November 21st, 2009


Light jail term for children's rapist enrages Koreans

A horrifying sexual assault on an eight-year-old girl by a habitual sex offender and the court's lighter-than-expected punishment have severely jolted South Korean society, prompting even President Lee Myung-bak to express resentment during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to Yonhap News.

A 57-year-old man living in Ansan, south of Seoul, was recently sentenced by a district court to 12 years in prison for brutally beating and raping the girl, known only as Na-young, a first-grade elementary school student, after kidnapping her on her way to school in December last year.
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Edit: Added another article regarding the case

Korea clamps down on sexual violence

It has been a month since the Cho Du-sun case, the brutal rape of an 8-year-old girl, rattled the nation. The case received instant attention after it was featured on a current affairs show on KBS on Sept. 22. One of the most untenable facts revealed about the case at the time was that the rapist was an ex-convict.

Cho Du-sun was a repeat offender who served a total of 10 years and four months in jail under charge of injury resulting from rape back in 1983 and 14 other offenses.

After he was released, he lived freely, with no restrictions or supervision. But on the morning of Dec. 11, police say Cho kidnapped a girl, referred to by the pseudonym Na-young in this article, who was on her way to school in Ansan, southwest of Seoul.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

BMI over 30? No graduating until you take a special class!

Lincoln U. Requires Its Students to Step on the Scale

At Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, students who are deemed too heavy must pass a physical-fitness course.

As part of the university's core curriculum, campus health educators weigh and measure all freshmen during the fall semester, and later calculate each student's body-mass index, or BMI. Those with a BMI above 30, which suggests obesity, must enroll in a one-credit course called "Fitness for Life" before they graduate. Students can satisfy that requirement if they "test out"—by subsequently earning a BMI below 30—or by passing a sports course.

As first reported on Wednesday by the university's student newspaper, The Lincolnian, some students and faculty members at the historically black institution have recently complained about the requirement. The newspaper quoted a sophomore who said, "It's not up to Lincoln to tell me how much my BMI should be." In the same article, a freshman asked: "What's the point of this?"

The point is to keep students healthy, says James L. DeBoy, chair of Lincoln's department of health, physical education, and recreation. All Lincoln students have long been required to pass a two-credit course called "Dimensions of Wellness," which covers array of subjects, such as alcohol, drugs, nutrition, and sexual health.

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BMI? Really? Really?

I think the class is a good idea, but for all students, not just the ones with the higher BMIs. BMI alone is not a good indicator of health, and some of those size 2 girls might have much more unhealthy lifestyles but a faster metabolism.

Television plotlines reflect recession worries

(CNN) -- Dunder Mifflin, the fictional paper company at the center of NBC's prime-time comedy "The Office," is facing bankruptcy. Staffers in the Scranton branch are anxious about their fate.

The Office" is among a great many prime-time shows that have integrated recession-era themes into their plotlines this fall in an effort to reflect the changing American economic climate. Art imitating life on television can offer a sense of solidarity for the viewing public and a new type of coping mechanism for dealing with recession-related stress.

"Shows that deal with the recession help people to validate the full range of emotions they are feeling right now," explained Stephan J. Quentzel, psychiatrist, family physician and director of Beth Israel Hospital's Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine in New York.

"It doesn't trivialize the experience. It shows people they don't have to put on a good face and think positively. It helps them realize that they are angry, and that's OK, and that is why watching these shows is so therapeutic."

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Posh Zoom

Republican Deficit Hypocrisy

Republican Deficit Hypocrisy

Bruce Bartlett, 11.20.09, 12:01 AM EST

Remember the Medicare drug benefit?

The human capacity for self-delusion never ceases to amaze me, so it shouldn't surprise me that so many Republicans seem to genuinely believe that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. Perhaps at one time they were, but those days are long gone.
This fact became blindingly obvious to me six years ago this month when a Republican president and a Republican Congress enacted the Medicare drug benefit, which former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has called "the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s."

Recall the situation in 2003. The Bush administration was already projecting the largest deficit in American history--$475 billion in fiscal year 2004, according to the July 2003 mid-session budget review. But a big election was coming up that Bush and his party were desperately fearful of losing. So they decided to win it by buying the votes of America's seniors by giving them an expensive new program to pay for their prescription drugs.
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Sarah Palin takes aim at vegetarians in Going Rogue

Sarah Palin’s highly anticipated memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, will hit the bookshelves November 17. In the book, Palin traces her experiences from small town Alaskan girl to being on the national stage as the GOP vice presidential nominee.

Besides addressing her views on the McCain campaign and the media, Palin, a passionate Alaskan hunter, takes aim at vegetarians. Palin states, “If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”

The accommodating host went on to explain, “I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially love moose and caribou. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals -- right next to the mashed potatoes.”

Unfortunately Palin’s viewpoints on vegetarianism is not only narrow minded but is also widely shared. The cliché portrait of a vegetarian meal predominately includes a huge bowl of salad flanked only by a glass of water and carrot wedges. The plethora of food options available to those who have forgone meat is endless but mostly ignored by the masses.

Palin’s view on animals as being just meat is also shared by a considerable portion of our country. Her statement will surely receive a chuckle and thumbs up from many avid hunters and steak house patrons. It is a sad statement on our society when we applaud those who refer to animals as the centerpiece of their dinner plate.
A “carnivore”, as Palin refers to herself, does not have to change their lifestyle for a vegetarian but tolerance would be greatly appreciated. Needless to say PETA will not be sending the former vice presidential candidate a Christmas card this year.

  • jameth

Terrorism that's personal


We typically think of terrorism as a political act.

But sometimes it’s very personal. It wasn’t a government or a guerrilla insurgency that threw acid on this woman’s face (WARNING: CLICK HERE ONLY IF YOU WANT TO SEE EXTREMELY GRAPHIC PHOTO) in Pakistan. It was a young man whom she had rejected for marriage. As the United States ponders what to do in Afghanistan — and for that matter, in Pakistan — it is wise to understand both the political and the personal, that the very ignorance and illiteracy and misogyny that create the climate for these acid attacks can and does bleed over into the political realm.

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Jesus Maynard

Esquire: Edge Christian Addresses Non-Believers

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

This radical Christian's ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals. We asked him to address those who don't believe.

By: Shane Claiborne

Shane Claiborne's ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals. We asked him to address those who don't believe. To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.

Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of God.
The other night I headed into downtown Philly for a stroll with some friends from out of town. We walked down to Penn's Landing along the river, where there are street performers, artists, musicians. We passed a great magician who did some pretty sweet tricks like pour change out of his iPhone, and then there was a preacher. He wasn't quite as captivating as the magician. He stood on a box, yelling into a microphone, and beside him was a coffin with a fake dead body inside. He talked about how we are all going to die and go to hell if we don't know Jesus.
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India's Rightwing Extremist. Maybe We are Not So Different After All.

Right-wing activists storm TV station over 'bias'

A band of right-wing activists ransacked an Indian television station in the country's financial hub of Mumbai in an assault their party said was an act of retaliation against the channel's "bias" against their veteran leader.

Political commentators called the attack on the IBN Lokmat station a manifestation of competitive militant politics in Maharashtra state, home to Mumbai.

Police have so far arrested seven people. About 15 to 20 people more are expected to be taken into custody, said Rajkumar Vhatkar, a deputy commissioner of police in the city.

Those held have been charged with assault, rioting and criminal trespass, among other counts, he said.

IBN Lokmat is a sister station to CNN-IBN, also in India; CNN-IBN was not targeted.
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IT'S A CONSPIR- *yawn*

Hackers target leading climate research unit

The e-mail system of one of the world's leading climate research units has been breached by hackers.

E-mails reportedly from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), including personal exchanges, appeared on the internet on Thursday.

A university spokesman confirmed the email system had been hacked and that information was taken and published without permission.

An investigation was underway and the police had been informed, he added.
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Thoughts? The Beeb hasn't posted any of the e-mails, but they can be found elsewhere on the Internets (for example here). The denialosphere is all over this, and they're proclaiming the end of Global Warming™ while pissing their pants in glee.

RealClimate has weighed in as well.

From the Independent: The real reason Obama is not making much progress

Johann Hari: The real reason Obama is not making much progress

Before you can appeal to America's voters you have to appeal to the corporations

Almost a year after Barack Obama ascended to the White House, many of his supporters are bemused. His healthcare bill is a hefty improvement but it still won't provide coverage for all Americans, and may not provide a public alternative to the over-charging insurance companies - if it passes at all. His environmental team is vandalising the vital Copenhagen conference by saying the US – the single biggest emitter of warming gases – will not sign up to any legally binding restrictions there. He has placed the deregulation-fanatics who caused the New Depression, like Lawrence Summers, in charge of the recovery. Despite the real improvements on Bush – such as the end of torture, the resumption of stem-cell research, and opposition to the coup in Honduras – many people are asking: why he is delivering so little, so slowly?

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Independent Source.

I hope this isn't a repost. I only just read it, and it really interested and struck a chord with me. I thought it was well thought out and well argued.

I'm also glad it mentions the Franken Rape Ammendment because any and all publicity about the Republicans voting against it is important. Every time I hear about it I think of The West Wing where Josh is trying to get the votes to pass gun control laws and says "You know, I realize as an adult, not everyone shares my view of the world. And with an issue as hot as gun control I'm prepared to accept a lot of different points of view as being perfectly valid. But we can all get together on the grenade launcher, right?". All I can think is, "surely we can all get together on the Rape Law?!".
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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer S3 E1: Anne
LOLitics | Nerdbama

"President tackling kids' obesity, public service on White House lawn".

By Mike McCarthy, USA TODAY

President Obama is exercising executive privilege to get youngsters off their butts, and to urge all Americans to volunteer for community service.

In a TV spot set to run on Thanksgiving Day, viewers will see New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees zinging a pass to an unseen player. As we look closer, we realize the receiver is actually President Obama. The playing field is the White House lawn. The defender is Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

The 90-second public service announcement is a joint effort between the NFL's Play 60 campaign to fight childhood obesity and the president's United We Serve public-service effort.

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Here's the 90-sec ad, which is equal parts glossy and ~dramatic~:


LOL @ the slow-mo usage. It Collapse )

Vote "none of the above"

In Ukraine, ’04 Euphoria Has Turned to Despair ...

"As this mood has deepened, the proportion of Ukrainians who tell pollsters they will vote for “none of the above” — one option on the ballot — has been edging up, from 4 percent in 2004 to around 8 percent now, said Oleksiy Antypovych, of the polling organization Rating, who works out of Kiev and Lviv. By the time voters go to the polls, that percentage drops by one-half, so it has never proved decisive in an election, he said.

But the “none of the above” votes are much higher when respondents are asked about the second round of this winter’s election, with 18 percent answering that they would not vote for either Mr. Yanukovich or Ms. Tymoshenko. Even if half of that group ends up staying home or making a choice between the candidates, up to 10 percent of Ukrainians may vote for “none of the above,” Mr. Antypovych said."

read the rest of the article,

--Imagine if America or Britain had the option to vote "none of the above" ????

Poor Yulia...

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    James Joyce and sodomy "frontal lobotomy"
creepy but cute

Normalizing Hate Speech: "Going Muslim"

Original Article: 'Going Muslim'
Tunku Varadarajan, 11.09.09, 12:00 AM ET
Source at

"Going postal" is a piquant American phrase that describes the phenomenon of violent rage in which a worker--archetypically a postal worker--"snaps" and guns down his colleagues.

As the enormity of the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sinks in, we must ask whether we are confronting a new phenomenon of violent rage, one we might dub--disconcertingly--"Going Muslim." This phrase would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American--a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood--discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.

The difference between "going postal," in the conventional sense, and "going Muslim," in the sense that I suggest, is that there would not necessarily be a psychological "snapping" point in the case of the imminently violent Muslim; instead, there could be a calculated discarding of camouflage--the camouflage of integration--in an act of revelatory catharsis. In spite of suggestions by some who know him that he had a history of "harassment" as a Muslim in the army, Maj. Hasan did not "snap" in the "postal" manner. He gave away his possessions on the morning of his day of murder. He even gave away--to a neighbor--a packet of frozen broccoli that he did not wish to see go to waste, even as he mapped in his mind the laying waste of lives at Fort Hood. His was a meticulous, even punctilious "departure."

We are a civilized society. One of our cardinal rules of coexistence is that we (try always to) judge people only by their actions and not by their identity, whether racial, religious or sexual. This is our great strength as a society, and also, in the present circumstances, our great weakness: How to address the threat posed by the fact that, of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims in our midst, there are a few (perhaps many more than a few) who are so radicalized that they would kill their fellow Americans? Must we continue to be neutral in handling all people from different groups even though we know that there are differential risks posed by people of one group? The problem here is a heightened version of the airport security problem, where we check all people--including Chinese grandmothers--regardless of risk profiles. But can we afford that on a grand, national scale? (And I mean that question not merely in a financial sense, but also in terms of the price we'd pay in failing to detect a threat in time.)
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Are we also going black? going 'jap'? going jew? going hindu? I guess he's trying to say something along the lines of legislators *are* too politically correct, laws *should* be dictated on... well bigotry and irrational hatred of large groups of non-homogeneous people.

Oh I wish he elaborated on how to tell risky muslims apart in the air-port from harmless non-muslims... should we go by whether or not they have giant beards?

This just in: Glenn Beck Just Now Becoming "Activist"

Also, the Pope just converted to Catholicism and Bears recently decided to-- well, you know.

Glenn Beck Stakes Out a More Activist Role in Politics

Glenn Beck, the popular and outspoken Fox News host, says he wants to go beyond broadcasting his opinions and start rallying his political base — formerly known as his audience — to take action.

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Already, Mr. Beck’s page on features what it calls “In or Out 2010,” a “simple challenge” for lawmakers. It includes a pledge to back a freeze in government spending; oppose all tax increases “until our economy has rebounded”; and support stricter immigration enforcement.

Presidential Candidate? Why is the New York Times trying to give me an ulcer?

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