January 3rd, 2010

Trouble Train

Muslim-Hindu Punk Rock Bands Part Of New Movement

Artwork from the Punjab state of India decorates the Ray family home. A Johann Sebastian Bach statue sits on a piano. But in the basement — cluttered with wires, old concert fliers and drawings — 25-year-old Arjun Ray is fighting distortion from his electric guitar.

For this son of Indian immigrants, trained in classical violin and raised on traditional Punjab music, getting his three Pakistani-American bandmates in sync is the goal on this cold New England evening. Their band, The Kominas, is trying to record a punk rock version of the classic Bollywood song, "Choli Ke Peeche" (Behind the Blouse).

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I only posted this because it's ~interesting~. I have no idea about these genres of music. I'm going back to my musical bubble where the only thing that's playing is Brian Setzer.
K-Box cartoon

Political pr0n parodies: Time for some equal opportunity exploitation ...

... And I'm so surprised that I haven't seen anyone else posting about this yet (and just in case you had any doubts, pretty much every single link that follows is extremely NSFW):

Pink is the New Blog | Everybody's Business Is My Business >> The Levi Johnston Gay Porn You’ve Been Waiting For Is Here
Tho it doesn't actually star Levi Johnston

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Remember those horrible and non-nekkid photos that Levi Johnston did for Playgirl magazine? Remember how much it was teased that Levi would be showing his “johnston” in his pictorial only to learn that he never intended to show the whole enchilada at all? Well … forget about that … cuz the gay porn company Jet Set (link NSFW) is making a gay porn movie titled Getting Levi’s Johnson which stars a young up and coming gay porn star named Casey Monroe in the role of a Levi Johnston-like character (complete with hockey stick):

( Censored, but still probably mildly NSFW, nudity: )

Yeah, you don’t have to worry about there being no p33n in this movie … in fact, there is quite a lot of p33n in this movie. If you are so inclined, head over to Fleshbot HERE (link NSFW) to see a few promo photos from Getting Levi’s Johnson (including the uncensored version of this photo) to get a taste of how much p33n will be featured in this movie. The real Levi Johnston may be ashamed to show what his mama gave him but this porno version of Levi Johnston doesn’t seem ashamed to show much of anything at all. HMMMM. Remember, click at your own risk.

[Source via Source]
This project has piqued my curiosity because the always awesome Lisa Ann will be reprising her role as "Serra Paylin" for this film, which has already led some pr0n bloggers to wonder whether anyone will be "Nailin' Paylin" in this flick (thereby making it bi-pr0n rather than strictly gay pr0n).

I fucking love what politics can become in America. :)
Akuma River

Where did 44 Million dollars of federal stimulus money go?

Crossroads stimulus money trail: Where did $44 million go? Ron Paul to investigate

Originally published January 1, 2010 at 10:45 p.m., updated January 2, 2010 at 10:45 a.m.

Editor's note: This is the final installment of a seven-part series that details federal stimulus funding to the Crossroads.

One private company received approval for more stimulus money than all other Crossroads agencies combined, according to multiple federal sources.

This region's biggest recipient by far won't discuss how it will spend $44 million, money that represents your tax dollars.

Questions raised by the Advocate in this story prompted U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, to announce this week his office will launch a formal investigation.

The company's vice president and general counsel said corporate officers can't answer basic questions about the money: How many jobs will the $44 million create? What work will be performed? What's the rationale for the projects?

A deeper look at the company, King Fisher Marine Services Inc. in Port Lavaca, and at its Houston-based parent company, Orion Marine Group, raises another question: Why did the Texas group's top executive give money last year to an Indiana congressman? The Indiana congressman is under federal investigation for fundraising practices and earmarking big sums for out-of-state businesses.

"Too much of this goes on ... " Paul said. "This problem with King Fisher and Orion demonstrates it's almost impossible to keep up with. It's a total outrage."
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Mr. T Santa

Murderers Murder; Will Probably Walk Away Scot Free

The NAACP is renewing a push for federal standards on police use of force after the shooting of an unarmed black man by two white police officers inside a church while day care children watched.

Witnesses say the man was surrendering, but officials in Rockford, Ill., near Chicago dispute that version of events, saying that Mark Anthony Barmore grabbed for an officer’s gun after they cornered him in the church.

Both sides do agree, however, that Barmore fled when officers approached him in the church parking lot, which highlights the suspicion and fear that can poison relationships between police and minority communities across the country.

“There are no national standards for the use of force (or) training for use of force,” Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Friday.

The issue “is not primarily about racism,” Jealous said, citing the recent case of a 72-year-old white woman tasered by a white Texas officer during a traffic stop. “We want to make sure the standards are the most modern and appropriate ones possible.”

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The Safe Sex Circus is coming to town! Can't wait to see their balloon animals!

Sexual roadshow coming to town

YOUNG people and parents in Yeovil are being invited to speak with NHS and Somerset County Council (SCC) advisors about relationships and sexual health later this month.

It is all part of a new national campaign coming to the bandstand area in Yeovil at the junction of Stars Lane and Middle Street on January 30 and is aimed at helping people to make more informed choices about contraception, looking after their sexual health and avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

The campaign wants to promote more open and honest discussions about sex, relationships and contraception among 16 to 24-year-olds and their parents.


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search me

Is aviation security mostly for show?

An editorial from CNN

Is aviation security mostly for show?

By Bruce Schneier, Special to CNN
December 29, 2009

Editor's note: Bruce Schneier is an author and technologist who specializes in security. His books include "Applied Cryptography," "Beyond Fear" and "Schneier on Security" and his other writing can be seen at http://www.schneier.com/

(CNN) -- Last week's attempted terror attack on an airplane heading from Amsterdam to Detroit has given rise to a bunch of familiar questions.

How did the explosives get past security screening? What steps could be taken to avert similar attacks? Why wasn't there an air marshal on the flight? And, predictably, government officials have rushed to institute new safety measures to close holes in the system exposed by the incident.

Reviewing what happened is important, but a lot of the discussion is off-base, a reflection of the fundamentally wrong conception most people have of terrorism and how to combat it.

Terrorism is rare, far rarer than many people think. It's rare because very few people want to commit acts of terrorism, and executing a terrorist plot is much harder than television makes it appear.

The best defenses against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don't think this way: They are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.

A "movie-plot threat" is an overly specific attack scenario. Whether it's terrorists with crop dusters, terrorists contaminating the milk supply, or terrorists attacking the Olympics, specific stories affect our emotions more intensely than mere data does.

Stories are what we fear. It's not just hypothetical stories -- terrorists flying planes into buildings, terrorists with explosives strapped to their legs or with bombs in their shoes, and terrorists with guns and bombs waging a co-ordinated attack against a city are even scarier movie-plot threats because they actually happened.

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I'm sure people will have issues with some of the things said in this editorial, but I think we need to hear more voices like this when people are trying to froth up the general public after some doofus sets his underwear on fire on an airplane.


But will the next decade be blue and in 3-D?

The Avatar Decade

by: Susan E. Reed 

Watch as the world "avatars," as spheres of politics and big business make way for creativity, science and people power.

Boston - Power shifted this decade from the usual centers of politics and big business to the creative world, scientists and the masses.

The transformation is happening in Iran where a popular uprising — organized and multiplied through mobile technology — is working to to unseat a repressive regime. It is happening worldwide as scientists prevail in their warnings of global warming. It happened in the U.S. as the Obama campaign's use of technology enabled like-minded voters to connect with one another.


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Calif. pastor takes in $2.4M after donations plea

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Evangelical pastor Rick Warren's plea for donations to fill a $900,000 deficit at his Southern California megachurch brought in $2.4 million, Warren announced to cheers during a sermon at the church on Saturday.

Warren said the amount raised after the appeal was posted online Wednesday included only money parishioners brought in person to Saddleback Church by New Year's Eve. More was arriving by hand and by mail, he said.

"This is pretty amazing," Warren told his congregation. "I don't think any church has gotten a cash offering like that off a letter."


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Anyone else find the call for donations from the pulpit gross?

I should say I find it gross if it is to build a bigger Mega church or push the anti-gay message. If the money goes to actually helping people then fabulous.

12,000 euros for each citizen of Iceland (that's 320,000 people) !!!!!

-Icelanders petition against pay-out over Icesave collapse.

(poor Johanna, this is all about to get VERY ugly for her)

Almost a quarter of voters in Iceland have signed a petition against plans to repay money lost by foreigners when an Icelandic online bank collapsed.

The petition urges the president to veto the bill that allows the move, and calls for a referendum on the issue.

Iceland's parliament has approved the plans to reimburse 3.8bn euros (£3.4bn) lost by Dutch and British savers when the Icesave scheme failed in 2008.

Many taxpayers say they are being made to pay for the bank's mistakes.

The compensation amounts to some 12,000 euros for each citizen on the island nation of 320,000.

Staggering payments

A poll taken in August suggested that 70% of Icelanders were against the deal, which was approved by Parliament earlier this week.

More than 56,000 - about 23% of Iceland's voters - signed the petition urging President Olaf Ragnar Grimsson not to sign the bill.


follow the story.




Women Sent to the Back of the Bus in Israel

Women Sent to the Back of the Bus in Israel

In a throwback to 1950s America, Israel allows gender-based segregation on its public buses and looks the other way when women are violently abused for not sitting in the back of the bus.

Egged, Israel's state transport company, runs around 100 mehadrin (super-kosher) bus lines catering to haredi (ultra-orthodox) riders. In theory, gender segregation on these publicly-funded lines is voluntary. In practice? Women are verbally abused, publicly humiliated and sometimes even beaten if they don't "voluntarily" dress modestly, board and exit from the rear bus doors, and sit in the back of the bus.

In November 2006, American-Israeli Miriam Shear was brutally beaten, kicked, spat on, and shouted at by ultra-Orthodox men for refusing to give up her seat in the front of the bus. Shear had been riding the Egged No. 2 bus to pray at the Western Wall every morning, and had experienced several run-ins about her choice of seating before one haredi man decided to take action. He spat in her face and when she responded by refusing to stand up, he threw her down and began beating her. While Shear was being beaten, other riders yelled at her for being a stupid American and having no common sense.

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Naked Coffee Making Guy Gets Convicted, Appeals

Hi guys, this story is from the 19th so I'm not sure if it's been posted, but I remember all of us being outraged when it first came out so I wanted to post the follow up.

'Intentionally naked' Fairfax County man appealing his conviction

The Fairfax County man who was arrested for being naked -- in his home -- was found guilty Friday of indecent exposure, but the judge did not fine him or sentence him to jail.

Erick Williamson, 29, continued to believe that he had done nothing wrong and that he did not purposely expose himself to two women and a 7-year-old boy who walked past his house the morning of Oct. 19. He immediately appealed his conviction.

A seven-person jury in misdemeanor appeals court will rule on the propriety of Williamson's domestic nudity in February.

"That's outrageous," he said after the verdict. "It's unbelievable." He said publicity from the arrest had cost him a job as a commercial diver. "I'm the victim," he said.

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Game Theories

Online fantasy games have booming economies and citizens who love their political systems. Are these virtual worlds the best place to study the real one?

By Clive Thompson

Image Hosting

Edward Castronova had hit bottom. Three years ago, the thirty-eight-year-old economist was, by his own account, an academic failure. He had chosen an unpopular field—welfare research—and published only a handful of papers that, as far as he could tell, “had never influenced anybody.” He’d scraped together a professorship at the Fullerton campus of California State University, a school that did not even grant Ph.D.s. He lived in a lunar, vacant suburb. He’d once dreamed of being a major economics thinker but now faced the grim sense that he might already have hit his plateau. “I’m a schmo at a state school,” he thought. And since his wife worked in another city, he was, on top of it all, lonely.

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This article is fairly old, so apologies if it's been posted before, but I thought it was a pretty interesting topic.
why so serious?

Sexiness for Everyone (even Muslims)

Liaison Dangereuse, a German online lingerie store, recently released a new video advertisement.  With Arabic-sounding music in the background, a woman is shown getting out of the shower (we can see, from the back, that she has no clothes on), putting on her make-up, then walking (wearing nothing but high heels–to each her own, I suppose) to her dresser, where she puts on her underwear, bra and socks, all the while looking at herself in the mirror.  Last (anyone see where this is going yet?), she puts on a burqa.  The final scene is of her face at a window, with this phrase showing up: “Sexiness for everyone.  Everywhere.”


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yes i do

Iran soccer chief apologizes for Israel greeting

The head of Iran's soccer federation issued a public apology and a member of his staff resigned after the federation mistakenly sent a New Year's greeting to its counterpart in Israel, Iranian officials announced Sunday.

"It was a big mistake sending an e-mail to Israel's football federation," Ali Kaffashian, president of the Iran Football Federation, said in a statement carried by the semi-official Mehrs News Agency. "However, I am sure the director of the foreign relations office didn't do it on purpose."

Kaffashian said Iran's soccer league routinely sends New Year's greetings to all members of FIFA, the sport's global federation, except for Israel. Iran does not recognize Israel, which it dismisses as the "Zionist entity," and the two countries' teams do not meet in international competitions.

Mohammad-Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili, the head of the league's foreign relations office, resigned over the matter, Kaffashian said.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/01/03/iran.soccer.israel/index.html

Nobel prize winner George Smoot IS smarter than a fifth grader. No, really!

Nobel physicist Smoot smarter than a 5th-grader

Tanya Schevitz, Special to the Chronicle

Sunday, January 3, 2010

George Smoot proved that he was, in fact, smarter than a ... Nobel astrophysicist George Smoot has worked at Lawrence ...

For much of his life, astrophysicist George Smoot III has been what he calls a "scientific outlaw."

It was his passion for searching and investigating outside the mainstream that won the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist the Nobel Prize for physics in 2006 for evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory. Even among his nerdy peers, the effusive Smoot was on the fringes, playing football in high school, trekking in Nepal, attending the Academy Awards, listening to music like Jay Z and Avril Lavigne on his iPod and volunteering as a sound tech for Jerry Garcia back in the day.

But after winning the Nobel Prize, he felt constrained, a newly minted member of "the establishment" thrust into the position of role model.

Brushing aside objections from his Lawrence Berkeley lab colleagues, who argued it would not portray the world's premiere research lab in the right light, he decided to appear in September on the Fox TV game show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

He appeared earlier in the year on the CBS sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory," playing himself as the keynote speaker at a conference attended by the main characters, ultra nerdy scientists. He said he agreed to go on the show because he likes that the scientists are portrayed as heroes.

But "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" was different.

"It was kind of like rebelling," Smoot said. "It was risky because there was a big chance you wouldn't answer everything correctly. You are supposed to be this example to new generations, and to have to say you are not smarter than a fifth-grader would be embarrassing."


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Palestinians End Torture of Hamas Prisoners

Palestinians End Torture of Hamas Prisoners

NABLUS, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian security forces in the West Bank have stopped torturing Hamas prisoners, ending two years of systematic abuse, Hamas inmates said in jailhouse interviews.

The change in practice, said to have taken effect in October, was confirmed by a West Bank Hamas leader, human rights activists and the Palestinian prime minister. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the decision to halt any abuse was part of an effort to make sure a future state is built on the right foundations.

Hamas legislators and human rights researchers said the worst behavior — prisoners beaten with clubs and cables, suspended from the ceiling while tied up in painful positions and forced to stand for days — had ended.

But they said they still received sporadic reports of prisoners being slapped or forced to stand for several hours during interrogation. And security forces often arrest Hamas activists and hold them for lengthy periods without charge.

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allah voted

Israel’s fictional undivided Jerusalem

Israel’s near hysterical reaction to a Swedish proposal to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, their stubborn refusal to include East Jerusalem in their questionable “settlement freeze” and their defense of repressive policies imposed on Palestinians in the area of that holy city are framed in language that masks their real intent.

When Israel speaks of Jerusalem, they often frame their concerns as based either on religion or historical attachment. Jerusalem is, they will say, “our eternal undivided capital,” and they will add “we longed to return for 2000 years.” While not dismissing the religious importance of the city, given its pivotal role in all three Abrahamic faiths, the disturbing reality that emerges from an examination of Israeli practices in the area around Jerusalem exposes, quite simply, that their efforts speak more of a naked land grab of Palestinian territory than they do of religion.

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Source @ Al Jazeera Magazine

I know it's a little old, but it hasn't been posted and it's interesting to see the realities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that aren't filtered through the U.S. media.

Newark terminal locked down; search continues for man

(CNN) -- Hours after a security breach forced the closure of a terminal at the Newark, New Jersey, airport Sunday, authorities were still searching for a man who went the wrong way through a checkpoint exit.
The incident happened at about 5:20 p.m. at Terminal C, when an individual walked from the public side to the secure "sterile" side for passengers who had cleared screening, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

No flights were allowed to leave from Terminal C Sunday evening and thousands of other travelers who had reached the sterile area after going through checkpoints were moved back to the public area to be re-screened, the TSA said.

Authorities are reviewing video from airport cameras. They are not sure whether the man was once on the sterile side and went back, or if he never went through screening, TSA spokeswoman Anne Davis said. The incident caused arrival delays and mainly affected Continental Airlines, which is the airport's largest tenant.

CNN's Alina Cho, who arrived at the airport Saturday night on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, described the hectic scene: "For the people who are hoping to fly out of Newark this evening, there is not a lot of movement."

She said many passengers who had already boarded outgoing flights had to get off planes to be re-screened.

"I just saw one woman pleading with a gate agent, saying that she had two small children and a heart condition -- that she simply could not take this," Cho said. "But of course, there will be no exceptions."

Newark Liberty International Airport, which is about 15 miles from Manhattan, is the second-largest hub for Continental. The airport handles about 35 million passengers a year.

If this is somehow TL;DR, here are the story highlights:
  • TSA: Man walks through wrong side of checkpoint exit
  • Police seek the individual, who walked from the public side to the sterile side
  • No flights allowed to leave from Terminal C Sunday evening
  • Incident causes arrival delays and mainly affected Continental Airlines