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Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Sierra Leone abortion bill blocked by President Bai Koroma again

Source: BBC.com

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has again refused to sign a bill legalising abortion, saying it should be put to a referendum.
It was unanimously passed by MPs in December, but Mr Koroma refused to sign it after protests by religious leaders.
After consultations, MPs returned the bill to him last month, unaltered.
The law would allow women to terminate a pregnancy in any circumstances up to 12 weeks and in cases of incest, rape and foetal impairment up to 24 weeks.
Abortion is currently illegal in Sierra Leone under any circumstances.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35793186

"Mr Koroma refused to sign it after protests by religious leaders"

Yeah because the protests by religious leaders are so much more important than the deaths of women. Or the pleas of international human rights organizations.

But pay attention, America, there are those who think Sierra Leone should be a model for us in this area.

Just badged VA cop killed on first day, responding to domestic dispute

This is such a tragic story I wanted to post it. There is no racial factor in this story that has been revealed so far. I'm just posting this as a counterbalance to all the posts about how evil the cops are. Not every situation is a cop beating up or killing someone who didn't do anything (or much) wrong.

I'm as virulently opposed to the a*hole cops in situations like Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and Freddy Gray and .... as anybody.

But at the same time I support the cops who are out there behaving decently (at least according to how they've been trained and ordered) and just trying to do a difficult job that we all need done, whether we admit it or not. Sometimes a situation where the cops acted badly, is really a combination of a series of bad decisions based on inadequate training, poor leadership culture, and dealing with a stressful situation that could very well end up like this one. That doesn't mean that the problem cops shouldn't be brought to justice and/or retrained ... just that we should be aware of the many factors that might be in play, particularly when cops respond to domestic calls.

My thoughts go out to the family of this woman, the family of the original apparent victim of the abuser, and the other officers wounded in the incident.


WOODBRIDGE, Va. - A Virginia police officer's first day back on the job ended in tragedy as she was shot and killed Saturday just after being sworn in, and two of her colleagues were wounded in a confrontation stemming from a call about an argument.

A county leader said a civilian woman was also killed in the domestic dispute.

Officers received a call around 5:30 Saturday evening in Woodbridge, about 30 miles southwest of the nation's capital, about a "verbal argument," Sgt. Jonathan Perok, spokesman of the Prince William County Police Department, said. It's not clear how the altercation between the suspect and police began but the suspect, a military serviceman, is in custody and was not injured, he said. The condition of the other two officers is not known.


Another woman was killed in the domestic call and was dead before police arrived, Stewart said, but police declined to confirm that information. Stewart also said there was a child in the house during the incident who was not harmed.

Neighbors told CBS affiliate WUSA in Washington, D.C., that a violent scene unfolded as cops showed up.


The shooting occurred in the Lake Ridge neighborhood, on a curving street with $500,000 suburban houses with brick and siding exteriors, manicured lawns and two-car garages about a five-minute drive from the county office building.


US blocks India’s solar power plan


February 26, 2016, by Alex Kirby

LONDON, 27 February, 2016 – India has been told that it cannot go ahead as planned with its ambitious plan for a huge expansion of its renewable energy sector, because it seeks to provide work for Indian people. The case against India was brought by the US.

The ruling, by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says India’s National Solar Mission − which would create local jobs, while bringing electricity to millions of people − must be changed because it includes a domestic content clause requiring part of the solar cells to be produced nationally.

Just super.

Charlie Pierce: "Ted Cruz couldn't win a personality contest against a wolverine"

or words to that effect.

On Chris Hayes' show just now.

Love me some Charlie Pierce.

Context, from Paiute history, about the Oregon militia attack on Malheur

This is a very interesting read, about the real history behind this contested area.


Oregon Militia Brings Battle Back to Malheur Reservation

Sarah Winnemucca isn’t a name known by many—her surname is more likely identified as a town in Nevada than the last name of one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent American Indian writers and activists. Author of Life Among the Piutes, one of the first published narratives by a Native American, she made frequent headlines for her vocal support of indigenous rights. One of her most long-lasting campaigns was to restore her people, the Northern Paiutes, to the Malheur Reservation, which was created in 1872 by the U.S. government. In January 1879, following the Bannock War, residents of the reservation were forced to travel 350 miles to the Yakama Indian Reservation after an ill-informed decision to punish the Northern Paiutes, many of whom had supported the US against the Bannocks in the War. Even the so-called “hostiles” in the war were motivated by the usual: colonialist land encroachment and resource exploitation.


The Malheur Indian Reservation was established for the Northern Paiutes in 1872 by President Grant. When Winnemucca arrived a few years later, she reported that Agent Charles Parrish dealt fairly with the Paiutes. Trouble broke out in 1876, however, when President Grant’s “Peace Policy” replaced Parrish with a “Christian” man—William Rinehart—who proved a cruel and corrupt leader. The Bannock War soon followed.

The Northern Paiutes found that Winnemucca’s heroic fidelity to the US was not rewarded in the aftermath to the Bannock War, when the residents of Malheur were ordered to move to the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington Territory. At Yakama, where, Winnemucca reported, “not an Indian was ever taught the alphabet,” Paiutes were denied the education they had received at Malheur. She also reported that her people weren’t adequately reimbursed for their work and, if paid, were later stripped of their earnings: “Yes, poorer in clothes. Poorer in horses. Poorer in victuals; in every thing. We have lost 53 head of horses, and have left 257 head. Our sick have been poorly cared for, and many have died for want of something to eat. Now, can anyone blame us for wanting to go back to our own country?” By November 1879 it was reported that no Indians remained at Malheur.


She then detailed the horrific move to Yakama:


Amid her tears the Princess said: “Many a time at night I would see a poor woman come into camp crying, and the civilized women would laugh at her. Why was she crying– because she was tired or cold? No; but because her baby was lying in her arms frozen to death! Old men left in wagons over night perished in the cold, and next morning were dumped out on the road with nothing to cover them but the snow.” Here the tears choked her utterance for a while, but, continuing, she said: “Thrown away as you would treat a hog! When we arrived at Yakima we were turned over like a drove of cattle–so many men, women and children. “


Copyright says I can't post any more from this article. Please go to the link and read it; if you have gotten this far, I am sure you will find it worth your time.

Also, more about the Bannock War, from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannock_War

I have to admit I must've slept through this lesson in grade school.

S.2266 - H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2015 - Your candidate's position?

I am looking for information regarding each candidate's position on this bill.

The bill is reported has having been co-written by Grassley and Durbin. It is listed as sponsored by Grassley, which is a good thing in a republican controlled congress.

Other co-sponsors are:

Sherrod Brown (D)
Richard Blumenthal (D)
Bill Nelson (R)
Jeff Sessions (R)

More info here:

I note that the one candidate who is in the Senate and who has an actual opportunity to endorse the bill by co-sponsoring it, has not done so. HOWEVER, it is quite possible that it is better for the bill that Bernie Sanders NOT co-sponsor it. If he co-sponsored it then that brings presidential politics into play. Also notice that it currently has an equal number of D and R co-sponsors, and adding Bernie would throw that out of balance if there wasn't a matching republican. This is probably politically calculated to give the bill the best possible chance of passing. Of course, that then makes it awkward for Bernie to announce direct and complete support for it. But he still should be able to say something.

And I'd like to know what the other candidates have to say about it.

On a side note, when I google "H1B Durbin" in order to find something about it, almost all the articles are from publications that seem to cater to Indians. The only US article I saw was in the Wall Street Journal blog. Excerpt:

Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin last week introduced a bill that would require all companies that want to hire workers under H-1Bs to first try to hire U.S. citizens.

In addition, firms that employ more than 50 people and have more than half of their staff on H-1B and L-1 visas would be barred from hiring new workers on H-1Bs.

H-1Bs are for skilled workers, and L-1 visas are for those with specialized knowledge who are transferred to the U.S. within their company.

The U.S. Department of Labor would be able to monitor and penalize firms that don’t comply under the proposed law.

“For years, foreign outsourcing companies have used loopholes in the laws to displace qualified American workers and facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs,” Mr. Grassley said in a statement. The bill “would end these abuses and protect American and foreign workers from exploitation.”

Darkness in Paris. (Charlie Pierce)


There is no question that it will get worse as they move toward dawn in Paris. There is no question that it will get worse as the days turn into months and the months into years. Barbarians have laid siege to an entire European city for one of the first times since Rome fell. The body count will climb. The retribution will be swift and harsh, as will the inevitable reaction, and as will the retribution for the reaction. And the events of the day will be fed into the armored, blind triviality of the ongoing American election, and into the utterly corrupted American political system, and into the carefully cultivated timidity and faithlessness that all of these things have combined to make out of the American democracy over the past 15 years. Something awful has happened in Paris. Out of it will be born something awful in the collective mind and the collective heart and the collective soul. I wish I weren't so sure of this, but the planet looks awfully black from up here, and it doesn't look any different if you close your eyes.​

He quoted freakin' Thomas Merton.

I'm watching the re-air of the forum at this moment (not for long unfortunately, got stuff to do) and this part on why we aren't winning on climate change, where he says Dems tend to "connect the dots and draw a line straight to hell" and the audience doesn't seem to get it, then he quotes Thomas Merton “Any appeal that begins from a standpoint of despair is doomed to fail.” ... I found this part of his appearance incredibly powerful but wonder if others react similarly?

But gawd, this guy quotes Thomas Merton. I like it.

A question about the bombing of the MSF hospital in Afghanistan

I asked this in another thread and did not get a response.

First, please know that I am a huge supporter of MSF. The questions I'm asking are to fill a gap in my knowledge. Because this part of the story makes no sense to me.


Was the MSF facility marked as a hospital? Presumably, in Afghanistan that would have been with a large red crescent symbol, visible from the air. I have seen nothing in any article that I've read (admittedly not a large percentage of what's out there) that indicates the facility was clearly marked, or not.

If it was, why did the pilot bomb it anyway? If it was visibly marked as a hospital, he should have known that any order to bomb that site was an illegal order, and should have responded along the lines of, "negative, the site is marked as a hospital, we can't bomb a hospital". According to my understanding of the laws of war, anyway.

It is wasn't, why wasn't it? Okay, here is where it gets fuzzy for me. Again, by my understanding of the laws of war - which may be completely wrong of course - if a medical facility is marked by a universally recognized symbol such as a red cross or a red crescent, then if a faction attacks it they are violating the laws of war. (Geneva Convention?) But if it is NOT marked, how does it expect that protection? For all that has been posted about "they told the US their coordinates" that STILL does not make it easy for a pilot to recognize while flying a mission. And that visible recognition would be the final protection in case of human error in providing target coordinates. So I wouldn't think that the new technology of GPS would make the need for marking obsolete. On the other hand, some of these groups we're fighting with allegedly ignore the laws of war anyway, and who knows might even deliberately target a hospital if it is so marked. So maybe there are good reasons why hospitals aren't marked any more, or just this particular hospital wasn't marked?


I appreciate any thoughtful, informed replies and discussion on this topic.

(I will only be able to check in off and on but I will read all replies when I can.)

It's not "authenticity" it's "charisma" you morons!

And by "morons" of course I mean the morons on MSNBC this morning.

"Authenticity" has a highly positive connotation.

"Charisma" is more mixed, but less valued in a politician, when it is recognized as all an act with no positive substance backing it up. (Bill Clinton is loaded with charisma but when people scratched that surface they found substance as well)

If anything Hillary is far more authentic than Trump and the others from the clown car. With the possible exception of the very non-charismatic Santorum. (Authentic doesn't mean good policies, it just means you have a pretty good idea what they are and they track with how the person has behaved throughout their life.)

Let's be clear, personally I don't find Trump charismatic at all, I think he is a buffoon. But his buffoonery obviously appeals to a big chunk of the republican primary electorate. And that's charisma, not authenticity.

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