Germany, the country that brought you industrial genocide and nightmarish medical experiments, has proven that it’s now completely hip and liberal by banning circumcision of children without their consent. The court ruled: “The fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighs the fundamental rights of the parents. The child’s body is permanently and irreparably changed by the circumcision. This change runs counter to the interests of the child, who can decide his religious affiliation himself later in life.”
The ruling only affects the Cologne region.
The court did not ban circumcision when the child gives consent, a loophole religious groups will probably use to continue the practice with or without actual consent. Both Jewish and Muslim groups have called the ruling an intrusion into religious freedom – the same excuse used by American Mormons when prosecuted for child rape.
For the first time in the history the United States House of Representatives has voted to hold a sitting Attorney General in contempt of congress, finding Eric Holder “guilty” of withholding documents pertinent to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation into the “Fast and Furious” gun-running fiasco.
Holder now joins the more than 80% of Americans who hold Congress in contempt.
Seventeen Democrats joined 238 Republicans to vote in favor of House Resolution 711, for a final vote tally of 255-to-67 in favor of finding the Attorney General in contempt – even though President Barack Obama invoked his “executive privilege” to shield Holder and the documents. It was the first time Obama has used executive privilege. Almost every U.S. president has used executive privilege to deny Congress access to information – George Washington was the first in 1796 when he denied the House access to documents relating to the treaty John Jay negotiated with Great Britain. Ronald Reagan used the privilege three times. Bill Clinton used it a whopping 14 times. George W. Bush invoked the rule six times.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R – Lake Elsinore CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, spearheaded the effort to find Holder in contempt. Issa contends that Holder not only withheld subpoenaed documents, but also lied to Congress about his involvement in the gun-running scheme that ended with a border patrol agent being murdered with a weapon the government supplied to Mexican drug lords. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is also suspected of lying to Congress in a letter claiming they had no involvement in the “Fast and Furious” operation.
The contempt vote is unprecedented, and seen by many as a political tactic to attempt to overshadow administration victories in the courts on immigration and health care issues – in particular the recent Supreme Court decisions on Arizona’s immigration law and the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Some have suggested there may be racist overtones, as Holder is black and has been a particular target of Obama’s opposition throughout his first term.
Whatever the motivation, the contempt vote is unlikely to have any actual consequences for Holder, and merely sets the stage for a showdown in the courts to attempt to enforce the House subpoenas for documents. In 1974 the Supreme Court denied a claim of Executive Privilege by then-President Richard Nixon, although in that decision it upheld the general validity of the Executive Privilege power of the presidency.
Once the jubilation over the Supreme Court decision to uphold “Obamacare” dies down it will be time to fully enact the Affordable Care Act – including the provisions to pay for it.
Part of the money will come from cuts to the current health care costs incurred by the government, but the bulk of the $1 trillion that will be spent over the next ten years will come from taxes. Americans will pay an additional 9/10 of one percent on income over $200k to help finance the system. Those with investment income may be subject to a new 3.8% tax on some of their capital gains and dividends.
Businesses that offer what are considered “excellent” or “Cadillac” health care plans will also pay more: plans that cost over $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage will be subject to new excise taxes. Many business analysts claim businesses will try to avoid this tax by reducing their plan offerings or even cutting health care plans altogether. The theory is this will translate to higher wages or higher profits, and thus higher tax revenues – so either way the government is covered.
There is also a new tax deductible cap on “flexible spending plans”, and new regulations that limit what such plans can pay for, plus a 20% penalty for non-qualified expenses.
The limit for deductions for medical expenses will rise from 7.5% of income to 10% – although that provision will not kick-in until 2016 for those over 65 years-of-age.
Those who enjoy indoor tanning salons have been paying a 10% excise tax since 2010, supposedly because of the health care costs associated with irradiating your skin with UV light.
And finally there is the controversial “individual mandate”, that requires those who can afford health insurance but who choose not to get it to pay a penalty. This will be phased-in in a graduated plan between the years 2014 to 2016, starting at $285 per family or 1% of income (whichever is greater), and growing to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income (whichever is greater). Initially Obama resisted this provision but bowed to pressure from insurers who claim without it people will take advantage of the law’s lack of “preexisting condition” exclusions by waiting to buy insurance after they get sick. The insurers thus need the mandate to turn a profit and stay in business. Under the original proposed law these people would have been served via a “public option” offered directly through the government, but this was gutted from the law by Republicans who considered it to be “socialism” (unlike taking money from the insurance lobby, which is “capitalism”).
The Supreme Court of the United States released it’s decision on the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act of 2010 Thursday, rejecting arguments that the law is unconstitutional. The Court upheld “Obamacare” on a 5-to-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the Court’s 4 liberal justices.
President Obama immediately made a statement to the nation via just about every media outlet known to humanity, essentially saying “Nyah nyah nyah! Big stinkin’ Tea Party sucking conservatives lost!”
Conservatives immediately made a statement as well, saying “this isn’t the end of this! Well go all the way on this one, and we’ll take it to…uh, take it to…er, ah…is there somewhere to take it after the Supreme Court?”
To which Obama replied “No! There isn’t! Nyah nyah nyah!”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he was disappointed in the Court decision, and added repeal of the law and firing the 5 justices who voted to uphold it to his “Day One To-Do List”, which now has several thousand items on it including “declare polygamy to be legal”, “change the name of the Earth to Utah”, and “install car elevator in White House garage”.
The Women’s Tennis Association has announced it will issue handheld “grunt meters” to umpires to measure the loudness of player grunting on the court. Farting will still be allowed, to the dismay of spectators.
Nadia Suleman, the mother of 14 children, including octuplets conceived via in vitro fertilization, has filmed a porn movie.
“It has been the most empowering, liberating thing I have ever done,” Suleman told Dr. Drew, a television “doctor” who makes a career out of being judgmental.
Oil industry organizations like the Oil Price Information Service are reporting the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude has fallen to the lowest level since last October at $78.20 per barrel. Prices are expected to continue to drop to a level that will bring gas down to below $3 per gallon “by Halloween, and certainly by Thanksgiving,” says Tom Kloza of OPIS.
This is good news for consumers, and even better news for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Prices of over $5 per gallon had been predicted due to Middle East “tensions” and refinery problems. Apparently the market feels those problems are over, and Obama will claim some of the credit for that due to his policies in the Middle East, even though the entire region is essentially a powder keg of unrest and revolution and new “tensions” could cause oil prices to rise at any moment.
The United States Supreme Court struck-down key provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, siding with the Federal government in its contention that it has jurisdiction on immigration issues. Some parts of the law the Court invalidated include:
- Authorizing police to arrest immigrants without warrant where “probable cause” exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.
- Making it a state crime for “unauthorized immigrants” to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.
- Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work. That would include immigrants standing in a parking lot who “gesture or nod” their willingness to be employed.
However, the Court let stand the most controversial part of the law, allowing police to check a person’s immigration status when enforcing other laws. Though the Court did leave open the possibility this provision can be re-visited in the future on different grounds.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who championed the draconian law, claimed the Court decision was a “victory” because apparenly in Arizona having your ass handed to you by the highest court in the land is somehow “winning”.
The town of Durham, NH, has asked Barack Obama to pay for the privilege of visiting them. A press release has indicated the town wants the Obama campaign to pay up-to $30,000 needed to fund additional police and fire safety services during the President’s Monday visit to the University of New Hampshire.
“Community leaders do not believe that costs associated with the campaign should be borne by local taxpayers,” the town said.
Actually, to be serious for a moment, at my elementary school we put our hand over our heart for the pledge, but only stood for the “Star Spangled Banner”.
By the time I got to jr. high I had already decided worshiping inanimate objects was dumb, so I stopped doing either one, and got into a LOT of trouble for not saying the pledge or standing for the anthem (but I enjoyed trouble).
Later as an adult I decided to stand for the anthem even though it’s actually a song about a battle at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 – a war the U.S. declared against Britain for no really good reason except to make a land grab for Canada that didn’t work out.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a silly bit of war hysteria from 1942 that is more of an embarrassment for our country than anything else (the words “under God” were added in 1954 to make sure Commies wouldn’t say it, because everyone knows Commies don’t believe in God), and fortunately it hasn’t come up as an issue for me since school (and I still wouldn’t say it if it did).
Vote, pay taxes, respect the Constitution – that’s what makes you an American. Plus being pretty sure you’re better than everyone else. Everything else is propaganda.
So…I’m black? HOORAY! I’M BLACK! Maybe I’ll start dressing better!
Building 18, the Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is the subject of a congressional investigation after a potentially dangerous airflow leak. The incident occurred on February 16, when air flowed the wrong way out of a germ lab into a clean-air corridor, rather than through the powerful HEPA filter that cleans the air, congressional sources and CDC officials said.
“At the time work was being done on the ultra-toxic X-1 virus” an anonymous source at the CDC said. “This is the most feared virus in existence because it engenders a sense of integrity and responsibility in the victim – essentially it makes them concerned with the welfare of others and makes them want to do things that basic intelligence and common sense would indicate are desirable for the progress of society and civilization. So it’s instant death to politicians, bureaucrats, and cable news people.”
LeRoy Neiman will always be remembered as the “Olympics artist”, and the only painter most “readers” of Playboy know by name as well as by sight. Neiman’s bright canvases often appeared as if the paints were unmixed and applied straight from the tube, because they were.
Just in time to qualify for the usual “second election controversy” most presidents get – it’s really like the media and the politicians conspire to save-up this stuff to spring it at the appropriate time.
Anyway – “Executive Privilege” is the presidential synonym for “cover-up a cover-up”. This is when the administration publicly covers-up a secret cover-up. Now, if the administration has a friendly congress this will usually work. If an unfriendly one it leads to high-level “special” investigations and hearings. With a split congress it can go either way, but will almost certainly lead to total gridlock as both sides devote all their time to playing “gotcha” instead of doing the country’s business.
The administration strategy: keep playing “hide the salami” until after the election and if they win it becomes a lame-duck nuisance.
The opposition strategy: keep on-target trying to make the administration dig itself a deeper hole until there are so many outstanding questions and allegations that people go over to their side just to feel clean.
The usual outcome: lower-level bureaucrats lose their jobs, millions and millions in tax money is spent on political pissing contests, and no substantive governmental work gets done.
Former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak has reportedly been declared clinically dead at a hospital in Cairo after suffering a massive heart attack. However, sources in the Egyptian military dispute this claim, saying Mubarak is alive but in critical condition, kind of like Egypt.
Google has released a “transparency report” that reveals it is working hand-in-glove with international governmental agencies to censor its search results and to rat-out its users. The report shows that in the last half of 2011, the United States alone requested 6,192 individual pieces of content be removed from Google’s search results, blog posts or archives of online videos. That’s a 718% increase from the first half of 2011, and Google complied with 42% of those requests.
It’s difficult to know which is worse: the idea that U.S. attempts to censor the Internet increased by 718% in just six months, or that Google caved-in on almost half of them.
Carlin was arrested on July 21, 1972, at Milwaukee’s Summerfest and charged with violating obscenity laws after performing this routine ["Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television"]. The case, which prompted Carlin to refer to the words for a time as “the Milwaukee Seven,” was dismissed in December of that year; the judge declared that the language was indecent but Carlin had the freedom to say it as long as he caused no disturbance.
The Seven Words are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.
Nik Wallenda, seventh generation daredevil of the famous “Flying Wallendas”, became the first person to walk a tightrope directly over Niagara Falls – and at night just to add to the accomplishment. When he got to the Canadian side he was asked how he was, and he said “I really have to pee!”