February 7th, 2010

talkin' that blah blah blah

The New Math on Campus

By ALEX WILLIAMS
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.



Another ladies’ night, not by choice.

After midnight on a rainy night last week in Chapel Hill, N.C., a large group of sorority women at the University of North Carolina squeezed into the corner booth of a gritty basement bar. Bathed in a neon glow, they splashed beer from pitchers, traded jokes and belted out lyrics to a Taylor Swift heartache anthem thundering overhead. As a night out, it had everything — except guys.

“This is so typical, like all nights, 10 out of 10,” said Kate Andrew, a senior from Albemarle, N.C. The experience has grown tiresome: they slip on tight-fitting tops, hair sculpted, makeup just so, all for the benefit of one another, Ms. Andrew said, “because there are no guys.”

North Carolina, with a student body that is nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women’s colleges. Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education. Researchers there cite several reasons: women tend to have higher grades; men tend to drop out in disproportionate numbers; and female enrollment skews higher among older students, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students.

In terms of academic advancement, this is hardly the worst news for women — hoist a mug for female achievement. And certainly, women are primarily in college not because they are looking for men, but because they want to earn a degree.

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okay, so it's not exactly political, but it does bring up some interesting questions about the dating dynamic on college campuses (well, to me at least). i go to college in north carolina and my university is 67% female. girls everywhere. so...this isn't really news to me.

college ontd_p-ers: do you notice these things on your college campuses? how does this make you feel~
nobody / travis

Violence against women is a global struggle



Eight years ago, Nasreen (not her real name) walked into the office of the Daily Khabrain newspaper in Lahore, Pakistan, and demanded justice. She stripped off her clothes, revealing a black and blue body covered with wounds and cigarette burns. She'd been gang raped. With tears in her eyes, she said, "My husband hired three men and got me raped in front of him because I was tired of his abuse and demanded the divorce that Islam gave me a right to. He didn't even respect me as the mother of his children... I just want justice in the name of God."

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source

Humaira Shahid is a former editor and legislator in Pakistan, is currently a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Ritu Sharma is Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide in Washington.

Summary of International Violence Against Women Act (pdf)
comedy | SQUEH

ontd_political Photo(s) of the Day: Feb 6, 2010.



Given the epic snowfall some of Yall experienced in the U.S. this week, here's a compilation of international snow-themed photography taken between early December until the week of February 6. Squee'ing/emotional frolicking is  welcomed.

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Source:

Smoke the Bigots Out of the Closet



By FRANK RICH
Published: February 6, 2010

A funny thing happened after Adm. Mike Mullen called for gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military: A curious silence befell much of the right. If this were a Sherlock Holmes story, it would be the case of the attack dogs that did not bark.

John McCain, commandeering the spotlight as usual, did fulminate against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But the press focus on McCain, the crazy man in Washington’s attic, was misleading. His yapping was an exception, not the rule.

Many of his Republican colleagues said little or nothing. The right’s noise machine was on mute. The Fox News report on Mullen’s testimony was fair and balanced — and brief. The network dropped the subject entirely in the Hannity-O’Reilly hothouse of prime time that night. Only ratings-desperate CNN gave a fleeting platform to the old homophobic clichés. Michael O’Hanlon, an “expert” from the Brookings Institution, speculated that “18-year-old, old-fashioned, testosterone-laden” soldiers who are “tough guys” might object to those practicing “alternative forms of lifestyle,” which he apparently views as weak and testosterone-deficient. His only prominent ally was the Family Research Council, which issued an inevitable “action alert” demanding a stop to “the sexualization of our military.”

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New York Times

Caribou Barbie scribbles notes on her hand

Image and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPic

Closer inspection of a photo of Sarah Palin, during a speech in which she mocked President Obama for his use of a teleprompter, reveals several notes written on her left hand. The words "Energy", "BudgetTax Cuts" and "Lift American Spirits" are clearly visible.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (8 PM CST)

Ahh sweet Earl Grey Revolution! Sarah Palin knew that speech like the back of her hand. The Q&A answers, however, were on the front of her hand.

Or so it appeared.

During the Q&A following her speech at the Tea Party Convention, Ms. Palin appeared to read from her hand in answering.

The following image was caught by some sharp-eyed Twitter users, notably @jryanlaw

Crib Notes? This potential presidential candidate and "movement" leader was using crib notes to answer basic questions?

This would mean:

A) That she knew the questions beforehand and the whole thing was a farce. (Likely.)

and

B) That she still couldn't answer the previously agreed-upon questions without a little extra help.

If true, this is supremely rich coming immediately after a speech in which Palin took a shot at President Obama for using a teleprompter to read his prepared speeches.

You can bet that the President wasn't reading scribbles off his extremities while he sparred with Republicans and Democrats in an unscripted format in his recent Q&As.

Palin, on the other hand, seems to need a cheat-sheet just to get through a contrived lovefest with a smitten interviewer and an adoring audience.

I'm no fan of the Tea Party movement - if it can be called such - but if this is their leader I actually sympathize with them.

source

I understand using note cards and such for facts and figure and important details, but REALLY? Not being able t remember shit like "lift American spirits"...??????  I wonder how long it would take for Obama to make her cry if they went head to head with no preparation.

Rahm's "apology" also belongs here, I think. "Here's a status update - GROW THE FUCK UP!"

judges you / joan

obama is slapping liberty in the face

Obama: show your birth papers

Isn't this what makes patriots distrust Marxist Muslim Barack Hussein Obama all the more? In his address to the National Prayer Breakfast, he inserted this: "...surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship."

Everyone should continue to press this man to the wall concerning his "faith" and his "citizenship." His faith is Muslim for he said "my Muslim faith" when interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. His Protestant papers are a mask for his commitment to the Koran's Allah.

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Those familiar with Islam know that Islamics are commissioned by their deity to lie. Lying is a virtue to Muslims. Therefore, we have a lying person in the Oval Office. He has been caught in so many lies that it is laborious to list them all.

And if making promises and then not keeping most of those promises can be regarded as lying, add that to his lying lifestyle and one has an arch-deceiver in the White House. There simply has to come the moment when some American-loyal judge demands the obvious — Obama's birth certificate. This waiting game is a travesty, a slap in the face to Liberty.

Grassroots Americans remaining true to the U. S. Constitution, their pledge of allegiance to the American flag, and working hard to keep our freedoms secure deserve a leader who is at least that much in line with the core of the nation. However, we don't. All the more then that Obama's faith and citizenship be questioned until this lying personage coughs up facts to the satisfaction of every honest American.

source

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is a pastor at New Hope Church in Windham, Maine.
normal

GOP Welcomes New Comers But Politely Ask Them To Leave: "Get Out of My Way"

Enthusiastic Republicans crowding many primary races
Weakened Democrats and strife between the GOP's old guard and newcomers contribute to the surplus of candidates in contests around the country. It's not clear who will benefit.

As the Republican Party's chances of success in the fall elections increase week by week, so too has the number of Republican candidates jumping into primaries across the country. Party officials claim to welcome the enthusiasm, but in many places it's the sort of welcome reserved for an uninvited guest.

Or eight uninvited guests, as is the case in Arkansas, where the lineup of candidates wanting to challenge Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln has swelled to nine. An open seat in Tennessee has four Republicans vying for the nomination, and one erstwhile Republican running as an independent. Two competitive districts in Virginia have drawn out 11 hopefuls between them. Races in Nevada, New Hampshire and California also are crowding fast.


In cases such as Arkansas', a surplus of candidates is evidence of an eagerness to take on a politically weak Democrat. Lincoln's approval ratings are among the lowest in the Senate. In other cases, it's a result of internal strife between the party's establishment and the often more-conservative newcomers. Experts say that those primaries promise to deliver very public and expensive displays of division that could undercut GOP efforts to win seats in November.

"I think it's more likely than not to cause a major problem for Republicans," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He notes that GOP candidates who emerge from crowded primaries are more likely to be conservative, reflecting the support of the most-motivated voters. That can make them less likely to attract the moderate swing voters needed to win a general election.

"A crowded primary field helps liberals in the Democratic Party and conservatives in the Republican Party, but it doesn't necessarily help either in the fall," he said.
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Martha

Can Republicans Govern?




Recent electoral successes, including Scott Brown’s landmark victory in Massachusetts, have positioned Republicans once again for a role in governing, and far sooner than they might have supposed. But are they ready to govern? It all depends, for the problem with many Republicans (and I am a Republican) is that they, along with liberals, subscribe at a visceral level to The Narrative.

What is The Narrative? The Narrative is the official story about America. It is a story composed by the political left, which entered American public life with the progressive movement in the early 20th century and was elaborated in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and ’40s.

The story runs like this. America was founded on the ideal of equality, though that ideal at first was barely put into practice. The story of America is one of progress toward the fulfillment of the ideal of equality. The end of slavery and the achievement of women’s suffrage are landmarks in this story. All fair enough. So is—less plausibly—the federal income tax, originally established to fund the government but later used to redistribute wealth and tax advantages among Americans. Then came the many programs of direct payments to individuals, the so-called entitlements, beginning with Social Security and extending to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, aid to dependent children, farm subsidies, and myriad others. And today the health care reform bill before Congress takes its place in America’s advance toward equality. Each and every policy that aims to level distinctions between Americans has found its place within The Narrative.

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CONSERVATIVE SOURCE


This article was posted for the sole purpose of stirring up conversation on a Slow News Day™.

ETA: The Democrat version of the painting can be found here.
Murasaki Shikibu

But--but--He only had their best interests at heart!

Haitian lawyer for jailed US missionaries fired

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The Haitian lawyer for 10 U.S. Baptists charged with child kidnapping tried to bribe the missionaries' way out of jail and has been fired, the attorney who hired him said Saturday night.

The Haitian lawyer, Edwin Coq, denied the allegation. He said the $60,000 he requested from the Americans' families was his fee.


Jorge Puello, the attorney in the neighboring Dominican Republic retained by relatives of the 10 American missionaries after their arrest last week, told The Associated Press that he fired Coq on Friday night. He had hired Coq to represent the detainees at Haitian legal proceedings.

Coq orchestrated "some kind of extortion with government officials" that would have led to the release of nine of the 10 missionaries, Puello charged.

"He had some people inside the court that asked him for money, and he was part of this scheme," Puello said.


Coq denied the requested $60,000 payment amounted to a bribe.

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...this whole situation is so full of sketchiness I don't even know what to say at this point. 'Cause wow.
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nobody / travis

Row over Rio Carnival role for 7 year old girl



A row has erupted in Rio de Janeiro over the decision to make a seven-year-old girl "queen" of a top samba school taking part in the famous carnival.

Children's rights groups have raised concerns that it is inappropriate for a child to take on the traditionally "sexy" role for the 80-minute parade. But Julia Lira's father dismissed their concerns, saying she was a natural and would cope with dancing in the heat. A judge is now considering a ban on her starring role in next week's parade.

Julia has been picked as the drum corps queen for the Viradouro Samba School, which is among a dozen top-tier samba groups to take part in the annual Carnival. To be queen of a Rio samba school is one of the most sought after roles in carnival but is more often associated with scantily-clad women, for whom a little plastic surgery is not uncommon, the BBC's Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says. While Julia would certainly represent a very different image, her potential participation is alarming child welfare groups, our correspondent says.

The Rio de Janeiro state Council for the Defence of Children and Adolescents suggested it would only "increase the treatment of children as sexual objects in Brazilian society". "We're not against kids participating in Carnival; it's part of Brazilian culture," the council's director, Carlos Nicodemos, told the Associated Press (AP) news agency. "What we can't allow is putting a seven-year-old girl in a role that traditionally has a very sexual focus."

Viradouro organizers have said Julia's outfit will be appropriate for a child and that she will cope with the demands of dancing for 80 minutes in the sweltering summer heat. “She is a child who is capable of being queen of the drum call. Any man who looks at a seven-year-old girl and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor," her father, Marco Lira, told AP.

"She has the aptitude to be drum corps queen... she has a seriousness inside of her when she is on stage." A family court in Rio is expected to rule this week on whether she can take the role. Carnival events will run from 13 to 16 February.

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source 1
source 2 (more disturbing pictures here)
Comics- Law & Order Batman

Palin is a hypocrite. In other news, water is wet.

Palin Considering 2012 Run, Defends Limbaugh's Use Of 'Retard' On Fox News Sunday




Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin didn't cage her answer when pressed Sunday morning as to whether she would consider a run for president in 2012.

"I would, I would if I believe that is the right thing to do for our country and the Palin family. Certainly I would do so," she told "Fox News Sunday," in an interview that was taped before she addressed a Tea Party convention the night before. "I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I could potentially do to help our country ... . I won't close a door that perhaps could be open for me in the future."

In her first Sunday show appearance, the 2008 vice-presidential candidate predicted that, if the election were held today, President Barack Obama would actually lose the office he won just a year-and-a-half ago. But -- citing a column written by Pat Buchanan -- she left open the possibility that his fates could change, particularly (she seemed to wish) if a major attack were to be launched against Iran.

Palin also used her platform to continue a call for the president to rid himself of his closest advisers. On Attorney General Eric Holder, she labeled his handling of captured terrorists -- "allowing them our U.S. constitutional protections when they do not deserve them" -- a firing offense. On Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, she said his comments calling liberal groups "f-ing retards" was "indecent and insensitive" and cause for his dismissal.

But the former governor went to great and sometimes awkward lengths to insist that when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the same exact term to describe the same exact group, it was simply in the role of political humorist.

"They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh," she said, when read a quote of Limbaugh calling liberal groups "retards." "Rush Limbaugh was using satire ... . I didn't hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with 'f-ing retards,' and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there."


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Sauce.

Anyone surprised? Anyone? Bueller?

Also, Palin, it's 'fingertips' not 'fingerprints'. You make it sound like you're embedding your speaking notes in your whorls, not just on your palm.
Cheers

Obama Invites GOP Leaders to Health Care Talk

In an interview Sunday with CBS' Katie Couric, Obama said he wants Republicans "to put their ideas on the table."

WASHINGTON -- In the first major step to revive his health care agenda after his party's loss of a filibuster-proof Senate majority, President Barack Obama on Sunday invited Republican and Democratic leaders to discuss possible compromises in a televised gathering later this month.

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Magneto puppet

Malawi man arrested for posting gay rights posters

(CNN) -- Malawian police have arrested a man for allegedly putting up posters supporting homosexuality, which is illegal in the southern African nation.

Peter Sawali was charged this week with conduct likely to cause breach of peace, said police spokesman Davie Chingwalu.

Sawali, 21, was putting up posters that read, "Gay rights are human rights," on a busy road in the city of Blantyre, the spokesman said.

The man had stacks of glossy posters with the same message in his possession, according to the spokesman. An investigation is under way to seek more suspects, because Sawali said he was not acting alone.

"Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi and is punishable by prison time and hard labor," Chingwalu said. "Basically, he was promoting a criminal act. This is what this is all about."

If convicted, Sawali would face up to five months in prison, hard labor and a fine of about 2,000 kwacha ($14), police said.

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Source.
exhale slowly

Every F—ing Day Of My Life: One Day Of Violence Is One Day Too Many

In 2005, Wendy Maldonado smashed in her husband's skull with a hammer, while her 16-year-old son assisted with a hatchet. The documentary Every F—-ing Day of My Life explores what led the Maldonado's to commit such gruesome acts.

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I watched this the other night, had to post. If this case interests you, you should also read Couldn't Keep It To Myself.
source
nevada politics, josh is working on it

In which a bunch of Nevada political types sleep around with each other:

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons will take to the airwaves on Monday to deliver grim news about the state's financial picture. But the governor has much more on his mind than the state of the state.

On Friday, he spent long hours being questioned under oath about a 2006 incident involving a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. What's more, a painful divorce that was supposed to be settled more than a month ago is still being contested.

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Since Wednesday, the I-Team has sought comment from the governor or his staff about Wendy's deposition, which contains information of a much more explosive nature. Gibbons was out of the office, but Press Secretary Dan Burns said, "I am shocked KLAS would be so irresponsible to report unsubstantiated conjecture like this."

On Saturday, Governor Gibbons left a voice message on the phone of I-Team Producer Ian Russell, in which he said everything in Wendy's deposition is false and that if we proceed with this story, he will not only sue KLAS-TV, but also sue George Knapp personally and sue Producer Ian Russell.

Why would the governor issue such a direct threat about a story that has not aired? The I-Team will explain why in our next report, airing Monday at 5:00 p.m.

Sauce-y

NGL, this is a pretty hilariously incestuous story. I wanna make a flow-chart.
dah

Down With the People

source: http://www.slate.com/id/2243797/

Down With the People: Blame the childish, ignorant American public—not politicians—for our political and economic crisis.
By Jacob Weisberg

In trying to explain why our political paralysis seems to have gotten so much worse over the past year, analysts have rounded up a plausible collection of reasons including: President Obama's tactical missteps, the obstinacy of congressional Republicans, rising partisanship in Washington, the blustering idiocracy of the cable-news stations, and the Senate filibuster, which has devolved into a super-majority threshold for any important legislation. These are all large factors, to be sure, but that list neglects what may be the biggest culprit in our current predicament: the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.

Anybody who says you can't have it both ways clearly hasn't been spending much time reading opinion polls lately. One year ago, 59 percent of the American public liked the stimulus plan, according to Gallup. A few months later, with the economy still deeply mired in recession, a majority of the same size said Obama was spending too much money on it. There's nothing wrong with changing your mind, of course, but opinion polls over the last year reflect something altogether more troubling: a country that simultaneously demands and rejects action on unemployment, deficits, health care, climate change, and a whole host of other major problems. Sixty percent of Americans want stricter regulations of financial institutions. But nearly the same proportion says we're suffering from too much regulation on business. That kind of illogic—or, if you prefer, susceptibility to rhetorical manipulation—is what locks the status quo in place.

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What are your thoughts on this, ontd_p?

Do Gay Men Have Evolutionary Edge?

A new study by Canadian researchers adds weight to the theory that the evolutionary role of gay men may be to serve as “super uncles” who help close family members survive.

Paul Vasey, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Lethbridge, sought to address an entrenched scientific riddle: If homosexuality appears to be inherited, how have gay men, who are less likely to reproduce, continued to pass on their genes without becoming extinct?

According to The Gazette of Montreal, one long-running theory argues that gay men serve the evolutionary role of acting as “super uncles” who assist close relatives and indirectly increase the chances of passing on their genes.

“The idea is that homosexuals are helping their close relatives reproduce more successfully and at a higher rate by being helpful: babysitting more, tutoring their nieces and nephews in art and music, and helping out financially with things like medical care and education,” reports The Gazette.

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