Actual Headline: Republicans block child nutrition bill

Actual story.

WASHINGTON – House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children. Republicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity.

Well, this will surely stick it to that First Lady, oh yeah.  Good jorb, guys, way to put her back in her place.

Oh, what’s that?  What else..

The House failed to pass an extension unemployment insurance benefits for another three months Thursday afternoon. The vote was 258 to 154, short of the two-thirds needed for passage.

Republicans have sought to block the extension of benefits before, arguing that the spending should be offset by savings elsewhere.

Aaah, gotcha.

Savings elsewhere, that makes sense, got to keep a tight belt, and where are you getting those saving and why are you blocking all of this stuff?

On Tuesday, President Obama said a bunch of high-minded things about a new era of bipartisan cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. On Wednesday, all 42 Republican senators signed a letter declaring that they would block Congress from any action at all until tax cuts for the wealthy have been safely extended.

Aaah, I see, you’re blocking this so you can cut the taxes on the wealthiest 1% of the country by $700,000,000,000 which would save the country -$700,000,000,000 and thus pay for everything else and create, like, millions and billions of jobs thus ending the need to help pay for poor kids lunches and unemployment benefits (because that’s what the wealthy people will do with their extra money, spend it by hiring lots of people, regardless of demand, ensuring their wealth for generations.).

Funny, one little negative sign and some sarcasm and now it almost looks like it makes a lick a sense.

I finally get bizarro logic and voodoo economics.  Can’t believe it took me this long.

Just a story about cutting off funding for food for children to pay for tax cuts for the richest and I…finally…get…

****BLEEEEAAAARGH*******

Sorry, just puked.  That doesn’t happen very often when I’m typing.  I should rest now.

UPDATE:  Whew, I feel better now.  I think it was something I ate.  Yup.  Definitely something I ate.

Senate Republicans have made a name for themselves by finding ways to block Democratic legislation. Even when Democrats controlled a big enough majority to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome filibusters, the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell often found creative ways to slow down the legislative process, delaying the inevitable as long as possible.

But with a little bit of luck, Mr. McConnell this week may yet pull off his greatest blocking effort yet – by stopping a major food safety bill that has already been approved.

The Senate adopted the food safety measure on Tuesday by a vote of 73 to 25 with 15 Republicans joining in support. (The bill would strengthen the Food and Drug Administration, and is intended to help prevent unsafe foods from reaching grocery stores and restaurants.)

But because of an arcane parliamentary mistake, the bill must be sent to the House of Representatives, which must approve it and return it to the Senate to be approved one more time. Only then, can the measure be sent to President Obama.

A spokesman for Mr. McConnell said that Mr. Reid would likely have no trouble getting the measure approved again once the tax cut debate is settled and Congress has approved a spending measure to keep the government functioning. Until then, however, Republicans will block the bill along with everything else Mr. Reid is hoping to accomplish.

So they have to waste a week to get it done, instead of a few minutes.

At least that will give me time to get over this imaginary food poisoning I have, and plus, my body will be stronger for the next time it happens, which now will be sooner, rather than later.

There is a silver lining here, while the Republicans are holding up feeding kids to pad trust funds, they are also holding up inspecting that food to pay back the “anonymous” billionaires that funded so many of their campaigns, thus ensuring that the tainted food will never get to the children.

It’s dabolical genius, in a way.

U.S. Citizen #237 Joins Bastion of Free Speech China in Banning Wikileaks

This comes with a very big 😦  (that’s “sad face” in English).

SHANE MCLEOD: Wikileaks says its founder Julian Assange is going to stay in hiding because he may be at risk of being assassinated.

A spokeswoman for the website says the Australian citizen will maintain a low profile amidst calls by some for his arrest and prosecution for releasing sensitive diplomatic cables.

The self-styled whistleblower is starting to suffer setbacks on another front.

It has been kicked off its servers in the United States run by web-host Amazon.Com.

Amazon hasn’t made any comment – but the decision has been applauded by the US Senator Joe Lieberman — who heads the Homeland Security Committee.

[fullish story…this thing is obviously still developing.]

First up let me say that US Senator Joe Lieberman is a jackass.   I think we can all, across whatever aisle you may choose to erect betwixt us, can agree that Joe Lieberman is a jackass and should be gone, just gone, from public life (I mean he should retire, not, you know be retired).

And speaking of veiled threats of assassination…what’s up with those?  The usual “don’t retreat, reload” retard is at it again and along with Mike “Wannabee” Huckabee is trying to go for the toughest of the toughy tough competition.  Assassination?  Really?  For revealing that, for the most part, the people who work for the U.S. are doing their jobs?  For communicating across secret channels their honest assessments of important events and people around the world?

Look it turns out it was a mistake to allow folks like PRIVATE [bolded, italicized, and capped for emphasis] Manning to have access to all the communique’s from everyone around the world, in the hopes that that he or some other low-level, super-genius (you know, like in freakin’ Transformers) would solve the terrorist puzzle, but it turned out he was more likely to think people should hear this shit, man.

Literally, that was his thinking.

Manning came to the attention of the FBI and Army investigators after he contacted former hacker Adrian Lamo late last month over instant messenger and e-mail. Lamo had just been the subject of a Wired.com article. Very quickly in his exchange with the ex-hacker, Manning claimed to be the Wikileaks video leaker.

“If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?” Manning asked.

But come out they did, and once the genie is out of the bottle in a free society, it gets to wander around and wreak havoc for a bit before being assimilated into the culture at large.

That’s how freedom works.  That’s the down- (for some, up) side to it.

Any way….(and I’ll get to my point here in a minute, you’ll have to bear with me hear, composing this led to a curious tangent…)

Any way…I read the homepage for the wikileaks cablegate page (currently you can’t, since Corporate Citizen #237 Amazon.com exercised his/her/its “free speech rights” and denied Wikileaks theirs) and it says…let me find it here (BTW, I downloaded the whole site zipped on a torrent.  I don’t just preach fucking censorship, I practice it.  For reals yo…cue longest parenthetical aside ever so far on RPN, where the P stands for PIRATE, duh….[feel free to TL;DR this, I’m just C&P’ing to make a point…]

Monday, 25 January 2010, 08:14
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000072
SIPDIS
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB
EO 12958 DECL: 01/25/2030
TAGS PGOV, PINR, EPET, EINV, KCOR, RS, CH, KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  MONEY AND POWER
REF: ASTANA 0061
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland: 1.4 (b), (d)
¶1. (S) SUMMARY: During a private dinner, KazMunaiGaz First Vice President Maksat Idenov named, in his view, the four most powerful gate-keepers around President Nursultan Nazarbayev: Chief of Administration and General Services of the President’s Office Sarybai Kalmurzayev, the President’s Chief of Staff Aslan Musin, State Secretary-Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, and the tandem of Prime Minister Karim Masimov and Nazarbayev’s billionaire son-in-law Timur Kulibayev. According to Idenov, in Kazakhstan, market economy means capitalism, which means big money, XXXXXXXXXXXX. The following details are a single snapshot of one version of current reality. The significant point is that Nazarbayev is standing with Idenov, not Kulibayev, to maintain international standards to develop the massive Kashagan and Karachaganak hydrocarbon projects. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (S) On January 21, KazMunaiGaz First Vice President Maksat Idenov and the Ambassador had a one-on-one dinner in a nearly empty restaurant (times are still hard!) at the Radisson hotel in Astana. When the Ambassador arrived, Idenov was barking into his cell phone, “Mark, Mark, stop the excuses! Mark, listen to me! Mark, shut up right now and do as I say! Bring the letter to my office at 10:00 pm, and we will go together to take it to (Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, MEMR) Mynbayev at his house.” On ending the call, Idenov explained he was talking to British Gas (BG) Country Director for Kazakhstan Mark Rawlings who had missed the deadline to deliver a letter about arbitration on the Karachaganak super-giant oil-field project (reftel). Still clearly steamed, Idenov XXXXXXXXXXXX “I tell him, ‘Mark, stop being an idiot! Stop tempting fate! XXXXXXXXXXXX Idenov asked, “Do you know how much he (Rawlings) makes? $72,000 a month! A month!! Plus benefits! Plus bonuses! Lives in Switzerland but supposedly works in London. Comes here once a month to check in. Nice life, huh?”
¶3. (S) Idenov calmed down and said, “Let’s look at the menus.” Then he immediately started typing on his PDA and turned the screen toward the Ambassador, saying, “Let’s look at the ‘four courses.’” On the screen were four names: Kalmurzayev, Musin, Saudabayev, and Masimov-Kulibayev.” Idenov said, “The Big Four around Number One.” (NOTE: Sarybai Kalmurzayev, currently the head of Administration and General Services in the Presidential Administration, was, among other jobs, a former head of the Financial Police and, before that, in the 1990s, in charge of privatization. Aslan Musin is the current Chief of Staff for Nazarbayev. Kanat Saudabayev, a personal friend of Nazarbayev for nearly 40 years, is Minister of State and Foreign Minister. Karim Masimov is Prime Minister, and Timur Kulibayev is currently the favored presidential son-in-law, on the Forbes 500 list of billionaires (as is his wife separately), and the ultimate controller of 90% of the economy of Kazakhstan. END NOTE.) In response to a question, Idenov said that Masimov has a degree of freedom, but never acts without permission from “the hyphen” (Kulibayev). Then Idenov stood up abruptly and carried his PDA to a ledge about 20 feet from the table and asked the Ambassador to turn off his cell phone.
¶4. (S) Idenov said he wanted to explain why he has been less visible for at least the last half year. Starting last spring, all the “Big Four” (on the menu) began blocking him from seeing President Nazarbayev. In October, KMG President
ASTANA 00000072 002 OF 003
Kairgeldy Kabyldin told Idenov, “Kulibayev doesn’t want to work with you any more.” Idenov said he replied, “Fine,” immediately returned to his office, wrote his letter of resignation, and packed up his personal files and photos of his family.” He said Mynbayev immediately called and asked, “My dear friend, what are you doing?!” Idenov said he was fed up and was going to the Middle East to work -- “I want out of here!” PM Masimov called and said, “Nazarbayev wants to know how you’re doing. He’d really like to see you when you have time.” Idenov, who said he’d been trying to see the President for months but had been blocked by the “Big Four,” went to see the President and told him, “Kabyldin says Kulibayev doesn’t want to work with me any more.” Idenov said the President told him to calm down: “It’s probably just evil gossip. I’ll have Karim (Masimov) talk to Timur (Kulibayev). Then Idenov went to Masimov and told him, “OK, I’ll stay, but how do I deal with this?” Masimov said he’d talk to both Kabyldin and Kulibayev.
¶5. (S) Soon, intermediaries arranged an Idenov-Kulibayev meeting. Idenov said they both pretended to ignore the core problem -- Kulibayev’s, he alleged, avarice for large bribes.  Idenov averred he told Kulibayev, “Please watch your image and reputation. You have a real opportunity to improve your own image and the image of the nation.” Idenov said Kulibayev was “like a Buddha with a Paris manicure,” and both understood life would continue. Idenov said he believes he has, so far, the president’s protection. “But the games continue,” he said. Idenov alleged that both XXXXXXXXXXXX-- and Kulibayev is salivating to profit from them -- but, so far, Idenov stands in the way. “So long as Nazarbayev says he wants Kashagan and Karachaganak developed according to international standards, that’s what I’ll do.”
¶6. (SBU) (NOTE: Fugitive former CEO of BTA bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov, accused of embezzling over $1 billion, recently leaked “documentary evidence” to the international media that China’s state companies have bribed Kulibayev over $100 million in recent months for oil deals. END NOTE.)
¶7. (S) The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting are worse now than before. Idenov paused, thought, and then replied, “No, not really. It’s business as usual.” Idenov brushed off a question if the current maneuverings are part of a succession struggle. “Of course not. It’s too early for that. As it’s always been, it’s about big money. Capitalism -- you call it market economy -- means huge money.  Listen, almost everyone at the top is confused. They’re confused by their Soviet mentality. They’re confused by the corrupt excesses of capitalism. ‘If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America’s economy in Washington, what’s so different about what we do?’ they ask.”
OTHER TIDBITS
¶8. (S) MODEST WEALTH. Idenov alleged that MEMR’s Mynbayev is among the richest in Kazakhstan but “flies under the radar” because he is a relatively modest and very hard-working technocrat. His great wealth derives, in part, from his former ownership of KazKommerzBank -- “But he never flaunts it.”
¶9. (S) VULTURES. Idenov alleged that GazProm and China National Petroleum Company “continue to circle like vultures,” hoping that the Kashagan and Karachaganak consortia will implode, and then they can pick up the pieces.  “Won’t happen on my watch!” Idenov vowed.
¶10. (C) HOW TO ORDER LAMB. Idenov insisted the Ambassador order a bottle of wine for their dinner but then never touched his first glass. Instead, he gulped three cans of Coca-Cola while inhaling his food. When both he and the Ambassador ordered lamb chops, Idenov advised, “Well done,
ASTANA 00000072 003 OF 003
never rare -- this is Astana, not London!”
¶11. (S) COMMENT: Idenov is effusive, even theatrical, by nature. When he trusts, he spills his heart. Of course, there’s no doubt he also spins his own narrative, as we all do. And so, this dinner is simply a snapshot -- but, we would judge, a relatively accurate glimpse of one version of current reality. The significant point is that Nazarbayev is standing with Idenov, not Kulibayev, to maintain international standards to develop the massive Kashagan and Karachaganak hydrocarbon projects. END COMMENT. HOAGLAND

)

…this will not be silenced, just saying.)

Any way…I read the homepage for the wikileaks cablegate page and it says said…

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment. Instead, the US Government has been warning governments — even the most corrupt — around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures.

Which I find a bit high-handed.  I don’t think you would find more than one or two countries in the world that don’t engage in any diplomacy at all.  That’s what “state diplomacy” is, at a certain point.   Lying to one’s friends and being honest with one’s superiors.     I do think this thing is awful embarassing, but worthy of assassination?  Come now, let’s be civil and just talk badly about people behind their backs (which is the other side of what diplomacy is, although some times, rarely, you talk up another).

Seriously though, I don’t deserve to be hunted down like Al Qeada now, do I, Mrs. Palin?   I’m doing something kind of like that skinny, white-haired Australian dude, and can go a bit further, if necessary.    But hunted down like terrorists?  Really? With drones and shit?  During weddings and everything?  That’s a bit much, Sarah, even for you.

I think SecDef Robert Gates got it much closer to the truth

But at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday, Mr. Gates, who plans to retire next year, responded to a question about Wikileaks’ disclosure of 250,000 diplomatic cables by meandering down a different path.

Here is some of what he said:

“Let me just offer some perspective as somebody who’s been at this a long time. Every other government in the world knows the United States government leaks like a sieve, and it has for a long time. And I dragged this up the other day when I was looking at some of these prospective releases. And this is a quote from John Adams: ‘How can a government go on, publishing all of their negotiations with foreign nations, I know not. To me, it appears as dangerous and pernicious as it is novel.’

BTW, I can’t not hear that in Paul Giamotti’s voice, which makes it even funnier.

“Now, I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. Many governments — some governments — deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.

“So other nations will continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another.

“Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.’’

And that, my friends, is pragmatism.   I’m glad to see some more of it.  This willy nilly running around banning this and assassinating that is foolish.

As someone who’s read more than a few of these cables can attest, most are about dealing with the real world as it is, not as some would wish it to be.

That, in and of itself, might be a game-changer for the U.S.’s perception of both itself and our many friends, allies and enemies.

So I’m helping keeping the cables up, as much as need be.   Making 251,287 blogs is the work of a good script and an afternoon.  Making 100,000 copies of each might take a day or two.  Censorship is foolish, silly, and Un-American.  It’s cheap, and tricky, like the Chinese (yea, I said it..they do it).

More on this one as it goes forward.  There’s going to be months of this, and since 2 of 5 of The Fox News Party’s presidential candidates are already playing tough ‘guy’ on this issue, expect to hear quite a bit more about it.

And if Assange can follow through with the 5 GBs of Bank of America emails he’s alleged to have sitting around on a jump drive somewhere, and they prove to be a’spicy meat-a-ball, he’ll go so quick from Public Enemy #1 to Hero of the Day #4452 it’ll make your head spin so fast it’ll jump clean off and head into orbit.

Should be fun to watch.

The Future is getting closer

That future where horrible mangled people are rebuilt, fast, and strong than before?  Closer.

Scientists removed stem cells from the legs of three-month-old healthy mice and injected them into the legs of mice that had temporary leg muscle injuries, induced by barium chloride injections, the study said.

The technique repaired the injuries within days and made the treated muscle double in size.

That future where we can fight off the invading Predators using their own fantastical technology?   And spot them with a contact-lens-based HUD?  Closer.

Ultimately, Di Falco says, Metaflex could have applications such as manipulating light from an LED built into a contact lens for augmented reality, so that computer-generated images are projected onto the wearer’s retina. And of course, there’s invisibility. “If you have something flexible, you could embed it into a fabric. Then you could think of tuning the properties of each individual layer to change the response of the fabric, giving something similar to camouflage. So, yes—there’s some grounds for [an invisibility cloak]. Not tomorrow. But that’s what I’ll be working on,” says Di Falco.

That future where people realize that if the best thing religion offers is a way to smooth over the differences between religions, maybe it’s the real problem?   Closer.

[Former Prime Minister and Catholic Convert Tony] Blair repeatedly returned to his defence that religious men and women did good deeds in their millions all around the world every day. But it was also a position that could get him in trouble. Blair outlined the work that religious groups in Northern Ireland put in on bridging the “religious divide” in order to work for peace. [Soon-to-be-dead Cancerous-Atheistic Curmudgeon Christopher] Hitchens did not allow that one to slip by. “I never miss an opportunity to congratulate someone on being humorous, even if unintentionally,” he said. Then he delivered the punchline. “Where does the ‘religious divide’ come from?” he asked to another round of laughter from the crowd.

The day when we conquer aging and premature death (which gave rise to the problem outlined in previous paragraph)?   Closer.

As humans , low levels of telomerase are associated with progressive erosion of telomeres, which may then contribute to tissue degeneration and in the elderly. By creating mice with a telomerase switch, the researchers were able to generate prematurely aged mice. The switch allowed the scientists to find out whether reactivating telomerase in the animals would restore telomeres and mitigate the signs and symptoms of aging. The work showed a dramatic reversal of many aspects of aging, including reversal of and .

That day when we finally start to make real progress moving away from fossil fuels?  Really closer.

Driven on battery power alone, the Volt has a fuel economy equivalent to 93 m.p.g., the E.P.A. determined, using a formula that converts kilowatt-hours of electricity to gallons of gas. The Volt’s gas engine was rated at 37 m.p.g.

The 93 and 37 m.p.g. figures appear most prominently on the window label, while the 60 m.p.g. figure is in much smaller type toward the bottom. The Nissan Leaf, a pure electric car, was rated this week as getting the equivalent of 99 m.p.g.

The day when assholes will use divisive politics to try and bring down every step of progress made by human beings?  So close I can taste it.

Last time you ranted about the Volt, you got confused about the “range,” and said on the air that the car could be driven no more than 40 miles at a time, period. At least you stayed away from that issue this time, but you continue to attack it as the car only a tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors customer would want. As radio loudmouths like you would note, none of those potential customers were to be found after November 2.

Back to us for a moment, our credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.
….
If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.

The day when *every* man, woman, and (especially) child is diagnosed as having a mental disorder?  Closer.

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) — The number of U.S. children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) jumped nearly 22 percent in a recent four-year period, meaning nearly one in every 10 kids is now diagnosed with the disorder, U.S. health officials report.

About 5.4 million children have ADHD in the United States, according to their parents, and 2.7 million take medication for the condition, the CDC survey of 4- to 17-year-olds found.

The day when an actual test is developed to identify what exactly this “disorder* is or when it has been cured?  No where nearer than it was last year       (and now there’s a few more billion reasons, per quarter, not to find one [2,700,000 kids * $300/mo * 3 mo = $2,430,000,000/quarter]).   Why even try to cure (or scientifically define) something you are getting paid $10 Billion a Year to treat?   Again, I can’t think of a reason, and it would seem, neither can they.