ANOTHER Republican Congressman (Texas - Michael Burgess) makes up facts, says that 15 week old fetuses in the womb know how to masturbate.
ANOTHER Republican Congressman (Texas - Michael Burgess) makes up facts, says that 15 week old fetuses in the womb know how to masturbate.
Protestors march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The rallies, set off by a 10-cent hike in public transport fares and which have broken out in cities across the country, have moved beyond the rising costs of public transportation and toward anger over tax burdens, corrupt politicians and woeful public education, health and transport systems. (Photo: AP via The Telegraph)
Boy finds loaded assault weapon in movie theater bathroom.
9news.com: A 9-year-old boy found a loaded handgun inside an Ybor City movie theater bathroom on Father’s Day.
The gun was a Glock 26 9mm.
“My son opened the door and immediately said dad there’s a gun in the bathroom,” recounted Wesley Noland, the boy’s father.
Noland was at the Muvico theater in Centro Ybor with his two sons to see the new Superman movie.
He said the weapon was sitting on top of the toilet paper dispenser.
“When I was in the bathroom there were two other fathers and three kids and the theater was very busy and the place was full of kids and families.”
Noland, an ex-Marine who has a Concealed Weapons Permit, said he immediately secured the handgun and called police.
“That the gun could have been picked up by a child, or it could have been picked up by a convicted felon or a rowdy group of teenagers or something like that,” Noland said. “But in any case, it could have been used in a crime or accidentally discharged and it could have killed somebody in the theater — worst of all a kid.”
The Glock 26 semi-automatic pistol was covered under the now-expired Assault Weapons Ban — which means that America is now so saturated with firearms that you can just find assault weapons just laying around.
They’re opaque and unaccountable.
That’s the point: these things are features, not bugs.
The Farm Bill that is expected to pass the U.S. House this week explains income inequality in America.
The Republican-sponsored proposal slashes food stamps for poor children and pads farm subsidies for wealthy agri-businessmen.
This comes just a week after Senate Republicans refused to protect the poorest students from doubled college loan interest rates because that required closing tax loopholes that benefit big corporations. It comes just weeks after a new study showed the Walmart heirs, among the richest people in the world, pay their workers so little that taxpayers fork over billions to subsidize Walmart’s payroll through programs like — food stamps.
This all violates America’s cherished ideal of equal opportunity. Americans strive to achieve believing they have the same chance at success as everyone else and, more importantly, that the egalitarian American system will provide their children with a level playing field on which to attain their full potential. Americans believe their government should maintain that level field. But it does not. Not when poor students are denied access to low-interest college loans while Washington charges Wall Street virtually no interest. Not when the House farm bill feeds the rich and starves the poor.
Social mobility is inherently anti-conservative because it changes society. The most conservative approach is always to weaken the middle class and solidify the status of the poor.
Religious nutjob Pat Robertson has the ear of game show host, carnival barker, and general blowhard Donald Trump at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” Conference.
Josh Marshall gets in another good one: “I think we’ve found the photo that captures the modern GOP.”
As more and more details come out about PRISM, it appears that the attention and blame really belongs on the government, rather than the tech companies (for the most part). While it was known that an unnamed company had fought back against FISA Court orders back in 2008, the name of the company was not known. However, now the NY Times is reporting that Yahoo! fought back against being told to provide info on users, until the court ruled against them — and the ruling (as an unnamed company and with details heavily redacted) was then released to put other companies on notice that they, too, had to comply. The rubber stamp FISA Court insisted that there was nothing wrong with the requests, saying that Yahoo’s concerns were “overblown.”“Notwithstanding the parade of horribles trotted out by the petitioner, it has presented no evidence of any actual harm, any egregious risk of error, or any broad potential for abuse,” the court said, adding that the government’s “efforts to protect national security should not be frustrated by the courts.”
As the article points out, Google and Twitter have also fought back against various attempts by the federal government to reach deep into their databases — and, in both cases, have lost those lawsuits.
Of course, it appears that some companies, like Microsoft and the telcos are much more comfortable with providing info to the government.
It really seems like the focus of concern should very much be on the government’s requests here, as well as the secret FISA court and its rubber stamp, given that companies that have tried to fight back against the government keep losing.
I know posts like this are annoying, because nothing I have to say is going to change Yahoo/Tumblr’s mind on making money through sponsored advertisements on my dash.
But I’m gonna say it anyway.
Get. This. VH1. Objectifying. Shit. Off. My. Dash.
Vh1—maybe spend a little time actually looking at tumblr before sponsoring posts.
Then you can see how shitty your gifs look compared to almost any teenager’s solo account. And maybe even learn why everyone thinks yours are vile.
I dont understand why Republicans continue to offer up headlines like GOP congressman: Rate of pregnancies from rape is very low. It is terrible politics for them to focus the publics attention on their justification for the fact that they dont support an exception to abortion bans for rape…
I don’t understand why Republicans continue to offer up headlines like “GOP congressman: Rate of pregnancies from rape is ‘very low.’ ” It is terrible politics for them to focus the public’s attention on their justification for the fact that they don’t support an exception to abortion bans for rape victims. The view doesn’t have anything like majority support, and they come off as heartless, ignorant scolds. If I were an anti-abortion activist, I’d want to muzzle these people. But they are irrepressible. At a congressional hearing Wednesday, Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, argued against an exception for rape and incest victims from a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He said, “Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject—because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” He is of course following in the footsteps of former Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who said that women can stave off pregnancy after a “legitimate rape.” (He apologized but that didn’t save him from losing his next election.)
These claims are false, of course, or as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists puts it, “medically inaccurate, offensive, and dangerous.” That is not all that’s wrong with the claims. They originate with Nazi experiments on women in concentration camps. Here’s what I wrote about this last November
“In the aftermath of Akin’s statement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a 1972 essay by an obstetrician named Fred Mecklenburg, who cited a Nazi experiment in which women were told they were on their way to die in the gas chambers—and then were allowed to live, so that doctors could check whether they would still ovulate. Since few did, Mecklenburg claimed that women exposed to the emotional trauma of rape wouldn’t be able to become pregnant, either. (He also argued that rapists are infertile because they masturbate a lot.) The essay was published in a book financed by A.U.L.”
A.U.L. is Americans United for Life, a pro-life advocacy group with increasing clout because of its success in drafting model state laws to restrict abortion. The line from the Nazis to Mecklenburg to Akin and Franks runs through Jack Wilke, a doctor who is the former head of the National Right to Life Committee. He said, “What is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma.” And he stuck with this when the Los Angeles Times called to ask him about Akin last year. When I asked A.U.L. head Charmaine Yoest about the claim that rape rarely results in pregnancy, she was smarter and called it “a distraction.” Abortion opponents sure do keep bringing it up, though.
Published on Saturday, June 15, 2013 by ProPublica
Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say
Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees.
The employee statements were filed late last week in federal court in Boston as part of a multi-state class action suit brought on behalf of homeowners who sought to avoid foreclosure through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) but say they had their cases botched by Bank of America.
In a statement, a Bank of America spokesman said that each of the former employees’ statements is “rife with factual inaccuracies” and that the bank will respond more fully in court next month. He said that Bank of America had modified more loans than any other bank and continues to “demonstrate our commitment to assisting customers who are at risk of foreclosure.”
Six of the former employees worked for the bank, while one worked for a contractor. They range from former managers to front-line employees, and all dealt with homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure through the government’s program.
When the Obama administration launched HAMP in 2009, Bank of America was by far the largest mortgage servicer in the program. It had twice as many loans eligible as the next largest bank. The former employees say that, in response to this crush of struggling homeowners, the bank often misled them and denied applications for bogus reasons.
Sometimes, homeowners were simply denied en masse in a procedure called a “blitz,” said William Wilson, Jr., who worked as an underwriter and manager from 2010 until 2012. As part of the modification applications, homeowners were required to send in documents with their financial information. About twice a month, Wilson said, the bank ordered that all files with documentation 60 or more days old simply be denied. “During a blitz, a single team would decline between 600 and 1,500 modification files at a time,” he said in the sworn declaration. To justify the denials, employees produced fictitious reasons, for instance saying the homeowner had not sent in the required documents, when in actuality, they had.
Such mass denials may have occurred at other mortgage servicers. Chris Wyatt, a former employee of Goldman Sachs subsidiary Litton Loan Servicing, told ProPublica in 2012 that the company periodically conducted “denial sweeps” to reduce the backlog of homeowners. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs said at the time that the company disagreed with Wyatt’s account but offered no specifics.
Five of the former Bank of America employees stated that they were encouraged to mislead customers. “We were told to lie to customers and claim that Bank of America had not received documents it had requested,” said Simone Gordon, who worked at the bank from 2007 until early 2012 as a senior collector. “We were told that admitting that the Bank received documents 2018 would open a can of worms,’” she said, since the bank was required to underwrite applications within 30 days of receiving documents and didn’t have adequate staff. Wilson said each underwriter commonly had 400 outstanding applications awaiting review.
Anxious homeowners calling in for an update on their application were frequently told that their applications were “under review” when, in fact, nothing had been done in months, or the application had already been denied, four former employees said.
Employees were rewarded for denying applications and referring customers to foreclosure, according to the statements. Gordon said collectors “who placed ten or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month received a $500 bonus.” Other rewards included gift cards to retail stores or restaurants, said Gordon and Theresa Terrelonge, who worked as a collector from 2009 until 2010.
This is certainly not the first time the bank has faced such allegations. In 2010, Arizona and Nevada sued Bank of America for mishandling modification applications. Last year, Bank of America settled a lawsuit brought by a former employee of a bank contractor who accused the bank of mishandling HAMP applications.
The bank has also settled two major actions by the federal government related to its foreclosure practices. In early 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government crafted a settlement that, among other things, provided cash payments to Bank of America borrowers who had lost their home to foreclosure. Authorities recently began mailing out those checks of about $1,480 for each homeowner. Earlier this year, federal bank regulators arrived at a settlement that also resulted in payments to affected borrowers, though most received $500 or less.
The law suit with the explosive new declarations from former employees is a consolidation of 29 separate suits against the bank from across the country and is seeking class action certification. It covers homeowners who received a trial modification, made all of their required payments, but who did not get a timely answer from the bank on whether they’d receive a permanent modification. Under HAMP, the trial period was supposed to last three months, but frequently dragged on for much longer, particularly during the height of the foreclosure crisis in 2009 and 2010.
ProPublica began detailing the failures of HAMP from the start of the program in 2009. HAMP turned out to be a perfect storm created by banks that refused to adequately fund their mortgage servicing operations and lax government oversight.
Bank of America was far slower to modify loans than other servicers, as other analyses we’ve cited have shownspan. A study last year found that about 800,000 homeowners would have qualified for HAMP if Bank of America and the other largest servicers had done an adequate job of handling homeowner applications.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Article printed from www.CommonDreams.orgSource URL: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/15
Superman Sermon: Warner Bros. Marketing Man of Steel To America’s Churches, With Sermons Comparing Superman To Jesus Christ
Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) - As the new Superman movie takes flight this weekend, filmmakers are hoping the Man of Steel lands not only in theaters, but also in pulpits.
Warner Bros. Studios is aggressively marketing “Man of Steel” to Christian pastors, inviting them to early screenings, creating Father’s Day discussion guides and producing special film trailers that focus on the faith-friendly angles of the movie.
The movie studio even asked a theologian to provide sermon notes for pastors who want to preach about Superman on Sunday. Titled “Jesus: The Original Superhero,” the notes run nine pages.
“How might the story of Superman awaken our passion for the greatest hero who ever lived and died and rose again?” the sermon notes ask.
(Disclaimer: CNN, like Warner Bros., is owned by Time Warner.)
Similar campaigns to corral the country’s large number of Christians into the movie theater have been used for “Les Miserables,” “Soul Surfer” and “The Blind Side,” all of which had at least some faith angle.
Baltimore pastor Quentin Scott is among dozens of ministers who received an e-mail invitation from Grace Hill Media, a Hollywood-based Christian marketing firm, to an early screening of “Man of Steel.”
“There was an actual push to say `We’re putting out something that speaks to your group,’ ” said Scott, one of the pastors of Shiloh Christian Community Church in Baltimore.
At first, Scott said, he didn’t buy the religious pitch. Then he decided to attend a free midweek screening in Baltimore.
“When I sat and listened to the movie I actually saw it was the story of Christ, and the love of God was weaved into the story,” said the pastor.
“It was something I was very excited about that with the consultation of our senior pastor, we could use in our congregation.”
Grace Hill’s sermon notes are specially designed for churches like Shiloh that integrate multimedia into their services.
“Let’s take a look at the trailer for `Man of Steel,’” the notes suggest after briefly introducing the movie’s history and themes.
The man behind the notes, Pepperdine University professor Craig Detweiler, has prepared similar material for films like 2009’s “The Blind Side” and “The Book of Eli” from 2010.
The spiritual themes in “Man of Steel” are abundant, Detweiler said, and his notes enable Christians to thoughtfully engage with pop culture instead of shunning it.
“All too often, religious communities have been defined by what they’re against. With a movie like `Man of Steel,’ this is a chance to celebrate a movie that affirms faith, sacrifice and service,” Detweiler said.
It will be hard for even casual Christians to miss the messianic metaphors in “Man of Steel.”
The movie focuses on the origins of Superman, who was sent from the planet Krypton as an infant to save his species.
He is raised by surrogate parents who help him grapple with his special powers, even though they don’t fully understand the source of his extraordinary abilities.
When he turns 33, Superman must willingly sacrifice himself to save the human race.
If that’s not enough, as a boy Clark Kent is shown wrestling with his superpowers, and asks his earthly dad, Jonathan Kent, “Did God do this to me?”
“Somewhere out there you have another father and he sent you here for a reason,” says Jonathan Kent.
Even the visuals hammer home the messianic motifs.
During a fight with his archenemy, General Zod, Superman plunges down to Earth, his arms outstretched as if he were being crucified. Of course, he rises again.
Detweiler writes in the sermon notes, “What Jesus and Superman both give us, through their `hero’ actions but also their `human’ actions – is hope.”
“I think it’s a very good thing that Hollywood is paying attention to the Christian marketplace,” said Ted Baehr, who runs Movieguide, a website that reviews family friendly films from a Christian perspective.
“Where it gets sticky is when they try to manipulate the market and when Christians try to manipulate Hollywood. But here I think we have the right balance.”
But other Christians are heaving a supersized sigh at the movie marketing.
“Any pastor who thinks using `Man of Steel Ministry Resources’ is a good Sunday morning strategy must have no concept of how high the stakes are, or very little confidence in the power of God’s word and God’s spirit,” writes P.J. Wenzel, a deacon and Sunday School teacher at Dublin Baptist Church in Ohio.
“As they entertain their congregants with material pumped out from Hollywood’s sewers, lives are kept in bondage, and people’s souls are neglected,” according to Wenzel, who said he was e-mailed information about the movie.
Scott, the Baltimore pastor, said he knows that Warner Bros. Studios has a financial incentive in pushing the film to pastors.
But he said that’s fine with him. “They’re using us but in fact we’re using them,” he said.
His church won’t show clips from the movie this weekend because it had already planned out its service. But he plans to use them later, during meetings with the church’s men’s group.
“If you give me another opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus Christ, and I can do that because of your movie, that’s a win for me, because it is about spreading the Gospel.”
That’s just weird.