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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In Kentucky, "Wild Spending Worthy Of Outrage".

Wild spending worthy of outrage

While its top officials were living high on the hog, spending more than a half-million dollars on food and travel in two years, the Kentucky Association of Counties was raising the fees that it charges county governments for services such as insurance and financing.

Taxpayers have every right to be outraged, especially since little documentation or justification were required for the lavish meals, posh hotels and gifts.

KACo is governed by a board made up of elected county officials. Some board members who should have been blowing the whistle couldn't because their mouths were full of the fruits of unchecked credit-card spending.

Spencer County Judge-Executive David Jenkins, for example, charged $20,000 last year during his term as KACo president, including $464 at the Belterra Casino and its restaurants in Indiana and more than $15,000 at other bars and restaurants.

Someone should have realized that Jenkins' spending was out of line. His predecessor, Shelby County Magistrate Tony Carriss, charged $1,473 on his KACo credit card during his year in office.

But no one except KACo Executive Director Bob Arnold was reviewing his and other big-spenders' credit card bills.

KACo strengthened oversight after the Herald-Leader requested the association's expense records, but the oversight still is far short of what's obviously required.

Nor has KACo's board adopted more than a few of the recommendations for more effective oversight issued by state Auditor Crit Luallen in response to Herald-Leader investigations of similar abusive spending by executives of Blue Grass Airport and the Lexington Public Library.

The Herald-Leader also found a pattern of excess in spending by KACo's counterpart, the Kentucky League of Cities.

At KACo, reporter Ryan Alessi discovered, Arnold and his top four lieutenants racked up nearly $600,000 in travel, entertainment and other expenses in 2007 and 2008.

During that period, the administrative fees that KACo charges county governments (we're talking tax money here, folks) went up by 25 percent or about $1 million.

The higher fees came at a time when rising jail costs were sinking many county governments.

County governments, on behalf of their taxpayers, should demand to know how much KACo could reduce its overhead by holding its executives to reasonable standards for spending.

Update 7/1: Read more on Kaco here.

It looks like many people there have it made.

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Breaking News: Al Franken Makes Senate Victory Speech. Watch Video.

South Carolina Governor, Mark Sanford, Admits To Being A Serial Philanderer, Admits To Affairs With Six More Women. Watch News Video. Tsk, Tsk.

OK, enough with the snickering.

The State's Attorney General wants to know if the state is picking up the Philanderer's trysts.

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Breaking News: It Is All Over In Minnesota U. S. Senate Race As Norm Coleman Concedes To Al Franken. Watch Concession Speech Video.

I guess you can say the fat lady has sung.

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As Expected, Minnesota Supreme Court Kills GOP Hopes, Hands POTUS Barack Obama Filibuster Proof Senate Majority & Says Al Franken Beat Norm Coleman.

Read the court's opinion here.

Important points made by the court, while affirming the three-judge panel's ruling that declared Franken the winner, are as follows:

In the Matter of the Contest of the General Election held on November 4, 2008, for the purpose of electing a United States Senator from the State of Minnesota, Cullen Sheehan and Norm Coleman, contestants, Appellants vs. Al Franken, contestee, Respondent.
Ramsey County.

1. Appellants did not establish that, by requiring proof that statutory absentee voting standards were satisfied before counting a rejected absentee ballot, the trial court's decision constituted a post-election change in standards that violates substantive due process.
2. Appellants did not prove that either the trial court or local election officials violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
3. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded additional evidence.
4. Inspection of ballots under Minn. Stat. § 209.06 (2008) is available only on a showing that the requesting party cannot properly be prepared for trial without an inspection. Because appellants made no such showing here, the trial court did not err in denying inspection.
5. The trial court did not err when it included in the final election tally the election day returns of a precinct in which some ballots were lost before the manual recount.
Affirmed. Per Curiam.

Editor's comment: you are free now to call Al Franken Mr. Senator from Minnesota, and any chance Republicans have of filibustering POTUS Barack Obama's legislation or court appointments has now evaporated.

As for any chance of the U. S. Supreme Court taking up the case -- there is NO CHANCE of that happening.

The issue is now up to the U. S. Senate, which has the power to sit -- or refuse to sit -- Al Franken.

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UNBRIDLED Way Of Doing The Counties' Business. Read The Lexington Herald Leader's Expose', And Tsk, Tsk.

Read more here.

I am not going to make any comments, but you REALLY need to read more about this expose by the H-L, which has been doing a MARVELOUS job uncovering UNBRIDLED shenanigans in Kentucky politics.


Read an update of officials "outrage", and tsk, tsk.

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In Another U. S. Supreme Court Opinion, States Are Given Power To Sue Banks To Protect Consumers & Minorities From Financial Discrimination Practices.


You can read the opinion here.

The Majority opinion (5 t0 4) authored by Justice Antonin Scalia (the Court's most conservative Justice, who was joined by the Court's liberal Justices!), held, in a sharp rebuke to the Bush Administration, that states, not just only federal bank regulators, can compel banks (through the courts) to comply with rules meant to protect consumers from potentially unfair lending practices or pursue cases of potential discrimination against minorities.

Go to the opinion to read more, for I shall not analyze the case.

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U. S. Supreme Court Overrules Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Says City Of New Haven, Connecticut, Discriminated Against White Fire Fighters. Read My Comments.

The case in question is RICCI ET AL. v. DESTEFANO ET AL., No. 07–1428 (2009).

You can read the (5 to 4) decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy for yourself here.

By way of an extensive synopsis, below is how the Court saw the case:

"New Haven, Conn. (City), uses objective examinations to identify those firefighters best qualified for promotion. When the results of such an exam to fill vacant lieutenant and captain positions showed that white candidates had outperformed minority candidates, a rancorous public debate ensued. Confronted with arguments both for and against certifying the test results—and threats of a lawsuit either way—the City threw out the results based on the statistical racial disparity.

Petitioners, white and Hispanic firefighters who passed the exams but were denied a chance at promotions by the City’s refusal to certify the test results, sued the City and respondent officials,alleging that discarding the test results discriminated against them based on their race in violation of, inter alia, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The defendants responded that had they certified the test results, they could have faced Title VII liability for adopting a practice having a disparate impact on minority firefighters. The District Court granted summary judgment for the defendants, and the Second Circuit affirmed.

Held: The City’s action in discarding the tests violated Title VII.
(a) Title VII prohibits intentional acts of employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, 42 U. S. C. §2000e–2(a)(1) (disparate treatment), as well as policies or practices that are not intended to discriminate but in fact have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities, §2000e–2(k)(1)(A)(i) (disparate impact). Once a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of disparate impact, the employer may defend by demonstrating that its policy or practice is “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” Ibid. If the employer meets that burden, the plaintiff may still succeed by showing that the employer refuses to adopt an available alternative practice that has less disparate impact and serves the employer’s legitimate needs. §§2000e–2(k)(1)(A)(ii) and (C). Pp. 17–19.
Under Title VII, before an employer can engage in intentional discrimination for the asserted purpose of avoiding or remedying an unintentional, disparate impact, the employer must have a strong basis in evidence to believe it will be subject to disparate-impact liability if it fails to take the race-conscious, discriminatory action.

The Court’s analysis begins with the premise that the City’s actions would violate Title VII’s disparate-treatment prohibition absent some valid defense. All the evidence demonstrates that the City rejected the test results because the higher scoring candidates were white. Without some other justification, this express, race-based decision-making is prohibited. The question, therefore, is whether the purpose to avoid disparate-impact liability excuses what otherwise would be prohibited disparate-treatment discrimination. The Court has considered cases similar to the present litigation, but in the context of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Such cases can provide helpful guidance in this statutory context. See Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust, 487 U. S. 977, 993. In those cases, the Court held that certain government actions to remedy past racial discrimination—actions that are themselves based on race—are constitutional only where there is a “strong basis in evidence” that the re-medial actions were necessary. Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488, S. 469, 500; see also Wygant v. Jackson Bd. of Ed., 476 U. S. 267,
277. In announcing the strong-basis-in-evidence standard, the Wygant plurality recognized the tension between eliminating segregation and discrimination on the one hand and doing away with all governmentally imposed discrimination based on race on the other. 476
U. S., at 277. It reasoned that “[e]videntiary support for the conclusion that remedial action is warranted becomes crucial when the re-medial program is challenged in court by non minority employees.” Ibid. The same interests are at work in the interplay between Title VII’s disparate-treatment and disparate-impact provisions. Apply-ing the strong-basis-in-evidence standard to Title VII gives effect to both provisions, allowing violations of one in the name of compliance with the other only in certain, narrow circumstances. It also allows the disparate-impact prohibition to work in a manner that is consistent with other Title VII provisions, including the prohibition on adjusting employment-related test scores based on race, see §2000e–Cite as: 557 U. S. ____ (2009), and the section that expressly protects bona fide promotional exams, see §2000e–2(h).

Thus, the Court adopts the strong-basis-in-evidence standard as a matter of statutory construction in order to resolve any conflict between Title VII’s disparate-treatment and disparate-impact provisions. Pp. 19–26.
The City’s race-based rejection of the test results cannot satisfy the strong-basis-in-evidence standard. Pp. 26–34.
The racial adverse impact in this litigation was significant, and petitioners do not dispute that the City was faced with a prima facie case of disparate-impact liability. The problem for respondents is that such a prima facie case essentially, a threshold showing of a significant statistical disparity, Connecticut v. Teal, 457 U. S. 440, 446, and nothing more—is far from a strong basis in evidence that the City would have been liable under Title VII had it certified the test results. That is because the City could be liable for disparate-impact discrimination only if the exams at issue were not job related and consistent with business necessity, or if there existed an equally valid, less discriminatory alternative that served the City’s needs but that the City refused to adopt. §§2000e–2(k)(1)(A), (C). Based on the record the parties developed through discovery, there is no substantial basis in evidence that the test was deficient in either respect. Pp. 26–28.

The City’s assertions that the exams at issue were not job re-lated and consistent with business necessity are blatantly contradicted by the record, which demonstrates the detailed steps taken to develop and administer the tests and the painstaking analyses of the questions asked to assure their relevance to the captain and lieutenant positions. The testimony also shows that complaints that certain examination questions were contradictory or did not specifically apply to firefighting practices in the City were fully addressed, and that the City turned a blind eye to evidence supporting the exams’ validity. Pp. 28–29.

(iii) Respondents also lack a strong basis in evidence showing an equally valid, less discriminatory testing alternative that the City, by certifying the test results, would necessarily have refused to adopt. Respondents’ three arguments to the contrary all fail. First, respon-dents refer to testimony that a different composite-score calculation would have allowed the City to consider black candidates for then-open positions, but they have produced no evidence to show that the candidate weighting actually used was indeed arbitrary, or that the different weighting would be an equally valid way to determine whether candidates are qualified for promotions. Second, respondents argue that the City could have adopted a different interpretation of its charter provision limiting promotions to the highest scoring applicants, and that the interpretation would have produced less discriminatory results; but respondents’ approach would have violated Title VII’s prohibition of race-based adjustment of test results,§2000e–2(l). Third, testimony asserting that the use of an assessment center to evaluate candidates’ behavior in typical job tasks would have had less adverse impact than written exams does not aid respondents, as it is contradicted by other statements in the record indicating that the City could not have used assessment centers for the exams at issue. Especially when it is noted that the strong-basis-in-evidence standard applies to this case, respondents cannot create a genuine issue of fact based on a few stray (and contradictory) statements in the record. Pp. 29–33.

(iv) Fear of litigation alone cannot justify the City’s reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions. Discarding the test results was impermissible under Title VII, and summary judgment is appropriate for petitioners on their disparate-treatment claim. If, after it certifies the test results, the City faces a disparate-impact suit, then in light of today’s holding the City can avoid disparate-impact liability based on the strong basis in evidence that, had it not certified the results, it would have been subject to disparate-treatment liability."

Editor's comment: The Court simply concluded that the city did NOT have a "strong basis in evidence" that the remedial actions of invalidating the test results in this case were a justified business necessity, or that there were reasonable alternatives that could have prevented the discrimination, or that the city was somehow justified in its fears that it would be sued for "disparate impact" discrimination considering this decision.

Question: but how was the city to know that its fears were not justified before this court's decision? It sure sounds to me like the Court has engaged in Monday morning quarterbacking.

But look at what Justice Samuel Alito found to be the real reason for the court's (or his sole) finding of No "strong basis in evidence" for the city's actions:

"Taking into account all the evidence in the summary judgment record, a reasonable jury could find the following. Almost as soon as the City disclosed the racial makeup of the list of firefighters who scored the highest on the exam, the City administration was lobbied by an influential community leader to scrap the test results, and the City administration decided on that course of action before making any real assessment of the possibility of a disparate-impact violation. To achieve that end, the City administration concealed its internal decision but worked—as things turned out, successfully to persuade the (New Haven Civil Service Board) CSB that acceptance of the test results would be illegal and would expose the City to disparate-impact liability. But in the event that the CSB was not persuaded, the Mayor, wielding ultimate decision making authority, was prepared to overrule the CSB immediately. Taking this view of the evidence, a reasonable jury could easily find that the City’s real reason for scrapping the test results was not a concern about violating the disparate-impact provision of Title VII but a simple desire to please a politically important racial constituency."

But read excerpts from very persuasive dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who draws the White fire fighters "sympathy", but who nonetheless predicted that the majority opinion "will not have staying power.":

"The Court today holds that New Haven has not demonstrated “a strong basis in evidence” for its plea. Ante, at 2. In so holding, the Court pretends that “[t]he City rejected the test results solely because the higher scoring candidates were white.” Ante, at 20. That pretension, essential to the Court’s disposition, ignores substantial evidence of multiple flaws in the tests New Haven used. The Court similarly fails to acknowledge the better tests used in other cities, which have yielded less racially skewed outcomes."

Moreover, continued Justice Ginsburg: "Neither Congress’ enactments nor this Court’s Title VII precedents (including the now-discredited decision in Wards Cove) offer even a hint of “conflict” between an employer’s obligations under the statute’s disparate-treatment and disparate-impact provisions [and t]itle VII’s disparate-treatment and disparate-impact proscriptions must be read as complementary. ...

Concern about exposure to disparate-impact liability, however well grounded, is insufficient to insulate an employer from attack. Instead, the employer must make a “strong” showing that (1) its selection method was“not job related and consistent with business necessity,” or (2) that it refused to adopt “an equally valid, less-discriminatory alternative.” Ante, at 28. It is hard to see how these requirements differ from demanding that an employer establish “a provable, actual violation” against itself. ...

The Court stacks the deck further by denying respondents any chance to satisfy the newly announced strong-basis-in-evidence standard. When this Court formulates a new legal rule, the ordinary course is to remand and allow the lower courts to apply the rule in the first instance." ...

Continuing, Justice Ginsberg took issue with the city's test itself:

"Relying heavily on written tests to select fire officers is a questionable practice, to say the least. Successful fire officers, the City’s description of the position makes clear, must have the “[a]bility to lead personnel effectively, maintain discipline, promote harmony, exercise sound judgment, and cooperate with other officials.” CA2 App. A432. These qualities are not well measured by written tests. ...

Interpreting the Uniform Guidelines, EEOC and other federal agencies responsible for enforcing equal opportunity employment laws have similarly recognized that, as measures of “interpersonal relations” or “ability to function under danger (e.g., fire-fighters),” “[p]encil-and-paper tests . . . generally are not close enough approximations of work behaviors to show content validity.”

"Given these unfavorable appraisals, it is unsurprising that most municipal employers do not evaluate their fire officer candidates as New Haven does.

Among municipalities still relying in part on written exams, the median weight assigned to them was 30 percent—half the weight given to New Haven’s written exam. Testimony before the CSB indicated that these alternative methods were both more reliable and notably less discriminatory in operation."

And, continuing the Justice, "Testimony before the CSB also raised questions concerning unequal access to study materials, see id., at A857–A861, and the potential bias introduced by relying principally on job analyses from nonminority fire officers to develop the exams".

Continuing my Editor's comment: Many of you know that I have long complained in posts about the city's tests, as I found those to be NOT related to job performance, and NOT designed specifically for the city. Hence, I Agree with Justice Ginsburg when she states that "[t]his case presents an unfortunate situation, one New Haven might well have avoided had it utilized a better selection process in the first lace."

So the real issue for me in this case is who gets to pay for the mistake made by the city for its adherence to a FLAWED test?

I say: It's NOT ANY of the the fire fighters -- whether White or Black.

The city created the mess; it needs to clean it up.

That's just my opinion.

If you want to know quick details about the case, check it out here.

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POTUS Barack Obama Continues To Treat The GOP Like The White House Fly.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Church Performs "Gay Exorcism". Watch Video.


The Television Adman Billy Mays, Who FORCED You To Turn Down The TV Volume Because Of His Booming Voice, Has Died. Check Out The News Video.


Taking A Break From Michael Jackson, POTUS Barack Obama Sets His Eyes On Immigration Reform. I Bet He's Got A Fight On His Hands. Watch Video.

Weirdness MUST Be In The Genes. Watch Michael Jackson's Dad, Joe, Hawk A New Record Label Today. Al Sharpston Should NOT Make You PUKE -- OK, PUKE.

Hey, don't puke over here.


Philipino Prisoners Join Tribute To Michael Jackson. Watch Videos.


Janet Jackson Pays Tribute To Her Brother Michael On Black Entertainment Television (BET). Watch Video.

After Death, Questions Linger About Michael Jackson's "Love" Of, And For, Children. You Need To Read This Story.

Yes, read more here, or the few nauseating details below:

Now for the first time the News of the World reveals the explosive story spelled out to author Victor M. Gutierrez in his shock book Michael Jackson Was My Lover: The Secret Diary of Jordy Chandler.

Jackson's cunning manipulation of youngsters is starkly unveiled in Jordy's version of events, telling how the pop king first lured him into his bed by scaring the life out of him with a screening of grisly horror movie The Exorcist.

Jackson had whisked his new young pal to Las Vegas on his private jet. The boy's trusting parents allowed their starstruck son to book into his own room and to spend the night watching a film with Jackson.

Michael told me we were destined to be a couple

The calculating star knew Jordy would be frightened witless by the scenes on screen and would eagerly accept his invitation to stay in his luxury suite. Nothing untoward occurred that night, but Jackson had achieved his first objective - getting the innocent boy to sleep with him.

The child had been one of many special young friends to visit the singer's Neverland playground in Santa Barbara, California, and sample his lavish lifestyle.

But Jordy - who met Jacko in 1992 when the star rented a car from his stepdad's company - quickly became No 1 companion.

And Jordy's mother June was furious in Vegas when she found his bed untouched the following morning and realised what had happened.

"Never do it again!" she scolded Jordy. "Do you understand?" "Yes," said Jordy softly.

But when Jordy reported that to Jackson his response was brutal, telling the boy his mum was trying to come between them and if Jordy couldn't contribute to their friendship he'd find someone else who would. From that moment the pair slept together whenever they could.

Jordy told how just two months after their first meeting, on Sunday April 18, the abuse began in earnest.

"Michael began to kiss me on the lips," he said. But this wasn't enough to satisfy Jackson and he started to put his tongue in the boy's mouth.

When Jordy told him to stop because he didn't like it Jackson responded by saying he'd been conditioned to think that way and that there was nothing wrong with it. As their relationship grew Jackson began to confess his darkest secrets. One night, when the pair were in bed together in their pyjamas, Jordy couldn't beleve what he heard,

He recalled: "Michael said things like 'I've had several sexual encounters with another boy. I still do. We have a very good time.'

"Michael said if I wouldn't do those things with him he'd take it as 'perhaps Jordy doesn't love me as much as the other boy loves me'."

Soon Jackson was touching Jordy all over his body when they kissed. Jackson was becoming besotted and invited the boy to Monaco in May for the World Music Awards.

The moment they arrived in the hotel room Jackson locked the door and asked Jordy if he wanted to take a hot bath. Jordy said: "While I was taking off my shirt Michael took me in his arms and began to kiss me.

"Michael finished taking off my shirt. When I was left only in my underwear he pulled them down and took them off with his teeth." Jordy said the singer then took off his clothes and the boy noticed that he had very little pubic hair and had been circumcised.

The pair got in the tub and Jordy sat in Jackson's lap. He said: "Michael washed my hair and I could feel him close. He kissed my neck and gave me goose bumps."

Jordy said he was encouraged to wash the star's private parts and touch him.

He said Jackson then performed an even more intimate sexual act on the boy and Jordy said: "Finally, we kissed on the mouth.

"Michael looked at me and told me it had been fantastic." Shortly before the pair were due to leave for the presentation Jackson approached Jordy again in the hotel bedroom, kissed him and told him he wanted to make love.

The singer performed more sex acts on the boy before they both got dressed and left for the ceremony.

Jordy said Jackson told him: "We're destined to be a couple." The forbidden sex continued on a trip to the Disney theme park in Paris. Jordy revealed: "Michael loved to do it with me in the shower." But their closeness was beginning to raise suspicions.

One day Jordy's dad Evan confronted Jackson at Neverland and said: "Michael, are you f***ing Jordy?" Jackson giggled: "I never use that word."

Evan said: "Excuse me, but what is the exact nature of your relationship?" Jackson replied: "It's cosmic! I don't understand it myself."

But the singer denied any wrongdoing and the father allowed the pair to continue as friends. Nevertheless Jackson was about to make a fatal mistake. He was invited to stay at the family's house to celebrate the fifth birthday of Jordy's stepbrother Nikki.

With Nikki in a top bunk bed, Jordy and Jackson performed sex acts on each other in the bottom bunk - all witnessed by the youngster above.

And months months later Nikki was to explode Jacko's big secret.

Meanwhile Jordy and Jacko continued to meet to have sex, sometimes for days on end.

(go to the link to continue reading).

Editor's comment: If this is true, then Jacko is a true Wacko.

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Lawyer Defends Dr. Conrad Murray, Who Could End Up Being Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". Watch Videos.

Oh, in case you didn't know it, it took the Doctor half an hour (I assume much longer) before he called for help.


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Surprise, Surprise: Michael Jackson Has A Will, Mother Granted Temporary Custody Of Children.

Read more from TMZ and stay tuned for the contents of the will, as well as custody battles between Michael's parents and the childrens' mother -- we know of the identity of two of the children's mother, she is Debbie Rowe (the identity of the other two is not yet revealed).

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Judge Hands Bernie Madoff 150 Years Prison Sentence. Watch News Video.

Watch South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's Maria, then Watch Him "Stroll" Through The ATL. Airport After Dilly Dallying With Her.

Oh, in case you did not know, the state of South Carolina paid for the trysts.

Update, 6/29: Watch South Carolina Governor say he "understands calls for his resignation":

So my question for him is: why doesn't he resign? Is he daring the legislature to impeach him?

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The GOP: Deficits Matter. Thank Nick Anderson For This One.


Friday, June 26, 2009

More Michael Jackson Drama: Family Suspects Drug Demerol Overdose, Doctor Wanted By Police; Children's Mother, Debbie Rowe, Likely To Get Custody.

Check out TMZ.

As you can tell, it appears that Michael Jackson takes DAILY injections of the VERY POWERFUL drug DEMEROL.

Folks, I can tell you that Demorol is like a kick from a mad bull.

I once was given Demerol at the hospital because I was rushed to the emergency room for SEVERE and paralyzing muscle pain.

Since I did NOT know about Demerol, the hospital gave it to me Demerol and I passed out and had to be brought back to reality.

That IS the ONLY drug that I am aware of that I am allergic to, and that I cannot have.

Had way to find out for me; HARDER way for the gloved one to find out!

Anyway, stay tuned for more updates, including preliminary autopsy results.

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Tribute To Micheal Jackson. Enjoy.

More to come.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breaking News: Micheal Jackson Is DEAD. RIP.

Read more on TMZ.

Watch for updates.

Here's an update:

We've just learned Michael Jackson has died. He was 50.

Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back.

A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived. A cardiologist at UCLA tells TMZ Jackson died of cardiac arrest.

Once at the hospital, the staff tried to resuscitate him but he was completely unresponsive.

We're told one of the staff members at Jackson's home called 911.

La Toya ran in the hospital sobbing after Jackson was pronounced dead.

Michael is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II.


Breaking News: Micheal Jackson Suffers "Real Bad" Cardiac Arrest.

Check out TMZ for more.

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U. S. Supreme Court Rules That "Strip Search" Of A Teenager By School Officials Looking For Prescription Drugs Is Unreasonable Under Fourth Amendment.

The case is SAFFORD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT #1 ET AL. v. REDDING, No. 08–479 (2009).

You can read the opinion here.

In essence, the court, through Justice David Souter, held (8 to 1, with Clarence Thomas dissenting):

The issue here is whether a 13-year-old student’s Fourth Amendment right was violated when she was subjected to a search of her bra and underpants by school officials acting on reasonable suspicion that she had brought for-bidden prescription and over-the-counter drugs to school. Because there were no reasons to suspect the drugs presented a danger or were concealed in her underwear, we hold that the search did violate the Constitution, but because there is reason to question the clarity with which the right was established, the official who ordered the unconstitutional search is entitled to qualified immunity from liability.

Here, the content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of intrusion. Wilson knew beforehand that the pills were prescription-strength ibuprofen and over-the-counter naproxen, common pain relievers equivalent to two Advil,or one Aleve. He must have been aware of the nature and limited threat of the specific drugs he was searching for, and while just about anything can be taken in quantities that will do real harm, Wilson had no reason to suspect that large amounts of the drugs were being passed around, or that individual students were receiving great numbers of pills.

Nor could Wilson have suspected that Savana was hiding common painkillers in her underwear. Petitioners suggest, as a truth universally acknowledged, that “students . . . hid[e] contraband in or under their clothing,” Reply Brief for Petitioners 8, and cite a smattering of cases of students with contraband in their underwear, id., at 8–9. But when the categorically extreme intrusiveness of a search down to the body of an adolescent requires some justification in suspected facts, general background possibilities fall short; a reasonable search that extensive calls for suspicion that it will pay off. But non dangerous school contraband does not raise the specter of stashes inintimate places, and there is no evidence in the record of any general practice among Safford Middle School stu-dents of hiding that sort of thing in underwear; neither Jordan nor Marissa suggested to Wilson that Savana was doing that, and the preceding search of Marissa that Wilson ordered yielded nothing.

In sum, what was missing from the suspected facts that pointed to Savana was any indication of danger to the students from the power of the drugs or their quantity, and any reason to suppose that Savana was carrying pills in her underwear. We think that the combination of these deficiencies was fatal to finding the search reasonable.

The court went on to extend qualified immunity to those school staff who conducted the search, in essence suggesting that they could not have known better because the law was not clear regarding the permissibility of their conduct.

Other justices, who formed the Majority, agreed that the strip search was unlawful (Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) but dissented in part, arguing that the school officials were not entitled to qualified immunity.

The Court's lone dissenter, Justice Clarence Thomas, abandoned by his Conservative colleagues on the Court, found that the strip search in question was constitutional, arguing that:

The majority imposes a vague and amorphous standard on school administrators. It also grants judges sweeping authority to second-guess the measures that these officials take to maintain discipline in their schools and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge. This deep intrusion into the administration of public schools exemplifies why the Court should return to the common-law doctrine of in loco parentis under which “the judiciary was reluctant to interfere in the routine business of school administration, allowing schools and teachers to set and enforce rules and to maintain order.”

Editor's comments: As a result of this ruling, school officials are NOW under WARNING that they will no longer be given the kind of qualified immunity these school officials enjoyed because of "unsettled law" in the area.

Secondly, it is CLEAR from the ruling that only illegal DAMGEROUS drugs (or street drugs) will permit the kind of strip search that took place here.

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Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo's End Of "Special" Session Press Release. Read Below.

House votes to balance budget, create jobs, and lower taxes on military pay

Frankfort – Classroom funding will be protected, Kentucky companies will have further incentive to expand, our men and women in uniform will get much-deserved tax relief, and large bridge projects will now be able to move forward under legislation strongly supported today in the state House of Representatives.
“This short special session has a long list of accomplishments, and every Kentuckian will benefit,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “It will move the state forward in numerous ways, and speed up our recovery during these trying economic times. I am proud of the leadership the House has shown, and of the way both the House and Senate came together in difficult times.”
The bills sent to Governor Steve Beshear today for his signature will do such things as:

* Overcome the billion-dollar shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. “This largely follows the governor’s plan, which shields classroom funding, our universities and critical health programs like Medicaid from cuts. We also made sure, though, that state employees will not have to forfeit any holiday pay as had been proposed,” said House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook.

* Recognize the sacrifice of those serving in the military by exempting their active-duty military pay from the state income tax. “The House made this a priority this legislative session, because our military families deserve it for all they have done for us,” said House Majority Caucus Chairman Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville. “Kentucky now will be an even more inviting place for them to live, especially those who may have considered other states.” This exemption complements one already in place for pay earned in a combat zone, and it will apply to those serving in the National Guard and the Reserves.

* Establish a funding mechanism for road projects costing at least $500 million. “This is landmark legislation that ensures these projects will be built in a timely manner while protecting our Road Fund,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville. “The proposed Louisville bridges would have been severely hampered if we did not pass this, and other large projects like I-69 in Western Kentucky would have also been held up.” Under the legislation, Kentucky will create a new authority that, with state and local input, will issue the bonds for “mega” projects and then serve as the conduit to pay them off.

* Implement a new vehicle trade-in tax credit. “The vast majority of states, including every one surrounding us but Virginia, allow people to count the value of their trade-in when it comes time to pay taxes on the new vehicle they are buying,” said House Majority Whip John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty. “This one measure alone should spur auto sales in Kentucky, and since we are the third-largest producer of vehicles in the nation, this will help not just car-buying families but also those who work in our auto assembly and parts factories as well.”

* Create Kentucky’s economic stimulus plan. “This far-ranging package does such things as provide incentives to Kentucky-based companies to re-tool and re-train in order to stay competitive and not have to leave Kentucky to realize these benefits,” said state Rep. Tommy Thompson, D-Philpot, who sponsored this legislation in the House. “This law will also help us bring a NASCAR Sprint Cup race to the Kentucky Speedway and bring the Breeders’ Cup to Churchill Downs. Additionally, it will make Kentucky more attractive to the film and television industry, and it will clear the way for us to compete for a next-generation battery plant in Hardin County that would put Kentucky at the forefront of an industry that could single-handedly reduce our independence on foreign oil.”
Rep. Thompson also noted the bill includes a boost to the housing industry, by giving current homeowners a strong incentive over the next year to buy a new home. “First-time home buyers already receive substantial credits from the federal government, so this would complement that program for homeowners thinking about moving,” he said. “This incentive should help our home construction industry clear out inventory and get people back to work.”
In addition, Speaker Pro Tem Clark noted the legislation gives the Jefferson Community and Technical College the authority to use its own money to buy property that is next to its downtown Louisville campus.
The University of Kentucky, meanwhile, would have authorization to continue expanding its hospital and to allow private funding for renovating Commonwealth Stadium and to construct a new baseball stadium.

“By all indications, 2009 will forever be seen as a watershed year for Kentucky, based on what the legislature was able to do during the past two weeks and in the legislative session earlier this year,” House Speaker Stumbo said. “These laws will move the state forward in ways that did not even seem possible just six months ago. The end result is stronger schools and universities; proper care for our neediest citizens; well-deserved benefits for our soldiers, small businesses and new-car buyers; and a way forward to make our highway system the envy of the nation. There are still plenty of challenges ahead, certainly for our signature horse industry, but if we can continue working together, I am confident even better days are ahead.”

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With The "Special" Session Over, The Finger Pointing Between Greg Stumbo And Steve Beshear Has Begun. Read More.

Stumbo says he urged Beshear to travel state pushing for legalized slots
By Joseph Gerth and Gregory A. Hall

FRANKFORT, Ky. — House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Tuesday that, in the days leading up to the special session, he tried to get Gov. Steve Beshear to travel the state and try to build grass-roots support for linking legalized slots to school funding.

But, he said, Beshear wanted to pass a "clean" bill that didn't earmark any of the revenue. And so the two key proponents of the legislation were at odds.

"I actually tried to get the governor to do that and, you know, he didn't obviously choose to do that," Stumbo said in an interview. "We started talking about that plan here … probably a month ago, and I mentioned to the governor probably a couple of times and told him that that's likely the path that we would go down."

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Beshear's response was tepid: "He never did say yes."

Beshear acknowledged that initially he didn't agree with Stumbo that they should leverage votes for gambling by promising hundreds of millions in spending on school and other projects — as the bill that ultimately emerged from the House did — and instead thought it should go through without any earmarks.

"I originally proposed the legislation in that form because I felt, personally, that was the best form for it to take," Beshear said in an interview. "… I felt like the best possible position for us to be in would be to have as much flexibility over whatever money was raised … so that we could move that money to wherever it best could help the people of this state," he said.

Ultimately, Beshear came on board and supported Stumbo's plan. But that was after the session began, and on Monday the bill died when it failed to win approval from the Senate budget committee.

Beshear said that an effort to rally grass roots support wouldn't have succeeded in getting the legislation through the Senate, given the makeup of the budget committee.

"I think the lines on this kind of issue are pretty clearly drawn," he said. "Folks have made public statements and decisions about where they are on an issue like this. So whether we were talking about this a month ago in somebody's district or today, I don't think it would have made any difference at all."

Meanwhile, Churchill Downs Inc. spokesman Kevin Flanery said Tuesday that horse industry supporters are still pushing for a full vote by the Senate on video lottery terminals at racetracks.

Flanery wouldn't specify how but it could include a legislative tactic called a discharge petition, which could pull Stumbo's House Bill 2 from the Appropriations and Revenue Committee. To be successful, a discharge petition would have to be supported by 20 of the 38 senators.


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Breaking News: "Charlie's Angel", Farrah Fawcett, Dies Of Anus Cancer. RIP.

May her soul RIP.


And In Kentucky, Senate President Predicts Slots Bill Won't Pass 2010 Session; Steve Beshear Urges Change In Senate To Enable Expanded Gambling.

Read more about David Williams' prediction here.

Read about Steve Beshear urging a change in the senate so that expanded gambling can pass here.

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OK, Let's Get To Some Kentucky News: Lester Goetzinger, Who Made "Extortion" Phone Calls To Rick Pitino On Behalf Of Karen Sypher Faces Federal Charge

Read more here, or excerpts below:

A second defendant has been charged in the alleged scheme to extort money from University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Lester Goetzinger, 49, was charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting Karen Cunagin Sypher by making three phone calls to Pitino that included "a threat to make public claims concerning events alleged to have occurred in 2003."

Goetzinger made the calls after Sypher told him she hoped to get money from Pitino, and placed them from a pay phone at her direction to prevent them from being traced, according to the court document charging Goetzinger.

The charge is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but Goetzinger's lawyer, John Berry, and the government struck a deal in which it will be dropped if Goetzinger successfully completes a one-year pretrial diversion program.

The U.S. attorney's office said in a statement that diversion is offered to defendants "whose conduct and background show they are not habitual criminals and do not pose a risk of re-offending; who have truthfully accepted responsibility for their actions; and who will likely be successful in demonstrating good conduct during the diversion period.

The charge against Goetzinger says he left messages on Pitino's cell phone on Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 using an unlisted number and other information that Sypher provided him.

Sypher, also 49, a former model and the estranged wife of Pitino's equipment manager and assistant, was indicted last month on charges that she had another person call Pitino in February and threaten to go public with allegations of "a criminal nature" against him.

Sypher, who has previously been described as a friend of Goetzinger, faces two years in prison if convicted on that charge, and another five for allegedly lying to the FBI when she said she didn't know who had made the calls for her.

In a complaint filed April 23, an FBI agent said Sypher had demanded that Pitino pay off her house, pay for her children's college, give her $3,000 a month in cash and buy her two cars of her choice.

A lawyer she hired later, Dana Kolter, demanded $10 million on her behalf, according to court records.

Kolter's lawyer, Rob Eggert, declined to comment when asked if he expects his client to be charged.


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In Case You Did Not Know, Governor Mark Sanford, Like Many Before Him, Voted To Impeach Bill Clinton. Is BUBBA's Karma At Work? Read More.

Read more here, here, here, and here.

Our friends at TP have resurrected some of the statements the Gov. has been making to assail folks found doing what he did.

Samples? Check below:

While serving as a U.S. congressman, Sanford was incredibly critical of his colleagues’ marital misdeeds, including the affairs of former congressman Bob Livingston and President Bill Clinton:

“The bottom line, though, is I am sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out that the president lied under oath. His situation was not under oath. The bottom line, though, is he still lied. He lied under a different oath, and that is the oath to his wife. So it’s got to be taken very, very seriously.” [Sanford on Livingston, CNN, 12/18/98]

“We ought to ask questions…rather than circle the wagons for one of our tribe.” [Sanford on how the GOP reacts to affairs, New York Post, 12/20/98]

“I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.” [Sanford on Clinton, The Post and Courier, 9/12/98]

“The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.” [Sanford on Clinton, CNN, 2/16/99]

Sanford has also been an opponent of same-sex marriage, saying in 2004, “As Jenny and I are the parents of four little boys, we’ve always taught our kids that marriage was something between a man and a woman.” [The Post and Courier, 2/11/04]

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Nick Anderson Provides This Cartoon For Our Pleasure.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Read The Emails Of "Hopelessly Impossible Situation Of Love" Between South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford And His Mistress "Maria".

Check out the exclusive emails here, or excerpts below:

From Gov. Sanford,
Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 12:24 a.m.

“One, tomorrow leave at 5 a.m. for New York and meetings. Will think about you on its streets and wish I was going to be there later in the month when you are there. Tomorrow night back to Philadelphia for the start of the National Governor's Conference through the weekend. Back to Columbia for Tuesday and then on Wednesday, as I think I had told you, taking the family to China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand and then back through Hong Kong on world wind tour. Few days home then to Bahamas for 5 days on a friend’s boat for the last break of the summer. The following weekend have been asked to spend it out in Aspen, Colorado with McCain - which has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home ...

Two, mutual feelings .... You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...

Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true - at the same time we are in a hopelessly - or as you put it impossible - or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes ...

Lastly I also suspect I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before - so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know... In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul.”


From Maria,
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 8:14 p.m.

“As I told you I shouldn't have done this trip but I would have felt worst if I wouldn't have come because it was too over the date, he is a very nice guy, great heart ... but unfortunately I am not in love with him ... You are my love ... something hard to believe even for myself as it's also a kind of impossible love, not only because of distance but situation. Sometimes you don't choose things, they just happen... I can't redirect my feelings and I am very happy with mine towards you.”


From Gov. Sanford,
Tuesday, July 8, 1:42 a.m.

“Got back an hour ago to civilization and am now in Columbia after what was for me a glorious break from reality down at the farm. No phones ringing and tangible evidence of a day's labors. Though I have started every day by 6 this morning woke at 4:30, I guess since my body knew it was the last day, and I went out and ran the excavator with lights until the sun came up. To me, and I suspect no one else on earth, there is something wonderful about listening to country music playing in the cab, air conditioner running, the hum of a huge diesel engine in the back ground, the tranquillity that comes with being in a virtual wilderness of trees and marsh, the day breaking and vibrant pink coming alive in the morning clouds - and getting to build something with each scoop of dirt.”

Editor's comment: Stay tuned as more emails will be revealed tomorrow.

And, oh, I forgot to mention: Mark Sanford was one of those who voted to impeach Bill Clinton.

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In USUAL Fashion, Fox News Pegs Another Misbehaving Republican As A Democrat. This Time It's SC Governor Mark Sanford. Is This By Design Or Mistake?

Which is it?

Update: Remember Republican Mark Foley?

He was the Florida Representative who chaired a committee dedicated to protecting children from predictors, until he was found to have been propositioning young male congressional pages for sex.

Well, like Mark Sanford, Fox News also made the other Mark Foley a Democrat:

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Breaking News: The Truth Comes Out From South Carolina GOP Governor, Mark Sanford. It Turns Out There Is A Woman Involved And Adultery Is The Offense.

Just In Case You Have Been Following Jon & Kate (+ 8) Gosselin Fruad, Read Their Divorce Papers Below. Did You Know They Separated 2 Years Ago?

Read the divorce papers here, and tsk, tsk.

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Nevermind: South Carolina's Governor, Mark Sanford, Never Went Hiking; He Was "Hanging Out" -- In Argentina. Don't Cry For Him, Argentina!

Sanford met in Atlanta after returning from South America
Governor says he never hiked Appalachian Trail; says he cruised along the coast of Buenos Aires to unwind after stressful legislative session


ATLANTA | S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford arrived in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport this morning, having wrapped up a seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said. Sanford said he had not been hiking along the Appalachian Trail, as his staff said in a Tuesday statement to the media.

Mark Sanford left the Governor's Mansion in this black State Law Enforcement Division Suburban assigned to his security detail. The Suburban remained parked Wednesday morning at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Sanford's whereabouts had been unknown since Thursday, and the mystery surrounding his absence fueled speculation about where he had been and who's in charge in his absence. His emergence Wednesday ended the mystery.

Sanford, in an exclusive interview with The State, said he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled with lawmakers over how to spend federal stimulus money.

Sanford said he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail, an activity he said he has enjoyed since he was a high school student.

"But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford said "... It's a great city."

Sanford, in a brief interview in the nation's busiest airport, said he has been to the city twice before, most recently about a year and half ago during a Commerce Department trip.

Sanford said he was alone on the trip. He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline.

Sanford, who was wearing a blue and white button down shirt and brown denim pants, said he left for Buenos Aires on Thursday night from Columbia Metropolitan Airport and had originally planned to come back tomorrow.

Media reports said a SLED SUV the governor drove that night was spotted in the airport's parking lot.

Sanford's spokesman Joel Sawyer declined to immediately comment to The Associated Press, and the governor did not return cell phone messages.

Sanford planned a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday at his office in Columbia.

Critics slammed his administration for lying to the public.

"Lies. Lies. Lies. That's all we get from his staff. That's all we get from his people. That's all we get from him," said state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia. "Why all the big cover-up?"

Trying to drive along the coast could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it's less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.

A spokesman for Argentina's immigration agency wouldn't comment Wednesday on whether Sanford entered the country, citing privacy laws.

The governor said he cut his trip short after his chief of staff, Scott English, told him his trip was gaining a lot of media attention and he needed to come back.

When asked why his staff said he was on the Appalachian Trail, Sanford replied, "I don't know."

Sanford later said "in fairness to his staff," he had told them he might go hiking on the Appalachian Trial.

Sanford said he decided not to return via the Columbia airport to avoid the media. The State Media Company was the only media who greeted Sanford this morning.

"I don't know how this thing got blown out of proportion," Sanford said.

Sanford said he has taken adventure trips for years to unwind. He has visited such places as the coast of Turkey, the Greek Isles and South America. He was with friends sometimes and sometimes by himself.

"I would get out of the bubble I am in," Sanford said.

Sanford said the legislative session was a difficult one for him, particularly losing the fight over whether he should accept stimulus $700 million in stimulus money he wanted lawmakers to spend on debt instead of urgent budget needs.

"It was a long session and I needed a break," Sanford said.

After a brief conversation with a reporter, Sanford was escorted away by an aide.

Watch news video below:


Everyone Is On Board To Cut Healthcare Costs.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IDIOT Richard "Tricky Dicky" Nixon.

Read more here, or excerpt below:

WASHINGTON — On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down state criminal abortion laws in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”

If you care to listen to him on tape, then click here, and if you want to see some of the documents, then click here.

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Listen And Watch POTUS Barack Obama Talk About Iran, Healthcare, Etc. .

In Case You Were Troubled, South Carolina's GOP Governor, Mark Sanford, Has Been Found. It Appears He Advised Himself To "Take A Hike" -- And He Did.

Read more here, and go back to your business.

You can watch the news video below:


"Repugnant Republicans"?

For a generation or more, GOP means 'grand old bigots'

The modern GOP was created in 1965 with a stroke of Lyndon Johnson's pen.

If that is an exaggeration, it is not much of one. When Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, he made a prediction: In committing the unpardonable sin of guaranteeing the ballot to all citizens regardless of race, he said, he would cause his party to lose the South "for a generation."

And indeed Southern Democrats, who for a century had bombed schools, lynched innocents, perverted justice and terrorized millions in the name of intolerance, responded by leaving their ancestral party in droves. They formed the base of a new GOP, a reality acknowledged by Ronald Reagan when he opened his 1980 campaign at a segregationist fair in a town where three civil rights workers were infamously martyred, by declaring, "I believe in state's rights."

In embracing its new Southern base, the Republican Party became the Repugnant Party on matters of race, a distinction it has done little to shed. So some of us were disappointed but not surprised last week when Sherri Goforth, an aide to Tennessee state Sen. Diane Black, came under fire for an e-mail she sent out. It depicted the 44 U.S. presidents, showing the first 43 in dignified, statesmanlike poses. By contrast, the 44th, the first African American, is seen as a pair of cartoon spook eyes against a black backdrop. Goforth's explanation: The e-mail, which went to GOP staffers, was sent "to the wrong list of people."

You may wish to let that one marinate for a moment.

And please, don't bother reminding me of Democrat Robert Byrd's onetime membership in the Ku Klux Klan; I make no argument that the Democrats are untainted by bigotry.

Rather, my argument is that the GOP is consumed by it, riddled with it, that it has shown, sown, shaped and been shaped by it, to an abhorrent degree.

You think that's unfair? Well, after Goforth's e-mail, after "Barack the Magic Negro" and John McCain's campaign worker blaming a fictional black man for a fictional mugging, and a party official in Texas renaming the executive mansion "the black house," and an official in Virginia claiming Obama's presidency would see free drugs and "mandatory black liberation theology," and a Republican activist in South Carolina calling an escaped ape one of Michelle Obama's "ancestors," it seems wholly fair to me. Indeed, overdue.

And keep in mind: all that is just from the last year or so. I could draw up a much longer list but space is limited and there is a final point to make.

Which is that, yes, I am cognizant of the danger of painting with too broad a brush and no, I am not saying membership in the GOP is synonymous with membership in the KKK. I know there are Republicans of racial enlightenment and common decency. Indeed, I am counting on it, counting on them to search conscience and demand their party find ways of winning elections that do not depend on lazy appeals to the basest emotions of the hateful and the unreconstructed.

Do it because it's the right thing. And do it because it is in the party's long-term interest. As a 2008 Gallup poll indicates, black people are "more" religious than Republicans as a whole and just as conservative on some key moral issues. Yet only 5 percent identify with the party of religion and conservatism. The GOP's ongoing inability to win over such a natural constituency speaks volumes.

I keep waiting for somebody to do something about it. I mean, I can hear Republicans of racial enlightenment and common decency yelling at me from here. They want me to know there is nothing honorable, much less inherently Republican, in the hatred expressed by these weasels in elephant's clothes. In response, I would give them this advice:

Don't tell me. Tell them.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His e-mail address is


Let's Laugh And Thank Nick Anderson For This True Cartoon.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Kathleen Parker: "Foul Air In The GOP's Tent". I AGREE, And State The Foul Air Is Due To Many SKUNKS In The GOP Tent.

Foul air in the GOP's tent
Kathleen Parker

WASHINGTON — Rusty DePass, the South Carolina Republican activist who infamously "joked" that an escaped zoo gorilla was probably an ancestor of Michelle Obama's, has learned the meaning of "hell to pay."

His teaching moment has provided multiple curricula on a range of subjects, including what appears to be racism fatigue in the Deep South.

DePass, a former chairman of the state Elections Commission, has all but performed the Stations of the Cross in apologizing for his remark the past several days. Originally made on his Facebook page in what he thought was a private exchange with a friend, the comment was picked up by a local political blogger, Will Folks (former communications director for Gov. Mark Sanford), who posted it on his Web site, .

Quicker'n you can say "cheese grits," the comment went viral. And DePass — who is neither a public official nor, officially, a spokesman for the GOP — has lost his commercial real estate job and been roundly chastised in a series of public condemnations.

Thus far, he has apologized twice, including Wednesday at a news conference called by the state NAACP. Democratic members of the South Carolina House of Representatives twice tried to pass a resolution expressing regret to the First Lady, but were defeated by the Republican majority. More than 400 people have joined a Facebook Group called "Rusty DePass is an insufferable piece of garbage."

Has DePass been sufficiently punished yet? Even Folks, who broke the story, says reaction has been excessive:

"What he said was over the line, but the response to it has also been over the line. There's no way someone in the private sector should get bullied out of their job for a comment like that. We have to balance respect for all races and cultures, which is an essential ingredient to the kind of society we want to be, but there has to be some semblance of proportion."

To be clear, DePass' remark was racist, and there's no way to spin it otherwise, as he first tried to. Racist jokes have become commonplace since Barack Obama's election, and, sadly, they keep popping up in Republican quarters.

Last spring Folks wrote about a Republican state representative who had a flier on his desk showing blacks fleeing Obama, who was promising jobs to all African Americans. In another recent incident, a staffer for Tennessee state Sen. Diane Black e-mailed a composite picture of all the U.S. presidents. The Obama square was solid black with two big eyes.

These fliers, jokes and antics are not isolated incidents, but are part of an ugly subterranean culture of entrenched racism. Living in South Carolina the past 20 years, I've noticed that people who say racist things never think of themselves as racist. What that means, of course, is that they'd never act on their attitudes. They might even find the N-word offensive.

But they'll make racist cracks as DePass did — or circulate fliers that portray the Obamas in demeaning ways. Seen the photo of the watermelon patch in front of the White House? Or the book on monkeys that was slipped into a display of Obama books at Barnes & Noble in Coral Gables, Fla.?

DePass is hardly alone. But he has been thrown to the lions in a sort of spontaneous cleansing ritual. After decades of shame from the state's original sin — not to mention providing a butt for the nation's jokes — South Carolinians are tired of being embarrassed.

Bud Ferillo, a public relations executive who has been spearheading an educational reform movement in South Carolina through his "Corridor of Shame" documentary, agrees that embarrassment is key to the passionate reaction to the DePass debacle. He is also hopeful that some good will come of it.

"What we're missing in our state is honest conversation between the races that ultimately leads to forgiveness. We keep putting off reconciliation from one generation to the next because our shameful history of slavery and segregation is so painful to both sides. At the same time, I think most South Carolinians are through with race-based politics."

DePass' comment to a friend, appalling as it was, clearly wasn't intended to do harm and his punishment may have exceeded the crime. At the same time, this pernicious form of passive racism has been exposed for the poison it is.

If Republicans ever want to see the Oval Office again, they'll have to purge their tent of this foul air.

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist who lives in South Carolina. Her e-mail address is

Editor's comment: The foul air in the tent is as a result of many SKUNKS residing in the GOP tent!


Clarence Page: An Apology, With An Escape Clause.

An apology, with an escape clause
Clarence Page

What if Congress apologized for slavery and nobody cared?

The Senate on Thursday followed the House in voting to apologize for slavery and the Jim Crow segregation that followed it.

In other words, it only took almost 150 years and the election of an African American who is not descended from slaves to move Congress to apologize for slavery.

Thanks, senators, but you're a little late. As "senior black correspondent" Larry Wilmore quipped on The Daily Show: "I thought Obama's election was our apology."

He was joking, but not by much. After all, part of the appeal of Obama's victory was its symbolic message of post-racial optimism: We were ready as a diverse nation to stand together as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed, put our ugly racial past behind us and look to a better future.

By contrast, the slavery apology issue erupts at a convenient time for Congress but as an inconvenient distraction for Obama.

Talk of slavery apologies leads to the more volatile dollars-and-sense issue of monetary reparations, which counters Obama's come-together optimism with a taint of old-school "Where's mine?" political spoils.

To ease its passage, the Senate resolution contains a significant escape clause: It is not to serve as a basis for any lawsuit against the United States. That means the measure did not have to address the racially divisive issue of whether we, the descendants of American slavery, are owed any financial reparations.

Minus that thorny issue, the resolution passed so quickly that it almost made papers fly around the room. With no political or monetary cost attached, opposition to slavery is so easy even a bipartisan coalition of senators can do it, especially by a voice vote.

Yet, after a year of work on the resolution, sponsors Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., found reason to celebrate. The House passed a similar measure last July. The Senate passed an apology for Native Americans in February 2008. Again, it was better late than never, I suppose, but not by much.

The House apology did not contain a no-reparations clause like the Senate version. That's led to a talk of a reconsideration of the measure in the House next week to conform the resolution to the Senate version.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus oppose the change. That could lead to an awkward situation of black members of Congress opposing a slavery apology. That's what you get, ladies and gentlemen, for trying to score good feelings on the cheap.

Since the resolution does not require the President's signature, each house of Congress probably would be best off passing its own version. The senators and congressmen can pose for pictures, smile and quietly forget about their resolutions as they move on to issues that are affecting people's lives today — like jobs, the financial markets, health care, global warming and, oh, yes, two overseas wars.

The reparations issue is becoming more trouble than it is worth, partly because most of my fellow descendants of slaves don't have much agreement on what our reparations ought to be.

Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, a consultant for the Senate resolution, has helped waged successful lawsuits aimed at insurance companies, universities and others who profited from slavery. The courts are a better recourse than Congress when you have specific offenders and the paperwork to back up your case. But most of slavery's legacy is not so conveniently documented.

This long after the offense, it is not easy to assess damages. The original victims of slavery are long dead. With each passing year, it is more difficult to trace whose descendants might be owed what. "Forty acres and a mule," the suggestion offered orally but never legally at the end of the Civil War, doesn't mean what it used to.

Reparations for segregation are no less problematic. Some of us are old enough to remember legal segregation of schools, jobs, housing, hotels, public restrooms and drinking fountains. But how do you put a price on that?

Obama's got the right idea. The damage of slavery and segregation can best be undone by all of us Americans' keeping our promises to the next generations. We need to help every child to have access to decent schools, housing and nutrition — regardless of race, creed or ancestral conditions of servitude.

Clarence Page is a columnist with the Chicago Tribune. His email address is

Editor's comment: Actually, Mr. Page, it is an apology with a wink and fingers crossed.


POTUS Barack Obama Signs FDA Regulation Of Tobacco Bill Into Law.

Another Breaking News: U. S. Supreme Court Upholds Voting Rights Act, But Gives Texas District A FREE Pass. Watch Video.

Sorry, I do not have time tonight to analyze the opinion. I'll do so tomorrow, so come back for my analysis and comments.

See you then.

Editor's comment: OK, here is the essence of the Court's opinion, in NORTHWEST AUSTIN MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICT NUMBER ONE v. HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL, 08-322 (read the opinion here):

"We therefore hold that all political subdivisions—not only those described in §14(c)(2)—are eligible to file a bailout suit.

* * * More than 40 years ago, this Court concluded that“exceptional conditions” prevailing in certain parts of the country justified extraordinary legislation otherwise un-familiar to our federal system. Katzenbach, 383 U. S., at 334. In part due to the success of that legislation, we are now a very different Nation. Whether conditions continue to justify such legislation is a difficult constitutional ques-tion we do not answer today. We conclude instead that the Voting Rights Act permits all political subdivisions, including the district in this case, to seek relief from its preclearance requirements."

More importantly, the Court warned that it found a SERIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL problem with section 5 of the VRA:

"Section 5 goes beyond the prohibition of the Fifteenth Amendment by suspending all changes to state election law—however innocuous—until they have been precleared by federal authorities in Washington, D. C. The preclearance requirement applies broadly, NAACP v. Hampton County Election Comm’n, 470 U. S. 166, 175–176 (1985),and in particular to every political subdivision in a covered State, no matter how small, United States v. Sheffield Bd. of Comm’rs, 435 U. S. 110, 117–118 (1978)."

So what does it all mean, you ask?

It means that Congress MUST take steps to amend the VRA IMMEDIATELY to take advantage of the court's ruling, otherwise the next time a case comes before the court, the court could find the act unconstitutional -- not in the general "FACIAL" sense, but in the limited "AS APPLIED" sense, though Justice Clarence Thomas will do a facial, as you can sense from his dissenting opinion in this case:

"In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in order to guarantee that no citizen would be denied the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Congress passed §5 of the VRA in 1965 because that promise had remained unfulfilled for far too long. But now—more than 40 years later––the violence, intimidation, and subterfuge that led Congress to pass §5 and this Court to uphold it no longer remains. An acknowledgment of §5’s unconstitutionality represents a fulfillment of the Fifteenth Amendment’s promise of full enfranchisement and honors the success achieved by the VRA.

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Breaking News: Senator David Williams Follows Through With His Threat, Slots Bill Died On Arrival (DOA) In Committee.

Read more here, or excerpts below:

A proposal to allow slots at Kentucky racetracks was voted down late Monday by the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee.


The committee voted against the bill 10-5, with two members abstaining, shortly after 7 p.m.

After the vote, Gov. Steve Beshear issued a statement expressing disappointment. “It is too early to determine what steps we will take in the future to try to protect our signature business, but I will continue to work on ideas and proposals that will ensure this vital industry’s continued health,” he said. “We must now move forward. We still have an opportunity during this Special Session to come together to balance our budget and adopt legislation that will create thousands of jobs and stimulate hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for our Commonwealth. I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to continue this critical work as expeditiously as possible.”

- John Cheves and John Stamper

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Iranian Student Protest Casualty: Neda Salehi Agha Soltan. Watch Video CAUTION: GRAPHIC.

Those are Neda's pictures below:

Watch video below: