Mr. Northrop Grumman goes to Washington

Northrop Grumman, the second largest defence contractor in US, fourth largest in the World and a global aerospace company had decided to move its headquarters from Los Angeles to Washington DC metro area.

In a blow to Southern California, Northrop Grumman Corp. said it would relocate its headquarters from Los Angeles -- leaving the region that gave birth to the aerospace industry without a single major military contractor based here.

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Lack of Health Insurance cause 44789 deaths in United States every year

Paul Rosenberg at OpenLeft brings to our attention a recent study conducted by Harvard related researchers. The study concludes that 44789 deaths occur in United States because of lack of health insurance! es-the-morality-45000-deaths-per-yearthe -real-cost-of-the-current-health-care-sy stem

The actual article linked below states the following in its conclusion. It is powerful indictment of the state of healthcare in United States. What a shame!!!

The United States stands alone among industrialized nations in not providing health coverage to all of its citizens. Currently, 46 million Americans lack health coverage. Despite repeated attempts to expand health insurance, uninsurance remains commonplace among US adults

Lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44789 deaths per year in the United States, more than those caused by kidney disease (n=42868). The increased risk of death attributable to uninsurance suggests that alternative measures of access to medical care for the uninsured, such as community health centers, do not provide the protection of private health insurance. Despite widespread acknowledgment tha enacting universal coverage would be life saving, doing so remains politically thorny. Now that health reform is again on the political agenda, health professionals have the opportunity to advocate universal coverage.

Read the full article at rance-and-mortality-in-US-adults.pdf

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Please Contribute For The Real Public Option As Part Of The HealthCare Plan!

nyceve and slinkerwink are two prolific bloggers at Dailykos and Firedoglake who had been performing remarkable service to the progressive community for the past few months. Their incisive critique and voluminous work on the healthcare debate and support of the real public option plan have proven to be incredibly useful for the progressive online community. Firedoglake decided that we need them to report on the healthcare debate fulltime and thereby need our financial support.

Please consider donating to financially support the online and outside activities of nyceve and slinkerwink on behalf of us to continue fighting for meaningful Real Public Healthcare Option!

Support for Bloggers for Meaningful Public Healthcare Plan

If you want to support the progressive members of the Congress who are willing to stand up for the meaningful public option, please donate at the ActBlue page:

ActBlue Page for Supporting Progressive Members of Congress for Public Plan

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A New Global Approach to Attacking Hunger

Watch our Secretary of State enunciate President Obama and his administration's new approach to tackle global hunger. Thank you President Obama and Madame Secretary.

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RNC calls Nancy Pelosi - PussyGalore..

Crossposted to MotleyMoose

Just when you think, RNC, and the Republicans in general, have realized that this country have moved on and left them in the dust. No more appeals to our worst and base instincts with racism, sexism and homophobia are going to work with majority of the folks. RNC releases this misogynistic video to make their point about Nancy Pelosi.

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Goodbye Rocky!

In this era of severe recession, newspapers are getting hammered. Rocky Mountain News, a 157 year old institution at Denver, Co published its last edition today. This video is as poignant it can get. These are real people with real families who did their best, but somehow it was not enough. The newspaper didn't do well for a year or so, and the owner EW Scripps put it up for sale. EW Scripps as a media company is not doing well in this economy. Unfortunately they could not find a buyer within the stipulated four weeks. Today Rocky Mountain News is history..

How about bailing out these real folks?....

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Taliban's Terror, Awami National Party and "Frontier Gandhi"

Crossposted at MotleyMoose and at C4ODemocrats

Some recent attempts in liberal blogs like MyDD to sweeten Taliban's implementation of Shari'ah in Swat valley had perplexed me. I wrote this in a comment to Lotus Bloom's MyDD diary. This also allowed me to correct some of the mistakes that crept in the comment and expand it a bit. I never intended this to be a diary but the comment turned out to be a long ramble...

Lotus Bloom's Diary

Maulana Fazlullah and Sufi Muhammed belonged to Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Islami-Pakistan (JUIP) which was created and sponsored by Punjabi led Pakistan Govt. They were supported as a counterweight to the more secular Awami National Party, which is a Pushtoon nationalist party. Incidently JUIP supported the Islamist coalition Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. MMA's leader Faz-ul-Rahman had been a Benazir Bhutto(who incidently a Sindhi) supporter in the 90s. This same person was resoundly defeated in 2008 election. My reference is the book by Neomatollah Noujumi's Rise of Taliban In Afghanistan  (pp 119-120)

Now what happened in 2008? Despite massive terror created by Taliban outfits in support of MMA, ANP won all hands down in NWFP and MMA, and the Islamist coalition suffered major defeats in the election. Since 2007 the Talibans had created massive terror, especially in Swat valley where Radio Mullah (Fazlullah) created a parallel Govt. From 2008, it directly challenged Awami National Party's rule. They have publicly beheaded hundreds of policemen, killed and chased away ANP politicians, burnt scores of girl schools. Their insurgency had led to the fleeing of one-third of 1.5 million Swat valley population from the Valley itself.

What is going on is nothing but a massive power grab by Taliban and overturn of people's democratic wishes.

To quote from Jane Perlez's NYTimes article

In legislative elections a year ago, the people of Swat, a region that is about the size of Delaware and has 1.3 million residents, voted overwhelmingly for the secular Awami National Party. Since then, the Taliban have singled out elected politicians with suicide bomb attacks and chased virtually all of them from the valley. Several hundred thousand residents have also fled the fighting.

Also not everybody is elated like the person quoted in LB's diary.

Pakistani legal experts and other analysts warned that the decision by the authorities would embolden militants in other parts of the country. "This means you have surrendered to a handful of extremists," said Athar Minallah, a leader of a lawyers' movement that has campaigned for an independent judiciary. "The state is under attack; instead of dealing with them as aggressors, the government has abdicated." Shuja Nawaz, the author of "Crossed Swords," a book on the Pakistani military, said that with the accord, "the government is ceding a great deal of space" to the militants.

 NYTimes Article

The decision by Pakistan's government appeared aimed at appeasing followers of a radical cleric, Maulana Qazi Fazlullah, who in late 2007 seized control of the scenic Swat Valley. For months, Faz- lullah's fighters have been terrorizing residents of Swat by beheading police officers and burning down girls schools, to which they object on religious grounds. Death threats are routinely handed down by the militants, who use illicit radio broadcasts to dictate Taliban-style social mores.

Los Angeles Times Article 


Monday's deal allows for the imposition of Islamic law in the former tourist resort of Swat and surrounding districts in exchange for an end to a brutal insurgency that has killed hundreds and sent up to 1/3 of its 1.5 million people fleeing. A similar deal in Swat last year collapsed in a few months and was blamed for giving insurgents time to regroup.

Even folks with Swat valley roots living in America are feeling the brunt of their terror as noted in this recent NYTimes article.

Pakistani immigrants from the Swat Valley, where the Taliban have been battling Pakistani security forces since 2007, say some of their families are being singled out for threats, kidnapping and even murder by Taliban forces, who view them as potential American collaborators and lucrative sources of ransom. Some immigrants also say they, too, have been threatened in the United States by the Taliban or its sympathizers, and some immigrants say they have been attacked or kidnapped when they have returned home.

Lastly the genesis of this conflict lies in the Pakistan's ruling political class and the Army which is dominated by Punjabi and Sindhi feudal gentry and a man named Ghaffar Khan or Frontier Gandhi. We hear a lot about how British were triumphed by Pashtuns who viciously defeated the British Indian Army. However that is not altogether true. British-Indian Army soundly defeated Afghans and virtually dictated the terms of Rawalpindi agreement in 1919.

Wikipedia Link 

What happened afterwards is important and somehow neglected in the Western understanding of the Pashtuns. Pashtuns are almost caricatured as medieval Islamic tribesmen who live in caves. What is neglected in history is the rise of peaceful non-violent movement for independence led by Badshah Khan and his RedShirts (Khudai Khitmadgars), who were heavily influenced by Gandhi's non-violent movement. This non-violent mass movement triumphed the British oppression in the NWFP. At the genesis of Pakistan, Badshah Khan aligned with India and was very upset that Indian National Congress party left them in the lurch, virtually calling it a betrayal of Pashtun folks. The Punjabi Muslims who dominated the Pakistani Government, and the Army, never trusted Badshah Khan and his sons like Wali Khan. They were listed as traitors and Pashtuns are always treated as suspects by the ruling Pakistani class.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who makes it clear he doesn’t view Khan as a Pakistani patriot (which Khan really was not, given his quasi-nationalistic ideal of a Pashtun homeland)

LATimes Review of A Gandhi Like Force for Peace

Their movement was banned and they were repeatedly jailed. Out of his 98 years of life, Ghaffar Khan (Badshah) had spent 52 of those in jail. ANP or the secular Awami National Party who are now the officially elected party traces back its origin to the Khans (ANP was founded by Gaffar Khan). No wonder, the Pakistani Govt was supporting the Talibans and their supporters amongst MMA to counterbalance the popularity of ANP amongst Pashtuns. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Pashtun refugees and Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard Game allowed the Pakistan Govt and Army then led by Zia-ul-Haq to directly expand their influence over Pashtuns and increase Pakistan's Strategic Depth to Afghanistan. The identity of Islam was used to triumph over nationalistic Pashtun identity or other tribal allegiences. Of course, the immediate urgency of the defeat of the near enemy, Soviet Russia, made it easier to unite under the banner of Islam. Thus the rise of fundamentalist Mujahids, Talibans and the rest is history. Wali Khan's wrote a very interesting book called "Facts are Facts" that I hope to find and read one day...

Wali Khan's Bio in Wikipedia

Obama's path to winning over Pashtuns lies not through Pakistani Govt or  Pakistani Army but by following the path trailblazed by Badshah Khan and his band of followers. Unfortunately most of American intelligentsia are enamored or suckered in by the Pakistan Government's version of history. Yesterday I was amazed how Dr. Rachel Maddow was taken up by the fools tale from Brzezinski. If nothing, I would recommend Obama's Afghan-Pakistan policy team to at least view this documentary by Terri McLuhan "The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan a Torch of Peace".

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  George Santayana


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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Smart Choice?

Crossposted at MotleyMoose and C4ODemocrats

So did you notice who was standing behind Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Patterson and clapping away enthusiastically during the announcement of her appointment today? It was former NY Senator D'Amato, the Republican powerhouse who propelled the relatively unknown Pataki to the Governor's house at Albany. As soon as KG's name was announced, D'Amato's protege Republican Congressman Peter King put out a Press release which showed he is taking two steps backwards now from an almost certain Senate run at 2010. So what's going on?

NewsDay Article

Even Tweety and his talking heads were perplexed in his Hardball program today. (It is another question as to how poorly researched are these so called opinion makers and talking heads in our Cable Shows these days). Gillibrand, as it turns out is an interesting choice as noted in the following NYTimes article.

NYTimes Article

She comes from a politically connected family; her father is a prominent state lobbyist who once had close ties to former Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, and her grandmother was prominent in the formidable Albany Democratic machine. Ms. Gillibrand worked as an intern for a Republican senator, Alfonse M. D'Amato, and clerked for a federal judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

She actually interned for D'Amato and her dad was very close to Pataki..on the other hand she is very close to Hillary Clinton (having access to the Clinton donor machine), Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Her politics is complex and intriguing. She is pro-choice, pro gay marriage, wants to withdraw troops from Iraq, opposes privatization of Social Security, but on the other hand is pro-gun (highly rated by NRA) and opposed the Wall Street bailout...

 Her politics, perhaps reflecting her conservative district, cannot be easily charted along a left-right axis. She earned a high rating from the National Rifle Association and opposed efforts to extend state drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants. At the same time, she favors abortion rights, voted to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq and to extend middle-class tax cuts, and she has opposed privatizing Social Security. She raises large sums of money from Wall Street, but voted against the first bailout bill last fall; that vote angered some Democratic leaders in Congress.

Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights group, said that he spoke by phone with Representative Gillibrand on Thursday night and that she spoke in favor of same-sex marriage. This would make her the first United States senator from New York to endorse gay marriage; Charles E. Schumer, the state's senior senator, opposes it.

"She spoke eloquently about the 1,324 rights that are denied to same-sex couples in New York," Mr. Van Capelle said.

An aide to Ms. Gillibrand confirmed that she supports gay marriage.

She was an outspoken supporter of Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign and has drawn financial support from prominent women's groups in Washington, not least Emily's List.

She has insisted, to the point of annoying Congressional colleagues, on openness in government, posting a "Sunlight Report" on her Congressional Web site listing her meetings with lobbyists as well as the names of individuals seeking government grants known as earmarks.

So what did Paterson's appointment of KG actually do? Surely it neutralized a strong challenge from Republicans (or at least one branch of the Repubs) during 2010 GE. On the other hand, it had angered a branch of the Democratic Party. But I think Paterson made a calculation that Cuomo will remember his failed bid in 2002 primaries against McCall when he angered several Black leaders in NY. So Cuomo may not challenge Paterson as a payback in 2010 Gubernatorial primaries, after all. As for Cuomo challenging KG, consider this, KG worked as a special counsel for Andrew Cuomo during Clinton Administration when he was the HUD Secretary...the only missing card is Guilani...and KG is very enthusiastic, publishes her daily schedule on her webpage, openly list her earmarks (Talk about open Government), and is a phenomenal fundraiser. With Clinton and Schumer supporting KG along with the Governor, I think Cuomo will think twice before challenging KG to a primary.

Well so folks, Paterson's move may not be as politically naive and bumbling as the TV talking heads are making out to be..I would wait and see ....

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Inauguration Day, Miklos Nyiszli and History...

Crossposted at MotleyMoose

Early in the morning today, my colleague send an email asking me to reschedule one of our weekly project meeting scheduled from 11 am on Tuesday to another time. Howard, my colleague, wanted to watch the Inauguration of Barack Obama's Presidency. It took me a second to realize that January 20th is finally right here. And it has even touched my colleague, who is a quintessential forgetful physicist. There is something happening in this country that I haven't been able to put my hands on yet. Our country is in dire straits. Most of us desperately want him to succeed.  People have tremendous expectation from Obama's administration. Thus far, the good man has shown that he can keep his head on his shoulders despite all the flattery, headwinds, difficult times et al.  Good Luck President Obama, you need all the support you can get, we need all the support that we can give you.. This is truly a historical day..

Lately  I've been remembering Dr. Miklos Nyiszli. Eons ago, when I was in middle school, one day Dad handed me a book "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account". Till this day I haven't read a more moving account of the worse of human barbarism. We are currently amidst a difficult time with some of us struggling to make our ends meet. But all of our current difficulties pale in comparison with what Dr. Nyiszli faced.  A Jewish medical doctor, Dr Miklos Nyiszli was spared death to perform autopsies and 'scientific research' on his fellow inmates at Auschwitz under the supervision of infamous Angel of Death Josef Mengele. He survived Auschwitz to give us a horrifying detailed account of what actually happened at Auschwitz. Dr. Nyiszli actually found out the range of Mengele's barbarity through the thousands of autospies that he carried out during his imprisonment at Auschwitz.

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account

Of course, Ahmedinejad's fellow Holocaust deniers exist in this country itself. It is hard to imagine that some folks actually fund these idiots..As Voltaire once said.. "It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere."

I was planning to write a separate diary on this. But there you have it...

DOMA must go.....

Crossposted at Motley Moose

It is not a liberal who's saying this. It is the author of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), former Congressman Bob Barr saying so. First he admits that DOMA was indeed designed to pre-empt the judicial process.

DOMA was indeed designed to thwart the then-nascent move in a few state courts and legislatures to afford partial or full recognition to same-sex couples. The Hawaii court case Baehr vs. Lewin, still active while DOMA was being considered by Congress in mid-1996, provided the immediate impetus.

Barr explains in his column in LATimes that there are two parts to DOMA and their explicit aims.

The Hawaii court was clearly leaning toward legalizing same-sex marriages. So the first part of DOMA was crafted to prevent the U.S. Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause -- which normally would require State B to recognize any lawful marriage performed in State A -- from being used to extend one state's recognition of same-sex marriage to other states whose citizens chose not to recognize such a union....

However, we did incorporate into DOMA's second part a definition of marriage that comported with the historic -- and, at the time, widely accepted -- view of the institution as being between a man and a woman only. But this definition was to be used solely to interpret provisions of federal law related to spouses....

Barr wrestled with the unconstitutionality of the DOMA like President-elect Obama. Today he concludes that DOMA actually had become a 'club' to prevent the ability of a State to recognize same-sex unions.

In effect, DOMA's language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don't want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws -- including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran's benefits -- has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.

Then it seems that Barr's libertarian side is winning over his conservative religious side. He wrote "It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves." Can't say it any better....

Even more so now than in 1996, I believe we need to reduce federal power over the lives of the citizenry and over the prerogatives of the states. It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves.

And he agrees with our famed Constitutional Scholar President elect Obama....

In 2006, when then-Sen. Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, he said, "Decisions about marriage should be left to the states." He was right then; and as I have come to realize, he is right now in concluding that DOMA has to go. If one truly believes in federalism and the primacy of state government over the federal, DOMA is simply incompatible with those notions.

Thirteen years ago, this man was the architect of a highly discriminatory law. He is still not admitting that DOMA is plain and simple legitimized discrimination practised by Government against the same sex couples. But from the State's rights perspective, he is coming to the same conclusion as Obama and rest of us that DOMA needs to go. And it seems, he is moving towards a position that Government should not be in business of denying marriage status to folks based on sexual orientation.

Congressman, I don't think I liked your politics in 90s, but today your column opened the door for dialog on this important issue a little bit..For that, a big Thank you.

Read Bob Barr's full column at Los Angeles Times.

Link to Bob Barr's column at LATimes

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