March 10th, 2010

Murasaki Shikibu

Well, duh, of course rendering walls is more important than adding female characters!

Why Modern Video Game Armies Lack Female Troops

Women have been serving admirably in warzones for the U.S. military for about a decade. But they're absent from the ranks of modern video game armies. A game developer offered Kotaku a justification of why we virtually fight as men.

The answer, offered by Gordon Van Dyke, producer of the new Electronic Arts modern warfare game Battlefield: Bad Company 2, has to do with technology. Or, more specifically, it has to do with technology needs trumping any sense of consumer demand for representation of both genders.

Programming women soldiers into a virtual war just might not be worth the costs to the game and the servers that connect the people playing it.

The topic came up on last week's Kotaku podcast, when I asked Van Dyke if there were women in Bad Company 2. I'd noticed that the games I'd played set in modern or near-future settings were almost always fought by men and men only.

"There's no girls in our game," he said around the 33-minute mark.

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I want to smack the guy who wrote the article very, very hard for the last comment and the "reportedly serve well". (But then, Kotaku is usually full of fail with anything in regards to women, so ugh.) There's a lot of royal Not Getting It. I's more important to render breaking walls than create female characters. Male privilege is a hell of a thing, and gaming is one of the most unapologetic bastions of it.
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    林俊傑 [Lín Jùn Jié] JJ Lin - Still Moving Under Gunfire
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Meet the Mastermind Behind the NOH8 Campaign, Adam Bouska

NOH8 Campaign photographer Adam Bouska
talks to us
about the night it all began, his surprise engagement to partner [and NOH8 visionary Jeff Parshley], his dream celebrities to shoot, why the hell Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert haven’t posed yet, backlash from the anti-gay contingent, and gearing up for the hot & sweaty Dinah Shore open shoot later this month.

Walk me through Election night 2008, as you came up with the genesis of the NOH8 campaign.

Initially, Jeff and I were taking part in the “No on 8″ rallies in West Hollywood [leading up to the election], but after the passage of Prop 8 I wanted to something more photography-related since every photographer wants to send a message through their images. So, we went back to our apartment at 2 or 3 am on election night, November 4, 2008, and did Jeff’s photo. We did the duct tape over the mouth symbolizing not being heard…  The NOH8 on the cheek came from us seeing “Victim of H8” on Facebook profiles and we wanted to replace that with people’s faces.

“Hate” is really what it’s all about – using money to fund campaigns to split apart people’s relationships – we see that as hate. So, it’s very important to have people looking into the camera, to connect and look in their eyes. The white t-shirts help the skin tones and the eyes stand out a bit more. I think the difference in skin tones says a lot because it applies in any respect where the majority votes on the rights of a minority.

Who is your dream person to join the campaign?

I always say Oprah would be a dream person to get, but there are really so many people we’d love to have.  Bill Clinton would be great, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Al Sharpton, John McCain would be great after his wife did it.  There are so many influential people who we’d love.

I noticed that there are some obvious omissions from the campaign, like Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert. I know you’ve reached out to them repeatedly via Twitter, why haven’t they participated?

It’s tough, I can’t speak for them cause I’m not really sure. I haven’t had any direct contact with them, I mean there could be publicists in the middle. Many people have different reasons for not doing it because of their publicists, different fan bases that they don’t want to alienate. Though I don’t think that would be the case with Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert. I assume it’s just a busy schedule with them. I know Lady Gaga supports it, we’ve got pictures of her wearing our bracelets and stuff like that but we’ve reached out to her publicist and no response.



Massa flirts with the right, but Beck isn't tickled

Just seven minutes into Glenn Beck's hour-long interview of Eric Massa on Tuesday evening, things had already gone very wrong.

Conservatives had hopes that the now-former Democratic congressman from Upstate New York, who resigned abruptly under an ethics cloud, would deliver the goods about corruption and strong-arm tactics in the Obama White House and Congress. But instead, Massa served up an icky new confession.

"Now they're saying I groped a male staffer," he volunteered. "Yeah, I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn't breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday."

Beck looked aghast. "Was your wife at that one?" the Fox News Channel host asked.

"No, this was in a townhouse; we all lived together, all the bachelors and me," Massa explained. "My chief of staff had a conniption and said, 'You can't live there, that's not congressional.' "

Beck tried to move the conversation in a different direction, but his guest resisted. "Let me show you something," Massa proposed, proffering a book with photos of bawdy Navy rituals from the days when he was a sailor.

"You're going to show me tickle fights?" Beck inquired.

"I'm going to show you a lot more than tickle fights," Massa promised. Beck put on his reading glasses, then judged that the images should not be shown on television. "It looks like an orgy in 'Caligula,' " Massa asserted.

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Seems Beck finally found someone who could out-crazy even him.  I honestly didn't think it was possible.

National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

Today, March 10, is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. The many health care professionals who make abortion access a reality by providing counseling, scheduling appointments, and assisting with or performing abortions are doing necessary work despite immense stigma and hatred, and they have my heartfelt thanks.

Today is also the anniversary of the 1993 assassination of Dr. David Gunn, the first abortion provider killed in the U.S. because of his job. This past year we lost another provider, Dr. George Tiller, to antiabortion violence. The threat of violence is constant for many providers and, in a year when a provider was assassinated for the first time in over a decade, that threat is on everyone's minds. Yet doctors, nurses, therapists, and other clinic staff keep going to work, because they know the legal right to abortion means nothing if everyone is too afraid to perform the procedure.

The National Abortion Federation is collecting names, messages, and photos showing appreciation for abortion providers. Head on over to there site to express your thanks and support.

:(, boyd, teen wolf

Norwalk boy, 7, calls 911 and saves his family

Authorities were hailing a 7-year-old Norwalk boy as a hero Tuesday after he hid in a bathroom and called 911 as three armed attackers burst into his home and threatened his parents.

During the harrowing emergency call, the child pleaded with Los Angeles County sheriff's dispatchers to send help.

"Can you come really fast? Please! Please! . . . They have guns. They shoot my mom and dad," the boy said, according to a copy of the 911 tape released by authorities.

The incident began about 8:30 a.m. when the three suspects, armed with handguns, stormed through an unlocked door and said they were going to take what they wanted, the Sheriff's Department said.

The boy hid in the bathroom with his 6-year-old sister and locked the door.

"There's some guy who's going to kill my mom and dad," he told the emergency dispatcher. "Can you come, please?

"Bring cops . . . a lot of them! . . . And soldiers too," the boy said. He told the dispatcher that he thought his parents had been shot.

The attackers broke into the bathroom and found the boy. At that point, screaming is heard on the 911 tape.

Authorities said one of the suspects grabbed the boy and asked who he called. "911," the boy responded, according to the department.

The suspects fled without injuring anyone or taking any property, authorities said.

"If not for the brave and educated actions of the 7-year-old boy, this might have ended tragically," said Capt. Pat Maxwell. Authorities declined to identify the family.


This is an awesome story, that little boy is so brave!
empress i

finally, some sense perhaps?

U.S. lays out set of common school standards
Education chiefs hope blueprint will replace hodgepodge of benchmarks

The nation's governors and state school chiefs will propose standards Wednesday for what students should learn in English and math, from kindergarten through high school, a crucial step in President Obama's campaign to raise academic standards across the country.

The blueprint aims to replace a hodgepodge of state benchmarks with common standards. The president has aggressively encouraged the states' action as a key to improving troubled schools and keeping the nation competitive.

Instituting new academic standards would reverberate in textbooks, curriculum, teacher training and student learning from coast to coast.

Fourth-graders, for example, would be expected to explain major differences between poetry and prose and to refer to such elements as stanza, verse, rhythm and meter when writing or speaking about a poem.

Eighth-graders would be expected to use linear equations to solve for an unknown and explain a proof of the Pythagorean theorem on properties of a right triangle -- cornerstones of algebra and geometry.

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Joe Biden! You Got PUNK!

Israeli Prime Minister Punks Biden. Oh, You!

Israel Apologizes To Biden Over Settlement Announcement: We Didn't Mean To 'Taunt An Important Man'

On Monday, the day Vice-President Joe Biden was to arrive in Israel, the Israeli government announced approval for 112 new homes in Beitar Illit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, despite having agreed in November to curb settlement growth in partial fulfillment of Israel’s obligations under the Bush administration road map.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced plans “to build 1,600 new housing units for Jews” in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Biden released this statement in response:

I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai apologized on Wednesday “for causing domestic and international distress” with the timing of the announcement, and Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly told Biden, “No one was seeking to embarrass you or undermine your visit — on the contrary, you are a true friend to Israel.” But Meir Margalit, a member of Jerusalem’s City Council told Israel’s Ynet News that the ministry “meant to sabotage the announcement that Netanyahu issued today regarding the renewal of indirect negotiations with the Palestinians. It is also a kind of slap in the face of the American administration.”

Despite Netanyahu’s apology, his position in favor of settlement expansion is clear. As Max Blumenthal reports, “a day before Biden’s arrival, Netanyahu appeared onstage with Pastor John Hagee in Jerusalem.” Hagee is a radical American cleric who opposes the two-state solution and supports unlimited Israeli settlement expansion with millions of American dollars. “If America puts pressure on Israel to divide Jerusalem we are following the blueprint of the Prince of Darkness,” Hagee has said. “Amos 3:2 states that any nation that divides the Land of Israel will come under the severe judgment of God.”

Hagee’s views are 180 degrees opposite of the goals of the United States and the international community to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu’s appearing onstage with Hagee is a strong indication that his stated support for the creation of a Palestinian state is less than genuine.

Fox Insurance Company of NY Denies Medicine to Socialist Hippie Seniors: "Get a Jub and Bootstraps!"

Medicare Part D Killz Seniors. D Stands for Death Panel!

Medicare Part D Company Ejected From Program For First Time

For the first time since the program was enacted, an insurer is being ejected from the Medicare Part D program for denying medication to seniors and otherwise failing to live up to Medicare obligations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Tuesday.

The timing of the decision gives a boost to Democratic reform efforts, as the party can point to the behavior of the Fox Insurance Company of New York as the type that would be reined in by tough regulation of the industry.

"Just as insurance companies have been unjustly hiking premiums for Americans, we see another instance of an insurer putting their profit margins ahead of the health of their customers," said Rep. Pete Stark, Chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. "We were able to shut this bad actor down because CMS exercised their oversight over Medicare Part D plans. We need health care reform to extend this oversight over the insurance companies that cover all Americans."

A call to Fox was not returned.

In February, the insurer was told that it must suspend marketing and enrollment of new members for denying access to medication. CMS asked other Fox customers to alert it to ongoing problems and apparently found them sufficient enough to expel the company from the program.

Fox has more than 100,000 customers. They will have the opportunity to be moved onto the rolls of other companies.

According to a February release from CMS, Fox was denying drugs for seniors who had already been approved in earlier plans and were otherwise working to prevent access to drugs. Sources briefed on CMS's decision say that its ongoing investigation revealed that serious harm was done to the health of some patients who were denied medication.

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¶ inorite?

The good people of lulz_politics encouraged me to use this picture. Blame them.

Lawmakers insist shower run-ins like the one Massa alleges are far from norm

It's no secret that members of Congress broker deals on the treadmill or in the weight room of the House and Senate gyms. But former congressman Eric Massa's accusation that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once berated him in the gym's shower over his vote against President Obama's budget left Washington watchers wondering how much business politicians conduct while naked.

The answer, lawmakers revealed Tuesday, is not much.

The private gyms are sanctuaries where lawmakers can huff, puff and disrobe knowing that only fellow members will see them.

If Massa's shower tableau did take place -- a scenario the White House denied -- several said it's far from the norm.

"This morning I talked with Lamar Alexander about a hold" on a nomination during his daily workout, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said. But Tester said, "I don't go in the shower. I don't accost people."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said he often goes to the Senate gym to do a rubber-band exercise for his arms -- the 66-year-old said he has bad rotator cuffs -- but that he most loves sitting in the sauna with his colleagues.

"It's always fun," he said.

Asked whether he has had shower encounters like the one Massa alleged, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was interrupted by an aide -- "Senator, we definitely have a speaking engagement" -- and whisked away before he could respond.

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To quote Reason magazine (may be the first time I've said that): "The right may be backing off its brief romance with Eric Massa, but I've decided I like the man. Partly because he's offering just the right combination of conspiracy theories, gay sex, and left/right convergence to make the world feel like a Gore Vidal novel. And partly because he's inspiring reporters to produce stories like this one."
aladdin applause by l o v e icons
  • gmth

Grayson introduces Public Option Act

Congressman Alan Grayson, (D-Orlando), today introduced a bill (H.R. 4789) which would give the option to buy into Medicare to every citizen of the United States.  The “Public Option Act,” also known as the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” would open up the Medicare network to anyone who can pay for it.

Congressman Grayson said, “Obviously, America wants and needs more competition in health coverage, and a public option offers that.  But it’s just as important that we offer people not just another choice, but another kind of choice.   A lot of people don’t want to be at the mercy of greedy insurance companies that will make money by denying them the care that they need to stay healthy, or to stay alive.  We deserve to have a real alternative.”

The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish enrollment periods, coverage guidelines, and premiums for the program.  Because premiums would be equal to cost, the program would pay for itself.

“The government spent billions of dollars creating a Medicare network of providers that is only open to one-eighth of the population.  That’s like saying, ‘Only people 65 and over can use federal highways.’  It is a waste of a very valuable resource and it is not fair.  This idea is simple, it makes sense, and it deserves an up-or-down vote,” Congressman Grayson said.

In keeping with the “Grayson style,” the bill is clear and concise. It is only four pages. 

See video of Congressman Alan Grayson introducing the Public Option Act below.

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Read the bill here.
the stone
  • gmth

Harry Reid Pledges Filibuster Reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to take a serious look at revising the filibuster rules at the beginning of the next Congress, calling the current level of obstruction in the Senate unacceptable.

In a reflection of the party's commitment to changing the parliamentary rules, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) followed the majority leader by saying that his committee would address the topic soon.

"The rules committee is going to start holding hearings on how to undo the filibuster rule," said Schumer, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee. The New York Democrat told the Huffington Post after the speech that the hearings would take place two or three weeks from now.

In a speech before a gathering of progressive media, Reid compared the procedural games played by his Republican counterparts to the use of the spitball in a baseball game and the four-corner offense in basketball -- tactics in each sport that were ultimately outlawed.

"The filibuster has been abused. I believe that the Senate should be different than the House and will continue to be different than the House," Reid said. "But we're going to take a look at the filibuster. Next Congress, we're going to take a look at it. We are likely to have to make some changes in it, because the Republicans have abused that just like the spitball was abused in baseball and the four-corner offense was abused in basketball."

Reid's embrace of filibuster reform comes after he previously threw cold water on the likelihood of getting the rules changed. His reference to the "next Congress" stands out. To change Senate rules in the middle of the session requires 67 votes, which Democrats clearly don't have. But changing the rules at the beginning of the 112th Congress will require the chair to declare the Senate is in a new session and can legally draft new rules. That ruling would be made by Vice President Joe Biden, who has spoken out against the current abuse of the filibuster. The ruling can be appealed, but that appeal can be defeated with a simple majority vote.

Preceding Reid on stage, Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow also suggested that reform of the Senate rules was in the offing.

"We are trying to figure out that one right now," Stabenow said.

Noting that the origins of the word "filibuster" was from the days of piracy, she called the Republican tactic of holding up even mundane legislation "crazy" and pledged that both she and her colleagues would get more confrontational in the future.

"We are getting better on the strategy," Stabenow said. "Lets face it we know we've made some mistakes our biggest mistake was coming in this year and trying to govern, trying to get things passed... Republicans said 'wait a minute they are actually doing things, we should figure out a way to stop them.' And they did."


Too bad Reid probably won't be around next year to actually get it done.

Castros Forever

Ann Louise Bardach, the Western journalist who's probably spent more time with the Castro family than any other, sounds off on life under Raúl, Cuba's growing dependence on Venezuela, and why there's no end in sight to the Castro era.

When Fidel Castro stepped down in 2008, handing over power officially to his brother Raúl, few were surprised. But the effortless manner of the transition caught everyone off guard: After nearly a half-century as Cuba's strongman leader, Fidel largely disappeared from view, popping up only occasionally to prove his good health or comment on international developments. Ann Louise Bardach, a journalist who has spent the last two decades following the ins and outs of Cuban politics, spending hours with the Castro family over that time, may have been the person best-placed in the world to chronicle the transition, which Fidel himself had prophesied to her years earlier in an interview.

Bardach's recently released Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana, and Washington is now the authoritative book about Cuba under Raúl. She spoke to Foreign Policy about how the two brothers differ, Cuba's dependence on Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and why there's no end in sight to the Castro era.

Foreign Policy: I want to start by asking about Raúl Castro. What distinguishes his leadership from that of his brother?

Ann Louise Bardach: He is a below-the-radar guy. As much as Fidel craved the limelight, Raúl eschews the limelight. After the revolution, Fidel told Raúl that he wasn't much of a speaker, and so Fidel got [his brother] a speech teacher. But it never took. Raúl sort of delights in having almost a charisma deficit. It may be for the Cuban people that they've had too much charisma, so I can't say that it's to his [detriment]. The Cuban people may have heard all they need to hear for quite a while.
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Ann Louise Bardach is pretty awesome--one of the best fairly objective (not super biased either pro/anti Castro) and knowledgeable sources about Cuba/the Castros, IMO. And shit, Cuba's more Stalinist than I imagined (according to some of the things mentioned in this article) D:

Ga. bill would outlaw abortion for race, sex. Raises issue of whether providers target blacks

A Georgia bill that would outlaw abortions based on race, color or sex is fueling arguments over whether abortion providers are targeting black women. The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act would apply to abortion "the same standards of nondiscrimination" that govern employment, education, government and housing, said Georgia state Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican who introduced the bill last month with bipartisan support.

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animals || rabbit in the hat
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day ten

Turkey urged to prevent attacks on trans people

Human rights activists have called on Turkey to do more to prevent violence against trans people.

According to Human Rights Watch, eight trans people have been murdered in Istanbul and Ankara since November 2008 and two trans women have been killed this month.

The charity said that Aycan Yener was killed on February 16th in the Fatih area of Istanbul.
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'Jihad Jane': How does Al Qaeda recruit US-born women?

The case of Colleen R. LaRose – also known as “Jihad Jane” and “Fatima Rose” – raises troubling questions about the ability of Al Qaeda to attract US-born women to terrorism.

Blond and green-eyed, Ms. LaRose looks more like a former cheerleader than the Western conception of an Islamist extremist. According to the FBI, she told co-conspirators in an e-mail that her appearance would allow her to blend in “with many people,” so that she could achieve “what is in my heart.”

Her US passport would also allow her to travel easily in and out of the country.

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Batshit Advisory level raised to Orange

Glenn Beck Urges Listeners to Leave Churches That Preach Social Justice

On his daily radio and television shows last week, Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that "social justice," the term many Christian churches use to describe their efforts to address poverty and human rights, is a "code word" for communism and Nazism. Beck urged Christians to discuss the term with their priests and to leave their churches if leaders would not reconsider their emphasis on social justice.

"I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"

Later, Beck held up cards, one with a hammer and sickle and other with a swastika. "Communists are on the left, and the Nazis are on the right. That's what people say. But they both subscribe to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. . . . But on each banner, read the words, here in America: 'social justice.' They talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly, democracy."

  • mswyrr

In Civil War, Women Fought For Freedom "Like A Man"

Albert D.J. Cashier was the shortest soldier in the 95th Illinois Infantry. In one of the few existing photographs of Cashier during the Civil War, you can faintly detect the outline of breasts under his uniform.

But that's if you're looking for it. And the military apparently was not. "They didn't conduct physical exams in those days, the way the military does now," says Rodney Davis, a retired professor of history at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. "What they were looking for was warm bodies."

Jennie Hodgers, masquerading as Cashier, marched thousands of miles during the war. She was at the Siege of Vicksburg and the surrender of Mobile. Her regiment took part in more than 40 skirmishes and battles.

"Albert Cashier seems to have been in [the war] from the beginning to the end," Davis says. "She stuck it out."

Davis' own great-grandfather was Cashier's commanding officer and one of several former comrades who rallied to Hodgers' defense when officials considered taking away her veteran's pension for identity fraud. To her fellow soldiers, Davis says, her status as a Union Army veteran trumped her identity as a woman.

"She demonstrated that she was as good as they were," Davis says.
"She was as brave as they were, as effective a soldier. For her to be a woman was obviously worthy of remark, but it's not anything that seems to have made them turn away from her."

Why Live As A Man?

After her secret was discovered, Hodgers told different stories to different people about why she had chosen to live as a man. She reportedly told one newspaper that lots of people had enlisted under fake names, and she did, too. "The country needed men, and I wanted excitement," she said.

But to get another idea of why Hodgers may have subjected herself to the rigors of war, it helps to know a little about the U.S. job market in 1861.

"A private in the Union Army made $13 a month, which was easily double what a woman would make as a laundress or a seamstress or even a maid," says Deanne Blanton, co-author of They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War. Blanton has documented hundreds of cases of women who masqueraded as men during the war. She says many joined for both patriotic and economic reasons.
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This piece is from a while ago, but Women's History Month reminded me of it and how amazing it was to discover these women soldiers, so I wanted to share it with all of you.

Series of tubes nominated for Nobel

'The Internet' nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

If the Internet wins the Nobel Peace Prize, do we all get a trophy?

Several nominees for the prestigious 2010 prize, which was awarded last year to President Obama, surfaced on Wednesday in news reports. Among them: "The Internet" and, separately, several of the Web's creators, including Larry Roberts, Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, who is pictured above.

If one of those guys wins, it's pretty clear who would receive the award.

But if the Internet wins? No one seems to know what would happen then. Maybe give it to Al Gore?

The Internet's credentials aren't bad. Recently, it helped speed relief efforts to Haiti and organized protesters in Iran. Wired Magazine in Italy, which has been advocating for the nomination, says it spreads "dialogue, debate and consensus."

That and, as Chatroulette showed us, porn.

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Source and source's failtastic comments


Amy and Rory and the Doctor

65 Years After the Fact Women Fliers of WWII Are Honored

Washington (CNN) -- Some 65 years after their service, a group of former civilian women pilots whose unheralded work was key to helping the U.S. effort in World War II were honored Wednesday with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Fewer than 300 Women Airforce Service Pilots are still alive. About 175 of them, along with thousands of family members, traveled to Washington for the ceremony at the Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that the event had one of the largest crowds ever gathered inside the Capitol.

Deanie Parrish, a WASP who joined in 1943 at the age of 21, thanked members of Congress, those in attendance and members of the media.

"I believe this is the day that when the people of America no longer hesitate in answering, 'Do you know who the WASPs are?'" she said to the crowd filled with old and young alike. "It's because of the media that that will happen."

Parrish said that it "was both a privilege and an honor to serve our country during some of the darkest days of World War II."

The Women Airforce Service Pilots was born in 1942 to create a corps of female pilots able to fill all types of flying jobs at home, thus freeing male military pilots to travel to the front.

As part of the commemoration, the former pilots attended a wreath-laying ceremony Tuesday at the Air Force Memorial just outside Washington to remember their colleagues killed in the line of duty.

With only about a quarter of the former 1,102 WASPs surviving and all in their late 80s or older, Rep. Susan Davis, D-California; Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas; Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland; and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, pushed a bill through Congress to honor these women by awarding them the medal, given as an expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions, according to the House of Representatives' Office of the Clerk.

"Thank you for your remarkable service and soaring patriotism," Davis said. "Your love of flying and your desire to serve your country are testaments to your outstanding heroism."

Ros-Lehtinen added that the WASPs' recognition is long overdue.

"The WASPs served our country without hesitation and with no expectation of recognition," she said. "We would be remiss to not honor a cadre of women who paved the way for future generations of women in the military, including my daughter-in-law."

The congresswomen were flanked on stage by members of the House and Senate leadership, administration officials, as well as current military women.

Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, author of "The Greatest Generation," spoke at the gathering, saying the women being honored "remind us today of all that is great within us."

Jane Tedeschi, who spoke to CNN last week, said being honored is "wonderful," and that it's especially meaningful because "so many of us are still alive to get this honor."

"I think that this is important. It is hopefully something that people will remember," Tedeschi said. "It is another thing to honor the women who lost their lives at that time and of course what it did to persuade people that women could do this."


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Some photos of the WASPs

Because I think we need some happiness for a change of pace.

Columbus Blue Jackets for Oregon Senate!

U.S. Senate candidate on how campaign 'stole' Columbus logo

By Greg Wyshynski

Marc Delphine was fond of the logo a volunteer had designed for his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Oregon: a silver star wrapped in a star-spangled banner that his designer told him evoked the letter 'D' for branding purposes.

It certainly was a memorable symbol. In fact, it was already being used by the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, as Delphine was stunned to discover on Wednesday.
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Source is puck-o-licious