Friday Night Fun and Culture

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NOW Urges Senate to Reject Obama Tax Plan Economy Can Be Stimulated Without Undermining Social Security Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

NOW press release:

December 10, 2010

The agreement reached by President Obama with Republican leadership, including a two-year extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest in return for a one-year extension of unemployment insurance for families decimated by joblessness, is the wrong way to stimulate our economy.

The payroll tax holiday is particularly troubling for women, who rely more on Social Security than men do. The “holiday” benefits higher income people more than those in the middle or bottom, excludes retirees — including those forced into early retirement due to joblessness — and excludes state and local government workers at a time when they are facing a pay freeze. Worst of all, it slashes Social Security’s dedicated funding stream — something Republican leaders and other anti-New Deal forces have wanted to do for decades.

Cutting Social Security’s dedicated funding stream threatens its long-term integrity, and breaks faith with the workers who have paid into the system so that it would be there for them when they are no longer working.

The White House says the tax holiday will stimulate the economy, and Social Security will get its lost revenue back from the federal budget. We say: then why not use the federal budget to stimulate the economy in the first place? Proposals exist that would do just that. For example, it would be simple to double the Making Work Pay program. Giving everyone who earns at least $5,000 per year a benefit of $800 would be much more progressive than the payroll tax holiday and would directly stimulate the economy.

There is no need to strike at the heart of Social Security’s integrity in the name of stimulus.

The president’s package also allows income inequality to continue growing, and will result in more pressure to cut programs that employ and serve women disproportionately, including education, health care, child care, domestic violence prevention and other social programs.

NOW urges the Senate, which is expected to vote on the president’s proposal on Saturday, to reject it. Instead, senators should pass a stimulus package that targets relief to where it is needed most — middle and low-income families, not those earning $1 million, $2 million, or $5 million per year and more.

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Dr. Marci Bowers Joins Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery in San Mateo

Press Release via Prurgent

Release Date: 2010-12-09
Renowned plastic surgeons / sex reassignment surgeons Drs. Joel Beck and Marci Bowers join forces in San Mateo, CA.


Dr. Joel Beck, a renowned San Francisco plastic surgeon of Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery, is thrilled to welcome Dr. Marci Bowers, one of the world’s most prestigious genital reassignment surgeons, to his practice in San Mateo, California.

Drs. Beck and Bowers are highly skilled transgender surgeons who have joined forces to make the Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery facility an international hub for feminization and masculinization surgery. On November 8, 2010, the two surgeons made history as they successfully performed their first sex reassignment surgery together.

By combining their unique surgical talents, years of experience and genital reassignment surgery expertise, Drs. Beck and Bowers are at the forefront of holistic care for transgender patients. They have assembled a top-notch medical team to create a unique program and ancillary services that encompass all aspects of gender transformation. In addition to performing procedures, they offer referrals for gender therapy, hormone therapy, femininity coaching, nutritional counseling, voice coaching, laser services, and anti-aging and beauty services.

Drs. Beck and Bowers’ partnership offers prospective sex reassignment surgery patients an opportunity to undergo combination surgery, thereby reducing overall fees associated with undergoing each transformation procedure separately. In addition, prospective patients undergo a combination consultation with both Dr. Beck and Dr. Bowers.

Dr. Beck has been serving the unique needs of transgender surgery patients for more than 10 years. He is known for using his fine-tuned aesthetic judgment, unsurpassed surgical skills, individualized patient care and unique treatment plans to consistently deliver stunning feminization surgery results of the face and body, earning him a reputation as one of the most talented sex reassignment surgeons in the world.

Dr. Beck is committed to patient education and prides himself on his ability to use aesthetic surgery procedures to help his patients achieve a real-life transformation.

Drs. Beck and Bowers are board-certified plastic surgeons who belong to leading plastic and cosmetic surgery associations. They offer decades of surgical experience in sex reassignment surgery and strive to provide the highest standard of professionalism and medical care for each and every transgender patient.

In addition to transgender surgery, Dr. Beck helps San Francisco tummy tuck, liposuction and facelift patients achieve their desired look by utilizing the most advanced surgical techniques and technologies available today.

To learn more about Drs. Beck and Bowers, please contact Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery in San Mateo at (650) 570-6066 or visit our website at

Contact Info
Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery
66 Bovet Road, #101
San Mateo, CA
94402Phone: (650) 570-6066 


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Morales asks to save Kyoto Protocol, create global climate court

From Monsters and Critics:

Dec 9, 2010, 18:18 GMT

Cancun, Mexico – Bolivian President Evo Morales called Thursday to save the Kyoto Protocol and to create an international climate justice tribunal.

‘The planet is wounded,’ Morales, Bolivia’s first president of indigenous descent, said in Mexico’s Caribbean resort city of Cancun.

‘We have an enormous responsibility with life and with humanity,’ he told the UN Climate Conference in a 20-minute speech.

Morales asked industrialized nations to approve a second round of commitments to the Kyoto Protocol, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012.

‘If we send the Kyoto Protocol to the bin, we will be responsible for ‘ecocide,’ and thus for genocide, because we would be attacking humanity as a whole,’ he said.

Morales called delegates to discuss not just the effects of climate change, but also its consequences, which he blamed on capitalism.

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Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States

From The Huffington Post:

Naomi Wolf

Posted: December 10, 2010 12:28 PM

This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They both invoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.

These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans’ ignorance of their own history — an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act — a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used — was designed deliberately to be used — specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.

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The few, the proud, the filthy rich

From Socialist Worker:

Alan Maass

December10, 2010

HE’S NUMBER 69 on the latest Forbes 400 list of richest Americans and head of Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm specializing in corporate takeovers. He lives in a 35-room triplex on Park Avenue in Manhattan, with second “homes”–mansions, really–in the Hamptons, Palm Beach and Jamaica. His private chef regularly spends $3,000 for a weekend’s feasting for him and his wife, including those stone crabs he loves at $400 each. Which works out to $40 a claw.

But comfortable as his life is, Stephen Schwarzman isn’t the kind of guy to allow tyranny to go unopposed. “It’s a war,” he declared in July at the board meeting of a nonprofit organization, according to Newsweek. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

And what cruel injustice was Schwarzman standing against?

Turns out it’s all those people who want to tax him to death. Schwarzman was talking about a widely supported Democratic proposal–now abandoned, naturally–to close a loophole that allows private equity firms like Blackstone to pay taxes at less than half the rate of normal corporations.

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Ted Turner urges global one-child policy to save planet

One of the things I pride myself on is never reproducing.  Too many people have too many children.

In my life time the population of the planet has gone from 2 billion to 7 billion and because of that we are headed for a major planet crash.  Global warming and climate change is the result of human activity.  Feeding that 7 billion is dependent upon petroleum, which is past peak.  Our 7 billion have done a fabulous job of also trashing out the water supply with their pollution..  Soon we will not be able to feed the people currently alive even if we all become vegetarians.

Ted Turner is a private individual who isn’t trying to get elected or re-elected, therefore he is freer to speak his mind than many are.

The Greenest thing people can do is have only one child.  Or better yet no children because a major part of the population will not go along with population shrinkage the way many western nations wisely have.

From The Globe and Mail:

CANCUN, MEXICO— From Monday’s Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Dec. 05, 2010

Climate change and population control can make for a politically explosive mix, as media mogul Ted Turner demonstrated Sunday when he urged world leaders to institute a global one-child policy to save the Earth’s environment.

Mr. Turner spoke at a luncheon where economist Brian O’Neill from the U.S.’s National Center for Atmospheric Research unveiled his study on the impact of demographic trends on future greenhouse gas emission, a little-discussed subject given its political sensitivity.

Mr. O’Neill’s study concluded that a rapidly rising global population is contributing to an acceleration of emission growth, and that widespread availability of family planning could reduce the amount of emissions reductions required in 2050 by as much as 30 per cent.

Mr. O’Neill acknowledged that discussion of climate change and population is a political minefield. The Roman Catholic Church has condemned any such connection, while developing countries resist rich-world prescriptions that they should limit their populations.

The global population is now close to seven billion people, and is expected to rise to 10 billion by 2050, with 80 per cent of that growth coming in developing countries.

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Canada Issues Dress Rules for Military Transsexuals

From The Boston Edge:
by Kilian Melloy

Wednesday Dec 8, 2010

The United States continues to struggle with the issue of allowing gay and lesbian patriots to serve their nation in uniform. Meantime, much of the rest of the Western world has moved on. Case in point: Canada not only allows gays and lesbians to serve, but now has a dress code for transgendered servicemembers who are transitioning.

A Dec. 8 article in Canadian newspaper the National Post <> reports that, according to a supplement to a military manual, Canadian servicemembers have a right to dress according to their gender identity. They are expected to dress in the manner of what the supplement calls their “target gender,” the article says. The
supplement was sent to servicemembers via email.

“This is an important step towards recognizing a community that has always struggled for equal rights and basic human protection,” the head of the Canadian branch of Parents and Friends and Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Cherie MacLeod, told the media.

But the supplement ruffled feathers, because it came in the wake of a report that asserted that the Canadian military is not doing enough for the families of troops killed in action overseas. The article cited Scott Taylor, who publishes the military publication Esprit de Corps. Taylor said that the two documents appearing so close to one another “couldn’t get much worse” in terms of “timing,” and added, “It’s so removed from what the guys are facing over in Afghanistan.” The article indicated that Taylor that the issue of supporting the families of servicemembers killed in action “doesn’t really relate to dress codes of the transgendered.”

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The Deafening Silence About the War in the Deficit Debate

From Common Dreams:

by Dan Kovalik


There is a lot of talk right now on Capitol Hill about the need to balance the federal budget. Sadly, both Democrats and Republicans alike are largely debating about how best to balance the budget upon the backs of the poor and working people (who are many times the very same people) and the elderly. First and foremost on the chopping block appears to be Social Security and Medicare — the lifeline for millions of seniors in this country and the only hope for any sort of retirement for the vast majority of people in this country.

Meanwhile, belying any real interest in balancing the budget, the extension of unemployment benefits for millions of people out of work through no fault of their own is being made contingent upon tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

At the same time, what is largely absent from this debate is discussion of the war, which includes military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, allied Pakistan, military exercises in the Yellow Sea and elsewhere, and the maintenance of over 800 U.S. military bases throughout the world. To put the latter into perspective, Great Britain and Ancient Rome, at the very height of their Empires, never had more than 40 military bases internationally.

The U.S. is always at war, whether the pretext is fighting Communism or terrorism, or, as is usually the actual case, fighting against national liberation efforts and for the ability of U.S. corporations to expand their domain and control.

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Who Could Have Known? #1237

Who could have know Barrack Obama would completely betray his base?

Actually I was suspicious of Obama right from the start, as early as when there were some 8 candidates up there at the first debates. The people I liked most were at the opposite end of the political spectrum from neo-lib/neo-con Obama.  I loved Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich.  But the media wasted no time in telling us we couldn’t have either one of them even though they might actually represent the real American who work for a living instead of engaging in scams and high risk financial gambling.

But the money people, the media and the corporations decided we had to pick between Obama and Clinton.

I like Hillary.  Obama seemed hollow.  He was Ronnie Reagan only African American mouthing a whole bunch of meaningless platitudes and slogans just like Reagan did.

I look beyond images and parse word for meaning, I look for subtexts.

I voted for Hillary in the primary.  When he was the candidate I supported him and voted for him and felt betrayed by him ever since.

The day after he won election he started sucking up to the Republicans and the misogynistic big money pricks Summers, Geithner, and Paulson who got us in to this mess in the first place.

Now he is selling out his base once again.  Handouts to the ultra rich and austerity for the poor.

Actually people were warning us about him even when he was running in the primaries.

Tonight Keith Olbermann showed a clip of Tom Buffenbarger head of the Machinist’s Union, an AFL-CIO affiliate.

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Exclusive: Private sector attacks on WikiLeaks set ‘scary precedent,’ corporate whistleblower declares

From Raw Story:

By Brad Jacobson
Thursday, December 9th, 2010 — 8:50 am

Wendell Potter, the former communications chief for health insurer Cigna who turned whistleblower and exposed the insurance industry’s most deceptive practices, has come out in defense of secrets outlet WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

In an interview with Raw Story on Monday night and Wednesday afternoon, Potter said he certainly finds similarities to the Pentagon Papers released by Daniel Ellsberg during the Vietnam War.

“Well, it takes me back,” he said. “The Nixon Administration came after Ellsberg and tried to shut it all down and tried to intimidate the news media. There are a lot of parallels here.”

Potter called the freezing of WikiLeaks accounts in recent days by corporations such as MasterCard, VISA, Amazon and PayPal – Amazon after calls from US senators including the chair of the homeland security committee Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and PayPal at the request of the US State Department – “a disturbing trend.”

“This kind of action, this kind of involvement is dangerous,” he warned. “What’s most important is freedom of information. So I think this is a disturbing trend.”

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Operation Payback may target US Senate

From The Atlantic:

Pro-WikiLeaks Group May Attack U.S. Senate Website Next

Alexis Madrigal

Dec 9 2010, 5:22 PM ET

After hitting Paypal, Mastercard, and Visa, pro-WikiLeaks forces may hit the United States Senate website with a denial-of-service attack next.

According to a poll set up by the ad-hoc group, Operation Payback, the Senate could be their next target. It leads voting ahead of Re-attacking Mastercard, Re-attacking Visa, Sarah Palin’s website, and Out of a total of 1179 votes cast (as of 5:22 pm), 445 of them went to attacking the Senate website.

This iteration of Operation Payback formed in response to companies like PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard cutting off WikiLeaks from their services. It is composed of members associated through the loose network of people known as Anonymous, which specializes in denial-of-service attacks, among other general mischief. For more on how the group organizes itself, The Economist has a great piece called, “The 24-Hour Athenian Democracy.”

It’s important to remember that these denial-of-service swarms are not attacks or “hacks” in the sense that they break or break into the computers running a website. Rather, they clog up the pipes leading to the website so that others can’t access it. In that sense, they are non-destructive attack. Perhaps the best off-line analog is picketing, although obviously it’s hard to do a one-to-one mapping of the digital onto the real.

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