August 28th, 2009

Mr. F!

This is our unusually open White House hard at work logically distributing stimulus money.

AP IMPACT: Secret process benefits pet projects

WASHINGTON – A sleepy Montana checkpoint along the Canadian border that sees about three travelers a day will get $15 million under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan. A government priority list ranked the project as marginal, but two powerful Democratic senators persuaded the administration to make it happen.

Despite Obama's promises that the stimulus plan would be transparent and free of politics, the government is handing out $720 million for border upgrades under a process that is both secretive and susceptible to political influence. This allowed low-priority projects such as the checkpoint in Whitetail, Mont., to skip ahead of more pressing concerns, according to documents revealed to The Associated Press.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. In 2004, Congress ordered Homeland Security to create a list, updated annually, of the most important repairs at checkpoints nationwide. But the Obama administration continued a Bush administration practice of considering other, more subjective factors when deciding which projects get money.

The results:

• A border station in Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's home state of Arizona is getting $199 million, five times more than any other border station. The busy Nogales checkpoint has required repairs for years but was not rated among the neediest projects on the master list reviewed by the AP. Napolitano credited her lobbying as Arizona governor for getting the project near the front of the line for funding under the Bush administration. All it needed was money, which the stimulus provided.

• A checkpoint in Laredo, Texas, which serves more than 55,000 travelers and 4,200 trucks a day, is rated among the government's highest priorities but was passed over for stimulus money.

• The Westhope, N.D., checkpoint, which serves about 73 people a day and is among the lowest-priority projects, is set to get nearly $15 million for renovations.

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Whitetail, Mont., an unincorporated town with a population of 71, saw only about $63,000 in freight cross its border last year. County unemployment is an enviable 4 percent.

"I think, absolutely, it's going to create jobs and build the infrastructure," Tester said.


Finally, some journalists doing some actual fucking investigative journalism...

What a Way to Start the School Year...

ATLANTA – A shirtless man leaped through the window of an Atlanta school bus with about a dozen students aboard Thursday, overpowered the driver to take the wheel, then left the bus driverless as it careened down a steep hill, authorities said.

As the bus plunged, screaming students bounded out of the emergency exit in the back, said Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Keith Bromery. Two students and the bus driver were injured, but not seriously, police said.

By the time 23-year-old suspect Arris Pitmon was arrested after the crash, he was naked, police said. A witness said the man lost his pants while trying to escape from bystanders, revealing only a condom.

"This was a weirdo," said witness Corey Turner. "Something was wrong with this guy. We turned him over and he just had a condom on. Maybe he was stripping or something — I had no earthly idea."

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Kind of angry the bus driver ran to the back of the bus instead of keeping the attacker away from the kids.

Get Ready for Gruesome Cigarette Warnings

Would a gruesome picture of a cancer-ravaged mouth with rotting teeth make you think twice about buying a pack of cigarettes? That's the goal of new federal regulations expected to go into effect within three years. The rules will require tobacco companies to cover at least half of the front and back of packages with graphic -- and possibly gruesome -- images illustrating the dangers of smoking.

If U.S. regulations are modeled after those already in place in Canada and other countries, the warnings will be shocking: blackened lungs, gangrenous feet, bleeding brains and people breathing through tracheotomies.

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They had something like this at the Bodies exhibit I saw one time. It had different stages of real blackened lungs and at the end was a container where you could throw away your cig boxes. It was almost filled to the top.  
allah voted

Ahmadouchebag proves himself yet again

TEHRAN, Iran – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday called for the leaders of the opposition to be prosecuted over Iran's postelection turmoil, stepping up pressure against the pro-reform movement that says he won the election by fraud.

It was the first time Ahmadinejad has made such a call, publicly siding with hard-line politicians and clerics and commanders of the powerful Revolutionary Guard who have demanded in recent weeks that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and his top allies be arrested.

Ahmadinejad took an even tougher line than his top ally, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who earlier this week said he saw no evidence that opposition leaders were tools of Iran's foreign enemies, a claim that hard-liners have made.

The differing stances suggest there are divisions within Iran's leadership over how far to take to heavy crackdown against the opposition since the disputed June 12 presidential election.

Hard-liners appear to be seeking to completely crush the pro-reform movement, calling for its political parties to be banned and leaders detained. Khamenei seems to be wary that going too far could fuel a backlash against the clerical leadership, which has already been weakened by the postelection crisis. Khamenei holds ultimate say in political issues in Iran, but he also needs to satisfy hard-liners and the Revolutionary Guard.

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It's FACES (and I'd never dream of misspelling that) the latest pro-coal mining group

The coal industry must really hate Rachel Maddow. She never hesitates to rip up their astroturf. Remember the singing lumps of coal that disappeared off the internet once she laughed at them?

link to the segment because of embed fail There's a bit about torture before the coal story.

(This blog actually tracked down the photos.)

More about this "grassroots" organization at this source.
Akuma River

And so it comes to an end...

I bring to you the sad news of the end of the Reading Rainbow. My god it's been on a little over a few months of how long I've lived. I remember watching this show on PBS growing up.

'Reading Rainbow' Reaches Its Final Chapter (August 28, 2009 - Ben Calhoun)

Even if you can't remember a specific Reading Rainbow episode, chances are, the theme song is still lodged somewhere in your head:

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high,
Take a look, it's in a book — Reading Rainbow ...

Remember now?

Reading Rainbow comes to the end of its 26-year run on Friday; it has won more than two-dozen Emmys, and is the third longest-running children's show in PBS history — outlasted only by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers.

The show, which started in 1983, was hosted by actor LeVar Burton. (If you don't know Burton from Reading Rainbow, he's also famous for his role as Kunta Kinte in Roots, or as the chrome-visored Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation.)

Each episode of Reading Rainbow had the same basic elements: There was a featured children's book that inspired an adventure with Burton. Then, at the end of every show, kids gave their own book reviews, always prefaced by Burton's trademark line: "But you don't have to take my word for it ..."

"The series resonates with so many people," says John Grant, who is in charge of content at WNED Buffalo, Reading Rainbow's home station.
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(no subject)

If LeRoy Carhart's abortion clinic had a terror alert scale, it would be at Code Red this weekend.

"I feel safer on an airplane than I do in my clinic," Carhart said, sitting at his desk in his windowless office in Bellevue, Nebraska.

"You try to think about every way an attack could happen. You try to do all you can to prevent it, but obviously Dr. [George] Tiller thought he was safe in church."

It's been nearly three months since Tiller, one of the world's most well-known doctors performing abortions, was shot in the head at point-blank range on May 31 as services began at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas.

Anti-abortion groups, led by Operation Rescue, plan to launch protests outside Carhart's clinic this weekend in Bellevue, just south of Omaha. They will be the first major anti-abortion protests since the Tiller killing.

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franklin sherman

Who is Obama Playing Ball With?

It looked like it was business as usual for President Barack Obama on the first day of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, as he spent five hours golfing with Robert Wolf, president of UBS Investment Bank and chairman and CEO of UBS Group Americas. Wolf, an early financial backer of Obama’s presidential campaign, raised $250,000 for him back in 2006, and in February was appointed by the president to the White House’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Economic recovery for whom?

Interestingly, Wolf’s appointment came in the same month that UBS agreed to pay the U.S. $780 million to settle civil and criminal charges related to helping people in the U.S. avoid taxes. Not to worry. UBS, an ailing bank with a pre-existing condition, had great insurance coverage. It was actually receiving $2.5 billion in a backdoor bailout from bailed-out insurance giant AIG. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said, “It looks like we’re simply laundering this money through AIG.” UBS, this bank that shelters wealthy tax dodgers, was actually being bailed out by hardworking U.S. taxpayers.

UBS, which once stood for Union Bank of Switzerland, was founded more than a century ago. Its success hinges on Switzerland’s famous banking secrecy laws, allowing people to squirrel money away in untraceable “numbered accounts.” Secret Swiss bank accounts have become a favorite way for wealthy people in the U.S. to dodge taxes. According to the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in a July 2008 report, “From at least 2000 to 2007, UBS made a concerted effort to open accounts in Switzerland for wealthy U.S. clients, employing practices that could facilitate, and have resulted in, tax evasion by U.S. clients.”

As part of the settlement, UBS agreed to share client account information with the U.S. government. While there may be as many as 52,000 such accounts, UBS is releasing around 4,450 client names. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a press release, “We will be receiving an unprecedented amount of information on taxpayers who have evaded their tax obligation by hiding money offshore at UBS.” UBS will be sending account holders notification that their names may be among those delivered to the IRS, and the IRS, in turn, is granting leniency to tax dodgers who turn themselves in before Sept. 23. Account holders won’t know if their names are included, though, so gamblers among them may keep quiet and hope their accounts stay secret.

Last Friday, as Wolf was preparing for his golf game with Obama, UBS whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in prison for facilitating offshore tax evasion through UBS banking schemes, despite assisting federal investigators in exposing the secretive bank.

Above the entrance to UBS’s headquarters in Zurich is a bust of the Greek god Hermes — not only the fleet-footed messenger of the gods, but also the god of thieves and merchants. The symbolism is striking. Whether or not Wolf won his golf game against Obama, UBS has clearly scored a hole-in-one.

You Know You Suck When You Get 1 Star on Youtube

Meh, who wants to watch this whole thing? But it’s worth looking at the beginning to see her booed by town hall attendees for making a joke about Tiger Woods loaning the president $300 trillion. “HEALTHCARE, THIS IS A HEALTHCARE FORUM,” they shout, which is just a deeply unserious thing to yell in a public forum when your congresswoman is trying to get out a joke. Good times start around the 2:15 mark.

Personage ~ David Cross
  • mzflux

Exclusive: The Rest Of That Barney Frank Town Hall Meeting With The Teabaggers

Via Crooks & Liars

"I am struck by those who say, well, you don't care about the deficit. No, I do. I do care about the deficit. That's one of the reasons, not the only one, why I voted against the single most wasteful expenditure in the history of America. The Iraq war. If we hadn't gone to the war in Iraq, which I thought was a terrible mistake and voted against, we would have had more than enough money to pay for health care."

Frank: Do you think Medicare is unconstitutional, sir?

Teabagger: I think that Medicare needs to be reformed.

Frank: Do you think it's unconstitutional? You said that the Constitution doesn't give us the authority to do it, but Medicare was done. And, do you think Medicare is unconstitutional?

Teabagger: I think that Medicare needs to be reformed.

Frank: But you won't tell me whether you think it's unconstitutional, which you said--

Teabagger: I am not a Constitutional scholar-

Frank: Then why did you start off arguing about the Constitution?

Teabagger: Can you pledge to all of us here tonight, that if a new government single-payer system is instituted, that you will opt out of your Cadillac insurance?

Frank: Yes I am in favor of single payer, and that's why I like Medicare. (yelling) You act as if you people have discovered it is August. I have been a co-sponsor of the single payer bill, I think it would be better...

Teabagger #2: But we watch tapes of Obama and everyone else secretly say they're in favor of an eventual single pay system.

Frank: I haven't... sir, it's been 21 years since I've had a secret. (Laughter) And I don't have one now! You have discovered that I'm for single payer! I've been a sponsor of single payer for years!
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    i love this man
LOLitics | Hold On Gurl...

Shenanigans Friday: August 28, 2009.

"[L]O-L-I-G-A-R-H. One letter is's 'Y'."--GLOLenn Beck
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by themarinator

'Creationist' zoo causes dismay

Tourism boards have been urged to stop promoting a North Somerset zoo which presents creationist ideas.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) says Noah's Ark Zoo Farm undermines the teaching of science.

Signs at the zoo in Wraxhall describe how the "three great people groups" could be descended from the three sons of Bible ark builder Noah.

A spokeswoman for the zoo said they viewed the natural world as a product of both God and evolution.

Another sign at the zoo says animals hunt and kill food because "man rebelled against God".

The zoo's website also explicitly rejects Darwinism, describing it as "flawed", and claims scientists are afraid to talk about "design" in the natural world.

BHA education officer Paul Pettinger visited the zoo at the end of July.

He said: "I found lots of creationist and pseudo-scientific beliefs.

"They ask you to pray for animals, and so on.

"We're very concerned because it will undermine education and the teaching of science."

The BHA is calling on tourism boards to stop promoting the zoo.

But Noah's Ark's owner Anthony Bush says his zoo simply presents a variety of views, one of which is creationist.

'Thought police'

Many creationists take a literal interpretation of the Bible's description of the origin of life and reject the Darwinian concept of evolution.

"I think God created life. I have no idea when," said the former Evangelical preacher.

"There's a lot of people who believe in Genesis who don't want to come out of the woodwork, but they don't want to come out of the closet because of the thought police."

A spokeswoman for the zoo said: "We hold a view that the natural world around us is the product of both God and evolution.

"Although technically creationists, we do not hold the stereotypical creationist views that the world was created in 6,000 years and there is no evolution."

Tourism body Visit England has said it only checks the zoo under its Visitor Quality Assurance Scheme and has no opinion on content.

The zoo is visited by 120,000 people every year, including members of school parties.

Source: BBC

I wondered how long it'd be before this particular form of cretinism would show its face on this side of the Atlantic. FFS.

Also lol @ "thought police".


Dutch judges delay 13-year-old sailor's worldwide trip

UTRECHT, Netherlands — Dutch judges Friday called a 13-year-old girl's plan to sail solo around the world "undeniably daring and risky," but refused to scupper it completely, in a high profile clash between child care authorities and liberal Dutch parenting.

A panel of three judges at Utrecht District court ordered authorities to take temporary guardianship of Laura Dekker, delaying her plan to set sail next week on her 26-foot (8-meter) yacht Guppy and become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

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kirk/spock choking

A challenger enters the arena

Who Says Americans Are Too Fat?
Overselling the obesity epidemic isn't getting us anywhere. You can be big and healthy at the same time.

By Daniel Heimpel | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Aug 27, 2009

In late June the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched its LEAN Works Web site, a clearinghouse of information on the health costs of employing fat people replete with recommendations on how to prevent and control obesity. The site uses an "obesity cost calculator" to determine the added price of employing somebody with a body-mass index (BMI) of over 30, the threshold for obesity. The calculator asks employers to fill out a company profile including type of industry and location, employees' BMIs, and their wages and benefits. The software then estimates the "costs for medical expenditures and the dollar value of increased absenteeism resulting from obesity."

But is the federal government's endorsement of a device that essentially demonizes the 72 million Americans who fit the official definition of obese justified by the science? Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, defends the site as one weapon in the larger war on fat. "We see this epidemic as a serious threat to health and serious medical cost," Dietz says. "We didn't feel like we could wait for the best possible evidence, so we acted on the best available evidence."
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(no subject)

Dallas Assault Brings 75-Year Sentence

Click the byline to view more stories by this author.
By Michelle Garcia
Dallas Assault Brings 75-Year Sentence

A Dallas man has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for a vicious attack on a gay man in July 2008.

Bobby Singleton, 30, was convicted of aggravated robbery earlier this week, according to The Dallas Morning News. He was found guilty of assaulting and robbing Jimmy Dean (pictured) at gunpoint in the Oak Lawn section of Dallas.

Singleton said he and his friend Jonathan Gunter did not attack Dean because he was gay, but in his police confession, he said they went to the area to specifically target gays. He also said using the word "faggot" was not homophobic but fair game for anyone in a fight.

Singleton apologized to Dean while on the witness stand. He said he was ashamed of his actions but acted that way because he had problems at work, and his girlfriend left him and took their child, according to the News. The events, he said, made him start drinking and using drugs.

"I think about it every day," Singleton said to Dean. "And I am truly sorry and I would like to say to Mr. Dean that I'm sorry for what I did."


(no subject)

Why is there no male birth control on the market yet?

Apparently because scientists think men won't take it. According to an article in Science Progress, outdated ideas of who's responsibility birth control and contraception is, has put the burden on women's shoulders.

Via Broadsheet.

Let's pretend you are a straight couple, in a monogamous long-term relationship, and you don't want a kid. Consider your options: A woman can choose from 11 forms of contraception -- including barrier methods like the diaphragm, permanent sterilization, and that holy grail of the sexual revolution, the pill, and its more recent and even more foolproof sisters in hormonal birth control, the ring and injectibles. A man can choose two: condoms or a vasectomy.

Right, so according to science, if you are woman it is your problem if you get pregnant or end up with an STD, so it just makes sense if you take care of the birth control. Doesn't sound very scientific does it. Furthermore, the financial burden, time constraints and side effects of hormonal birth control on women has another implication on not only time, but unfair burden.

Via Lisa Campo-Engelstein at Science Progress

Not being responsible for some or all of these economic, health-related, and other burdens is a significant boon for men. Men typically do not have to dedicate time and energy to contraceptive care, pay out of pocket for the usually expensive and sometimes frequent (often monthly, or at least four times a year) supply of contraceptives, acquire the knowledge about contraception and reproduction needed to effectively contracept, deal with the medicalization of one's reproductive health, endure the bodily invasion of contraception, suffer the health-related side effects and the mental stress of being responsible for contraception, and face the social repercussions of their contraceptive decisions (such as whether to use a particular contraceptive or to switch contraceptives), and the moral reproach for contraceptive failures.
What both Lisa Campo-Engelstein from Science Progress and Amy Benfer at Broadsheet acknowledge is that this outdated ideology not only leads to the false belief that men wouldn't take contraception, but also leads to a disempowerment of men taking responsibility for contraception. As in, they benefit from the structural belief that it is a woman's responsibility and it is a lose-lose all around. To counter that narrative would take a leap of faith on behalf of women and an insistence by the science community around the effectiveness of male birth control and the corresponding research, development and distribution of such measures. So, it is possible, but sex education, the science community and health care providers would have to overcome the sexism endemic in the way we teach and distribute contraception.


State Govenors saying 'No thanks' to mystery laptops

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Even during tight budgetary times, a growing handful of state governors are proving too wary to accept laptop computers that have shown up at their offices this month, unsolicited.

Officials in West Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming and Washington state have reported receiving between three and five laptops, each over the course of two separate deliveries — but none had ordered any of them.

"They immediately raised a red flag," said Matt Turner, spokesman for West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin. "No one said, 'Hey, we got a free gift.'"

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One Bush is enough (when it comes to funerals)

Elder Bush refuses to attend Kennedy's funeral

Former President George H. W. Bush, who has enough stamina to sky-dive each year on his birthday, apparently doesn't have the stamina to attend Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) funeral.

The elder Bush's spokesman told the AP Friday that the 43rd president decided not to attend when he learned that his son would be going.

A spokesman for Bush said Friday that he and his wife, Barbara, decided not to attend Kennedy's funeral after learning their son, former President George W. Bush, would attend.

Spokesman Jim McGrath quipped that Bush Sr. feels his son's presence will "amply and well represent" the family at Kennedy's funeral Saturday.

In a statement released following Kennedy's passing, the elder Bush released a statement saying that he "always respected" Kennedy.

"While we didn't see eye-to-eye on many political issues through the years, I always respected his steadfast public service," Bush said in a statement.

Kennedy "was a seminal figure in the United States Senate - a leader who answered the call to duty for some 47 years, and whose death closes a remarkable chapter in that body's history," he added.

Bush released a condolence statement on behalf of him and his son immediately after Kennedy's death. It was part of a stream of fond remembrances issued by Republicans.

All other living presidents -- President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and President Jimmy Carter -- will be attending.

-John Byrne

  • dwer

The stupid, it burns

Michelle Bachmann holds a town meeting. One concerned constituent speaks!

At times tempers flared at the forum, with constituents shouting at one another.

LeRoy Schaffer, a St. Francis city council member, dressed in a tuxedo and top hat for the occasion. Shaffer got visibly emotional asking Bachmann about the future of health care and the role of special interests in Washington.

“I’ll be danged if I am going to give up my Social Security because of socialism,” Schaffer said, before being booed by the crowd.

Source doesn't care about your black tie sensibilities.

Source has been updated:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune quoted more of Schaffer's words and it turns out he was defending Social Security. "I'm on Social Security and I've got Medicare," said Schaffer, 70, before entering the auditorium. "I have socialized medicine. I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world."

(thanks to Papilio_luna for the update)

Town Hall with Virginia Congressman Gerald Connolly

This was one of the most civil, productive, and informative town hall events I've seen yet.  There was, startlingly no rhetoric from the freshman Congressman from Virginia, and lots of very good details that he managed to explain very clearly.  If all members of congress were this diligent (and he HAS read the bill) and clear speaking, Congress would be much better off.

It's just over two hours long, but well worth watching.

Akuma River

Swiss means best

Good old Switzerland is sticking it to the man once more.

Want the world's best wages? Move to Switzerland (August 27, 2009 - Miral Fahmy)

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - It pays to work in Switzerland: employees in Zurich and Geneva have the highest net wages in the world, a study by banking group UBS shows, while those in India's Mumbai take home the lowest.

The Swiss cities were also ranked among the top five most expensive in the world in the bank's 2009 "Price and Earnings" international study.

"With its extremely high gross wages and comparatively low tax rates, Switzerland is a very employee-friendly country," the Swiss bank said in a statement.

"No other cities allows workers to take home more income at the end of the month than Zurich and Geneva."
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What the fuck?

Ohio Student Wins $121K Settlement After Teacher Burns Cross Image On His Arm


A high school student in Ohio has won a $121K settlement from his school district after his science teacher burned the image of a cross on his arm.
School board members in Mount Vernon agreed Wednesday night to resolve a federal lawsuit by paying $5,500 to the boy and his family and $115,500 to their lawyers. The family still has a similar suit pending against the eighth-grade teacher, John Freshwater. He was fired last year by the school district northeast of Columbus after an internal investigation accused him of using a scientific device to burn the student and found that he had preached his Christian beliefs in class.
Freshwater has filed a $1M suit against the school district saying they violated his freedom of speech and his civil rights. According to another student, Freshwater has told his classes that "Catholics aren't Christians."


WOW, it's much worse than I thought.

(no subject)

If Black Women Were White Women
August 23, 2009

In “If Men Could Menstruate”, Gloria Steinem makes the persuasive argument that “Whatever a ‘superior’ group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever an ‘inferior’ group has will be used to justify its plight”.

For too long the definition of racism has been a fight between white and black manhood and “who’s the bigger man”. This has historically allowed white female supremacy; the most unchallenged form of white supremacy, to escape any criticism or critical thought.

What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?

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Can headlines make me facepalm any harder?

Can Atheists Be Parents?

After six years of childless marriage, John and Cynthia Burke of Newark decided to adopt a baby boy through a state agency. Since the Burkes were young, scandal-free and solvent, they had no trouble with the New Jersey Bureau of Children's Services—until investigators came to the line on the application that asked for the couple's religious affiliation.

John Burke, an atheist, and his wife, a pantheist, had left the line blank. As a result, the bureau denied the Burkes' application. After the couple began court action, however, the bureau changed its regulations, and the couple was able to adopt a baby boy from the Children's Aid and Adoption Society in East Orange.

Last year the Burkes presented their adopted son, David, now 3 1/2, with a baby sister, Eleanor Katherine, now 17 months, whom they acquired from the same East Orange agency. Since the agency endorsed the adoption, the required final approval by a judge was expected to be pro forma. Instead, Superior Court Judge William Camarata raised the religious issue.

Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being."

The Burkes are now living in Carterville, Ill., near Southern Illinois University, where John Burke has worked for the past year as a speech pathologist. Nevertheless, Judge Camarata ordered the parents to send David's sister back to the New Jersey adoption agency. Two weeks ago, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Burkes appealed directly to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. If they fail in their appeal, Eleanor Katherine may have to leave the only family she has ever known and await adoption by another couple whose religious convictions satisfy the State of New Jersey.


As a nonbeliever, this seriously pisses me off. Goddamn "Christian nation"...

We are on social networks too much, but are uncommunicative

Why Gen-Y Johnny Can't Read Nonverbal Cues
An emphasis on social networking puts younger people at a face-to-face disadvantage.

In September 2008, when Nielsen Mobile announced that teenagers with cellphones each sent and received, on average, 1,742 text messages a month, the number sounded high, but just a few months later Nielsen raised the tally to 2,272. A year earlier, the National School Boards Association estimated that middle- and high-school students devoted an average of nine hours to social networking each week. Add email, blogging, IM, tweets and other digital customs and you realize what kind of hurried, 24/7 communications system young people experience today.

Unfortunately, nearly all of their communication tools involve the exchange of written words alone. At least phones, cellular and otherwise, allow the transmission of tone of voice, pauses and the like. But even these clues are absent in the text-dependent world. Users insert smiley-faces into emails, but they don't see each others' actual faces. They read comments on Facebook, but they don't "read" each others' posture, hand gestures, eye movements, shifts in personal space and other nonverbal—and expressive—behaviors.

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I will admit I Tweet, I text, I FaceBook, I El-Jay. I don't think this has harmed me in any social context. I don't think I am addicted to the internet either despite my use of all those social networking sites. Yes my phone has internet, and I don't know what I'd do without it. But when the professor says no laptops in class I groan a bit, but I suck it up and deal.

I think this guy needs to consider that everything is changing. We have college classes done ENTIRELY online, where you will NEVER meet your professor or any of your classmates. He groans about the "uncommunicativeness" of the younger generation but then complains that they spend too much of their time on social networking sites? (Even though a lot said on there is pure nothing, I'm looking at you Twitter)

idk ... I think this guy is apparently already biased about the younger generation and I find his condescension irking. "Instead, they should show a little compassion and, perhaps, seize on a teachable moment". I think this was an interesting opinion piece, no matter how much it rankles me a bit.

ETA: I edit to ask a question, I noticed a some people saying they are socially awkward. Are people socially awkward because of their internet use, or is it because that they are socially awkward they gravitate to the internet?
  • Current Mood

After Firing, Gay Teacher Reinstated

An Oklahoma City teacher allegedly fired for encouraging support for LGBT students will be reinstated in the classroom, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Joe Quigley was fired in May by the Oklahoma City school board on grounds that he neglected his duties and didn't follow school policies. But the gay teacher said that was not the case, and that he was targeted for firing because he spoke out against antigay bigotry.

"His outspokenness made him a very visible teacher in that district," Timothy Melton, Quigley's attorney, told "The administration at Northwest Classen High School has, for the last two years, done its best to set Mr. Quigley up to fail. Fortunately, he is too good a teacher and too strong a personality to be defeated by petty, nonteaching bureaucrats who put rules ahead of the children."

Kathleen Kennedy, a spokeswoman from the Oklahoma City School District, confirmed Quigley would be reinstated, though she's not yet sure at what school he will return. No one from the district has ever responded to Quigley's claims that he was targeted because of his pro-gay stances.

Quigley told NewsOK in an e-mail that he is looking forward to returning to work and is hopeful the district will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the sections in the student-parent handbook that cover harassment.

Source: The Advocate
  • dwer

Just GO already

A organization calling itself the “Texas Nationalist Movement” plans to march on the Texas capitol tomorrow to demand “Sovereignty or Secession”:

Texans will converge on Austin to deliver a petition to Restore America by Demanding our Sovereignty or we will be forced to call a vote for Secession.

This is straight out of the Declaration of Independence and our right to “alter or abolish” our government if it has, “after a long train of abuses” refused to protect the rights of the people.

At present, the Texas Nationalist Movement has a petition with 1 Million signatures directly calling for a vote of secession.

We are calling for an orderly process that will allow our federal government to fall back in line with the Constitution. We are reclaiming our states rights and our individual rights. [...]

We must stand up and be counted or we will find ourselves in another government. Either we restore America, we will live in a Marxist dictatorship, or we will secede and start over again.

Source wants better text-books for our children.