region and also ensure that Afghanistan would never again be used as a launching pad for attacks by al-Qaeda. But to get the country to that point, given where it is now, could take a decade or more of sustained, concentrated attention. It would mean not just defeating the Taliban but molding the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai into a reasonably honest, effective government. This would be a tall order even if Karzai were a stable, consistent, loyal partner. Does anybody believe that he is?
A better answer would be that it’s enough to leave behind an Afghanistan that no longer poses a serious threat to the United States or its vital interests. Nation-building would be the Afghans’ problem, not ours.
Petraeus was successful in Iraq because he realized that he couldn’t create an Athenian democracy in Baghdad. But the highly imperfect Iraqi government is light-years beyond what the general is likely to be able to achieve in Kabul. Even after the war, Iraq was left with modern infrastructure, a highly educated and sophisticated population, and a sizable percentage of the world’s proven oil reserves. Afghanistan has none of these advantages. The political culture is stubbornly medieval; the populace is poor, uneducated and wary of foreign influences. Afghanistan does have great mineral wealth, apparently, but no mining industry to dig it out and no railroads to get it to the marketplace.
In recent testimony before Congress, Petraeus was less than definitive when asked about Obama’s July 2011 deadline. Because he has such credibility and standing in Washington, his view on when we can begin to leave Afghanistan will be more important than McChrystal’s ever was. I hope that by putting Petraeus in charge of the war, President Obama hasn’t consigned us to a longer stay. His comments Thursday seem to indicate the possibility.
Oh– and I can bet you that Petraeus told the President that he would accept this position with a few conditions– Like ‘Hey I am a Battle Field General.. And I want to WIN, [ like there is such a thing as win] not mandy-pandy around. I am going to make a few changes to your rules of combat– LIKE allow the men to shoot!!!!!” “ Oh and by the way, Rolling Stone Mag, set up McChrystal!”
6 weeks in thousands of seconds! way cool
I don’t pretend to understand Afghanistan, but I do know it’s a big, poor, backward Islamic country in Central Asia with all sorts of warring factions that have been at it for decades, or even centuries. I know that American soldiers have been fighting there for eight years and that the situation is still a huge mess.
And now President Barack Obama, after sending 21,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan in March, is set to announce next week that he’s going to send over another 30,000 or so, which will bring the total number of US troops in that big, poor, backward, bewildering, violent Islamic country to about 100,000.
I don’t know much about Afghanistan, but I’m pretty familiar with America, familiar enough to know that America is not up for this. I don’t know if it’s possible to pacify Afghanistan – or Pakistan, Iraq, Iran or anyplace else in the region. I don’t know if this can be done even with millions of American troops fighting for 100 years.
But I do know, as I think everyone knows or should know, that America is not ready to fight Islamism like it fought Nazism and Communism, which means that in its wars in the Middle East, America is destined to lose. The only question is how long these futile adventures will last.
Actually, America fought one war in the Middle East that was not seemingly futile, not at all – the one in 1991 against Iraq. That was a “necessary war,” to use Obama’s term for the mess in Afghanistan. Back then, Saddam Hussein invaded an American-allied country, he electrified the entire Middle East, he was bidding for control, direct or indirect, over two-thirds of the world’s oil – he had to be stopped and turned back.
So president George H.W. Bush set a very clear, reasonable goal – forcing Saddam out of Kuwait – then sent half a million soldiers to do the job, accomplished it in six weeks with minimal allied casualties, then brought the troops home, leaving Saddam and Saddamism in ruins. That was a so called “good war.” But Afghanistan? After 9/11, the Americans should have retaliated by carpet bombing select areas of that country, killing tens of thousands of people, terrorists and civilians both, to let al-Qaida, the Taliban and everyone in the Islamic world know that there is a terrible price to pay for attacking America and killing 3,000 innocents.
Instead, America decided to “transform” the region. The result is that another 5,000 Americans have been killed, soldiers this time, bombs are still going off every which way in Iraq, and now a new president, this one a liberal Democrat, not a Republican neocon, is driving deeper and deeper into Afghanistan.
And what about Pakistan? And Iran? Are they next? “All options are on the table,” says Obama.
AMERICA’S PROBLEM is that it still wants to be a military superpower but is no longer willing to pay the price in blood and money, so it tries to do it on the cheap and as painlessly as possible, and winds up fighting endless wars with impossible goals in distant, hellish places.
If the US were serious about taking on a military challenge of this scope, it would reinstate the draft. This isn’t Grenada they’re dealing with, this is an enemy with outposts across the Middle East, and parts of Africa too. And the US means to go to war against this enemy with a volunteer army that’s drawn from less than 1 percent of American families!
“The problem in this country with this issue [of Afghanistan],” said Democratic Congressman David Obey, “is that the only people who have to sacrifice are military families, and they’ve had to go to the well again and again and again and again, and everybody else is blithely unaffected by the war.”
The American people won’t stand for a military draft; it’s a taboo subject . They won’t even stand for a war tax; that’s another taboo. But neither will they stand for the idea that America is not a military superpower anymore. And nobody in that country, not even the messiah of change, has the guts to tell them that they can’t have it both ways.
So the US pretends it can fight World War III like Grenada, its army is so far beyond overextended that there isn’t a word for it, the country spends more and more billions of dollars that it doesn’t have, and this has been going on now for almost a decade.
At this point, is anybody confident that if and when the US gets out of Iraq, after all these years of horror and devastation, it will leave behind a stable, decent, more or less pro-American country?
Is anybody confident of such a happy end to the war in Afghanistan?
I don’t think so. I think if America knew right after 9/11 what it knows now, there is no way on earth it would have started these wars.
But now Obama wants more – not because he believes he can salvage the situation in Afghanistan, but because he’s afraid of what will happen if he abandons it to the likes of al-Qaida and the Taliban. Which is a very legitimate worry. I worry about that too.
But the only way the US can salvage Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Pakistan, or Iran, or any country in the Muslim world, is to fight like it fought every other major war in its history – with a draft, with war taxes, with a clear, reasonable goal and the readiness to pursue it to the end.
Is America up for that today? No, it’s not, I’m happy to say, because, like I said, even millions of American soldiers fighting for 100 years might not be enough to neutralize the threat of Islamism.
It’s fight or flight, which means the only choice left is flight. The US is not a military superpower anymore, and it’s just hurting itself and a lot of other people by pretending.
The time has come for America to wrap up these endless, failed third world wars.
It’s not going to be easy. And the worst part is that after Obama deepens America’s commitment with 30,000 new soldiers, getting out is going to be even harder.
EM at The Grievance Project takes John Yoo to task over his latest article at the Journal of The American Enterprise Institute. I posit, what the hell does this scumbag know about excellence (much less empathy)? EM asks the right questions. Wager on Yoo’s response?
John Yoo interrupts his defense of torture and (presumably) himself, to weigh in on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, concluding with this:
But conservatives should not be pleased simply because Sotomayor is not a threat to the conservative revolution in constitutional law begun under the Reagan administration. Conservatives should defend the Supreme Court as a place where cases are decided by a faithful application of the Constitution, not personal politics, backgrounds, and feelings. Republican senators will have to conduct thorough questioning in the confirmation hearings to make sure that she will not be a results-oriented voter, voting her emotions and politics rather than the law. One worrying sign is Sotomayor’s vote to uphold the affirmative action program in New Haven, CT, where the city threw out a written test for firefighter promotions when it did not pass the right number of blacks and Hispanics. Senators should ask her whether her vote in that case, which is under challenge right now in the Supreme Court (where I signed an amicus brief for the Claremont Center on Constitutional Jurisprudence), was the product of her “empathy” rather than the correct reading of the Constitution. [My emphasis.]
Since comments aren’t permitted on his post, I emailed Mr. Yoo this afternoon asking for a response to the following questions:
Don’t hold your breath but I’ll post any reply I receive from Mr. Yoo.
I have developed a friendship with an attorney (it almost started out bad, thankfully I caught my assholish ways before it went too far) named E.M. at his blog called The Grievance Project. This man is a patriot in every sense of the word and knows how to fight the battles we have with justice in this country. I get emails from him regularly and subscribe to his feed at the blog. Recently, he did his thing (write a grievance) against the Alabama Bar Association and called them (in so many words) a bunch of foolish hypocrites and liars (he would never use those words… he, unlike me, is a gentleman).
I wanted to share the dialog he puts up with in the hypocritical battle with Alabama Bar sycophants, when he is only doing what is needed to fix this broken government.
I found the hypocrisy in the Alabama State Bar’s President’s (J. Mark White” <firstname.lastname@example.org>) response to one of these grievances very telling. But more than anything, I love the way E.M. don’t take shit from these lying/complicit asshats (Mr White should be embarrassed and E.M. should given a medal). This involves the lunacy that Alberto Gonzales and Leura Canary (email@example.com) was being named to the Top Ten Prosecutors list for 2008. In order of the transmissions sent.
Subject: Alberto Gonzales and Leura Canary named to Top Ten Prosecutors list for 2008
In its press release, the Bennett Law Firm explained that the release of the list was delayed due to the election so the firm ”would not be accused of being “political[,]” adding that “[w]e plan not to wait as long to release the Top 10 nominees coming in 2009. Therefore, continue to send in your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.” (My emphasis) (Thanks to SH for this link.)
The response from Mark White:
E.M. scathing response back to a person more interested in the status quo than doing the job he is paid to do.
Thank you for replying to my e-mail. At your request, I’ve removed your name from my general e-mail list.
Responding to allegations of unethical conduct by affirmatively requesting to receive no further information does nothing to advance the credibility of your claim that complaints of attorney misconduct in Alabama are handled professionally. Consider also this e-mail I received from Roger Shuler:
About three years ago, I filed a bar complaint against Bill Swatek, the lawyer who filed the bogus lawsuit that started all of my legal headaches. The Alabama State Bar didn’t even investigate it. Swatek has a 30-year history of ethical problems with the bar, including a suspension of his license.
Under bar rules, an attorney with that kind of history is supposed to be scrutinized even more heavily when new complaints arrive. Also, the fact Swatek was opposing counsel (not my attorney) is supposed to irrelevant under bar rules. He still owes a duty to the opposing side to conduct himself in an ethical manner.
When I questioned the bar about their failure to act on my Swatek complaint, one of McLain’s staff people at the time admitted that they get so many complaints that they usually don’t do anything with the ones involving opposing counsel.
Mr. White, I specifically copied you on only two (2) e-mails. I first copied you on the e-mail I sent to Tony McClain, the General Counsel of the Alabama State Bar, because he has the authority to initiate a disciplinary investigation on his his own motion based on information he receives or acquires from any source. This e-mail regarded the unethical conduct of Leura Garrett Canary, a member of the Bar of which you are the elected President. I then also copied you on an e-mail announcing that Leura Garrett Canary had been named one of this country’s Worst Prosecutors for the year 2008.
However, someone of your professional and personal accomplishment should realize that I didn’t just add your name to ‘a mass of people [who can] accomplish nothing.’ Check again the first e-mail you received from me. Note that I copied you on these e-mails in your professional capacity as President of the Alabama State Bar Association. I did this to establish that you have – at a minimum – constructive knowledge of Ms. Canary’s conduct.
Your reply, however, also – rather amateurishly – confirmed that you actually received both of my e-mails, including the first e-mail in which I tediously detailed for you Ms. Canary’s unethical conduct as well as the specific Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct that her conduct violated. You, therefore, also confirmed that you are “[a] lawyer possessing unprivileged knowledge of a violation of Rule 8.4” by Ms. Canary, pursuant to Rule 8.3, Reporting Professional Misconduct of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires that you “shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.” [My emphasis] As explained in the Comments to Rule 8.3, your “failure to report a violation would itself be a professional offense.”
When you were elected President of the Alabama State Bar Association, it was reported that your theme ‘might be “justice for all.”‘ Your press release from the Alabama State Bar states that “the goals of [your] administration would be ‘to remove barriers to justice for Alabama’s poor, to embark on an immediate course to change the nature of state judicial elections, and to champion efforts that increase the public’s confidence in our system of justice…’[, and that key] projects will include … [a]ssisting the bench and bar in improving civility and professionalism. [My emphasis] My hope was that you would receive my e-mail and live up to your words. However, your reply establishes your words are without the substance of conviction.
And none of this is changed because I publish anonymously. There are many reasons, as you know, to publish under a pseudonym not the least of which is sound tactics. It wasn’t cowardice when Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense under the pseudonym Publius. Since publishing his work was an act of treason punishable by death, it was self-preservation. Thanks to men and women like Thomas Paine, the words I publish are not treason. But even though I won’t face prosecution for treason, don’t believe that I face no threats because I choose to publish as I do. And it’s not paranoia if they ARE out to get you. The ounce of prevention anonymity provides me – hopefully – is just a pound of cure but it does not make me a coward. Anyway, I don’t think that you even believe your charge of cowardice.
But it especially surprised me that a self-proclaimed champion of the integrity of the justice system who wants ‘justice for all’ would resort to calling me a coward especially while displaying true champion’s courage by asking me to leave him alone. Although you claim to seek justice for all, you have failed to actually do anything when the cause of justice demands action. In short, Mr. White, the question must be directed to you: where’s the courage demanded by your own words?
Please also note that I have removed you from my general e-mail list, but I will continue to send e-mails to you in your official capacity as President of the Alabama State Bar. If you do not wish to receive these e-mails, your computer department can show you how to digitally stick your head in the sand (just ask them how to block my e-mails). Alternatively, you could resign as President of the Alabama State Bar Association since you don’t want to fulfill your obligations to the Alabama State Bar and the public you swore to serve.
This drives me NUTS! In my field of Social Work [years ago]… I can not even begin to tell you how many soldiers were lost due to PTSD ‘after’ being placed into unjust wars much less insane circumstances. WWI saw this very same thing– as well as WWII. No one wanted to se it for what it is. It is about time someone woke up and made this program a reality! It should of been S.O.P. anyway years and years ago!
Filner Advocates ‘De-Boot Camp’ for GIs
November 22, 2008The Washington Post
A key House leader is proposing to establish a “de-boot camp,” where returning service members would undergo mandatory diagnosis for brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in order to reduce instances of domestic violence and suicide.
Rep. Bob Filner, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said Wednesday he will lobby the Obama administration for the de-boot camp and other new initiatives for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as veterans from the Vietnam era.
“There were more suicides [postwar] by Vietnam veterans than those who died in the war. We cannot make the same mistakes again. Mental illness is an injury that has to be dealt with,” Mr. Filner said during an editorial board at The Washington Times. “We all have to understand what they are facing. We all have to understand PTSD.”
The California Democrat said he wants the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reduce a backlog of claims by granting all claims made by Vietnam veterans who say they suffer illnesses from exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange.
He said he also advocates a “radical” new approach to veterans health care that would allow veterans living in rural areas to have more choices to access health care, even private alternatives, rather than travel hundreds of miles to veterans hospitals.
Mr. Filner, who is not a veteran himself but represents a large veterans constituency in the San Diego area, said he would even support privatizing psychological care for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Many active-duty personnel are returning home as veterans who are “wounded psychologically,” he said during an hourlong meeting with editors and reporters. “If they don’t kill their wives or themselves, they end up homeless.”
“Something is going on that we are not dealing with,” said Mr. Filner, 66.
With a survival rate at 95 percent, nearly 1 million new veterans will emerge from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The psychological wounds are going to last a very long time,” Mr. Filner said. “The public has to support the new veterans.”
After the Vietnam War, there was a failure to distinguish between the war and the warrior that lead to social displacement, mental disorders, homelessness and even suicide, Mr. Filner said.
News reports suggest that as many as 1,000 veterans a month attempt suicide. A third of those diagnosed with PTSD have committed felonies, Mr. Filner said.
“This is a moral issue, and I think [President-elect Barack] Obama will agree with that,” he said.
The “de-boot camp” Mr. Filner envisions could last weeks, even a month, to prepare the military and National Guardsmen to re-enter society. It would include mandatory evaluations by medical professionals to diagnose brain injuries and PTSD.
Currently, the military only offers a two-hour lecture in which “kids are falling asleep,” Mr. Filner said. “It’s so boring.”
While diagnosis would be mandatory, seeking psychological help would be voluntary. Such help would include educational and vocational counseling and would involve spouses and family.
Mr. Filner said he would like to see more access to necessary private hospital care for seriously wounded veterans in rural areas where they may not have the major medical facilities that are available in urban centers.
“In terms of access to that care for rural veterans, who may be away from main centers where their community may have good care, they ought to be far more open to specialties that may not be available within their locale, then we ought to get them into the private system as quick as we can,” he said.
Unfortunately, VA hospital officials all too often are “very hesitant about doing it” because of cost considerations, he said. “They don’t want” care delivered outside the VA hospital system “because if everyone is going to the Mayo Clinic, it’s going to cost a lot.”
But Mr. Filner said he favors expanding access to private care “in certain situations for rural veterans in some specialty areas,” adding that “they’ve got to be far more open and quick about allowing that to happen.”
Mr. Filner also addressed The Washington Times/ABC News investigation into ethical questions about experiments that involve human subjects — specifically, the smoking-cessation drug Chantix that has been linked to dozens of suicides and suicidal behavior.
A study that specifically targeted veterans suffering from PTSD included more than 100 who were taking the drug, but the VA failed to notify the participants of the new Food and Drug Administration warnings until nearly three months later.
“There has got to be really tight kinds of controls on this kind of research,” said Mr. Filner, who expressed disappointment that the VA did not pull the program, which he said was “problematic” for “fragile” veterans.
The entire culture at the VA must be overhauled, Mr. Filner said.
“For a lot of veterans, VA means advisory instead of advocate,” he said. “People in there are really good people, they just need to be inspired.”
THIS IS A ‘MUST READ’ IF YOU ARE TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE TAX SYSTEM WORKS…
Bar Stool Economics…..
This is ‘crystal’ clear…
EXACTLY how the system works (or… FAILS ! ! ! ) whether you like beer or not is immaterial…
Never did I have it explained to me as eloquently and succinctly as the professor explained below!
Having beer in the story makes it even better and more personal!
Bar stool economics:
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
‘Since you are all such good customers,’ he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.’
Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers?
How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.
But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before.
And the first four continued to drink for free.
But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’
‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten
times more than I.’
‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man.
‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’
‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all.
The system exploits the poor!’
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works.
The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.
Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen , Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia
For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
After Obama’s win, white backlash festers in US
By Patrik Jonsson Patrik Jonsson – Mon Nov 17, 3:00 am ET
Atlanta – In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting “inappropriate” comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.
The election of America’s first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters’ comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama’s election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.
Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there’s even talk of secession.
“Most of this movement is not violent, but there is a substantive underbelly that is violent and does try to make a bridge to people who feel disenfranchised,” says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “The question is: Will this swirl become a tornado or just an ill wind? We’re not there yet, but there’s dust on the horizon, a swirling of wind, and the atmospherics are getting put together for [conflict].”
Though postelection racist incidents haven’t posed any real danger to society or the president-elect, law enforcement is taking note.
“We’re trying to be out there at the cutting edge of this and trying to stay ahead of groups that are emerging,” says Special Agent Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the Secret Service, which guards the US president.
“Anytime you start seeing [extremist propaganda] floating around, you have to be concerned,” adds Lt. Gary Thornberry of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. “As far as it being an alarmist situation, I don’t see that yet. From a law enforcement point of view, you have to be careful, because it’s not illegal to have an ideology.”
After sparking conflict and showdowns in the 1990s – think Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing – white supremacist and nationalist groups began this century largely splintered and powerless. Though high immigration levels helped boost the number of hate groups from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007, key leaders of such groups had died, been imprisoned, or were otherwise marginalized.
But postelection, at least two white nationalist websites – Stormfront and the Council of Conservative Citizens – report their servers have crashed because of heavy traffic. The League of the South, a secessionist group, says Web hits jumped from 50,000 a month to 300,000 since Nov. 4, and its phones are ringing off the hook.
“The vitriol is flailing out shotgun-style,” says Mr. Levin. “They recognize Obama as a tipping point, the perfect storm in the narrative of the hate world – the apocalypse that they’ve been moaning about has come true.”
Supremacist propaganda is already on the upswing. In Oklahoma, fringe groups have distributed anti-Obama propaganda through newspapers and taped it to home mail boxes. Ugly incidents such as cross-burnings, assassination betting pools, and Obama effigies are also being reported from Maine to Alabama.
The Ku Klux Klan has been tied to recent news events, as well. Two Tennessee men implicated for plotting to kill 88 black men, including Obama, were tied to the KKK chapter whose leader was convicted in a civil trial in Brandenburg, Ky., last week, for inciting violence. The murder last week in Louisiana of a KKK initiate, allegedly killed after trying to back out of joining, came at the hands of a new group called Sons of Dixie, authorities say.
“We’re not looking at a race war or anything close to it, but … what we are seeing now is undeniably a fairly major backlash by some subset of the white population,” says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report in Montomgery, Ala. “Many whites feel that the country their forefathers built has been … stolen from them, so there’s in some places a real boiling rage, and that can only become worse as more people lose jobs.”
In an election in which barely 20 percent of native Southern whites in Deep South states voted for Obama, the newly apparent political clout of “outsiders” and people of color has been unnerving to some.
“In states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, there was extraordinary racial polarization in the vote,” says Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “Black Americans really do believe that Obama is going to represent their interests and views in ways that they haven’t been before, and, in the Deep South, whites feel exactly the opposite.”
But for nonviolent secessionist groups like the League of the South, the hope is for a more vigorous debate about the direction of the US and the South’s role in it, says Michael Tuggle, a League blogger in North Carolina.
Mr. Tuggle says his group isn’t looking for an 1860-style secession but, rather, a model that Spain, for one, is moving toward, in which “there’s a great deal of autonomy for constituent regions” – a foil to what is seen as unchecked, dangerous federal power in Washington.
“To a lot of people, the idea of secession doesn’t seem so crazy anymore,” says Tuggle. “People are talking about how left out they feel, … and they feel that something strange and radical has taken over our country.”
Bush and Cheney STILL have things they want to do!
R. Jeffrey Smith writes: “The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January. “The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms. “Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining. “Once such rules take effect, they typically can be undone only through a laborious new regulatory proceeding, including lengthy periods of public comment, drafting and mandated reanalysis. . . . “The burst of activity has made this a busy period for lobbyists who fear that industry views will hold less sway after the elections. The doors at the New Executive Office Building have been whirling with corporate officials and advisers pleading for relief or, in many cases, for hastened decision making.”
Emma Schwartz reports for ABC News: “Every administration tries to pass last minute rules in hopes of leaving a lasting mark. But experts say the Bush administration is expected to approve a greater number more quickly than previous administrations — something they said could lead to bad and costly policy. “‘The administration wants to leave a legacy,’ said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, which has been critical of these proposals. ‘But across the board it means less protection for the public.’ . . . “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In May, Josh Bolten, then-head of the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees regulatory approval, issued a memo barring new proposals after June. It also required that all new regulations be completed by Nov. 1. proposed rule put forward by the National Marine Fisheries Service that would lift a requirement that environmental impact statements be prepared for certain fisheries-management decisions and would give review authority to regional councils dominated by commercial and recreational fishing interests. Pew Environment Group says the rule “threatens to completely undermine application of the law that protects ocean ecosystems.” OMB Watch reports: “In addition to the hundreds of thousands of public comments opposing the proposed rule, 80 members of Congress have also expressed their opposition, including a letter joined by 72 members of the House of Representatives. The letter states that the proposed rule fails to meet congressional intent made clear during the reauthorization of the [fisheries act]. Hundreds of scientists and environmental organizations have also signed on to oppose the rule.” Siobhan Hughes wrote about in the Wall Street Journal on Monday: “The Bush administration is moving to adopt rules that would loosen pollution controls on power plants, by judging the plants on their hourly rate of emissions rather than their total annual output, people familiar with the matter said. . . . “As long as a power plant’s hourly emissions stay at or below the plant’s historical maximum, the plant would be treated as if it were running more cleanly, even if its total annual emissions increased as plant operators stepped up operations.” “That hasn’t been the case. Many proposed regulations have yet to be finalized and new ones have already come out since the June deadline. “A spokesperson for OMB said in an email response that the Bolten memo ‘wasn’t intended to wholesale shut down work on important regulatory matters after November 1st, but to emphasize due diligence.’ “She added: ‘Ensuring the integrity of the process is important to the Administration.’”
Another example is something I’ve been calling attention to yet more examples of the Bush administration’s midnight rule-making for the past several months. For instance, back in May, Carol D. Leonnig wrote in The Washington Post in July: “Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers’ on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.”
Dina Cappiello wrote for the Associated Press just 10 days ago that Interior Department officials were rushing so hard to ease the endangered species rules before Bush leaves office that they were “attempting to review 200,000 comments from the public in just 32 hours.” And on Monday, And yet another one to add to the list. In today’s Post, The proposed sale, which includes famous areas in the Nine Mile Canyon region, would take place Dec. 19, a month before President Bush leaves office.” Tip of the Iceberg?Keep in mind that rule-making is by definition a public process. So what else is going on, beneath the surface? I raised a slew of questions in that vein for
* Are appointees in federal agencies trying to cover their tracks? Are documents being properly retained?
* Are Bush political appointees working on last-minute reorganizations within the federal government?
* Are Bush loyalists burrowing into the civil service? Will political appointees engage in a last-minute flurry of hiring and promoting Bush loyalists into key civil service jobs? Will political appointees try to make the jump into the civil service?
Bush in the Rearview Mirror
“‘I would say that the most amazingly bankrupt line of argument that I’ve ever seen in this campaign has been the constant and heavily financed effort on the part of the Obama campaign to make George Bush John McCain’s running mate,’ Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, said in a conference call with reporters. “‘To me it’s outrageous. Everybody who knows John McCain, who has spent any amount of time following his life and times, knows that he has been probably one of the biggest flies in the ointment for the Bush administration on Capitol Hill when it comes to putting his country first.’”
Lauren Vernon writes for The Hill: “John McCain’s presidential campaign on Thursday said the Arizona senator would win the race for the White House if Democratic rival Barack Obama keeps seeking to link the GOP nominee to President Bush. “McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said the attempt of the Illinois senator’s campaign to link the current White House occupant to the new Republican standard-bearer is ‘a desperate attempt at the end of this campaign by Obama to try and stem the flow of people away from his campaign.’”
Gary Langer writes for ABC News: “For all the focus on the economy as John McCain’s greatest problem, there’s another right behind it: George W. Bush. . . . “Fewer than half of likely voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, 47 percent, think McCain would lead in a new direction; 50 percent instead say he’d mainly continue on Bush’s path. McCain has not exceeded 48 percent ‘new direction’ all year, at a time when dissatisfaction with the country’s current course has hit record highs. “It matters: Among those who think McCain would lead in a new direction, 82 percent support him. But among those who think of him as Bush 2.0, 90 percent prefer Barack Obama instead — one of the starkest dividing lines between the two candidates. “Similarly, while McCain overwhelmingly is supported by the relatively few remaining Bush approvers, he loses Bush disapprovers — 72 percent of likely voters — by nearly a 3-1 margin, 71-27 percent.”
Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman write in the New York Times about the latest New York Times/CBS News poll: “With just days until Americans choose a new president, the survey found them deeply uneasy about the state of their country. Eight-five percent of respondents said the country was pretty seriously off on the wrong track, near the record high recorded earlier this month. A majority said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. And President Bush’s approval rating remains at 22 percent, tied for the lowest presidential approval rating on record (which was President Harry S, Truman’s rating, recorded by the Gallup Poll in 1952). “Mr. McCain’s renewed efforts to cast himself as the candidate of change have apparently faltered. Sixty-four percent of voters polled said Mr. Obama would bring about real change if elected, while only 39 percent said Mr. McCain would.”
Dave Montgomery writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about how Texans are “joining the rest of the nation in registering sharp disapproval of his job performance as the nation’s chief executive, according to a newly released statewide poll. “Only 34 percent of Texans polled in a University of Texas survey approved of Bush’s handling of the presidency, with just under 10 percent approving ‘strongly.’ By contrast, 55 percent disapproved, with 38.7 percent strongly disapproving. “While the approval ratings are somewhat higher than national polls, the Texas findings reflect a significant downturn in popularity for a native son and former Texas governor who drew 61 percent of the Texas vote in his re-election victory over Democratic Sen. John Kerry four years ago. Throughout much of his two-term presidency, Texas has generally provided Bush with a safety net of robust support while he was losing favor elsewhere.”
“McCain . . . appears with the president only in commercials paid for and approved by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama or the Democratic National Committee (DNC). McCain spends most of his days seeking as much distance between he and the president as he can find.” And Youngman notes that “the first lady isn’t the only current occupant of the White House getting in on the act. “Vice President Dick Cheney, who enjoys approval ratings lower than the president’s, is scheduled to attend a Victory rally in Wyoming on Saturday.”
“The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has asked Baroness Scotland to consider bringing criminal proceedings against Americans allegedly responsible for the rendition and abuse of Binyam Mohamed, when he was held in prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan. “The development follows criticism of US prosecutors by British judges who have seen secret evidence of torture committed against Mr Mohamed, including allegations his torturers used a razor blade to repeatedly cut his penis. The Attorney’s investigation is expected to include allegations that MI5 colluded in Mr Mohamed’s rendition. Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer. “On Tuesday, Government lawyers wrote to the judges hearing Mr Mohamed’s case against the UK government in the High Court. In the letter they said ‘the question of possible criminal wrongdoing to which these proceedings has given rise has been referred by the Home Secretary to the Attorney general for consideration as an independent minister of justice’. Baroness Scotland has been sent secret witness statements given to the court and public interest immunity certificates for the proceedings.” And in news of another case,
Syria Comment blogger
Jonathan Karl reports for ABC News that Gen. David Petraeus “proposed visiting Syria shortly after taking over as the top U.S. commander for the Middle East. “The idea was swiftly rejected by Bush administration officials at the White House, State Department and the Pentagon. “Petraeus, who becomes the commander of U.S. Central Command (Centcom) Friday, had hoped to meet in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Petraeus proposed the trip, and senior officials objected, before the covert U.S. strike earlier this week on a target inside Syria’s border with Iraq.” Glenn Greenwald points out, this is not the exclusive Karl claims. Joshua Landis writes that he “has been writing since August 2008 that Petraeus tried to go to Damascus in the fall of 2007, but was refused permission by the Vice President. It wasn’t the president. (That little bit of info is an SC exclusive told to me by a top intelligence officer.)” Ken Herman blogs for Cox News Service: “President Bush hasn’t held a news conference since July 15. And that one ended with this comment from Bush: ‘OK, I’ve enjoyed it. Thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it.’ “Apparently he didn’t enjoy it and appreciate all that much. He hasn’t had a news conference since then and generally has ignored questions lobbed his way at White House events. . . . “Can we expect a presidential news conference anytime soon?” Not likely. From yesterday’s press briefing > Q. “Dana, looking ahead to the election, you said a while back that the President was trying not to give any press conferences while the campaign was going on, to let the candidates sort of have their own spotlight. When will we hear from the President once the election is over?” :
Peter Finn and Del Quentin Wilber write in The Washington Post: “A federal judge yesterday questioned the motives of Justice Department lawyers for withdrawing allegations linking a Guantanamo Bay detainee to a ‘dirty bomb’ plot in the United States shortly before they were required to hand over exculpatory evidence to the defense. “‘That raises serious questions in this court’s mind about whether those allegations were ever true,’ said U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is overseeing a lawsuit brought by Binyam Mohammed, 30, a resident of Britain who is challenging his detention at the U.S. military facility in Cuba. Sullivan warned that ‘someone is going to rue the day those allegations were made’ if it turns out that the government had evidence that they were unfounded. . . . “Mohammed said the CIA rendered him to Morocco weeks after he was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002. His attorneys argue that the government’s allegations are based on confessions their client made after his detention and torture in Morocco, where, they say, he was slashed with razors. “‘He parroted what his torturers wanted him to say,’ said Zachary Katznelson, one of Mohammed’s attorneys. ‘All they have are Mr. Mohammed’s own words, and they were extracted at the tip of a razor blade.’ “The government said Mohammed voluntarily confessed to a number of terrorist crimes, including the dirty-bomb plot, in 2004 at Bagram air base in Afghanistan before his transfer to Guantanamo Bay. The government has never acknowledged that he was in Morocco.” Sam Youngman writes for The Hill: “While President Bush has conspicuously stayed on the sidelines in the final days until the election, others close to him are venturing out on behalf of embattled Republican candidates. “First Lady Laura Bush, always a popular draw for Republicans, was in Mississippi on Thursday to stump for Sen. Roger Wicker (R), and on Monday she will do the same for House candidate Brett Guthrie at a rally in Kentucky. “That the first lady is hitting the road while the president stays in Washington speaks volumes to this election season’s dilemma: Republican candidates have to run away from the administration and its policies while still looking for help in races that were considered runaways in once-reliably red states. . . . Jennifer Loven writes for the Associated Press: “Under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike, the White House on Thursday defended giving billions of bailout dollars to banks that plan to reward shareholders and executives — or even buy other banks. “Allowing banks to engage in such normal business activities actually could help loosen lending and revive the sagging economy, said Ed Lazear, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. He said the administration would not impose any conditions on banks beyond those required when Congress created the bailout program, which authorized the government to buy stock in financial institutions. . . . “Lazear was put before the cameras in the White House briefing room amid a rising chorus of complaints from lawmakers about the latitude that banks will have when they receive bailout money from Washington. “That bailout was originally sold by the administration as a plan for the government to purchase toxic mortgage-based assets from financial institutions, to get them off their books and inspire the resumption of normal lending. After passage, though, the administration decided the better course would be to devote $250 billion into buying ownership stakes in banks. “With taxpayers’ money flowing into their vaults, banks are going ahead with paying dividends to shareholders, giving bonuses to top executives and acquiring competitors. Lawmakers are asking why banks with the money to do those things need taxpayer-funded help.” this ad- titled Rearview Mirror – that the Obama campaign plans to air heavily in key battleground states this weekend. In the ad, images of Bush keep popping up in the rearview mirrors of a car as road signs outside highlight criticisms of McCain’s economic policy. CBS News: “‘Wonder where John McCain would take the economy? Look behind you,’ an announcer says as the spot opens. Onscreen, a man driving his car is shown looking in his rearview mirror, where he sees Mr. Bush’s face. Cappiello reported that — surprise! — the administration had concluded “that changes it wants to make to endangered species rules before President Bush leaves office will have no significant environmental consequences.” Juliet Eilperin writes: “The federal Bureau of Land Management is reviving plans to sell oil and gas leases in pristine wilderness areas in eastern Utah that have long been protected from development, according to a notice posted this week on the agency’s Web site. NiemanWatchdog.org back in June. Among them: * Are major contracts being let out that have long-term ramifications? And are any of those related to outsourcing? S heldon Alberts writes for the Canwest News Service that Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s camp responded furiously to a new ad from the Barack Obama campaign linking McCain to Bush. Juliet Eilperin wrote in The Washington Post in August that the new rules would “allow federal agencies to decide whether protected species would be imperiled by agency projects, eliminating the independent scientific reviews that have been required for more than three decades.” Juliet Eilperin wrote in The Washington Post: “The Bush administration is on the verge of implementing new air quality rules that will make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas.”
No Presser for You
Perino: “You’ll probably hear from me that night, and then we’ll see after that.”
Q. “In terms of, you know, a press conference, obviously many of these questions were questions we’d love to direct to him.”
Perino: “How long have you covered the White House, this White House? Do we ever forecast when we’re going to have press conferences? No. And I really don’t think that’s going to change after November 4th. So you’ll just have to keep dressing up everyday, and then we’ll see.”
My son was 7 years old [ he is now 30] when I fought the fight at City Hall regarding “when and why were my parental rights about choice regarding what is best for my son taken away?” My ONLY issue then was he was in a Sex Ed Class that I knew nothing about– and was taught and ‘shown’ how to use an Oral Dam. I wanted pre-knowledge of the upcoming class and curriculm, as well as an op-out available if I chose to not have him attend. My entire point was ‘I had no rights’. THIS is why I posted this news story. I fully understand these parents anger and frustration. How about you?? Your kids??? really— forget about what the ad was for [or maybe not who knows]… the point is as parents they have no say over their minor daughter. Whatever law covers those who took the film, my question is why in the hell would it not exclude minors??
I guess the words that ring in my ears are ” Internationally Protected”. So what exactly does that mean? And who in the hell can afford to follow through with the protest, etc?
I posted the entire article because you need an acct to get through the link.
Rare Shark Makes Waves in Dubai
Luxury Resort Puts Threatened Fish on Display in Lobby Tank, Setting Off Protests and Campaign for Its Release
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, October 24, 2008; Page A13
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — One day this summer, a fisherman spotted a 14-foot shark off this high-rise Persian Gulf boomtown. The polka dots on the creature’s back showed she was a whale shark, an internationally protected species.
The fisherman, according to local news reports and the United Arab Emirates’ Environment Ministry, was working on consignment, charged by a new $1.5 billion, ocean-themed resort here with finding exotic fish for its aquariums and water park.
South Africa. Guests pay $7,500 a night to stay in Atlantis’s Poseidon and Neptune suites, where a glass wall affords a private view of the whale shark and the smaller fish in her tank. Diners in a seafood restaurant run by a Michelin three-star chef enjoy the same view. Developers are generally the unchallenged heroes of Dubai’s $1 trillion-plus building boom. There was no outcry last year, for example, when authorities deported hundreds of predominantly South Asian construction workers — legally entitled to neither a minimum wage nor the right to strike — for staging a protest for better pay.
But the fate of the freckled gray shark has caught public attention, suggesting that even Dubai’s culture of developer-driven excess has its limits.
An Emirates-based newspaper, the Gulf News, is waging a Free Sammy the Shark campaign — editors said they named the shark before the hotel disclosed it was female. The newspaper runs photos of residents wearing badges showing Sammy and calling for her release.
A Gulf News countdown keeps track of the shark’s days behind glass, which numbered 47 as of Thursday.
Facebook campaign that has attracted more than 8,000 members. “This poor whale shark was caught off the shores of Dubai and needs to be put back where it belongs before she dies!!!” its mission statement declares.
Japan and in Atlanta. “There’s not a true scientific reason to keep the whale shark in a tank. It’s clear that they brought it as an attraction,” said Azzedine Downes, the Dubai-based vice president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “To remove a female from the population just further endangers the species.”
Spokeswomen in the United States and Dubai for the hotel’s lead owner, South African Sol Kerzner, did not return repeated calls for comment.
Kerzner has withstood tougher protests. His Sun City resort in South Africa inspired the Steve Van Zandt song that includes the refrain “I ain’t gonna play Sun City” and became a symbol of international protests against South Africa’s then-segregated government. The boycott lasted until apartheid ended in 1994; Sun City remains.
Hotel spokeswoman Ashley McBain, in a brief interview, denied a weekend announcement by the environment minister that Atlantis had agreed to free the whale shark. “I know that just as in the Bahamas, marine life is our number one priority,” she said, referring to an Atlantis property in the Caribbean. “At some point the whale shark could be released.”
A government-owned company, Nakheel, is the other main developer of the Atlantis in Dubai.
Last year, the Emirates and the Solomon Islands gave the Atlantis permission to fly 28 bottlenose dolphins here, a 30-hour trip from the islands. Environmentalists protested, saying that the bottlenose is endangered and that several Solomon Islands dolphins had died on display at other parks. Dubai closed its airport the day of the dolphins’ arrival, heading off possible demonstrations by animal rights activists.
Trade in whale sharks is regulated by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. They are the biggest fish on earth, growing as long as 65 feet. Despite their size, they are harmless to humans, feeding on small plants and animals that they sieve through their yard-long mouths.
Whale sharks can live 70 years, dive more than 6,000 feet and range for thousands of miles. They swim in both shallow and deep water, and researchers cite their curiosity.
The Atlantis announced the capture of Sammy in a Sept. 9 news release, saying the “whale shark was clearly under duress when it was sighted by a local fisherman.” The hotel said it placed the fish in its lobby aquarium “due to the high temperature and salinity of the water” in the Persian Gulf. Experts say the Gulf and other warm seas are the shark’s natural habitat.
Opposition to Sammy’s confinement grew last week after Gulf News quoted the fisherman who caught the shark Aug. 28 as saying that the hotel had paid him and other fishermen to catch fish for display.
Asked about the fisherman’s assertion, Abdul Razzaq Abdullah, an Environment Ministry spokesman, said hotel executives were “looking for one of every species,” and added, “They wanted to bring their own boat.”
Officials persuaded the Atlantis to use local fishermen to catch the exhibits, for the sake of local jobs, Abdullah said.
Leading whale shark researchers have urged the hotel to let them tag and release Sammy.
“It’s such a dangerous precedent,” said Jennifer Schmidt, a geneticist at the University of Illinois who is taking part in an 8-year-old project studying whale sharks.
“Already, other resorts are talking about getting their whale sharks,” Schmidt said by telephone. “We don’t know how many whale sharks there are, but all the sharks there are need to be out in the ocean where they’re capable of carrying out their normal lives and breeding.”
The Atlantis and the Environment Ministry say the captive shark is educating the public. In the hotel lobby, however, neither signs nor guides identify the shark for the tourists who pass through.
“It’s beautiful!” said Chris Watson of Boston, a retired airline employee touring with former colleagues.
Watson and her friends were divided on the shark’s confinement.
“Maybe with the pollution, they’re better here,” said Delila Serret, also of Boston.
“I love to see them, but I think they should be the same as birds — free,” Watson said. “Nothing should be caged.“
EM at The Grievance Project sent this to me the other day and I need to share, because this is the first and only time I have heard this mentioned. The Bush Family has been involved with countless banking failures and business losses (or theft.. and many other types of dubious behavior).
One Bush was involved with financing the Nazi war machine. Another Bush introduced the death knell “New World Order” and “NAFTA” to us. Dubya has made it possible to totally ravage our entire economy and somehow brainwash half of America. One Bush brother (Marvin) was in charge of Security at the World Trade Centers (convenient, huh?) and “Jeb” and “Dad” tag-teamed Big Money by being instrumental in the break down of one of the world’s oldest banking institutes.
The family is either the unluckiest bunch or the most evil. I bet evil.
Jeb is apparently the most vile and corrupt of the group (at least of those still alive).
Lehman Brothers was founded in 1850. The firm managed to get through the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, the Great Depression, and the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet after hiring Jeb Bush in late August of 2007, the firm suddenly goes belly up in a year. It also should be noted that in 2006, George H. Walker IV was also hired by Lehman Brothers.
Now, let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
Neil Bush: The brother of the current president, son of the elder Bush, and another do-nothing embezzler was part of yet another huge financial meltdown. This was known as the Savings and Loan scandal (S&L). From Salon:
Long before that, in the late 1980s, Neil Bush made bigger news for his controversial role as a director of Silverado Savings and Loan, which collapsed and cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion. (Federal regulators accused Bush of various conflicts of interests, but he was never charged. A civil suit against Bush and other Silverado officers was later settled for $26.5 million.)
Also from WaPo, a great summary of Neil’s sleazy life, including the S&L scandal:
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bush embarrassed his father, George H.W. Bush, with his shady dealings as a board member of the infamous Silverado Savings and Loan, whose collapse cost taxpayers $1 billion.
Now back to Jeb:
From Mother Jones: Early Years, Medicaid fraud, his own S&L, and allegations of drugs:
After graduating from Texas University, Jeb Bush served a short apprenticeship at the Venezuelan branch of Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas before settling in Miami, in 1980, to work on his father’s unsuccessful primary bid against Ronald Reagan. Campaigning for Dad was hardly a paying job. But Jeb was about to learn that being one of George Bush’s sons means never having to circulate a résumé.
In the next few years, financial support flowed to Jeb through Miami’s right-wing Cuban community. Republican party politics and a series of business scandals — including Medicaid fraud and shady S&L deals — were inextricably intertwined. A former federal prosecutor told MJ that, when he looked into Jeb’s lucrative business dealings with a now-fugitive Cuban, he considered two possibilities — Jeb was either crooked or stupid. At the time, he concluded Jeb was merely stupid.
So, might it be possible that Jeb has some serious questions to answer about what he did at Lehman Brothers, who his “clients” were, and so forth? After all, setting up a hedge fund to launder or embezzle funds seems to be a family specialty
B’Man: Read the entire article at at-Largely
Jeb Bush is wickedly tainted… just like the whole lot of them.
My friend EM at The Grievance Project is carrying forward on his idea of filing grievances against all the crooks who have hijacked America’s justice departments, especially the Gonzales’, now Mukasey’s cover-upped criminal institute. I hope that you will go visit the Grievance project and help any way you feel you can. EM is a patriot and worthy to be on B’Man’s Patriot Watch.
I have had mixed feelings regarding attorneys, but EM (and those he seems to respect, like Jonathon Turley, who I have long linked to and respected myself) is a different breed. I believe he is doing what he can to make real change and I support him (even though he writes above my legalese head, at times).
You all know about AG Mukasey’s horrendous decision to not prosecute Sampson, Goodling, et al. Although expected, that’s not good enough. These attorneys are an embarrassment to the legal profession and this country deserves better. I’ve long had enough. Have you had enough?
My grievance strategy is based on sound legal theory and can begin to restore some credibility to the legal field. My concept has also been advocated by Prof. Jonathon Turley. On an episode of Countdown a few weeks ago when the OIG/DPR report was released, Prof. Turley strongly argued that grievances should be filed against Goodling and Sampson.
Please help me promote this important project.