December 9th, 2009

Politics: No one is Illegal

Couple Accused of Swindling Immigrants

The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office has accused a Lyman couple of operating a business that swindled more than $52,000 from people seeking legal immigration status in the U.S.

Deputies began investigating Lorraine and Mark Stiffel and their business, Community Immigration Services, after 11 individuals and two businesses came forward claiming they were defrauded money for services that were never delivered.

Deputies executed a search warrant at the business, located at 121 Highway 29 in Lyman, Monday morning.

Mark Stiffel, 50, of 1173 Holly Springs Road, Lyman, was arrested and charged with one count of criminal conspiracy.

Investigators were still looking Monday night for Lorraine Stiffel, 51, of the same home address. She is charged with one count of unlawful practice of law, nine counts of breach of trust greater than $1,000 but less than $5,000, and four counts of breach of trust greater than $5,000.

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Politics: No one is Illegal

Cardinal Bishop of LA: NYT Op-ed: Coverage without Borders

AS the leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops noted last month, the current health care reform bills in Congress are fundamentally flawed because they fall short in three critical areas: the prohibition of federal financing for abortions and the protection of current conscience laws; the inclusion of meaningful provisions to ensure affordability; and the defense of immigrants’ rights to health care.

Although all three areas are critical for this proposed legislation to be acceptable to the Catholic Church in our country, I would like to focus on the lack of adequate health care for immigrants who live in our midst but who do not yet have legal standing.

The two bills are quite different. The Senate bill bars undocumented immigrants from using even their own money to buy health insurance in the government-sponsored marketplace, or exchange, being proposed. The House bill allows undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance from the exchange, if they use their own money and receive no federal subsidy.

Most studies estimate that more than 10 million undocumented immigrants live in our country. Many have been here for decades. The majority of these immigrants live in “mixed families” — some members of the family were born here, while other relatives are here without documents. It is unrealistic to think that these millions of people with roots deep in their communities are somehow going to pack up and move back to their country of origin — whether that is Korea, the Philippines, Russia, England, France or Mexico. Most have their children in local schools, the vast majority of them have jobs here, and all are contributing to the betterment of our nation.

It makes no sense to deny this large population necessary health care services. It certainly does not help Americans as a whole to remain healthy when millions of people, including schoolchildren, cannot get basic preventive care like immunizations and medications.

When undocumented immigrants are intentionally excluded from health care coverage, they are forced to go to the only place where they will be accepted for care: trauma centers and emergency rooms — the most expensive health care delivery systems in the country. What a foolish waste of money, particularly in a time of economic stress for everyone.

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the raven

New poll shows 'Tea Party' more popular than Republican Party

A new Rasmussen poll finds that the tea party movement's popularity is growing, so much so that it garners more support than the Republican party on a generic Congressional ballot. The poll hints that the burgeoning discontent among conservatives within the GOP threatens to splinter the party at a time when the popularity of President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are waning as we head into an election year.

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ETA: ET fix all the typos, i'm on boxed wine time.
Politics: Peace Fingers

Iraqi refugee says, 'We want to go back’

GREENSBORO — Having sold her food stamps to pay the water and electric bill, uncertain of how to make December’s rent or feed her disabled husband and three children, Sahar al-Janabi, 38, had one request.

“We want to go back to Iraq,” she said last week on a cold evening in the family’s apartment at Hunters Glen near U.S. 29 and East Cone Boulevard. “Can you find someone who will help us get back?”

Escaping war in their native Baghdad and fleeing to Jordan, the family gained political refugee status and got to Greensboro in July, among 63 Iraqis resettled here in the past year by Lutheran Family Services.

Although al-Janabi’s husband would have been a target of Shiite death squads for having worked on a local government project as a computer trainer and later for American contractors, the family is losing hope about their resettlement.

“Anyone who worked for American companies will be killed. But still the situation there is better than here,” said husband Nasih al-Janabi, 36, who walks with a cane and so far has found work for only one week, delivering pizzas. “We don’t have enough food. We live in a place with drugs and criminals. We love America, but the picture we had is the exact opposite of what we found.”

With winter closing in and the refugee influx again on the rise, longtime advocates are voicing concern about the lack of follow-up service, funding and jobs for the newly arrived refugees.

“There is a crisis in the refugee services in this city which has magnified over the past year,” said Sister Gretchen Reintjes, a longtime missionary for refugees here, who says it is business as usual in delivery of services.

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Colombia: Hand

FARC attack south-west Colombia town

The FARC on Wednesday started an attack on San Vicente del Caguan, the south-west Colombian town that between 1999 and 2002 hosted peace talks between government and guerrillas.

According to local media, the guerrillas started the offensive around 3AM on Wednesday in their attempt to overrun local police. One policemen reportedly was killed in this attack.

The website of newspaper El Espectador quotes intelligence reports that say that the FARC's intention is to kidnap the town's mayor, who is held in custody over alleged guerrilla ties.

On Wednesday morning, the attack was still ongoing.


this is so horrible... I just wish this would go away :(
Chris and Wyatt

Alyssa Milano giving up 37th birthday for charity causes

I'm giving up my 37th Birthday and it has nothing to do with vanity or nearing the big 4-0. I couldn't care less about numbers as they pertain to my age. I do, however, care about age when it pertains to those throughout the world who don't make it to their 37th birthdays because of a lack of clean drinking water and proper sanitation.

As a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and the founding ambassador for the Global Network, I've traveled to the field and seen firsthand the devastation left behind by waterborne illnesses. On these trips, I've run the gamut of emotions that range from mind-bending anger to heart-warming hope. Upon my return from the field, I count my blessings, and then as time passes, I become frustrated with myself that I'm not doing more to alleviate the pain of those I met on my journey.

It is because of this very frustration that I decided to give up my birthday. I have everything I could ever want or need. All I want is to provide life-giving water for 10 communities, 500 families and 2,500 people. This is my Birthday wish. In lieu of spending money on a party or presents, I'm asking people to donate to my Charity: Water campaign and help make my wish come true.

Charity: Water is a grassroots non-profit that was founded in 2006. In just a little more than 3 years, they've engaged more than 75,000 donors around the world, and raised over $13 million for operations and water projects. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects. They've funded 1500 water projects in 16 countries that will serve over 800,000 people. Simply put, Charity: Water, funds clean water projects that save lives.

Currently, almost a billion people in the world don't have access to life's most basic need: clean and safe drinking water. That's 1 in 8 people on the planet. Over 200 million people right now have a water-related disease called schistosomiasis... It's a fancy word for parasites. Worms. When you see a heartbreaking photo of a malnourished child with an extended belly, that child most likely has this waterborne schistosomiasis and no matter what food or nutrients you give them, without proper medication and clean water they most likely will not survive.

As we take a sip of our water from the fridge and don't think twice about it, there are people that have to walk hours a day fetching unsafe water from remote areas. Imagine that. Imagine having to walk for hours and hours, every day, just to retrieve contaminated water that will most likely get you sick and maybe even kill you. And the time spent collecting this water, keeps children out of school and women from pursuing economic growth. Not having access to clean drinking water perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

No child should ever die from a preventable cause and 4,500 children will die TODAY from water-related illnesses. This year, in this country alone, we'll spend about 450 million dollars a year on presents, decorations and "stuff" for Christmas. That is enough to give everyone on earth clean, life-giving water, a couple of times over.

I believe it is innately within us, as warriors of the human spirit, to give to those less fortunate. Sometimes, we just don't know how to go about doing it. If this rings true for you, I encourage you to watch the below video, be inspired, and join me by starting your own holiday campaign today at

This is pretty nice of her.

I haven't seen this posted yet, plus my first post here!

Ex-Hartford Police Det. Robert Lawlor Acquitted


The Harford Courant

December 9, 2009


Shortly after former Hartford police Det. Robert Lawlor was acquitted Tuesday of manslaughter and assault charges in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Jashon Bryant, the emotionally charged case reached a dramatic climax outside the courthouse.

In the middle of the intersection at Russ and Oak streets, Bryant's father and sister came face to face with Lawlor as nearly two dozen law enforcement officers looked on and traffic stopped.

"Even though you was a cop and you hid behind all that blue you're still supposed to be a human being," an angry Shirin Bryant, 26, said through tears. "All that time you knew my brother didn't have no gun. Why couldn't you be a man and say, 'I made a mistake?'"

Lawlor insisted that no mistakes were made when he fired at Bryant and Brandon Henry on the evening of May 7, 2005. The shooting killed Bryant and wounded Henry during a police investigation in the city's North End.

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When the Boss speaks, YOU BEST FUCKING LISTEN

Bruce Springsteen backs gay marriage in NJ

TRENTON, N.J. – "The Boss" is backing gay marriage in the Garden State.

Bruce Springsteen posted a statement on his Web site urging support of the gay marriage bill that's up for a vote in New Jersey's Senate on Thursday.

Springsteen wrote that he's long believed in and has "always spoken out for the rights of same-sex couples."

The native son says he agrees with Gov. Jon Corzine that marriage equality is a civil rights issue.

Gov.-elect Chris Christie is a big Springsteen fan. The Republican has said he would veto the bill.

A state Senate committee approved the bill by one vote on Monday.

Democrats concede the measure may fall short of the 21 votes needed to pass the Senate.;_ylt=A0LEaoIcwB9LAGQA1Ams0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFrbjhrdmk0BHBvcwMxNjkEc2VjA2FjY29yZGlvbl9lbnRlcnRhaW5tZW50BHNsawNicnVjZXNwcmluZ3M-
NYC- credit eternity_grphx

The Irrefutable Stupidity of Sarah Palin

By Cenk Uygur:
From time to time, I'll get into a debate with a right-winger about whether Sarah Palin is actually stupid or if liberals are just hopelessly biased against her. They claim this bias comes from the fact that liberals are scared of her electability, her charm, her looks, her femininity, her Christianity, her ability connect to the common man and her overall wonderfulness. So, the theory is that we have all collectively decided that she is the best Republican candidate in some secret liberal meeting and are conspiring against her because we are afraid of how brilliant and electable she really is.

Now, there are a couple of problems with this theory. There are no opinion leaders on the left with Rush Limbaugh-like authority who can command all other progressives to think the same thing and use the same arguments against one person. In other words, we all think she is stupid because she is in fact stupid, not because some liberal cabal told us to think that.

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I've heard that whole "oh liberals are just afraid of her" before. I gotta tell you, I'm not afraid of her at all. My feelings towards her border on pity, not fear.
How in the world people think she's a good person, let alone a good leader, is beyond me.
  • Current Music
    Lady Gaga- Dance in the dark

Ireland's abortion laws to be challenged.

Ireland's strict abortion law is due to be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The legal action is being brought by three Irish women who say the effective ban on abortion in Ireland violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

All three have travelled to Britain to have abortions.

The Irish government has engaged two leading lawyers to argue its case that the country has a sovereign right to protect the life of the unborn.

The three Irish women will be identified only as A, B, and C during the Strasbourg court hearings.

They argue that being forced to travel abroad for abortions endangered their "health and well-being" as safeguarded by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The two constitutional lawyers representing the government of Ireland argue that the convention's safeguards cannot be interpreted as endorsing the right to abortion.

The case is the first challenge to Ireland's abortion laws in more than 15 years, the BBC's Europe correspondent Jonny Dymond says.

Almost 140,000 Irish women have travelled to Britain over the past 30 years to have abortions, our correspondent adds.


Cause this is supposed to be ~green week~ #1

Eco-wall or segregation: Rio plan stirs debate

By Shasta Darlington

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (CNN) -- Cement-block walls are being built around the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro. Authorities say it's to save rainforests. The city's poorest residents say it's an attempt to shut them out.

When Francisco de Moraes looks at the wall, it angers him. He has one of the best views of Rio, overlooking the city, its shimmering beaches and Sugarloaf Mountain jutting from the sea.

"We don't have the right to have our opinion heard," he said.

He speaks during a break from a soccer game on a makeshift cement field that's wedged in by the wall. The "eco-wall," as officials call it, runs up next to his house and around most of the Santa Marta shantytown where he and about 7,000 others live.
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SOURCE (with video)

Well, I'm all for protecting the forest (in fact, I think the article pays too little attention on deforestation), but I just hope they have good alternatives to attack the roots of the problem. It doesn't make any sense to see poverty falling and our economy booming and still have favelas taking over the hills and violence taking over the favelas, does it? Long term, dear politicians, you might want to take a look at that concept.
Akuma River

Explosion in Texas Chemical Plant

Large Explosion At Industrial Plant Near Houston, Texas

A large explosion at an industrial plant sent a cloud of black smoke high into the sky in Seabrook, Texas Wednesday morning, outside of Houston. Nearby residents have been told to stay indoors, and the local school district has instructed its students and personnel to take shelter at nearby schools.

The explosion happened shortly before 9:00am local time, at an American Acryl facility.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

At least two chemical plants are in the vicinity of where the explosion was reported, police said.

Police said that at least one large boom was heard and felt, and that a massive cloud of smoke is spreading above the area.

According to KHOU News in Houston, the plant processes acrylic acid. reports:

"This explosion took place just around the corner from our office. It violently shook our building. Thinking it was a car that had ran into the building, we ran outside to see the 1st plume of smoke from this explosion," viewer Jacob Varisco said in an e-mail.

It was unclear what caused the explosion or if anyone was injured.

I've been through a few explosions and a bomb threat myself, so I know what to do. You block the air from coming in the house. I just wonder how bad it is, if people are hurt, and should we worry about the other plants.

Update: It seems that no one was killed or hurt in the explosion. Which is very rare. I have three chemical plants in my area and the past couple of times an explosion happened, someone always died.

If You Work for Fox News. You Are Either Dumb or "Dumb for Pay"

Jon Stewart Calls Out Gretchen Carlson For "Dumbing Herself Down" (VIDEO)

Jon Stewart went after "Fox & Friends" host Gretchen Carlson last night. Saying she plays the "troubled mom, just trying to make sense of this modern country," Stewart explained Carlson seems to be dumbing herself down in order to connect with an audience that sees intellect as an elitist flaw.

After showing clips of Carlson talking about Googling the words "ignoramus" and "czar," Stewart was flabbergasted:

How do you get a job on television if you appear to be one of those people who need to pin their address to their coat so a stranger can help them find their way home?

Determined to get to the bottom of it, Stewart conducted a Google search of his own. According to his findings, this "troubled mom" is a graduate of Stanford and a classically trained violinist. With this in mind, Stewart challenged Carlson: "I don't want to have to turn you on tomorrow to see you're actually surprised that the Interior Secretary is in charge of the outside stuff."


Citizens Declare Town Mayor "Village Idiot". Charlie Brown To Replace Him.

Tennessee Mayor Apologizes For Accusing Obama Of Blocking 'Peanuts' Special

A Tennessee mayor is apologizing for writing on his Facebook page that President Barack Obama deliberately timed a speech last week to block the "Peanuts" Christmas special.

Russell Wiseman, mayor of the Memphis suburb of Arlington, also said the president is Muslim. Obama is Christian.

The Commercial Appeal reports Wiseman e-mailed the media Monday to say he regrets offending anyone with what he described as a "poor attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor amongst friends." He also says he allowed things to go too far.

The town issued a statement on its Web site saying the mayor's views do not reflect its official ideals and beliefs. Wiseman has since deleted his Facebook account.

Tea Party Supports Criminal, More Credible Than McCain.

Potential Tea Party Candidate Raises $110K in One Night to Pay Legal Debts

Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R) raised more than $100,000 Saturday night at an event headlined by popular Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R). The money will go toward paying lawyer fees accrued when Hayworth was implicated in the Abramoff scandal. Hayworth gained notoriety when he became a far-right talk radio host after losing his House seat to Rep. Harry Mitchell (D). Recently, he made headlines when a Rasmussen poll showed him in a statistical tie with Senator John McCain in a potential run for his Senate seat.

Hayworth lost his seat primarily because he was publicly implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal and had to hire a lawyer to respond to the subsequent investigation. Hayworth was also one of the largest recipients of campaign contributions from Abramoff, and he refused to return Abramoff's donations even after his Congressional colleagues returned Abramoff-tainted funds. Hayworth also used Abramoff's skyboxes for free; later (when it became public) Hayworth reimbursed two Native American tribes for the use of the skyboxes even though the skyboxes belonged to Abramoff. Questions remain whether Hayworth funneled Abramoff money into his personal household by paying his wife to run his political action committee (TEAM PAC), which received a hefty sum of money from Abramoff.

According to Jason Rose, the host of Saturday's fundraiser, Hayworth raised more than $110,000 from more than 400 supporters for Hayworth's Freedom in Truth Trust, which was set up to help Hayworth pay off $140,000 in outstanding legal debts (lawyer fees) incurred in relation to the Abramoff investigation.
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Politics: Fair Trade

Court: Mass criminal immigration hearings unlawful

EL PASO, Texas — Immigrants who have been arrested in zero-tolerance zones along the Mexican border must not be tried at mass criminal immigration hearings because the proceedings violate federal rules, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

A three-judge panel with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that a federal court in Tucson, Ariz. — where mass hearings have been held for defendants arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents — had violated Rule 11, which requires that each defendant be read their rights and be given an explanation of what a guilty plea means.

Any immigrants found in zero-tolerance zones established along the Mexican border under Operation Streamline can be arrested and prosecuted in a federal court on charges of illegal entry.

The program was initially credited with curbing illegal border crossings, but critics have long argued that immigrants are pushed through the system without being given a chance to fairly defend themselves or understanding the proceedings.

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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's homophobic Easter egg

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 looks set to attract more controversy after a homophobic joke was found in the game. During the early stages of the game's campaign mode, a conversation is struck up between two US troops during which the following exchange takes place:

Troop 1: You ever see a grown man naked?
Troop 2: (laughs)
Troop 2: Hey man you still gay? I’m kidding. Don’t ask don’t tell
Troop 1: No ammo, no armour
Troop 2: Ha ha ha! That’s why I’m a cold-blooded carnivorous warrior bro!

This is not the first time Activision's top-selling video game has found itself in the midst of a storm of controversy. Prior to its launch in November, in-game footage was leaked onto the internet showing the player killing unarmed civilians with a group of terrorists at a Russian airport. The scenes caused heated debate in the UK; Labour's former digital minister, Tom Watson, set up a Facebook group called Gamer's Voice as a pressure group for video game fans, after Keith Vaz, the Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, condemned the game for its "scenes of brutality".

However, the controversy has had little impact on the game's record breaking sales. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold over 4 million copies on the day of its worldwide release and is stull currently the biggest selling game of all time in the UK.

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Rape and murder, funded by cell phones

Rape and murder, funded by cell phones
By Sasha Lezhnev and John Prendergast

Last year, the bus in which a young Congolese woman we met named Mary was riding was stopped by a militia. "They wanted to all have me, to rape me," she related haltingly to us. "I told them no, and then they took off my shirt and beat me. I have terrible marks now."

Mary's story is similar to hundreds of thousands of women's experiences in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where rape is routinely "deployed" as a weapon of war by the armed groups fighting over a nation that has some of the richest nonpetroleum natural resource deposits in the world.

Congo holds the numbing distinction of being home to the deadliest war in the world since World War II -- with more than 5.4 million people killed during the past 15 years.

"This war is caused by the minerals," Mary told us. "Those [armed groups] control the minerals. I hear that they are used in mobile phones. ... If you talk to Obama or the phone companies, tell them what happens here."

Armed groups in eastern Congo that control minerals, mines and trading routes generate an estimated $180 million each year by trading four main minerals: tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold.

This money enables the armed groups to purchase large numbers of weapons and continue their campaign of brutal violence against civilians. Conflict minerals are key components in the manufacture of cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, video games and portable music players.

Because of increasing awareness of the links between electronics products and the worst sexual violence in the world, change is afoot.

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Sasha Lezhnev is executive director of the Grassroots Reconciliation Group, a nonprofit that aids former child soldiers. John Prendergast is co-founder of Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for American Progress.


It really hit me reading this how the little everyday things we have and don't pay attention to--like our cell phones, computers, and video games--have this big impact on other parts of the world. And, well, some serious horror at those numbers for the Congo--5.4 million people killed in 15 years.

Supreme Court will decide appeal of Christian student group

UC Hastings College of Law refused to officially recognize the Christian Legal Society because it refused to admit gays and lesbians.

Reporting from Washington - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a Christian student group's right to religious liberty and the freedom of association can trump a university's ban on discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The case could set new rules for campus groups that receive funding through fees paid by the students.

The justices agreed to hear an appeal from a San Francisco chapter of the Christian Legal Society, which lost its recognition as a student group at the UC Hastings College of Law because it refused to abide by the school's anti-discrimination policy.

The law school said that officially recognized student groups must be open to all. The university has a policy forbidding discrimination based on "race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sex or sexual orientation" in all of its programs.

Five years ago, however, the new leaders of the CLS chapter at Hastings declared they would not agree to accept gay or lesbian students or others who do not adhere to traditional Christian beliefs.
They cited the national policy of the Christian Legal Society, which says: "In view of the clear dictates of Scripture, unrepentant participation in and advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle is inconsistent with an affirmation of the Statement of Faith" set by the organization.

So the law school said the CLS chapter would lose its status as an official student group.
That meant the school would not pay travel costs for the group's leaders to attend national meetings. The CLS group also lost its right to use reserved rooms for meetings, and the school's website to promote itself to other students.

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Is Glee Racist?

Took this away from the ignorant people at the Mothership:

Everyone’s a little bit racist. And so is Glee.

The odd thing is that Glee is probably among the most racially diverse shows on TV right now. There are 12 kids in the glee club that gives the show its name. By my count, there are seven white kids, two African-Americans, two Asian-Americans and a Hispanic girl. Throw in the fact that one of the white kids is gay and another is in a wheelchair and that’s the kind of line-up that wins tolerance awards, right? (And this doesn’t even take into account a couple more ethnicities represented in the school’s teaching ranks.)

So what’s the problem? Quite simply, the show is about the white people. Exclusively. The writing staff has barely been able to come up with any dialogue, let alone a storyline, for any of the non-white kids. This leaves most of them with nothing to do but sing and dance in the group numbers. I noticed this in the first two episodes, but decided I should reserve judgment. But now, half a season has gone by and nothing has changed.

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I noticed that Glee loves racial tropes and stereotypes. What do you guys think?

Students! Unite! We won't give up the fight!

Protests Continue on Two Bay Area Campuses

Josh Haner/The New York Times
Students protested in front of the Business Building at San Francisco State on Wednesday.
Protests over recent increases in university student fees and higher education budget cuts continued this week. At San Francisco State University, a dozen of students have occupied the Business Building this morning. Classes at the building were canceled. Outside, among supporters chanting (pictured above), there is a wooden walk-in shrine draped in black cloth with a sign on the outside that reads, “In Memoriam for Public Education 2009.”

Over on the Berkeley campus of the University of California, students have quietly taken over Wheeler Hall. Their occupation includes poetry readings, dance parties, an open-mike talent show.

Both protests, which have little police presence, come as campuses are experiencing what is known as “dead week,” a light week of classes before final exams. They also coincide with hearings in Sacramento over the future of higher education in the state.

Anna Bloom
Students on the Berkeley campus of the University of California took over a building Monday for a week of protests, entertainment and study.
On Monday, about 100 students defied warnings from campus police and entered Wheeler Hall declaring they were going to hold an “Open University.” About 40 students have spent the night in the building in sleeping bags. The daily schedule is created by participants and posted at “Live Week.”

Joseph Agredano, 20, studied for his linguistics final between protest duties at the information booth. Mr. Agredano, a third-year transfer student and interdisciplinary studies major from Moorpark, Calif., joined the movement for the September campus walkout and became one of the dozens of students arrested on the second floor during the November protest and takeover of Wheeler.

Mr. Agredano, who says his education is paid for by financial aid, said he was protesting because he believes “education is a right. Higher education should be accessible to any person.”

I am a student at SF State, and was glad there was finally a protest. I participated because I'm concerned that I will not be able to get classes next semester, or that fees will increase. A lot of students seemed to be too preoccupied to realize that budget cuts will continue to affect them, so they seemed apathetic. A fight also broke out on the south wing of the business building. None of us know what the ****ers in Sacramento will do next year, but I imagine it will only get worse.
  • Current Mood

'Friends with Benefits' sex does no psych harm - profs

Doleful, ultimately doomed youth monogamy, though...

Boffins in Minnesota have a message for young adults: sleeping around is OK. Your prospects in terms of psychological health should you indulge in casual flings are every bit as good as they would be if you bizarrely chose to waste your wild-oats years in one or more doleful and ultimately doomed monogamous relationships.

According to Marla E Eisenberg and her colleagues at Minnesota uni:

Speculation in public discourse suggests that sexual encounters outside a committed romantic relationship may be emotionally damaging for young people, and federal abstinence education policy has required teaching that sexual activity outside of a marital relationship is likely to have harmful psychological consequences.

Au contraire, say the researchers - a few notches on the bedpost achieved in one's salad days will do no harm at all. Having surveyed 1,311 Minnesotan youngsters whose average age was 20.5 during 2003-04, they found no evidence that the odd fling leads to psychological problems whatsoever.

"Young adults engaging in casual sexual encounters do not appear to be at increased risk for harmful psychological outcomes compared to those in more committed relationships," says Eisenberg.

The study did appear to refer to so-called "friends with benefits" cheery consequence-free shagging among likeminded sorts who already know each other socially, as opposed to more risky practices such as simply picking up sailors on the docks.

Also, Eisenberg did offer a note of caution.

"This should not minimize the legitimate threats to physical well-being associated with casual sexual relationships, and the need for such messages in sexuality education programs," she adds.

Or, freely paraphrased, you won't (or anyway, needn't) feel cheap or worthless and end up dead inside if you occasionally have a bit of meaningless fun, but there is the risk of a nasty/fatal dose of Cupid's measles - so chastity is optional but condoms are not.

Eisenberg and her colleagues' new paper, Casual Sex and Psychological Health Among Young Adults: Is Having "Friends with Benefits" Emotionally Damaging? appears in this month's issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. ®

The Register
Mr. T Santa

Justice Sotomayor uses "undocumented" in decision

In an apparent first for the U.S. Supreme Court, the term "undocumented immigrant" is now part of the legal lexicon for the nation's highest court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor used the term, along with "undocumented worker" in an opinion on the case Mohawk Industries, Inc. vs. Carpenter.

There's an interesting mention in a New York Times article which says a legal database search showed it was the first time the Supreme Court used "undocumented immigrant" in an opinion, though it has used "illegal immigrant" in a dozen decisions.

The "undocumented" vs. "illegal" debate is never-ending. Here's an earlier post from our immigration editor that explores the debate over such usage in the media. It's also an issue that local governments and the court system have struggled with for years.

Justice Sotomayor's choice of words is being hailed by immigrant advocates. On ImmigrationProf Blog, University of California law professor Kevin Johnson wrote that with her first written Supreme Court decision - which by the way focused on a civil procedure issue - the new justice "already has made a difference"

Johnson writes that "the choice of terminology -- aliens, illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, people -- matters in the discourse over immigration. Consequently, by employing a more neutral term, Justice Sotomayor has added significantly to the Supreme Court's dialogue on immigration, which is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future."

The usage is bound to cause some backlash in some circles. We'll keep you posted.
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Tar Telperien

Jewish Settlers Protest Over Palestinian Land

Thousands of Jewish settlers and their supporters have staged a rally in Jerusalem in protest at a curb on settlement building in the West Bank.

Demonstrators gathered outside the residence of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, days after he ordered a 10-month lull in permits for new settlement homes.
The order followed US calls for a total freeze in settlement building.
Israel said the move was aimed at helping restart peace talks, but Palestinians said it was insufficient.

Jewish settlers have been angered by the moratorium, ordered by Mr Netanyahu's right-leaning government, ordinarily supportive of settlement activity in the West Bank.

Settlers protest near West Bank town of Nablus

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Paul Wood
Paul Wood, BBC News, Jerusalem
In the end, the Jerusalem police said about 8,000 settlers attended this demonstration - less than the tens of thousands which their leadership had predicted - but still enough to fill the streets outside the prime minister's official residence.
There was a lot of anger here directed towards the United States - "US, take your money and leave us alone" was one of the placards I saw, because it is American pressure on Israel which has brought about these building restrictions in the occupied territories.
But the real anger was reserved for Mr Netanyahu and for the Israeli government - these people told me they had voted for the Israeli government and got a policy completely opposite to that which they had been expecting.
Nearly 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built on occupied territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Settlement building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law - although Israel disputes this.

Protesters waved signs and banners carrying defiant slogans including "We will continue to build", and "Stop Iran's nukes, not our homes".

The demonstration passed off mainly peacefully.

A spokesman for the protesters, Bobby Brown, who is a former adviser to Mr Netanyahu, told the BBC settlers were angry at the way they were being treated.
"We believe we have a right as Jews to settle where we are. To say there's going to be a freeze based on religion - that a Muslim can build and a Jew can't - is not something we expect in this day and age."

Meanwhile, Israeli anti-settlement movement Peace Now says more homes are under construction per inhabitant in the West Bank than inside Israel despite the recent curbs.
The group said 1,167 homes were being built for every 100,000 West Bank settlers, compared to just 836 for the same number of Israeli residents.

More building

Under the new Israeli policy, permits for new homes in the West Bank will not be approved for 10 months.

But municipal buildings and about 3,000 homes already under construction will still be allowed to go ahead.
Scuffles have erupted in the past week as Israeli settlers held protests and tried to block building inspectors from entering their communities to enforce the new rules.

But, on the basis of the official figures, Peace Now said "the settler's claims of discrimination and attempts to 'dry out' the settlements have no basis in reality".

"Even during the freeze a larger number of housing units than the national average will be built in the occupied territories," it said.
Israeli politicians and media have been referring to the restrictions as a "freeze", although Palestinians say they are far from the total building halt, including in East Jerusalem, that they have demanded.

The BBC's Paul Wood in Jerusalem says the settlers feel betrayed by a government they thought was on their side.
Israel could just be acting tactically, trying to make the Palestinians look like the roadblock to negotiations, our correspondent says.

But even so, he adds, the Israeli government may have to choose between peace with the Palestinians or peace with the settlers.


N.J. Senate delays vote on gay marriage bill

 TRENTON -- A state Senate vote on legalizing same-sex marriage in New Jersey has been delayed, its two prime sponsors said today.

Sens. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) and Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said the bill -- which was up for passage on Thursday -- instead will likely be introduced in the Assembly Judiciary Committee in preparation for a vote by the lower house

Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) has agreed to postpone the vote until the Assembly Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the measure.

While disappointed the vote was delayed, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) said it was a good thing that more members of the public would be able to have their say as the lower house debates the issue.

Roberts, an outspoken supporter of the legislation, added that no hearing has been scheduled as of yet and the bill is still being discussed within his caucus.

“At this point, this much is clear -- our civil union law has failed to live up to even the most modest of hopes and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children,” Roberts said in a statement.

Lesniak said he still expects a vote on same-sex marriage in both houses before the end of the lame-duck legislative session in January. Advocates are pushing for passage of the bill before Gov. Jon Corzine leaves office Jan. 19. Corzine supports the measure, while incoming Gov. Chris Christie says he will veto it.

While even proponents conceded this week that passage was in doubt, Lesniak and Weinberg said they were not postponing the debate because they lacked the 21 votes to succeed in the Senate. They said they want Assembly members to engage in the public dialogue and hear the testimony from both sides that senators already have been exposed to.

"We think this is the fairest way to proceed, and anybody on the other side can say whatever they want to say," Weinberg said.

Lawmakers said phones in their district offices continued to ring off the hook this week, with in-state and out-of-state opponents and advocates burning up the lines of Democratics senators committed to opposing gay marriage.

"Most of us have spent the last week, even just alone in our district offices fielding questions and speaking to folks, advocates and detractors of the gay marriage bill about this issue," said Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), who said he will vote against the bill.

"But 99 percent of our attention should be turned towards creating a state government that works, figuring how in God's name we're going be able to balance the budget next year."

¤ i know bitch i was watching
  • schmiss

Awww here it goes!


Rules (your comment may be deleted if it doesn't follow these):
1. Post the name of your nominated person in the comment's subject. You can nominate someone who has influenced the world in a positive or negative way, in a subtle or overt way, in a purposeful or unintentional way. Remember, the nominated person must be notable on a national or international scale and nonfictional. And no ONTD_P users. ;)

2. In the comment body, include the name of the person you're nominating again and a reason why


Title: Barack Obama
Body: Barack Obama, because he's changing the way America approaches the world

3. Make sure this person has not been nominated yet and submit!

To second/third/forth a nomination, just comment in response. If you like, you can include your personal reason for supporting this nomination. If a thread gets too long it'll be frozen, please use discretion and don't spam the entry -- if it's obvious there have been sufficient nominations then skip it and move on to the next nominee.

I'm not sure what our threshold for successful nomination will be but I'm setting it at five votes for now.

Good luck, thank you for participating, and happy nominating!

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eta 9:40 CST: I'm not gonna update this post any further, so please be sure to check and make sure your nomination has not already been done.

Study: Military teens have more stress

Jordan Pittard, 14, remembers feeling anxious about his father being deployed with the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2006 to 2007. His mother, Lucille, a teacher, admits struggling to have enough time to work, take care of the house and talk enough to her kids."There was nobody big to look up to," Jordan said. "Sometimes when my mom was away, there wasn't anybody else to help me with my homework, something personal like that, or throw a football with me."
The mother and son participated in a new study that suggests youth from military families may have higher stress levels and emotional problems than other adolescents and teens.
The study was published in the journal Pediatrics just days after President Obama announced his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
Researchers used a scale that measures anxiety symptoms as they interviewed children and parents about emotional and behavioral health. The study is not diagnostic or clinical, but attempts to understand how children generally are doing, said Anita Chandra, lead author and behavioral scientist at the RAND Corp..

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I am a military wife and I can't explain how hard it is to wonder when the phone rings if it is a call saying they need my husband over there. We have been through 2 deployments and more to come. My son(who is 8) says he doesn't want his dad to leave. It does mess you up a bit.