February 6th, 2010

stock | Teddy and Puppy

"Brendan Burke--LGBTQ hero/athlete and son of the Maple Leafs' GM--dies.



Published On Fri Feb 05 2010

Brendan Burke – the gay son of Leaf general manager Brian Burke – has been killed in a car accident, caused at least in part by a snowstorm.

“We are saddened to report that Brendan Burke, the youngest son of Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke, succumbed to injuries he suffered in an auto accident ... in Indiana,” the Leafs said in a statement Friday night.

“The family asks for privacy at this difficult time.”

On Friday night, Richard Peddie, president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, issued the following statement regarding the passing of Burke's son.

“On behalf of the entire Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Brian Burke. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burke family during this extremely difficult time.”

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The Burke family has been featured here and on The Mothership several times, due to the amazing support Brendan's family displayed when he came out, and the work Brendan had just begun doing in battling homophobia in hockey. Father and son even made it into the nominations for ontd_political's most influential people 2009.

All of this is so sudden and tragic. May Brendan Rest In Peace. -_-
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  • drbat

Asking and Telling In Israel


Israeli army Maj. Yoni Schoenfeld, right, listens to his partner, Noam, during an interview with the Associated Press in Tel Aviv, Israel.

I began my mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces in the summer of 1994, just a year after the government decided that gays could serve openly in the military. At the time, I had not yet solidified my sexual orientation, having had encounters with both men and women. I was generally confused.

One thing I did know was that I wanted to join an infantry unit and also serve as a paratrooper—like a "real man." Basic training was grueling, with sleepless nights, agonizing exercises, and long runs in full battle gear. Those hardships taught me the value of friendship: men struggling together, bleeding together, and supporting one another while pushing themselves to the limits of their abilities. They also taught me that there's a flip side to military machismo: a helping hand when times are tough or a brotherly hug when missions are accomplished successfully. These friendships enabled me to open up to the other men and talk about my sexual identity. The reactions were always supportive; regardless of whom you share your bed with, these friends would say, we know you are a good fighter and a member of the team.

And so, oddly enough, it was my military service that helped me make sense of my sexual orientation. By the time I became a young officer, I'd come out of the closet to my family and friends and had a steady partner. I did not pin a gay-pride flag on my duffel bag or hang one at my base; I don't think that would have been appropriate in the military, given the diversity of opinions and beliefs. But I never lied about my preferences, and by the time I became a senior officer in an elite unit, most of my fellow officers knew my story. Yes, I was a gay officer in a special-forces unit—and a damn good one, at that.

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Source.
hyacinth bucket

RRRRAGE

NYC student arrested for doodling on desk

12-year-old Queens girl taken to local police station in handcuffs


NEW YORK - A New York City junior high student has been arrested for doodling on her desk with a marker.

Twelve-year-old Alexa Gonzalez scribbled "Lex was here 2/1/10" on her desk Monday at Junior High School 190 in Queens. She also wrote "I love my friends Abby and Faith."

The girl says the doodles could have been erased.

Moraima Tamacho says her daughter was released several hours after she was taken in handcuffs to a police station.

Education department spokesman David Cantor said the incident shouldn't have happened, and that common sense should prevail.

Last month, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit alleging more than 20 instances of wrongful arrests and assaults by school safety officers.

Gonzalez has been assigned eight hours of community service, a book report and an essay on what she's learned from the experience.

WTFisthisshisource

NHS tricked into wasting £12m on water

The British Homeopathic Association has been accused of misrepresenting scientific evidence on alternative medicine in documents it gave to a parliamentary inquiry.

The organisation claimed several scientific reviews offered support for homeopathy in material submitted to the cross-party science and technology select committee, which is holding an investigation into the products. Robert Mathie, a researcher at the BHA, said the reviews found evidence for a difference between homeopathic remedies and sugar pills, which contain no active ingredients.

But the claim has dismayed some of the scientists who wrote the reviews and angered MPs on the committee who are in the final stages of writing their report.

One review cited was written by Edzard Ernst, a scientist who investigates complementary medicine at the Penisula Medical School in Exeter. He said the BHA's interpretation of his study was "grossly misleading" because they failed to mention important caveats published in the study. Another review, by Jean-Pierre Boissel at the Hospitals of Lyon and University Claude Bernard in France, was quoted as evidence that homeopathic treatments differ to placebos. Boissel said his conclusion was that homeopathy tended to fare worse in the best-designed studies.

"It is extremely disappointing to be fed misrepresentations of science, whether it's deliberate or incompetence," said Evan Harris MP, science spokesman for the Lib Dems and a member of the parliamentary committee.

Homeopathic treatments are usually made by diluting a substance so much there are no molecules of the original ingredient left. In November the chief pharmacist at Boots, Paul Bennett, told the inquiry he had no evidence that homeopathy works. At the weekend, hundreds of people took part in a "mass overdose" of homeopathic pills outside branches of Boots to protest against the company selling the products.

The row emerged as a survey for the medical journal, Pulse, found 80% of GPs want the Health Department to stop funding homeopathy on the NHS. Only 14% were in favour of the health service continuing to provide the treatments. According to figures released last year, homeopathy cost the NHS £12m over 2008. Peter Davies, a Halifax GP, said: "If patients want to try homeopathy and pay for it themselves, that is fine. In terms of evidence-based medicine, homeopathy doesn't get a look in. It is something the NHS should not fund."

In a statement, Mathie said: "The BHA's evidence to MPs did not misrepresent the clinical research evidence in homeopathy; it is an accurate and reasonable summary of the facts, with a series of recommendations for future research … We need more and higher quality clinical trials."
 


Source: The Guardian
Need a 'pseudoscience' tag... very unwilling to use 'science' for something about flipping homeopathy.
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Guyz, We are All Millionaires!! We Just Dont Know It!!

Steele: ‘Trust Me, After Taxes, A Million Dollars Is Not A Lot Of Money’

RNC Chairman Michael Steele and former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) held a joint appearance Thursday night at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. When the debate turned to President Obama’s plan to let the Bush tax cuts expire on families making over $250,000, Steele “joke[d]” that that wasn’t very much money:
The two often traded jokes, especially when Steele panned President Barack Obama’s long-stated plan to let income tax rates return to higher levels for families making more than $250,000 a year.

Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money,” Steele said.

Ford later asked the audience of mostly college students, “Who in here makes a million dollars a year?”

“How many of you want to make a million dollars a year?” Steele quickly responded when no hands were raised.
Of course, to most Americans, $250,000 — let alone a million — is “a lot of money.” The median household income is about $52,000 and only two percent of Americans make $250,000 or more. Fewer than half-a-percent make more than a million dollars. “After taxes,” someone making a million dollars can still expect to keep about $675,000.

Yet Steele is not alone in his out-of-touch assertion. Hate radio host Rush Limbaugh — who reportedly makes about $50 million a year — also recently argued that “$250,000 is not wealthy.” And like Limbaugh, we can “trust” Steele about high income. In addition to his $223,500-a-year RNC post, Steele charges between $8,000 and $20,000 for personal speaking engagements. Indeed, the University paid Steele and Ford a combined $40,000 for Thursday’s event.

Steele’s claim reflects a larger conservative attempt to falsely claim that tax hikes for the very wealth will hurt the middle class.
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Republican Demands no Foreigners In the American Census: To Hell With Federal Funding! Bootstraps!!

Marco Rubio faces criticism over opposition to including immigrants in the Census.

This week, Republican Florida U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio accused his opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, of trying to “dilute the voting power of every American citizen” through his support of including immigrants in this year’s Census count. However, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that Rubio took a much softer stance as little as a week ago:

When asked whether illegal immigrants should count on things like the number of seats that Florida should have in Congress, Rubio initially said last week that he was not sure and that he wanted to “research it more.”

“I think there’s good arguments on both sides of it,” said Rubio, a former House speaker and Republican from Miami.
Rubio, however, also said that the census should have an “accurate count” in order to know how “bad of an immigration problem we have.”

Crist has remarked that Rubio’s “notion that you wouldn’t want to accept federal funding to make a political point is absurd.” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) stated, “It [not counting undocumented immigrants] would be pretty damaging to Florida. … Pretending they’re not there, not counting them, doesn’t make them go away.” State Rep. Dean Cannon commented that “it’s just important that the count be accurate regardless of their [immigrant] status.” Even Rubio supporter State Rep. Esteban Bovo (R) said, “So much funding is tied to the Census, and to be undercounted could have devastating effects down the line. … I really don’t want our community to get shortchanged.” Rubio later backtracked on his remarks to clarify that he was only referring to undocumented immigrants, not green card-holders like his Cuban immigrant parents once were.
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In Paris, the customer is not always right

The idea of service is taken very seriously in France where any feeling of subservience is strongly resisted, as Emma Jane Kirby discovered.

Photobucket

Paris is in a bad mood.

The sullen, steel-grey sky seems to be permanently snivelling sleet.

The Seine, swollen against its banks, pushes and squeezes its way through the city like an irascible woman in too-tight shoes.

And the January depression has even sucked some of the glitzy dazzle out of the Eiffel Tower, leaving it looking - at least from a distance - like a rather cheap, left-over Christmas decoration.

It may be the city of romance and a Mecca for tourists, but right now Paris feels and looks like it just cannot be bothered any more to turn on the charm.

Not that this city is exactly known for its sense of service.

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It's a slow day and I actually found this article a bit enlightening re: all the horror stories I've heard about Paris.

And as much as I hate to admit it, they kind of make a point about American waiters. If you belong to a group that waiters generally consider bad tippers, your service is more likely to suck. I'm a woman who often dines alone, and the difference in service is amazing. Twice I've had an owner act so nasty that I left before ordering.
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New Ice Age Destroys Global Warming! Blizzard Greeted As Liberator!

Virginia GOP Mocks Epic Snow Storm As ‘12 Inches Of Global Warming’

Record snowfall is now falling in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore region, with accumulation expected to shatter the 1922 Washington record of 28 inches and the 1993 Baltimore record of 26.8 inches of snow. The storm is leaving destruction in its wake, with tornado watches in Florida and ice storms expected in North Carolina. In Virginia, towns are struggling to decide how to pay for snow removal, as their budgets have been blown through by previous storms.

In response, the Virginia Republican Party has ads that mock Rep. Rick Boucher and Rep. Tom Periello — both Democrats in conservative districts who support climate legislation — because they “think global warming is a serious problem for Virginia…so serious they voted to kill tens of thousands of Virginia jobs just to stop it.” The ad “features images of falling snow, stuck cars, and weathermen,” and urges viewers to call the congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend”:

Call Boucher and Perriello and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend. Maybe they’ll come help you shovel.
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Tea Party Divided By Zero! Birther Speech Not Well Received! WATER IS NOT WET!

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Birther Speaker Takes Heat at Tea Party Convention

During WorldNetDaily Editor-in-Chief Joseph Farah’s Friday night dinner speech, which spent around 10 of its forty minutes on questions about Barack Obama’s citizenship, Andrew Brietbart was among the conservatives in back of the room grumbling audibly about what he was hearing.

After he introduced the evening’s closing entertainment — a film titled “Generation Zero” — Breitbart walked outside to the convention hall. There, I heard Breitbart criticizing Farah, and briefly talked to him about it before I noticed that WorldNetDaily’s Chelsea Schilling was already talking to him, holding up a voice recorder. I backed up to allow her to continue her interview, which consisted of questions on why Breitbart didn’t think Obama’s citizenship was a legitimate issue.

“It’s self-indulgent, it’s narcissistic, it’s a losing issue,” Breitbart told Schilling. “It’s a losing situation. If you don’t have the frigging evidence — raising the question? You can do that to Republicans all day long. You have to disprove that you’re a racist! Forcing them to disprove something is a nightmare.”

“Wouldn’t you say,” asked Schilling, “in this case, that Farah is asking Obama to prove something rather than his disprove it?”

Breitbart rejected the premise. “When has a president ever been asked to prove his citizenship?”


After a few minutes Breitbart ended the conversation and Schilling started interviewing Tea Partiers about the speech, finding a little less skepticism. (I found some Tea Partiers, like Rita Grace of Virginia, who said they didn’t appreciate Farah’s speech.) I spotted Farah and asked him if his speech had been approved by Tea Party Nation.

“They asked me to speak,” said Farah. “They didn’t ask me, ‘What do you want to speak about?’ No, this operates like a free and open society, not like the kind of Marxist society you would apparently like to be a journalist for.”
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Big brouhaha over New Dorp boy's tiny toy gun

Here on Staten Island, the following story broke before the one here:

http://community.livejournal.com/ontd_political/5303421.html

The next day, my entry was in the Daily News, and after that the one I just linked above. They're both being discussed in heavy detail locally now.

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Source: Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A 9-year-old New Dorp boy earlier today learned there is no wiggle room in the Department of Education's "no toy gun" policy -- even if the toy gun is just two inches long.

Patrick Timoney, a fourth-grader at PS 52, South Beach, was nearly suspended after playing with LEGOs during his lunch period because one of the action figures was carrying at toy machine gun.

He and his friends had planned a playdate with their respective toys, and were sitting around the cafeteria table when the principal walked in and saw the action figure carrying the fake gun.

While the action figure was a standard LEGO policeman figure, the brand of the gun could not be determined.

"She took him into her office in the middle of the lunch period and he was crying," said the boy's mother, Laura Timoney. "He was afraid."

The principal called Ms. Timoney and said she considered the toy suspension-worthy, and that she was going to double-check with a security administrator from the city Department of Education.

According to Ms. Timoney, the administrator said the toy should be confiscated and returned to the parents at the end of the day, and that no other action was necessary.

"It's crazy," Ms. Timoney said. "He's missing class time, all for silly toys. The boys are just trying to relax. If there's a real threat, why not call the Police Department?"

She pointed out that another child had an action figure that was holding an ax, but that only Patrick was reprimanded.

"When are we going to take responsibility for common sense and logic?" Ms. Timoney said.

The DOE's discipline code says that all imitation weapons are prohibited, but, before considering suspension, it is up to a principal to decide whether a fake gun looks realistic, by evaluating the color, size, shape, appearance and weight.

A message left for Principal Evelyn Matroianni was not returned. However, Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the DOE, said there is a no-tolerance policy when it comes to fake guns because they are considered harmful to the school community.

"Toy guns are not allowed in schools," she said, adding that a conference was held among the principal, the parents and the student about the topic.

"The issue was resolved," Ms. Feinberg said. "The child will not be bringing the toy gun into school."

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This is a case of following the letter of the law and not the spirit.

Here's another one with a small update. They made the boy sign a paper saying he admitted to an infraction!

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Source: NY Daily News

Apologies came too late for the still-angry mother of a Staten Island fourth-grade student who was yanked from lunch for bringing a tiny toy gun to school.

"The principal called me and said, 'I'm sorry, I never meant for it to go this far,'" said Laura Timoney, who also received a call from the superintendent.

"She sounded upset," said Timoney, unmoved by the call from Public School 52 Principal Evelyn Mastroianni. "I think she is sorry that this is happening. I wish she was sorry for Patrick."

The apologies came after the widespread attention accompanying Tuesday's near-suspension of Timoney's 9-year-old son, Patrick.

The fourth-grader and a classmate were playing with their Lego figures and miniature toy guns in the school cafeteria Tuesday.

Then Patrick was taken to the principal's office and told to fill out paperwork admitting an "A-4 infraction."

"She told me to write that I had a gun," Patrick said. "She said, 'A gun is a gun.'"

Only his gun was a teeny-tiny plastic machine gun, about as deadly as a crayon.

"The principal made an error in judgment by overreacting when the toy was found," acknowledged Education Department spokesman Matthew Mittenthal.

While Mittenthal said the principal apologized to Patrick, the Timoneys insisted that never happened.

"The principal hasn't spoken to me at all," the boy said.

Mastroianni remained silent on the issue, with a school security officer chasing off a Daily News reporter.

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What both these sources don't mention for some reason was also the fact that his friend's Lego man was carrying AN AXE, and the principal didn't think that was on the same level.

Because I'm a giant nerd and Star Trek as always tried to be deep and meaningful, I leave you with this quote from TNG, season one, Justice:

Picard steps forward announcing to every living creature within the sound of his voice, "there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute." and that "life itself is an exercise in exceptions." Riker adds, "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?"
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