May 13th, 2010

birdmanbirdmanbirdman

Campaign to save the life of Kiana Firouz at risk of deportation from the U.K.



Kiana Firouz, 27 years old, is an outspoken Iranian LGBT rights activist, filmmaker, and actress. When clips of her video documentary work featuring the struggle and persecution of gays and lesbians in her country were acquired by Iranian intelligence, agents began to follow Firouz around Tehran, harassing and intimidating her. She fled for England where she could safely continue her work and studies.

She plays a starring role in Cul de Sac, a documentary film produced in the UK about the condition of lesbians in Iran, and based heavily on Firouz’s own life story. Directed by Ramin Goudarzi-Nejad and Mahshad Torkan, the movie will premiere in London in a few days. Since the trailer was posted on YouTube in December 2009, Cul de Sac has attracted global media attention, with thousands of views. Apparently, some of those views included members of Ahmadinejad’s puppet media in Iran. They know who Firouz is and what she stands for. They may want her to come back to the country she was born in to answer for it.

Firouz, understandably, has requested asylum from the British government. Much to everyone’s shock and dismay, the British Home Office has rejected her application for refugee status. Yes, they know she’s gay. Yes, they know she could be deported back to Iran at any time, and that if this happens, Firouz will most likely be sentenced to torture and death after being found guilty of the “unspeakable sin of homosexuality” because she has participated in explicit lesbian sex scenes in the movie, and been a fierce proponent for human rights in her country.

In Iran, the punishment for lesbianism involving mature consenting women consists of 100 lashes. This punishment can be applied up to three times. After a fourth violation of Iranian law, a woman convicted of “unrepentant homosexuality” is finally executed by hanging, often publicly, in front of a howling mob.

source
online petition of her deportation
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Pride & Prejudice

Full Text: Conservative-Lib Dem deal

This document sets out agreements reached between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on a range of issues. These are the issues that needed to be resolved between us in order for us to work together as a strong and stable government. It will be followed in due course by a final Coalition Agreement, covering the full range of policy and including foreign, defence and domestic policy issues not covered in this document.

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Akuma River

Wikimedia's implosion over 'porn' being 'child porn'

Photobucket

I'm sure that at least some of you have heard about this from fandom_wank (Part 1 Part 2). I'm going to include multiple links to this story because this is going to be big.

Wikipedia's porn purge, and cleaning up for the iPad
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is encouraging a purge of indecent images, while publishers targeting the iPad may be trying to avoid gratuitous nipples
Jack Schofield Wednesday 12 May 2010 14.23 BST

Wikipedia has been deleting images that could be considered pornographic – including some used to illustrate articles on sexuality, which has upset some editors who felt they should have been consulted first.

On his Talk page, co-founder Jimmy Wales wrote that: "Wikimedia Commons admins who wish to remove from the project all images that are of little or no educational value but which appeal solely to prurient interests have my full support."

"Wikimedia Commons" is a "free media repository" and a sister project to the Wikipedia encyclopedia. It was set up so that all the Wikimedia projects could share photographs, cartoons and other materials. However, it had been accused of holding pornography.
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Raise your hands if this is about to get UGLY. *raises hand*
awesome job bobbalooey
  • kitbug

MAKING MEN MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR PREVENTING PREGNANCY? :O

Scientists Testing 'Ultrasound' Birth Control on Men


By Mallory Creveling

Scientists have moved one step closer to giving men more responsibility in preventing pregnancy.

University of North Carolina researchers are beginning trials to see if ultrasound can serve as a means of reversible contraception for men, BBC News reports. Based on the researchers' earlier work, a blast of ultrasound to the testes may safely stop sperm production for six months.

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live post on inauguration day 01/09

cop not racist, has black imaginary friends



A Philadelphia police sergeant who said he was shot last month by an unidentified black man in the city's Overbrook section actually fabricated the entire story and shot himself, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said this morning. Sgt. Robert Ralston, a 21-year veteran of the department, admitted to homicide detectives early this morning that his previously reported story was false.

Ramsey called the incident "a terrible and embarrassing chapter in our history." Asked why Ralston concocted the tale and injured himself, Ramsey said he didn't know.

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sauce

ETA: to close my html fail
Yuuko - The Witch of Dimensions

Canadian youth stripped and turned back for STEALING AMERICAN JOBS

places

Quebec student shaken by U.S. border ordeal - Volunteer Nina Vroemen says she was told she was taking jobs away from Americans

In short: Nina Vroemen, who is 20, signed up for some volunteer aboard program (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), the kind where you exchange free labour for free room and board, Some Place Far Away, it lets young people see the world outside of their town.

Only...the gargoyles at American Immigration decided that because this UnAmerican Foreigner would be exchanging her labour for something, she was stealing jobs from American Citizens. See as how The Man at the border is both executioner and policy maker, they had her strip-searched and sent back.

This is a shameful misuse of power, strip search is meant to find drugs and weapons, which is completely inappropiate here after they have expressed their motive of denying her entry...not for fear that she is bringing harm, but that she'll be Stealing Jobs.
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Arizona limits ethnic studies in public schools

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Law bans classes that "promote resentment" of other racial groups
  • Gov. Jan Brewer approves the measure without public statement
  • Brewer's signature comes less than a month after she signed immigration law

(CNN) -- Fresh on the heels of a new immigration law that has led to calls to boycott her state, Arizona's governor has signed a bill banning ethnic studies classes that "promote resentment" of other racial groups.

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Quarter of U.S. women ambivalent toward pregnancy

Nearly one in four women of childbearing age in the United States are unconcerned about getting pregnant -- but aren't trying either -- and would be happy either way, according to a recent study.

"This finding dramatically challenges the idea that women are always trying, one way or another, to either get pregnant or not get pregnant," said Julia McQuillan, professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the study's lead author.

 

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  • foutu

(no subject)



Anti-abortion rally hails Canada’s new foreign-aid stand


Biggest-ever pro-life rally puts abortion debate on Harper’s doorstep



OTTAWA—Heartened and emboldened by Canada’s new anti-abortion stand on foreign aid, thousands of pro-life campaigners flooded in unprecedented numbers to Parliament Hill on Thursday, daring to hope that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government will take further steps against abortion at home as well as abroad.

The debate that Harper says he doesn’t want to reopen in Canada arrived literally on his doorstep on Thursday, with high spirits and demands for the Conservative government to do much more to discourage abortion in this country.

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(no subject)

Obama fan calls the president 'a hottie' with 'smokin' body'




BUFFALO -- President Obama is "smokin'" -- and we're not talking about his cigarette habit.

During an unannounced stop today at Duff's Famous Wings before giving a speech in Buffalo, the president was approached by a big fan who paid him the ultimate compliment.

"You're a hottie with a smokin' little body," Luann Haley, 45 said to Obama.

VIDEO: OBAMA'S PRESIDENTIAL ATTRACTION

The president then pulled a Bill Clinton, responding with a smile and big hug.

"He gave me a squeeze,'' Haley said afterward.

After the hug, Obama reminded Haley that his wife Michelle would see the footage on TV later today.

"That's all right,'' replied Haley.

About 100 people were t the restaurant when Obama arrived. He was greeted with handshakes and hugs.

Asked what he ordered at Duffs, Obama said, "Wings! This is the wing capital."

The president ordered his wings medium, but later called out to the restaurant staff that he would have five regular, five extra spicy. He spent $10.82 before leaving the joint.

Source


LMAO @ "pulled a Bill Clinton". I see what you did there, boo.

 I can't say I disagree with Miss Luann Haley. 
Candace demands an explanation for this
  • sora50

Bob Bennett lost because he didn't "really, really love the Constitution"

Bennett tears up

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

The spring primaries provide a window into the mood of the electorate in the lead-up to the fall midterm elections. Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats will face strong challenges from Republicans who have used the battles over health care and government spending to fire up their base. But Republicans are not immune from an anti-incumbent bias.

Case in point: Senator Bob Bennett of Utah was denied his bid for a fourth term over the weekend. He was removed from the ballot at a Republican convention dominated by activists in the Tea Party movement.

Earlier today, I asked Senator Bennett for his take on what happened.

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creepy but cute

Hedge-funds bet imminent US economic collapse

This is  from FEB 26, 2010 but significant as Greek economy is basically... collapsing.

Hedge Funds Try 'Career Trade' Against Euro
By SUSAN PULLIAM, KATE KELLYand CARRICK MOLLENKAMP

Some heavyweight hedge funds have launched large bearish bets against the euro in moves that are reminiscent of the trading action at the height of the U.S. financial crisis.

The big bets are emerging amid gatherings such as an exclusive "idea dinner" earlier this month that included hedge-fund titans SAC Capital Advisors LP and Soros Fund Management LLC. During the dinner, hosted by a boutique investment bank at a private townhouse in Manhattan, a small group of all-star hedge-fund managers argued that the euro is likely to fall to "parity"—or equal on an exchange basis—with the dollar, people close to the situation say.

The currency wagers signal that big financial players spot a rare trading opening driven by broader market gyrations. The euro, which traded at $1.51 in December, now trades around $1.35. With traders using leverage—often borrowing 20 times the size of their bet, accentuating gains and losses—a euro move to $1 could represent a career trade. If investors put up $5 million to make a $100 million trade, a 5% price move in the right direction doubles their initial investment.
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Extradition order issued for pot activist Emery

    

     Vancouver's so-called Prince of Pot will be turned over to U.S. authorities to face drug charges five years after he was first arrested for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. residents, his wife and lawyer have confirmed.

      Marc Emery, 51, turned himself in to authorities at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Monday after his bail, granted in November, expired. His wife, Jodie, told CBC News she has learned that federal Justice Minister Robert Nicholson has signed an order clearing the way for Emery to be extradited to the U.S. Emery's lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, said as part of a plea bargain deal, Emery will not appeal the extradition order and will likely be transferred to Seattle within a week.

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Source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/05/10/bc-marc-emery-extradition-again.html#ixzz0nrRoNZq
Dirrrrrrty - I am a bad bad person

(no subject)

I am not a hundred percent sure that this is okay to post, but it is relevant to current(ish) news and, also, awesome.

Tim Minchin is an English/Australian comedian, songwriter and musician -- and also an outspoken atheist. One of his latest songs is about the Catholic Church's newest paedophile scandal and the allegations that the Pope helped cover up for priests abusing children.

IT IS INCREDIBLY, INCREDIBLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK. NOR ARE THE LYRICS - WHICH ARE UNDER THE CUT - IF YOUR WORK OBJECTS TO AN INCREDIBLY AMOUNT OF SWEARING.



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I found this really interesting and also pretty funny. I like an overload of foul language set to music, but especially when it is being used to make a valid point.

Oh, and by the way - this will worm its way into your head, and you will be humming it all day. Don't say I didn't warn you.
i like CHOcolate milk.

Buffalo billboard petitions president for "a freakin' job"

"I need a freakin' job." That's the message President Obama saw as he arrived in Buffalo, N.Y., this afternoon for an event talking up the administration's success in creating new jobs. He also pitched Congress on approving a $30 billion credit for small-business growth.

Yet critics say Obama has been focusing his recovery efforts too narrowly and hasn't done enough to help people find work. After all, the latest job figures show 9.9 percent of the country still out of work. That inspired a group of unemployed Buffalo residents — who also have a website called INAFJ.org — to appeal to the president in the form of a billboard along the route his motorcade took into town. Here is a photo of the billboard:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic 

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The Gang

U.S. Soldiers Awarded Highest German Medal for Bravery During Rescue

International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta
05.12.2010  PROVINCIAL RECONSTRUCTION TEAM, KUNDUZ, Afghanistan—Under an overcast sky, on the same airfield where they carried wounded German Soldiers to safety only 5 weeks before, 14 U.S. Soldiers were awarded the highest German medal for bravery, May 12.

International Security Assistance Force Chief of Staff German Army Lt. Gen. Bruno Kasdorf, presented the German Gold Cross of Honor medals to the medical evacuation helicopter pilots and crew from the 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, Katterbach, Germany.

The German Gold Cross is equivalent to the U.S. Medal of honor, only four other German Soldiers have ever been awarded it. The medal is for outstanding deeds at the risk of one's life.

The aircrew rescued eleven German Soldiers who had come under attack by insurgents during a dismounted patrol outside the Chahar Dara district, southwest of Kunduz, April 2.

"It is an honor for me to day to hand over these badges to the U.S. servicemembers, who risked their lives to bring their German wounded comrades to safety," Kasdorf said.

On that day, the German Soldiers had been on a foot patrol searching for IEDs when insurgents attacked them with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.
 
The volume of fire was so intense that the American MedEvac helicopters couldn't land on their first attempt.

"I was the responsible person on the ground for getting the helicopters to the landing zone," German Paratrooper Master Sgt. Patrick Bonneik, joint terminal attack controller, said. "My biggest concern was that they would leave us. You could see the sparks coming off the helo [from small arms fire]."

The helicopters made a successful second attempt to land. They continued their rescue mission under fire as they evacuated the dying and wounded German troops back to the PRT Kunuz base.

Rocket propelled grenades passed under one of the helicopters by 10 yards, added the bearded Bonneik.

"Our doctors said, if the helicopters wouldn't have landed three more would be dead," Bonneik said. "They're amazing Soldiers. On that day, those guys showed - [guts]. They just did what they would've done for an American unit. It was extremely brave."

"My thought was just for the wounded Soldiers," after the ceremony a tearful U.S. Army Sgt. Steven Shumaker, crew chief, 5th Bn., 158th Av. Regmt., said. "My own safety wasn't a concern. Our goal was to get those guys out or die trying."

Three of the Germans rescued later died from their wounds. The other eight survived.

After the ceremony concluded the German Soldiers and Americans lined up and faced each other like at the end of a tightly contested sports match.

They shook hands with each other and then each and everyone gave the other a hug, a deep heartfelt embrace. One could sense that these Soldiers had shared a life changing moment in time.

"We didn't know each other before," Bonneik said, "but now we're like brothers."

Source
Michelle

Iran executes Kurdish teacher and 4 others

Via Amnesty International

Amnesty International on Tuesday condemned the executions in Iran of four Kurdish political activists and another Iranian man, all convicted of "moharebeh" (enmity against God).

The four Kurds – Farzad Kamangar [pictured], Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam-Holi [pictured] - along with Mehdi Eslamian, were hanged on Sunday, 9 May at Evin prison in Tehran.

The five were accused of "enmity against God" for carrying out "terrorist acts" and convicted of this vaguely worded charge which can carry the death penalty and is usually applied to those who take up arms against the state.


"We condemn these executions which were carried out without any prior warning. Despite the serious accusations against them, the five were denied fair trials. Three of the defendants were tortured and two forced to 'confess' under duress," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"They were then executed in violation of Iranian law, which requires the authorities to notify prisoners' lawyers.in advance before carrying out executions."

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Bodies of 5 activist will not be delivered for burial

While Iranians and people of the world are still in a stage of shock from the execution of five political activists, the news received regarding other activists does not sound much better. At the same time by issuance of a statement Mir Hossein Mousavi, voiced his protests against these executions. According to Farzad Kamangar’s sister, his mother is not in a good mental condition and has said: “My duty as Farazad’s mother has just begun. In the meeting hall, I frequently told Farzad he should proudly come out of prison, thus my wish became true. My Farzad came out with pride.”

“Rooz” reports another 16 Kurdish prisoners as well as 11 protesters are currently at risk of execution. The cases of three prisoners have already been referred to Enforcement branch; two others, despite the issuance of verdict have not been informed as of yet nor have their families.

On the other hand conflicting news about the unnecessary holiday in Tehran which has been announced for Saturday and Sunday, as well as the officials contradicting reports in this regard and transportation of political prisoners has increased concerns and the public is worried about 67 massacre happening again, which led to death of thousands.
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F.F.F.F.F.F.F.F.F.F.UHK Y.Y.Y.OUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU BASTARDS. So much. "moharebeh" (enmity against God) translates roughly to "we have no evidence against these guys but would like to execute them anyway under the pretense that we as a political entity are god and they may or may not have pissed us off politically".
doctor/obama

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Dance."

US Soldiers Remake Kesha's 'Blah Blah Blah' Video Into 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Spoof


A group of U.S. soldiers in Iraq have upped the ante in the music video battle against their brethren in Afghanistan. Aspiring filmmaker Codey Wilson and his "elite step team of volunteers" spoofed all the controversy about letting gays serve openly in the military with a fiercely fabulous music video set to Ke$ha's song "Blah Blah Blah."

The safe for work production is a creative mix of intense half-naked dancing, diverse set pieces, and sly looks. Wilson writes,

Don't give us a hard time for this, please? We're just a few good men trying to enjoy ourselves and get this deployment over with. No one is gay... that we know of. Not that there is anything wrong with that! (political correctness) As a young aspiring film maker I was forced to release this early due to our friend in Afghans high school lip sinked music video. You know you love it. Enjoy it. Spread it. Live it. Lastly, ignore the copy cats that will soon follow and keep your taste for original creativity. Much love from the east!

It remains to be seen if this video can top the Lady Gaga "Telephone" remake by the boys in Afghanistan, which went so viral it prompted this heartfelt analysis from the Washington Post.

In the meantime, Wilson requests that you spread this video far and wide. Please do. Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Dance.




Source

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So this is barely politically relevant, I realize, but come on. It's like a unicorn chaser for all the homophobic fail lately.

ALTHOUGH...there's definitely the question of what kind of statement this video makes. Entertaining camp parody of homophobe fears? Awkward anti-gay stereotyping? Really, really unfortunate musical taste?


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EDIT - Man, I just wanted to enjoy the ridiculousness. But...that quote up above is just an excerpt. The entire thing, from the YouTube description:

"The video is an EXAGGERATED act of a possible future military that is open to any sexual preference. Please don't try to cause us any problems. We're just a few good guys trying to enjoy ourselves and get this deployment over with. No one in the video is gay... that we know of, nor am I. Sorry guys. Not that there is anything wrong with that! (political correctness) I am NOT saying it IS ok to be gay in the military. I am not saying it's NOT OK. As a wanna be student actor and film maker I was forced to release this early due to our friend in Afghans lip sinked music video. I have to admit I feel a bit more creative but he has my respect. Making these things around here is really scary because we're taking major risks. You know you love it. Enjoy it. Spread it. Lastly, ignore the copy cats that will soon follow and keep your taste for original creativity. If you see anyone using this video for the wrong reasons please help out Thanks for watching. Next one is coming out in two weeks when I get home!"


...Um. I think that puts things pretty solidly in the "awkward" camp.
Jon and Gitmo

American Individualism: Exceptional?

It is commonly claimed and, in fact, I have claimed it on this blog (here and here), that the U.S. is especially individualistic. Claude Fischer, at Made in America, puts this assertion to the test. “There is considerable evidence, ” he writes, “that Americans are not more individualistic – in fact, are less individualistic – than other peoples.”

He operationalizes “individualism” as “gives priority to personal liberty” and offers the following evidence.

Question: “In general, would you say that people should obey the law without exception, or are there exceptional occasions on which people should follow their consciences even if it means breaking the law?”

 

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Trailer - 8: The Mormon Proposition

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Synopsis

Director Reed Cowan initially planned on making a documentary about gay teen homelessness and suicide in Utah but soon realized that the homophobia that prompts otherwise loving parents to kick teenagers out of their homes is deep-seated in current Mormon ideology. Cowan, with his fellow filmmakers, experienced first-hand what it was like to grow up gay in Utah in the Mormon faith, then turned their attention to the historic campaign by the Mormon Church to pass Proposition 8 in California believing that it was the cornerstone of an ideology that has worked for decades “to damage gay people and their causes.” The film is their emotional outcry to what they found.


Will be released on June 18, 2010.

Movie Website
Akuma River

Equating the internet with international waters

Stand up to the enemies of Internet freedom
By Bernard Kouchner Bernard Kouchner – Tue May 11, 12:58 pm ET

Paris – In 2015, 3-1/2 billion people – half of mankind – will have access to the Internet. There has never been such a revolution in freedom of communication and freedom of expression. But how will this new medium be used? What new distortions and obstacles will the enemies of the Internet come up with?

Modern technology leads to the best and the worst. Extremist, racist, and defamatory websites and blogs disseminate odious opinions in real time. They have made the Internet into a weapon of war and hate. Websites are attacked and Internet users are recruited through chatrooms for destructive plots. Violent movements are infiltrating social networks to spread propaganda and false information.

It is very hard for democracies to control them. I do not subscribe to the naive belief that a new technology, however efficient and powerful it may be, is bound by nature to advance liberty on all fronts.
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So what do you guys think?