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Member since: Sat Jun 4, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Journal Archives

Lectures in History: CIA & Regime Change in the Cold War

This is a one-hour history lecture that was broadcast on C-Span3 yesterday.

I caught this at about the 8 minute mark while channel surfing. I'll admit that I can't often sit through an hour of C-Span. But this time I couldn't change the channel. This is a really interesting look at some more details behind some history that many of us here kind of know about but probably didn't get in our high school or college history classes. Ok, not very detailed, because he covers several events during the hour, but certainly more than I knew before.


Colorado School of Mines professor Kenneth Osgood looks at the CIA and regime change in the Cold War. Professor Osgood discusses several examples of the CIA’s involvement in covert regime change operations, including coups in Guatemala in 1954 and in Chile in 1973.

And actually, part of me is wondering how long this will be available on the C-Span website. Ya know?

What Obama's inbox looks like [yesterday]. (Hilarious)


I can't believe no one's posted this yet, but I couldn't find it here.* Not sure I have time to futz with moving the photo so that I can show it here directly, but if someone else wants to, have at it.

* I'm sure now someone will post the link to where it was posted on DU but for some inexplicable reason sank.

Bill introduced in PA legislature to defund Planned Parenthood


HARRISBURG — Even as some Republicans try to steer policy initiatives toward bread-and-butter economic issues in advance of the November elections, a small band of GOP lawmakers in Harrisburg tacked rightward Wednesday, introducing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania.

The legislation, similar to antiabortion bills crafted in other states, would bar all federal and state funding to the nonprofit, which provides abortions along with an array of other women’s health services.


Earlier this year, a group of House lawmakers introduced the “Women’s Right to Know Act,” a bill that would force women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound of the unborn baby before the procedure. That bill has yet to reach a floor vote.

Last year, six other state legislatures stripped Planned Parenthood of public funding. Courts in each of those states except Wisconsin have since determined that those laws were unconstitutional and have temporarily blocked them. Other states have dropped similar proposals, and four — Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Michigan — are still weighing similar bills. In New Jersey, Gov. Christie last year blocked Democrats’ efforts to fund Planned Parenthood in that state.

Also see http://triblive.com/news/1843969-74/legislation-parenthood-planned-health-metcalfe-pennsylvania-abortion-family-funding-planning

Caterpillars, Cocoons And Unplanned Parenthood


This is a Good Read. (yes of course, that's why I'm posting it here.) Can't think of anything to add that isn't already covered fairly well in the article. Except if you've been head down to the grindstone at work all week and have no idea why caterpillars are suddenly in the news, google news is your friend.


Also in Wisconsin, this past Sunday, a homemade bomb went off at a Planned Parenthood clinic. This may have been the first well-publicized literal attack on Planned Parenthood during the primary season, but the entire premise of reproductive rights, with Planned Parenthood as the symbolic torchbearer, has long been firmly in the crosshairs of the Republican Party.

Reince and Repeat may not believe his party has started a war on women, but proposing legislation that would punish a group of people without hearing from them has been a casus belli in this land before. I wonder what the Real Tea Party Patriots (of 1773) would have thought of a congressional birth control panel featuring five men.


Republicans have decided to make Planned Parenthood the branded boogeyman representing birth control and reproductive choice. Therefore, I propose that if they want to attack Planned Parenthood, they should also have to defend unplanned parenthood.

Convincing any logical person to practice abstinence is not happening—the value proposition of sex now destroys any unlikely potential celestial rewards later. We should also not rush people into ill-suited marriages, or let their sexual frustration build up to where they make this important decision while under pressure and acting irrationally, a la fast food at 3 a.m. on an empty stomach. If we want a society where people pick a life partner and/or have children when they feel ready to take on the responsibility rather than have the responsibility fall on them, we'll have to deal with one that has premarital sex, contraception, planned relationships and yes, planned parenthood.

Best organizations for promoting women's rights via US law?

Just wondering who you all think are the best organizations - best as in most strategic and effective - in organizing women and protecting women's rights, particularly those rights which enable a woman to determine her own life course. Obviously reproductive rights would be huge, but it would also include access to employment, education, health care and other services.

I am interested in what organizations focus on these issues. I think I'm most interested in those that work politically to defeat the most heinous candidates and elect the most decent. But it would be interesting if there were also something like SPLC for women, that focuses primarily on pursuing legal action in women's rights' cases. (For anyone who doesn't know, SPLC - Southern Poverty Law Center - prosecutes a lot of hate crime cases, in addition to doing a lot of other work to fight bias discrimination.)

I'm guessing NOW would be near the top of the list. How effective do you think NOW is? (how is it that bills are getting passes to drag us back to the dark ages?) Are there other organizations?

Komen pro-death* VP promised to defund Planned Parenthood


As I wrote earlier, the Race for the Cure has decided to stop funding breast exams at Planned Parenthood clinics after pressure from religious right anti-abortion activists and Republican House members. Is it a coincidence that the Race for the Cure new senior vice president is a Republican anti-abortion activist?

2010: Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel runs for governor on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood.

2011: Republican politico and anti-choice activist Handel is hired by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization that runs the annual breast cancer fundraiser "Race for the Cure," and that gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood to conduct breast exams on women around the country

2012: Komen stops funding Planned Parenthood's breast exams after pressure from who? Republicans!

It makes one wonder whether Karen Handel had a hand in accomplishing, as the senior VP at Komen, what she couldn't accomplish as a Georgia Republican anti-abortion activist - defunding Planned Parenthood.

More on Komen's new Republican senior VP:

.... (go to the link!)

* yes I changed the title. so-called "pro-life" is really pro-death: THEY PREFER THAT WOMEN DIE. They care about the idea of 'an innocent baby' (even when it's a clump of 4 cells) but when it comes to the already born, living woman, they insist that a WOMAN MUST GIVE HER LIFE - even to bear A RAPIST'S BABY.

"Pro-life" is the biggest misnomer in the lexicon. They are really PRO DEATH. It's time we called them on it. And stop giving to parasitic, so-called "charities" like Komen - give to the organizations that actually care for the people who need it. Planned Parenthood if that's your thing, or even a local food bank - far better than supporting the right wing scum that run Komen.

Proposed rule changes for assessing new transit projects


Mass transit has, according to its fans, a staggering array of benefits. It reduces pollution, improves quality of life, and anchors vibrant walkable communities. It boosts public health and makes people happier. But relatively few transit-boosters understand that existing federal guidelines for assessing which new projects to fund not only exclude those considerations, they make it extremely difficult for newly built transit to meet those objectives. A new proposed rule from the Department of Transportation, now entering its 60-day comment period to let people raise objections, should change all that for the better.

The existing rule, sadly, evaluates proposals almost exclusively on the basis of how much time a new rail line shaves off commutes. But taking a train station-to-station rather than driving a car door-to-door is guaranteed to be slower unless traffic jams are severe. This has biased new mass-transit construction in favor of a very particular kind of project: First identify a highway that’s already extremely congested and where widening it is either politically or logistically impossible. Then build commuter-rail tracks in the highway median. Put the stations far apart from one another so that trains can cruise at maximum speed for a long time. Surround the stations with parking lots. Driving your car to a park-and-ride station and taking the train downtown is now cheaper and perhaps faster than the average trip on the congested highway.

That’s how you get something like the Washington, D.C. Metro’s Orange Line in Fairfax County, Va. Trains run in the I-66 median, and stations are far apart and surrounded by open-air parking lots. It’s a helpful addition to the region’s commuter mix. But it doesn’t create the kind of transit-oriented neighborhoods that you see all over Brooklyn or Boston.

For that, you need something else entirely. You need train stations surrounded by densely built structures, not parking lots. And you need the stations to be relatively close to each other. Dense building around one station creates a little circle of walkability. A series of stations built close together, each surrounded by its own little circle, creates a string of walkable pearls that re-enforce each other. That’s how you get whole new communities where people get by with fewer than one car per adult, spurring a circle of demand for pedestrian-oriented businesses and decreased demand for car ownership. And that’s what gives you big public health and environmental benefits.

Much more at the link.

Per the article, the proposed rule just entered a 60-day comment period.

You can go directly to the proposed rule at: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-01198_PI.pdf

You can comment on the proposed rule at: http://www.regulations.gov (as described in the beginning of the document).

Take action against $2000 asset test for food stamps


This link goes to an article justifying Philabundance's position against the $2000 asset test.

To take action, click link near the top that says "ACT NOW! Contact Governor Corbett and tell him you are not in favor of a food stamp asset test.".

Even if you think SOME asset test might be appropriate, for many reasons $2000 is way too low. As a taxpayer and long-time Pennsylvanian, I would rather pay for a small amount of fraud in the system, than hurt as many honest people as will be hurt by Corbett's plan.

Giant Food Stores to buy 16 Philadelphia-area Genuardi's markets


In what amounts to its biggest expansion move ever in the Philadelphia market, Giant Food Stores on Thursday announced it had acquired 16 Genuardi's supermarkets from Safeway Inc. for $106 million.

The transfer of ownership to Giant of 16 of 27 Genuardi's stores in the region - coupled with the closing of three more stores and the hoped-for sale of the remaining eight - likely signals the end of the Genuardi's grocery name, which was among the region's most highly regarded before Safeway acquired the family-owned business in 2001.

The supermarkets being snapped up and converted by Giant, based in Carlisle, Pa., are scattered across Philadelphia's Pennsylvania suburbs and include locations in Wynnewood and St. Davids, giving the fast-expanding retailer a foothold on the coveted Main Line, where family incomes are high and land for new, large grocery stores is generally hard to find.

Safeway said it would close three other Genuardi's and sell all four in South Jersey and four in Southeastern Pennsylvania that are not among the group Giant plans to convert in the next six months.

The acquisition by Giant is contingent on approval by the Federal Trade Commission.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/136785273.html?page=1&c=y#ixzz1inQnecIn

The article has a list of which specific stores were sold to Giant, which ones will be closed, and which ones are for sale.

Giant is non-union and a union-buster, right? I have one near me and it's actually an excellent store, if I don't take into account the union aspect. But I always liked Genuardi's before it sold off to Safeway. So I see this development as unfortunate. More loss of choice. And, even though it has a certain store listed as acquired rather than closed, since it is very close to at least one existing Giant, I don't foresee it actually remaining open. I think maybe there is a question of the property lease and they will only keep that location open until they can get a better deal.

Climate change models flawed, extinction rate likely higher than predicted


As climate change progresses, the planet may lose more plant and animal species than predicted, a new modeling study suggests.

This is because current predictions overlook two important factors: the differences in how quickly species relocate and competition among species, according to the researchers, led by Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut.

Overall, competition slowed everyone down in the pursuit of habitat; however, the strongest dispersers were able to overcome this and displace others, the researchers found.

"It's not about how fast you can move, but how fast you move relative to your competitors," Urban said.

"The species that face the greatest extinction risks might not be limited to those that disperse less than climate change absolutely requires, but also those that disperse poorly relative to their warm-adapted competitors," they write in a study published in the Jan. 4 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

more at the link.
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