February 21st, 2010

  • amypond

blah blah let's make offensive jokes

Canadian commentators fail to cool it with Johnny Weir jokes

If Scotty Lago has to excuse himself from the Olympic scene for buffoonish behaviour, maybe that should apply to broadcasters.

The Canadian Press reports the Quebec council of gays and lesbians is going to make a complaint about French-language RDS, whose commentators Alain Goldberg and Claude Mailhot decided to go for the gold for trading in stale Johnny Weir jokes.

The pair called Weir "a bad example" and also suggested he go through gender testing, like the runner Caster Semenya. After all, in no way is the latter a touchy subject.

RDS' apology addressed "tactless comments on the appearance and manner of a figure skater." The crux of the grievance, though, was the comparison to Semenya.

"[T]he mea culpas are insufficient, according to Council president Steve Foster.

" 'They only apologized for the comments they made on his outfit,' he said Saturday. 'We hadn't even asked for an apology for those remarks. It's the rest of the comments: on his masculinity, his femininity, the fact he should skate as a woman.' "

Who knows what makes professional broadcasters think they can go do racial or sexual humor. Being able to read off a TelePrompTer doesn't make you into Russell Peters, pal. For the record, here is how the wire service reported it:

" 'This may not be politically correct,' Mailhot said during the segment, in which Weir ... was shown sporting a semi-sheer, pink-and-black costume he designed himself.

" 'But do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?' "

"Goldberg replied that Weir's feminine style may reflect badly on other male figure skaters.

" 'They'll think all the boys who skate will end up like him,' he said. 'It sets a bad example.' "

Well, at least Mailhot qualified it may be inappropriate.

" ... In the earlier RDS coverage of Weir, Goldberg and Mailhot also brought up South African runner Caster Semenya, who was forced to undergo gender testing following her 2009 win at the world track and field championships in Germany.

" 'We should make him [Weir] pass a gender test at this point,' Goldberg said, and Mailhot then jokingly suggested Weir should compete in the women's competition."

Brutal. The point is that broadcasters don't have the right to assume everyone watching agrees with their own strict definition of manhood. Stick to sports.

Hockey Night in Canada had a representative of EGALE come on the show last year for a discussion after Mike Milbury made his "pansification" remarks. Perhaps RDS should think about granting equal time.

Meantime, let's have a call for a total Johnny Weir joke moratorium. Not because it's politically incorrect, but because it is stunningly unoriginal. Move on.

talkin' that blah blah blah

Gingrich and Beck Galvanize Conservatives

February 21, 2010

WASHINGTON — Glenn Beck, a hero of the political right and the closing speaker at a conference of political conservatives here, offered a sweeping denunciation of progressivism on Saturday, calling it a cancer that must be cut out of the nation’s political system.
Blaming President Obama for the nation’s problems was “too simple an answer,” Mr. Beck, a popular conservative talk show host, told thousands of cheering supporters at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference. The real problem, he said, is progressivism, scrawling the word with chalk on a portable blackboard, a prop from his television show. “This is the disease in America,” he said.

But Mr. Beck aimed his fire at Republicans, too, giving them little quarter and saying he did not know what the party stood for. Mr. Beck, along with Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who led the Republican revolution in 1994, were among those who championed limited government and lower taxes at the three-day gathering of influential conservatives.

Mr. Beck, a recovering alcoholic, drew a parallel to addiction recovery programs and said that the Republican Party had to admit it was in trouble.

“Hello, my name is the Republican Party, and I have a problem!” he declared. “I’m addicted to spending and big government,” he said, drawing cheers from the audience in a ballroom of the hotel where the conference was held.

But both parties are to blame, he said. The Democrats tax and spend, while the Republicans just spend.

He also said people were losing a fundamental belief that things would get better.

“It is still morning in America,” he said. “It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hung-over, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America. And it’s shaping up to be kind of a nasty day. But it is still morning in America.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Gingrich called for “principled bipartisanship” at a health care summit next Thursday at the White House with the Democrats — what he called the “secular socialist machine.”

Mr. Gingrich made a rock-star-like entrance, wading into the audience to the throbbing beat of the song “Eye of the Tiger,” a searchlight flashing across the crowd as he shook hands with well-wishers.

He predicted that the Democrats would lose the House and Senate in November and Mr. Obama would lose in 2012, undone by “the coming massive conservative majority.”

He said that the Democratic health care proposals — all 4,500 pages from the House and Senate combined — “are among the worst legislation” ever to emerge from Capitol Hill.

Mr. Obama should begin the summit by tossing out those bills and starting from scratch, Mr. Gingrich said, and Republicans should have the same amount of time that Democrats will have to present their views.

“Let’s test the president’s willingness to be bipartisan,” he said.

Unlike some of the other speakers who addressed the conference, Mr. Gingrich gave little hint of whether he planned to run for president in 2012. He has said that he would make up his mind by next February.  

Other possible contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, including former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Representative Ron Paul of Texas, tested their own messages with the attendees.

Mr. Paul, who inspired an intense following when he ran for president in 2008, swept the conference’s presidential straw poll. With 31 percent of the nearly 2,400 votes cast, he finished ahead of Mr. Romney, who won the straw poll last year and captured 22 percent of the vote on Saturday.

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, who did not attend the conference, was third, with 7 percent of the vote, and Mr. Pawlenty received 6 percent.

About half of the 10,000 people attending the conference are students, according to the poll.

Despite the suspense surrounding the poll, the results have rarely predicted the winner of the Republican nomination.


okay, so the new york times is supposedly the ~bastion of liberal media~ etc but you can totally tell they don't like glenn beck. i mean, that is the actual picture they chose for the article. it's so subtly catty and i love it. also, Ron Paul for president?

Killjoy Spin
  • arisma

1,000 Architects & Engineers Call for New 9/11 Investigation

Richard Gage, AIA, architect and founder of the non-profit Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Inc. (AE911Truth), will announce a decisive milestone today at a press conference in San Francisco, as more than 1,000 worldwide architects and engineers now support the call for a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After careful examination of the official explanation, along with the forensic data omitted from official reports, these professionals have concluded that a new independent investigation into these mysterious collapses is needed.

Mr. Gage will deliver the news around this major development, accompanied by signers of the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth petition. The press conference will be held concurrently in 38 cities in 6 countries. http://www.ae911truth.org/info/160


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I'm going through the slide show presentation on that site now. I'm curious what others think of it.
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    Blaqk Audio, "Ill Lit Ships"
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You know what reminds ME of Dr. King? Oh yeah, firearms!

Some holidays just naturally go together. The proximity between the February birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for example, makes them a natural pairing for one all-purpose, sale-a-bration-centric day off. But trying to combine an assassinated civil rights leader's day of remembrance with the birthday of a gun manufacturer? That's just wack.

And yet this week, Utah state Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, took a shot at just that, submitting a bill to the state proposing a "John M. Browning State Holiday." Though the text of the bill itself was left blank, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported that "a draft has been circulating in the Senate that would combine the current King holiday with a celebration of Browning, an Ogden native and one of the most significant pioneers in firearms manufacturing."

Madsen told the Salt Lake City Tribune this week that he never officially chose Martin Luther King Day as Browning Day but had "considered it." Announcing his intention to meet with the NAACP on the matter, he told Utah's Daily Herald that he saw the two holidays as "complimentary" [sic], adding, "We'll see if they can take it in the spirit it's intended. If the race baiters are out there looking for an opportunity, I'm not going to give it to them. I'll walk away and find another day."

Was it an opportunity for race baiters, or maybe just sanity advocates? Either way, the head of the local NAACP, Jeannetta Williams, told reporters, "Here you have a man, Dr. King, who was assassinated -- and then you're going to put his name along with a person who was a gun manufacturer? The whole state of Utah would be looked at in a very bad way if something like this were to pass."

Fortunately, Madsen quit while he was -- if not exactly ahead, at least not a total international laughingstock. By the end of the week he had beaten a hasty retreat from the whole plan, stating, "We don't want to go where we're not wanted. I had an idea to honor an international icon and a favorite son of Utah and got backed into race politics."

Even now, he still sees parallels between the two accomplished Americans. "Both made tremendous contributions to individual freedom and individual liberty," he said in a brilliantly unconvincing display of rationalization. And so, for his truly outstanding insensitivity, willful determination to stick his foot in his mouth, and not understanding that a man who preached nonviolence probably shouldn't share the bench with a gun maker, we believe the senator deserves a holiday of his own. We'd like to call it "Mark Madsen Is Crazier Than a Soup Sandwich Day."


The New York Times Analyzes Texan Fundie "Logic"

How Christian Were The Founders?
LAST MONTH, A WEEK before the Senate seat of the liberal icon Edward M. Kennedy fell into Republican hands, his legacy suffered another blow that was perhaps just as damaging, if less noticed. It happened during what has become an annual spectacle in the culture wars.

Over two days, more than a hundred people — Christians, Jews, housewives, naval officers, professors; people outfitted in everything from business suits to military fatigues to turbans to baseball caps — streamed through the halls of the William B. Travis Building in Austin, Tex., waiting for a chance to stand before the semicircle of 15 high-backed chairs whose occupants made up the Texas State Board of Education. Each petitioner had three minutes to say his or her piece.

“Please keep César Chávez” was the message of an elderly Hispanic man with a floppy gray mustache.

“Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world and should be included in the curriculum,” a woman declared.

Following the appeals from the public, the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, submitted their own proposed changes to the new social-studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention — guidelines that will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years. Gail Lowe — who publishes a twice-a-week newspaper when she is not grappling with divisive education issues — is the official chairwoman, but the meeting was dominated by another member. Don McLeroy, a small, vigorous man with a shiny pate and bristling mustache, proposed amendment after amendment on social issues to the document that teams of professional educators had drawn up over 12 months, in what would have to be described as a single-handed display of archconservative political strong-arming.

McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands.

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This gif sums up my reaction as a History major and a pretty sane Republican:

Surprise! Religious Racism Evident in Relief for Haitian Earthquake Victims

A month before Haiti's devastating earthquake, prominent musician Theodore "Lolo" Beaubrun and a few friends were summoned by spirits who tried to warn them about the impending cataclysm. They told us to pray for Haiti because many people would die," says Mr. Beaubrun - the frontman of the group Boukman Eksperyans. "I thought it was about politics. I didn't know it was going to be an earthquake."

The spirits may have failed to make themselves understood, but according to Mr Beaubrun - whose music and outlook are steeped in voodoo culture - they are standing by the Haitian people in their hour of need. "We are extremely traumatised," he says. "We have seen death. But the spirits entered the minds of people to advise and help them heal. They speak to us. It's like therapy." But Mr Breaubrun's idea that voodoo should play a leading role in helping victims of the country's worst-ever natural disaster is currently little more than a hope.

Voodoo relief

Haiti's traditional religion has kept a low profile in the aftermath of the earthquake. The songs and prayers heard amid the rubble and tent cities around Port-au-Prince are overwhelmingly Christian.

Theodore Lolo Beaubrun
Some Christian communities do not want to give food to voodoo followers
Theodore 'Lolo' Beaubrun, Singer

The voodoo religion may be practised by many Haitians - the exact number is unknown - and has not been totally absent from the aid effort. Louis Leslie Marcelin, another singer who also describes himself as a spiritual guide and healer, has used his home in Port-au-Prince as an alternative school and a care centre. "We work with children and parents," he says. "We work with poor people whose relatives have died." But such efforts by voodoo leaders have been few and far between. The bulk of the religious relief aid work in Haiti has been carried out by Catholic and Protestant groups. "For the national religion of the Haitian people, it's amazingly absent in the earthquake phenomena," says Gerald Murray, a University of Florida anthropologist who has carried out extensive fieldwork in Haiti.


Some argue that voodoo's conspicuous absence in the aftermath of the quake is due to prejudice. Many Christians - especially Protestants - regard voodoo as devil worship. This idea was expressed in its most striking form by the US televangelist Pat Robertson, who said shortly after the quake that Haiti had made a "pact with the devil" when it defeated French colonists two centuries ago. According to Mr Beaubrun, such attitudes have been in evidence during relief operations. "Some Christian communities do not want to give food to voodoo followers," he says. "As soon as they see people wearing peasant clothes or voodoo handkerchiefs, they put them aside and deny them food. This is something I've seen."


Hostility to voodoo - which blends elements of Christianity with West African animistic beliefs and practices - is indeed rife among some evangelical groups in Haiti and elsewhere. However most mainstream Christians - notably Catholics - have insisted on not marginalising the  voodoo faith. Father Reginald Jean-Marie of Notre-Dame, the largest Roman Catholic church in Miami's Little Haiti, insists: "Any system of belief that people cling to especially in a time of crisis can be of help to them." Blaming voodoo for the country's problems, he says, is "theological nonsense".

"When the tsunami happened it was not because people did wrong," he says. "Things happen because they are natural disasters. If you claim that voodoo is responsible for those things, then is God responsible when bad things happen to good Christians?"

Faraway god

The three days of prayer held for earthquake victims on 12, 13 and 14 February pointedly included voodoo practitioners. And, perhaps equally pointedly, a houngan (voodoo priest) taking part in the event stressed the common element between his faith and Christianity.

People pray among the ruins of the Sacre Coeur church in Port-au-Prince on 14 January
The Voodoo faith plays an important role in Haitian society.

He told the BBC he would "pray to bondye" - referring to the voodoo supreme god, while not stressing the loa, the lesser spirits that are at the centre of rituals. This suggests tension between Haiti's rival faiths is not the main reason for voodoo's lack of visibility after the earthquake. The principal factor, according to anthropologist Gerald Murray, could be theological. In the voodoo belief system, natural disasters are not caused by the loa, but by a distant bondye. The supreme being that unleashes the forces of nature is an unfathomable entity which cannot be influenced. Only the loa, Mr Murray notes, can be accessed or propitiated - often through rituals led by houngans.

The main role of these specialists, Mr Murray adds, is the diagnosis and healing of an individual's illnesses. "They have not traditionally played a role of national, social leaders of any type," he says. "They will continue to be spirit healers for people who believe that their problems have been caused by the loa - but this earthquake was not caused by the loa." Many Haitians will find solace in voodoo, which remains an important element of Haitian identity.

But the coping strategies it offers in the aftermath of the earthquake may be limited.

SOURCE: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8517070.stm

I'm personally bothered that the BBC did not bother to use the non-anglicized spelling, "Vodou," which has been traditionally used by academics to distinguish the faith as it actually exists from the all-but-unrelated Hollywood vision of devil-worship and "black magic". Black magic, you say? HURRDURR, I C WAT U DID THAR. /rage

To bring a little levity to ONTD_P after a long weekend of crazy

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Vulva-Shaped Mouse Gives New Meaning to Point and Click

Let's face it: they may be in every house and office across the industrialized world, but computer mice are just not sexy. Despite being nearly as ubiquitous as their rodent counterparts, they can't even claim to be cute and fuzzy. About the best you can hope for from your computer mouse is that it's well-designed enough that extended use won't make your hand permanently seize up into a claw shape and force you to spend thousands of dollars on wrist surgery. Designer Andy Kurovets seems to want to change that by giving the mouse a little bit of erotic flair. The Internetz lit up this week with discussion of Kurovets's latest innovation, the G-Point mouse, which is molded in a flamboyant Valentine red color with gracefully curved contours that are evocative of—well, look at the picture to the right.


As you can see, the G-Point has the scroll wheel right where the clit should be, and a small button located inside the lips which will take you to your favorite place—on the Internet, that is—when pressed.


Sadly, the G-Point isn't available for sale right now; so far as we can tell, it's just in the conceptual stages. Otherwise, there would certainly be one or three in the CarnalNation offices for testing. But far more interesting than the device itself are the responses that it's garnered on the Internet. Regardless of how well it would work as a computer peripheral, it seems to function impeccably as a Rorschach test for attitudes about sexuality. An excellent case in point is Feministing, which on Monday declared the G-Point the "Sexist Tech Tool of the Day." Feministing blogger Miriam's commentary on the mouse sounded surprisingly like a 10-year-old boy who thinks girls are icky: "Gross," she wrote.



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Jessica Valenti blows my wig back yet again.

For women in America, equality is still an illusion
By Jessica Valenti

Every day, we hear about the horrors women endure in other countries: rape in Darfur, genital mutilation in Egypt, sex trafficking in Eastern Europe. We shake our heads, forward e-mails and send money.

We have no problem condemning atrocities done to women abroad, yet too many of us in the United States ignore the oppression on our doorstep. We're suffering under the mass delusion that women in America have achieved equality.

And why not -- it's a feel-good illusion. We cry with Oprah and laugh with Tina Fey; we work and take care of our children; we watch Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice proudly and sigh with relief, believing we've come so far. But we're basking in a "girl power" moment that doesn't exist -- it's a mirage of equality that we've been duped into believing is the real thing.

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Jessica Valenti is the author of "The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women" and the founder of Feministing.com.


Ms. Valenti's book (The Purity Myth) was my inspiration for my senior thesis documentary, which I posted here.

Socialized Medicine Claims Another Victim! Tripp Tricked to Join The Communist Party!

More Palin Hypocrisy: Tripp Has Government Provided Health Insurance

The dangers of "death panels" were explained to Americans on Sarah Palin's Facebook page. Oh, sweet Lord, she must not sleep at night...her grandson could be the next victim of "socialized medicine".

Recently released documents from the custody battle show clearly Tripp Palin Johnston has socialized health care through Indian Health Services and the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Palin's family has federally funded health care afforded to them...but if you had it Barack Obama might kill you. Put this on the list of Palin's Greatest Hypocritical Hits...volume 97.

fakenews | [S]exellent

ontd_political PotD: Feb 21, 2010.

It is Carnival Season in many countries around the world with a Roman Catholic heritage. Celebrations and parades are put on just prior to the observance of Lent. Over the past few weeks parades and celebrations have taken place throughout Europe, the Caribbean and South America. An estimated 730,000 foreign tourists, many fleeing snowy winter conditions in Europe and the United States, traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for this year's celebrations. Collected here are a handful of images from some of the elaborate celebrations of this Carnival season.
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