December 13th, 2009

Sufjan Smile

Stay classy, Israeli settlers.

Israeli settlers attack mosque

The graffiti on the mosque bodes badly for settlers accepting a return to 1967 borders (AFP)

Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian West Bank have vandalised a mosque, torching its library and spraying hate messages in Hebrew on the building.

The attack blamed on hardline Jews on Friday may be linked to plans that seek to curb their illegal settlement activity on land taken from Palestinians.

Clashes erupted as villagers hurled stones at Israeli troops sent to investigate the incident at the mosque in the northern West Bank's Yasuf village. The security forces responded with teargas.

One of the Hebrew language slogans sprayed on a wall read: "Get ready to pay the price." Another read: "We will burn you all."

Village councillors and Palestinian security officials blamed Israelis from a nearby settlement for the attack.

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Source: Al-Jazeera English

It's not like Israeli settlers have a history of being horrible, bigoted little people though. Like say, attacking schoolchildren. Or forcibly taking over Palestinian homes.. Or attacking an ambulance. Seriously, respectful people here.

Chile’s ‘Children of Democracy’ Sitting Out Presidential Election

SANTIAGO, Chile — When Gen. Augusto Pinochet held a referendum on his rule in 1988, a surge of young voters was the decisive difference in emphatically turning the country toward democracy.

But as Chileans head to the polls on Sunday, with the fate of the 20-year old governing coalition in the balance, young voters are not likely to play a major role.
Even as its democracy has matured and its steady economic management has become the envy of Latin America, Chile’s youngest citizens have developed a serious case of political apathy.
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Aw, this kind of disappoints me =( I wish that young people in Chile now were as enthusiastic as they were back in '88 when they kicked Pinochet out (I *do* understand where some of them are coming from though because Chile's current dictatorship constitution sucks). Because they need to be enthusiastic or else Pinochet's apologists and supporters (aka the Chilean right--idc if Pinera himself voted for the No or led the ~association of businessmen against Pinochet~, he has friends and allies that didn't) are gonna win. Here's hoping the center-left can get its act together before the January runoff

Australian PM threatens legal action against Japan over whaling

Australian PM threatens legal action against Japan over whaling
Friday 11th December, 02:01 PM JST

SYDNEY — Australia’s prime minister threatened legal action against Japan on Friday if it does not stop its research program that Collapse )

Source: Japan Today

I'd like to check the validity of the quotes before I make any judgements, really. But if they're true? Wow. Chewbacca defense in action. "You're driving whales into extinction!" "Well, perhaps there is something the Australians eat that the Japanese do not!"

For students, a right to be mean online?

One morning in May 2008, an eighth-grader walked into Janice Hart's office at a Beverly Hills school crying.

She was upset and humiliated and couldn't possibly go to class, the girl told the counselor. The night before, a classmate had posted a video on YouTube with a group of other eighth-graders bad-mouthing her, calling her "spoiled," a "brat" and a "slut." Text and instant messages had been flying since. Half the class must have seen it by now, she told Hart.

Hart took the problem to the vice principal and principal, who took it to a district administrator, who asked the district's lawyers what they could do about it. In the end, citing "cyber-bullying" concerns, school officials suspended the girl who posted the video for two days. That student took the case to federal court, saying her free speech rights had been violated.

Last month, a federal judge in Los Angeles sided with her, saying the school had gone too far. Amid rising concerns over cyber-bullying, and even calls for criminalization, some courts, parents and free-speech advocates are pushing back. Students, they say, have a 1st Amendment right to be nasty in cyberspace.

"To allow the school to cast this wide a net and suspend a student simply because another student takes offense to their speech, without any evidence that such speech caused a substantial disruption of the school's activities, runs afoul" of the law, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson wrote in a 60-page opinion.

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YEMEN: Divorced child bride Nujood makes a fresh stand: 'We are not toys. We are children.'

Nujoud Ali was just 10 years old when she borrowed bus fare to a Yemeni courthouse and demanded a divorce from her husband, more than 20 years her senior.

A year and a half later, Ali is using her fame and the money she received for her story to help 12-year-old Sally Sabahi file for divorce from her 21-year-old husband.

The Yemen Observer reported Friday that Ali has announced her intention to donate nearly $500 to Sabahi's cause, half the sum of the dowry needed to buy her freedom. Ali's lawyer, Shadha Nasser, also has said she will take on the case.

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Photo: Nujoud Ahdal was just 9 when she went against her family's wishes and requested a divorce from her husband, who was more than 20 years older than she. Credit: Associated Press

Nazi analogies are dangerous - Copenhagen

This is about all the Nazi analogies being used for Copenhagen, which you know, are STUPID, STUPID AND STUPID, and I notice it's not just Australia's Opposition leader Abbott who is using it. It seems to have become internationally popular.

Give me a hot political argument and I'll give you a Nazi analogy - that's a connection that's now all too familiar. The overuse of Nazi analogies in online chatter prompted someone called Mike Godwin to coin Godwin's Law in 1990: ''As online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.''

Godwin's Law applies online and offline as we've all too painfully discovered in recent days. Tony Abbott's analogy employed an over-used sub-category of the law when he likened the Copenhagen talks to a latter-day environmental Munich agreement - a reference to the futile accord Britain, France and Italy signed with Hitler in 1938. The analogy is clear - the Rudd Government is selling out Australia's future in Copenhagen just as Neville Chamberlain sold out Europe to Hitler.

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Breaking News: Protester hits Berlusconi at Milan rally

ROME – Italian news reports say a man punched Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the face at a rally in Milan and the leader was whisked away in a car after falling to the ground.

State TV showed Berlusconi with blood on his lips as he was lifted to his feet by aides.

A spokesman for Berlusconi says he didn't immediately have any information about the incident, which happened after the premier delivered a long, rousing speech to his conservative supporters Sunday evening.

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*insert Awww Here It Goes.gif* Will update as info comes...
Tar Telperien


Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi has been named "rock star of the year" by his country's Rolling Stone magazine.

The music magazine pays tribute to the 73-year-old media mogul's "lifestyle worthy of the greatest rock star".

Its December issue's front cover carries an illustration of him smiling in front of the Italian tricolore.

The magazine's editor, Carlo Antonelli, said: "Rod Stewart, Brian Jones, Keith Richards in their prime were schoolboys compared to him."

Mr Berlusconi had been the unanimous winner in a poll of the magazine's editorial staff, said Mr Antonelli.
"This year the choice was unanimous, for his obvious merits due to a lifestyle for which the words 'rock and roll' fall short," said Mr Antonelli in a statement.

The plaudit caps a tumultuous year for Mr Berlusconi's personal life.

A wave of allegations followed claims he had attended model Noemi Letizia's 18th birthday, reportedly buying her a golden necklace studded with diamonds as a present.

Allegations of parties at his residences attended by escort girls centred on Patrizia D'Addario, who claimed she had slept with him. Mr Berlusconi denied paying for sex, saying it "takes away the thrill of the conquest".

In early May, his wife, Veronica Lario, announced she was divorcing him, saying she could not remain with a man "who consorts with minors". Mr Berlusconi responded by demanding an apology from her.

invisible monsters

One gene keeps us either male or female

Researchers have found that the body is in a constant fight to remain either female or male and the suppression of just one gene could cause it to "flip" from one to the other.

The remarkable findings refute the generally held view that sex is determined at birth and is irreversible in later life.

They could also lead to treatments for certain gender disorders in children, early menopause in women and even eventually non-surgical sex changes.

In mammals, males have XY chromosomes and females XX. The new research shows that another gene is responsible for switching women into men.

If the FOXL2 is switched on then the body grows ovaries, switched off and they are replaced by testicles.

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Asian students under attack at S. Phila. High

Zhihua Tian traveled thousands of miles from his native China earlier this year to profit from the treasures of the American education system.

Unfortunately, he landed at South Philadelphia High School, where the number of violent incidents often overshadow student achievements.

Tian, 19, of South Philly, and five other students who are recent immigrants are staying home today because they were among 26 Asian students who were attacked by a gang of other students throughout the day yesterday, said Xu Lin, of the Chinatown Development Corporation, who works with victimized students.

District officials said that 10 students have been suspended. No arrests were reported, but students who were outside the school yesterday said they had seen students being led out of the building in handcuffs.

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Source 1 & Source 2

Twenty. Six. kids beaten in one fucking day. This is fucking vile and I want to whoop every single one of the attackers. I know, counterproductive... Also please keep the "so much for the City of Brotherly Love" kind of comments to a minimum, cause I know they'll inevitably show up.
Tar Telperien

Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.

'Stoned Wallabies Make Crop Circles'

Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite", a government official has said.

Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania, said the kangaroo-like marsupials were getting into poppy fields grown for medicine.

She was reporting to a parliamentary hearing on security for poppy crops.
Australia supplies about 50% of the world's legally-grown opium used to make morphine and other painkillers.

"The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," Lara Giddings told the hearing.

"Then they crash," she added. "We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high."

Rick Rockliff, a spokesman for poppy producer Tasmanian Alkaloids, said the wallaby incursions were not very common, but other animals had also been spotted in the poppy fields acting unusually.

"There have been many stories about sheep that have eaten some of the poppies after harvesting and they all walk around in circles," he added.

Retired Tasmanian poppy farmer Lyndley Chopping also said he had seen strange behaviour from wallabies in his fields.

"They would just come and eat some poppies and they would go away," he told ABC News.

"They'd come back again and they would do their circle work in the paddock."
Some people believe the mysterious circles that appear in fields in a number of countries are created by aliens. Others put them down to a human hoax.


For added entertainment, read the comments section at the bottom of the source.

When it Comes to Gay Republicans,Some in the GOP Want to Eat Their Own

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Earlier this month, a bit of history was made in Massachusetts when the Republican candidate for Governor, Charlie Baker, asked State Senator Richard Tisei to join him on the ticket. Tisei is gay, and though Massachusetts might just be the most liberal state in the country, choosing a gay man to run as the Lieutenant Governor on the GOP ticket is a pretty big to do. Lest the world forget, the last Republican governor from Massachusetts was Mitt Romney, not entirely a champion for LGBT equality.

In many respects, it might seem as if the GOP is trying to live up to that buzz word, "big tent," indicating that there is some room in Republican politics for LGBT people to serve. That is, until you search around the interwebs and find out that conservatives are already organizing to get Tisei dumped from the ticket. Could it be a second coming of Scozzafava?


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Forget The Frakenfood, Is The Monopoly That Will Starve Us...

Monsanto Squeezes Out Seed Business Competition, AP Investigation Finds

Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s business practices reveal how the world's biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found.

With Monsanto's patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products
, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts.

Declining competition in the seed business could lead to price hikes that ripple out to every family's dinner table. That's because the corn flakes you had for breakfast, soda you drank at lunch and beef stew you ate for dinner likely were produced from crops grown with Monsanto's patented genes.

Monsanto's methods are spelled out in a series of confidential commercial licensing agreements obtained by the AP. The contracts, as long as 30 pages, include basic terms for the selling of engineered crops resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, along with shorter supplementary agreements that address new Monsanto traits or other contract amendments.

The company has used the agreements to spread its technology – giving some 200 smaller companies the right to insert Monsanto's genes in their separate strains of corn and soybean plants. But, the AP found, access to Monsanto's genes comes at a cost, and with plenty of strings attached.

For example, one contract provision bans independent companies from breeding plants that contain both Monsanto's genes and the genes of any of its competitors, unless Monsanto gives prior written permission – giving Monsanto the ability to effectively lock out competitors from inserting their patented traits into the vast share of U.S. crops that already contain Monsanto's genes.

Monsanto's business strategies and licensing agreements are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and at least two state attorneys general, who are trying to determine if the practices violate U.S. antitrust laws. The practices also are at the heart of civil antitrust suits filed against Monsanto by its competitors, including a 2004 suit filed by Syngenta AG that was settled with an agreement and ongoing litigation filed this summer by DuPont in response to a Monsanto lawsuit.

The suburban St. Louis-based agricultural giant said it's done nothing wrong.
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If You Cheat You Should Go To The Gallows Or Be Hang. Just Like God Intended!

Adultery Still A Crime In New Hampshire After 200 Years

The original punishments – including standing on the gallows for an hour with a noose around the neck – have been softened to a $1,200 fine, yet some lawmakers think it's time for the 200-year-old crime of adultery to come off New Hampshire's books.

Seven months after the state approved gay marriage, lawmakers will consider easing government further from the bedroom with a bill to repeal the adultery law.

"We shouldn't be regulating people's sex lives and their love lives," state Rep. Timothy Horrigan said. "This is one area the state government should stay out of people's bedrooms."

Horrigan, D-Durham, and state Rep. Carol McGuire, R-Epsom, have teamed up on legislation to repeal the law.

Horrigan signed on because he believes it continues New Hampshire's efforts toward marriage equality. In June, lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage – a law that takes effect Jan. 1.

"We shouldn't be in the business of regulating what consenting adults do with each other," Horrigan said.

Convicted adulterers years ago faced standing on the gallows, up to 39 lashes, a year in jail or a fine of 100 pounds. The punishment has been relaxed to a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,200 – with no jail time.

Law Professor Jeff Atkinson of DePaul University College of Law in Chicago says states rarely – if ever – enforce criminal adultery laws. Atkinson, author of the American Bar Association's Guide to Marriage, Divorce & Families, attributed that to a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas. In its decision, the high court found that the state had no legitimate interest justifying its intrusion into the personal and private lives of two gay men arrested in their bedroom during a police investigation in a weapons case. The men had been charged with sodomy.
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Protest Hits NY Senator's Front Yard

A group of activists gathered outside of New York state senator Carl Kruger’s Brooklyn front yard Sunday, protesting Kruger’s decision to vote against marriage equality earlier month, NBC reported.

Kruger, a Democrat, was one of 38 senators—and eight Democrats—who voted against extending marriage rights to gay people in the state. Since the vote, some activists have called the unmarried Kruger’s sexual orientation into question.

After the protest, organizer Corey Johnson addressed the senator in a post on his own Facebook page: “We’re not going to leave you alone Carl. You came into our homes with your vote—it’s time for us to continue to go to your house until you do the right thing.”