this n that

Look. Legally THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF BLACKMAIL AND EXTORTION. Why isn’t Breitbart being arrested and prosecuted FOR BLACKMAIL?? (Breitbart won’t release X-rated photo of Weiner, via Dan Savage)

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who first reported on the lewd photo of Rep. Anthony Weiner, said he has an X-rated picture of the Democratic congressman that he’s keeping as “an insurance policy” against any reprisals.

My sympathy for Weiner is fairly low at the moment, on account of his leading us on a merry chase this whole week by lying about the picture he tweeted from his account. That said, I applaud his declination to resign and can only headdesk at Pelosi’s “ethics committee” comments (I’ve got to say, though, Republican leaders didn’t call for Vitter’s or Lee’s heads — so much for their morality trumpeting). But Breitbart’s actions are way beyond the pale — from his Kayne West moment at the press conference yesterday to this. More take down by Glenn Greenwald here: The joys of repressed voyeuristic titillation. In particular: “This isn’t a case of illegal sex activity or gross hypocrisy (i.e., David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley (who built their careers on Family Values) or Eliot Spitzer (who viciously prosecuted trivial prostitution cases)). There’s no lying under oath (Clinton) or allegedly illegal payments (Ensign, Edwards). From what is known, none of the women claim harassment and Weiner didn’t even have actual sex with any of them.”

Cuts straight to the chase. Ten years already? Jeebus. Thanks for nothing, Bush tax cuts for the rich.

An absolute MUST READ: How Koch Became An Oil Speculation Powerhouse (by way of Balloon Juice’s perfectly titled Greasy Koch Fingerprints on Your Jacked-Up Fuel Bills)

In April, ThinkProgress caused a stir when we uncovered a series of Koch Industries corporate documents revealing the company’s role as an oil speculator. Like many oil companies, Koch uses legitimate hedging products to create price stability. However, the documents reveal that Koch is also participating in the unregulated derivatives markets as a financial player, buying and selling speculative products that are increasingly contributing to the skyrocketing price of oil. Excessive energy speculation today is at its highest levels ever, and even Goldman Sachs now admits that at least $27 of the price of crude oil is a result from reckless speculation rather than market fundamentals of supply and demand.

If politicians were really serious about the price of gas they’d look into this. Except that by and large, Republican and to a lesser extent Democrat, politicians are also hooked up into this transfer-money-to-the-hyperrich scheme. While I find it kind of funny for me to be railing against the high price of gas (because that pushes us toward alternatives and conservation, at least), I’d rather the price of gas be an honest one, and any taxes on it actually going toward something other than lining the pockets of the filthy rich. If it is true that the price of gas is probably doubled from these stupid schemes, then the amount of federal and state taxes tacked onto the fuel pump prices are truly negligible and the wrong thing to fuss about.

This is simply depressing: Japan doubles radiation leak estimate

Japan’s nuclear safety agency has more than doubled its estimate of the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

And plutonium believed to have come from the plant has also been found in a town near the facility – the first time plutonium has been found in soil outside the facility.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says it believes the earthquake-stricken Fukushima plant emitted nearly 800,000 terabecquerels of radioactive material into the air in the days after it was hit by a massive tsunami.

That is more than double the original estimate and is based on new information suggesting the No.1 and No.2 reactors suffered meltdowns much earlier than thought.

The revision reveals the failure to contain the disaster resulted in much more radioactive contamination of the soil, sea and air than the plant’s operators had acknowledged.

The disaster is rated a maximum seven on the international nuclear accident scale, the same level as the Chernobyl meltdown 25 years ago.

The plutonium was found in the town of Okuma, which is less than two kilometres from the plant.

Emphasis mine. Japan is getting a double whammy from all this: Fuskushima poisoning their country, and the attention to it is diverting attention and resources from rebuilding and fixing the tsunami damage elsewhere. It needs to be contained and coffined as soon as possible, or else there’s going to be an unbelieveable amount of contaminated water (that is being pumped into the reactors to keep them from overheating) to also deal with.

Absolutely unconscionable: Cancer costs put treatments out of reach for many

The skyrocketing cost of new cancer treatments is putting advances in fighting the deadly disease out of reach for a growing number of Americans.

Cancer patients are abandoning medical care because the costs are simply too high and medical bills — even among the insured — are unmanageable and risk bankruptcy, studies show.

In particular:

The thing that surprised him most, Zafar said, was how much the insured struggled with their medical bills.

“Ninety-nine percent of the patients in our study were insured and 83 percent said they had prescription coverage. People still couldn’t afford groceries and were spending life savings on cancer care,” Zafar said.

We’ve got your death panels right here, already. The article does not mention the most likely source of all this: the massive profit-making that pharmeceutical companies aim for. Health care, and health research, cannot be ethically done by profit-oriented companies, in my opninon. Either change the model of a company (in particular to require them to be as beholden to their workers and customers as to their shareholders) or require only non-profit

A long & difficult read about “curing gays.” But worth the read. It wasn’t always about sending the child off to some horrifically abusive camp. It could be deceptively simple therapies — on children far too young to have any real understanding of sexuality yet. What Are Little Boys Made Of?

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