"Life is precious, and God, and the Bible."
One of the best Mr. Show sketches.
One of the best Mr. Show sketches.
Gali was using her laptop in the hotel’s staff bar when her drink was spiked. She awoke to a nightmare beyond belief: she had been savagely raped by three of her colleagues. Alone and frightened, she took herself to hospital. What Alicia didn’t know is that under the UAE’s strict sharia laws, if the perpetrator does not confess, a rape cannot be convicted without four adult Muslim male witnesses. She was charged with having illicit sex outside marriage, and thrown in a filthy jail cell for eight months.
This would of course result in teachers at affluent schools being paid a lot and teachers working in the tougher schools getting jack.
The doctor told his receptionist that he would no longer see sick people. Astounded, the receptionist asked “Why?” The doctor’s response was short and to the point “Because if I see sick people and they don’t get better, then I won’t get paid.” He continued. “You see our legislatures just passed a law that makes me not only responsible for my treatment of my patients, but holds me accountable for everything they do in life and everything others to do them. So I may diagnose their ailments correctly, and I may implement the proper course of treatment, and they will start to get better, but so many factors that are out of my control could be detrimental to their continued progress. The receptionist couldn’t quite figure out what could possibly stand in the way of a patient’s improvement if indeed the doctor was a highly effective doctor and diagnosed correctly and then put the proper course of treatment in place. The doctor explained. Well, I am highly educated and keep current on all of the research and best practice in my field. I am thorough when I examine my patients and take care in my recommendations for treatment. I engage my patients in their own recovery, and make sure they understand the importance of following through on what I have told them. I even make sure they come back to see me regularly so I can monitor their progress.” The receptionist was more confused than ever by the doctor’s explanation because if he did all of this, how on earth would his sick patients not get well! The doctor continued “Once the patient leaves my office, I have no control over what they do, or what others do to them. If I have an obese patient and his partner likes to cook highly caloric food, I can’t swoop in and throw his plate in the garbage. If I have a patient who needs rest but her children are ill and up all night, I can’t send her a substitute to stay by their side all night. If my patient would benefit from exercise but sees that to mean walking from the couch to the refrigerator, I can’t make him join a gym.” The receptionist was beginning to understand and said “Why would our legislatures pass a law that holds you accountable for what you cannot control?’ The doctor just smiled, shook his head and sadly said “I do not know. I have been trying to make sense of this assault on my profession. I can’t believe that our elected officials, those who have the interest of our public at heart, would want doctors to be no more, to be replaced with imposters who might stay in practice for only a year or so, never becoming seasoned and thus able to diagnose and treat the most difficult cases. But what is really hard for me to understand is that so many people know that what is being done will so harm patients for years and years yet they say and do nothing, perhaps thinking that because they are not sick, none of these laws will have an impact on them. I want to ask them, remember when we had teachers?” Rosemary
They had been working 92 hours a week. Or roughly 13 hours a day, every day. After the strike they bargained it down to a leisurely 62 hours a week.
Many of the same leaders from other occupational strikes were at the center of the barber strike, which got its footing in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville. Soon, barbers across the city had dropped their razors and foaming brushes and left work in consolidation for better hours.
A letter-writer to a wonderfully named 1913 journal called Journeyman Barber, Hairdresser, Cosmetologist and Proprietor wrote, "I will say that on a certain bright morning in the month of May, I found that the entire barber industry was paralyzed. Nearly 13,000 workingmen were out on strike. Isn't that a miracle? Thirteen thousand barbers on strike!"
Mayhem reigned upon the craggy, unshaven faces of Brooklyn men. "From Bushwick to Bay Ridge haggard men go about with the telltale blemish encroaching upon their visages like a noxious fungus. Half-shaved men slink about the alleys, avoiding the light of day." [source]
Scenes of violence did erupt throughout the city, as strike-breakers were attacked and angry mobs filled the street. A mob of 5,000 strikers -- "singing socialistic songs," noted the New York Tribune -- clashed with police in Brownsville on May 7th, customers fleeing barber shops in "a shower of vegetables" and the occasional flying rock.
I find this fascinating.
What makes me doubt this idea is its striking similarity to a technique of the right, the hyper-individualisation of every argument. Unless you are penniless right now, this second, you can’t complain about inequality. Even more exclusively, unless you were born poor you can’t take the side of the poor. I dislike the argument because it’s anti-intellectual, dismissing reason and systems – all the tools of discursive progress – and attempting to replace them with the power of personal testimony.
But on a purely pragmatic level we can all see, presumably, what the real goal is in this ad hominem play: if only the authentically poor are welcome on the left, that considerably depletes our numbers. If only the truly marginalised can speak as feminists, that depletes our numbers too. And if people “with a platform” are disqualified for being part of the power structure, that leaves us without a platform. This criticism started on the right for a reason – because it withers the left. We should think a bit more strategically before we internalise it.
But then I heard Helen Belcher of Trans Media Watch speak at a public meeting this week. She said the media had three ways of portraying trans people: “The first is that they’re fraudulent. They’re not really who they say they are. We’d better humour them in their delusion. The second is trans as undeserving deviant. The number of times you get costs – usually inflated – set against the money you could have spent on kiddies. The third is trans as comedy.”
In other words, all the prejudice that has been disallowed by modern standards is now concentrated on this one, pretty small group. It is very extreme, these days, to refer to gay people as deviant, but still allowable to make this insinuation about transsexuals. It is apparently permissible, in our mean-spirited age, to talk about how much disabled people cost the state, but I can’t imagine it would be OK to laugh at them. Transsexuals are dealing with a prejudice way out of proportion to their number, facing not only the people who hate the idea of transsexuality but all the people who wish they were still allowed openly to hate gays, openly to laugh at the disabled – hell, probably a few who wish they could still openly despise women.
. . .
This mountain of toxic coke began in November. This is six months of Canadian tar sands processing.
“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. One of the world’s largest dealers of petroleum coke is the Oxbow Corporation, which sells about 11 million tons of fuel-grade coke a year. It is owned by William I. Koch, a brother of David and Charles.
Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petroleum coke for the environmental group Oil Change International, says, “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth,” he said.
. . .
A video released on Friday showed the commander in Syria's central Homs province, known as Abu Sakkar, praying in a field and taking questions from a cameraman.
"I am ready to be held accountable for my actions, on condition that Bashar and his shabbiha (militias) are tried for crimes they committed against our women and children," he said.
"I send this message to the world: if the bloodshed in Syria does not stop, every Syrian will become Abu Sakkar."
A video of Abu Sakkar, a founder of the well known Farouq Battalion in Homs, went viral earlier this week. It showed him cutting into the torso of a dead soldier and taking a bite out of one of his organs.
And it wasn't even a squeaker. We beat Cleveland by 36%! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!
There's two great reasons for our staggeringly bad robbery stats. First the Oakland PD has basically no one assigned to investigating robberies. Seriously. This is a thing they were smashed for last week when the Feds released their report damning the police here. The Feds oversee the Oakland PD because of Oakland's amazing history of massive police corruption.
The second reason is that our mayor, Jean Quan, kicked off her first term in office by focusing most of the police power on 100 blocks, mostly in East Oakland. They announced this. They even pointed out which blocks would get intense police scrutiny. So do you know what people did who were robbing folks in those 100 blocks? They moved. But the cops didn't.
Response times for robberies--even when the robber was in a home with a citizen--were at least 45 minutes, if not 16 hours. It'd be laughable if it wasn't so awful.
According to an analysis by the Oakland Tribune, one in every 91 residents was the victim of a robbery last year. "That not only was the city's highest robbery rate in two decades, it was the highest of any major American city since 2000," the newspaper's report read.
Oakland's rate is 36 percent higher than America's second most robbery-plagued city, Cleveland, and double that of nearby Richmond. Local police say a demand for black market cellphones has fueled the trend.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan called the situation "completely unacceptable" and is seeking more police to address the issue. But many locals don't think officers are the answer. "The police we have aren't getting these robbers off the streets," Oakland Local noted.
. . .
Meanwhile, a disturbing report uncovered staggering inefficiencies within the department, including one part-time investigator assigned to handle 10,000 burglaries over the course of a year.
Adair's husband, Shane, and other witnesses told police she was drinking with friends in her garage Tuesday night and wanted to show off the weapon. It fired twice, hitting her once in the head as she brought it to the room and passed it to Shane.
Lt. Gary Toldness, of the Federal Heights, Colo., police department, told KMGH initial analysis appeared to be consistent with the reports of an accidental shooting, though the investigation was continuing. He also said Adair purchased the weapon at a gun show in March and described it as an AK-47-type rifle.
Two Toronto Star reporters have viewed the video three times. It appears to show Ford in a room, sitting in a chair, wearing a white shirt, top buttons open, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. Ford is incoherent, trading jibes with an off-camera speaker who goads the clearly impaired mayor by raising topics including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the Don Bosco high school football team Ford coaches.
“I’m f---ing right-wing,” Ford appears to mutter at one point. “Everyone expects me to be right-wing. I’m just supposed to be this great.…” and his voice trails off. At another point he is heard calling Trudeau a “fag.” Later in the 90-second video he is asked about the football team and he appears to say (though he is mumbling), “they are just f---ing minorities.”
Some violence? Sure. But how they would protect against massacres like Newtown or Aurora or Columbine is beyond me.
Introduced by Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), the Personalized Handgun Safety Act of 2013 would require that all guns manufactured for sale or put up for sale, would have to have some kind of “personalized” technology that limited the ability to fire the gun to its owner and any individuals authorized. Since this technology is not widespread now, these requirements would kick in within two years for manufacturers and three years for sellers. Affected sellers include both federally licensed retailers and private sellers.
The bill is technologically feasible. Several possible ways of building “smart” guns include firearms that only activate when you press a special ring into it, guns that won’t work until you enter a key code, guns that only fire if they detect a specific radio signal, and guns that recognize biometric info like fingerprints. Some smart guns are already available abroad, including one Irish design that automatically disables guns when they’re brought into properly equipped schools.
There’s some reason to believe these measures could be effective in reducing gun violence. Roughly ten to fifteen percent of crime guns are acquired by theft; an average of 232,400 guns are stolen per year. Presumably, a smart gun couldn’t be used by a thief.
This is monstrous.
This is also happening to many legal marijuana growers. There was recently a story out of Colorado about how no bank would give a pot clinic an account--because of fear of Feds confiscating the money--so the clinic had to operate entirely as a cash business. They even had to carry duffles of cash to the state capitol to pay their business taxes.
Porn star Chanel Preston — about whom we will admit to knowing absolutely nothing (because our parents are probably reading) — tells CNBC that she recently opened a business account at City National Bank in Los Angeles, the so-called “bank to the stars.” But apparently it’s not the bank to the stars of Office Perverts 5 (again, mom, we had to look that up; we swear).
Ms. Preston says that when she attempted to make a deposit into her new account, she learned it had been closed because of “compliance issues.”
She says that the manager who had helped her set up the account explained that the bank was worried about the live cam shows on her website and had decided to close the business account.
The actress says she’s previously been turned down for loans because of her profession, which may be controversial, but is certainly legal.
“[The loan officer] asked me ‘are you affiliated with the adult entertainment industry?’” she recalls. “When I said yes, she said ‘We will not give you a loan.’”
The gun uses laser range-finding and sophisticated computing so that it only fires when it will hit the target. I guess you save on bullets, but do we really need guns that are even more lethal?
A new rifle goes on sale on Wednesday, and it's not like any other. It uses lasers and computers to make shooters very accurate. A startup gun company in Texas developed the rifle, which is so effective that some in the shooting community say it should not be sold to the public.
It's called the TrackingPoint rifle. On a firing range just outside Austin in the city of Liberty Hill, a novice shooter holds one and takes aim at a target 500 yards away. Normally it takes years of practice to hit something at that distance. But this shooter nails it on the first try.
The rifle's scope features a sophisticated . The shooter locks a laser on the target by pushing a small button by the trigger. It's like a video game. But here's where it's different: You pull the trigger but the gun decides when to shoot. It fires only when the weapon has been pointed in exactly the right place, taking into account dozens of variables, including wind, shake and distance to the target.
The rifle has a built-in laser range finder, a ballistics computer and a Wi-Fi transmitter to stream live video and audio to a nearby iPad. Every shot is recorded so it can be replayed, or posted to YouTube or Facebook.
The IRS giving Tea Party political action committees extra attention, the thing in Benghazi, and the subpoenaing of Associated Press phone records to find a leak might all be odious, but they aren't scandals.
And Obama had nothing to do with any of them.
On Tuesday, it looked like we had three possible political scandals brewing. Two days later, with much more evidence available, it doesn’t look like any of them will pan out. There’ll be more hearings, and more bad press for the Obama administration, and more demands for documents. But — and this is a key qualification — absent more revelations, the scandals that could reach high don’t seem to include any real wrongdoing, whereas the ones that include real wrongdoing don’t reach high enough. Let’s go through them.
1) The Internal Revenue Service: The IRS mess was, well, a mess. But it’s not a mess that implicates the White House, or even senior IRS leadership. If we believe the agency inspector general’s report, a group of employees in a division called the “Determinations Unit” — sounds sinister, doesn’t it? — started giving tea party groups extra scrutiny, were told by agency leadership to knock it off, started doing it again, and then were reined in a second time and told that any further changes to the screening criteria needed to be approved at the highest levels of the agency.
. . .
2) Benghazi: We’re long past the point where it’s obvious what the Benghazi scandal is supposed to be about. The inquiry has moved on from the events in Benghazi proper, tragic as they were, to the talking points about the events in Benghazi. And the release Wednesday night of 100 pages of internal e-mails on those talking points seems to show what my colleague Glenn Kessler suspected: This was a bureaucratic knife fight between the State Department and the CIA.
. . .
3) AP/Justice Department:. This is the weirdest of the three. There’s no evidence that the DoJ did anything illegal. Most people, in fact, think it was well within its rights to seize the phone records of Associated Press reporters. And if the Obama administration has been overzealous in prosecuting leakers, well, the GOP has been arguing that the White House hasn’t taken national security leaks seriously enough. The AP/DoJ fight has caused that position to flip, and now members of Congress are concerned that the DoJ is going after leaks too aggressively. But it’s hard for a political party to prosecute wrongdoing when they disagree with the potential remedies.
. . .
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Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classic issue #165 (published February 5, 2004)
You can't stop us. No one can
Giant Squid: Notes from the Giant Squid: The Primary Architeuthis by the Giant Squid
Fiction: Dancing Lessons (part 3 of 8) by William Starr Moake
Poetry: When Papa Sleeps, Every Night the Same Dream . . . by Christopher Barnes
Rant: Bad Dreams by Fritz Swanson
Who was for the war and who was against the war is known. But it's not factual.
And what of the “hawks”? Beyond the military brass, war supporters are often imagined as “ordinary” Americans: white people from Middle America (a term coined in the 1960s), who supported God, country, and “our boys in the ‘Nam.” They were working-class patriots who insisted that criticism of the war meant criticism of the soldier. “If you can’t be with them, be for them,” as the sign read. Many of these Middle Americans epitomized moderate middle-class solidity and stolidity, while the workers among them, or members of the lower middle class, are remembered for having supported George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and their status as Reagan Democrats was imminent, even immanent, as early as 1968.
Most accounts of the working class depict them as largely supportive of the war and hostile to the numerous movements for social change. We need look no further than the most enduring image of the working class from that period, a certain cranky worker from Queens, N.Y. The TV character Archie Bunker, who brought the working class to prime time as white, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, and yearning for the good old days before the welfare state, when everybody pulled his weight, when girls were girls and men were men.
“Hardhats,” a stereotype based primarily on construction workers in New York City who assaulted antiwar protesters at a Manhattan rally in May 1970, were the iconic hawks. The most important working-class institution in the postwar era, the AFL-CIO, is remembered for being virulently anticommunist and vociferously pro-war; big labor’s embrace of the Vietnam cause confirmed the image of the working-class patriot who shouts “Love it or leave it!” at young, entitled hippies.
But this memory of the Vietnam era contains only half-truths, and overall it is a falsehood. The notion that liberal elites dominated the antiwar movement has served to obfuscate a more complex story. Working-class opposition to the war was significantly more widespread than is remembered, and parts of the movement found roots in working-class communities and politics.
In fact, by and large, the greatest support for the war came from the privileged elite, despite the visible dissension of a minority of its leaders and youth. The country was divided over the war, alongside many other pressing social issues—but the class dynamics of those divisions were complex, contradictory, and indeterminate.
Many books briefly discuss the discrepancy between our historical impression of class-based sentiment and its reality. Yet no account systematically explains why such a misperception exists, its extent, or its impact.
A report on a roundtable discussion about one journalist's experience watching the sausage get made at Kink.com.
My personal opinion is that if everyone freely consents (and is an adult, of sound mind, etc etc) then people can do sexually to each other whatever they want. If they want to be degraded or pooped on and people want to do that to them, have at it. It isn't my business. Just don't poop on me please, it ain't my thing.
But others go into a full tizzy at the idea that consenting adults might be getting their jollies by engaging in some wholesome Bay Area BDSM. It's an affront to god! It cheapens all of us! Honestly, they sound like people who fight against gay marriage.
This is an interesting piece though. If you have thoughts about how our culture condemns sex between consenting kinky adults, but gives a pass to rapist priests, rapist athletes, prison rape and military rape, well, then you should read this.
Let us imagine that, 50 years hence, we have a society where the ethos of consent and attendant norms of sexual conduct have triumphed so completely that rape is as rare as cannibalism. Everyone would regard that as a civilizational triumph. Would it be a bigger or smaller triumph of sexual mores than a culture where consent was valued exactly as much or little as it was in 1950, but BDSM and kink, extreme or tame, was so widely rejected as to render it as rare as cannibalism? That I’d strongly prefer the former triumph explains why I cannot agree with Alan Jacobs when he writes of the San Francisco pornographers, “I do not believe that it is possible to be more uncivilized than they are, though one might be equally uncivilized in different ways.”
I think rapists are far more uncivilized, and that every champion of consent, however myopic they are about other moral norms they ought to follow, are trying to build “structures of thought and practice that harness humankind’s sexual instincts and direct them in socially up-building ways.” Consent isn’t, after all, entirely separable from other widely accepted norms of civilized behavior. Taking it seriously means refusing to watch certain types of porn (the hidden up-skirt camera, for example); it means being forced to conceive of every potential sexual partner as an autonomous individual with inherent worth and desires so important that they frequently trump yours; it means, in at least that one respect, treating other people as you’d want to be treated.
None of that means one must approve of the acts described in the San Francisco basement. I happen to think it doesn’t in fact threaten civilization, that transgressive sex cannot, by definition, become the norm. Others may differ, and I’m just guessing there; but it is to say that, whatever you think of the porn shoot, the scattered, unconsensual sex that went down in the Bay Area that night was more worthy of condemnation, more uncivilized, more destructive and less moral.
Where do phones get stolen? Bus stops. Train stops. Downtown. The Mission. The Haight. Chinatown.
I know that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but rarely do you see it illustrated so clearly in one bill.
The House Agriculture Committee approved a five-year, $500 billion farm bill on a 36-10 vote. The next step will be debate by the full House, which is likely to start in June.
Congress is months late in writing a new farm law. The Senate Agriculture Committee advanced its version on Tuesday and the full Senate is set to begin debate on Thursday.
The House and Senate bills each end the $5 billion-a-year direct-payment subsidy, long a target of reformers, and spin off at least three new types of crop insurance.
Almost half the savings in the House bill would come from a $20.5 billion cut over 10 years in spending on food stamps for low-income Americans.
This guy built an amazing device that lets saws sense wood or flesh. It turns horrific maiming injuries into tiny scrapes. Every saw should have this but they don't because corporate lawyers are afraid they'll be sued for past injuries they *should* have prevented.
The saw was equipped with a safety device called SawStop that could distinguish between wood and flesh and then stop the blade fast enough to prevent a gruesome injury. Wheeler was amazed. As the operator of a wood shop in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he was all too aware of the unforgiving nature of table saws. Not long before, two of his employees had been maimed within a few weeks of each other. Wheeler felt awful about the injuries, the loss of two good workers, the $95,000 in medical bills, the doubling of his workers compensation rates. Watching SawStop in action, Wheeler thought: If only this had come along sooner.
Those kinds of injuries are all too common: Each year, more than 67,000 workers and do-it-yourselfers are injured by table saws, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (PDF), resulting in more than 33,000 emergency room visits and 4,000 amputations. At an average cost of $35,000 each, these accidents lead to more than $2.3 billion in societal costs annually including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
. . .
But as court records and testimony have shown, the power tool companies have rejected the safety advance for another reason: They are worried that if a new way to prevent severe injuries became widespread, they would face a wave of liability suits for accidents involving conventional saws.
. . .
The fine print on his mortgage says the payments must be on time. And apparently they are considering *early* payments to be not on time. Utterly bizarre.
The homeowner tells WFTV in Orlando that Wells Fargo offered him a loan modification last year and told him that if he made four monthly payments on time, the reduced rate would be made permanent.
“I didn’t miss any [payments],” the man tells WFTV. “I overpaid.”
Then he says the bank stopped accepting his payments and started the foreclosure process. Not wanting to lose his home, he got a lawyer.
“When he came in and showed me all of the documents, it was just unbelievable,” says the homeowner’s attorney. “Who gets foreclosed on when they’ve made all payments on time?”
Something weird is going on in Louisiana.
So when the school’s principal saw his name come up as registering to retake several courses online, it immediately raised a red flag. Gunn was called into a counselor’s office and told he was enrolled in three Course Choice classes — all of which he already had passed standardized tests with exceptional scores.
“I had no clue what was going on,” Gunn said. “I have no reason to take these classes and still don’t know who signed me up.”
More than 1,100 Caddo and Webster students have signed up to participate in what some say are questionable Course Choice programs. According to parents, students, and Webster and Caddo education officials, FastPath Learning is signing up some students it shouldn’t — in many cases without parent or student knowledge.
A free tablet computer is offered to those who enroll, and some educators believe that’s all the potential enrollees hear. Money to pay for the courses comes from each school district’s state-provided Minimum Foundation Program funding.
Half of the money — courses range from $700 to $1,275 each — must be paid to FastPath and other providers up front. Neither students nor their parents are responsible for the tablet devices if they are lost or stolen. And they can keep them even if they don’t pass the course.
. . .
Why will the fight against a nearly-destroyed Al Qaeda take another 20 years? Mission creep. The military has been redefining other hostile groups as "associated forces" and so broadening the scope of the orders that sent them after Al Qaeda after 9/11. Is this legal? Probably not. But who is going to stop them?
There is no geographic limit to that war, Sheehan and others testified, thanks to the seminal law authorizing it in the days after 9/11, known as the Authorization to Use Military Force. Thanks to that relatively terse authorization, U.S. counterterrorism stretches “from Boston to the FATA,” Sheehan said, using the acronym for Pakistan’s tribal areas. Sheehan told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed “associated forces” of al-Qaida can be targeted anywhere around the world, including inside Syria, where the rebel Nusra Front recently allied itself with al-Qaida’s Iraq affiliate, or even what Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called “boots on the ground in Congo.”
Asked if individuals who were not born on 9/11 but join al-Qaida are legal targets for the U.S. military, acting Pentagon chief lawyer Robert Taylor answered, “As long as they become an associated force under the legal standard that was set out.”
That extensive authority, particularly inside the United States prompted a highly publicized protest on the Senate floor by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in March. Members of the panel expressed shock that Sheehan and Taylor envisioned such a broad, long war.
“You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here,” said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine). King pointed out that the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against al-Qaida, or AUMF, was specifically bounded to avenging the 9/11 attacks, and does not contain the words “associated forces” repeatedly invoked by Taylor, the top Pentagon lawyer.
“You guys have invented this term, associated forces, that’s nowhere in this document,” King said. “It’s the justification for everything, and it renders the war powers of Congress null and void.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), expressed incredulity over the Pentagon’s broad interpretation of the AUMF. “None of us” who voted for the law in 2001 “could have envisioned [granting] authority [to strike] in Yemen and Somalia,” McCain said.
Griffin did as she was told: “I tried Pine-Sol, bleach, I even tried Dawn on those floors.” As she scrubbed, the mix of cleanser and gunk occasionally splashed onto her arms and face.
Within days, the 32-year-old single mother was coughing up blood and suffering constant headaches. She lost her voice. “My throat felt like I’d swallowed razor blades,” she says.
Then things got much worse.
Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. After cooking professionally for 10 years, she couldn’t remember the recipe for vegetable soup; one morning, she got in the car to go to work, only to discover she hadn’t put on pants. The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”
“These are the same symptoms experienced by soldiers who returned from the Persian Gulf War with Gulf War syndrome,” says Dr. Michael Robichaux, a Louisiana physician and former state senator, who treated Griffin and 113 other patients with similar complaints. As a general practitioner, Robichaux says he had “never seen this grouping of symptoms together: skin problems, neurological impairments, plus pulmonary problems.” Only months later, after Kaye H. Kilburn, a former professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and one of the nation’s leading environmental health experts, came to Louisiana and tested 14 of Robichaux’s patients did the two physicians make the connection with Gulf War syndrome, the malady that afflicted an estimated 250,000 veterans of that war with a mysterious combination of fatigue, skin inflammation, and cognitive problems.
If $51 billion in *profits* is true, they should dramatically lower that interest rate.
Figures made public Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office show that the nonpartisan agency increased its 2013 fiscal year profit forecast for the Department of Education by 43 percent to $50.6 billion from its February estimate of $35.5 billion.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation's most profitable company, reported $44.9 billion in net income last year. Apple Inc. recorded a $41.7 billion profit in its 2012 fiscal year, which ended in September, while Chevron Corp. reported $26.2 billion in earnings last year. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported a combined $51.9 billion in profit last year.
The estimated increase in the Education Department's earnings from student borrowers and their families may cause a political firestorm in Washington, where members of Congress and Obama administration officials thus far have appeared content to allow students to line government coffers.
The Education Department has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers over the last five fiscal years, budget documents show, thanks to record relative interest rates on loans as well as the agency's aggressive efforts to collect defaulted debt. Representatives of the Education Department and Congressional Budget Office could not be reached for comment after normal business hours.
The new profit prediction comes as Washington policymakers increasingly focus on soaring student debt levels and the record relative interest rates that borrowers pay as a potential impediment to economic growth. Regulators and officials at agencies that include the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Reserve Bank of New York have all warned that student borrowing may dampen consumption, depress the economy, limit credit creation or pose a threat to financial stability.
At $1.1 trillion, student debt eclipses all other forms of household debt, except for home mortgages. It's also the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis, according to the New York Fed. Officials in Washington are worried that overly indebted student borrowers are unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement.
It was the IRS' job to make sure every organization claiming tax exempt status was actually qualified for it. They went about this--at times--in a clumsy way, but they did not solely focus on conservatives, no matter what Fox says.
The maelstrom over the revelation that the IRS targeted anti-tax Tea Party groups applying for tax exempt status for scrutiny is showing no signs of slowing down, with Republicans seeing their chance to milk a scandal for political purposes. But while the politics is heating up, some important context is emerging, like the fact that liberal groups were targeted as well, and in fact the only group to have its application denied was a liberal group.
One of those groups, Emerge America, saw its tax-exempt status denied, forcing it to disclose its donors and pay some taxes. None of the Republican groups have said their applications were rejected.
Progress Texas, another of the organizations, faced the same lines of questioning as the Tea Party groups from the same IRS office that issued letters to the Republican-friendly applicants. A third group, Clean Elections Texas, which supports public funding of campaigns, also received IRS inquiries.
The IRS released a statement late Tuesday admitting that it had pooled together the applications of groups that were politically active, and incorrectly used the names of some of the groups—a "minority" of them—as the basis for targeting them. Which, David Cay Johnston at the Columbia Journalism Review reminds readers is the IRS's job.
Because of an error with regards to the jury instructions, the case was tossed out. It *could* be brought to trial however.
A judge has dismissed manslaughter charges against a New York City police officer who shot dead an unarmed teenage boy in his bathroom.
Bronx supreme court justice Steven L Barrett said the Bronx district attorney's office failed to properly instruct members of a grand jury in considering allegations against officer Richard Haste for his role in the death in 2012 of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.
"With no great pleasure, I am obliged in this case to dismiss the charges," Barrett said in an emotional hearing Wednesday morning, according to the news website DNAInfo. He made it clear that the dismissal was because of a failure to follow procedure, not because of the evidence. "This is not a case where there is insufficient evidence," the judge said.
The charges against Haste were the first of a NYPD officer relating to a fatal shooting on duty since 2007. Then, three detectives were charged over the death of a man shot after he left a strip club on the eve of his wedding. The three were later found not guilty.
Graham's mother, Constance Malcolm, cried out before leaving the courtroom in tears on Wednesday: "He killed my child. What more can you do to me?"
Haste shot and killed Graham in his apartment bathroom on 2 February 2012 while his six year-old brother and 58 year-old grandmother looked on. His attorney, Stuart London, has maintained that because of radio calls that preceded the shooting, his client was under the impression that Graham was armed and only fired after repeatedly ordering the teen to show his hands.
While the idea of paying $8 a month for unlimited music is fun, the niggling questions over how the artists whose work is being exploited get paid really bother me.
Called All Access, the service is already up-and-running on the Google Play site, offering two tiers of service — a free “standard” tier that basically allows users to upload their own music (up to 20,000 songs) for listening online and on Android devices, and a the premium All Access tier that starts with a 30-day free trial then goes up to either $7.99 (for people who sign up before June 30, 2013) or $9.99 for those who join on July 1 or after.
Like a number of existing services, the All Access package gives users the ability to listen to a catalog of songs on-demand, create “radio stations” based on songs they like.
It’s all still rather new to judge. The success of All Access will likely center on the quality of its catalog and whether or not users think they are getting their money’s worth — and whether it’s worth jumping ship from any competing streaming service they might be listening to now.
Kevin Sayre, 26, was "showing how parts of one gun were interchangeable with the other one" in the presence of the child. Police said Sayre was acting recklessly. He was charged with aggravated assault.
The child was listed in critical condition Tuesday, according to the Tennessean.
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