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Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

October 20, 2017 0

in Uncategorized @ 3:02 am

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

Contents

  • 1 On Gay Talese
  • 2 On a higher power and how he’d like to die
  • 3 On the media and Iraq
  • 4 On the Iraq War
  • 5 State of Journalism
  • 6 On travel to Cuba
  • 7 On Chinese gay bars
  • 8 On the literary canon
  • 9 Sources

Fans worldwide queue for new iPhone

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in Uncategorized @ 2:34 am

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fans throughout the world have been queuing up outside stores for the release of Apple’s new iPhone, titled the iPhone 3GS. The phone went on sale on Friday morning around the world. According to CNN, around 300 people were queuing outside Apple’s New York store while employees were briefed inside.

Lines however, were not as long as was anticipated, with surplus metal barriers outside stores. An Apple employee was quoted as saying that the lines were shorter than this time last year.

The new iPhone contains a faster processor, a digital compass and a video camera. Ever since the launch of the original iPhone two years ago, it has been praised for “making smartphones cool”, with over 17 million handsets being sold.

However, critics have said that the new update deals are too costly. The telecommunications company O2 has made owners of Apple’s current iPhone products buy out their contracts should they wish to purchase the new phone.

Firefox browser reaches fifty million downloads

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in Uncategorized @ 2:10 am

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Mozilla Firefox, the Gecko-based open source browser, has now been downloaded over fifty million times from the official download sites and mirrors.

The fifty millionth download itself came at 8:58am PST on April 29. The number excludes upgrades. A real time counter is available at http://www.spreadfirefox.com/fifty.html .

The browser was first released to the public as major release 1.0 on November 9, 2004. There have since been three minor security upgrades, with the current version being 1.0.3.

The browser can trace its roots back to the Netscape Navigator of the 1990s. Development of Firefox itself began in 2002, when Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross began writing the new browser using the codebase of the Mozilla Suite as their starting point, which itself was an open-sourced version of Netscape Navigator.

Originally named Phoenix, the browser was renamed Firebird and then Firefox due to a series of trademark issues.

Turkey mourns flotilla dead

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in Uncategorized @ 2:00 am

Friday, June 4, 2010

Funerals and prayers for nine activists, who died in Israel’s Gaza flotilla raid, were held in Istanbul on Thursday.

Tens of thousands attended the funeral of the nine Turkish nationals, including one teen of dual U.S.-Turkish citizenship. The coffins were draped in Turkish and Palestinian flags. There was widespread anger from those attending. Released activists arrived to their home countries yesterday and today.

The Turkish President Abdullah Gül said that Turkey would act calmly and said;

Turkey will never forget such an attack on its ships and its people in international waters. The relations between Israel and Turkey will never be the same again, unless Israel apologises.

The youngest of the nine activists killed, a 19-year-old high school student Furkan Dogan, was shot in the head and chest. He was born in Troy, New York, but moved to Turkey when he was two. He will be buried in his family’s hometown of Kayseri in central Turkey on Friday. A United States State Department spokesman said it would probe the death of the Turkish-American killed, but said the FBI were not involved “at this point.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that soldiers were acting in self-defence. He said the activists were not peace activists but “violent supporters of terrorism”. Israel has stated that of the 7 soldiers wounded during the assault, 2 were shot with weapons wrestled from Israeli forces. But Swedish activist Mattias Gardell scoffed at such statements, replying, “the Israelis started shooting first. We had no weapons, the Israelis had weapons”.

Abdullah Gül said Israel committed “one of the biggest mistakes ever in its history,” and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an called Israel’s actions “a historic mistake.” The leader of the Islamic charity IHH spoke to the crowd, saying, “The whole world supports us. We will shake the foundations of Zionism”.

The activists had attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The Irish ship MV Rachel Corrie arriving some time this weekend, will be the next ship to challenge the blockade.

Bolt to train with Borussia Dortmund

October 19, 2017 0

in Uncategorized @ 2:58 am

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On Sunday, German football club Borussia Dortmund (BVB) announced Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt is to train with the club. 30-year-old Usain Bolt, a nine-time Olympics gold-medal winning sprinter, is a Manchester United F.C. supporter.

Known as “the fastest man on earth”, Bolt is sponsored by German sports company Puma who also sponsors Borussia Dortmund. According to Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden informed the club of Usain’s interest in practising with them.

In remarks to magazine Kicker, Watzke said this was “neither a joke nor a marketing measure”. He did say, “We wouldn’t organise it during a period where we have a midweek game, of course, but perhaps during a preparatory phase or something like that”. Watzke said BVB coach Thomas Tuchel is agreeable with the idea, but the club hasn’t suggested offering the Jamaican a contract.

Taking about a chance to play for his favoured club, Bolt said, “For me, if I could get to play for Manchester United, that would be like a dream come true. Yes, that would be epic.”

Bolt won three Olympics gold medals in this year’s Olympics edition in Rio de Janeiro. Bolt has indicated he means to retire from athletics after next year’s World Championships scheduled to be hosted in London in August.

“Children of Men” wins Scripter Award for writing

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in Uncategorized @ 2:38 am

Friday, January 12, 2007

Children of Men, a movie based on a P.D. James book, has won the 2006 USC Scripter Award for its writing. Both the original author, James, and the screenwriting team will be honored by the University of South California for their work.

The winning screenwriters are Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby. The Children of Men was James’ 12th book, written in 1992.

USC School of Cinematic Arts Writing Division Chair Howard A. Rodman commented

This year’s five nominated films were, all of them, heartfelt and elegantly wrought. In that heady company, ‘Children of Men’ was first among equals. Messrs. Cuarón, Sexton, Arata, Fergus, and Ostby took P.D. James’s bracingly dystopic novel and crafted from it a film at once brave, subtle, shocking. This is writing and screenwriting of the highest order.

For nineteen years, the USC Libraries Scripter Award has honored “writers for the best achievement in adaptation among English-language films released during the previous year and based on a book, novella or short story.” While there are many awards for either screenwriting in general, or adapted screenwriting, the Scripter is the only award to recognize both the screenwriters and the original authors.

Also nominated was:

  • screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna and author Lauren Weisberger for The Devil Wears Prada
  • screenwriter Neil Berger for The Illusionist, based on the story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” by Steven Millhauser
  • screenwriters Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock for The Last King of Scotland, based on the book by Giles Foden
  • screenwriter Patrick Marber and author Zoe Heller for Notes on a Scandal

The titles were selected by committee, from a list of forty-five eligible films. The committee is made of Writers Guild of America members (including some Academy Award-winning screenwriters and Academy Award-nominated screen writers), authors, film industry executives, USC faculty, the dean of the USC Libraries, and selected members of the Friends of the USC Libraries, the sponsor of the event.

Previous screenwriters and authors honored include the teams behind Capote, Million Dollar Baby, The Hours, A Beautiful Mind, L.A. Confidential, The English Patient and Schindler’s List.

Wikipedia founder embroiled in affair and financial allegations

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in Uncategorized @ 2:18 am

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The implosion of a relationship between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and journalist Rachel Marsden has resulted in controversy and international headlines. Associated Press and ABC News have also reported on questionable activity by Wales involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. The Wikimedia Foundation is a donor-supported non-profit organization which runs Wikipedia.

Marsden had contacted Wales two years ago about concerns she had over the article about her on Wikipedia, and Wales determined the article was not compliant with Wikipedia’s standards. The tech blog Valleywag revealed Wales had a personal relationship with Marsden, and posted supposed transcripts of their instant message conversations on its site, www.valleywag.com. Wales and Marsden met in February, and The Times reported that “An apparent transcript of their conversations before that meeting suggests that, although Mr Wales had withdrawn from the editing process, he was still influencing the editors.” The Times quoted Wales from the chat logs as having stated to Marsden “The truth is of course a much worse conflict of interest than that; but that will do.” — in reference to his conflict of interest regarding Marsden’s article on Wikipedia.

Wales posted a public statement on Saturday on Wikipedia addressing the matter, and stated that his relationship with Marsden was over: “First, while I find it hard to imagine that anyone really cares about my sex life, the facts are: I am separated from my wife. I considered myself single at the time of my one meeting with Rachel Marsden on Feb. 9, 2008 … I am no longer involved with Rachel Marsden. Gossipy stories suggesting that I have been in a relationship with her ‘since last fall’ are completely false … I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.” With regard to the conflict of interest in Marsden’s article, Wales had acknowledged to a team of Wikipedia editors in February 2008 that he and Marsden “became friends … and that we would be meeting about that,” and stated “I recused myself from any further official action with respect to her biography.”

On Sunday, The Canadian Press reported that Marsden had posted photos of herself on Ebay, and was selling items that Wales had left at her New York City apartment. In her Ebay posting, Marsden stated: “Hi, my name is Rachel and my (now ex-) boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia … It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I’m selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won’t be happening now.” Marsden told The Canadian Press “It didn’t really help matters that Jimmy chose to announce the breakup to the entire world via Wikipedia (which apparently now is an online encyclopedia that doubles as a personal soapbox?) rather than to me directly (which he did much later, in an instant message discussion).”

I care deeply about the integrity of Wikipedia, and take very seriously my responsibilities as a member of the board and as a member of the Wikipedia community. I would never knowingly do anything to compromise that trust.

Marsden placed a t-shirt and sweater which she said were left at her apartment by Wales up on Ebay, and started the bidding for each at ninety-nine cents, with the auctions set to end on March 12. By Monday, bidding on the t-shirt had reached US$300, and by Tuesday the highest bid had reached $12,200. In an email to The Globe and Mail, Marsden stated “My only focus right now, to be really honest, is on my career and finding a way to get back into print, TV, or radio here in NYC,” she wrote. “All of this other personal stuff is just an unfortunate distraction.”

Jay Walsh, the Wikimedia Foundation’s head of communications, told the San Jose Mercury News that Wales’ actions in relaying Marsden’s concerns about her Wikipedia article to a team of trusted editors was within his “routine” role. When asked by the San Jose Mercury News if Wales’ actions regarding the Marsden article could compromise his role with the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia, Walsh responded “No, absolutely not.”

On Tuesday, ABC News carried a story by Wired News reporter Megan McCarthy regarding allegations of “excessive spending” by Wales, and Associated Press also reported on questions involving Wikimedia Foundation expenses. McCarthy reported that former Wikimedia executive Danny Wool, who had left the foundation last year, criticized Wales’ use of Wikimedia Foundation expenses in a blog post. Wool stated that Wales had tried to expense $300 bottles of wine, a $1,300 dinner for four at a Florida steakhouse, and visits to Moscow massage parlors to the foundation, and that the foundation rescinded Wales’ corporate credit card in 2006. Wool also stated that Wales paid the foundation $7,000, after being short $30,000 on receipts for expenses.

Wool told EPICENTER that “There were occasions where he used [the Wikimedia Foundation] for personal advancement under the guide [sic] of the mission. And, as someone who was in there for the mission part of it, I found that rather distressful.” Wool commented in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle: “Originally, it was carelessness … But as things developed, it became more apparent and obvious that he was taking advantage of the foundation credit card. It was almost like his personal piggy bank.”

Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.

In an instant message exchange with Associated Press, Wales denied that the Wikimedia Foundation had taken away his corporate credit card, and asserted that he had made the decision to stop expensing business travel for the foundation. Wales highlighted a statement by the foundation’s executive director Sue Gardner: “Jimmy has never used Wikimedia money to subsidize his personal expenditures. Indeed, he has consistently put the foundation’s interests ahead of his own.” In an email to Associated Press, Brad Patrick, a former attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation, stated “Danny seems interested in blogging his way straight to a lawsuit”.

Florence Devouard, who chairs the Wikimedia Foundation, told Associated Press that Wales had been “slow in submitting receipts,” and that the foundation had rejected Wales’ expense at the Florida steakhouse. Devouard told fellow foundation board members in a private email that she had convinced Associated Press that “the money story was a no story,” and told Wales “I find (it) tiring to see how you are constantly trying to rewrite the past. Get a grip!” Wales told Associated Press: “The board, the current executive director, the previous executive director, and independent auditors have reviewed our books and publicly agree that all of my expenses were appropriate and fully accounted for.”

Media reports speculated on how the controversy would end up being represented in Wikipedia itself. On Wednesday, the St. Petersburg Times wrote: “Wales’ Wikipedia page said only this about Marsden: ‘Wales had a brief relationship with Canadian journalist Rachel Marsden.'” An article in The Australian surmised: “History will decide whether Mr Wales broke his own principles, but before that happens there may well be a Wikipedia page devoted to the controversy.”

As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in

October 18, 2017 0

in Uncategorized @ 3:01 am

Monday, May 18, 2009

Most of the Eurovision entrants have returned home from their sojourn in Moscow, Russia, and the newspapers across Europe have varied opinions. Most national newspapers congratulated their entrants on a job well done, while others trash-talked other entrants, and still others called for their countries to pull out of the Contest.

Here are some interviews, articles and opinions that made it to the front pages of newspapers and to their sanctioned blogs.

Norway’s mass media was filled with stories revolving around the winner, Alexander Rybak, but a secondary story that received press coverage was outcry against NRK‘s Eurovision commentator, Synnøve Svabø, who was criticized for talking incessantly during the event, making leering comments regarding the contents inside the male entrants’ tight pants, and making a joke about stuffing sweatsocks in her own bra. When asked for a statement by Aftenposten, Svabø said, “I guess people think I should have put the socks in my throat.” NRK did not comment on Svabø’s commentating or whether she will be returning next year.

Sweden’s newspaper Aftonbladet wrote that the “Swede of the evening” was not Sweden’s entrant Malena Ernman, but Malmö-raised Arash Labaf, one of the two singers placing third for Azerbaijan. Markus Larsson wrote, “21st place? Well, this is our second-worst result ever…Malena Ernman fell so far and deep that she almost ended up in Finland. That is to say, almost last.” When asked if she was disappointed, Ernman responded, “No, but I am sorry if the Swedes are disappointed.” She went on to quip, “Europe is simply not ready for my high notes.”

Finland, despite placing last, wrote upbeat stories; Helsingin Sanomat published an interview with Waldo and Karoliina from the Finnish act, Waldo’s People, who announced how happy they were to have participated and will be going right back to work with performances and recordings as soon as they return to Finland.

Most British newspapers in past years published lengthy screeds regarding their bad luck in the Contest and whether they should send an entrant at all. This year all that talk subsided, and newspapers published articles congratulating Jade Ewen on her fifth place ranking. Sir Terry Wogan, former Eurovision commentator for the BBC, said to the Daily Express about this year’s voting overhaul, “I think my protest about the voting was totally vindicated by the changes that were made to the scoring this year. It made a real difference. It was the change that Eurovision needed.” One of the headlines in Monday’s Daily Mail reads: “She did us proud.” Andrew Lloyd Webber, who worked with Ewen, said, “Jade performed brilliantly. After years of disappointing results, the UK can finally hold its head high.”

Spain’s newspaper El Mundo published an article entitled “Soraya’s fiasco,” outlining Soraya Arnelas‘s failure to receive points from 37 of the 41 other voting nations, with the writer remarking, “After a whole year trying to forget [Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, Spain’s “joke entrant” from 2008], Soraya jumped on-stage with strength…Spain’s experiment ended with longing [for] Rodolfo Chikilicuatre.” When asked about her performance and the result, Arnelas said, “I’ll hang on to the experiences I had, the great friends that I made and I’m happy because now I’m known in Europe.”

French newspapers and blogs were muted compared to other countries, but the overall feeling was still very supportive of Patricia Kaas, who placed eighth. In an interview with Le Figaro, Kaas said, “Eighth place, that’s not so bad. It was a great moment for France, we held our head high.” France Soir noted, “[Kaas’s] emotion does not seem to have found a place with competitors that have relied on heavy artillery choreography worthy of those like Shakira, and glamorous outfits, to ensure a place on the podium.”

German newspapers published lengthy stories analyzing why Germany was in the bottom quartile for the third straight year. Die Welt wrote, “The Germans have become accustomed to it: winning the Eurovision Song Contest just does not work [for us]. [Compared] to the total failure of last place with No Angels last year, [this] result is almost a sensational success.” Bild commented, “For years we have had little success. Germany’s placement, despite all efforts, will not be better. Why are we still participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?”

Ireland, who failed to make it to the final, led the cry to pull out of Eurovision. In the Irish Independent, Ian O’Doherty wrote, “Ireland managed something quite rare and rather gratifying last week — we actually managed to produce a Eurovision song that didn’t make you want to rip off your own eyelids so you could stuff them in your ears to stop the horrible sounds…[Sinéad] Mulvey’s elimination is proof of one thing: we need to pull out of this pile of rubbish as soon as possible.”

The Netherlands, another nation that did not make it past the semi-final round, has been very apathetic toward the Contest in recent years, and this year was no different. De Telegraaf conducted an opinion poll of Dutch television viewers, and 90% of them believed the Netherlands should not enter the Contest anymore. Despite the stated apathy, 2.5 million Dutch viewers watched De Toppers compete in the second semi-final, an improvement of 800,000 from last year’s semi-final, where Dutch entrant Hind also failed to advance. De Toppers singer Gordon, in an interview with De Telegraaf, said that the Netherlands should continue to compete: “One time, we will succeed.”

Identity Theft Straightening Out Your Credit In The Aftermath

0

in Financial Services @ 2:55 am

By Debbie Pettitt

FBI statistics reveal that identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States, with about 1 in 5 families in the U.S. being a victim of identity theft. Identity theft is obtaining another person’s personal information (e.g., name, social security number, credit card number, passport) without that person’s knowledge and using that information fraudulently. For someone who discovers they are a victim of identity theft, it is important to act fast. Here are some immediate steps to take in order to stop further misuse and to restore your good credit:

1. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the 3 credit reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. When a fraud alert is placed on your credit reports, creditors will contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert, and they are required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order free copies of your credit reports. When you receive them, check them over carefully for any new accounts that may have been opened without your authorization. Also be aware of any new inquiries by banks, lenders and credit card companies that you were not familiar with.

2. Report the crime to your local police or sheriff’s department and request a police report.

3. Contact your creditors, banks, phone companies, and utility companies and have them freeze your accounts. Banks, credit card companies and other creditors may require a copy of your police report. You may be liable for a small sum of the fraudulent charges; check with each of your card issuers for their policies. Most creditors promptly issue replacement cards with new account numbers.

4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

5. Monitor all bank and credit card statements and other bills carefully to ensure there are no fraudulent charges. If you find fraudulent checks or withdrawals on your bank account, notify the fraud department of your bank in writing immediately.

Stop payment on any missing checks and/or close your existing account. You can also notify the check verification companies not to accept further checks under the account number that was stolen. To find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name, contact SCAN @ 1800-262-7771.

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If unauthorized credit card charges appear, notify your credit card company in writing without delay.

6. If you believe the theft involved your social security number, contact the Social Security Administration. They may re-issue a lost or stolen social security card or may, under some circumstances, give you a new social security number.

As you know, your credit rating is all important. Every precaution should be taken to protect your credit rating. Once you have your identity straightened out, you might consider registering with Equifax Credit Watch. Equifax Credit Watch makes monitoring your report easy by automatically alerting you within 24 hours of key changes in your Equifax Credit Report – like when someone tries to get credit in your name or there are sudden changes in your credit card balances. – so you can act before serious damage is done.

Below are important phone numbers you will need for reporting your identity theft:

Credit Reporting Agencies:

Equifax 1800-525-6285

Experian 1888-397-3742

TransUnion 1800-680-7209

Federal Trade Commission Hotline:

FTC Hotline 1877-438-4338

Check Verification Companies:

Telecheck 1800-710-9898

Certegy 1800-437-5120

To find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name:

SCAN 1800-262-7771

About the Author: Copyright 2006 by Debbie Pettitt who is the webmaster for Understanding Identity Theft, providing essential information on identity theft, it’s prevention and what to do if you’re a victim. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, this page may be helpful:

understandingidentitytheft.com/identitytheftreporting/

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=28913&ca=Finances

Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US

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in Uncategorized @ 2:51 am

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A conservative Democratic United States senator has agreed to supply the key 60th vote needed for passage of a sweeping health care reform package. Senate Democrats have reached a breakthrough in their struggle to pass sweeping heath care reform legislation, lining up the 60 votes needed to overcome fierce Republican opposition. Senators met Saturday in Washington, D.C. during a driving snowstorm in a frenzied effort to move forward on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The spotlight was on moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who had been the last holdout as Senate Democrats raced against the clock and against determined Republican opposition to pass their health care bill by their self-imposed deadline of December 25th, Christmas.

Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform.

Nelson said he is now ready to vote for cloture, which would advance the bill. “Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform,” he said.

Nelson said he decided to support the bill after winning new concessions from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold under the new legislation along with millions of dollars in Medicaid funding for Nebraska.

The legislation would extend health benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and impose new regulations on the health insurance industry.

Senator Reid of Nevada has been working for months to win over one holdout Democratic senator after another, repeatedly altering the bill to satisfy different demands. Reid says reform is essential. “The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose,” he said.

The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose.

Nelson’s support should pave the way for Senate Democrats to win the first of a series of crucial procedural votes scheduled to begin at one o’clock in the morning on Monday and set to conclude — if everything goes smoothly for them — with final passage on Christmas Eve.

Republicans have been using a number of parliamentary procedures to delay action on the bill, including forcing a reading on the Senate floor Saturday of Reid’s 338-pages of last minute amendments. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded to the apparent Democratic breakthrough. “And Democrats are forcing a vote on it, as I indicated, over the weekend, counting on the fact that the American people are preoccupied with Christmas and not paying much attention to what they are doing,” he said.

The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people.

Republicans are unified in their opposition, saying the bill is too expensive and will not solve the problems with the current health care system. Senator McConnell dismissed claims by Democrats that the bill is historic. “The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people,” he said.

Senator John McCain of Arizona echoed those comments in the weekly Republican radio address saying, “Regrettably, there’s nothing in this legislation that effectively addresses the problem of health care hyperinflation. In fact, experts tell us the Democrat legislation makes matters worse.”

Democrats say they have been trying to reform the nation’s health care system for close to 70 years, ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut was emotional as victory seemed within reach. “All we are trying to do is to guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen of ours, and you are struck with illness or a loved one is, that you will never again have that fear, that you will end up losing your home, your job, your retirement and your life savings because you have been afflicted with an illness through no fault of your own.”

If the Senate is able to pass a bill next week, it would be viewed as a major victory for President Obama. But the bill would still need to be reconciled with a health-care reform bill passed last month by the House of Representatives before the president could sign it into law next year.

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