Thursday, March 25, 2010

Which states & cities have the largest penises?

Q: Which states & cities have the biggest and smallest penises? And why in the world does Condomania know this???
A: That's a good question. New Orleans now has another reason to call itself "The Big Easy." The home of this year's Super Bowl champs has taken the top spot in Condomania's ranking of U.S. cities by penis size!
And the men of Washington D.C. apparently are more than just big talk, big egos, and big promises. The Beltway boys claimed a close second place for the biggest average penis size in the nation.
As for the "biggest" state in the Union? While New Hampshire may be one of the smallest states, it's not so small when it comes to penis size, topping Condomania’s state by state comparison.
America's first condom store, Condomania (, has just unlocked its huge database of penis sizes and released these unique rankings of the 50 states and the 20 most populated U.S. cities by average penis size. After 20 years in business, Condomania knows perhaps more than anyone else about the nation's penises.
So just how does Condomania know these intimate details? In 2004, the company launched TheyFit Condoms, the world's first line of tailored-fit prophylactics, in 76 sizes. Since then they have sold custom-fit condoms to over 27,000 men in 70 countries, and now have just begun to analyze this incredible cache of data.
"These fitted condoms range in length from 3 to 10 inches and from super slim to extra roomy." says Chris Filkins, Condomania’s Directory of Technology. "After gathering detailed information on over 27,000 penises, we now have the most comprehensive database of penis sizes on the planet! Needless to say, these men's privacy is our utmost concern, and we're interested only in the statistics, and not who's who! But the data itself is pretty interesting."
Previously, the largest formal survey of penis sizes was conducted in 1948 by the famous Kinsey researchers, when 2,500 men recorded their erect penis sizes on pre-stamped cards.
Condomania's ten-times larger database is compiled from the unique "FitKit" measuring system for TheyFit condoms, where the user measures the length and girth of his erect penis to the millimeter and then matches those results to one of 76 possible sizes that comprise different length and girth combinations. In this system, the 76 sizes are comprised of non-sequential letters and numbers, so that the smallest is no more obvious than the largest.
"Unlike other studies in which participants were measuring their penis size solely for the sake of recording a measurement, and were perhaps more likely to exaggerate," says Filkins, "our database is comprised of men looking for the best fit condom for safety and comfort, and thus, we believe, apt to be more accurate." Filkins continues, "The customer satisfaction surveys we received overwhelmingly indicated that men of all sizes, but particularly those on either end of the size spectrum, benefited immensely from a properly fitting condom."

Here are some highlights from Condomania's penis database:
•Top Ranking State by Average Penis Size: New Hampshire
•Lowest Ranking State by Average Penis Size: Wyoming
•Top Ranking U.S. City by Average Penis Size: New Orleans
•Second Highest Ranking City (just behind N.O.): Washington, D.C.
•Lowest Ranking City by Average Penis Size: Dallas/Ft. Worth
•Blue States vs Red States: Blue States' Average Penis Size is Bigger!
•Penises Come in a Wide Range of Sizes: The Smallest Penises are Less Than 3" in Length and the Largest Penises are Longer Than 10" in Length
•Penis Sizes Chart Almost a Perfect Bell Curve: 25% of the Male Population is Under 5" in Length, 50% are Between 5" and 6" in Length and 25% are Longer than 6" in Length

20 Cities Ordered by Penis Size
1.New Orleans
2.Washington DC
3.San Diego
4.New York City
8.San Francisco
10.St. Louis
17.Los Angeles
20.Dallas/Ft. Worth

50 States Ordered by Penis Size
1.New Hampshire
3.New York
11.New Mexico
19.South Dakota
25.Rhode Island
32.New Jersey
33.North Dakota
42.North Carolina
44.South Carolina
46.West Virginia

LSB: Taking a break from the insanity of the GOP reaction to the passage of HRC, and this gave me a chuckle. Not good news for those of us in the DFW area, though! :-(

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rush Limbaugh Vowed to Leave the U.S. if Healthcare Passed, Now Get Going

From the Left: Back on March 8, Rush Limbaugh graciously promised to leave the U.S. and relocate to Costa Rica if healthcare reform passed.

Well, yesterday healthcare reform passed. It is time for him to keep his promise!

Remind him:
Fax: 212-445-3963
Write: The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1270 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

The Party of Anger

Stephen Schlesinger, Author and Fellow at the Century Foundation, on How far can a political party grow and prosper and lead on anger alone? This is the dilemma that faces the Republican Party today. But it is not apparently an issue anymore. That is the way its leadership has determined its fate for the coming years. For it will now be the party of anger.

Dana Milbank's piece in today's Washington Post reveals just how out of control its fury toward President Obama has really become.

First there are the insensate attacks on those who dare to disagree with the party's views led by the Republican Minority leader John Boehner in his final remarks last night assailing the health reform legislation. Then there are the Republicans who cheered on the hatred and ire of the Tea Bagger protesters encircling the capital from the balcony of the House of Representatives over the weekend. Then there are the Tea Baggers themselves who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at various Democratic Party legislators.

And what about the vitriol mouthed through the months without any Republican regrets by the right-wing radio hosts like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and their cadres. All of this -- hatred, churlishness, pique, resentment, snarling, incivility -- has become the face of a political party which once reflected the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan. Let me ask -- when was the last time a political party gained power in America on anger alone?

A Near-Death Experience, and On From Here

Rep. Alan Grayson,(D-FL8) n In 1968, a ten-year-old boy had to go to the hospital four times a week for treatment. Without that treatment, he had trouble breathing, and he felt like he was suffocating. Because he was suffocating.

His health care was covered by his parents' health insurance. But then they lost their jobs. They were worried about how they would pay the rent. He was worried about whether he would live or die.

How can we let a 10-year-old think about such things? Whether you are Democratic or Republican, left-wing or right-wing, liberal or libertarian, you know in your heart that that's wrong. And it's what you know in your heart, your empathy, that makes you human.

I was that 10-year-old boy. And I haven't forgotten.

That's why I support universal, comprehensive and affordable health care for all American. For you. For me. And for sure, for my five young children, and yours, too. The supposed "sins" of joblessness, homelessness and poverty, those "sins" of the parents, should never descend on the children.

I'm fighting for a decent life for all, especially our children. That's why I voted yes on Sunday's health care reform bill. It's an historic first step. Historic.

But we're not done. The framework for a comprehensive health care system is in place. Now we must finish the job.

Our Medicare You Can Buy Into Act now has over 80 cosponsors in the House and over 40,000 citizen co-sponsors at It's a simple bill, to let you and me buy into Medicare. You want it, you buy it, you got it.

Let's do it.

Putting Pressure on the Senate

Rep. Anthony Weiner, Congressman from New York on This is the beginning of the end.

After a year of debate, we finally passed the Senate health care bill - along with a package of important improvements - in the House of Representatives.

We made historic progress, but this fight isn't over. Now we must put pressure on the Senate to take up every single one of our improvements to their bill.

I know that, even with the fixes, this bill was not close to what many of us wanted. We didn't get a chance to include a public option, even though I still believe it could have carried a majority in the Senate.

But I also believe that we could not afford to pass up this opportunity. The current bill will ensure that 32 million people without health insurance gain coverage. It will save $1.2 trillion. It will end the worst insurance company abuses. And it will create jobs at a time when we desperately need them.

This was not the best bill that we could have passed, but I am proud of what we achieved in the face of a Republican opposition that relied on the worst kind of lies and millions of dollars of insurance industry money poured through the halls of Congress.

We made historic progress, but this fight isn't over. Now we must put pressure on the Senate to take up every single one of our improvements to their bill.

We know that Republicans and insurance companies will descend to the lowest levels of deliberate misinformation to block progress. Last night was a big defeat for the GOP obstruction machine, but we still have work to do, and I'm counting on you to help keep pressure on the Senate.

Click here to sign my petition to tell the Senate to line up the final bill with the House's version.

Former Bush speechwriter on GOP's health care debacle - at least Limbaugh will make a buck

John Aravosis, David Frum is an influential conservative. This piece by him about the passage of health care reform in the House is a must-read that's flying around town:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are
less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

Health Reform Bill Summary: The Top 18 Immediate Effects

Jeremy Binckes and Nick Wing, After months of fierce debate in Washington and around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill and it's on its way to President Obama's desk.
Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.
Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?
The Huffington Post has compiled a list of the top 18 immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation:
  • Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.
  • Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.
  • Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called "donut hole" in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50 percent of the donut hole will be filled.
  • The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents' health insurance rises to the age 27.
  • Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.
  • A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.
  • New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.
  • Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.
  • Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.
  • Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
  • This tax will impose a ten percent tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.
  • New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.
  • Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.
  • Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio -- money spent on procedures over money incoming -- of 85 percent or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.
  • Chain restaurants will be required to provide a "nutrient content disclosure statement" alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.
  • The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

Dan Choi on Kathy Griffin and HRC: 'I feel so betrayed by them.' // Cops refused him his phone call, lawyer, in jail

John Aravosis, This guy is good!

When you walked into the courtroom after your night in jail, you were in uniform, handcuffed with a chain around your waist. You are a West Point graduate and Army lieutenant, how did you reach this point?

Being in chains, for me, matched what was in my heart the whole time I was serving and was closeted. Harriet Tubman once said she had freed 1,000 slaves but could have freed so many more if they only knew that they were slaves. People don't always know that they are in fetters. Even my feet were shackled so I could only take small steps forward. To me that symbolizes what it is to live under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the only law that enforces shame. Those chains symbolized how my country is trying to restrict my movement, how we are only allowed incremental, tiny steps.

Why now? Because you get tired of talking. [Over the past two years] I've done 50 live interviews, a hundred other interviews, how much more talk am I expected to produce? When I heard Kathy Griffin was going to be a spokeswoman for Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I wondered about that. I have great respect for her as an advocate. But if [the Human Rights Campaign] thinks that having a rally at Freedom Plaza with a comedienne is the right approach, I have to wonder. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not a joking matter to me. To be at Freedom Plaza and not at the White House or Congress? Who are they trying to influence?

I felt like they were just trying to speak to themselves. If that's the best the lobbying groups and HRC can do, then I don't know how these powerful groups are supposed to represent our community. Kathy Griffin and [HRC president] Jay Solmonese said they would march with me to the White House but didn’t. I feel so betrayed by them.

We all know the political reality now. The only way for the repeal to go through is for the president to take leadership and put it in the Defense Authorization Bill. There's a sunset on this, and it's happening quickly. Obama told us at the HRC dinner last year, you need to put pressure on me. I was there at that dinner, in uniform. So this is my mission; the president said to pressure him and I heard that as a warning order.

Get this - they wouldn't give him his phone call, or let him call a lawyer:
I asked seven or eight times to speak with a lawyer. I was not given a phone call. I was called a liar by one officer; I was scoffed at by another one. But there were others who wanted to talk with me about their service. The first time I saw a lawyer was in the courtroom, and I didn't know who he was and I couldn't understand what he was telling the judge at first. I asked him, "Did you just plea for me?"

GOP Placed 'Wanted' Fliers On House Dem Seats, Warning About '94 Repeat

Sam Stein, House Democrats on Sunday were greeted with a particularly partisan, somewhat juvenile sight when they took their seats inside the chamber.

On several of their chairs were fliers warning them that if they happened to pass health care reform that night -- which they did -- it would result in a repeat of the 1994 midterm election, which became known as the Republican Revolution.

"IN 1993 THEY VOTED YES. A YOUNG PRESIDENT TOLD THEM 'DON'T WORRY, IT'LL BE OKAY,'" the flier read, substituting in bold red font for individual words. "34 INCUMBENTS DEFEATED, 54 SEATS LOST."

Pictured on the flier are the head shots of 25 of those members in a "wanted" style framing -- the margin of electoral defeat they suffered in '94 under their name.

A Democratic aide passed on the literature to the Huffington Post, relaying that Republicans had put them on some seats but "not all."

floorfile -

The Washington Post first reported on the fliers but did not obtain a copy.

The analogy that the GOP is trying to draw, of course, is imprecise. Democrats in 1993 didn't vote "yes" on a health care bill nor did a health care bill eventually pass under the Clinton administration.

In 1993, the tough vote facing Democrats was a budget bill to which Clinton had, indeed, staked much of his reputation. The legislation did, in the end, cost some lawmakers their seats. But at least one, upon reflection, expressed no regret. Writing in the Washington Post this past week, Rep. Marjorie Margolies urged her fellow party members to support health care legislation regardless the consequences. Margolies was lost re-election to her Pennsylvania House seat after one term.

"You will be assailed no matter how you vote this week," she wrote. "And this job isn't supposed to be easy. So cast the vote that you won't regret in 18 years."

Republican unveils bill to reinstate pre-existing conditions, remove kids from parents' plans, kill puppies, etc.

Via Click here for the text of a bill Congressman King is introducing this week to repeal the health care bill that passed last night.

Congressman King’s statement on his bill is below:
“Today the work begins to repeal Obamacare and restore the principles of liberty that made America a great nation. The American people must take their country back by methodically eliminating every vestige of creeping socialism, including
socialized medicine. The Pelosi Democrats will pay a price for their overreach. This fight is far from over.”

Many are questioning Stupak right about now

Via John Amato at Crooks & Liars: Stupak caved
“It's really hard to interpret this as anything other than Stupak caving in order to end up on the side of supporting health reform. There's nothing wrong with that--Stupak has long been a supporter of reforming the health care system--but it's difficult to see why he dragged this out for months if he was going to settle for the Senate language in the end.”

Newsweek: Stupak did not get his original abortion restrictions
“Make no mistake, Stupak did not get the original abortion restrictions for which he had pushed."

Slate: Why did Stupak hold out for meaningless executive order?
“(E)ither because of blowback from pro-choicers* in Congress or because Stupak lost some leverage as the health reform bill acquired more votes, it was not. So a basically meaningless executive order was issued to help Stupak save face."

The New Republic: Executive order doesn’t change anything
“In fact, it's not clear that the executive order actually changes anything: The Senate bill wouldn't have allowed taxpayer funding of abortion anyway.”

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Congressman, Bart Stupak, Has Neither a Uterus Nor a Brain

Michael Moore, Friends,
I live in Michigan, in one of the 31 counties represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by none other than Mr. Bart Stupak, a Democrat. You've probably never heard of him. He's a pretty quiet guy, a former Michigan State Police trooper who boldly decided to run some 18 years ago as a Democrat in a rural part of Michigan that votes almost exclusively for Republicans (yes, I know -- what am I doing here? I'll save that story for a future letter).
His voting record is pretty conservative for a Democrat, but he's had a few shining moments. In the wake of the Columbine shootings, he voted for some gun control, a not-too-popular position to take here in northern Michigan. The NRA came after him with all they had in 2000.
But the good people of this area knew Bart's story and understood: He's been touched personally by gun violence. In a terrible tragedy, his teenage son, depressed and confused from the medication he'd been prescribed, killed himself with the family's .38 revolver. Despite the NRA's best efforts, Bart was returned to Congress by an overwhelming margin.
Yet, here we are, just days before a weak, simple-minded, but now ultimately necessary health care bill has a chance of making it through Congress -- and Bart Stupak is threatening to derail it because he wants to make sure that no woman who buys her own insurance with her own money is able to have a medically-insured abortion. We're not talkin' about federally-funded abortions -- those were stupidly outlawed long ago. Bart Stupak doesn't like that the Democrats' bill doesn't prohibit private insurance programs, set up for those whose employers don't provide it, from providing abortion coverage if they get any federal funding -- even to an individual woman paying without any government help. That's it.
A group representing most of America's 59,000 Catholic nuns has written to Congress and said that Obama's health care plan should be passed. Stupak, instead, has chosen to diss the nuns. Last night he went on TV and dug his heels in -- he said he intended to stop this health care bill and he didn't care what anyone had to say.
Now, it would be easy for some to just pass this attitude off on his Catholicism -- he believes what he believes and you have to respect him for that, even if you don't agree with him. But it's not that simple. It turns out that Stupak has been living in a subsidized room in the "C Street House," run by the infamous right-wing Christian cult "The Family." It was in this former convent that GOP Rep. Chip Pickering (according to his former wife) carried on the affair that ended his marriage. It's where South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford sought refuge as his marriage fell apart thanks to his affair. And then there's C Street roommate Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who cheated on his wife with the wife of one of his top staffers. (The Justice Department is currently investigating whether Ensign committed a felony while paying off his aide to keep him quiet.)
C Street is where power, money, sex and religion meet. So am I led to believe that Bart Stupak lives in a brothel and belongs to a cult? He says he was just renting a room there. But that just doesn't ring true. Something stinks to the high heavens here, and Stupak sees no irony in taking his holier-than-thou position while living in a house that should be dubbed "Hypocrites' Hideaway."
If Stupak were truly pro-life then he'd vote for this bill. Right now, a mother in the U.S. has a ten times greater chance of dying in childbirth than a mother does in Ireland. If you really wanted to reduce abortions, you'd have to ask yourself this question: Why does godless France, where abortion is nearly free (it's covered by their universal health insurance), have 20% fewer abortions per capita than we do? What's even more amazing about that statistic is that you can't even get an abortion in America in 87% of our counties because there isn't one single doctor in those counties who will perform one! 87%!! The Right has scared them to death -- sometimes literally -- out of performing an otherwise legal, safe procedure. So, you can say women have "choice" in this country, but the reality is the "choice" doesn't exist in the majority of the nation. "Right to Life" has essentially won this battle. (My personal position: I don't get to have a position -- I don't have a uterus. If a Senate that was 90% female told me I couldn't have a vasectomy or made it a crime to leave the toilet seat up, I guess I might object.)
What is "life"? An egg is life, a sperm is life. Those sperm aren't running on a battery pack. They are living creatures, as is a fertilized egg. But they're not "human beings." A human being is something that can exist outside the womb of a mother. If you think a fertilized egg is a human being, then I respectfully ask you to go down to the DMV today and have them change your birthday on your driver's license to 9 months older than what you've been telling everybody.
So back to my question. Why do we have an abortion rate 20% higher than France's (and more than twice as high as Germany's), especially considering most doctors here won't perform them? The answer is any country that has universal health care, where contraception is free, where child care is free or inexpensive, where there is less poverty because people don't become bankrupt over medical bills -- those societies are simply going to have fewer unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.
And there the mask gets pulled off the Bart Stupaks and the "Christians." If the statistics show that countries with government-provided universal health care and nearly-free abortions are, in fact, the countries with the fewest abortions, then why on earth wouldn't the Right be the first in line to support universal health care?
Because it isn't about "universal health care." It's about controlling women, period. It's about sticking your nose in other people's business. It's about pushing your religious beliefs on everyone else because voices in your head tell you your Jesus is The One -- even though your Jesus never said one single solitary word in any of the four gospels of the Bible about abortion or fertilized eggs being human. You've just gone and made it up about "life beginning at conception." Jesus never said that. The little voice in your head said that, the same little voice that wants your grubby paws on women's uteruses. You need help. Please get some help and leave the rest of us alone, Mr. Stupak and friends.
After all, isn't it enough that women can't get an abortion in any of the 31 Michigan counties you represent in Congress? There is not one single abortion provider here in the north of the state, according to Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan. Hey, Bart -- you've already won! Women's rights have been stamped out in your entire Congressional district! Woo hoo!
So why don't you leave the rest of the country alone, step out of the way, and let them have the minimal health coverage this bill will give them? You wouldn't really crush the sick and infirm because of your own personal agenda, would you? What would Jesus do?
In the meantime, Bart, my neighbors and I are going to make sure a real Democrat runs against you in August's primary here. One of our religious beliefs in these parts is to never impose our religious beliefs on others.
Michael Moore

Cellphone Popcorn

LSB: This CAN'T be good for our brains!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gays often excluded from medical studies

Marilynn Marchione, AP Medical Writer: A small but significant portion of medical studies exclude gays from participating, sometimes without an apparent scientific reason, several cancer researchers say.
In a letter in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, three scientists from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia cite several dozen studies requiring a participant to be "in a reciprocal relationship with a person of the opposite sex."
There are legitimate scientific reasons for excluding gays from certain studies. Scientists would want only heterosexuals if they were studying how HIV spreads during male-female sex, for example.
But the Fox Chase folks found cases where the reason for excluding gays is not clear: tests of a drug for attention-deficit disorder, a treatment for erection problems after prostate cancer surgery and studies on sexual function related to diabetes, depression and benign enlargement of the prostate as men age.
Brian Egleston, a biostatistician at Fox Chase, made the observation while overseeing enrollment of patients into clinical trials at the cancer center.
"When I first saw this, I thought it was a fluke. The second time, I thought I'd dig deeper," he said.
Egleston and Roland Dunbrack Jr., a biologist, and Dr. Michael J. Hall, a medical oncologist, did a spot check of a government database of thousands of studies and turned up more examples, most of them private-industry trials.
Researchers seeking federal money for their work must explain why a study excludes a group based on gender, race or ethnicity, but no explanation is needed for exclusion based on sexual orientation, Egleston said.
Exclusion can become self-perpetuating: Researchers designing a study often "cut and paste" participation criteria from earlier trials on a similar subject.
"It becomes the way it's done," and any bias gets repeated, Egleston said.
Estimates of how much of the U.S. population is gay or bisexual vary widely; some polls have put it around 4 percent.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
LSB: What does my sexuality have to do with my diabetes? This kind of exclusion can't be good for any of us!

Initial report is that health care bill will cut deficit by $100 billion

Joe Sudbay, We'll be hearing more about this as the day goes on, but the early report on the CBO numbers shows a decline in the deficit:
U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Thursday that proposed final healthcare legislation would cut the U.S. deficit by more than $100 billion over the first 10 years.

Hoyer told reporters that the Congressional Budget Office said the sweeping healthcare overhaul would cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the subsequent decade. The CBO is expected to release its official estimate of the cost of the Democratic-written legislation on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pelosi Feels the Heat from Progressives for Failing to Insist on the Public Option

From the Left: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who failed to demand a public option be included as part of any comprehensive healthcare reform bill, is under attack from progressive groups and organizations. They are mounting an aggressive campaign to resurrect it as Democratic lawmakers prepare to pass what’s left of President Obama’s final healthcare bill this week via a budgetary process known as reconciliation.
Democracy for America, Credo Action, and the Progressive Campaign Change Committee (PCCC) raised $75,000 for a 60-second spot that will air on MSNBC, CNN and a local station in Pelosi’s home district of San Francisco. The ad challenges false assertions she made last week that the public option does not have enough support from Democratic lawmakers in the Senate to be included as one of the amendments in the reconciliation bill.
On the website, the groups calculated that the public option has enough votes to pass the Senate and list the names of Democratic senators who have either signed a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid supporting the public option or, have made statements saying they would back it or would “likely” cast an “aye” vote if it were introduced as part of the final package of legislative fixes.
According to the letter sent to Reid, 41 Democratic senators have signed thus far, an “overwhelming majority of Americans support a public option.” Yet, aides to Pelosi have said it’s “highly” unlikely the measure will be considered during reconciliation.
Pelosi, it seems, is so desperate to get any healthcare reform bill passed and declare a victory before the November midterm election that she would prefer to pass a watered down healthcare bill that accomplishes little for the more than 48 million Americans who lack health insurance. This isn’t leadership: it’s capitulation.
Watch the Act Blue ad here:

Embattled Cardinal Asks Ireland to ‘Pray for Me’

From the Left: During a homily on St. Patrick’s Day, Cardinal Sean Brady, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland apologized for his role in the cover-up of the country’s worst pedophile priest, saying he felt “ashamed.” He also asked the congregation to “pray for me.”
Cardinal Sean Brady didn’t ask for prayers for the victims of the pedophile priest. He asked people to pray for him. Isn’t this all-too typical of the selfish, Catholic hierarchy?
Brady admitted that when he was a priest and a teacher in 1975, he was present at two meetings where two children said they had been sexually abused by the Rev. Brendan Smyth. Shockingly, the children were required to sign oaths of secrecy. Brady did not report the abuse, he said, because he did not feel it was his responsibility.
LSB: Full disclosure - I'm not Catholic. Catholic or not, however, this type of double standard exists throughout organized religion. Joe.My.God. frequently includes This Week in Holy Crimes in his blog.

Catholic nuns endorse HCR in defiance of bishops' mandate

karoli, Crooks and Liars: Wow. On Monday, Catholic Bishops released a letter opposing the Senate health care reform bill because it didn't contain the Stupak language. While they acknowledged differences with the Catholic Health Association, their message was clear: they were speaking as the official and authoritative voice of the Catholic Church.
This analysis of the flaws in the legislation is not completely shared by the leaders of the Catholic Health Association. They believe, moreover, that the defects that they do recognize can be corrected after the passage of the final bill. The bishops, however, judge that the flaws are so fundamental that they vitiate the good that the bill intends to promote. Assurances that the moral objections to the legislation can be met only after the bill is passed seem a little like asking us, in Midwestern parlance, to buy a pig in a poke.
In a clear break with the bishops, 60 leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 nuns have joined with the Catholic Health Association to support the Senate bill as written.

The letter says that "despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions." The letter says the legislation also will help support pregnant women and "this is the real pro-life stance."
(Continue reading)

The NY Times discovers that GOP leader McConnell is an obstructionist

Joe Sudbay, Today, the NY Times profiles Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and makes a startling discovery: McConnell is all about politics and obstructionism. Apparently, McConnell's strategy wasn't clear to the Times before today. But, now, there seems to be a better understanding of what McConnell is really all about:
Before the health care fight, before the economic stimulus package, before President Obama even took office, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, had a strategy for his party: use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation.
Republicans embraced it. Democrats denounced it as rank obstructionism. Either way, it has led the two parties, as much as any other factor, to where they are right now. Republicans are monolithically against the health care legislation, leaving the president and his party executing parliamentary back flips to get it passed, conservatives revived, liberals wondering what happened.
In the process, Mr. McConnell, 68, a Kentuckian more at home plotting tactics in the cloakroom than writing legislation in a committee room or exhorting crowds on the campaign trail, has come to embody a kind of oppositional politics that critics say has left voters cynical about Washington, the Senate all but dysfunctional and the Republican Party without a positive agenda or message.
But in the short run at least, his approach has worked.
Worked for whom? Certainly not the American people or the political process. It's worked for McConnell's political agenda, nothing else.
So, for all the demands of bipartisanship from the GOP, it was never going to happen. That's not a surprise to most of us. The NY Times finally figured it out. It is amazing to watch tv reporters and read print accounts of what's going on up on Capitol Hill. Many of them do act as if the Republicans have a reasoned, rational basis for what they're doing. The traditional media types and pundits are always talking about bipartisanship as if it's some kind of holy grail, but ignore the fact that the GOPers have no interest in compromise.
These are dangerous and trying times. You'd like to think that our elected officials would rise to the occasion, especially those on the GOP side who led us to the brink. Instead, we get Mitch McConnell's strategy of obstructionism at any cost. For Republicans, this is "team ball."
This article should be must reading for people in Maine who think their Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are moderates. They're not. They on Mitch's team.

On the GOP's hypocrisy over process

Joe Sudbay, Norm Ornstein, from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, destroys the GOP's latest round of lies over Congressional procedure:
In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.” That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration. I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?
Of course, many in the traditional media (not just the GOP-owned media like FOX), buy the GOP's lies. Might be good if this Ornstein post got sent around MSNBC and CNN. They Republicans are hypocritically attacking over things they've done. Even Dana Bash should be able to grasp that.

Alan Grayson on Palin: 'The most intelligent leader that the Republican Party has produced since George W. Bush'

Joe Sudbay, Last week, Sarah Palin went to Florida and made the mistake of attacking Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL). While Palin can get away with slinging abuse at many Democrats, Grayson isn't one of them. He shows how to respond to the GOP/Teabagging Superstar. There's only one way to do it. Unrelenting mocking:

In response to Palin's attack on Rep Grayson, Grayson actually complimented Palin. Grayson praised Palin for having a hand large enough to fit Grayson's entire name on it. He thanked Palin for alleviating the growing shortage of platitudes in Central Florida. Grayson added that Palin deserved credit for getting through the entire hour-long program without quitting. Grayson also said that Palin really had mastered Palin's imitation of Tina Fey imitating Palin. Grayson observed that Palin is the most-intelligent leader that the Republican Party has produced since George W. Bush.

When asked to comment about what effect Palin's criticism might have, Grayson pointed out, "As the Knave's horse says in Alice in Wonderland, 'dogs will believe anything.'" Earlier, as the Orlando Sentinel reported, Grayson said, "I'm sure Palin knows all about politics in Central Florida, since from her porch she can see Winter Park," which is part of Grayson's district.

Grayson said that the Alaskan chillbilly was welcome to return to Central Florida anytime, as long as she brings lots of money with her, and spends it. "I look forward to an honest debate with Governor Palin on the issues, in the unlikely event that she ever learns anything about them," Grayson added, alluding to Politifact's "liar, liar, pants on fire" evaluation of much of what Palin has said.
There's just so much material. And, Grayson isn't afraid to use it.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Senator: Don't fire me

I need your help right now. I need you to pick up the phone and make a quick call to your Senators.

This morning, Sen. Joe Lieberman made history, introducing legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- the first bill ever introduced in the U.S. Senate to end this discriminatory policy. Sen. Carl Levin, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joined Sen. Lieberman in introducing this landmark legislation.

Sen. Lieberman's "Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010" closely mirrors a similar bill in the House of Representatives, championed by Rep. Patrick Murphy, that would repeal the law that prevents gay Americans from serving openly in the military.

Now we need to help Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Levin get the votes in the Senate that will repeal DADT once and for all.

My job -- my life -- is on the line. And so are the lives of more than 65,000 gay men and women currently serving in our nation's military. That's why I need your help. And it's why the Courage Campaign is teaming up with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Knights Out to get this message to you.

It's very important that we act today -- thousands of us across America. Can you make a quick call right now urging your Senators to co-sponsor the Lieberman/Levin bill? It will take just a minute of your time, but your call will mean the world to me and so many of my fellow soldiers:

Make no mistake: Congress needs to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year -- before the November elections. Right now, we're fighting on two fronts to repeal DADT in 2010:

1) Include repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the defense budget authorization bill, or

2) Pass the "Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010" in the Senate and House of Representatives

With the Lieberman/Levin landmark legislation being introduced today, the most important thing you can do right now is help us build momentum behind it. The more senators who sign on as co-sponsors, the more likely we can repeal DADT in 2010 -- on one front or the other.

Can you make a quick call urging your Senators to sign on as a co-sponsor to Sen. Lieberman's new bill? Click here to get the phone number and check out our really short script, if you need it:

Again, thank you for your support today. One small action at a time, we will finally get rid of this discriminatory and immoral law.

Daniel W. Choi
New York Army National Guard

P.S. A few weeks ago, I joined Sen. Gillibrand and more than 900 people who signed up for a "Courage Campaign Conversation" conference call to discuss the repeal of DADT. If you would like to listen to this special hour-long discussion, just click here:

The Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.