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nellie On December - 11 - 2009

464px-Lesser_Ury_Leser_mit_LupeDon’t look for the splashy stories here! No major mainstream media sensations! Welcome to the Friday Edition of Un(der)reported News—stories you may not have seen but might find interesting.

If you have stories from the week that you think have been buried and may have been missed by fellow Planetarians, here’s the place to post them!

Can Congress create agencies insulated from White House control?
The US Supreme Court is considering whether an oversight board created by Congress intrudes on executive branch authority – the latest battleground in the dispute over separation of powers.

Key to Afghan crisis: tea and education
Greg Mortenson doesn’t need to rely on think tanks or arcane policy documents to find the road to a better Afghanistan.

The mountaineer-turned-school builder from Montana – recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize – depends on what might be called his own show-of-hands index, based on his visits to speak with children in the United States and Afghanistan. In the past few months alone, he’s spoken to tens of thousands of them.

Fearing recession redux, Japan announces $81 billion stimulus package
The Japanese government announced a new $81 billion stimulus package Tuesday, in a bid to keep the world’s second-largest economy on track for recovery.

Though the Japanese economy has grown for the past two quarters, “domestic demand is still very low,” warns Martin Schulz, an economist with the Fujitsu Research Institute, a think tank in Tokyo. “To pull the economy out of recession, they need more private demand.”

Supreme Court takes case of student group that bars gay members
The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a case testing the limits of religious freedom and association when those rights clash with a college’s policy of nondiscrimination against gays and lesbians.

The Christian Legal Society (CLS) at the Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco was stripped of its registered student organization status at the college because it refused to allow gay and lesbian students to become voting members or officers of the group.

POLITICO named to Pulitzer Board
Columbia University announced Monday that POLITICO Executive Editor Jim VandeHei has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Slate tracks every amendment to the Senate’s health care reform bill.
Slate is keeping a cumulative daily scorecard of health reform amendments brought up on the Senate floor.

U.S. Man Named in India Plot
An American living in Chicago traveled to India and Pakistan over nearly two years to videotape targets and brief plotters for the terrorist assault that killed 166 people in Mumbai a year ago, U.S. authorities alleged Monday.

Federal charges against David Headley — the 49-year-old son of a Pakistani diplomat and an American mother — reveal what authorities say could be the most significant role played by a U.S. citizen in a major international terrorist attack.

Soft toilet paper becomes target of environmentalists
“They’ll take my Ultra Soft Charmin only when they pry it from my cold, dead, aloe-smelling hands.”

Inside a U.S. healthcare “island of excellence”
In his healthcare speech to Congress on September 9, President Barack Obama cited Geisinger as a possible model for national reform. Based in central Pennsylvania, a rural region once dominated by coal mining, the system has recently earned a reputation for high-quality care at a lower-than-average cost. The White House refers to it as an “island of excellence” in the nation’s murky healthcare waters.

U.S. Agrees to $3 Billion Deal in Indian Trust Suit
The federal government announced on Tuesday that it intends to pay $3.4 billion to settle claims that it has mismanaged the revenue in American Indian trust funds, potentially ending one of the longest and most complicated class-action lawsuits ever brought against the government.

Une statue d’Obama enfant érigée à Jakarta
A couple of articles from Le Figaro were interesting. I think the headlines tell enough of the story.

La sauvegarde des forêts, un enjeu climatique et financier
At the climate summit, trees become the key to saving the planet.

Survey: Work and family responsibility behind college dropout rate
The conflict between work and school was the top reason cited for dropping out of college, with over half (54 percent) of the former students saying this was the major reason they left school. Not being able to afford tuition was the second reason cited, with 31 percent saying this was what led them to drop out.

Democrats split over use of ‘party of no’
Democrats are debating the tactic of labeling Republicans the “party of no.”

Categories: News & Politics

42 Responses so far.

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  1. bitohistory says:

    Newton Gingrich now knows how to fix Health Care. If the Dems pass anything, we will repeal it!(once we are back in power)

    GINGRICH: If the left manages to drive through a bill which is opposed by 65 percent of the country on health care, our commitment should be simple

  2. bitohistory says:

    nellie, On the first story listed about Congress creating oversite boards and SCOTUS. On first read, I tended to the “shouldn’t be allowed side.”
    Just for fun I ran a search on our newly found site “sourcewatch” and typed in the plaintiff: Free enterprise Fund. Oddly, the “fund” grew out of people that were in “The Club for Growth.” The names associated with the group (that I recognized)were all names one would read about GOP backers.
    Now I don’t know which way this case should go.~grin~


    I’m liking that site already.

  3. javaz says:

    For anyone that knows about Arizona’s self-proclaimed ‘Toughest Sheriff’ and his right hand man Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas, here’s another update about the abuse of power.

    Not sure if anyone outside of Arizona is aware of the deputy that removed papers from a defendant’s table while their attorney was speaking, but that deputy was jailed for 10 days by a well-respected judge.
    The judge demanded the deputy apologize, since that type of behavior is against the law.
    A deputy just can’t walk over to the defendant and remove papers to make copies.

    So, what does our beloved Sheriff Joe and Candy Thomas do?
    Charge the judge with 3 felony counts consisting of bribery, obstruction and hindering prosecution, without evidence.


    For a time line and more articles about Sheriff Joe taking on the county supervisors and judges:


    • bitohistory says:

      J’avaz, To quote the reporter “WOW.” Phoenix and Maricopa County sure can make AZ. sparkle in the nations eyes. This state has more than it’s fair share wackos in public office. Andrew Thomas, doesn’t he always think he can win statewide for something?

  4. javaz says:


    Bill O’Reilly outraged -- yes, that’s shocking news isn’t it? -- about a television show.

    This is enough to make me tune in now.
    Reminiscent of Boston Legal.

    • bitohistory says:

      J’avaz, here is a companion piece to go with O’Really’s outrage. Seems beck is disturbed too, however TP has some good links proving their point.


      After a shotgun rampage in July, 2008 in Tennessee, the police found three books in the gunman’s home:

      “[Police] seized three books from Adkisson

    • bitohistory says:

      J’avaz, O’Really isn’t outraged, he is disturbed. And it’s not just because of the show. 🙂

    • Hopeington says:

      I couldn’t get the sound to work, but that’s probably just as well, I get the point…
      Funny how they call out tv drama for distorting things, but not their own actual “news” stories, and that they need to use Jon Stewart’s comedy routine to prove their point,erroneously of course, that global warming is a hoax.
      They’ve got nothing.

  5. Hopeington says:

    That article about TP just makes me angry at how entitled Americans think they are, right down to wiping their ass!

  6. bitohistory says:

    I was surprised that the settlement of the tribal lands case got so little notice. I have been following this story, of and on, for years. After 13 years and multiple trials and appeals with costs ranging up to $100 billion, this is great news.
    The settlement still has to go through Congress. On what grounds will the GOP fight this case?
    From the story:
    “…would resolve a 13-year-old lawsuit over hundreds of thousands of land trust accounts that date to the 19th century. Specialists in federal tribal law described the lawsuit as one of the most important in the history of legal disputes involving the government

  7. bitohistory says:

    nellie, Another good job this week. Again you have me reading your stories throughout the day. What time is the quiz?

    • nellie says:

      No quiz, so just take your time and enjoy. I’m glad you find these tidbits interesting.

      • javaz says:

        Two stories that get my attention is the one about Politico and the Pulitzer board since I regard Politico to be more biased to the right recently and similar to HP when it comes to sensationalized headlines.

        But the biggest outrage for me?
        The toilet paper!
        Heck yeah, I agree with the motto of prying my Cottonelle out of my hand, but the imagery that comes to mind -- well, when I sit on the throne, I am the queen (sorry Hito) and . . .

  8. javaz says:


    The pope changes the time of Midnight Mass to 10:00.

    A few years back, my husband and I were quite active in our Catholic Church.
    We were in the choir, taught catechism, and helped with social gatherings -- Catholics do love to party.
    The big joke every Christmas were parishioners calling the rectory and asking “What time is Midnight Mass?”
    I wonder what the church folks think of that question now.

    • kesmarn says:

      Having been taught theology by Jesuits, I would imagine the defense for this would be: “Any Mass that’s timed to END at midnight can still be technically considered “Midnight Mass.” :o)

      Angels dancing on the head of a pin, anyone?

      • bitohistory says:

        k’esmarn, “theology by Jesuits”?

        • kesmarn says:

          I guess that WAS pretty vague, wasn’t it, b’ito? I should have said that it was Jesuit priests (often regarded as the brain-trust crack-troops of the Catholic Church when it came down to parsing legalities and theological subleties) who taught the theology classes at my university. And we were required to take theology there! So we got used to hair-splitting definitions of theological terms, combined with Liberation Theology (Marxist spin on Christianity). It was mind-bending to say the least!

  9. javaz says:

    I don’t know what it is about Sarah, but here’s the latest from the gift that keeps on giving --


    “”According to the Hamilton Spectator, Sarah Palin has been contracted to speak at a fundraiser for the Juravinski Cancer Centre and St. Peter

  10. BigDogMom says:

    “La sauvegarde des for

    • Hopeington says:

      Gardening is one of the things I do to keep myself sane.
      Just give me some dirt and I’ll dig it!!
      Here’s one of my go to links that helps me keep in touch with new ideas and the fights against such corporations as Monsanto and others that are dominating and damaging the world food supply.
      Always good info.

    • kesmarn says:

      BDM, I realize I’m going to have to go to OT time-out (OTTO?) for this question, but I have to ask it anyway.

      I have never bought a “potted” Christmas tree with roots still intact, for decorating inside the house. Is this a practical idea? I’ve always felt a little bad about the idea of killing a tree that took maybe 5-10 years to grow outdoors by cutting it and bringing it in the house for a few weeks. If I planted the tree outdoors after Christmas, would it have a decent chance of survival? I live in the mid-west and there would be plenty of snow and low temps for it to cope with. (Not to mention, the fact that I might be trying to plant it in frozen ground.)

      I’ve grown veggies and flowers, but never a tree, so you can see how ignorant I am on this. Or should I go with the artificial color-that-never-appears-in-the-natural-world-John-Boehner tree?

      • BigDogMom says:

        kesmarn, as long as you have a place to plant it, by all means buy one. They will be a lot smaller in size due to the heaviness of the root ball…sometimes a little tough to move around, weighing up to 100lbs.

        If you choose to go this route, you will need to have a space to plant it in the future:

        1.) A sunny spot, south/so.west/west facing (full sun-min. 6-8 hrs)
        2.) A large enough space, (Spruce will be up to 25′-30’W X 40′-60’H within 30yrs)
        3.) With easy access to water for the first growing season, (Mar-Sept)

        Indoor Care:

        1.) Keep in a pot large, with no holes, big enough to hold root ball with at least 2″ extra inches around for air circulation. Raise root ball with a piece of wood or rocks, so it does sit in the water for too long. In your house the bottom water should evaporate quickly.
        2.) Water daily -- up to a gallon depending on root ball size.
        3.) Cover root ball with old towel or sheet to keep moisture in.
        4.) If you can stand it, keep heat down. Pines need moist air. When the heat is on in your house it robs the moisture out of the air.

        Moving tree outside in winter:

        1.) Pick a spot that gets sun but is sheltered from the wind.
        2.) No need to dig hole now, you can “heal it in”. Which means, dig a small hole, 6″-10″ deep, place root ball. Sure up root ball with wood or lg. rocks, back fill with dirt.
        3.) Cover root ball with burlap, mulch, leave and branches, whatever you got, 6″-10″, as long as it is protected from freezing and water can get through.

        Planting tree:

        March and or Sept. are the best times to plant an evergreen….e-mail me for instructions!

        • kesmarn says:

          This is so very helpful, BDM. I think I’m going to print out your instructions, so I’ll have them at hand.

          You may have read my comment yesterday that I blew my back somewhat (first time I’ve ever had back problems) wrestling with my garbage cans in that high wind. So I guess I’ll have to stick to a fairly small tree this year, since tossing a 100 pound tree into and out of the car may not be wise just now.

          But otherwise, this sounds do-able.

          Your clients are darned lucky to have such a knowledgeable person in charge of their flora.

          • BigDogMom says:

            Thanks kesmarn, as I was typing this my husband was standing over me waiting for me to finish so we could go get our Christmas tree, so sorry that I couldn’t thank you sooner.

            We have bought several B&B, (Ball&Bag), trees, but I have run out of room in my yard, filled two of my sisters yards and my father-in-laws…so we are back to cut Christmas trees.

            Check with the place that you are going to get your tree at and see if they will deliver it, it may be worth your while, (back), to do so.

            If you have any more questions, just grab me here anytime….

            PLANT A TREE!!!

            • kesmarn says:

              You’re the best. Enjoy that tree shopping. I’m going to be going out shortly.

      • javaz says:

        Great questions, kesmarn.

        • kesmarn says:

          javaz, so good to see you here among us. Hope that peace is with you and yours.

          Have you wondered the same thing about live Christmas trees? I’m thinking about getting one in a container and trying to put it in the yard to live long and prosper after the holidays.

          Hope BDM may have some advice (she should send me the bill, too!). I think Monk may have some experience with stuff like this, as well.

          • javaz says:

            Hey kesmarn, thank you.
            My husband and I went on a 4 mile hike in the desert this morning and it was good for the soul.

            We do the fake tree every year, but if we lived in a climate more conducive to pines, I would do that.
            Pine trees do grow here, but they require too much water, so we stick with desert landscaping.

            Six years ago, I bought a little poinsettia for 2 dollars, and since I do not have a green thumb, it is amazing that thing is still alive and compared to its initial size, it’s huge.
            It actually gets red leaves every year, but doesn’t turn total red until Easter.
            We keep it indoors and when we go on trips, the plant comes with us!

            • kesmarn says:

              j’avaz, being out in nature is such a healing experience. I love the consistency of things: the sun comes up, the sun goes down, fall turns into winter, and the seasons change predictably. No matter how much change there is in our lives, we can pretty much count on Mother Nature to remain immutable (in a constantly changing way, if that makes sense!).

              I love the idea of you and your husband taking your poinsettia on vacation! Your little two dollar investment has become a part of your lives now!

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