Archive for the ‘News’ Category

I haven’t read anything before about it, because quite frankly one does get tired of reading about sexual abuse and the Catholic Church. But this article is well worth a read as it describes just how fucked up the church is, and the existing pope.

And when you think about the Church’s ridiculous obsession with homosexuality and abortion, articles like these just make you scratch your head.

I have a hard time respecting any of the benefits such a church could possibly have when I read something like this.

The priest at the center of a German sexual-abuse scandal that has embroiled Pope Benedict XVI continued working with children for more than 30 years, even though a German court convicted him of molesting boys.

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Quote for the day

I can’t even grasp how wrong it is that a man who murders and feels no remorse for it can say without hesitation:

“It isn’t our duty to take life, it’s our heavenly father’s.”

Complete self-delusion.

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The Guy Has Got Class

Wish I could be as optimistic.

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Reading the New York Times article about a woman who was paralyzed by ecoli, I was struck by the following passage:

The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

How can something labeled Angus beef be a mix of trimmings? Jake wondered if “Angus” had become a fake word that didn’t mean anything similar to the word “natural.” So I asked the Explainer and surprisingly they answered. Here is the link to What is Angus Beef?

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Bye bye gourmet

I am very saddened to hear that Conde Nast is getting rid of Gourmet magazine. I have so many favorite recipes from Gourmet. Some of my favorites include tarte tatin, chicken liver mousse and fondue. I used to get both Bon Appetit and Gourmet.

While the recipes in Bon Appetit were always nice, the writing in Gourmet was always superior. I remember a great article on eating marrow, or the one about eating a sheep’s head. They described eating things I would never eat in such an entertaining way that I felt like I was able to experience the sensation without actually experiencing it.

This is very sad news. The following excerpt really says it all:

Not only did Bon Appetit have more readers, according to recent statistics from the magazines’ media kits, Gourmet had circulation of 950,000 copies while Bon Appetit had 1.3 million readers. Additionally, Gourmet had a reputation of being a very expensive magazine to run, featuring long articles by well-known writers while Bon Appetit was focused on much more economical, recipe-driven content.

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My favorite Roman Polanski films

For someone with a long and prolific career, Polanski has certainly pulled off the difficult feat of consistently creating great movies in many genres. While I have my favorites I can’t think of any Polanski film I didn’t like. My favorite is an easy pick and requires no thought on my part: Tess. It’s a fantastic adaptation of the novel with probably the best casting of any novel put to screen. Alec, Angel, Tess, and the Derbyfields seem to walk straight off the pages of the novel. The photography can’t be beat.

Second favorite is a little more difficult. I have to say that I loved Bitter Moon. What an odd little movie. Usually when directors cast their wives in the lead role it’s a bad thing, but Emmanuelle Seigner is always fantastic. I loved Peter Coyote’s performance. I love how he’s a writer and how he’s not a very good one. The film has a lot of very strange surprises including one that had me rolling on the floor.

Chinatown is a favorite. I enjoyed watching Knife in the Water. Probably my least favorite would be Death and the Maiden. I wasn’t too taken with Sigourney Weaver’s performance although the film is very good. What is your favorite Polanski movie?

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I’m still reeling over the New York Times article that says don’t bother exercising because nothing will make you lose weight. This article makes me feel a bit better.

That’s the word from Danish researchers who studied more than 2,800 middle-aged people for up to a dozen years, only to find that those with the slimmest thighs had the highest chance of heart disease and premature death.

“There was up to a double risk for the people with the smallest thighs,” said Dr. Berit L. Heitmann, a director of research at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. “It’s quite substantial.”

People whose thighs measured less than 60 centimeters, or about 23.6 inches in circumference, were in trouble. And those with stick-thin gams (less than 18 inches around) were at the greatest risk, according to new study in the online version of the British Medical Journal.

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Some lefties (BTW, I’m a proud lefty) are boycotting Whole Foods because of the politics of the CEO. I have long felt that John Mackey is certainly a bit nutty. You need just check out this article from 2007 here. But is that enough reason to boycott the store?

I don’t shop at Whole Foods because quite frankly I think they have substandard overpriced products. I think where they excel is produce, but just about everything else you buy in the store isn’t any better considering the ridiculous price. I bought charcoal there that was terrible. And graham crackers that were so bad I threw away the box. Sure the fruit is good, but does that mean I want to spend $3 on an orange?

Probably the main reason I don’t shop there is that I live in a city with fabulous alternatives. I’ll take the Town & Country markets any day over Whole Foods. It’s local and great. The produce is fabulous and they stock everything I need including Asian products. I especially like the bulk foods section and even the bulk seafood section.

A couple years ago, Hsiao Ching Cho wrote this at the PI:

Last week in my column, I shared my experience of discovering the apple pie I had bought from Whole Foods was moldy. I suspected I would hear from the company — and I did. But, imagine my surprise to hear from a reader in Oakland, Calif., and one in Bellevue who also had purchased moldy pies from their local Whole Foods locations.

This meant that my bad-pie experience was not exclusive to the Roosevelt store and it was potentially systemwide. I forwarded the reader e-mails to Jolyn Warford Bibb, who is the regional marketing coordinator at Whole Foods in Emeryville, Calif. Her return e-mail stated: “Thanks for the feedback. … I hate to read it, but at the same time it is good for us to see. We are committed to correcting this terrible problem.”

The week after her column appeared, several readers wrote in to say they too had been disappointed by Whole Foods’ substandard food.

So I don’t need to boycott Whole Foods because I don’t shop there anyway, but I am a reasonably political person and I do like to patronize places that have the same core values that I have. Sometimes that’s not possible, but if it is I’m happy to support places that share my beliefs.

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Remember the Maine

Remember how two newspapers spurred the country to war by reporting wild speculation just so they could sell some papers. I wish I could say we have progressed as a nation since then.

The explosion of the American battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, ensured that the U.S. would not be content to watch the Cuban spectacle from the bleacher seats any more. Two hundred and sixty crew members died in the blast, and a Navy board of inquiry examined the cause of the explosion. Many New York newspapers, including the Times, Tribune, Herald and Evening Post, counseled patience and peace for the time being. However, both the World and the Journal jumped on the jingo bandwagon, concurrently publishing a “suppressed cable” that said the explosion was not an accident. 26 The cable was later discovered to have been manufactured. 27

The effect of the rabble rousing by the two largest newspapers in New York cannot be underestimated. The World claimed to have sold five million copies the week after the Maine disaster. 28 The public clamor for President McKinley to declare war was enormous as a result of the tainted reports in the papers. And though the Spanish-American War proved “splendid” from a military standpoint, it did not hold up to contemporary moral scrutiny.

Unfortunately, the World would be linked forever in history with Hearst’s Journal under the banner of “yellow journalism” for the role it played in exacerbating the conflict. However, the conscious disregard for the facts was an aberration for Pulitzer, and his later correspondence revealed that the episode haunted him for the rest of his life. (See appendix for Hearst photo and example of sensational World front page.)

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I love the Russians

Such a passionate people. It’s like reading Dostoevsky.

The Louvre Museum says a Russian visitor hurled an empty terra cotta mug at the Mona Lisa.

A museum spokesman says the canvas of the Da Vinci masterpiece was undamaged in the attack last week, though the mug shattered.

He said Tuesday small cracks appeared in the glass protecting the museum’s most popular possession, but they will soon be fixed.

The painting’s security alarms went off immediately and police whisked the woman away, while viewing of the painting continued as usual. The spokesman is not authorized to be named according to museum policy.

Paris police said the woman was taken to a psychiatric ward after the incident, but wouldn’t say any more about who she is or why she targeted the painting.

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Headline of the day

From The Onion.

It’s kind of mean but you can’t say that Armstrong wasn’t asking for it when he declared he was returning to racing to “raise awareness for cancer.”

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Amazon is being sued for deleting e-books from their customer’s Kindles when Amazon found out the e-books were pirated copies.

The lawsuit said Amazon never disclosed to customers that it “possessed the technological ability or right to remotely delete digital content purchased through the Kindle Store.”

No shit. I didn’t know that about the Kindle either. The book? You’ll never believe. Orwell’s 1984. Check out the story.

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I thought this piece from Matt Yglesias was interesting regarding reforms other than the public option.

The most important part of the bills that actually exist—the part that will impact the lives of most Americans—are the new regulations on insurers.

The administration is proposing:

— A ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

— Caps on out-of-pocket spending.

— No cost-sharing for preventive care.

— No “rescission” of coverage for people who get seriously ill.

— No gender discrimination.

— No caps on coverage, either lifetime or annual.

— Extension of family coverage for kids up to the age of 26.

— Guaranteed insurance renewal.

The fact that liberals like to talk about the uninsured and Peter Orszag likes to talk about bending the curve and I, personally, like writing about tax policy and don’t like seeing doctors has tended to obscure this whole set of issues. But your typical middle-aged, middle-class voter is going to be impacted dramatically by this stuff and fairly little by all the rest of it. This is also, in political terms, the stuff that polls really well. The “goodies.”

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, since the bulleted points above are just proposals and not reality, but Yglesias raises a good point. The above reforms would certainly mean a lot to people like me — people who already have insurance.

What’s amazing is that we didn’t create these regulations decades ago. I mean isn’t it pretty straightforward? Think about it. Each state has an insurance commissioner whose sole job is to make sure that people don’t get screwed over by insurance companies, and yet not one state has these types of regulations.

A few years back there was a noted story in Seattle about a man who tried to crash his vehicle into his girlfriend’s vehicle while driving ultra-fast on the highway. In making this attempt, the man veered into another car and a woman in that care was seriously injured. Her car insurance company, Farmers Insurance as it happens, refused to pay for her hospitable bills because they posited that the accident was intentional. The man meant to hit her car. Well in truth, the man meant to hit his girlfriend’s car and he didn’t care a lick about this other woman. The state insurance commissioner told Farmers Insurance that if they didn’t pay the innocent bystander’s hospital bills, FI would no longer be allowed to sell car insurance in Washington state. FI reversed their original position.

So why haven’t insurance commissioners played hardball with the health insurance companies? I really don’t know the distinction here and I don’t know a lot about this topic, but from a consumer standpoint it really confuses me.

If the Dems can get these new regulations through, I think it will be an important victory. I just can’t believe it’s taken this long to get here.

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Need more traffic on your blog? You might consider creating a post with the very same title as this one. How do I know this? Danny Westneat in 2007 wrote this editorial:

As I look back at the year in news, it’s clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses.

That’s the conclusion I reach after reviewing a new list of the year’s top local news stories. Only this list is not the usual tedious recounting by news editors or pundits who profess to speak for you readers. This is the people’s-choice list.

It’s not a survey of what news you say you read.

It’s what you actually read.

By tallying clicks on our Web site, we now chart the most read stories in the online edition of The Seattle Times. Software then sorts the tens of thousands of stories for 2005 and ranks them. Not by importance, impact or poetic lyricism, but by which stories compelled the most people to put finger to mouse, click, open and, presumably, read.

Which brings me back to sex with horses. The story last summer about the man who died from a perforated colon while having sex with a horse in Enumclaw was by far the year’s most read article.

What’s more, four more of the year’s 20 most clicked-upon local news stories were about the same horse-sex incident. We don’t publish our Web-traffic numbers, but take it from me — the total readership on these stories was huge.

If you really want to know about the South Carolina man who had sex with a horse, you can check out the esteemed HuffingtonPost for all your titiliating bits of news for the day.

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With the news that FINA has banned bodysuits in competitive swimming…

FINA, the international governing body of swimming, voted today to ban the controversial high-tech, non-textile swimsuits. Not only have the suits been responsible for a rash of world records but there has been a Wild West atmosphere among apparel manufacturers and swimmers, all trying to gain a competitive edge.

…I’d like to argue that the only surefire way to make certain that the athletes are all competing at the same level is to require them to swim in the nude. Sure, the athletes would go to town with the body hair removal but at least they would all have equal access to waxing parlors. These high-tech swimsuits are just too expensive for every athlete. And hey, it could get a boost from the Beach Volleyball fans.

1. Full body suit.

2. Rick Berens swimsuit malfunction. Notice the split in the butt. Apparently those suckers are hard to get on.

3. Your Beach Volleyball photos of the day. Photo via BSR-12’s photostream.

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When they arrest a radio host for asking an officer “are you in line” at a local hamburger stand.

When they beat up a 70 year old woman for not watering her lawn.

When a police chief  murders his wife in front of their kids.

When they sodomize a man with a toilet plunger causing a puncture in the man’s small intestine and bladder.

When they push a cyclist off of his bike in New York city for no reason.

When they beat up a female bartender when she refuses to serve him more alcohol.

I could go on, but you get the point.

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Balloon-Juice linked to this article from The New Republic regarding the arrest of Henry Louis Gates and I think it’s a good one.

Gates is Right–and We’re Not Post-Racial Until He’s Wrong

There is nothing glib to say, in any responsible sense, about Henry Louis Gates’ arrest last week, which is this week’s big race story. Its value is as an object lesson in why, with a black President, there remains a contingent convinced that America is still all about racism.

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The first female gondolier in Venice.

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My precious raisin

With the sad news of Frank McCourt’s death, I thought I’d post one of my favorite passages from Angela’s Ashes. The young children in a Irish school find a raisin in their food.

I think Paddy likes me because of the raisin and I feel a bit guilty because I wasn’t that generous in the first place. The master, Mr. Benson, said the government was going to give us the free lunch so we wouldn’t have to be going home in the freezing weather. He led us down to a cold room in the dungeons of Leamy’s School where the charwoman, Nellie Ahearn, was handing out the half pint of milk and the raisin bun. The milk was frozen in the bottles and we had to melt it between our thighs. The boys joked and said the bottles would freeze our things off and the master roared, Any more of that talk and I’ll warm the bottles on the backs of yeer heads. We all searched our raisin buns for a raisin but Nellie said they must have forgotten to put them in and she’d inquire from the man who delivered. We searched again every day till at last I found a raisin in my bun and held it up. The boys started grousing and said they wanted a raisin and Nellie said it wasn’t her fault. She’d ask the man again. Now the boys were begging me for the raisin and offering me everything, a slug of their milk, a pencil, a comic book. Toby Mackey said I could have his sister and Mr. Benson heard him and took him out the the hallway and knocked him around until he howled. I wanted the raisin for myself but I saw Paddy Clohessy standing in the corner with no shoes and the room was freezing and he was shivering like a dog that had been kicked and I always felt sad over kicked dogs so I walked over and gave Paddy the raisin because I didn’t know what else to do and all the boys yelled that I was a fool and a feckin’ eejit and I’d regret the day and after I handed the raisin to Paddy I longed for it but it was too late now because he pushed it right into his mouth and gulped it and looked at me and said nothing and I said in my head what kind of an eejit are you to be giving away your raisin.

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Here’s a bold article written by Arthur Caplan about the inequalities of health care in the United States. He uses Steve Jobs’ liver transplant to highlight the inequalities and to discuss the pressing problems driving health care reform.

Jobs did not have problem with the first hurdle. He has plenty of doctors watching him. They found his initial pancreas problem and his subsequent liver problem. Millions of Americans are not so fortunate. They can’t afford a primary care doctor. Some Americans show up at emergency rooms so sick due to failing hearts, livers, lungs and kidneys that they could not possibly survive a transplant. Others simply die without any doctor diagnosing what is going on with their organs. These unlucky patients are rationed out of their chance to get a transplant without even knowing it.

Read the whole thing here.

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DailyKos has the story of a Ahmadinejad rally photograph being photoshopped to increase the crowd size.

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A picture is worth a thousand words.


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Today we hear another case of random yet targeted violence in the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. Random, because the perpetrator didn’t know the museum security guard who he killed. But targeted, because the perpetrator, a white supremacist, chose to kill someone at a museum which documents the genocide of millions of Jews during World War II.

And once again I am reminded of the poem “The Hangman” by Maurice Ogden. In the poem the hangman comes to town and at first he hangs a man from outside the town. The town breathes a sigh of relief. But the next day the hangman hangs someone from the town. Then another and another. Sometimes the hangman comes up with justifications like calling one of his victims an infidel. At the end there is no one left to save the narrator of the poem when he too is chosen by the hangman for death.

Should you worry about these crazy right-wing radicals who if not directly responsible for the violence are at least lending moral and financial support to the ones who are. If Operation Rescue were a Muslim charity, their accounts would have been seized a while ago.

Should you worry?

I’m not an abortion provider you might say. I’m not a Jew. I’m not gay. I’m not a black man running for president of the United States. I’m not a Latina woman nominated for the Supreme Court. I don’t need to worry.

Well you should.

Who was killed? A security guard who was just doing his job. Think of Naveed Haq who permanently wounded a 23-year old receptionist at the Jewish Federation in Seattle. Layla Bush was not Jewish. She too just needed a job. John Lotter and Marvin Thomas Nissen, in order to enact revenge on transsexual Brandon Teena, also killed 24-year-old Lisa Lambert and 19-year-old Phillip DeVine. Gay city supervisor Harvey Milk was shot along with mayor George Moscone.

You should care. You should really care.


By Maurice Ogden

Into our town the hangman came,
smelling of gold and blood and flame.
He paced our bricks with a different air,
and built his frame on the courthouse square.


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When evangelicals on the right call President Obama a socialist, a racist, anti-American, an abortionist, not a real American, and, echoing the former Vice President, someone who is weakening America’s defenses and making us less safe, the logical conclusion is violence. If you take these words literally you might pull the trigger to “make America safe” and/or free us from communism or to even protect us from — what some “Christian” leaders claim — Obama as the Antichrist. – Frank Schaeffer

I first heard of Frank Schaeffer listening to Fresh Air where he was promoting his book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All — or Almost All — of It Back. He had a hilarious moment in the interview where he described that his whole family was close to the Bush’s. When George W., then governor of Texas, announced his intention run for President, Schaeffer’s mother called him frantically. She said I that she just couldn’t believe the news. She said, “Barbara is always calling me up and saying pray for George, nothing really ever works out for him”.

The top quote is from a piece called “How I (and Other “Pro-Life” Leaders) Contributed to Dr. Tiller’s Murder.” I am pretty much speechless about this act of terrorism on Dr. Tiller. Maybe I can form words later.

Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All — or Almost All — of It Back

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Here are some of the main points in this must-read article about the future of the Russian Space program. They truly sound light years ahead of the rest of the world.

  1. De-dock the Russian portion of the International Space Station and use that piece as the cornerstone of a new Russian space station as the ISS’s lifespan goes no further than 2020.
  2. Build the components of the new station with the understanding that each component has a lifespan and can and should be replaced. However, this does not mean the entire station should be destroyed. Rather, the parts should be constantly renewed.
  3. Without the Russian portion of ISS, there is nothing physical keeping  the ISS in space. Uh oh, that could get ugly.

And the rest sounds like pure science fiction. And very exciting. I highly recommend reading the article. Via the BBC.

With the first launch of the new Russian spacecraft optimistically set for 2018, it would probably reach the launch pad by the time Nasa ends its support for the ISS.

Unlike the ISS, which was advertised primarily as a platform for scientific research, Russia’s future space station, dubbed the Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex (OPSEK), would have the main goal of supporting deep space exploration.

Behind the scenes, Russian engineers have drawn up ambitious plans for orbital stations around the Earth and the Moon, and eventually in the orbit of Mars. These would be linked by re-usable tugs, shuttling between them continuously to support the sustained exploration of the Solar System.

After separation from rest of the ISS, the station’s 20-tonne service module could eventually be replaced by a 40-tonne living quarters launched by a new family of rockets.

In turn, this module could ultimately serve as a construction site and a base for the Martian expedition complex, which could be assembled in Earth orbit in the mid-2030s to carry the first humans to the Red Planet.

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