December 5th, 2009


Virginia Tech Revised Report: I Got Nothing...

Virginia Tech Shooting Report: University Staff Warned Their Families Before Campus

At least two Virginia Tech administrators told family members about a double shooting in a dorm – the prelude to the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history – well before the rest of the campus was notified a gunman was on the loose.

Those details were revealed in a revised state report released Friday and prompted bitter reactions from some victims' relatives who have been demanding the resignation of President Charles Steger ever since the 2007 massacre that left 33 people dead.

"He's got to live with himself," said Dennis Bluhm, who lost his son. "If he's got any heart at all, and I'm not sure he does, he's got a long life to live with this on his brain."

The report adds to the long list of apparent missteps by university officials before, during and after the 2007 rampage by Seung-Hui Cho. The mentally ill student shot two students to death in the dorm, then three hours later chained the doors of a classroom building and killed 30 more people before committing suicide.

The two administrators notified their families about the dorm shootings around 8:05 a.m. – an hour and 20 minutes before a campus-wide e-mail warning was sent to staff members, faculty and students. The massacre in the classroom building began at 9:40 a.m.

One of the administrators who notified a family member was Steger's chief of staff, Kim O'Rourke, said Phil Schaenman, the president of TriData, the outside firm that put together the report. She often called her son, a Tech student, to make sure he went to class. She told him about the dorm shootings but still told him to go to class, which he did.

"I did tell him what had been happening, and I told him to go to class," O'Rourke told The Washington Post. "He was in class at the time of the shooting in Norris Hall."

"It's been taken that their families were given advance warning," Schaenman said. "But in her case, she said it was safe to come to school."
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French Law Proposed to Put Label on All Ads with Shopped Models

Article by Steven Erlanger

VALÉRIE BOYER is 47, a member of the French parliament and a divorced mother of three. She is tall, fashionable and, dare we say it, slim.

But she has also created a small furor here and abroad with her latest proposal: a draft law that would require all digitally altered photographs of people used in advertising be labeled as retouched.

Some think such a law would destroy photographic art; some think it might help reduce anorexia; some say the idea is aimed at the wrong target, given that nearly every advertising photograph is retouched. Others believe such a label might sensitize people to the fakery involved in most of the advertising images with which they’re bludgeoned.

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So what do you think? Should magazines and advertisers let readers know when an image has been retouched?

sauce copied over from ontd
more celeb retouch photos

worth the full read, imo

Florida Governor Charlie Crist Directs Callers To a Steamy Phone Sex Line.

Charlie Crist Phone Message Directed Callers To Phone Sex Hotline

Florida Governor Charlie Crist mistakenly directed callers to a phone sex line in a recording that played when callers to KidCare, the state's child health care program, were put on hold. The governor explained that script he read for the recording was incorrect and that "there was no malice intent." The recording was in use for at least two months. To get to the sex line, KidCare callers had to dial the number listed by Gov. Crist, then call the phone number listed by that recording.

The Palm Beach Post first reported the the mistake and posted a recording of what callers would hear if they followed the steamy phone tree to the end.

Woman's voice:

"Hey there, sexy guy. Welcome to an exciting new way to go live, one on one, with hot, horny girls waiting right now to talk to you."

Apparently, Crist's mistake isn't that uncommon. The Post found four more instances of government publications in West Palm Beach, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Virginia that direct callers to the same number

AOL News reports that the recording has been changed, "Current KidCare callers are greeted by an anonymous, almost robotic voice, which offers sexy guys no help whatsoever."

Many Dads Asking For Changes In Child Support

A teacher who's only bringing home around $50 per week. A family court child support decision left him struggling to live and Eyewitness News found out it is not an isolated case."I was left with $58 a week," science teacher John Nelson said.The court garnished most of his pay for child support, leaving him with around $200 per month."I could probably panhandle at the corner (of the interstate) and make more money," he said.

As a six-figure software executive, he could afford $2,200 in child support each month, but he lost his job and couldn't find stable work for more than one year."I don't think the court system is prepared to handle, 'What do you mean you can't find a job?’" Nelson stated.He requested a temporary reduction in child support, but got caught in the backlog."Even filing took over a year for my case to get to court and you have to keep paying during that time," he said.Nelson took a teaching job and, when the judge finally heard his request, he couldn't believe what happened."Her basis was I can afford it, figure it out," he said.

Family law Judge Julian Piggotte raised his child support another $300 then later withdrew from the case because her husband worked with Nelson's ex-wife in the State Attorney's Office.A group called Fathers for Justice uses cavemen climbing Stonehenge and superheroes scaling the Lincoln Memorial as symbols to spread their message."I hear that all the time. There are thousands of those stories," said Fred Schuler, Fathers for Justice. "As a parent, you really don't have any rights when you walk into a courtroom."Family law professor Marsha Freeman understands why many divorced parents are angry."I would probably agree for the most part. The system is broken," Freeman said.But, she says, decisions in Nelson's case and others are not necessarily biased or wrong.

Guidelines place the greatest weight on needs of the children."The children are supposed to be made as whole as possible," she said.In Nelson's case, his ex-wife said their kids needed the money that Nelson stopped paying."Our lives go on. The kids still have lunches, they still go to school, and they still have field trips," Nelson’s ex-wife said.In a bad economy, both parents can end up in a bad situation."I can promise you, I'm not living the high-life," Nelson said.In Nelson's case, he sold his house and moved to Georgia to try to find a better-paying job away from his kids.


The Godfather Part IV: Berlusconi Haz An Offer For You. (I am Shocked...?)

Gaspare Spatuzza, Mob Turncoat, Alleges Berlusconi Has Ties To Mafia

A convicted mob hit man testified Friday that he was told Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi made a deal with the Mafia in the 1990s, offering unspecified benefits in exchange for political support.

Berlusconi has denied the allegations, which have set off the latest storm to rattle the scandal-plagued premier.

Gaspare Spatuzza testified as a prosecution witness in the appeals trial of Sen. Marcello Dell'Utri, a close political associate of Berlusconi who was convicted in 2004 of ties with the Sicilian Mafia and sentenced to nine years in prison. Berlusconi is not formally involved in the trial.

Spatuzza, who is serving a life sentence for several murders, told the court that in 1993 he was told by his boss, Giuseppe Graviano, that the mob had made a deal with Berlusconi that would provide "benefits" to the Mafia in exchange for the mob's support in elections.

The media mogul entered politics a few months later and won his first term as premier in 1994 elections.

Headline-grabbing reports of Spatuzza's claims have been swirling for days, and most of his two-hour testimony was carried live by Italy's Sky TV. The attention and credibility given to the statements prompted prosecutors last week to clarify that they were not investigating the premier.

Berlusconi and Dell'Utri have both branded the allegations ridiculous and denied any links to the Mafia.

Spatuzza addressed the court from behind a white hospital screen set up to conceal him, and surrounded by uniformed and plainclothes police officers. The hearing took place in the northern city of Turin in a high-security courtroom.
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NYC- credit eternity_grphx

Where was the Fed? Out back failing it up.

The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interests of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few. What the American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy.

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I have a bad feeling that Bernanke isn't going anywhere. However, Sanders is right (as he usually is, being that awesome), we need someone new.

Communist Canadian Drug Lords to Push Their Cheap Pills On Poor Real Americans.

Pharma Deal To Be Tested On Senate Floor

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to allow a vote on re-importing prescription drugs from Canada as an amendment to the health care reform bill, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) told reporters on Saturday.

Dorgan, one of two lead sponsors on the measure, said that he was pushing for a vote on the amendment over the weekend but expects it to come up on the floor on Monday following debate on an abortion amendment backed by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), which mirrors extremely restrictive language pushed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) in the House.

The measure is also being championed by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine); both she and Dorgan noted that Republican Sens. David Vitter (La.), Charles Grassley (Iowa) and John McCain (Ariz.) are cosponsors of a bill doing the same thing.

Snowe pledged to back it on the floor and do what she could to bring other Republicans along, she told reporters Saturday.

The measure would save the federal government $19 billion over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office -- and would save consumers billions more.

Big Pharma strongly opposes the amendment and has said it will use "hand to hand combat" to defeat it. The drug makers have a deal with the White House that their contribution to health care will not exceed $80 billion over ten years; Dorgan's bill could take them over the limit and, in any event, was specifically ruled out in negotiations with the White House.

Dorgan was not part of those talks, however, and noted that Obama, as a senator, had supported his measure, as had Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel when he was in the House. The White House, he said, had not attempted to discourage him from going forward.
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Is John McCain Gonna Have To Choke a Baucus?

John McCain Gets Mad On Senate Floor During Health Care Debate (VIDEO)

John McCain Is mad. During Senate debate Saturday over cuts to Medicare home health care spending, Sen. McCain got very worked up. On at least two separate occasions, Sen. Max Baucus objected to McCain. The Senator from Arizona did not take it too well and was visibly upset. For his part, Baucus seemed to be smirking at McCain's reactions.

C-Span has the whole debate right here (McCain's first outburst to Baucus begins at the 3-minute mark).
A critic for The Baltimore Sun weighed in on McCain's performance, calling it "fabulous stuff."
This is the feisty and tart John McCain who was missing on the campaign trail last fall to the regret of many GOP backers.

  • keeni84

North Korea currency change sparks panic

North Koreans are "devastated" following currency reforms that could wipe out their savings, reports say.

Ordinary people are reported to be desperately trying to buy as many goods as they can with the old currency while it is still valid.

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I cannot imagine the level of anger and despair these people feel right now. There are also reports that soldiers have been ordered to shoot people fleeing North Korea because of the new currency changes.