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One of the issues with the bailout that is being proposed--along with the money shoveled over to AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--is that the scale is so large as to border on being unfathomable.  700 billion dollars is almost fundamentally impossible for me to wrap my head around.  Whenever such a large amount of money is bandied about, though, I like to try to picture it in the form of 100 dollar bills.

The effects generally produce a strange mix of utter astonishment and end-of-the-world giddy laughter.

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On December 1st 1995 my mother died.  It was a terrible year for 10th graders at my highschool.  The first day of school a tree fell on the father of one of my classmates.  He died at the scene.  That November it was unseasonably warm.  A friend of my mother, and the mother of a classmate, went to clean the part of her porch that wrapped around the house.  Her asthma was triggered and they did not find her for half an hour.  She was brain dead, but lingered on a respirator for a week.

Three days before my mother died they took my mother's friend off of the respirator and she passed on.  It was at her viewing that my mother started to feel the first signs of the heart attack that would kill her.  She started to drive herself to the hospital, but her heart didn't last.  She careened through a parking lot and crashed into a parked truck.  They rushed her to the hospital where she worked as an RN in the orthopedic ward.  It was her friends in ER that tried to revive her long after, I am told, it was possible for her to be revived.  It was my friend's father that pronounced her dead.

Poll

Has your life been positively impacted through Social Security?

49%32 votes
4%3 votes
41%27 votes
4%3 votes

| 65 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 02:56 PM PDT

LGBT Iraqis Need Our Help

by electricgrendel

Since the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq, gay people in Iraq have suffered particularly intense persecution.

Two ‘Safe Houses’ for Gays in Iraq Set To Close for Lack of Donations

It can be difficult to be gay or transgender in even the most liberal of societies.  In a society that is in the throes of a civil war rooted in differences of religious interpretation, being LGBT is not merely difficult: it can be outright deadly.

Violence against all the gay community has intensified sharply since late 2005, when Iraq’s leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa (religious decree) which declared that gays and lesbians should be "killed in the worst, most severe way".

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It would appear that certain GOP Senators have taken umbrage with plain language used to describe accurately what this Administration plans to do.

"Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told CNN Thursday that she is working with colleagues on 'both sides of the aisle' to come up with a resolution opposing President Bush's plan to increase troops numbers in Iraq -- after she and other Republicans objected to certain language in a resolution proposed by three other senators."

As Reported by Rawstory

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Hey.  I thought that in the spirit of the season I would share a recipe I enjoy making.  It will be the grande finale of the Christmas Dinner I will be having with friends tomorrow.  I hope this diary finds everyone in good health and good spirits.  :)  Merry Christmas to all of y'all.  You make the internet worth visiting; and here's to a happy and healthy New Year presided over by a Democratic Congress we all hoped for.

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I was a senior at Vanderbilt and had the good fortune of having only one class on Tuesdays.  This was early in the schoolyear and I was enjoying the feeling of being a senior.  I had pink hair and overslept a lot.  As a result of the latter, I woke up with five minutes to make it across Alumni lawn from my dorm.  That was pretty easy so I got out of bed and started on my way.

I passed one of the doubles on the first floor of my door and noticed that it was not only full at 12:30 in the afternoon, but that the collection of people in the double was oddly disparate.  I was a bit of a social butterfly, so I knew who got along with whom and who hung out with whom.  To see that cross section set off a bit of curiosity, but it was a beautiful day outside and I was almost late for class.

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Atrios pointed out what should be obvious to anyone but may be lost on Democrats in positions of leadership: Iran is going to be made an issue in the upcoming months.  Why is this the case?  Look at the smoke screen that was thrown up before the invasion of Iraq.  Nothing--and I mean nothing--was addressed other than the spectacle that was that vaudeville show.  How better to distract the population from the quagmire of Iraq than to preoccupy them with this silly modern political game of "he said/she said"?

So it would seem logical that Democrats would formulate an immediate response to the politicizing of the mythical Iranian crisis.  I would like to say that my faith in the Democratic Party would allow me to believe that they have crack marketing experts and political aces working on frames as we speak.  I would also like to believe in unicorns, fairies and all manner of things that have never been substantiated by what we like to call evidence.

Follow me below the fold and I will offer a bit of a frame on the issue that is destined to emerge over the next two months.

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A while back there was a thread in which people were encouraged to post fun little haiku regarding current events, etc.  I had great fun doing that and thought it would be time for another thread!

Though, as I am sure someone is going to point out, most of these are not haiku as haiku deal with nature.  But the 5 - 7 - 5 is a fun little form to play with.

So everyone put on your creativity caps and post your funniest, favorite own haiku regarding Joe Lieberman's graceless performance.  I'll start us out below the fold.

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My Experience Calling Verizon

As encouraged by a previous diary I called Verizon to express my concern regarding their complicity in the NSA domestic spying.  The first number I called--for the Ethics line--is apparently for Verizon customers only, but the woman on the line was kind enough to get me to the correct customer service.

While the fellow on the other end of the phone operated with a polished courtesy, he felt the need to engage me in an off the record debate at the end.  Since I was at lunch, I felt obliged to do so.

His first statement was as follows:  "What if we have another 9/11 or Oklahoma City?  What are you going to do then?"

My response is below the fold.
((Warning: peppered with expletives, because I have a mouth like a sailor.))

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President Bush has recently offered the following challenge to lawmakers:
"step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard'.

Let's for a moment presuppose that the legislative branch of the government ever owes the executive an explanation for anything and focus on if this particular legislative body owes this particular executive an explanation for anything.  From signing statements to executive orders to the condescending "we'd be happy to listen to any of your ideas", this executive has held the legislatures in contempt while trying to poison the judiciary.

More below the fold

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War is one of the most powerful sociological forces humanity faces.  It is a large consumption of resources; it is a high demand for the machines of war; it is a time of expected sacrifice and restriction.  It is a crucible that throughout history has reshaped entire cultures:  funerary traditions in Britain after World War I, metropolitan diversity in the wake of WWII, violent social unrest to coincide with Vietnam.  All of these represent fundamental shifts in society attributable only to their proximity to "great" wars.

more after the flip

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Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 02:25 PM PST

Freep this CNN Alito poll

by electricgrendel

Sorry for the quick and dirty, but this poll pisses me off.  So does the smarm of this Terrence Jeffrey.  Begala is a douche and I'm really tired of him representing the left on these corporate platforms.  He wouldn't know progressive if it bit him in the ass.

And what is this avoiding pitfalls?  He's facing a Republican committee, having been coached by a member of that meeting.  And Leahy's spineless performance was hardly riddled with pitfalls.

Let's freep this.  It's spiteful, but we should flex our numbers now.  It's not scientific but who knows how this data affects their presentation of stories.  It's basically just a quick form of feedback to CNN.  So give it a whirl.

Freep this poll.

Recommend if you think others should freep it as well. :)

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