Monthly archives: November, 2009

The Advocate: Tom Petty Assumed Gay by Violent Dad



Tom Petty admits that his father physically and verbally abused him because he assumed the singer was gay.

"[My father] was scary and violent," Petty said in the new issue of Rolling Stone,according to website Spinner. "He beat the living hell out of me, and there was constant verbal abuse."

Haven’t heard from Tom Petty in a while. Of course it would help if I listened to the radio.


More here.

Study: Senate Health Bill Brings No Big Cost Rise in U.S. Premiums

The Senate health care bill looks better and better every day, and Republican objections ring more and more hollow.

From the New York Times:

The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the Senate health bill could significantly reduce costs for many people who buy health insurance on their own, and that it would not substantially change premiums for the vast numbers of Americans who receive coverage from large employers.

The eagerly awaited report, which came as the Senate began debate on the legislation, provided Democrats with ammunition against Republicans who have criticized the bill on the ground that it would raise costs for a majority of Americans.

Centrist Democrats like Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, whose votes are vital to President Obama’s hopes of getting the bill approved, had feared that the measure would drive up costs for people with employer-sponsored coverage. After reading the budget office report, Mr. Bayh said he was reassured on that point.

Before taking account of federal subsidies to help people buy insurance on their own, the budget office said the bill would tend to drive up premiums. But as a result of the subsidies, it said, most people in the individual insurance market would see their costs decline, compared with the costs expected under current law. The subsidies, a main feature of the bill, would cost the government nearly $450 billion in the next 10 years and would cover nearly two-thirds of premiums for people who receive them.

We are on the verge of historic health care reform in the United States.

Keep the fire burning.

More here.

Pittsburgh’s Mike Rupp Pulls Hat Trick as Penguins Top Rangers 5-2

The Steelers may be having a rough season, but the Keepers of the Cup Pittsburgh Penguins top the Atlantic Division with a 19-9 record. As of today, the Penguins have the most wins of any team in the NHL.

Well, that’s something. Hats off to Mike Rupp for his first career hat trick.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Mike Rupp got his first career hat trick and Sidney Crosby scored twice to lead the Penguins to a 5-2 victory against the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The victory was the Penguins’ first at the Garden since March 1, 2007

Read more here.

Remains of U.S. Paratrooper Found in Afghanistan


The remains of a U.S. paratrooper reported missing since early this month in western Afghanistan were recovered yesterday, military officials said.

The body of Army Sgt. Brandon Islip was recovered from the Bala Murgahab River in Badghis province after a local Afghan resident provided information on his whereabouts, officials said.

Islip, a paratrooper with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, went missing with another paratrooper Nov. 4 after being swept away by a fast-moving current while on an airdrop re-supply mission in western Afghanistan.

The recovery comes weeks after British divers found the body of Islip’s fellow soldier, Spc. Benjamin Sherman, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Read more here.

President Obama Earns a ‘D+’ in Fighting Global AIDS


On the eve of World AIDS Day, global AIDS and Africa solidarity organizations released a report card today evaluating President Obama’s first year in office-giving the President and his Administration a ‘D+’ for work so far. Advocates also called the White House’s World AIDS Day announcement that the U.S. will host the 2012 International AIDS Conference, due to the lifting of the U.S. ban on travel and immigration of people with HIV, "superficial" when contrasted with the AIDS promises the Administration is breaking.

"With new data showing that worldwide the number one killer of women of reproductive age is HIV, aggressive scale up of AIDS treatment is needed more than ever for the health of communities," said Asia Russell, Health GAP Director of International Policy. "We are disappointed to report that on his first World AIDS Day in office, President Obama has not made good on his promises to increase funding for effective, life saving programs to fight AIDS around the world."

The report, released by Health GAP, Africa Action, Treatment Action Group and Global AIDS Alliance states: "This report card gives President Obama a ‘D+’ for his first year as president. This assessment contrasts his one-year record to the promises he made to get elected, and takes into account the areas where some progress has been made, particularly on HIV prevention and support for integration of reproductive health and HIV prevention and treatment. It also takes into account pre-existing broad bipartisan support established during the Bush Administration for increased U.S. investment to fight AIDS. But one year is early in any Administration; President Obama still has the potential to carry forward a bold agenda on global AIDS. President Obama could earn an ‘A’ if he seizes this opportunity and if he crafts a budget request for FY2011 that puts U.S. investments in global AIDS back on track-and includes prominent support for a bold HIV treatment target to be achieved by 2013. There is urgent need for course correction by U.S. leadership in fight against AIDS." The analysis was based on four leadership areas: funding levels, treatment scale-up, effective prevention, and linkage between AIDS and other global health programs.

Tomorrow, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

Read more here.

Senate Begins Historic Health Care Reform Debate

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Associated Press has an opinion on the health care reform debate that began today in Congress.

From the AP, via Yahoo! News:

Riven by partisanship, the Senate plunged into a widely anticipated debate Monday over sweeping health care legislation that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to approve and Republicans have sworn to block.

Debate is expected to last for weeks over the legislation, which includes a first-time requirement for most Americans to carry insurance and a mandate for insurers to cover any paying customer regardless ofmedical history or condition.

"We must avoid the temptation to drown in distractions and distortions," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in the first moments of the first speech, a jab at Republicans that was reciprocated minutes later.

"Well, I don’t know what’s more preposterous: saying that this plan ‘saves Medicare’ or thinking that people will actually believe you," Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said of Reid’s oft-made statement.

At a cost of nearly $1 trillion, the legislation is designed to extend health care to millions of American who lack it, abolish insurance industry practices such as denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and cut back on the rise of health care spending overall.

Despite its huge price tag, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the 2,074-page bill would reduce federal deficits by $130 billion over the next decade. In all, CBO said 31 million uninsured individuals would receive insurance if the bill were enacted, many of them assisted by federal subsidies. As much as 94 percent of the eligible population would wind up covered. The legislation would be paid for through a combination of cuts in projected Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers, a payroll tax on the wealthy and taxes on drug makers, medical device manufacturers, owners of high-cost insurance and others.

Mitch McConnell is being completely disingenuine. The Republicans have been working to dismantle Medicare for years. The best news is from the Congressional Budget Office. The plan is fiscally sound.

And I don’t want to hear any more Republicans screaming about having to read a 2,074-page bill. Grow up. You wanted to go to Washington. Now read.

Ugandan Government Moving Law Forward to Kill Gay People

No kidding. The Ugandan government is moving to kill homosexuals.


The Ugandan government will put to death gay citizens repeatedly caught having sex and throw into jail those who touch each other in a "gay" way, if a new proposed Bill becomes law.

A new Bill, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, seeks to legislate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in Uganda. And it wants to pave the way for its harsh treatment of them by nullifying any international treaties, conventions or declarations believed to be contrary to it.

"The Bill is so inhumane … It violates every aspect of a human being. I mean you cannot tell me you will kill me because I’m gay," says Gerald Sentogo, the gay administrator for the organisation Sexual Minorities Uganda.

The death penalty is listed as punishment under an offence called aggravated homosexuality. This part of the Bill states that "repeat offenders" of homosexuality are liable to get the death penalty. The death penalty is also applied in a homosexual relationship if a partner is under 18, or has a disability, or is HIV positive. People accused under the aggravated homosexuality clause will be forced to undergo an HIV test.

Local and international civil society groups operating in the country fear that the Bill, once enacted, would curtail most of the civil rights guaranteed in the Ugandan constitution, and international human rights instruments and protocols.

But Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister sees the uproar surrounding the Bill as a positive sign that Uganda is "providing leadership" to the world. The minister, James Nsaba Buturo, tells IPS he is happy the Bill is causing a lot of debate globally.

"It is with joy we see that everyone is interested in what Uganda is doing, and it is an opportunity for Uganda to provide leadership where it matters most. So we are here to see a piece of legislation that will not only define what the country stands for, but actually provide leadership around the world," he says.

The new Bill will force people in authority to report offences to the police within 24 hours, or they themselves will face fines or up to three years in prison.

Read more here.

12-year-old Jahmeshia Conner Found Dead in South Side Alley

The sad news from the Chicago Tribune:

A 12-year-old girl who was missing for the last two weeks was found dead in aSouth Side alley this morning, her family said.

Family members said they have viewed photographs and identified the girl as Jahmeshia Conner, who was last seen Nov. 15. She was a fifth grader at O’Toole Elementary School.

Chicago police said the body was found this morning in the 6400 block of South Marshfield Avenue, about a block from her home. Further details about her identity and cause of death were pending an examination by the Cook County medical examiner’s office, police said.

Family members said it appeared from the photos that Jahmeshia may have been beaten.

Various online missing-children sites refer to Jahmeshia as an "endangered runaway," but family members insisted she would never run away.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Read more here.

Charlie Weis Out as Notre Dame Coach

From the Chicago Tribune:

In a widely expected move, Charlie Weis is out as Notre Dame’s football coach, athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced today.

Swarbrick cut ties with Weis following a disappointing 6-6 season that ended Saturday with a 45-38 loss at Stanford. Weis has six years left on his contract.

“We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations,” Swarbrick said. “As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he’s as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results.”

Swarbrick recommended the dismissal Sunday night to Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John Jenkins.

“We have established an evaluation process for all of our athletic programs that, in the end, results in a recommendation from Jack to me,” Father Jenkins said. “I accepted Jack’s decision and look forward to working with him on selecting a new head football coach who is the very best choice possible for the University and especially for our student-athletes.”


Read more here.

Huckabee Granted Clemency to Suspect in Wash State Quadruple Cop Killer Case

From The Seattle Times:

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

"This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time," Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.

Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.

Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child. He was released from custody just six days ago, even though was staring at seven additional felony charges in Washington state.

Clemmons posted $15,000 with a Chehalis company called Jail Sucks Bail Bonds. The bondsman, in turn, put up $150,000, securing Clemmons’ release on the pending child-rape charge.

For your consideration. No comment at this time.

Nod to AMERICAblog.

According to the New York Times, the officers who were killed were identified as Tina Griswold, 40; Ronald Owens, 37; Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; and Greg Richards, 42.