August 3rd, 2009

Bellen! - Minimalism

Bolivian Indians in historic step



Bolivia has become the first country in the history of South America to declare the right of indigenous people to govern themselves.

The country's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, launched his so-called "indigenous autonomy" policy in the eastern lowlands.

Peasant and indigenous communities will be entitled to vote for more autonomy in referendums next December.

The provisions are contained in a constitution passed earlier this year.

The new charter was bitterly opposed by Bolivia's traditional elite.

On Sunday, the provisions allowing for indigenous autonomy were presented in a special event in the eastern region of Santa Cruz.

Mr Morales said it was "a historic day for the peasant and indigenous movement".

"Your president, your companion, your brother Evo Morales might make mistakes but will never betray the fight started by our ancestors and the fight of the Bolivian people," he said.

Mr Morales has championed Bolivia's indigenous people, who for centuries were banished to the margins of society.

The BBC's Andres Schipani reports from Bolivia that a largely peaceful revolution has empowered the indigenous majority this year.

Indigenous groups have increasingly seized political control, transforming the country into a 21st Century standard bearer for South America's native populations, he says.


But many opposed to Mr Morales and the new constitution believe he is polarising the country by dividing it along racial lines, our correspondent adds.

The referendums in December will be held alongside Bolivia's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Source
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Goldman Sachs makes Awesome profits and all it cost them was their Reputation!

Goldman Sachs’ reputation tarnished

Goldman Sachs’ reputation among both the general public and financially sophisticated Americans has been damaged by the events of the past year, according to research conducted for the Financial Times.

In a survey of 17,000 Americans, Brand Asset Consulting found that Goldman’s stature – as measured by several gauges of brand strength – had suffered in 2008 and 2009.

“Goldman Sachs still has that Gordon Gekko look to it among the general public,” said Anne Rivers, who oversaw the survey, referring to the villain of the 1987 film Wall Street.

Goldman’s long-time rival, Morgan Stanley, also suffered a decline in stature in the survey. But respondents liked and respected Morgan Stanley more than Goldman, a reversal of respondents’ sentiment in 2006.
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Hate the sinner, dont hate the sin!

Catholic bank owned pill shares

A Roman Catholic bank in Germany has apologised after admitting it bought stocks in defence, tobacco and birth control companies.

Der Spiegel newspaper discovered the bank had invested 580,000 euros (£495,310, $826,674) in British arms company BAE Systems.

It also invested 160,000 euros in American birth control pill maker Wyeth and 870,000 euros in tobacco companies.

The bank apologised for behaviour "not in keeping with ethical standards".

Pax Bank has previously advertised ethical investment funds, specifically claiming to avoid arms and tobacco companies along with organisations that do not adhere to Catholic beliefs.

Since 1968 the Catholic church has condemned contraception - a view emphatically upheld by current Pope Benedict XVI.

In the past he has called birth control a "grave sin".

A spokesman for Pax Bank said: "We will rectify the mistakes immediately without negative consequences for our clients.

"Unfortunately in a few internal reviews, the critical investments in question were overlooked - we deeply regret this."

The spokesman thanked journalists for bringing the controversial investments to its attention.

NPR on "huuuuuge" costs of health care proposal

In its top of the hour news segment on Morning Edition Mora Liasson reported the results of a new poll showing dwindling support for President Obama's health care plan. Ms. Liasson noted pollster Stan Greenberg's assessment that people had heard about the program's "huge" $1 trillion price tag, but had not heard about the benefits of the program.

The program's huge price tag is equal to about 0.5 percent of projected GDP over the next decade. The Iraq war at its peak cost more than 1.0 percent of GDP. NPR and other news outlets rarely, if ever, referred to the "huge" cost of this war, which was twice the "huge" cost of President Obama's health care program. Perhaps the decision of supposedly neutral media sources to constantly warn that the costs of the program are "huge" has something to do with its dwindling public support.

--Dean Baker


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Karl Rove Thinks the Kenyan Birth Certificate is fake? You dont say...

Kenyan Birth Certificate: Obama Birthers Latch On To Forgery



The latest development in the Obama "birther" conspiracy is the emergence of a "Kenyan birth certificate" for the president, put online by movement maven Orly Taitz.

Oddly, the same people who are so skeptical of Obama's Hawaii birth certificate are willing to accept this new document despite many flaws, documented by the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel and Markos Moulitas.
Here are just some of the flaws:
Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months. Mombasa belonged to Zanzibar when Obama was born, not Kenya.

Obama's father's village would be nearer to Nairobi, not Mombasa.

The number 47O44-- 47 is Obama's age when he became president, followed by the letter O (not a zero) followed by 44--he is the 44th president.

EF Lavender is a laundry detergent.
In spite of the document's many problems, Taitz has submitted it to a court as part of her case against the president.
"I'm forcing the issue, where Obama will have to respond," she told World Net Daily.


"Before, they said, 'You don't have anything backing your claims,'" Taitz explained. "Now I have something.
In fact, I have posted on the Internet more than Obama has. My birth certificate actually has signatures."

Karl Rove responded to the circulation of the new paper on Twitter, saying "I believe this is likely a forgery."
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Belligerent Conservatives Wreak Havoc on Sebelius Town Meeting

Right Wingers Wreak Havoc on Philadelphia Town Meeting

Philadelphia, PA -- August 2 - This afternoon, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, I saw the face of ignorance and hate--and it wasn't pretty.

When Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) came to the National Constitution Center to answer questions about health care reform, they were greeted by an overflow crowd of approximately 400 people, the majority of whom were supporters with legitimate questions.

Unfortunately, though, a well-organized, belligerent and loud group of right-wingers stood in the aisles and across the back and disrupted the town meeting throughout. They yelled, shouted and jeered, and it was clear that they were not there to participate, but instead to try to disrupt the meeting and make it difficult as possible for anyone else to ask questions. They jeered from the moment the director of the Constitution Center stood to welcome everyone. For a few days leading up to the town meeting, e-mails circulated around Philadelphia warning that the "tea-baggers" were planning to protest the meeting and, although there were fewer of them than there were supporters--they made more noise shouting about "socialism," "abortion," and "assisted suicide."

To show their support, the audience stood and applauded Secretary Sebelius and Senator Specter numerous times. There were people in the crowd wearing purple t-shirts with gold and white lettering that said "Health Care Now We Can't Wait."
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OMG Guyz! Joe Biden is a Hatemonger! Quick Someone contact DHS!! (Rightwinger: We got nothing)

Biden "Jesus Christ" Called "Hate Speech" By Conservative

Mark Tapscott, the editorial page editor of the conservative Washington Examiner, has nothing but fire and brimstone for Joe Biden.

In an op-ed last week, Tapscott expressed outraged over the vice president's use of the phrase "Jesus Christ" in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
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Citadel

Gays are people! India objects.

A landmark ruling that legalized gay sex between consenting partners in India was challenged Thursday in the country's high court, lawyers said.

The supreme court issued a notice to the nonprofit Naz Foundation that had won a lower-court verdict after a seven-year legal fight to decriminalize gay sex.

Notices also were issued to the federal government and the New Delhi high court, which ruled last week that consensual sex between partners of the same gender was legal.

An astrologer filed a petition challenging the ruling. The petitioner argued that no constitutional right is violated by the Indian penal code's Section 377, which had outlawed gay sex, said his lawyer Praveen Agrawal.

The petition also cited Indian culture and health as grounds for seeking a stay on last week's ruling, he said.


The supreme court posted the next hearing for July 20.

Last week's ruling meant the law -- Indian penal code section 377, which had previously criminalized consensual homosexual acts between adults -- was partly struck down but remains in place as far as forced homosexual acts are concerned.

The verdict affects law enforcement all around India because it deals with a law enacted by the federal parliament.

India's Ministry of Home Affairs opposed changes to the law on grounds that decriminalizing homosexual conduct would "open the floodgates of delinquent behavior."

But Human Rights Watch called the ruling "a victory for basic rights to privacy, non-discrimination and liberty."

UNAIDS, the joint United Nations program on AIDS, also applauded the ruling, saying it restored dignity and human rights.

It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would eventually lead to legalization of gay marriages in the country.

"This, I think, will be the next level of demand from the gay community," Jaisingh said.

Jaisingh said she had fought for legalization of homosexuality for seven years on behalf of the Naz Foundation. The group says its "primary aim is to improve the sexual health and human rights of marginalized males who have sex with males, their partners and families in South Asia and elsewhere."

Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh leaders had warned that they will oppose moves to decriminalize homosexuality.

Source.

The danger of a lost generation

BOOTSTRAPS!

NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - For the first time in three generations, Americans across the nation are facing the threat of long-term unemployment. Already more than one in four jobless Americans have now been out of work for more than six months, the highest level since records began in 1948.

For both individuals and national economies, long-term joblessness has proved to be extremely corrosive. Skills atrophy after extended periods of enforced indolence. Then, when an economy recovers, these workers are no longer in a position to fill new jobs.


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Lost Generation
Saw the most stupid bootstraps comment today on NYT:

"Have to agree with most of the sentiment expressed here; expenses such as
laptop computers, movies, and camp are not necessities - can't the college
student use a computer in the library? Can't the 9 year-old go around to neighbors and offer his or her services to do yard work, or babysit, or help out around the house?"

Comment
i want joe biden i need joe biden

(no subject)



Is Sarah Palin America's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The two differ in many key respects, of course, but it is remarkable how similar they are. There are uncanny parallels in their biographies, their domestic politics and the way they present themselves -- even in their rocky relationships with party elders.

Both are former governors of a northwest frontier state with great natural beauty (in Ahmadinejad's case, Ardabil). Both are known for saying things that produce a classic Scooby-Doo double take in their audiences. Both appeal to a sort of wounded nationalism, speaking of the sacrifice of dedicated troops for an often feckless public, and identifying themselves with the common soldier. They are vigilant against foreign designs on their countries and insist on energy and other independence.

But above all, both are populists who claim to represent the little people against wily and unscrupulous elites, and against pampered upper-middle-class yuppies pretending to be the voice of democracy. Together, they tell us something about dangerous competing populisms in an age of globalization.

Both politicians glory in being mavericks, as a way of underlining their credentials as representatives of the ordinary person. Former beauty queen Palin calls herself a hockey mom and plays up her avocation of wolf and moose hunting, to rally her rural supporters and, perhaps, to disconcert squeamish urbanites. Ahmadinejad, who earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering with top grades, is said to have once dressed up as a janitor and swept the streets when campaigning for mayor of Tehran. Most recently, his supporters have dismissed the Iranian protesters as pampered young people from the wealthy neighborhoods of North Tehran. In fact, both figures are themselves quite comfortable.

Palin portrays herself as the small-town outsider. "I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment," she proclaimed last fall. She blamed her bad press on not being in the "Washington elite," when, in fact, self-inflicted debacles such as her deer-in-the-headlights interview with Katie Couric, in which she demonstrated a shaky grasp of world politics, are a better explanation for media questions about her qualifications. In his debates with rivals for the presidency this spring, Ahmadinejad apparently damaged his standing with voters by attacking the wife of his electoral rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and tarring previous presidents of the Islamic Republic from the centrist and reform factions as having been corrupt. On June 5, he said on Iranian radio that since he was not a part of that closed "power circle," he had been targeted for both a domestic and an international media "smear campaign." Actually, Ahmadinejad was raked over the coals during the campaign by Mousavi for his ignorant and bigoted statements about Israel, which, Mousavi pointed out, had damaged Iran's standing in the international community.

Both so-called mavericks have had tense relations with their party elders at times. Many Republicans have made withering statements about Palin and consider her a "train wreck," and her conflicts with the camp of her former running mate, Sen. John McCain, are legend. Ahmadinejad got into hot water last week with his patron, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, for appointing an overly liberal relative as his first vice-president. Ahmadinejad dragged his feet on firing the man, but in the end bowed to pressure from his fellow hard-liners. On Friday, the president was forced to deny that there was any rift between him and Khamenei. For a maverick populist, such conflicts with the party elders are useful in emphasizing their independence from the establishment even as they remain largely within it.

Both leaders see press criticisms as coordinated attempts to discredit them not from the media's duty to examine a political figure's policies or public statements, but from an elite conspiracy. In her farewell address about a week ago, Palin fell into a Shakespearean soliloquy directed at the media, saying, "Democracy depends on you, and that is why, that's why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how 'bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quit makin' things up." Palin did not say what exactly she thought the media was making up about the American soldier. On June 16, in his first news conference after his officially announced victory in Iran's June 12 presidential election, Ahmadinejad complained, "During these elections, our nation was faced with a widespread psychological war and propaganda by some of mass media which have not learned from the past." The people, he boasted, followed not the media but the path of "the martyrs [in war] ..."

An armed citizenry is important to Palin's conception of the republic, and she warned in her farewell address, "You're going to see anti-hunting, anti-Second Amendment circuses from Hollywood ..." She continued, "Stand strong, and remind them patriots will protect our guaranteed, individual right to bear arms ..." By talking about "patriots" "protecting" the individual right to bear arms, Palin skated awfully close to the militia or "patriot" movement on the right-wing American fringe (and not for the first time). Ahmadinejad is not similarly in favor of all citizens having guns, but he comes out of a popular militia, the Basij, which consists of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizen patriots, armed and pledged to defend the constitution of the Islamic Republic.

Right-wing populism, rooted in the religion, culture and aspirations of the lower middle class, is often caricatured as insane by its critics. That judgment is unfair. But it is true that such movements often encourage a political style of exhibitionism, disregard for the facts as understood by the mainstream media, and exaltation of the values of people who feel themselves marginalized by the political system. Not all forms of protest, however, are healthy, even if the protesters have legitimate grievances. Right-wing populism is centered on a theory of media conspiracy, a "my country right or wrong" chauvinism, a fascination with an armed citizenry, an intolerance of dissent and a willingness to declare political opponents mere terrorists. It is cavalier in its disregard of elementary facts and arrogant about the self-evident rightness of its religious and political doctrines. It therefore holds dangers both for the country in which it grows up and for the international community. Palin is polling well at the moment against other Republican front-runners such as Mitt Romney, and so, astonishingly, is a plausible future president. At least Iranians only got Ahmadinejad because of rigged elections, and they had the decency to mount massive protests against the result.

From Salon

Daaaaaamn

Britain To Put CCTV Cameras Inside Private Homes

By Charlie Sorrel August 3, 2009 8:36 am

As an ex-Brit, I’m well aware of the authorities’ love of surveillance and snooping, but even I, a pessimistic cynic, am amazed by the governments latest plan: to install Orwell’s telescreens in 20,000 homes. £400 million ($668 million) will be spend on installing and monitoring CCTV cameras in the homes of private citizens. Why? To make sure the kids are doing their homework, going to bed early and eating their vegetables. The scheme has, astonishingly, already been running in 2,000 family homes. The government’s “children’s secretary” Ed Balls is behind the plan, which is aimed at problem, antisocial families. The idea is that, if a child has a more stable home life, he or she will be less likely to stray into crime and drugs.
It gets worse. The government is also maintaining a private army, incredibly not called “Thought Police”, which will “be sent round to carry out home checks,” according to the Sunday Express. And in a scheme which firmly cements the nation’s reputation as a “nanny state”, the kids and their families will be forced to sign “behavior contracts” which will “set out parents’ duties to ensure children behave and do their homework.”
And remember, this is the left-wing government. The Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, batting for the conservatives, thinks these plans are “too little, and too late,” implying that even more obtrusive work needs to be done. Rumors that a new detention center, named Room 101, is being constructed inside the Ministry of Love are unconfirmed.
Sin Bins for Worst Families [Sunday Express. Thanks, Annaliza]


Photo illustration Charlie Sorrel, original image public domain

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Akuma River

Iran Update July 31-August 02, 2009

I'm sorry for this being late. Lots of problems popped up.

By now I'm sure you know that Mousavi tried to make it to Neda's funeral grounds but was deterred by Basij and Police. His wife made it there but I'm not sure a speech was made. Neda's mother couldn't come either. Sohrab's mother did though. Tanreh's (sp?) parents have kept mum. I don't expect them to speak out about the rape and murder of their only child, it's too 'shameful'.

Strange though, Nico is still silent on Huffington Post... Is it the move?

Reza Aslan on Rachel Maddow's show about the 40 day anniversary.

I'm going to update the green briefs tomorrow. I'm still at my brother's and computer use is less than my own.

July 29-30, 2009 post | July 27-28 post | July 25-26, 2009 post | July 24, 2009 post | July 20-23, 2009 Week post | July 18-19, 2009 post | July 17, 2009 post | July 16, 2009 post | July 15, 2009 post | July 14, 2009 post | July 13, 2009 post | July 12, 2009 post | July 11, 2009 post | July 10, 2009 post | July 9, 2009 posts | July 8, 2009 post | July 7, 2009 post | July 6, 2009 post | July 5, 2009 post | July 4, 2009 post

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Mad Men - Me

McCain To Oppose Sotomayor For Supreme Court




WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain says he'll oppose Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor when the Senate votes on her confirmation this week.

The Arizona senator calls Sotomayor a judicial activist who tried to walk back from that record during her confirmation hearings. He says President Barack Obama's nominee has used her position as a judge to try to change the law.

McCain is one of several Republicans from states with heavily Hispanic populations to come out against Sotomayor, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents raised in a New York City housing project and educated in the Ivy League.

McCain says Sotomayor's life story is inspiring and compelling, but he says that's not enough to qualify her for a position on the high court.

Source

Fuck you, John!  There goes any chance of you retaining any Hispanic voters in Arizona...idiot.

barack & michelle

(no subject)



PRINCETON, NJ -- An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six months of 2009 finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states, as they were in 2008. Only four states show a sizeable Republican advantage in party identification, the same number as in 2008. That compares to 29 states plus the District of Columbia with sizeable Democratic advantages, also unchanged from last year.

These results are based on interviews with over 160,000 U.S. adults conducted between January and June 2009, including a minimum of 400 interviews for each state (305 in the District of Columbia). Each state's data is weighted to demographic characteristics for that state to ensure it is representative of the state's adult population.

source: gallup
Helena Cain and Gina Inviere
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Documentary Review: The Cove



The Cove, a spectacularly compelling documentary that was as well financed as it is well intentioned, starts with a glimpse of seeming paranoia. A man in his late 60s is driving, anxiously checking his mirrors and talking about the people he's sure are pursuing him. He's wearing a surgical mask and gives the impression of Jason Bourne as a possibly batty senior citizen, still dodging bad guys and, maybe, swine flu.

It turns out he's Ric O'Barry, a forgotten face from 1960s pop culture. As a young man, he captured and trained Flipper--or rather, the five dolphins that played that beloved cetacean. He became a passionate opponent of keeping dolphins in captivity after the death of one of the Flippers, a bottlenose named Kathy. Now he's a crusader on a mission: In a small, isolated cove in Taiji, Japan, where O'Barry has become a part-time resident (and pest), thousands of dolphins are being trapped and slaughtered every year. Since 2003, O'Barry has been desperately trying to expose and stop this legal but secretive practice.

The irony is that O'Barry believes he's partly to blame. The dolphins that are killed are the leftovers from searches to find performers for aquatic parks, places that might not exist if hadn't been for Flipper mania. It's a lucrative trade. O'Barry says a trained dolphin can sell for as much as $150,000. In Taiji, the public is welcome to watch the selection of dolphins by trainers. What most people aren't allowed to see is what happens afterward, when the ones that didn't make the cut are moved to the next rockbound inlet over and stabbed to death by fishermen. It's legal to fish for dolphins in Japan, and the filmmakers estimate that 23,000 dolphins are "harvested" there annually. The dilemma faced by activists, including O'Barry, Greenpeace and, ultimately, the director of The Cove, Louie Psihoyos, was how to get visual evidence of these massacres to build support for protecting dolphins as whales are protected. The area is heavily guarded, by fishermen and police. Taking even a cliffside peek entails trespassing.

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Aquinos forgive Marcoses, snub GMA

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


MANILA - In the wake of the death of former President Corazon Aquino last Saturday, the Aquino family has reacted differently to expressions of condolence from two presidential families.

One family, the Marcoses, received heartfelt thanks from the Aquinos. The irony is that the Marcoses were removed from Malacañang when Aquino rose to power in 1986.

On the other hand, President Arroyo, the incumbent Chief Executive, has been rebuffed by the Aquinos.
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Ngl, I normally hate on Kris but her interview made me tear up at some parts.
Obama - Pie

Bill Clinton off to North Korea to discuss U.S. journalists


SEOUL (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is on his way to North Korea to try to negotiate the release of two American journalists convicted by the communist state of "grave crimes," South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday.

Clinton had already left for the North but had not yet arrived in Pyongyang, Yonhap said in a report from Washington quoting a source familiar with the issue.

"As soon as he arrives, he will be entering negotiations with the North for the release of the female journalists," the source was quoted as saying.

South Korean Foreign Ministry officials declined to comment, saying any announcement would come from Washington or Pyongyang.

The journalists were sentenced last month to 12 years' hard labor by the North after they were arrested at the border with China in March, accused of illegal entry and being "bent on slander."

The journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, of U.S. media outlet Current TV co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, were arrested when working on a story near the border between North Korea and China.

Ling has told her sister by telephone that she and Lee broke North Korea's law. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, has urged Pyongyang to grant them amnesty.


Source

GO BILL!!


kravitz

L O L Z - In case this hasn't been posted...

Alumna sues college because she hasn't found a job

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A recent college graduate is suing her alma mater for $72,000 -- the full cost of her tuition and then some -- because she cannot find a job.

Trina Thompson, 27, of the Bronx, graduated from New York's Monroe College in April with a bachelor of business administration degree in information technology.

On July 24, she filed suit against the college in Bronx Supreme Court, alleging that Monroe's "Office of Career Advancement did not help me with a full-time job placement. I am also suing them because of the stress I have been going through."

The college responded that it offers job-search support to all its students.

In her complaint, Thompson says she seeks $70,000 in reimbursement for her tuition and $2,000 to compensate for the stress of her three-month job search.

As Thompson sees it, any reasonable employer would pounce on an applicant with her academic credentials, which include a 2.7 grade-point average and a solid attendance record. But Monroe's career-services department has put forth insufficient effort to help her secure employment, she claims.

"They're supposed to say, 'I got this student, her attendance is good, her GPA is all right -- can you interview this person?' They're not doing that," she said.


Thompson said she has fulfilled her end of the job-search bargain, peppering companies listed on Monroe's e-recruiting site with cover letters, résumés and phone calls. But no more than two employers have responded to her outreach, and those leads have borne no fruit.

Her complaint adds, "The office of career advancement information technology counselor did not make sure their Monroe e-recruiting clients call their graduates that recently finished college for an interview to get a job placement. They have not tried hard enough to help me."

She suggested that Monroe's Office of Career Advancement shows preferential treatment to students with excellent grades. "They favor more toward students that got a 4.0. They help them more out with the job placement," she said.

Monroe College released a statement saying that "while it is clear that no college, especially in this economy, can guarantee employment, Monroe College remains committed to working with all its students, including Ms. Thompson, who graduated only three months ago, to prepare them for careers and to support them during their job search."

Thompson says she has not hired an attorney to represent her because she cannot afford one. When she filed her complaint, she also filed a "poor person order," which exempts her from filing fees associated with the lawsuit.

Asked whether she would advise other college graduates facing job woes to sue their alma maters, Thompson said yes.

"It doesn't make any sense: They went to school for four years, and then they come out working at McDonald's and Payless. That's not what they planned."

Source

LOL @ her. It is up to YOU to find a job. Did you ever stop to think that you are NOT the only one jobless? I'm unemployed too, but you don't see me crying.
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OMG! You Guyz, Obama is a Secret Australian and his name is actually David Jeffrey Bomford!!!

Kenyan Birth Certificate: PWNED!

After having spent (wasted?) nearly a year in the trenches of Birthistan, I decided several months ago to "retire" and move on, save for dropping by here once in a while to keep in touch with some of the friends I'd made here.

And then yesterday this Kenyan birth certificate thing seemed to explode like Krakatoa on the Internet.

It was claims about Obama's Hawaiian certificate being a forgery that suckered me into all this stuff last summer, and I guess I must still be a sucker for a good birth certificate story because I decided to look into this one.

I wanted to see if I could find any images of similar documents from Kenya around the same time period that could be compared to the certificate on the web. I spent several hours with Google image search on that before I decided to broaden my search outside of Kenya-specific documents.

It was some time later that I finally spotted a thumbnail on one of the results pages that looked very much like the Kenyan certificate. I pulled up the full size image and found that it was virtually EXACTLY the same type of document.
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fishaways

Call for debate on killer robots (<-- no shit!)

CALL FOR DEBATE ON KILLER ROBOTS

An international debate is needed on the use of autonomous military robots, a leading academic has said.

Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield said that a push toward more robotic technology used in warfare would put civilian life at grave risk.

Technology capable of distinguishing friend from foe reliably was at least 50 years away, he added.

However, he said that for the first time, US forces mentioned resolving such ethical concerns in their plans.

"Robots that can decide where to kill, who to kill and when to kill is high on all the military agendas," Professor Sharkey said at a meeting in London.

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source @ BBC News Online

Thought this was simply fascinating, and not just due to the article's title. Horrifying, too, when you imagine that the kind of scenario we're handed in the form of lackluster sci-fi is a geniune source of terror and death to civillians in places as close as Pakistan.

Honestly, how did we get to the point where we make killer robots and then set them on people? Never mind that they aren't even the right people.