Wednesday, March 31, 2010

American Oil Drilling, Besieged Pope, Studying Laughter, Birds DNA Give Clues to Our Speech - News Headlines 31 Mar 2010

1963 Letter Suggests Pope Knew of Abuse: (CBS) Head of Order that Oversaw Treatment of Pedophile Priests Recommended Removing them from Active Ministry. The head of a Roman Catholic order that specialized in the treatment of pedophile priests visited with the then-pope nearly 50 years ago and followed up with a letter recommending the removal of pedophile priests from ministry, according to a copy of the letter released Wednesday.

In the Aug. 27, 1963 letter, the head of the New Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paraclete tells the pope he recommends removing pedophile priests from active ministry and strongly urges defrocking repeat offenders.

The letter, written by the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald, appears to have been drafted at the request of the pope and summarizes Fitzgerald's thoughts on problem priests after his Vatican visit.

A message left with the Paraclete order at one of their two existing facilities in Missouri was not returned. A number for the second facility was disconnected.

Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, defended the church and said it was unlikely Paul VI ever saw the letter.

"The fact of the matter is, the prevailing ideas at the time about how to deal with abusive behavior were not adequate," Tamberg said. "Clearly, society and the church have evolved new understandings of what causes sexually abusive behavior and how to deal with it."

Fitzgerald opens the five-page letter by thanking the pope for an audience the day before and says he is summarizing his thoughts at the pope's request on the "problem of the problem priest" after 20 years working in to treat them.

He tells Paul VI that treatment for priests who have succumbed to "abnormal, homosexual tendencies" should include psychiatric, as well as spiritual, counseling - but goes on to warn about the dangers of leaving those individuals in ministry.

"Personally, I am not sanguine of the return of priests to active duty who have been addicted to abnormal practices, especially sins with the young," Fitzgerald wrote.

"Where there is indication of incorrigibility, because of the tremendous scandal given, I would most earnestly recommend total laicization," he wrote. "I say 'total' ... because when these men are taken before civil authority, the non-Catholic world definitely blames the discipline of celibacy for the perversion of these men."

The letter proves that Vatican officials knew about clergy abuse decades ago and should have done more to protect children, said Tony DeMarco, an attorney for clergy abuse victims in Los Angeles....

Obama Sees Value in "Drill, Baby, Drill": (CBS) It may be hard to remember now, but one of the defining disputes of the 2008 presidential campaign -- at least until the economy collapsed -- was offshore drilling.

Republicans, looking to capitalize on Americans' concerns about high gas prices (as well, perhaps, as lingering resentments in their base toward the environmental movement) turned "drill, baby, drill" into a mantra that was lustily chanted by delegates at the party's national convention.

Today, President Obama essentially answered that call with: "You got it."

While his decision to open up the southern Atlantic coastline and some other areas to offshore drilling may not have entirely appeased Republicans -- House Republican Leader John Boehner complained that it did not go far enough -- it nonetheless played like a repudiation of some of the beliefs of some of the most passionate members of his base...

The president acknowledged such criticism in his comments today, saying that "there will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling." But he insisted that new drilling was a legitimate part of a comprehensive strategy to shift toward a clean energy economy.

In a press briefing following Mr. Obama's statements, White House spokesman Bill Burton made a similar argument, insisting that the president's plan represents a sensible middle ground. The approach, he said, is "a lot less 'drill baby drill' and more 'drill where it's responsible.'"

There appears to be a political calculation at play here: The White House is pushing forward with efforts to pass a climate change bill, and Lindsey Graham, the Senate Republican involved in the bipartisan effort to craft a bill, has stated flatly that he wouldn't support the bill if it "doesn't have off-shore drilling in a meaningful way."

The White House -- which, you'll recall, was willing to jettison the public option from the health care bill in order to get it passed -- seems to once again be displaying its pragmatism with today's announcement. The decision, however, has left even some liberals sympathetic to a pragmatic strategy scratching their head.

The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen noted that the initial White House strategy on energy seemed to involve a quid-pro-quo arrangement in which Republicans got offshore drilling and Democrats got cap-and-trade as part of an energy bill. But cap-and-trade seems to be effectively dead, leaving Benen wondering what the Obama administration is getting for its trouble.

"In February, the president cleared the way for the first new U.S. nuclear power plants in more than 30 years. Today, the president will reportedly open up new opportunities for coastal drilling," he wrote. "In other words, Obama has already effectively given Republicans what they wanted on energy. What is he getting in return?"

What he may be getting is credit for trying to craft legislation in a bipartisan way. The White House was stung during the health care debate by charges that Democrats were working unilaterally; to address that claim before the final push on behalf of the legislation, the president hosted a bipartisan summit designed to convince Americans that he was open to Republican ideas.

More Mortgage Modification: (CBS) What is the new government program doing for those whose mortgages are with Deutsche National Bank, which is out of the country and refuses to work with you AT ALL? After hundreds of phone calls to their "United States office in New York", my son gets the same answer ...whoever your "lender" is has been given the power of attorney to handle your mortgage. The lender reverses to an automatic "We cannot help you".

Maybe the government should LOOK at the packaged loans they have sold EN MASS to outside countries who are not concerned about American mortgages. They couldn't even produce the note to his mortgage. I did an extensive search on Deutsche and they have no reason to work with any of their customers because their holdings reach FAR beyond the United States. Very lucrative.

What a vicious circle the American people have to endure because of our newly elected Administration, but rest assured we realize the REAL equation...NO JOB=NO MONEY=LOW CREDIT SCORE BEGINNING=NO HELP ON YOUR MORTGAGE!

China Likely to Agree to Iran Sanctions: (CBS) Six major world powers have agreed to begin putting together proposed new sanctions on Iran over its suspect nuclear program after China dropped its opposition, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

China, long a holdout against fresh international penalties against Iran, signaled its willingness to consider a United Nations Security Council sanctions resolution, the officials said.

Speaking at the U.N., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the officials had "accurately described" the position of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. She did not elaborate but said the group, known as the "P5-plus-one," was unified...

China's change of position improves prospects for passing a resolution aimed at pressuring Iran to scale back its nuclear ambitions, which Tehran insists are limited to developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

President Barack Obama had said Tuesday he hoped to have Iran sanctions in place within weeks - a timetable that appeared highly ambitious given China's previous reluctance to even discuss specific sanctions. China had insisted that negotiation with Iran needed to be pursued.

On Wednesday, however, two U.S. officials said that in a phone call among officials from the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the Chinese representative said his country was prepared to discuss specific potential sanctions...

The Obama administration is hoping to get a U.N. resolution by the end of April. Clinton has not publicly cited a specific timetable but in recent days has sounded more optimistic about the chances of getting China to agree that new penalties are needed to force Iran's hand...

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking to reporters after meeting with Obama at the White House on Tuesday, said Washington and Paris were "inseparable" in their thinking on the subject of Iran sanctions.

"Iran cannot continue its mad race" toward acquiring nuclear weapons," Sarkozy said. "The time has come to take decisions."

GOP Wary of Campaign to Repeal Health Law: (CBS) Despite Conservatives' Crusade to Roll Back Reforms, Top Republicans Fear Doing So Will Alienate Moderates, Independents. Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that's roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama's new health care law.

It's fine to criticize the health law and the way Democrats pushed it through Congress without a single GOP vote, these party leaders say. But focusing on its outright repeal carries two big risks.

Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade. More important, say strategists from both parties, a fierce "repeal the bill" stance might prove far less popular in a general election than in a conservative-dominated GOP primary, especially in states such as Illinois and California.

Democrats are counting on that scenario. They say more Americans will learn of the new law's benefits over time and anger over its messy legislative pedigree will fade. For months, Democrats have eagerly catalogued Republican Congressional candidates who pledge to repeal the health care law, vowing to make them pay in November.

Republican leaders are stepping cautiously, wary of angering staunchly conservative voters bent on repealing the new law. In recent public comments, they have quietly played down the notion of repealing the law while emphasizing claims that it will hurt jobs, the economy and the deficit...

President Obama said last week he would relish a Republican bid to repeal the new law.

"My attitude is, go for it," Mr. Obama said in Iowa on Friday. "If these congressmen in Washington want to come here in Iowa and tell small-business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and essentially raise their taxes, be my guest."

Michelle Obama Blooms in the White House: (CBS) Back in the White House Garden, The First Lady's Popularity is Already Growing by the Bushel. The White House garden has done quite well in weathering the wild winter.

The garden has produced 50 pounds of produce before the tulips even came up.

Fourteen months into her tenure as first lady, Mrs. Obama is enjoying the kind of popularity her husband would jump through hoops for, reports CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.

Her approval ratings are blooming at 78 percent, higher than her recent predecessors at similar points in their husband's presidency.

Comparatively, Laura Bush rated at 74 percent, and Rosalyn Carter rated at 59 percent. Hillary Clinton rated at 58 percent and Nancy Reagan at 57 percent.

And she has settled on a signature issue: Childhood obesity.

She is using her clout to chide grocery manufacturers and encouraging innovative ways for kids to get exercise, including hula hooping.

"I love the way that Mrs. Obama has stressed the simple things that people can change to make a huge difference in their lives," says Katherine Tallmadge of the American Dietetic Association. "Things like eating more vegetables. Having a garden and being more physically active.

"They may seem like simple things but study after study show they're effective things."

While Mrs. Obama is known for taking fashion risks, she's taken more pressing risks as well, including talking frankly about race.

"There were kids around my neighborhood who would say oooh you talk funny," Mrs. Obama admitted, candidly. "You talk like a white girl."

She granted an interview with right-leaning Fox News before her husband would.

She hasn't been afraid to get her hands dirty... which seems to be going over well with most Americans.

To Scientists, Laughter Is No Joke: (CBS) Funny How? Scientists Study What's Behind Guffaws And Find Laughter Links Us In Primal Ways. one teaches you how to laugh. You just do. And often you laugh involuntarily, in a specific rhythm and in certain spots in conversation.

You may laugh at a prank on April Fools' Day. But surprisingly, only 10 to 15 percent of laughter is the result of someone making a joke, said Baltimore neuroscientist Robert Provine, who has studied laughter for decades. Laughter is mostly about social responses rather than reaction to a joke.

"Laughter above all else is a social thing," Provine said. "The requirement for laughter is another person."

Over the years, Provine, a professor with the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has boiled laughter down to its basics.

"All language groups laugh 'ha-ha-ha' basically the same way," he said. "Whether you speak Mandarin, French or English, everyone will understand laughter. ... There's a pattern generator in our brain that produces this sound."

Each "ha" is about one-15th of a second, repeated every fifth of a second, he said. Laugh faster or slower than that and it sounds more like panting or something else.

Deaf people laugh without hearing, and people on cell phones laugh without seeing, illustrating that laughter isn't dependent on a single sense but on social interactions, said Provine, author of the book "Laughter: A Scientific Investigation."

"It's joy, it's positive engagement with life," said Jaak Panksepp, a Bowling Green University psychology professor. "It's deeply social."

And it's not just a people thing either. Chimps tickle each other and even laugh when another chimp pretends to tickle them.

"That's my candidate for the most ancient joke," Provine said. "It's a feigned tickle. That's primal humor..."

Songbird's Genome Carries Speech Clues: (CBS) Scientists have sequenced the complete genome of a songbird - the Australian zebra finch - and say the complex mechanisms by which young birds learn songs from their parents offer insight into human speech acquisition.

The international team, led by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, found that most of the bird's DNA is involved in hearing, imitating, and producing even simple melodies.

Because the analysis traces the vocal learning down to the molecular level - and because humans and finches have much of their genomes in common - the research could lead to strides in combating human speech disorders such as those related to autism, stroke, stuttering and Parkinson's disease.

"The zebra finch genome will be a valuable tool for neuroscientists," said lead author Wes Warren. "They can now carry out studies to identify a core set of genes in the zebra finch brain involved in both hearing and producing song and then look to see if any of these genes are disrupted in people with speech disorders."

Singing activates a large swath of the zebra finch's genes - some 800 in all. The researchers found that many of the genes did not manifest in the traditional way, by coding for proteins. Instead the DNA from these genes helps write short stretches of "non-coding RNA," which in turn affects how other genes are expressed in a cascading effect.

Non-coding RNA is already known to play key roles in developmental processes in humans and in animals.

The zebra finch is only the second bird to have its genome decoded. The first was the chicken. The research is set to appear in the journal Nature on Thursday.

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How are President Obama and the Democrats faring in the polls after passing health care? Two conflicting polls.

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Funny April Fools Day

From Denny: Check out the latest Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets! Here are a few of the funny quotes:

* April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. - Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894

* Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. - Mark Twain

* A fellow who is always declaring he's no fool, usually has his suspicions. - Anonymous

* Politicians never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge. - Thomas Reed

* Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. - Chinese Proverb

* Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side. - Jewish Proverb

Hike on over to The Social Poets to enjoy a funny video, funny photos, and - I totally guarantee you haven't seen this fashion outfit - it's the weirdest fashion statement yet. Not even Lady Gaga wore this crazy thing! :)

Check it out the full post of laughs: Funny April Fools Day - Cheeky Quote Day 31 Apr 2010

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Iran Scientist Defects to America, Obama Issues Sanctions - News Headlines 30 Mar 2010

From Denny: This is breaking news tonight that an Iranian nuclear scientist defected months ago and has now surfaced as helping America. I wondered about those long months of quiet from the administration about Iran's nuclear program. I did figure the CIA had something in the works and it turns out they pulled out a coup on this one. Sometimes, the spy community gets it right and a job well done. Looks like Director Panetta is getting the hang of this intelligence business. Nothing could be more important than getting a rope around the neck of a rogue regime that has nuclear power to wreak havoc around the globe.

Another coup today was of a physics origin in the world's largest scientific experiment. It does make me wonder just how much wisdom they are using as they struggle to gain knowledge. Hopefully, they are not putting the rest of the world in danger. Why worry about a rogue state with nukes when we have European scientists armed with black holes? :)

One story to make your blood boil is how insurance companies have been pouring over the health care law to find ways to not insure children with pre-existing conditions. Looks like they have finally backed off as lawmakers tighten the language. Amazing how greedy people can be and utterly cavalier with the lives of children.

And the funny of the day is Karl Rove running like a scalded dog from a book signing event because he was scared of a woman wielding handcuffs. She threatened to make a citizen's arrest for his war crimes. You will love this video.

Geneva atom smasher sets collision record: (NBC) The world's largest atom smasher set a record for high-energy collisions on Tuesday by crashing proton beams into each other at three times more force than ever before.

In a milestone in the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider's ambitious bid to reveal details about theoretical particles and microforces, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, collided the beams and took measurements at a combined energy level of 7 trillion electron volts.

The collisions herald a new era for researchers working on the machine in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel below the Swiss-French border at Geneva...

In a control room, scientists erupted with applause when the first successful collisions were confirmed. Their colleagues from around the world were tuning in by remote links to witness the new record, which surpasses the 2.36 TeV CERN recorded last year.

Dubbed the world's largest scientific experiment, scientists hope the machine can approach on a tiny scale what happened in the first split seconds after the Big Bang, which they theorize was the creation of the universe some 14 billion years ago.

The extra energy in Geneva is expected to reveal even more about the unanswered questions of particle physics, such as the existence of antimatter and the search for the Higgs boson, a hypothetical particle that scientists theorize gives mass to other particles and thus to other objects and creatures in the universe...

Obama, Sarkozy urge sanctions on Iran: (NBC) Presidents take united stand against Tehran, condemn Israeli settlements. At the side of his French ally, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the world is "more united than ever" on the need to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.

"On this the United States and France are united," Obama said, opening a joint appearance before reporters that capped White House meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Today, the international community is more united than ever on the need for Iran to uphold its obligations."

The United States is working with France and other allies to develop a new, tougher round of sanctions against Iran, which they accuse of continuing uranium enrichment in defiance of United Nations demands. Tehran says it seeks only nuclear power, not weapons.

Obama said he wants to see U.N. sanctions in place against Iran within weeks...

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And this would explain the long months of quiet from the administration and then suddenly President Obama quickly announcing the hard push on Iran for sanctions to dismantle their nuclear program. There are those times when the CIA gets it right. Congrats go out to those who risked their lives to accomplish the safety for this courageous man:

Iranian scientist defects to U.S.: (NBC) An Iranian nuclear scientist who had been reported missing since last summer has defected to the U.S. and is assisting the CIA in its efforts to undermine Iran's nuclear program, ABC News reported Tuesday.

The scientist, Shahram Amiri, has been resettled in the U.S., according to the report.

The CIA had no comment on the report, a spokesman said...

Amiri, who worked at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, an institution closely connected to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, disappeared last June while in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage. While his disappearance led to speculation that he had defected and was assisting the West in its efforts to keep track of Iran's nuclear program, the foreign minister for Iran accused the U.S. of helping to kidnap him.

Citing people briefed on the intelligence operation, ABC News said Amiri's disappearance was part of a long-planned CIA operation to persuade him to defect. The CIA reportedly approached Amiri in Iran through an intermediary who made an offer of resettlement on behalf of the United States, ABC News said.

Amiri has been extensively debriefed since his defection, according to the report, and has helped to confirm U.S. intelligence assessments about the Iranian nuclear program.

Insurers agree to fix gap in sick kids’ coverage: (NBC) After battling President Barack Obama's health care overhaul the better part of a year, the insurance industry said Monday it won't try to block his efforts to fix a potentially embarrassing glitch in the new law.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the industry's top lobbyist said insurers will accept new regulations to dispel uncertainty over a much-publicized guarantee that children with medical problems can get coverage starting this year.

Quick resolution of the doubts was a win for Obama — and a sign that the industry has no stomach for another war of words with a president who deftly used double-digit rate hikes by the companies to revive his sweeping health care legislation from near collapse in Congress.

"Health plans recognize the significant hardship that a family faces when they are unable to obtain coverage for a child with a pre-existing condition," Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a letter to Sebelius. Ignagni said that the industry will "fully comply" with the regulations, expected within weeks...

Issue of interpretation

The problem on the issue of covering kids was that the law could also be interpreted in a more limited way.

Narrowly read, it seemed to say that if an insurance company accepts a particular child, it cannot write a policy for a child that excludes coverage for a given condition. For example, if the child has asthma, the insurer cannot exclude inhalers and respiratory care from coverage, as sometimes happens now.

But that meant the company could still turn down the child altogether.

Indeed, House and Senate staffers on two committees that wrote the legislation said last week it stopped short of an ironclad guarantee. House leaders later issued a statement saying their intent in writing the legislation was to provide full protection...

This was funny how Karl Rove can't handle the heat when it comes his way. He ran from the book signing like the cowardly cur that he is. He was scared of a woman trying to make a citizen's arrest for his war crimes. You go, girl. Works for me. This guy belongs in jail for many life times.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

ALSO, recent posts:

Hate Groups On the Rampage, Big Banks Skirting the Law - Headlines 29 Mar 2010

Weekly Posts Roundup at Dennys Blogs - 28 Mar 2010

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Hate Groups On the Rampage, Big Banks Skirting the Law - Headlines 29 Mar 2010

From Denny: Two things are in play in today's culture. Hate groups are on the rise because of hate speech by the Republicans promoting fear, anger and action. Sarah Palin publishes "cross hairs" diagrams like on a sniper rifle for Democratic politicians she "wants taken out" of Congress. Well, a message like that is irresponsible and dangerous to weak minds.

Obviously, there are a lot of weak minds out there, easily influenced by Palin and Limbaugh to do criminal acts. There are actually militia groups that call themselves Christian. That's like Islamic terrorist groups calling themselves holy to God. It's all insanity and innocent people end up paying for it with their lives while these vicious people are allowed to attack, whether it's on the airwaves or with a gun.

The second message in play is Big Banks and Big Business are telling the government and Americans that they are above the law. The news story and video here will anger you with their audacity of arrogance. While it does not surprise me that Big Banks are doing despicable things to their customers like denying mortgage restructuring along with credit card abuses, what does surprise me is the lukewarm response from the Obama administration to bear down on Big Business and force them to comply with the law. It's obvious they will not comply with the laws of decency. Quit waiting, Mr. Obama, and act quickly on the behalf of the American people who need you so desperately as their champion right now.

Whistle-Blower: Banks Give Homeowners the Runaround: (ABC) A vice president for one of the nation's biggest banks claims customers looking for help in lowering their mortgage payments are often told to call an 800 number -- where he says representatives then give homeowners the runaround...

Of the 1.1 million homeowners who've signed up for the federal program aimed at avoiding foreclosures, only 168,000, or 15 percent, of homeowners have had their mortgages permanently modified.

"In our managers meeting, which can last eight or nine hours, we probably addressed mortgage modifications five minutes or less," the banker said...

Christian Militia Raid: Family of Four Allegedly Behind Plot to Ambush Police: (ABC) A family of four was behind an anti-government militia plot to kill law enforcement officers with improvised explosive devices and projectiles before being foiled by an FBI raid Sunday that netted nine members of a Christian extremist group, federal authorities said today.

David Brian Stone, 45, his wife, Tina Stone, 44, and David Stone's two adult sons allegedly conspired with five other members of the fringe Christian militia group called the Hutaree to kill a Michigan law enforcement officer and then ambush the officer's colleagues who would have gathered for the funeral, according to court documents...

All were indicted by a federal grand jury of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. They appeared in court this morning but no pleas were made...

Based in Lenawee County, Mich., the Hutaree are described by officials as an extremist group. Their Web site says the name means "Christian warrior" and claims it is preparing to defend itself for the impending arrival of the anti-Christ...

This red-haired European mummie was preserved in the deserts of far western China by first freezing and then baking and then freezing again. It's amazing that she looks as if she had only been buried about 20 years ago - not as long as 4,000 years ago! You can see she had curly eyelashes.

She is part of the Silk Road exhibit the Chinese finally allowed out of their country. Bowers Museum in Orange Country, California, negotiated for decades to receive this exhibit.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Overqualified? Yes, but just happy to have a job: (NBC/New York Times) Don Carroll, a former financial analyst with a master’s degree in business administration from a top university, was clearly overqualified for the job running the claims department for Cartwright International, a small, family-owned moving company here south of Kansas City.

But he had been out of work for six months, and the department badly needed modernization after several decades of benign neglect. It turned out to be a perfect match.

After being hired in December, Mr. Carroll, 31, quickly set about revamping the four-person department, which settles damage claims from moves, and creating tracking tools so the company could better understand its spending...

Sarkozy: ‘The world needs an open America’: (NBC) "The world needs an open America, a generous America, an America that shows the way, an America that listens," he said, calling on the U.S. to champion firm regulations of financial systems, from tax havens to hedge funds...

"Welcome to the club of states who don't turn their back on the sick and the poor," Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

From the European perspective, he said, "when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it's difficult to believe."

"The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them ... is something astonishing to us."

Then to hearty applause, he added: "If you come to France and something happens to you, you won't be asked for your credit card before you're rushed to the hospital."

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekly Posts Roundup at Dennys Blogs - 28 Mar 2010

From Denny: This funny polar bear says it all: Whew! Time to take it easy after a long harsh winter!

If you are a blogger like me with the Blogger platform at, and you haven't already heard about it since it came out a couple of weeks ago, you might want to check out this new feature from Blogger: Blogger in Draft. I spent the entire weekend playing around with the possibilities and decided to change over to this new dashboard and template offerings.

Blogger has come out with some outstanding new templates and the ability to widen margins of all your columns to imitate the old stretch template or create your own ideas of what appeals to you. Be as creative as you like! Read that as embedding videos and cartoons will now work better. Before, if you had a background from somewhere else - like I was doing - you had to reduce the width of your template down to the Minima template offered by Blogger. Then you could not run the cartoons at all as they were chopped off on the right side.

You now have many choices of how to arrange your columns just like a newspaper. There is a good variety of stunning backgrounds from which to choose - and believe me I've been choosing all this weekend for 12 blogs! :) I would like to see them expand their background choices in various colors and genre but what they have offered so far is plenty for most bloggers.

What am I still looking for from Blogger? To the folks at Blogger: I'm looking for more seasonal choices that have a sophisticated look, peaceful or spiritual, as opposed to just fun or downright cheesy. Backgrounds tailored to writing, poetry, art and literature other than the standard stack of books would be great - like beautiful calligraphy pens and parchment papers, stylized handwriting or fonts offered on the background and for the blog. You might want to consider backgrounds of America's cities like New Orleans and others for those of us with regional food blogs.

I'd also like to see the ability to post headlines and 200 word summary excerpts of up to 10 posts per page so people could easily choose what they want to read much like Wordpress already offers. Scrolling at the top of the page or at the header of the most recent posts would be cool like you see at newspaper sites online. Dreamer, that's me! So far, Blogger is on a roll so keep up the good work, guys! Oh, and if you could ever get that Google Connect or Followers Gadget to work with Google AdSense ads on the same page it would be much appreciated too.

On to the posts of the week and a few extra recipe posts from the past two weeks in case you missed anything good! :) Finally got caught up over at my science blog this weekend with some interesting stories so be sure to check out their offerings. Please bookmark this post to catch up on all the interesting news, great recipes and beautiful photography in our world! :) Enjoy...

The Social Poets:

51 Funny Political Cartoons - Sex Scandals, Rove, Obama, Health Care, Tea Party - 27 Mar 2010

Release Your Dreams and Spring into Life poem - Libations Friday 26 Mar 2010

Bullying Death Threats Against Congress Because of Health Care Law

Origins of the Funny Easter Bunny - Cheeky Quote Day 24 Mar 2010

Senate Parliamentarian Rules Against GOP to Stop Passed Health Care

Fleecing America: Political Hypocrites Drenched in Stimulus Money

Roundup of Late Night Comedy - 22 Mar 2010

The 11 Choices poem - Libations Friday 19 Mar 2010

Funny Late Night Comedy Roundup - 15 Mar 2010

41 Post Roundup at Dennys Blogs - 21 Mar 2010

Dennys Global Politics:

How New Health Law Affects You, Comics Review The News, Tea Party Antics - Headlines 26 Mar 2010

Health Bill Bounces Back to House for Final Push - Headlines 25 Mar 2010

More Hideous Molestation Sex Scandals - Headlines 24 Mar 2010

Sweeping Health Care Reform Signed into Law Today, Headlines 23 Mar 2010

The Soul Calendar:

Now Peru Faces Water Wars From Climate Change

Come to Iceland: Experience Living With a Volcano in Your BackYard

Moon Water: Order Up Your Cocktail Today

Check Out This Tripping New Look for the Milky Way

New Finding Under Antarctic Ice: Stinky Greenhouse Gas Ready to Go Boom

Friday Trivia: 14 Useless Random Facts

The Healing Waters:

Good News: 12 Year Old Walks to Raise Awareness About Homeless Kids

Good News: How New Health Care Law Affects You, Marines Rescue Tangled Seal

Good News: Afghan Orphanage Female Director Honored

Beautiful Illustrated Quotes:

Does Your Life Feel Like a Disaster?

3 Quotes About Facing Tough Times

Food Blogs:

Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee From Lafittes Landing

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Funny Comics Review The News - 26 Mar 2010

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

51 Funny Political Cartoons - Sex Scandals, Rove, Obama, Health Care, Tea Party - 27 Mar 2010

From Denny: Cartoonists had a field day when the Health Care Reform bill passed, most of them in favor. They even did a special section on the issue of health care and past Presidents. While most of us in America and outside America, especially rightfully so very self-righteous Canada who rolls their eyes at this excuse for national health care, well, we all are under-whelmed at what was finally passed. Everyone in America is holding our collective breath to see how this actually plays out.

Read that as "So, who gets screwed first?" Hopefully, it's the stingy rich who have screwed over the middle class from two stolen Presidential elections, Big Banks screwing over homeowners on their mortgages and charging outrageous high interest rates on their credit cards, a rigged stock market and collusion among oil and gas companies to continue to price gouge the public at the gas pump.

I would hope the Obama administration does not take its eye off the ball here and continues to pass legislation or issue Presidential directives or whatever it takes to fine tune the American health care system. Right now all this bill has accomplished is to hold it together with some semblance of order by using crazy glue. Not including the public option was a serious error. Congress will need to revisit that idea within a few years as the Baby Boomer generation starts aging rapidly.

There is no excuse to see young families living in shelters or past war veterans living under bridges because the cost of living has risen more rapidly and continually in relation to what jobs are paying - primarily from greedy insurance companies escalating car, home, business and health insurance premiums.

Just this week cartoonists have began to hammer the religious sex scandals, especially Pope Benedict. It's interesting to see Karma come back to roost on the Church's former Enforcer of the Faith. Read that as "the worm has turned." His harshness from past decades and a cavalier attitude toward the abused has brought abuse to roost up close and personal. The people who continue to enable abuse in any organization need to be arrested, tried and jailed as much as the actual abusers in my book. There is no excuse why a child anywhere in the world does not have the right to reasonably expect safety from murderers and sexual deviants during their growing up years.

China continues to demand internet search engines like Google censor their searches. Read that as that government does not want their citizens to finally figure out just how much they are being lied to. Pssst! Guess what, China, I think they already know. No one is that stupid or naive.

Oh, yeah, and Karl Rove's rich handlers paid him to write yet another Book of Lies about the Bush years, hoping to avoid future prosecution for high crimes and misdemeanors. Speaking of misdemeanors, remember those Republicans who committed a felony by bugging the federal office of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in my home state? Well, the fix is in with all those Republican conservative judges Bush and Cheney put in place and the deal was made to knock the felony down to a misdemeanor for the son of a federal judge. Our government at work, our corrupt government left in place by corrupt Republicans. And they still own the Supreme Court with their favorite puppets Chief Justice Roberts (the biggest suck-up I've ever seen. Oh, excuse me, the GOP calls it "ambitious.") and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

And, in the news every week now, because the media so loves their exaggerated villains and wingnuts to get people to tune in and watch or read the news, is that weirdo Tea Party. I've provided a link to a news story over at Dennys Global Politics at the end of this post for you to see the latest weirdness coming from that sector.

You will love these cartoons as they are outstanding this week, enjoy! Let me know what's on your mind...

Health Care Bill Passes:

Health Care and Past Presidents:

The 2010 Census:

Religious Sex Scandals:

Israel's No Peace Process:

Yesterday and Today:

China and Google in the news:

Rating Rove's New Book of Lies:

Tea Party Gone Violent and Forever Racist:

*** ALSO be sure to check out the latest weird news about the Tea Party at Dennys Global Politics. It's the last story in the post. You will also enjoy the funny short video of the comics reviewing the news of the week:

How New Health Law Affects You, Comics Review The News, Tea Party Antics - Headlines 26 Mar 2010

*** THANKS for visiting, feel welcome to drop a comment or opinion, enjoy bookmarking this post on your favorite social site, a big shout out to awesome current subscribers – and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email updates!
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