June 8th, 2010

movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 7, 2010.

Partially blind gas victim waits for the verdict with other victims in the premises of Bhopal court in Bhopal, India, Monday, June 7, 2010. An Indian court on Monday convicted seven former senior employees of Union Carbide's Indian subsidiary of "death by negligence" for their roles in the Bhopal gas tragedy that left an estimated 15,000 people dead more than a quarter century ago in the world's worst industrial disaster.

Prakash Hatvalne | AP Photo
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Murasaki Shikibu

Teacher kicks child out of class, claiming allergy to her hair product

A teacher had an eight-year-old biracial girl kicked out of her honor's class and placed in normal classes, saying she was allergic to the girl's olive oil hair moisturizing lotion.

(If the video isn't showing up, here's a link.)

Well, this isn't problematic at all.

The little girl is also the only Black girl in an all-white honor's class, and her parents found out about this when the girl came home and told them the teacher made her leave the class because her hair was making the teacher sick.

Israeli gays told they are not welcome on Madrid parade

Israeli gays had been invited to take part in the pride parade for the first time

The Israeli gay community in Spain is reported to be angry after organisers of the Madrid Pride Procession have blocked their planned presence among the floats at the start of next month.

The ‘Orgullo’ parade organisers have removed their earlier first-time invitation to Israel following the international outcry following the Israeli assault on the flotilla attempting to take aid to Gaza across the Israeli blockade, and following pressure from Palestinian groups.

The Israelis say they have been told by the parade organisers in Madrid that they are worried about their security, but El Mundo reports the Israeli Association of Homosexuals and Lesbians, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry have described the decision as ‘a victory for the extremists’.

The parade takes place on Saturday July 3.
franklin sherman

BP paid for Rahm Emmanual's D.C. Apartment for five years.

In case you were tempted to buy the faux Washington outrage at BP and its gulf oil spill in recent days, here's a story that reveals a little-known corporate political connection and the quiet way the inner political circles intersect, protect and care for one another in the nation's capital. And Chicago.

We already knew that BP and its folks were significant contributors to the record $750-million war chest of Barack Obama's 2007-08 campaign.

Now, we learn the details of a connection of Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago mayoral wannabe, current Obama chief of staff, ex-representative, ex-Clinton money man and ex-Windy City political machine go-fer.

Shortly after Obama's happy inaugural, eyebrows rose slightly upon word that, as a House member, Emanuel had lived the last five years rent-free in a D.C. apartment of Democratic colleague Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and her husband, Stanley Greenberg.

For an ordinary American, that would likely raise some obvious tax liability questions. But like Emanuel, the guy overseeing the Internal Revenue Service now is another Obama insider, Tim Geithner, who had his own outstanding tax problems but skated through confirmation anyway by the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Remember this was all before the letters BP stood for Huge Mess. Even before the Obama administration gave BP a safety award.

Now follow these standard Washington links if you can:

Greenberg's consulting firm was a prime architect of BP's recent rebranding drive as a green petroleum company, down to green signs and the slogan "Beyond Petroleum."

Greenberg's company is also closely tied to a sister Democratic outfit -- GCS, named for the last initials of Greenberg, James Carville, another Clinton advisor, and Bob Shrum, John Kerry's 2004 campaign manager.

According to published reports, GCS received hundreds of thousands of dollars in political polling contracts in recent years from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Probably just a crazy coincidence. But you'll never guess who was the chairman of that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dispensing those huge polling contracts to his kindly rent-free landlord.

-- Andrew Malcolm

' love is running wild


GOP Gunning For Virginia's Perriello In Midterms

In Virginia's sprawling 5th Congressional District, which covers historically conservative territory, seven Republican candidates are competing in Tuesday's primary to take on freshman Democrat Tom Perriello.

As Republicans try to make gains in Congress in this year's midterm elections, they are hungering to take back traditionally GOP-held seats that were lost in 2008.

Perriello, who won in a shocking upset two years ago, is considered highly vulnerable — and Republicans are making this seat a special focus of attention.

"This looks like a district that's ripe for the taking," says Isaac Wood, who follows House races at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

He says Perriello's votes for the president's stimulus plan, for cap-and-trade legislation and for the health care overhaul could make him a one-term congressman.

"I think Perriello was sticking his neck out on those votes," Wood says. "And that's something he pledged to do when he ran for Congress. He talked about 'conviction politics,' which I call 'don't-try-this-at-home politics,' because he decided he was going to vote the way that he felt was right, regardless of what the polls said."

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cool positive real Democrat wholesome compassionate going to win re-election etc

seriously though this is the platonic ideal of what a congressman should be, especially a Democratic congressman! I love how he says Democrats have to work harder to overcome to millions of dollars of interest groups but we can because we have the facts on our side OMG IT'S EXACTLY WHAT I WOULD SAY. Anyway if you are disappoint at all the crap happening in politics lately you should read this and it will cheer you up. :D

TOTALLY NOT RACIST Crowd Protesting Mosque turns on Egyptian Christians

"Ground Zero Mosque" protest ends up, predictably, with racially-motivated hatred

There was a protest yesterday, attended by various wingnuts, racists, riled-up nativists, and terrified fools, of the supposed "Ground Zero mosque." (It will not be at Ground Zero, and it will actually be a community center that will include a mosque. But still.)

While national conservatives have picked up the ball, what local opposition there is to the proposed community center has been ginned up by Rupert Murdoch's New York Post -- mainly via perpetually outraged columnist Andrea Peyser, whose anti-mosque columns are regularly teased on the front page.

The entire anti-mosque campaign isn't about anything other than pure, paranoid Islamophobia. A Peyser column a few weeks ago was entirely about people in Sheepshead Bay -- some miles from Ground Zero -- protesting a proposed mosque solely because they're scared of Muslims.

Anyway, they had their protest yesterday. Mike Kelly of the Bergen (New Jersey) Record reported this heartwarming incident:

At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

"Go home,"
several shouted from the crowd.
"Get out," others shouted.
In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called "The Way." Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

"I'm a Christian," Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.

"I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here," a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.

But don't you dare call these people bigots!


Reuters cropped a photo to remove a peace activist's weapon

Now we have two pictures from the “peace activists” that were cropped by someone at Reuters to remove knives in the hands of the activists, as they attempted to take soldiers hostage.

Reuters has published this picture from the activists:

The picture is a cropped version of this photo from the IHH website (IHH is the Islamist group whose members rioted aboard the Mavi Marmara):

What did the Reuters photo editor crop out? A big knife and a big pool of blood.


For all the trolls out there - this post is not about Israel, this post is not about IDF, this post is not even about the flotilla. This post is about news coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Silly Tiger

Look, Look! My District is Going to be Famous!

`The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' attends Hacienda La Puente Unified board meeting

INDUSTRY - Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" is zeroing in on the controversy surrounding Hacienda La Puente Unified School District's new Confucius Classroom.

The satirical news program's crew filmed the school district's board meeting Thursday night. They also videotaped several community members who vehemently oppose the Chinese language and culture classroom, which will be funded by the Chinese government.

Mary Anne King, a Hacienda Heights resident opposed to the Confucius Classroom, said she has never seen an episode of "The Daily Show," but was concerned how it would portray the issue.

"We have to make sure that they don't make fun of our situation here and turn it into something that is not serious," King said.

Oren Brimer, field producer for "The Daily Show," said he doesn't know when the segment will broadcast.

The topic has created a furor among some community members who argue the program has a darker agenda - to spread Communistic ideals to students.

In January, four school board members voted to approve the agreement between the district and the Chinese Language Council International, or Hanban Organization. The agreement will provide $30,000 a year for an instructor and materials for Cedarlane Middle School beginning in the 2010-11 school year.

The agreement states the goal of the program is to "strengthen educational cooperation between China and the Unified States."

Book berry

Boycott BP! Because it’s much better to give your money to Exxon.

Go ahead, boycott BP. Not only do you get to send a message to the company that has proved incapable of stopping the undersea gusher unleashed on April 20, but (unless you live in a one-gas-station town) you can do it without much pain to yourself.

Drive right on by the BP station and pull up to the pumps from Exxon, the company responsible for the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 and, more recently, one of the biggest corporate funders of the movement to tar the science of climate change. Exxon also managed to reduce the $5 billion in punitive damages awarded by an Anchorage jury for the Valdez disaster to $507.5 million; the Valdez fishermen and other victims have still not been made whole. (Fun fact: to protect itself in case the original judgment was affirmed, Exxon got a line of credit from JP Morgan, which the bank then parlayed into the first credit default swap, as recounted in the 2009 book Fool’s Gold by Gillian Tett. These are the exotic financial instruments that helped trigger the Great Recession of 2008–09.)

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{default} this is how I roll

How do they get to be that way? - Roger Ebert on institutionalized racism and privilege

How would I feel if I were a brown student at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, Arizona? A mural was created to depict some of the actual students in the school.

Let's say I was one of the lucky ones. The mural took shape, and as my face became recognizable, I took some kidding from my classmates and a smile from a pretty girl I liked.

My parents even came over one day to have a look and take some photos to e-mail to the family. The mural was shown on TV, and everybody could see that it was me.

Then a City Councilman named Steve Blair went on his local radio talk show and made some comments about the mural. I didn't hear him, but I can guess what he said. My dad says it's open season on brown people in this state. Anyway, for two months white people drove past in their cars and screamed angry words out the window before hurrying away. And the artists got back up on their scaffold and started making my face whiter.

We went over to my grandparent's house, and my grandmother cried and told me, "I prayed that was ending in my lifetime." Then there was more news: The City Councilman was fired from his radio show, the Superintendent of Schools climbed up on the scaffold with a bullhorn and apologized for the bad decision, and I guess the artists went back up and started making my skin darker again, but I didn't go to see, because I never wanted to go near that bullshit mural again.

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Akuma River

Japanese, U.S. Manga Publishers Unite To Fight Scanlations

Japanese, U.S. Manga Publishers Unite To Fight Scanlations
By Calvin Reid
Jun 08, 2010

An international coalition of Japanese and American-based manga publishers have joined together to combat what they call the “rampant and growing problem” of scanlations, the practice of posting scanned and translated editions of Japanese comics online without permission of the copyright holders. The group is threatening legal action against 30 scanlation sites.

The effort brings together the 36 member Japanese Digital Comic Association—which includes such major Japanese houses as Kodansha, Shogakukan and Shueisha—as well as manga publisher Square Enix, the Tuttle-Mori Agency and U.S.-based manga publishers Vertical Inc, Viz Media, Tokyopop and Yen Press, the manga/graphic novel imprint of the Hachette Book Group.
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Update: It's everyone in the Japanese publishing market. The coalition is threatening legal action against thirty something of these scanlation sites, whose names were not revealed. The organization currently consists of the coalition’s members include Square Enix, Viz Media, TOKYOPOP, Vertical, Inc., the Tuttle-Mori Agency, Yen Press, and the members of the Digital Comic Association: Akane Shinsha, Akita Shoten, ASCII Media Works, East Press, Ichijinsha, Enterbrain, Okura Shuppan, Ohzora Shuppan, Gakken, Kadokawa Shoten, Gentosha Comics, Kodansha, Jitsugyo No Nihonsha, Shueisha, Junet, Shogakukan, Shogakukan Shueisha Production, Shodensha, Shonen Gahosha, Shinshokan, Shinchosha, Take Shobo, Tatsumi Shuppan, Tokuma Shoten, Nihon Bungeisha, Hakusensha, Fujimi Shobo, Fusosha, Futabasha, France Shoin, Bunkasha, Houbunsha, Magazine House, Media Factory, Leed sha, and Libre Shuppan.

Didn't Libre use the scanlators and their readers to bring down BeBeautiful?

‘Blunkett’s sight is to blame for immigration’

Minifig Famous People # 16: David Blunkett

Image by minifig via Flickr

Here is the columnist Melanie McDonagh in the Telegraph today:

Benedict Brogan’s admirable article in this paper last week describing mass immigration as Labour’s real legacy came to mind. He observed, correctly, that one reason Gordon Brown lost it on immigration was that, with his ethnically homogenous Scottish constituency and rarefied London social circles, he never really encountered its effects.

Mr Brogan was too kind to say, so let me do it, that one reason why much of the influx took place when David Blunkett was home secretary is that he was blind; he couldn’t actually see what was happening.


I suppose it had nothing to do with the enlargement of the EU in 2004 then.

Melanie McDonagh’s real beef is that there were these “bearded men in white robes” who were daring to demonstrate against Israel in London over the weekend. Why couldn’t Londonders be more like the “amiable women over 60 with printed skirts, white hair and sandals” that she saw earlier?

The problem is “mass immigration from the Muslim world” – except that most immigration during David Blunkett’s reign was from Eastern Europe.

There never has been “mass immigration from the Muslim world” in the UK.

Blogger Left Outside says:

Of course it doesn’t stop merely with wilful ignorance or accusation of bizarre theories that if Blunkett could see he would have been more racist. She also accuses immigrants of hurting the quality of Religious Education in the UK. The Ofted report she mentions doesn’t discuss migration, because it hasn’t had an effect on religious education, but she crowbars it in somehow.

When it comes to education policy she informs us she “met a really nice Pakistani Catholic last week.” She asks us to take a lesson on how to do education from Pakistan. This woman really doesn’t do subtlety (some of my best friends are brown, she informs us) or deep thinking (Pakistan has a religious atmosphere conducive to a free society!). Bilge.

Bilge indeed.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy
Can we have an 'ableism' tag up in here please, mods?
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Helen Thomas went over the top, but why is she gagged in the land of the free?

Helen Thomas meeting students from Maxwell Sch...

Image via Wikipedia

Whatever one thinks of the views propounded by the (former) doyenne of the White House press corps, Helen Thomas, one of the series of punishments administered to her seems disproportionate.

Soon after the 89-year-old journalist was filmed saying that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go "home" to Germany and Poland, she lost her job. (See the video here).

As Michael Tomasky points out, it was her reference to Germany and Poland that did for her. It was, quite simply, a disgraceful, thoughtless and indefensible statement. She went way over the top.

So, despite her having issued an apology on her website, it was probably no real surprise that Hearst newspapers announced her immediate "retirement". She has had a long run, after all.

But it's the next bit of the story that concerns me. She was also dumped by her speaking agency, which issued a statement: "In light of recent events, Nine Speakers is no longer able to represent Ms Thomas, nor can we condone her comments on the Middle East."

The agency's president, Diane Nine, later emailed HuffPost to say: "We no longer represent Helen for books or lectures or anything else."

So, in the land of the free, where freedom of speech is guaranteed under the constitution, a person who expresses what are deemed to be controversial views is effectively gagged. Has Ms Nine never heard of Voltaire?

I note that Thomas was also required to step down from delivering a high school graduation speech.

I imagine it's just the beginning of a process of public, and media, exclusion for Thomas. That may be a personal problem for her (though, at her age, she may not care). But, as she would be the first to grasp, it has wider implications.

It is one of those rare occasions in which one can see clearly how people in America who are willing to express anti-establishment opinions are demonised, marginalised and finally excluded from public debate.

Did I say "people"? I mean, of course, those who are identified as liberals. Right-wing TV and radio hosts can say what they like, however outrageous. Some iconoclasts are obviously freer than others.

Source: The Guardian
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' jules

Sweet & Lowden


It's that time again. On today's agenda:

- The runoff re-match between Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter for Senate (Dem) in Arkansas

- Nikki Haley vs Andre Bauer vs some other people for Governor (GOP) in South Carolina (this could go to runoff)

- Sue Lowden vs Sharron Angle vs Danny Tarkanian for Senate (GOP) in Nevada

- Carly Fiorina vs Tom Campbell vs Chuck DeVore for Senate (GOP) and Meg Whitman vs Steve Poizner for Governor (GOP) in California - where, yes, Orly Taitz is on the ballot for Secretary of State (GOP) and might actually get the nod

Other votes today:

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Will Halter avenge the death of the public option at Lincoln's hands?

Will the ascendance of an adulterous raghead cause Jake Knotts's fat ruddy head to explode?

Is Sue Lowden's shot at the Senate totally plucked (tm TPM)?

Will the Birther Queen be a thorn in Fiorina and Whitman's sides until November?

Stay tuned for... PRIMARY NIGHT 2!!!!!!

FDA considers a Plan C

But antiabortion activists want ulipristal acetate, a new and improved emergency contraceptive, to be banned

Next week, the Food and Drug Administration is set to consider approval for an emergency contraceptive that can be taken five days after sex, and it just might be more effective than Plan B. Ulipristal acetate, sold under the brand name ellaOne, is already approved in Europe as a morning-after -- make that a several-mornings-after -- pill. 

USA Today reports that "two company-funded trials involving more than 3,000 women, published in February, found that it was consistently effective up to 120 hours, or five days, after unprotected sex." Compare that to Plan B (aka levonorgestrel), which decreases in effectiveness during its 72-hour window. Even within that three-day period, though, ellaOne was more effective than Plan B, according to one study. 

A new, more effective form of emergency contraception? The potential here is thrilling -- except for some outspoken antiabortion activists. As LifeNews.com reports, the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists has sent a letter to the FDA opposing ulipristal's approval, calling it "an abortifacient of the same type as mifepristone (RU 486)."

Mifepristone isn't approved in the U.S. for use as an emergency contraceptive, so it's a misleading comparison.  That isn't to say that ulipristal can't cause an abortion, but its indicated use is as emergency contraception; taking it to terminate a pregnancy would be a dangerous, off-label use. As the European Medicines Agency noted in a review of the drug, "pregnancy should be excluded" before the drug is prescribed.


Coalition government has killed off political satire

Political satire is in danger of dying out under the Coalition government because there are no characters worth lampooning, Sir David Frost has warned.

The veteran broadcaster, who pioneered the genre in the 1960s television series That Was The Week That Was, said Britain's new consensus politics had placed satire in "intensive care" - in marked contrast to the 1980s, when Spitting Image delighted in sending up Lady Thatcher and her Cabinet colleagues.

The country which once led the world in poking fun at politicians now looks on in envy at the US, where the gaffe-prone George W Bush and Sarah Palin have provided comedians with endless material.

"What about the future of political satire here in the UK under our new coalition government? From where I sit I have to admit it's difficult to see. I suspect it will come from satire on the workings of government rather than the deeds of individuals, but who knows? Perhaps our new George W or Sarah P are just around the corner," Sir David said.

"In the meantime, it's all too easy to forget that British satire was once, like our NHS, the envy of the world.... Doesn't each and every one of us have a duty to help raise satire from intensive care and nurse it back to rude - very rude - health?"

Writing in the Radio Times to launch his forthcoming BBC4 documentary, Frost on Satire, Sir David said of Spitting Image: "One of the most prominent puppets - and arguably the star of the show - was the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, portrayed as a cigar-chomping tyrant. Her resignation in 1990 left the Spitting Image team bereft, precipitating a slump in the show's fortunes. So did satire survive the show's demise? Not here perhaps."

His comments were endorsed in part by Peter Fluck, the co-creator of Spitting Image, which ran from 1984-1996.

"I certainly don't think British satire is dead. The last movie I went to see was Four Lions by Chris Morris, one of the best satirists that ever worked. He has been wise enough to choose the media as his target, not politicians," Mr Fluck said.

"Frost is right that political satire is floundering. The thing about Thatcher was that she was incredibly extreme. She was obviously somebody to be feared and it's a lot easier when you're dealing with extremes. At least with Thatcher you knew where you stood - she wanted to destroy the miners, to go to war with Argentina, to implement enormous public spending cuts.

"Now we're dealing with an ad agency running the government. You don't really know what's going on. This lot think about PR all the time. It's all marketing."

Rory Bremner complained before the election that Nick Clegg was almost impossible to impersonate. "I struggle with David Cameron, but I find Clegg particularly difficult to master," he said. "Professionally speaking, I want characters to win the election, but sadly we are probably going to lose a generation of people like David Blunkett and John Prescott."

Source: The Telegraph
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The Gang

Kids these days! The “Generation Y” panic, privilege, and erasure

By Annaham on 7 June, 2010

Recently, I read this odd article, penned by Judith Warner, in the New York Times–one in a stream of many that detail how excessively awful the current generation of young people (read: young workers) is at putting its collective nose to the grindstone, sucking it up, and generally not acting like a bunch of brats, or something.

Many of us have heard about, or come into contact with, some of these bright young things. They are heralded — or, more commonly, blasted — as naive, entitled, too optimistic, and over-confident. In many of these articles, their numerous faults are listed: They don’t know how to dress professionally! They expect to march into the workplace of their choice and immediately start making a six figure-salary! They think they are perfect! They want praise all of the time! (Does no one who writes these sorts of articles stop to consider that many human beings want praise when they complete a task to the best of their abilities?) They have tattoos, dyed hair, and iPods! EVERYBODY PANIC, because the American workplace is apparently going to be dragged down by Generation Y’s entitlement, narcissism and laziness! This narrative, however, seems to apply mostly to a very specific subset of the population (and even the picture that accompanies the NYT article reinforces this): young, able-bodied, middle to upper-middle class, college-educated white people.

This erases, or conveniently ignores, a hell of a lot of folks who are not young, abled, middle/upper-middle class, and white. It erases young workers who may not have had the “expected” educational opportunities (such as college), or who had to take more than the expected four years to finish their degree, or who did not finish school. It erases people whose parents or family members may not have been quite so “involved” in their education, or in their lives at all. Of course, it also erases young people with disabilities — both those who cannot work, and those who want to work but who may be bumping up against various narratives such as that of the “entitled” Generation Y kid. Some of us have psychological issues or disabilities that put us completely at odds with the “overly-confident” and “entitled” stereotype that apparently befits the current generation — because we cannot stop worrying despite the fact that we are supposed to be totally optimistic and confident all of the time, always thinking that the roads leading to our perfect job will be lined with rainbows, fluffy bunnies, and gold.

Some of us have physical disabilities, chronic pain, or chronic illnesses that prevent us from working 40-hour weeks (or more); asking for accommodations or disclosing our condition(s), we fear, may make us look “entitled,” or like we do not want to put in the time necessary to work our way up — even if this is not the case. The fact is that many people, and many young people, with disabilities are already at a tremendous disadvantage when it comes to the labor market and making a living. Not only are many people with disabilities, at least in the U.S., more likely to face lengthy stretches of unemployment and/or live in poverty regardless of age, but many face additional hostility, discrimination, and unreasonable demands, both in the workplace and from society at large because of their disabilities.

While I am not saying that these over-entitled Generation Y-ers don’t exist (I’ve had run-ins with quite a few of them, myself), I am struck by the fact that the narrative surrounding them is so dependent upon erasing or ignoring certain people whose bodies and experiences do not fit the “expected” attitudes about labor that have been traditionally upheld by American culture. Many of these attitudes, furthermore, rely heavily on binaries that reinforce who “counts” and who does not: You either work full-time, or you’re lazy. You’re willing to be mistreated in the workplace and do whatever it takes “for the job,” or you’re a wimp. Suck it up, or go home. If you’re not making enough money to live on or are poor, you just aren’t working hard enough. If you ask for “accommodations,” you’re asking for too much — just do your job! You have to work hard to “make it,” and if you don’t work hard enough, it’s your fault. If you don’t like your job or face daily mistreatment, you can always quit and find another one, right? But if you can’t, it’s your fault, and why did you quit that job, anyway? These attitudes surrounding work affect people with disabilities in a wide variety of age groups and generational cohorts, and this is a crucial part of why they are so important to critically question and examine.

The message for Generation Y, in general, may be “Get over yourself,” but the message for those who do not fit the characteristics of the “average” Generation Y worker is more severe — and ultimately more dire.