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Proposition 8: Marriage Equality

Today was the opening salvo in the arguments to overturn Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that denied legal marriage to same sex couples. You can follow the live blogging of the trial at FDL: The Seminal and Firedoglake Covers the Prop 8 Trial

The Courage Campaign is also following with Prop8 Trial Tracker

H/T to Robyn for the link

Sharp Words Open California Same-Sex Marriage Case

SAN FRANCISCO – In the opening volleys in the federal trial over the fate of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, lawyers for both sides were sharply questioned by the judge overseeing the trial, in a case that is being closely watched by gay-rights groups and supporters of traditional marriage nationwide.


Judge Walker set a questioning tone early, repeatedly interrupting an opening statement by Theodore B. Olson, a lead counsel for the plaintiffs – two gay couples who filed their suit in the spring after the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8. The judge asked Mr. Olson why domestic partnerships, which are allowed in California, were not sufficient for gay couples and wondered what kind of evidence would be introduced to show harm to same-sex couples who are not allowed to marry.

Mr. Olson, a prominent conservative litigator whose co-counsel is David Boies, his foe from the 2000 battle over the presidential election, countered that marriage “was a building block of family, neighborhoods and community” in America, and that to deny gays that right was to effectively make them second-class citizens. Proposition 8, he said, “isolated gay men and lesbian individuals and said, ‘You’re different.’ ”


Advocates for Proposition 8, who assert that Californians were well within their rights to establish a definition of marriage, were also pointedly queried by Judge Walker.

Charles J. Cooper, the lead counsel for the defense, opened his case by arguing that limitation of marriage to men and women was a tradition “across history, across cultures and across societies” meant to “channel natural procreative activities between men and women” into stable relationships.

But Judge Walker interrupted Mr. Cooper to ask about other marital benefits like companionship and support, and he noted that there were no restrictions on marriage for heterosexual couples who could not or did not want to have children. The judge also questioned the assertion by Mr. Cooper that same-sex marriage would “radically alter” traditional marriage and could decrease marriage rates for heterosexuals.

Geithner: Criminal or Just Incompetent ?

It has been announced that House Oversight Committee Will Hold Hearing On Geithner/NY Fed/AIG Scandal

Ed Towns, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, just announced that he would hold hearings into the emails that show how the New York Federal Reserve delayed disclosure of AIG counter-party payments, hiding public information from federal regulators. The statement is below.

Towns wants to hold the hearing the week of January 18, and has invited Treasury Secretary Geithner to testify.

The question is did Geithner’s New York Fed Ordered AIG to Violate Securities Law in 2008

Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism commented on a report from Bloomberg News that just about made my eyes pop out of my head. Evidently, Darrell Issa got his hands on some 2008 emails between AIG and Tim Geithner’s New York Federal Reserve, wherein the NY Fed orders AIG to make material misstatements on SEC filings:

Bloomberg reports:

   The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then led by Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public about the bailed-out insurer’s payments to banks during the depths of the financial crisis, e-mails between the company and its regulator show.


   AIG’s Dec. 24, 2008, filing was challenged privately by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which polices the adequacy of disclosures by publicly traded firms. The agency said in a letter to then-CEO Edward Liddy six days later that AIG should provide a Schedule A, which lists collateral postings for the swaps and names the bank counterparties that purchased them from the company. The Schedule A was disclosed about five months later in a filing.

Blood Sucking for Billions

How low can you go to make billions? By quite literally bleeding the poor and selling their blood to the people who need it to stay alive. Sound like a plot from HBO’s “True Blood”? No. It is the business practice of Cerberus Capital, a Wall St. hedge fund firm. Cerberus recently made $1.8 billion on a mere $82.5 million investment four years ago when they bought a company called Talecris.

Cerberus Capital: Literally Blood-Sucking the Poor to Make Their Billions

Cerberus Capital, one of Wall Street’s most notoriously ruthless leveraged-buyout firms (or “private equity firms” in PC-speak), recently made a $1.8 billion killing on its human plasma investment, a company called Talecris. Talecris was purchased for a mere $82.5 million just four years earlier, meaning Cerberus made 23 times its investment on human plasma.

This was accomplished by the most savage, heartless means possible: by paying peanuts to impoverished human plasma donors, who increasingly come from Mexican border towns to blood-pumping stations set up on the American side, jacking up the price of plasma by restricting supply (a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission accused Cerberus Plasma Holdings of “operat[ing] as an oligopoly”), and then selling the refined products to the most desperately ill-patients suffering from hemophilia, severe burns, multiple sclerosis and autoimmune deficiencies. The products cost so much-one, IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) cost twice the price of gold as of last summer-that American health insurance companies have been dropping or denying their policyholders in increasing numbers, endangering untold numbers of people.

(emphasis mine)

Cerberus is the same hedge fund that drove auto makers Chrysler and GMAC into the ground. It’s Republican “players” are former Treasury  Secretary, John Snow, Chairman, former V.P. Dan “potatoe” Quayle, International Chairman, and Founder of Cerberus, billionaire Stephen Feinberg, “a major Republican Party campaign donor with a hardcore fetish for Harleys and big guns”.


Blood Suckers

H/T to Hecate

This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.

A spoon, a spoon, what’s the difference? It’s a spoon. Well, in medicine, as in baking, it’s a big difference. The teaspoon and tablespoon that came with that dinner set aren’t accurate measures. When a prescription says a teaspoon, it means 5 ml, a tablespoon is 15 ml, not more not less. The reason is that too much or too little is bad for you and can be dangerous. Most over the counter cough and cold remedies come with a measured cap as a cup. If you get prescribe liquid medication, ask the pharmacist for a measured cup or spoon so you get the correct amount of medication. This especially important with children, as the article from the NYT notes, most over doses are medication errors. So just as in baking where you use a measuring spoon so the cake rises as it bakes, use a measured spoon or cup to take liquid medication.

Spooning Up the Wrong Dose

Many people still use kitchen spoons to measure a dose of liquid medication. Now new research shows that the size of the spoon influences our ability to estimate the right dose – and most of the time, we get it wrong.

A 1992 study of dosing errors reported to poison control centers found that failing to distinguish between teaspoons and tablespoons was a major cause for overdosing of cough and cold medicines and liquid acetaminophen. Although too much cough medicine is typically not a major health worry, many liquid medications contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Acetaminophen overdose is a major health concern and can lead to serious illness, liver failure and even death. And while small dosing errors may not seem like a major concern, excessive doses can add up and make it relatively easy to exceed the recommended daily limit, now four grams.

Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab have conducted several studies showing how large plate size, oversize ice-cream bowls and wide-rimmed drinking glasses can lead to overindulgence of foods and beverages. Given that so many parents use kitchen spoons to dispense liquid medication, the researchers decided to study how the size of a spoon influenced the amount of medication poured.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.

This an Open Thread

VP Biden’s Mother, Jean, Has Died

Vice President Biden’s Mother, Jean, Dies at 92

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Jean Biden, who raised her son Vice President Joe Biden to believe in what he called ”America’s creed … everyone is your equal,” died Friday after falling seriously ill in recent days. She was 92.

In a statement, the vice president said she died in Wilmington surrounded by her family and loved ones. She had suffered a broken hip in a fall in March 2009.

”Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor,” he said in the statement. ”Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.”

Joe Biden Jr. was first elected to the Senate in 1972, shortly before his 30th birthday. His mother helped out by organizing coffee klatches — part of a family effort that also included Biden’s father, sister and brothers.

Blessed Be. May the Goddess guide her on her journey to the Summerlands. May her family and friends find Peace.

Blessed be

America’s Mayor Gets Amnesia (Up Dated)

Mr. 9/11 Gets Amnesia: ‘We Had No Domestic Attacks Under Bush; We’ve Had One Under Obama’ (VIDEO)

Prop 8 Fight

 The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the leading the effort by Ted Olson and David Boies, who are the lead attorneys in the case to invalidate Prop. 8’s gay marriage ban, now has a website up.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights for every American.

Through its groundbreaking federal court case against California’s Proposition 8, The Foundation is leading the fight for marriage equality and equality under the law for every American.

The Housing Crisis: Round Two (Up Dated)

The housing bubble and mortgage crisis is far from ending. The mess that has been left by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department refusal to regulate the banking policy is now hitting homeowners wit good credit

Housing Animal Spirits to Be Banished by Prime Foreclosures


Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) — Homeowners with the best credit are the next big risk for the U.S. housing market.

An increase in mortgage defaults among prime borrowers in 2009 is likely to accelerate this year, slowing the real estate recovery even as Americans become more optimistic about the economy, said Robert Shiller and Karl Case, the economists who created the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

“There will be continuing foreclosures, and not just subprime, it will be prime mortgages,” Shiller, a professor at Yale University, said in an interview. “This is creating a huge shadow inventory of homes that are still owned, but they’re going to be on the market in the next year or so.”

The number of prime mortgages overdue by at least 60 days more than doubled in the third quarter from a year earlier to 838,000, according to a Dec. 21 report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. Unemployed homeowners struggling to pay their bills will default on their home loans and increase foreclosures, Shiller and Wellesley College’s Case said.

Employers have cut more than 7.2 million jobs in the last two years, the biggest employment loss since the Great Depression. Measured annually, the U.S. jobless rate probably will average 10 percent in 2010, according to the median estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. That would be the highest rate in government records dating to 1948, after rising to a 26-year high of 9.3 percent last year.

Why is the Right Paranoid about Interpol?


Content Contains Right Wing Conspiracy Theory

Appropriate Protective Gear Required

Recently, Interpol, an international police organization, was granted certain extended rights here in the United States with regard to privileges and immunities. These immunities were granted under Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1983. At that time Interpol did not have an office here in the US and was only granted immunity from lawsuits and prosecutions for official acts so they could hold their annual meetings in this country.

Times they have changed. In 2004, Interpol opened a liaison office at the UN in NYC. Hmm you say, so what’s the problem? Well. Mr. Reagan’s order did not include certain privileges that would be needed if Interpol had a physical office on US soil, like immunity from certain tax requirements and from having its property or records subject to search and seizure. Now, this was supposed to have been addressed by the Bush administration but like so many other things it was left for Pres. Obama. These are the same immunities granted to other International organizations like the International Red Cross.

Late Night Noshing

Nosh on this


This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.

‘Tis the season for colds and the flu. Everyone needs to take caution in how they treat themselves with over the counter medications (OTC). Some of them are expensive and it is not well studied whether any of them really work all that well. Remember there is no cure for the common cold or even the flu, just medications to reduce the symptoms of fever, cough and congestion. If you have any existing medical problems, such as Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, any kind of Heart problems or are taking prescription medication, consult your doctor or ask the Pharmacist before taking any OTC medication.

Catching a cold or the flu may be unavoidable. You can reduce your chances by washing your hands more frequently and using a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of great than 60%. If you do get sick, stay home if you have a fever (hopefully, you can) and cover you coughs and sneezes.

This weeks NYT has a good article on Money Tips for When the Sniffles Start that also has tips about staying well during the flu season.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.

At Least the Iraqi’s are Outraged

It seems that the people of Iraq are angered at the dismissal of all charges against the Blackwater security guards in a case that left 17 dead.


An Iraqi looks at a burned car in the days after the 2007 killing of 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. The dismissal of charges could fuel a fresh outcry. (Ali Yussef / AFP/Getty Images / September 24, 2007)

Now x-posted at WWL

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