Third Weekend July 2009 – Brief

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afghanistanflag

Afghanistan detainees indefinitely confined, refusing to leave cells to shower
The prisoners at the largest U.S. detention facility in Afghanistan have refused to leave their cells to shower or exercise for the past two weeks to protest their indefinite imprisonment.

The prisoners at the largest U.S. detention facility in Afghanistan have refused to leave their cells to shower or exercise for the past two weeks to protest their indefinite imprisonment.

The prison wide protest, which has been going on since at least July 1, offers a rare glimpse inside a facility that is even more closed off to the public than the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Information about the protest came to light when the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) informed the families of several detainees that scheduled video teleconferences and visits were being canceled.

Representatives of the ICRC, which monitors the treatment of detainees and arranges the calls, last visited the Bagram prison July 5, but inmates were unwilling to meet with them.

Although the prisoners are refusing to leave their cells, they are not engaging in hunger strikes or violence. Ramzi Kassem, an attorney for a Yemeni national held at Bagram, said detainees are protesting being held indefinitely without trial or legal recourse.

The U.S. military declined to comment.

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PAULSON ECONOMY
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HANK “I Don’t Recall” PAULSON
(AM session)(PM session)

highlights…
REP Towns – TARP

REP Kucinich – Secret Mergers Illegal Acts

REP Speier – $15B Force

REP Burton – Too Many Secrets

REP Kanjorski – Meltdown

REP CummingsAIG Goldman

REP Kaptur – The Greatest Hail Mary Pass Of ALL TIME!

REP Stearns – Bait and Switch – No Credibility – Recuse

.more Goldman goodies
analysis

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larceny – n. the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another from his or her possession with intent to convert them to the taker’s own use.

grand – adj. impressive in size or appearance.

shark

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police

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Democrats logoCandidates Ask Lobbyists for Fund-raising Help
A number of candidates facing tough re-election bids are turning to K Street for fundraising help.

July 15 was the first time that candidates’ political committees had to detail to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the lobbyists and companies registered to lobby that have been bundling for them — collecting checks for campaign donations to give to the politicians. Reports have begun to trickle into the election watchdog agency this week, which are required under the ethics law that Congress passed in September 2007.

In the new reports, several prominent congressional leaders in the House and the Senate have listed lobbyists as bundlers for them, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars from their networks for the lawmakers.

For example, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) listed many lobbyist fundraisers on his report to the FEC. Bundlers raised more than $110,000 for his campaign committee, Friends of Harry Reid, this past quarter.

Lobbyists helping Reid included Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group who collected $18,700 in campaign contributions for Reid this past quarter. In addition, Emanuel Rouvelas of K&L Gates bundled $19,000 for the Nevada Democrat. And William Singer of Kirkland and Ellis fundraised $39,750 for Reid. more

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What’s New?
twit vid

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marijuana Move To Legalize Marijuana Takes Root
In a 1969 Gallup poll, only 12% of Americans supported making marijuana legal. By 2005, support had grown to 36%. And in a Zogby International poll taken earlier this year, 44% of Americans said marijuana “should be taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.”The most interesting information, however, is in the demographic breakdown. more

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its4u

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c1t

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upsfedex

Conservative Group Offers Endorsement For $2M
The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s endorsement in a bitter legislative dispute, then the group’s president flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay.

For the $2 million plus, ACU offered a range of services that included: “Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)”

The conservative group’s remarkable demand — black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as “pay for play” — was contained in a private letter to FedEx , which was provided to POLITICO.

The letter exposes the practice by some political interest groups of taking stands not for reasons of pure principle, as their members and supporters might assume, but also in part because a sponsor is paying big money.

In the three-page letter asking for money on June 30, the conservative group backed FedEx. After FedEx says it rejected the offer, Keene signed onto a two-page July 15 letter backing UPS. Keene did not return a message left on his cell phone.

Maury Lane, FedEx’s director of corporate communications, said: “Clearly, the ACU shopped their beliefs and UPS bought.” more
.pdf letter
Where’s My Bailout?

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apollotripod The Eagle Has Landed

note

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WHOW.H.O. Says It Plans to Stop Tracking Swine Flu Cases
In a move that caught many public health experts by surprise, the World Health Organization quietly announced Thursday that it would stop tracking swine flu cases and deaths around the world.

The last W.H.O. update, issued on July 6, showed 94,512 confirmed cases in 122 countries, with 429 deaths.

Many epidemiologists have pointed out that, in reality, millions of people have had swine flu, usually in a mild form, so the numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases were actually meaningless. And performing the tests has overwhelmed many national laboratories. W.H.O.

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note
byś nie odleciał przypadkiem

starbuckslight

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panda
yum!

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Congressional Lawmakers Invest In Their (Financial) Health
As members of Congress assess the proper dose of reform for the nation’s health care system, many of them have likewise invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of their personal funds into the very companies whose financial fortunes depend on what measures become law.

While some political scientists and other experts are concerned this reality inhibits good policy, lawmakers themselves say the financial health of their constituents — not their investment portfolios — alone drive their decisions.

Legislators held significant investments in pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Amgen, the Center for Responsive Politics has found. Through 2008 — the most recent year for which lawmakers filed this information — many congressional members’ personal funds were also invested in big-time insurers Aetna, UnitedHealth Group and Metlife, among others.

“Having personal funds in healthcare companies has the potential to influence someone’s understanding of the issues and affect the policies they support. The potential for being influenced by one’s own self interest is present whenever Congress is considering legislation that could have an impact on the profits of the companies,” said Leonard Weber, Professor Emeritus at the University of Detroit Mercy and an ethics consultant for health establishments. “It would certainly be better if these self-interests were not part of the decision-making process.”

Nearly one in four current members of Congress had invested some money in health companies during 2007, the most recent year CRP calculated lawmakers’ extensive personal finances. (Data for 2008 will be available in our personal financial disclosure database come October). That made for a total of between $44.2 million and $93.9 million. And while the market has changed significantly since then, a scan of their 2008 reports show that lawmakers held onto–or even purchased–stock in these companies during 2008.

Because lawmakers report the value of their assets in ranges, it’s impossible to determine their exact worth.

Merck, Pfizer and UnitedHealth rank among the top 10 investments in 2007, and are part of an industry that opposes one of the main components of reform proposals–a public health insurance option that would compete with private insurers. more

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pills

Drug Makers Score Early Wins as Plan Takes Shape
The pharmaceuticals industry, which President Barack Obama promised to “take on” during his campaign, is winning most of what it wants in the health-care overhaul.

The final contours of the legislation are far from settled, but the industry, led by a onetime powerful congressman, has notched a string of victories.

Legislation expected soon in the powerful Senate Finance Committee will leave out cost-cutting steps as part of an agreement with the industry and the White House, according to Congressional aides, industry lobbyists and others involved in the talks. more

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85
Joy Of Sachs

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pound-signIMF warns pound could be at risk from uncertainty
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Gordon Brown risks a run on the pound if he does not set out a clear path for reducing national debt.

In a report published yesterday following a staff mission to Britain in May, the IMF said that a “credible plan” was needed to reverse the rapid deterioration of the public finances if confidence in the UK was to be upheld.

“Market conditions suggest the UK has been getting the benefit of the doubt, both in the Government bond market and also the foreign exchange market,” said Ajai Chopra, the IMF’s mission chief for the UK. “This benefit of the doubt is not going to last forever and it’s going to be important that the Government does not test the limit of the market’s confidence.

“The authorities will need to move more aggressively in their fiscal consolidation plans and to be specific it will be important to set public debt on a firmly downward path faster than is envisaged in the 2009 Budget,” he added….

The report added: “Should fiscal sustainability come into question, interest rates would rise despite monetary easing efforts, the ability of the Government to provide support to the financial sector would be severely limited and pressures on the currency could emerge.” telegraph uk £

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james brown

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qb

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itty bitty logo-googleWorking With News publishers
Last week, a group of newspaper and magazine publishers signed a declaration stating that “Universal access to websites does not necessarily mean access at no cost,” and that they “no longer wish to be forced to give away property without having granted permission.”

We agree, and that’s how things stand today. The truth is that news publishers, like all other content owners, are in complete control when it comes not only to what content they make available on the web, but also who can access it and at what price. This is the very backbone of the web — there are many confidential company web sites, university databases, and private files of individuals that cannot be accessed through search engines. If they could, the web would be much less useful.

For more than a decade, search engines have routinely checked for permissions before fetching pages from a web site. Millions of webmasters around the world, including news publishers, use a technical standard known as the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) to tell search engines whether or not their sites, or even just a particular web page, can be crawled. Webmasters who do not wish their sites to be indexed can and do use the following two lines to deny permission: more
I think I agree
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1916 – 2009

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Clickables

indentured servitude rc 365flagxavd changecongressfwcc suebush consumer watchdog

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QOTD: “Oh, My Hat!”

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lilmoon

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1 Comment

Filed under art, blog, brief, business, computers, congress, food, Health, history, media, music, politics, science and technology

One response to “Third Weekend July 2009 – Brief

  1. FitnessGuy1987

    I usually do not take the time to leave comments, however it is difficult to find real info on this subject today. You did a great job in this post and I am going to take the time to read the rest of your blog. Keep up the good work!

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