June 7th, 2009

[smith] ever afters
  • pageup

Men 'out-performed at university'

Female students are ahead of men in almost every measure of UK university achievement, according to a report from higher education researchers.

A Higher Education Policy Institute report shows that women are more likely to get places in the top universities and go on to get better grades.

Women also outnumber men in high status subjects, such as law and medicine.

The institute's director, Bahram Bekhradnia, says the cause of this gender gap remains uncertain.

Women have been entering university in greater numbers than men in recent years - with the participation rate for young women standing at 49%, compared with 38% of young men.

The report looks more closely at this divide and addresses the suggestion that even though women are ahead in numbers, that men might still dominate in the most prestigious subjects and institutions.

'Good degrees'

The study disproves such theories - finding that women are taking more places at prestigious Russell Group universities and on the most sought-after courses..Collapse )

Obama the anti-semite... seriously... WTF

'We're launching a campaign against anti-Semitic Obama'

Some 130 protesters gathered in front of the American Consulate in Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon to rally against U.S. President Barack Obama, who had just launched his Middle East tour, during which he is expected to reach out in friendship to the Muslim world.

As more than a dozen local and international journalists looked on, the protesters chanted "No, You Can't" and waved posters saying "20 new 'settlements' by 2010 - Yes We Can!"

Far right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who attended the protest, told Channel 10 that "it appears that we've arrived at a red line, which has already been crossed by the most anti-Semitic American president."

Collapse )

Settlers call Obama "Jew-hating anti-Semite"

Those Scott Roeders of Israeli public life, the leadership of the west bank settler movement, are not happy with Barack Obama. Religious and ethnic fanatics that they are, they fear and hate anyone who threatens to disrupt their plans to colonize the entire west bank and permanently drive the Palestinians into exile or into second-class citizenship. Hamas is not the only fanatical organization standing in the way of a just settlement. These right-wing religious fanatics, supported by Israeli governments of every stripe for nearly 40 years, represent the ugly face of the occupation. And one that will not go away quitely.
Collapse )

Israeli Right-Wing activists launch anti-Obama campaign

Chanting "No, you can't!" and waving signs bearing messages in a similar vein, nearly 200 people held a demonstration outside the US Consulate on the capital's Rehov Agron on Wednesday evening, protesting the growing American pressure to stop construction in West Bank settlements.

Speakers at the event included MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and Esther Pollard, the wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. All brought a similar message - that the American government does not have the right to dictate where Jews may or may not live within the Land of Israel.
Collapse )

Militant website call Obama the "Wise Enemy"... I guess that's a start...

Evidence Suggests Obama's Speech Already Undercutting Extremists

From Lebanese guerrillas to Saudi preachers, Islamic extremists have warned followers not to be taken in by President Barack Obama's conciliatory words, a sign that some may be nervous about losing support if animosity toward the U.S. fades.

But even moderates warn Obama will have to quickly follow his call for a new relationship with the Islamic world with bold actions to prevent a disappointed backlash.

In his speech in Cairo Thursday, Obama listed confronting "violent extremism" as the top priority in addressing tensions between the U.S. and Muslims. He urged the Islamic world to reject radical ideologies and promised to work aggressively to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also said the U.S. does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement in the West Bank and endorsed a Palestinian state.

There are already some indications his words are having the desired effect of undercutting extremists. A militant leader in Egypt called on the Taliban to respond positively to Obama's gestures, and Hamas militants in Gaza say they are ready "to build on this speech."

Obama may have managed to "plant the seed of doubt in some minds," said Robert Malley, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank. "There was enough ... that represented openings for those who wanted openings."

Yet Obama's eloquent promises were seen as only a small step toward halting the region's drift toward militancy, accelerated in recent years by the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and Washington's perceived pro-Israel bias.

He will be most closely watched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly his push to get Israel to comply with a settlement freeze.
That is something no U.S. administration before him has accomplished.

"Extremists will only be disarmed when the U.S. takes a more neutral stand on Israel," said Abdel Wahab al-Qasab, a Qatar-based analyst
Collapse )

Was Obama our President last fall? I guess for the GOP the Bush Adm. never existed... (they wish)

Shelby tries to blame Obama for bank bailouts that happened ‘last fall.’

This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) why he believes the Obama administration is “taking us down the road to socialism.” Shelby said it was “obviously” the case, and pointed to last fall’s bank bailouts as the prime example:
WALLACE: Sen. Shelby, you say that the Obama administration is taking us down the road to socialism. Explain.
SHELBY: Well, obviously. So, they intervene last fall in the bank crisis. No one has ever done it on that scale before. Now the automobile crisis.
Shelby seemed to catch himself moments later, saying, “you have to go back to the Bush administration. They started it.” Watch it:


Get the fuck off of Twitter and do your job, Grassley.

Grassley: Obama's "Got Nerve" To Push Lawmakers From Paris

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says that President Barack Obama "got nerve" to go sightseeing in Paris while telling lawmakers it's time to deliver on a health care overhaul.

Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, is key to any bipartisan health care deal. Using Twitter _ the Internet-based social connection service allows users to send mass text messages called "tweets" _ the Iowa Republican issued two angry "tweets" Sunday morning as the president wrapped up an overseas tour.

For months Obama had left the details of health care legislation to Congress, then inserted himself firmly into the debate in recent days, including using his weekly radio address Saturday to declare "it's time to deliver" on health reform.

Grassley's first tweet: "Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND."

A short time later: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL."

A Grassley spokeswoman verified that the senator was the author of the messages.

Asked to respond to Grassley's Twitter commentary, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said: "President Obama is gratified that the Senate is working hard to bring a health reform bill to the floor on schedule. He looks forward to continuing his work with them upon his return from the commemoration of Allied heroism at D-Day."

Grassley's attitude is significant because any hope for bipartisan consensus on health care rests on an alliance between Grassley and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. The committee has been laboring to come up with a health care bill that Democrats and Republicans can support.

Despite strong opposition from most Republicans to one of Obama's key goals for a health care bill _ the inclusion of a new government insurance plan to compete with private insurers _ Baucus and Grassley hold out hope that they can find a bipartisan solution.

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod cited Grassley in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday morning as a reason there's hope for a health overhaul deal. Obama wants to sign legislation in the fall that would hold down costs and extend coverage to 50 million uninsured Americans.

"I would hope people of both parties would get together. I was encouraged by Sen. Grassley's comments in the last few days suggesting that he thought we could get there," Axelrod said. "So I think we'll be able to build a bipartisan support for it. But we have to move forward with it, I think it is a critical situation for the country and our economy and our future."

Obama has said repeatedly he wants a bipartisan bill. Although the Democratic-controlled Congress might be able to pass health care legislation with little or no Republican support, such a measure would be less widely accepted and less sustainable over time, Baucus and others have said.

But Obama's increased involvement appears to be diminishing chances for bipartisanship, not improving them. Grassley and other Republicans were also angered when Obama released a letter last week coming down strongly in favor of a new public insurance plan.

The next few weeks will be critical to the health care debate, with the Finance Committee to finalize legislation and begin voting in late June. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has circulated draft legislation that is unlikely to garner GOP support because of the greatly expanded role it gives to government. The Finance Committee has been expected to produce a bill with a narrower role for government.

I marked Grassley's tweets in red because the grammar SUCKS.

More Califailnia

This is an incredible possibility, and would be a huge setback in so many areas - rights of seniors/retirees, the disabled, women and single mothers, HIV/AIDs patients, workers and the unemployed, childhood (and adult!) poverty, equal opportunity enforcement, etc.

Free marketeers, on the other hand, should be happy, and are licking their chops.

Calif. contemplating rewrite of social contract
At stake are programs for the poor, elderly and frail

The Associated Press
updated 1:24 p.m. CT, Sun., June 7, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With empty pockets and maxed-out credit, California is debating whether it can continue honoring all parts of its social contract with the state's most vulnerable residents.

The state faces an unprecedented drop in tax revenue and a widening budget deficit amid the deepest recession in decades, prompting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to propose cost-cutting steps that once seemed unthinkable.

At stake are programs for the poor, elderly and frail, placing millions of people in the nation's most populous state at risk of falling through a decades-old social safety net.

Collapse )

AP wire report @ CBS or NYT or elsewhere.

European elections 2009: far-Right makes gains across Europe

European elections 2009: Levente Csikhelyi, a commander of the far-right radical organisation Hungarian Guard, casts ballot during European Parliamentary elections

European elections 2009: Levente Csikhelyi, a commander of the far-right radical organisation Hungarian Guard, casts ballot during European Parliamentary elections

Participation slumped to an estimated 43 per cent, the lowest level since European elections began 30 years ago in 1979, as 213 million out of 375 million voters across the EU stayed at home.

"It does affect the legitimacy of the EU," admitted Margot Wallstrom, the European Commission vice-president.

Governments in Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Greece and Ireland, all countries hit hard by the economic crisis, were punished by angry voters.

Support for centre-Left parties and governments crashed across the EU as fringe parties, not the Socialists, picked up protest votes while the centre-Right weathered the storm.

As polling stations closed on Sunday night, estimates put mainstream centre-Right parties to be the biggest group with control of up to 276 seats out of 736 in the European Parliament.

Anti-immigrant and far-right groups made significant gains in the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Denmark, Slovakia and Finland.

Collapse )

Lebanon Election Results: Pro-Western Majority Declares Victory

Lebanon Election Results: Pro-Western Majority Declares Victory

Lebanon's pro-Western coalition declared victory early Monday, as local television stations reported the faction had successfully fended off a serious challenge by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its allies to grab the majority in parliament.

Official results for Sunday's election were not expected until later Monday, but the winners were already celebrating by shooting in the air, setting off fireworks and driving around in honking motorcades.

The election was an early test of President Barack Obama's efforts to forge Middle East peace. A win by Hezbollah would have boosted the influence of its backers Iran and Syria and risked pushing one of the region's most volatile nations into international isolation and possibly into more conflict with Israel.

"I present this victory to Lebanon," Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said on television after stations projected his pro-Western coalition was winning. "It is an exceptional day for democracy in Lebanon."
Collapse )

Israeli ministry wages "settlement war" against U.S. (their words, not mine)

Israeli ministry wages settlement war against U.S.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Sunday began to make good on a pledge that he would exploit all the resources of the Interior Ministry, "its branches and its influences over local government" to expand settlements in the territories.

Yishai, who is also chairman of Shas, made the promise last Thursday to the heads of the Yesha Council of settlements. His party is concerned by the freeze on construction that has been in effect since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office, which Yishai said is "drying out" the settlements.

Haaretz has learned that Yishai has instructed officials at the Interior Ministry to come up with ways to help the settlers, by allowing continued construction within the major West Bank settlement blocs where building has stopped as a result of American pressure.
Collapse )

New Orleans mayor in flu quarantine in China

Another traveler on Ray Nagin's flight showed symptoms of the illness

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who traveled on Friday to Shanghai, China on an economic development trip, was placed in quarantine Sunday after Chinese officials found another passenger on his flight to have signs of the swine flu.

That passenger was undergoing quarantine and treatment. As a precaution, the mayor, his wife and another member of the Mayor's Executive Protection Unit were also placed in a designated quarantine location in Shanghai, according to the mayor's communications director.

He and his wife were displaying no symptoms of being ill, said Communications Director Ceeon D. Quiett. There was no word on what flight it was, how many people were aboard or exactly where they're quarantined.

Nagin was scheduled to travel to Sydney, Australia, where he is planning to deliver a keynote address and lead a panel discussion on climate change at the 2009 National Summit of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Quiett said the mayor may need to alter his travel schedule.

I can just imagine how much fun that must be. Swine flu. Quarantine. In China.

music | sleigh anne.

Referendum: Succession amendment confirmed

Referendum: Succession amendment confirmed
Danes have voted in a referendum to adopt gender equality in succession to the throne.

Denmark’s referendum on an amendment to the law on royal succession resulted in a majority in favour of adopting what is known as absolute primogeniture – allowing the monarch’s first-born of either gender to ascend the throne.

Under the Danish constitution, changes to laws on succession must be passed by two successive parliaments, separated by an election, and finally confirmed by a referendum in which at least 40 percent of the entire electorate must turn out and vote in favour.

With most of the votes counted, the result of Sunday’s referendum, which was held simultaneously with European Parliament elections, gave 45.5 percent of the entire electorate in favour, 7.8 percent against and 5.3 percent returned neutral votes. Turnout was some 59 percent.

The amendment to the law is unlikely to have any practical importance for some time, as Crown Prince Frederik is next in line to the throne currently held by his mother Queen Margrethe II, and the crown prince's first-born is also male – three-year-old Prince Christian.

Denmark joins Sweden, The Netherlands, Norway and Belgium as the fifth of Europe's ten remaining monarchies to adopt equal primogeniture. Of the five, Denmark is the only country that does not have a female in either the first or second places in the line of succession. The heir to the Swedish throne, Victoria is a female, while the first-born children of the crown princes of The Netherlands, Belgium and Norway are all girls (Amalia in The Netherlands, Elisabeth in Belgium and Ingrid in Norway)


I think this is really interesting. I was reading that a lot of Danes were skeptical it would pass, considering it's going to be at least 25 to 30 years before it would even come into play, and the fact that there are four boys and only one girl in the DRF's youngest generation. But this is great, so yay.
Bree Gun

No words.

N.C. man accused of arranging wife's rape on Craigslist

(CNN) -- A North Carolina man is accused of arranging to have his wife raped through personal ads on the Web site Craigslist, police said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old man, of Kannapolis, North Carolina, was arrested in connection with the incident that occurred at his home early Sunday, police said in a statement.

Police responded to the home at about 2:45 a.m. after receiving a 911 call indicating a male armed with a knife appeared in the couple's bedroom and sexually assaulted the man's wife, authorities said.

The man was present at the time of the assault, and two young children were in the home, but were unharmed and unaware of the incident, the police statement said.

"During the investigation, investigators interviewed the victim and her husband," the statement said. "Investigators became suspicious when they noticed there was no sign of forced entry to the home. Investigators also developed information that led them to note specific inconsistencies in the initial statement provided by [the man]."

But on Tuesday, police found that the man "had responded to at least two personal ads on Craigslist.com in an effort to arrange for someone to come to his home and have sex with his wife using some type of scare tactic."

"Investigators believe [he] arranged this incident without the knowledge or consent of the victim," the police statement said.

The woman was taken to a hospital after the assault, where she underwent a forensic examination and was interviewed, police said. She suffered no serious physical injuries and was released shortly afterward.

Police did not release the identity of the victim. CNN is not naming the victim's husband in an effort to avoid identifying her. The incident remains under investigation, police said.

The man faces charges including first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual offense and one count of attempted first-degree sexual offense, according to the police statement.

Kannapolis is about 26 miles northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina.