Daily Archives: February 18, 2012

BREAKING: Funeral Services for Houston

English: Whitney Houston talking to the audien...

Funeral services are beginning in Newark, New Jersey, for Whitney Houston, the six-time Grammy Award winner who died a week ago at age forty-eight.

Those expected to celebrate her life at New Hope Baptist Church include mogul Tyler Perry; Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder; and Academy Award winner Kevin Costner.

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Filed under Breaking, Notable Passings

Anthony Shadid Dies in Syria at 43

Anthony Shadid, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, died on Thursday at forty-three.

Mr. Shadid spent most of his life covering the Middle East, as a reporter with The Associated Press, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. At his death, from what appeared to be an asthma attack, he was on assignment for The Times in Syria.

Mr. Shadid’s work centered on ordinary people forced to pay an extraordinary price for living in the region — or belonging to the religion, ethnic group or social class — that they did.

He was known most recently for his coverage of the Arab Spring.

Mr. Shadid’s work entailed great peril. In 2002, as a correspondent for The Globe, he was shot in the shoulder while reporting in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Last March, Mr. Shadid and three other Times journalists were kidnapped in Libya by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces. They were held for six days and beaten before being released.

Later, as his family was being stalked by Syrian agents, Mr. Shadid interviewed Syrian protesters who had defied bullets and torture to return to the streets.

Mr. Shadid, who became fluent in Arabic only as an adult, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1990.

He was the author of three books, “Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats and the New Politics of Islam”; “Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War”; and “House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East”.

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Notable Passings, World

Obama Approval Rating Hits Eight-Month High


Obama (Photo credit: NatalieMaynor)

President Barack Obama’s approval rating up to 50% for the first time in more than eight months, according to a CNN/ORC International Poll.

In the national survey, Pres. Obama holds an edge against all the remaining Republican Presidential candidates in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups.

The poll indicates that the number of Americans who think things are going well in the country is on the rise, from 25% in November to 30% in December and 40% now.

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Filed under Politics

Santorum: Don’t Complain about Health Care Costs When Other People Can Afford iPads

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

While campaigning in Woodland Park, Colorado, Republican contender Rick Santorum told a sick child and his mother that they shouldn’t complain about the exorbitant cost of his medication because some people spend $900 on iPads.

The candidate also said that the parent and child unjustly felt entitled to get life-saving care at an affordable rate:

GOP contender Rick Santorum had a heated exchange with a mother and her sick young son Wednesday, arguing that drug companies were entitled to charge whatever the market demanded for life-saving therapies.[…]

“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” Santorum said, “but paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”

The mother said the boy was on the drug Abilify, used to treat schizophrenia, and that, on paper, its costs would exceed $1 million each year.

Santorum said drugs take years to develop and cost millions of dollars to produce, and manufacturers need to turn a profit or they would stop developing new drugs.

Mr. Santorum proceeded to lecture the mother and suggest she should be grateful to the drug companies for saving her son’s life. “He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” Santorum said, “and if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here.”

Although Mr. Santorum is an opponent of health care reform, his reaction is surprising, given that he is the father of a daughter with a rare genetic disorder. If the Colorado mother thought Mr. Santorum might be sympathetic to families in similar situations who happen to be less wealthy, she was sadly mistaken.

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Filed under Health, Politics, Sick Sad World

Underwear Bomber Sentenced to Life in Prison

A man who smuggled a bomb in his underwear aboard a jetliner on Christmas Day 2009 was sentenced to life in prison.

Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab pleaded guilty for his role in what officials later determined was an al Qaeda plot.

The eight charges against him included attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.


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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Sick Sad World, Stupid Is As Stupid Does