Bah humbug

I thought I'd mention that I'm reading LJ for the first time in at least 2 if not 3 weeks. It's had me pissed off because a lot of what I read is feeds and their feed puller has been in the toilet for over a month and has had me pissed. So don't be surprised to see comments from me for things you don't remember writing anymore. ;D

50 random things

Blame tlblase:

1. What time did you get up this morning?
I levered myself off the couch at 7:30.

2. How do you like your steak?
Medium-well to well done. Too many pictures of stuff I learned in Microbiology etc. dance before my eyes when I see pink meat. :-p

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
"Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" Good movie! Made me hungry. lol And had me thinking "I can haz cheezburger?!" :D :D :D

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Good grief. I am a t.v. addict, so I don't think I could choose just one. I do watch a lot of supernatural or scifi-type shows, but I HATE reality shows. The only ones I watch are The Biggest Loser and Amazing Race.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I like where I live now. Plenty of places I'd like to visit.

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Inhumane health care for American Natives

PROMISES, PROMISES: Indian health care's victims

BY MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Writer
Mon Jun 15, 8:56 am ET

CROW AGENCY, Mont. – Ta'Shon Rain Little Light, a happy little girl who loved to dance and dress up in traditional American Indian clothes, had stopped eating and walking. She complained constantly to her mother that her stomach hurt.

When Stephanie Little Light took her daughter to the Indian Health Service clinic in this wind-swept and remote corner of Montana, they told her the 5-year-old was depressed.

Ta'Shon's pain rapidly worsened and she visited the clinic about 10 more times over several months before her lung collapsed and she was airlifted to a children's hospital in Denver. There she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, confirming the suspicions of family members.

A few weeks later, a charity sent the whole family to Disney World so Ta'Shon could see Cinderella's Castle, her biggest dream. She never got to see the castle, though. She died in her hotel bed soon after the family arrived in Florida.

"Maybe it would have been treatable," says her great-aunt, Ada White, as she stoically recounts the last few months of Ta'Shon's short life. Stephanie Little Light cries as she recalls how she once forced her daughter to walk when she was in pain because the doctors told her it was all in the little girl's head.

Ta'Shon's story is not unique in the Indian Health Service system, which serves almost 2 million American Indians in 35 states.

On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is "don't get sick after June," when the federal dollars run out. It's a sick joke, and a sad one, because it's sometimes true, especially on the poorest reservations where residents cannot afford health insurance. Officials say they have about half of what they need to operate, and patients know they must be dying or about to lose a limb to get serious care.

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Iran, China, Economy, Health Care, et al!

Yeah, the U.S. doesn't actually want a moderate in Iran because then how can there be justification for interfering in another country if there isn't some scary guy running the show?

Why the White House Views Iran's Election as a Diplomatic Coup


On its way to Banana Republic-hood:
China's US bond holdings drop first time in 11 months in April

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Mainland China's holdings of US Treasury bonds fell for the first time in 11 months to 763.5 billion dollars in April, US government data showed Monday.

The April figure, a drop from March's 767.9 billion dollars, was the lowest since the holdings started building up in June 2008, the US Treasury said in its monthly international capital data report.

The figures do not include the holdings of Hong Kong, China's special administration region, which climbed to 80.9 billion dollars in April from 78.9 billion dollars the previous month.

But the latest statistics showed China sitting comfortably as the top holder of Treasury bonds despite years of trying to diversify its reserves away from the US dollar.

Japan is the second-largest holder of US bonds, at 685.9 billion dollars in April.


Yes, but what about the real people in charge?
Yoo, Bush Administration Lawyer, Must Face Torture Lawsuit


Speaking of crazy Bush supporters:
American arrives in Germany with mini arsenal

Neighborhood Watch

This would never work in the U.S. in a million years! :D I wish it would, though.

Tokyo residents fight burglars with flower power

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Tokyo district plagued with burglaries has turned to planting flowers to beautify its streets and help stamp out crime.

"'Operation Flower' began about three years ago. By planting flowers facing the street, more people will be keeping an eye out while taking care of the flowers or watering them," said Kiyotaka Ohyagi, a Suginami City official.

"The best way to prevent crime is to have more people on the lookout."

Suginami, with a population of 528,800, saw a record 1,710 break-ins in 2002.

When a neighborhood watch group found that there were fewer burglaries in buildings on flower-lined streets, Suginami decided to kick off Operation Flower and asked volunteers to plant seeds on side streets and in front of their homes.

The flowers are part of a wider crime prevention campaign. The district also has 9,600 volunteer patrollers and 200 security cameras set up in areas where there are frequent break-ins. It also emails crime information daily to residents.

Suginami says its efforts have paid off, with the number of burglaries falling to 390 in 2008, down almost 80 percent from 2002.

"Our residents are very conscientious about preventing crime, and they are very active," Ohyagi said.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

65 Questions You've Probably Never Been Asked

65 Questions You've Probably Never Been Asked

you know the rules. tag people in this note (including the person who tagged you!) to learn more about people. Also, try to tag people who you've tagged in other notes, sometimes you learn things in new notes that you didn't know before about them.......

1. First thing you wash in the shower? face

2. What color is your favorite hoodie? I rarely wear a hoodie, but I really like a bright red one I got in Canada that has "Canada" and a white maple leaf embroidered on it.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again? Yes. He's kinda my husband.

4. Do you plan outfits? Not really. Around here the most planning I do concerns how hot/humid it'll be.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now? Bored. I'm doing this meme, aren't I?

6. Whats the closest thing to you that's red? The handles on a pair of scissors.

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having? I rarely remember dreams, so I can't think of any off the top of my head.

8. Did you meet anybody new today? No.

9. What are you craving right now? A Baskin-Robbins milk shake.

10. Do you floss? Yes. My teeth are too screwed up to not to.

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage? Er...

12. Are you emotional? Sometimes, but I try not to show it.

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000? Probably, but I'm not 7 anymore so...

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? Once it warms a little, yes.

15. Do you like your hair? Now I do. :D Up until I was in college I did so many horrible things to it because I didn't like that it was straight as a pin. Now I live with it. :)

16. Do you like yourself? Yes.

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush? Only if he left the SS and personal chefs behind.

18. What are you listening to right now? The whir of my ceiling fan.

19. Are your parents strict? Yes. Which is why I haven't spoken to her in nearly 6 years.

20. Would you go sky diving? Nope. Only if the plane was falling out of the sky.

21. Do you like cottage cheese? Not particularly. I tolerate small curd cottage cheese. It's a texture thing.

22. Have you ever met a celebrity? Yes. The most recent was Jeff Corwin from Animal Planet fame.

23. Do you rent movies often? Rent? Yes. I've had a Netflix membership for, I think, 3+ yrs.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in? No. Just a whole lot of random.

25. How many countries have you visited? Two whole countries and they shouldn't count since they were obligations.

26. Have you made a prank phone call? Before the days of Caller ID and *69, yes.

27. Ever been on a train? Yes! I loved taking the train to Canada! So much room, so little stress!

28. Brown or white eggs? Either. I don't care.

29.Do you have a cell-phone? Yes.

30. Do you use chap stick? Nope.

31. Do you own a gun? No.

32. Can you use chop sticks? No.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight? Mostly me. Late at night the husband will return from work.

34. Are you too forgiving? Not really. I'm a pretty judgemental person. I try to curb that, though.

35. Ever been in love? Yes.

36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow? One is going to spend the day with me and the other I'm not sure what she's doing. I should call her like I said I would...

37. Ever have cream puffs? If those are what I'm thinking of, yes.

38. Last time you cried? Er. I don't remember. I'm not much of a crier.

39. What was the last question you asked? "Are you having trouble loading VM too?"

40. Favorite time of the year? Spring, I suppose.

41. Do you have any tattoos? No.

42. Are you sarcastic? Incredibly.

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect? Part of it. I still need to get around to it from my Netflix queue.

44. Ever walked into a wall? Not that I can remember...

45. Favorite color? Cobalt/indigo. That blue-purple color.

46. Have you ever slapped someone? Yes. She tried to slap me back. Twice.

47. Is your hair curly? No.

48. What was the last CD you bought? Yikes. It's been years since I bought a CD. I couldn't say.

49. Do looks matter? It shouldn't, but it does.

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater? No.

51. Is your phone bill sky high? No. Cheap calling cards to call Canada and free national coverage to call the best friend. I don't have anyone else to call, sadly.

52. Do you like your life right now? It's hella better than it was a year ago, that's for sure. Actually, now that I think of it, that was around one of the times I remember doing some crying, so that answers that earlier question.

53. Do you sleep with the TV on? Never. No TVs allowed in the bedroom. I need silence and darkness to get sleep.

54. Can you handle the truth? I try to always give it, so I always expect it.

55. Do you have good vision? Average. I'm ever so slightly near-sighted.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people? Yes. I'm thinking of those people from a year ago.

57. How often do you talk on the phone? Rarely. I talk to Shane most of the time if I do and that's usually along the vein of "what time were you getting off work again?" So. Call me people!

58. The last person you held hands with? Shane. I don't hold hands with anyone else.

59. What are you wearing? Khakis and a bright orange, embroidered blouse.

60.What is your favorite animal? There's so many I like. I did consider being a vet tech... I now work with primates, so I guess those are my favorite at the moment. :)

61. Where was your default picture taken at? It was taken in the living room of our old apartment. I'd recently gotten a Bunsen doll to go with my Beaker doll someone else had gotten and Shane thought I should don my work labcoat and take a fun pic. :)

62. Can you hula hoop? No.

63. Do you have a job? Yes.

64. What was the most recent thing you bought? Uh. I don't usually buy things. I did pay for dinner last night, so I guess you can say I bought dinner.

65. Have you ever crawled through a window? lol Yes. There have been times I've forgotten my key or reflexively set the door to lock even though I was just going out to get mail. So yeah. Rather difficult for me, too, between being short and round and having very high windows. :D
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ACLU says school censored student's Milk report

ACLU says school censored student's Milk report

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday threatened to sue a San Diego County school that refused to let a student present a report on slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk until her classmates got their parents' permission to hear it.

David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego County, said the principal of Mt. Woodson Elementary School in Ramona violated the free speech rights of 6th-grader Natalie Jones, who was the only student in her class prevented from giving an in-class presentation.

Principal Theresa Grace concluded last month that the subject of the girl's project triggered a district policy requiring parents to be notified in writing before their children are exposed to lessons dealing with sex, according to Blair-Loy and Natalie's mother.

After the principal sent letters to alert parents about the "sensitive topic," Natalie was allowed to give her 12-page PowerPoint report during the May 8 lunch recess, but not in class, Blair-Loy said. Eight of the 13 students in her class attended, he said.

In a letter to the Ramona Unified District on Wednesday, the ACLU demanded that school officials apologize to Natalie and clarify its sex education policy. It also wants the girl to be given the chance to present her biographical account of Milk's life and death in class.

"It's not about sex, it's not about sex education. It's a presentation about a historical figure who happened to be gay," Blair-Loy said.

The school district superintendent did not immediately respond to a telephone call and e-mail from The Associated Press.

Milk became one of the first gay men elected to political office in the United States in 1977 when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was assassinated a year later along with Mayor George Moscone. Former supervisor Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the killings.

A bill passed recently by the California Legislature would establish Milk's May 22 birthday as an annual "day of significance" in the state, a move designed to encourage schools to discuss his career and legacy.

Bonnie Jones said her daughter was inspired to choose Milk as the subject of her research report after seeing the movie "Milk," which earned Academy Awards for actor Sean Penn and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

"First my daughter got called into the principal's office as if she were in some kind of trouble, and then they treated her presentation like it was something icky," Jones said in a statement.

"Harvey Milk was an elected official in this state and an important person in history," Jones added. "To say my daughter's presentation is sex education because Harvey Milk happened to be gay is completely wrong."

Appeal Court curbs police right to photograph protestors

Appeal Court curbs police right to photograph protestors
21 May 2009
By PA Mediapoint

A legal challenge over the power of the police to photograph peaceful protesters succeeded at the Court of Appeal today.

It is a legal decision which could also curb the actions of Met Police Forward Intelligence Teams which regularly photograph journalists covering protests.

Two out of three judges agreed there had been a disproportionate interference in the human right to privacy when police surveillance teams photographed a campaigner and followed him.

The Metropolitan Police was ordered to destroy photographs taken of Andrew Wood, a member of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), when he was protesting in London in April 2005.

The order was stayed for a month to allow the force, which must also pay the legal costs, a chance to apply to take the case to the House of Lords.

A spokesman for human rights group Liberty, which backed Wood's case, said the decision could have implications for future use of photography by the police - a tactic which it said was being used more frequently, particularly when policing protests.

Wood, media co-ordinator for CAAT, was photographed by a Met surveillance unit in April 2005 as he emerged from the Millennium Hotel in London, where he had attended the annual general meeting of Reed Elsevier PLC, parent company of Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd which runs trade fairs for the arms industry.

He gained access to the meeting by lawfully buying a share in the company - he has no criminal convictions and has never been arrested as a result of any campaigning activities.

Wood, who was represented by Liberty, complained that the police took and kept photographs of him and that these actions were unlawful and violated Article 8 - the right to respect for private and family life - under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Justice McCombe dismissed his case in May last year, but today the Court of Appeal allowed his appeal.

Lord Justice Dyson said in his decision today that police were concerned the protest might become a problem and sent 24 officers, plus an intelligence gathering unit, to the event.

Police were ordered to photograph Mr Wood, from Oxford, after they said he was seen talking to known activists with a history of violent protest after the meeting. Mr Wood disputed he had talked to them.

But Lord Justice Dyson said that within a few days the police must have known Mr Wood was of good character and there could no longer be any justification for keeping the photographs.

Taking and keeping the pictures was in pursuit of a legitimate aim, namely the prevention of disorder or crime or protection of others.

Lord Justice Dyson said: "The retention by the police of photographs taken of persons who have not committed an offence, and who are not even suspected of having committed an offence, is always a serious matter."

"The only justification advanced by the police for retaining the photographs for more than a few days after the meeting was the possibility that the appellant might attend and commit an offence at the Defence Systems and Equipment International fair several months later.

"But in my judgment, even if due allowance is made for the margin of operational discretion, that justification does not bear scrutiny ..."

It was for the police to justify their interference with Mr Wood's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and "they have failed to do so".

Lord Collins of Mapesbury, who also allowed the appeal, said: "There was a very substantial police presence. When I first read the papers on this appeal, I was struck by the chilling effect on the exercise of lawful rights such a deployment would have ..."

"It is plain that the last word has yet to be said on the implications for civil liberties of the taking and retention of images in the modern surveillance society.

"This is not the case for the exploration of the wider, and very serious, human rights issues which arise when the State obtains and retains the images of persons who have committed no offence and are not suspected of having committed any offence."

Lord Justice Laws, who dismissed the appeal, said he acknowledged that Mr Wood was of good character, that his link with the targeted protesters was disputed, and that the reason for keeping the photographs was to monitor his conduct at the trade fair scheduled for months later.

"But that was a legitimate aim, in service of which the images were kept," he said.

"For my part I find it impossible to categorise what was done as outwith the margin of operational discretion which, it must surely be acknowledged, the police possess in such circumstances."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force welcomed the legal and public scrutiny, and had to held accountable.

He said the Met rigorously defended the case because the tactic of overt photography was "truly valuable" in public order policing and policing in general.

"Overt photography is a valuable intelligence-gathering tool allowing officers to build up a clear picture of who is involved in planning and organising any criminal behaviour or disorder at demonstrations," he said.

"It provides officers with evidence that can be used post event to arrest and convict for a range of offences."

Chief Superintendent Ian Thomas, who is responsible for the Met's public order branch, said: "The Metropolitan Police upholds people's right to lawful and peaceful demonstration, a right that we strive to fulfil.

"However, we also have to uphold the law. We know that some individuals and groups use the cover of protest to break the law and commit acts of disorder.

"Obviously that is unacceptable. It can endanger legitimate demonstrators and endanger and severely disrupt the public. We are duty bound to prevent that from happening.

"For our policing plan to be the most effective we need to have the fullest possible intelligence picture.

"Overt photography helps us build a picture of who is involved in planning and organising any potential disorder or crime. It may also provide us with evidence that would be beneficial to any legal proceedings.

"There is nothing secretive or covert about the way we do this, and this practice is very well known and understood in protester circles. The Metropolitan Police will continue to do everything necessary to maintain order on London's streets.

"The findings of this judgment provide a valuable set of guidelines for us to continue to work within and we are pleased that the Court of Appeal has found our use of overt photography to be lawful."

David Brin: Why Obama is Upping the Border Patrol

This item wasn’t at the top of the news, but it did make page one of the Times: Obama budget puts security first at the border - He'll ask Congress to help curb the flow of arms to Mexico before seeking any immigration reform.”

This is a complex topic, with some strange twists. But first, let me quote a forecast that I made, way back in December 08, in my “ Suggestions for the Obama Administration.This one really deserves a spot in any Predictions Registry.

If I seemed to lean a little "left" in some of my earlier missives criticizing a worldwide drift toward crony-aristocratism, and then to the right in supporting a repair of the U.S. military, and then left again by pushing the vital importance of citizen-level resilience... then prepare for another of my patented sudden veers! Because I believe the Obama Administration can, should... and will... act swiftly to regain control over the borders of the United States. In fact, I will lay heavy odds that he does it very soon.

Although many sneered with doubt, alas, nobody had the guts to meet my bet (and offer of odds!) with real cash. Too bad, because President Obama has given high priority -- and budgetary support -- to regaining control over the borders of the United States, exactly when and as I expected. Let’s go back to my prediction:

This may sound surprising, but it shouldn't, if you had been paying attention to one of the great ironies of the last 16 years -- one that lay in plain sight, largely unnoticed. As one of his first acts upon entering office, Bill Clinton doubled the number of field agents in the Border Patrol. And one of George W. Bush’s first endeavors was to savagely undercut that service.

“It sounds counter-intuitive, of course, and neither political party ever spoke up about it much. But the reasons are simple. Democrats like legal immigration, which results in lots of new voters and new union workers, while illegals drain resources, get embroiled (against their will) into crime, and prevent domestic programs from achieving full effectiveness. On the other hand, Republicans -- well, not your neighbors, but some influential people near the top of the party -- like access to pools of cheap, undocumented labor that won’t talk back. Only when border state citizens began getting riled did the GOP start talking tough about immigration. And talk, for the most part, is all they ever did.

The correlation is now perfect. Democrats boost border patrol and enforcement, but hate talking about it, because much of their base is made up of people for whom generosity is a zealous canon. Hence, Obama needed an excuse, something to distract from his real reasons for regaining control at the border (reversing emphasis from illegal to legal immigration.) He found his excuse with the ongoing drug gang violence in Mexico. Blaming much of that chaos on U.S.-originating weaponry, he can claim that the new agents will be there foremost to stanch the southward flow of guns.

Now, the right wing punditocracy and blogosphere has been derisive -- and this time with some cause! The purported “statistics,” proving that most Mexican gang-guns came from the U.S. , are very weak and show signs of being cludged. Anyway, if the cash-rich mobs want guns, there are countless places to get them. So it’s a rationalization, all right.

But while Dobbs and Limbaugh & co. eagerly pounced on this discrepancy with ridicule, they have to be very careful about is not letting their audiences dwell too long or think too deeply about any one matter. They must keep up the rapid armwaving, pointing rapidly thither and yon, in order to distract Red America from connecting the dots. For if rural or conservative whites ever realize which party is always pragmatically better at defending our borders... or maintaining military readiness, or strengthening alliances, or creating a good climate for small businesses, or nurturing a strong economy... then it will be all over for the neoconservative-GOP shell game.

Limbaugh et. al. have to keep it all about simplistic strawmen and ideological stereotypes (e.g. after the most corrupt and wastrel administration of all time pummeled US capitalism nearly flat, scream that the new one is “socialist!”) Because, if the natural anti-authoritarianism of the people living in heartland “red” counties can ever turn away from reflex hatred of bureaucrats, long enough to rediscover Americans’ traditional distrust of fatcat aristocratic thieves, then... well... Rush Limbaugh will have to get a real job.

Even more important, genuine classic conservatives and libertarians will have a chance - at long last - to rescue their movement from the freakshow denizens who have hijacked it.