May 4th, 2010

Film - The Old Guard

Shots Still Reverberate For Survivors Of Kent State and Jackson State

Out in the world, when people talk about the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, they call it "Kent State." But in the small town of Kent, 35 miles south of Cleveland, and on the university campus, they call it "May 4th."

It was 40 years ago Tuesday that the shootings — which killed four people and wounded nine others — stunned the nation. Even at the height of the Vietnam War protests, no one imagined that government soldiers would fire real bullets at unarmed college students.

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Jackson State: A Tragedy Widely Forgotten

A group of angry students. A burst of gunfire from authorities. Young lives cut short.

It sounds a lot like the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970, but it happened 10 days later at a predominantly black college in the South.

Police fired for about 30 seconds on a group of students at Jackson State in Mississippi, killing two and wounding 12 others.

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I admit I hadn't heard about Jackson State...very interesting and disturbing.

Do Family Values Weaken Families?

Jonathan Rauch reviews Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture.

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Source probably voted Democratic.

So, the review is a little heavy-handed and off-putting (at least to me). But the book makes some good points, not only drawing the apparent correlations but in actually theorizing the possible causes.

ETA: Sorry, accidentally had the post locked to members-only. Fixed now.
Murasaki Shikibu

On Illegal People...and Forgetful Ones: Reflections on Race, Nation and Immigration

On Illegal People...and Forgetful Ones: Reflections on Race, Nation and Immigration
By Tim Wise
May 3, 2010

The excitement would have been palpable. Such a long journey, alone, and now it was nearly over. He was almost there. Just a few yards from entering his new country, the United States. His heart, by now, would have almost certainly been pounding in anticipation of what lay ahead: a new life of opportunity for he and the family he would send for just as soon as he found work and saved a little money. Soon, the miseries that had marked their existence back home would be but faded memories.

Just a few more feet now.

A few more seconds.

But it was not to be. Not this time.

Not for Jacob, whose real last name is still a mystery even to his descendants, like me, his great-grandson. Was it Shuckleman? Shuckman? Shankman, Schickman? Something like that, certainly not Wise, that much we know. Well, it doesn't matter really. Not to this story. What matters is simply this: as Jacob and his several hundred shipmates cruised into the harbor in New York, they were about to learn a lesson about the arbitrary and capricious ways of even those who proclaim their nation a land of fresh starts and opportunity.

For as it turns out, Jacob's boat arrived just a few days after the death of William McKinley, the nation's 25th President, who had been shot eight days earlier by Leon Czolgosz, the son of Eastern European immigrants. Indeed, immigrants from that exact same part of Eastern Europe from which Jacob hailed. Caught up in a momentary wave of hyper-bigotry against those of his regional heritage, Jacob and the rest would be turned around at the port of entry, denied the right to disembark, and sent back. Back to Russia. Back across the water, whence they came. One can easily imagine that as the weeks ticked by, during the agonizingly slow return to the home he thought he had left for good, Jacob must have wondered if he would ever again get the chance to make right on his promises to his wife and children.

As it turns out he would, but it would take six more long years. Six years until he could once again save up the money for the journey that had been previously aborted thanks to the prejudicial whims of those who felt themselves superior, and fit to exclude, to illegalize if only for the time being, those who merely resembled, or sounded like, or were from the same part of the world as Jacob.

And that, as much as anything, provides the most important answer to the question that is so ubiquitous in the midst of the current immigration debate.

You know the question. It sounds like this, voiced in the mouths of folks who wish so badly to stem the flow of those they call illegal aliens:

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I love Tim Wise. He is pretty much always on point.
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Sufjan Smile

Triumph of the shrill

Anti-abortionists are the hallowed forefathers of the militias and tea baggers. Some of them probably sit on park benches complaining that, in their day, "We didn't have any Fox News or YouTube. Back then, if you wanted to get a TV interview, you had to scream at women outside a clinic for months! Maybe throw in a bomb scare or two."

These days, the movement has gone mainstream with corporate lobbyists and polished ad campaigns. But underneath the expensive suits are people with an idea as fanatical as any Michele Bachmann speech--that removing a lima bean-sized bundle of cells is the moral equivalent to murdering a woman, child or man.

Am I being overly simplistic? The conventional wisdom is that abortion is a terribly complicated issue. This is how Obama put it on the campaign trail: "I don't think you're ever going to get a complete agreement on this issue. If you believe that life begins at conception, then I can't change your mind."

I don't buy that. Of course, some sort of life begins with a fertilized egg. And it's awesome to ponder that a thinking, feeling human being develops from that microscopic little thing--precisely because the two are NOT THE SAME THING.
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Source: Socialist Worker

With all of the frustration-inducing articles we've had the past few days, here's one which may prove a bit more cathartic besides the uh, more frustrating bits. Common sense and some lols.

Tennessee Congressional Candidates: I bashed more gays than my opponent!

TN Congressional candidates: Gays were 'taken care of' when they were in military

Republican candidates in the 8th Congressional District made candid comments about gays during a recent Tea Party forum that included discussion about the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy.

Physicians Ron Kirkland of Jackson and George Flinn of Memphis were among the candidates Thursday night who talked largely about how they're against the Obama administration and its policies, according to The Jackson Sun.

The candidates criticized the administration for wanting to overturn the gay policy, which prevents gays from serving openly in the military. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to lift the ban, and military officials are examining how to do that.

The candidates said ending the policy is "political correctness" that adds an unnecessary stress on the military.

Kirkland, a Vietnam veteran, said of his time in the military: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."

Smith, who served in the first Iraqi war, added: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."

The Tennessee Republican Party had no comment about the candidates statements when contacted by The Associated Press on Friday.

Meanwhile, Chris Sanders, chairman of the Tennessee Equality Project, bemoaned the candidates' comments in a statement Friday that said "violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender service members is unacceptable."


So I'm curious what's going to come out first, that they grossly exaggerated their service records, or they're caught in an airport men's room.
Pride & Prejudice

Why Elton John is considered a danger to Egypt

A move to ban Elton's gig is about fear of social discord. Yet in other ways the Arab world fails to address 'the public good'.

elton john Pictures, Images and Photos

Elton John is due to give a private concert in Egypt later this month. Or rather, he was, until the Egyptian musicians' union stepped in.

Mounir al-Wasimi, head of the union, announced on Sunday that he is "co-ordinating" with the authorities to stop the concert going ahead because Elton John is gay, believes Jesus was gay too, and has been critical of organised religions.

Now, you might be wondering why that should be of any concern to a musicians' union or why a union set up (presumably) to promote music should be trying to ban a concert, but it's none of your business. As Wasimi points out, his union is the only body "authorised to allow performances by foreign singers in Egypt".

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Laura Bush tells Oprah about her 'guilt'

Laura Bush talks about her new memoir tomorrow on The Oprah Winfrey Show and opens up about the guilt she has carried around every since she was 17 and hit and killed a young man in a car accident.

"For a long time my mother sort of went through: what if they hadn't moved into that last house that daddy built and I'd gone to the other high school in Midland. ... Then maybe it wouldn't have happened," says Laura Bush. "And I learned then that, you know, what if's are futile. That what happens is what happened. And there are things that happen that you can't control, that you can't change as much as you would want to. Ever."

When Oprah asks if she still carried the guilt, the former first lady replies, "Yeah, sure, of course. I felt guilty for my whole life."

Look for USA TODAY's interview with Laura Bush later this week.


Study: Shaken-Baby Cases Rose During the Recession

The stressful effects of a faltering economy, skyrocketing unemployment and precarious personal finances can be dire. People take up smoking or use alcohol to cope, they become depressed or suicidal, and they develop stress-related illnesses like heart disease. Now researchers report that the harm may be spreading to children too, when parents' stress leads them to inadvertently injure their children.

Presenting May 1 at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver, a team of researchers led by child-abuse expert Dr. Rachel Berger at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh reported a significant increase in cases of shaken-baby syndrome, in which youngsters are shaken violently by an adult, since the start of the current recession. Researchers analyzed data on 512 cases of head trauma in the children's centers of four hospitals (in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle) and found that the number of cases had increased to 9.3 per month as of Dec. 1, 2007, compared with 6 per month prior to that date — a rate that had held steady since 2004. 


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Virginia student killing: Suspect told police he shook and hit former girlfriend

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A Virginia lacrosse player suspected of killing a member of the women's team told police he shook her and hit her head repeatedly against a wall, according to a court document in the case.

An affidavit filed with a search warrant said police found Yeardley Love, 22, face down in her bedroom with a pool of blood on her pillow, a large bruise on her face and one eye swollen shut.

Police said the suspect, George Huguely, told them he had an altercation with Love and had kicked in her door.

"Huguely stated that he and Love had been in a relationship and that the relationship had ended," the document said.

Huguely, 22 and a senior at the school, was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder.

Earlier Tuesday, his lawyer, Francis Lawrence, said he was confident the death was not intentional.

"We are confident that Ms. Love's death was not intended, but an accident with a tragic outcome," Lawrence told reporters. He did not elaborate and said he would have no further comment.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Md., appeared by videoconference Tuesday at a court hearing, wearing a gray-striped jail uniform. He did not speak during the proceeding between his lawyers and the judge. There was no discussion of bond for him.

Huguely's parents and stepfather were in the courtroom. They left the courthouse through a back entrance without talking to reporters.

Love's roommate called police around 2:15 a.m. concerned that Love may have had an alcohol overdose, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo has said.

Love, of Cockeysville, Md., was only weeks from earning a degree and she and her teammates were expecting to end their season by winning a national championship.

As the news trickled throughout campus, suggestions that the death may have stemmed from a domestic situation did little to ease concerns.

"Just to hear that anybody in the U.Va. community could be suspected of that, regardless of the relationship, does give you a sense of unease," said Drew Cook, 22, of Burke, said.

Kyle Cecil, 22, of Newport News, said he lived on the same hall as Huguely as a freshman, and knew him well enough to say hello. He was shocked to see police cars at the building on his way to class, and more shocked when he learned of Huguely's arrest.

Leonard Sandridge, executive vice president of the university, told reporters the campus was saddened, and that the pain is magnified because the accused is "one of our own."

The lacrosse teams met at least once during the day, but lacrosse players and school officials declined repeatedly to comment, referring to a school statement.

The men's and women's lacrosse seasons — both teams are national title contenders — were "not even entering into our thoughts," athletic director Craig Littlepage said.

The NCAA tournament pairings are to be announced Sunday, and the men's team is expected to host a first-round game, and the women's team is also expecting to be included.

Huguely, a midfielder, wasn't a starter but played in all 15 games this season. He had four goals and three assists. Love played defense and started in three games this season.

Love was "described as an angel by teammates and friends," Littlepage said.

She played varsity lacrosse and field hockey for four years at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Baltimore.

"Yeardley was the core of the personality of the team. She was our laughter, a good soul. She always found an appropriate way to lighten things up," said Mary Bartel, who coached lacrosse at Notre Dame Prep. "I don't think there is a soul in this building who couldn't say her name without smiling."

University president John Casteen said in a release on the university's website that Love "deserved the bright future she earned growing up, studying here, and developing her talents as a lacrosse player," he said. "She deserves to be remembered for her human goodness, her capacity for future greatness, and not for the terrible way in which her young life has ended."

Huguely attended the Landon School, a private school in Bethesda, Md.

He pleaded guilty last year to two charges — resisting arrest and public swearing and intoxication — in Rockbridge County, about 55 miles southwest of Charlottesville, according to court records. He paid a $100 fine and about $80 in court costs and was released on supervised probation with a 60-day suspended jail sentence.


This whole thing is heartbreaking...that poor girl.
Akuma River

Senate nears time for voting on Financial Regulation

Senate Readies for Financial Bill Votes
May 3, 2010, 7:25 am

The Senate debate over putting new constraints on Wall Street gets serious this week, with lawmakers set to begin voting on changes to the measure being proposed by both Democrats and Republicans.

After Republicans last week relented and allowed Democrats to bring the legislation to the floor, lawmakers expect to spend at least the next two weeks reshaping the bill being guided by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee.
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'Too Big to Fail,' Consumer Agency Proposal on List of Amendments

The U.S. Senate is continuing consideration of amendments on financial regulation reform, the Wall St. Reform Bill (S. 3217). Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) amendment prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds to prevent the liquidation of a financial company may be voted on today. Reports indicate that Republicans will also submit amendments regarding the proposed consumer protection agency.
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George Alan Rekers, a founding member of the Family Research Council with James Dobson and Amandi Nicholi Jr., was caught returning home from a European vacation in mid-April with a young man he hired on, the Miami New Times reports:

"On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Though medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)
Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.
The paper adds
"Rekers is a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization that systematically attempts to turn gay people straight. And the Huffington Post recently singled out Rekers as a member of the American College of Pediatricians — an official-sounding outfit in Gainesville that purveys lurid, youth-directed literature accusing gays of en masse coprophilia. (In an email, the college's Lisa Hawkins wrote, 'ACPeds feels privileged to have a scholar of Dr. Rekers' stature affiliated with our organization. I am sure you will find Prof. Rekers to be an immaculate clinician/scholar, and a warm human being.') Rekers lectures worldwide, from Europe to the Middle East, on teen sexuality. Yet during his ten-day sojourn with Lucien to London and Madrid, he had no lectures scheduled. Both men deny having sex on the trip, and emails exchanged between the two before their jaunt are cautiously worded."
More background info on Rekers at Truth Wins Out...

Murdoch's getting desperate...

It's comforting to know that every white van man who enjoys a quiet moment with Page 3 today will be sufficiently alert to the dangers of a hung parliament and proportional representation.

The Sun exploiting young women and treating people like morons shock.

(In other news, they're also worried about young women in porn. Positively outraged, in fact.)

If you haven't done so yet, pop the tag #disobeymurdoch into Twitter. The alternative is submitting to this bullshit and eating out of the trough like everybody else:

Source: Bloggerheads
Also: A bit of background on the "News in Briefs" thing.

It's a few days old I know, but I thought this example of how The Sun uses boobies for brainwashing purposes was well worth posting here.
Akuma River

Iran and Nuclear Weapons

What Iran's Dictator Got Right
by Reza Aslan
May 03, 2010

Iran’s president may be a fraudulently elected megalomaniac, but the man can give a speech. Reza Aslan on the truths Ahmadinejad spoke to power at the U.N. nuclear summit.

OK. So he’s a fraudulently elected megalomaniac heading an autocratic regime that tortures its own people and threatens the security of the world. That doesn’t mean he’s not occasionally right.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to New York Monday to take part in a conference held every five years to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the primary mechanism by which states with nuclear weapons try to prevent states without nuclear weapons from developing or acquiring them. This year’s NPT conference comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s historic nuclear security summit last month, which brought world leaders together to discuss ways to secure nuclear material and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. For obvious reasons, Iran was not invited to that conference. However, as a signatory to the NPT, Iran had the right not only to attend the five-year review, but also to address the nearly 189 other signatories to the treaty that had gathered at the United Nations.

And therein lies the insidious genius of the rumpled dictator from Iran. More often than not, the things he says are not only popular…they are correct.

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Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference held at the United Nations - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech

Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference held at the United Nations - Sect of State Hillary Clinton's speech
I watched this yesterday. It was pretty incredible to hear him speak about this. He took the populist position and nuclear weapons (he also stated some false things about Iran being home to freedom of speech and freedom and stuff).

The thing is that he is saying the NPT is worthless (due the US being hypocritical bastards) that any nation with a skilled scientist can build the bomb. Where do we go from here?
I think the reason why Congress hasn't signed on to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is because Congress knows they will be kicked out of the office by the hawks.

I'm still not quite believing he would actually support the complete ban of nulcear weapons in the middle east. I also don't think Israel will give those babies up without a fight.

What are your thoughts?
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Phoenix Suns to wear "Los Suns" Jerseys on Cinco de Mayo

The Phoenix Suns basketball franchise announced that they will be wearing “Los Suns” jerseys on Wednesday night for Game 2 of their playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs. The game will be played in Phoenix. Team owner Robert Sarver, a Republican, said the jerseys will “honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona and our nation.” Sarver also made clear in a statement that the selection of the Spanish-language jersey — which will coincide with Cinco de Mayo — is a political statement against Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law:

The frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law. However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.

Update: Matt Yglesias notes that the Suns’ Steve Nash and the Spurs’ Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are all immigrants. He writes, “In general, it says good things about the National Basketball Association that foreigners with top-notch basketball skills generally want to come here and play. And the flow of foreign talent to our shores makes the NBA a better product — indeed, an iconic global brand that’s marketed internationally as a U.S. export.”

Update: In a statement made moments ago, Nash called the law “very misguided”:

"I think the law is very misguided. I think it is unfortunately to the detriment to our society and our civil liberties and I think it is very important for us to stand up for things we believe in," Nash said of the bill. "I think the law obviously can target opportunities for racial profiling. Things we don't want to see and don't need to see in 2010."



Argentina's Videla faces new murder charges

The former Argentine military leader, Jorge Rafael Videla, has been charged with an additional 49 cases of kidnapping, torture and murder.

Videla, who ruled from 1976 to 1981, is already serving a life sentence for human rights abuses committed during Argentina's so-called Dirty War.

The case against him was widened after new forensic evidence came to light.

He is also scheduled to face trial in September for stealing 33 babies of political opponents.

New evidence

Most of the new charges are related to the discovery and identification of human remains by forensic experts.

The experts were able to identify the bodies of presumed victims buried in unmarked graves in cemeteries across Buenos Aires.

Among them is the body of Rolf Stawowiok, a German citizen who vanished in the 1970s.

After his remains were found with signs of bullet wounds last year, a German court issued an arrest warrant for Jorge Videla. The German prosecutor's office thinks it is unlikely he will be extradited.

A trial date for the new charges has not yet been set.

Pardon revoked

Videla was sentenced to life in prison in 1985 of the murders of 66 people and the torture of 93 others.

But he was imprisoned for only five years before President Carlos Menem granted him a pardon, together with other junta leaders.

Then last year, he was once again sent to prison after a court cancelled the 1990 pardon, ruling that it had been unconstitutional.

Tens of thousands of people were disappeared and murdered during military rule in Argentina.

YES!!! JAIL FOR THIS MOTHERFUCKER who said, quote "A terrorist is not just someone with a gun or a bomb, but also someone who spreads ideas that are contrary to Western and Christian civilization." He hasn't been in court since the mid-1980s. It's about fucking time.

Also, lest we forget our own goverment's complicity in the atrocities in Argentina...

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I Like Big Oil and Can Not Lie. You Other CEOs Can't Deny. Safety Rules are For Foolz! Drill Baby Drill!

Big Oil Fought Off Rules Requiring Equipment To Prevent Blowouts

For over a decade, the oil industry has aggressively fought safety regulations intended to prevent accidents and blowouts on offshore oil drilling rigs.

Among the provisions opposed by oil giant BP and drilling contractors are those regarding equipment and procedures that are being closely examined for their role in the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers.

The International Association of Drilling Contractors, a trade group which includes Transocean, the firm that operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, objected in 2000 to a proposed requirement to use blind-shear rams, a type of blowout preventer which seals out-of-control oil wells by pinching off the pipe. Due to a failure of that device on the Deepwater Horizon, the rig's crew was unable to prevent the massive gush of oil that still spews from the bottom of the ocean.

Claiming that the rate of accidents and incidents "is approaching zero," the group tried blunting the agency's argument that many previous incidents could have been ameliorated if the equipment had been used.
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Transocean, Deepwater Horizon Operator, Won Safety Award; Made Music Video Touting Safety Aboard Ship

With international attention focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which is on track to be the worst oil disaster in American history, very little is known about what went wrong aboard the ship. The oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20th, killing 11 workers.

ABC News reports Tuesday that the Minerals Management Service, which is the federal agency in charge of monitoring and enforcing safety rules on oil rigs, gave rig operator Transocean a top safety award.

ABC News reports:

MMS issued its SAFE award to Transocean for its performance in 2008, crediting the company's "outstanding drilling operations" and a "perfect performance period." Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell told ABC News the awards recognized a spotless record during repeated MMS inspections, and should be taken as evidence of the company's longstanding commitment to safety.

Transocean's web magazine highlights a hip-hop-themed music video that promoted hand safety, which was filmed aboard the Deepwater Horizon. The video is not dated, but the site indicates that it was posted in the summer of 2009. The goofy and upbeat video highlighting safety is particularly eerie juxtaposed with the huge, deadly explosion that took place there two weeks ago. None of the workers are identified in the video, so it is difficult to know if any of the workers featured were aboard during the explosion.
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Amy and Rory and the Doctor

US scores poorly on 2010 Mothers' Index while Norway ranks first and Afghanistan comes in dead last

US scores poorly on world motherhood rankings: charity

WASHINGTON — The United States has scored poorly on a campaign group's list of the best countries in which to be a mother, managing only 28th place, and bettered by many smaller and poorer countries.

Norway topped the latest Save the Children "Mothers Index", followed by a string of other developed nations, while Afghanistan came in at the bottom of the table, below several African states.

But the US showing put it behind countries such as the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; and eastern and central European states such as Croatia and Slovenia.

Even debt-plagued Greece came in four places higher at 24.

One factor that dragged the US ranking down was its maternal mortality rate, which at one in 4,800 is one of the highest in the developed world, said the report.

"A woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland," the report said.

It also scored poorly on under-five mortality, its rate of eight per 1,000 births putting it on a par with Slovakia and Montenegro.

"At this rate, a child in the US is more than twice as likely as a child in Finland, Iceland, Sweden or Singapore to die before his or her fifth birthday," the report noted.
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Source as well as the 2010 Mothers' Index rankings and a link Save the Children's report on the State of the World's Mothers for 2010 
Akuma River

Gulf Oil Spill Update May 4th

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Gulf oil spill: Florida braces for impact
May 4, 2010 | 3:45 pm

As the powerful Loop Current, a surge of warm water that circulates in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, moved north within 30 miles of the spill, scientists predicted that it would catch the the oil and sweep it around the Florida peninsula. The oil could then contaminate the Everglades National Park, along with mangrove swamps, coral reefs, sea grass and the animals and fish that depend on them, they said. Beaches in Miami and along Florida's eastern coast could be tarred.

“Where it hits will be devastating,” said James Fourqurean, a sea grass ecologist with Florida International University. “But it is not going to hit everywhere.”
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LA Times Photo Gallery
LA Times Gulf Oil Spill Coverage

FYI, there is a reason why the leak is getting worse as the days go on. The hole is getting BIGGER. The theory is that there is abrasives on the hole that is eroded the metal around the well head. So far the well head is not open fully.

So yeah...this might not be BP lying about the numbers but basically underestimating how bad things were and shit happened and it kept getting worse.

Judges ban secret evidence in Guantanamo damages case

Secret evidence cannot be used in a civil damages claim being brought by six former Guantanamo Bay detainees, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

Binyam Mohamed and other former prisoners are seeking to sue the Government for complicity in torture, and the Government and security services wanted to use secret information in their defence at the High Cour

But Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls who headed a panel of three appeal judges, declared today that it was not open to the courts to order a closed material procedure in an ordinary civil claim.

He said: "The primary reason for our conclusion is that, by acceding to the defendants' argument, the court, while purportedly developing the common law, would in fact be undermining one of its most fundamental principles."

The former detainees - Binyam Mohamed, Bisher Al Rawi, Jamil El Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes and Martin Mubanga - deny any involvement in terrorism and allege that MI5 and MI6 aided and abetted their unlawful imprisonment and extraordinary rendition to various locations around the world, including Guantanamo, where they say they suffered torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

The intelligence services, Attorney General Baroness Scotland, the Foreign Office and the Home Office contest the claims.

The Government asked for the trial to be heard under the closed procedure whereby the claimants would not see large parts of the evidence being used as a defence.

Mr Justice Silber ruled in the High Court in November last year that there was no reason in law why the court could not allow a "closed material procedure" to be used in a claim for damages.

This would mean that the Government and security services would not have to disclose information to the claimants' lawyers if they felt that doing so would damage the interests of national security, the UK's international relations, the detection and prevention of crime, or was likely to harm the public interest in some other way.

Instead, the material would be disclosed to "special advocates" - barristers who had been given security vetting and clearance.

These lawyers would be able to take instructions from the claimants - but before they actually saw any of the material the Government did not wish to disclose.

The former detainees took their case to the Court of Appeal where it was ruled in February that paragraphs which gave details of Binyam Mohamed's torture in US custody should be published.

The Government had argued that publishing the paragraphs, which summarised information received by the British security services from American intelligence, could damage the intelligence-sharing relationship between Britain and the United States.

Today the court again ruled against the Government in a case in which human rights groups Justice and Liberty and a number of media organisations intervened, arguing that the Government's secrecy proposals breach the right to a fair and open trial, and are contrary to the right to freedom of expression and the public's right to know what the authorities are or have been doing on its behalf.

Lord Neuberger said it is possible there may be a civil case where the closed material procedure would be appropriate.

"However, this is one of those cases where it is right for the court to take a clear stand, at least in relation to ordinary civil proceedings."

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Source: The Independent
FC: Complete Lack of Surprise

Sex and risk among people in their 20s

Over the last few decades, the period between the time when young adults leave their parents' house and when they settle down to start families has grown substantially. In 1970, 21% of 25-year-olds were unmarried; by 2005, the percentage had jumped to 60%.

Marked by self-discovery and exploration, this phase of life has been dubbed the "odyssey years" by some. And along with determining their career and life goals, many unmarried adults in their 20s are also trying to figure out how to manage their sex lives.

According to a poll published earlier this year by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 86% of unmarried people ages 18 to 29 are sexually active. And though it may not be surprising that 87% of the same group reported that they are not ready to have kids — including 88% of women and 86% of men — their actions don't always line up with their intentions.
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{cs} reporting for duty

Guiding lights: How soap operas could save the world

On most measures of the strength of a community’s social fabric, the town of Oakdale would score poorly. There’s the high divorce rate and appallingly low incidence of marital fidelity, the off-the-charts frequency of assault, murder, rape, and arson; the overlapping epidemics of kidnapping, identity theft, fraud, and wedding-day bridal abandonment. And there is a local justice system seemingly bent on imprisoning the innocent, leaving it up to intrepid family members and lovers to bring the truth to light.

Thankfully, no one lives in Oakdale, no one real. It is the fictional town where ”As the World Turns,” America’s longest-running current soap opera, has tumultuously unfolded for over half a century (this season will be its last). And while the Gomorrhic dysfunction of places like the fictionalized Oakdale, Ill., or Port Charles, N.Y. (”General Hospital”) or Pine Valley, Pa. (”All My Children”) is what makes them so entertaining to their loyal fans, few would describe these as places where people live exemplary lives. Soap operas, after all, are entertainment at its least believable and least nutritious.

The possibility, therefore, that people might be modeling themselves after characters on soaps might seem both farfetched and frightening. A spate of recent research, however, suggests that, all over the world, that’s exactly what’s happening. What’s more, we should be happy about it.

Soaps, it turns out, are shaping behavior in ways that are subtle, profound and, from the standpoint of global development experts, positive. A team of economists credits Brazilian TV ”novelas” for helping to dramatically lower a fertility rate that in 1960 was above six births per woman. Others have found that in India — where soaps dominate the airwaves — villages where people watch more TV give more responsibilities and rights to women and girls. Researchers in Rwanda have found that radio soap operas there can help defuse the country’s dangerous ethnic tensions. Turkish soap operas have set off a public debate about women’s roles in the Middle East. And research in the United States has found that health tips tucked into soaps have greater sticking power than with just about any other mode of transmission. In a surprising number of ways, soap operas are improving lives around the world.

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(Crossposting to ONTD_feminism)
raptor, pirate

Ever heard a North Korean joke?

A comedy show on North Korean TV has the distinction of being one of the longest-running in the world, although there's very little that's actually funny in it.

Following are some jokes from North Korean defectors compiled by Radio Free Asia, a US-government affiliated broadcaster for the region:

- An Englishman, a Frenchman, and a North Korean are having a chat. The Englishman says: "I feel happiest when I'm at home, my wool pants on, sitting in front of the fireplace."

The Frenchman, a ladies' man, says: "You English people are so conventional. I feel happiest when I go to a Mediterranean beach with a beautiful blonde-haired woman, and we do what we've got to do on the way back."

The North Korean man says: "In the middle of the night, the secret police knock on the door, shouting: Kang Sung-Mee, you're under arrest! And I say, Kang Sung-Mee doesn't live here, but right next door! That's when we're happiest!"

More D: at the sauce.

BNP Website Designer Simon Bennett Blows The Party Apart In Confess All Statement

Marmite jars

Image via Wikipedia

The  British National Party (BNP) website was taken offline briefly today by it’s designer Simon Bennett, it didn’t seem to be down for long but in the time it was off line the following statement appeared on the site:

The services to this website have been suspended.
It is with regret that I have been forced to pull this website due to several attempts of theft today with regards to design work and content owned by myself. It is no secret that I have been in dispute with some elements of the management of the party for sometime now, but had hoped to resolve these issues ammicably and AFTER the elections. However, due to several attempts to steal my work today and combined with the recent deliberate copyright infringement I feel I have been left with no alternative to this action and feel wholly justified in doing so.

If Arthur Kemp, Jim Dowson or anyone else issue any more threats of violence against myself or my family I will contact the police immediately.

The background of my dispute with the party can be read here:

It now seems the BNP website has been re-activated however the following explanation for taking the website down was posted by Simon Bennet on his website:

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Screencaps at Source

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