June 30th, 2010

cloak, capas, student, praxe

Breaking news: Extremists getting it wrong again, this time on the left side

World Cup Patriotism in Berlin

Immigrants Defend the Flag while Left-Wing Germans Tear it Down

With Germany celebrating as its football team advances through the World Cup, the flag is flying everywhere in the country. But as one German of Lebanese descent has found out, not everyone in the country is a fan of the patriotic display. His giant German flag keeps getting torn down -- apparently by left-wing activists.

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I wasn't aware there were these kinds of tensions in Germany...
Flags everywhere, pride alongside communion is one of THE BEST DAMN THINGS OF THE WC! I absolutely love walking around my university city during these times and see flags from 18 different countries (had to count them lol) proudly displayed on windows everywhere. I can't imagine being berated for flying your flag in your own country.

Keep Calm and Drink Hot Chocolate

AFSCME Says Goodbye to Long-Time Secretary-Treasurer William "Bill" Lucy

On Monday, during the 2010  American Federation of State, County and Municipal  Employees(AFSCME) Convention in Boston, MA, delegates paid tribute to former Secretary-Treasurer William "Bill" Lucy, who formally announced his retirement in early February.

Bidding farewell amid chants of “Thank you, Bill,” Lucy stressed the importance of fighting for social justice, a commitment that has characterized his public service career. “We’ve always known that there’s a crisis. It may be more intense now, but there’s always been a crisis for millions of people not as lucky as we are in this room,” Lucy said. “There’s a daily crisis in their lives, as they struggle to put bread on their tables, to put clothes on their backs, to have a roof on their heads. We have a responsibility to help them out.”

As Secretary-Treasurer for over 30 years, Lucy has been at the forefront of the labor movement. By helping AFSCME grow from 200,000 to over 1.6 million members, he has defined the role of African Americans in the labor unions.  Along the way, he has not only stood beside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, but Nelson Mandela in opposition to apartheid as well. Though his name is not as well known, Lucy has carved out a legacy based on living wages, health care benefits, and job safety. But, like Mandela and King, Lucy's legacy lives on through the lives of hundreds of thousands of working families around the world every day.
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franklin sherman

Weapons seized by cops prior to g20 are actually LARPing props.

No, I'm not kidding.


Toronto Police staged a display of weaponry to demonstrate “the extent of the criminal conspiracy” among hard-line G20 protesters, but several of the items had nothing to do with the summit.

Facing criticism for their tactics, police invited journalists on Tuesday to view a range of weapons, from a machete and baseball bat to bear spray and crowbars.

Chief Bill Blair, who told reporters the items were evidence of the protesters’ intent, singled out arrows covered in sports socks, which he said were designed to be dipped in a flammable liquid and set ablaze.

However, the arrows belong to Brian Barrett, a 25-year-old landscaper who was heading to a role-playing fantasy game when he was stopped at Union Station on Saturday morning. Police took his jousting gear but let Mr. Barrett go, saying it was a case of bad timing.

In addition to the arrows – which Mr. Barrett made safe for live-action role playing by cutting off the pointy ends and attaching a bit of pool noodle covered in socks – police displayed his metal body armour, foam shields and several clubs made of plastic tubing covered with foam and fabric.

Mr. Barrett said he was “appalled” at the placement of his chain-mail beneath a machete. He regularly takes public transit from his Whitby, Ont., home to Centennial Park to play the game, called Amtgard, while wearing the 85-pound armour and is worried people will think: “Oh my God, that’s one of the terrorists from G20.”

Police also displayed a crossbow and chainsaw seized in an incident on Friday that they said had no ties to the summit. When asked, Chief Blair acknowledged they were unrelated, but said “everything else” had been confiscated from demonstrators.

Julian Falconer, a Toronto lawyer representing four independent journalists in summit-related police complaints, called the display of unrelated objects a “public-relations exercise [that] borders on the absurd.”

The items, which were laid out on tables in the lobby of police headquarters, also included gas masks, cans of spray paint, a replica gun, saws, pocket knives, a staple gun, a drill, a slingshot, chains and handcuffs. However, there were also objects not normally considered dangerous, including bandanas, skateboard and bicycle helmets, golf balls, tennis balls, bamboo poles, goggles, rope and walkie-talkies.

The display came as police face increasing fire for their methods in dealing with demonstrators. Amid calls for a public inquiry, Chief Blair announced an internal police review of summit policing earlier Tuesday.
bird dj

90,000 Could Lose Unemployment Checks

Nearly 90,000 Michigan residents could lose their unemployment checks by Saturday and unemployed workers will find fewer opportunities to learn other job skills if federal funding dries up in a few days, state officials warned Tuesday.

The bad news comes as Michigan's 13.6 percent unemployment remains among the nation's highest. The rate has been dropping, but around 415,000 Michigan residents still rely on unemployment checks of around $300 a week.

About 87,000 of Michigan workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits will run out of federal unemployment assistance this weekend if Congress fails to extend the benefits, state Unemployment Insurance Agency director Stephen Geskey said Tuesday. Weekly unemployment checks paid with federal funds pump $70 million a week into the state economy, enabling many residents to buy groceries, pay their rent or mortgage payments, or keep gas in their cars.

"The consequences are dire" if the benefits end, Geskey warned at a news conference. "I just don't know what those folks are going to do. ... Going from $300 a week to nothing, it's scary."

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Kissing Parts

Republicans Drop Their "Support the Troops" Line

Having had no luck in a political battle pitting deficit reduction against the unemployed, Democrats on Tuesday tried deficit reduction against veterans. It didn't work.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked for unanimous consent to approve a $3.4 billion bill to help homeless women veterans and homeless vets with kids. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected on behalf of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is taking a stand against any measure that adds to the deficit.

"If we don't start paying for new programs and continue on our path to bankruptcy we'll have a homelessness problem beyond imagination," Coburn spokesman John Hart told HuffPost. "The old Washington excuse that it's too hard to cut spending is undermining our troops, our veterans and our future."

Murray said she would ask again for unanimous consent. "I can't go home and look at someone who's served our country with distinction and honor who today is living on the street because the Senate is objecting."

Senate Democrats wasted no time memorializing the objection on YouTube:


Obviously this is an issue that's close to my heart, but ... seriously, rethugs, you're going to make your paygo stand on the backs of HOMELESS VETS? You know, those people that went and fought your fucking unfunded wars for you so you and your corporate bosses could make more money/assert your American dominance/whatever your fucking reasons were? Utterly disgusting. Also, Coburn spokesman, maybe we WOULDN'T BE ON A PATH TO BANKRUPTCY if ol' Shrub Jr had stayed the hell out of Iraq and had any kind of conceivable plan at ALL for Afghanistan. Just sayin', bro.
The Gang

'I don't believe in God,' says Australia's first female PM

Australia’s new Prime Minister has revealed she does not believe in God.

Julia Gillard told ABC radio in Melbourne that she was not prepared to go through ‘religious rituals’ for the sake of appearances.

Ms Gillard added: ‘I am, of course, a great respecter of religious beliefs, but they are not my beliefs.

‘For people of faith, I think the greatest compliment I could pay them is to respect their genuinely-held beliefs and not to engage in some pretence about mine.

Ms Gillard’s views are in contrast with those of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who was a regular at Canberra church services and opposition leader Tony Abbot, who is a devout Catholic.

Ms Gillard, who was born in the Welsh town of Barry, revealed she had been raised as a Baptist, before converting to Atheism.

The Australian Christian Lobby has since warned Australia’s first female Prime Minister that she may have turned off some of her Christian voters with her comments.

A spokesman said: ‘I think she is being honest and true to herself.

‘Obviously, that position will alienate some in the Christian community and some in the wider Australian community.’

Ms Gillard is set to tackle a bitter mining row in the country over a proposed super profits tax , as speculation grew she may call a quick election to capitalise on her honeymoon period as new leader. 

The 48-year-old, who is the country's 27th Prime Minister, moved to Australia with her family as £10 Poms - the amount they paid for their ship's passage - in 1966. 

The daughter of a Welsh miner, she became an MP in 1998, rising to the position of Shadow Minister for Health in 2003 and as her popularity grew and she became deputy to the newly-elected Prime Minister Rudd in 2007.

Red-haired Miss Gillard, who has a strong Australian accent, also took on three portfolios - Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion.



Gulf Spill Relief

Hey all,

My name's Heleentje. Recently, a community has been started, gulf_aid_now, to help the folks on the Gulf Coast who are currently going without paycheques because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (and the animals who need help getting all the oil out of their fur and feathers to survive). Although BP has finally agreed to start spending money, there is still an immediate need that money will not touch, and that's what we're aiming to help with. The idea is much like the [info]help_haiti community: people can put their creative talents (e.g. writing fanfiction/drawing fanart, making icons, crocheting, making jewelry, etc.) up for auction in a designated "Auction Post". Other people bid, and the winning bidder donates their bid to a Gulf Coast charity in exchange for whatever item/service they bid on.

The second auction is already well underway, and we have many wonderful offers! You can find the comm by clicking on the community name above or pushing this shiny button:

This post is for a couple of reasons: one, to let other everyone know that this is going on, and two, to ask you guys to spread the word to your friends or any fandoms you might be in. It'd be really great if we could raise as much money as possible!

Thanks so much for your attention and (forgive me if I'm presumptuous) help!


Tory and “praisers of Nazi”

The British conservatives risk to become allies of neo-fascists

The partner of Conservative party of Great Britain in Euro Parliament - the Latvian nationalist party «to Fatherland and Freedom» (Tevzemei un Brivibai) - carries on negotiations for consolidation with the Latvian neo-fascist party «All for Latvia» (“Visu Latvijai”).

At the moment the party «to Fatherland and Freedom» carries on negotiations for formation of the united list for participation in autumn elections in Seim of Latvia with party «All for Latvia».

Nowadays already the ex-head British the Ministry of Foreign Affairs David Milibend
in the beginning of this year at conference of the British labourites has spoken with sharp criticism to conservatives.

“It makes me sick from new confederates of Tory in the European parliament, who participate in actions in honour of Latvian Waffen SS, - was declared by the minister, having noticed that he means the Latvian party« to Fatherland and Freedom ».

Let's notice that Tory and «Fatherlanders» (it is how members «to Fatherland and Freedom» in Latvia are being called) together enter into group of conservatives and reformists of EuroParliament.

And now the situation can become for Tory even more sad. The matter is that the possible partner «to Fatherland and Freedom» - party «All for Latvia» are the outright neo-fascists professing the slogan «Latvia for Latvians» and achieving departure of Russians from the country. Members «All for Latvia» are one of the basic inspirers of processions of the former members of a legion «Waffen SS» on March, 16th.

Elita Vejdemane the assistant to editor-in-chief “Neatkariga rita avize” ( Independent morning newspaper) writes about possible scandal and its influence:

"Party" to Fatherland and Freedom »still should make decision to go on elections together with« All for Latvia »or not. And it is scary because once «Fatherlanders» have already got a kick up the rear: not so long ago their leader Robert Zile, addressing to the congress of conservative party of Great Britain (Tory) tried to deny words of labourites about Latvia and his party.

Zile have invited to the congress as the partner Tory in EuroParliament on the European fraction of conservatives and reformists. Well and so, the Minister for Foreign Affairs from labourites David Milibend has declared that English conservatives co-operate with “praisers of Nazi”, namely party which takes part in actions on March, 16th.

Zile told where to get off: „I was most of all surprised with that such attacks go from outside the western democratic party. I expected something similar from Moscow or the Kremlin more likely that from time to time and occurs.”

And though Zile kept as a hard nut to crack, in any case there are concerns that foreign partners can not understand a coquetry «Fatherlanders» with «All for Latvia», therefore it was so important to keep to the moderate nationalism. But how it can be made, creating pre-election consolidation with «All for Latvia» which represents uncompromising nationalism?»

Consolidation of “Fatherlanders” and neo-fascists from« All for Latvia » for joint participation in elections most likely will take place. To the Latvian nationalists it is absolutely indifferent that Europeans will think of them.

After all Latvia have already accepted in the NATO and EU, therefore nationalists especially do not reflect on the image. Well, British Tory become partners of neo-fascists », - Sergey Malahovsky, the member of the Latvian antifascist committee, has commented on a situation to" the Voice of Russia ».

It is interesting, how in case of consolidation «to Fatherland and freedom» with «All for Latvia» the British conservatives will explain to the voters why they are on friendly terms with neo-fascists?

Translation made from the internet-source http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/06/10/9481172.html
Atheists Nightmare

Atheist Billboard Isn't Anti-Communist Enough.

Atheist billboard defaced on N.C.'s Billy Graham Parkway

Unknown vandals unhappy about atheists' billboard in Charlotte, N.C., spray-painted "Under God" on the ad, the city's atheist association discovered Monday. The defaced message will remain in place until after July 4, the group reports, which is the soonest that workers can furnish a fresh billboard image. Here's how the vandalized billboard now looks:

The billboard reads, "One Nation Indivisible," which is the phrase preceding the 1954 insertion of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, reports the Charlotte Observer's Tim Funk. The billboard was erected on Billy Graham Parkway last week. (Graham is, of course, the state's famous evangelical preacher.)

Similar North Carolina ads have gone up in Asheville, Greensboro, Wilmington, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem as a Fourth of July project by the area's atheist association. The group has filed a police report and will replace the billboard.

“It was done by one or two people off on their own who decided their only recourse was vandalism rather than having a conversation,” Charlotte Atheists & Agnostics spokesman William Warren said. “It does show how needed our message is. As atheists, we want to let people know we exist and that there’s a community here.” Warren told the Observer when the sign first went up that its location wasn't intended as a rebuke to the Rev. Graham.

He said the group has added more than 50 members since the ad went up. Atheist ads are often a target for vandals. Three of 10 atheist billboards erected in Sacramento, Calif., were defaced in February, and a series of atheist bus ads was recently vandalized in Detroit.

According to a 2007 study by the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of Americans are secular. Less than 2 percent of all Americans identify as atheist.

An act of Congress changed the language of the Pledge of Allegiance during the height of the Cold War. Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian socialist, composed the original pledge in 1892.

— Liz Goodwin is a national affairs reporter for Yahoo! News.

Source thinks that god should be under one nation for a change.


Moral of the story: Don't be an atheist billboard or people will start spraypainting anti-communist shit on you.

(no subject)

In a radio interview with Bill Manders on Jan. 25, Sharron Angle — the GOP candidate and Tea Party darling challenging Harry Reid for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat — came out firmly against abortion. She even took the extreme position that women should not have control over their reproductive rights in cases of rape or incest, because it would interfere with God’s “plan” for them:

MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

ANGLE: Not in my book.

MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

ANGLE: You know, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

Last week, Manders — who is a conservative radio host — told his listeners that in order to beat Reid, Angle has to “slide to the left a little bit, to the middle, so to speak. Not stay way over to the right.” “[T]here are things about Sharron that are annoying to the voters,” he added. Recently, former Republican congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich, the first woman from Nevada to hold federal office, said she may not even vote for Angle. “She’s very rigid and I have a little bit of trouble understanding her positions,” Vucanovich said. “So I’m not out there waving the flag. She’s a very difficult person.”

The far right has embraced Angle’s anti-choice position. She has said that while it won’t be “the most prominent issue in Nevada’s Senate race,” she “will show voters the difference between Reid and me on abortion: He flip-flops on the issues.” She added that more people are identifying as “pro-life” because the issue “has been framed in a more positive way.”

Sufjan Smile

The Last Dixiecrat

"Dean of the Senate." "The longest serving member of Congress." "The Senate's historian." "Defender of the legislative branch." "Lover of the Constitution."

These were the snippets of headlines that tried to summarize the six-decade career of West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who died June 28 at the age of 92. Like most tributes, these tended to honor the Byrd of recent years, rather than the Byrd of his earlier career.

President Obama's statement was typical:

Senator Byrd's story was uniquely American. He was born into wrenching poverty, but educated himself to become an authoritative scholar, respected leader and unparalleled champion of our Constitution. He scaled the summit of power, but his mind never strayed from the people of his beloved West Virginia. He had the courage to stand firm in his principles, but also the courage to change over time.

This praise obscured a darker chapter in Byrd's career. If that part of the story were being told, the headlines might have described Byrd as "the last Dixiecrat."

Byrd's public career was long enough to span the entire period of transformation of the Democratic Party from the champion of Southern segregation to the party of the first Black president. His passing should be a reminder that the current incarnation of the Republican Party--grounded firmly to its base in Southern reaction--actually dates to an earlier era when it was the Democrats who whistled Dixie.

Byrd was born poor and worked odd jobs through the Second World War. During the war, he joined his local Ku Klux Klan chapter. Although he later tried to downplay his role, his fellow Klansmen unanimously chose him as leader of his chapter. In this era, he wrote to segregationist Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-Miss.):

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side...Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Later, a Klan higher-up recruited Byrd to run for the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1946. Byrd says he was told: "You have a talent for leadership, Bob...The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd wrote in his 2005 autobiography, "Suddenly, lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did."

Byrd spent six years in the West Virginia legislature before moving to the U.S. House in 1952, and ultimately to the U.S. Senate in 1959. As he emerged as a figure in the federal political arena, he constantly attempted to portray his Klan membership as a youthful indiscretion.

In 1997, he called the Klan an "albatross" that "inhibit[s] your operations in the political arena." He didn't fully renounce and denounce the Klan until the last decade of his life, when, in 2005, he conceded, "I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America."

But if Byrd's Klan membership was in the past, his segregationist and "states' rights" views were in the present throughout his first decade and a half in the Senate. Byrd filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 18 hours before voting against it. He voted against the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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Source: Socialist Worker

Robert Byrd may have voted against the Iraq War, but he also voted against the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Thurgood Marshall's confirmation, and recently, ENDA. He's been a vote for bigotry, letting his misogynistic, racist, and homophobic views fall on issues ranging from abortion to gay marriage to immigration. He may have denounced the Klan (and I personally question if you can so easily wash the blood from your hands of supporting an organization that's murdered and terrorized countless Americans) but he never lost the ideology that somehow, any of us, just by the characteristic of being a minority or having love for somebody, were less than human and deserved to be oppressed.

He was a vanguard of hate, and the Senate is better off with him gone. He's a relic of a previous time and of a power structure that must be demolished. Hierarchies of privilege in any form cannot be excused, as much as denied freedom cannot be defended. There are no eulogies for the hateful, for the sentiment is already spent on those they oppressed.

Stonewall Rebellion: How it all began:

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Celebrations have recently been seen all over the world, as a celebration of sexual diversity. It's worth remembering the history of Pride celebrations, of their origin in a homophobic and repressive culture, and their challenge to a world that refused to recognise sexual freedom. In this article, Paul McAndrew discusses the origins of Pride as a moment when the queer community in New York stood up and fought to be proud of their sexualities.The Stonewall riots were a series of violent conflicts between New York City police officers and groups of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender people that began during the early morning of June 28, 1969, and lasted several days. It was a watershed for the worldwide gay rights movement, because it was the first time queer people had forcibly resisted the police. At the time, gay bars were illegal, the only queer bars were underground and Mafia-run. Violent police raids were common. People got prosecuted even for cross-dressing.

Extract from the"The Village Voice, July 3, 1969
"Gay Power Comes to Sheridan Square: Sheridan Square this weekend looked like something from a William Burroughs novel as the sudden spectre of "gay power" erected its brazen head and spat out a fairy tale the likes of which the area has never seen.

“The forces of faggotry, spurred by a Friday night raid on one of the city's largest, most popular and longest lived gay bars, the Stonewall Inn, rallied Saturday night in an unprecedented protest against the raid and continued Sunday night to assert presence, possibility, and pride until the early hours of Monday morning. The result was a kind of liberation, as the gay brigade emerged from the bars, back rooms, and bedrooms of the village and became street people."

The police raided the Stonewall Inn for the second time in a week just before midnight on the Friday. As the patrons trapped inside were released one by one, a crowd started to gather on the street. Cheers would go up as favorites would emerge from the door, strike a pose, and swish by the detective.

When the paddywagon arrived the mood of the crowd changed. Three drag queens were loaded inside, along with the bartender and doorman, to a chorus of catcalls and boos from the crowd. People were shouting to push the paddywagon over, but it drove away before anything could happen.

A transgender woman, Sylvia Rivera threw a bottle at a police officer who had attacked her with his truncheon. The next person to come out was a dyke, and she put up a struggle - the scene became explosive. Beer cans and bottles were thrown at the windows, and coins were thrown at the police. One of the protestors was dragged inside the Stonewall by three of the police.

The crowd erupted into cobblestone and bottle heaving. An uprooted parking meter was used as a battering ram on the Stonewall door and a burning litter bin was thrown inside. The police inside turned a firehose on the crowd. 13 people were arrested and four police officers, as well as an undetermined number of protesters, were injured. It is known, however, that at least two rioters were severely beaten by the police.

On Saturday, the windows the Stonewall were boarded up and painted with queer liberation slogans like "We are Open," "Support Gay Power — C'mon in, girls." Hostile press coverage was also pinned to the boards. That night the crowds of protestors returned and were led in "gay power" cheers by a group of gay cheerleaders. "We are the Stonewall girls/ We wear our hair in curls/ We have no underwear/ We show our pubic hairs!". There was sustained hand-holding, kissing, and posing which had appeared only fleetingly on the street before.

Soon the crowd got restless. "Let's go down the street and see what's happening girls," someone yelled. They did and were confronted by the Tactical Patrol Force, (originally set up to stop anti-Vietnam war protests). However, the TPF failed to break up the crowd, who sprayed them with rocks and other projectiles. The third day of rioting fell five days after the raid on the Stonewall Inn. On that Wednesday, 1,000 people congregated at the bar and again took the cops on in the streets.

By the end of July, the radical, libertarian left-wing Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed in New York and by the end of the year the GLF could be seen in cities and universities around the US. It sought links with the Black Panthers, the Womens Liberation movement and anti-war organisations. Similar organisations were soon created around the world including Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

The following year, in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, the GLF organized a march from Greenwich Village to Central Park. Between 5,000 and 10,000 men and women attended the march.

Queer Pride celebrations began as commemorations of the Stonewall Riots.

Pictures at: http://www.wsm.ie/c/stonewall-rebellion-anarchism

Source: A-Infos

Because it's important to remember what Pride is actually about.
barack eye

Saw this posted at another comm, was interested in seeing your thoughts...

Forced Castration for Pedophiles to Become Law in South Korea

South Korea was poised Wednesday to become the first Asian country to use chemical castration on child sex offenders.

A bill prescribing the hormonal neutralization of testosterone in “sexual deviants” aged 19 or over was passed Tuesday in the National Assembly by 137 votes to 13, which President Lee Myung-bak was expected to sign into law when he returns from abroad.

Members of Parliament also voted to introduce the measure of removing offenders’ testosterone -- officially described during court sentencing as a medical treatment -- supposedly designed to “remove any negative connotations” inherent in the term castration.

The original version of the bill was introduced two years ago after a 58-year-old man raped and assaulted an eight-year-old girl, leaving her permanently disfigured. Public outrage triggered increased security measures at schools and the installation of CCTV cameras in playgrounds and prompted impassioned pleas for tougher laws and harsher punishments.

There were concerns about the effectiveness or safety of the treatment, and pressure to pass it waned until the government was embarrassed by a renewed spate of attacks this year.

Last week, a repeat sex offender aged 44 was charged with kidnapping an eight-year-old from her classroom and raping her, and an investigation began at the weekend into the case of a Vietnamese girl snatched from a street during the day and raped.

South Korea already imposes fierce legal punishments. Last week a 33-year-old man was sentenced to death after being found guilty of the February rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl.

Louisiana two years ago gave judges the right to order drug treatments to eliminate the sex drive of offenders convicted of a range of crimes, including forcible rape and aggravated incest.

source: myfoxchicago

My response is pretty much what it was on the original post: This isn't going to work. This is just a reactionary tool meant to appease the public that will neither make children any safer nor prevent future victims. I don't even think it would stop punished child rapists from re-offending. The only solution to this kind of problem has to be proactive and preventive in nature.

Merkel candidate Christian Wulff wins German presidency

A vote for president in Germany's Reichstag has elected Chancellor Angela Merkel's candidate after three rounds of balloting.

Rebel votes in the ruling centre-right coalition twice deprived Christian Wulff of an outright win against challenger Joachim Gauck.

But Mr Wulff won the third round with 625 votes to 494 for Mr Gauck.

Although the role of president is largely symbolic, the protracted vote is seen as embarrassing for Mrs Merkel.

She is under increasing pressure over her government's package of austerity measures and because of infighting in the cabinet, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Berlin says.

Although her candidate won, she remains under pressure, he adds.

It was only the third time in German post-war history that a presidential election has gone to a third round.

Mr Wulff will succeed Horst Koehler, who resigned a month ago.

Huge cheers

In the first round, the Lower Saxony state governor and deputy leader of Mrs Merkel's Christian Democratic Party was 23 ballots short.

In the second round, he fell eight votes short of an absolute majority.

Mr Gauck, a non-partisan civil rights campaigner put forward by the centre left, appeared close to tears as his supporters applauded his result in the third ballot, which needed a simple majority.

But the biggest cheers came from Mrs Merkel's supporters when it was clear Mr Wulff had won.

In the special session of the parliament, 1,244 representatives could take part. Half were federal legislators and half state-parliament nominees.

Much of Germany's media saw the longest presidential vote in German history - stretching into around nine hours - as a setback for the chancellor.

The daily Handelsblatt called it a "debacle" and Die Zeit called the result a "humiliation" for the government.

Bild, the mass-circulation daily, said it was a "massive slap for the ruling coalition".

team science

Female genital mutilation at Cornell? Update and clarification

Remember this article that had the community up in arms a while ago?

Here's an interesting insight into the study. Make sure you read the whole thing to understand the intent behind those surgeries and what happened before they were performed.

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tl;dr summarizing quote:
"He’s not cutting up little girls willie-nillie at the behest of crazed Upper East Side Moms who want their daughters to have designer clitori, he’s working to mitigate the impact of a genetic condition that essentially gives both a penis and a vagina to individuals who will become biologically female. It’s a controversial procedure, and everyone involved is highly cognizant of that fact. Still, many parents do opt for revision, as do some adult CAH patients who were left unrevised."

Source: http://thedisgruntledgradstudent.tumblr.com/post/713662733/please-please-please-read-this-if-you-saw-the
Akuma River

Bill White speech at Texas Democrat Convention

Bill White's Convention Speech sets the Tone for the Fall Campaign
by: Todd Hill
Wed Jun 30, 2010 at 01:00 PM CDT

Those who attended last week's Democratic State Convention certainly come away feeling united and ready for the summer stretch into an upcoming tough fall campaign against Rick Perry. Make no mistake, nothing less than our "A" game will be required for Democrats, including Bill White, to be successful in November.

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What are demons, really?

A lot of people still believe in demonic possession, and because their convictions are based in mainstream religious faith, we are supposed to take them a little more seriously than other people's equally strong conviction that grey-skinned aliens stuck medical instruments into them, or that the Royal Family are shape-changing drug-dealing lizards from another world.

After all, even Anglican Bishops get asked for permission to exorcize – we have a State Church which allows for the possibility that there are people walking around the streets who have fallen angels using them as sock-puppets. The Catholic Church is even more invested in this idea; indeed the Holy See's chief exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amforth believes that demonic influence lies behind the more unseemly of recent shenanigans in the Vatican itself. No wonder many of the devout have issues with the popularity of the Harry Potter books – Harry's struggle with Voldemort is all too close to how they themselves experience reality.

Specifically, and not just in Africa, demonic possession, often transmitted by intercourse, is their explanation why people are gay or trans, and their perfect reply to the argument that Christianity is all about love and tolerance. Get the demons out, by any means necessary, and no more queers – problem solved. The weirdness of thinking that beings of vast intelligence and potency that once saw the face of the Almighty, and fell through spiritual pride aeons ago, now spend their time lurking in people's genitals, never seems to concern them. I suppose they think such demons picked this job rather than possessing hedge-fund managers.

It's interesting to compare these attitudes with what, shall we say, those playing for the other team think. Many of the followers of Aleister Crowley are unsure that the supernatural beings with whom they attempt to have a working relationship are beings with objective reality – rather, they are ways of seeing, mental states that can be attained by meditation and ritual. I've talked to other occultists who will have none of this liberal claptrap – followers of Crowley's former secretary Regardie who believe that the creatures they raise, compel and interact with are actual beings, with winning, if difficult personalities. "Lots of luck with that" they'll snort at their rivals who are trying to achieve mental states rather than partying with Entities until the small hours.

There are parallels here - some Christians will talk about demonic possession, but pressed will retreat to talking about people having some sort of "spiritual flu". Others will encourage a sort of holy bulimia where people get together and spit out beings that range from the demon in charge of evolutionary thought to the demon in charge of buying Lady Gaga's albums into conveniently large brown paper bags. Then of course, there is the wide variation of practices described as the laying on of hands, which most people think of as an admonitory finger on a forehead but can be ten strong male adults holding down a frightened teenage girl in a way that in any other context would be regarded as sexual assault.

The trouble with all this evil nonsense is - once you've started looking at your fellow citizens and wondering whether Mrs. Smith down the road is actually having her strings pulled from inside her skull by Choramzon or Beelzebub, or for all I know Shib-Niggurath, the Goat with A Thousand Young, it becomes a wonderful explanation for why she jumped the queue at the greengrocers. It also makes jumping the queue in front of her at the bread shop not only convenient, but part of an epic, indeed cosmic, struggle going back to the beginning of time. It certainly makes it easy to vote for a city banker who regards you as deluded electoral fodder if you think that the other parties are being secretly run from the Seventh Circle of the Inferno.

SOURCE: Guardian

I think this article points up a couple of good things -- the first being the increased presence of fundamentalist Christians in positions of political power in the UK, notably the appointment of Phillipa Stroud, who believes homosexuality can be cured through prayer, as SpAd to Iain Duncan Smith at the DWP. Secondly, I think the final paragraph is a good pointing-up of some of the conspiracy-based insanity that's so much part of the discourse of not only American politics but increasingly the UK as well. As always, Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics remains the best brief analysis of this mentality.
Mr. T the Patriot

Brewer's beheading claim questioned

Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer claimed recently that law enforcement has been finding beheaded bodies in the desert — but local agencies say they've never encountered such a case.

"Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," Brewer said Sunday, suggesting that the beheadings were part of increased violence along the border.

But medical examiners from six of Arizona's counties — four of which border Mexico — tell the Arizona Guardian that they've never encountered an immigration-related crime in which the victim's head was cut off.Collapse )

Breaking down the GOP Strategy of Fail

Listen All Y'all, It's a Republican Sabotage

Tuesday morning on CNBC, the spazzy white guys in lower Manhattan were debating how the administration and Congress can best repair the economy, and mainly the jobless numbers. At one point, Rick Santelli, the hyperkinetic shoutcaster and instigator of the tea party movement, began to flail around, waving his arms above his head while yelling, "Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending!"
And contrary to accusations from one of the other spazzy white panelists, Santelli insisted he wasn't calling for more tax cuts. Just a freeze in government spending. Somehow.

Fine. Show us another time in American history when a spending freeze -- and a spending freeze alone -- jump-started an economic recovery following a deep recession and high unemployment. Show us. Where in the world is Santelli getting this?
It doesn't really matter from which hole Santelli's latest television meltdown was extricated. Suffice to say, there is no historical precedent for any such thing. In fact, the often-referenced spending cuts of 1937 caused the opposite effect: a backslide in the economic recovery during the Great Depression. Oh, sorry. There we go again -- referencing actual "history" instead of just screeching incongruous, contradictory and unsubstantiated nonsense, which seems to be the accepted style of discourse these days.

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The Republicans are willing to let one out of every ten of your friends go broke in the name of foiling the president and reclaiming control over the government (which they say they hate). Think about that. They have no plan for fixing unemployment. No matter how often the president acquiesces to Republican demands, they still vote against anything the president intends to sign into law. They're using the filibuster. They're exploiting ignorance. They're lying about deficits. They're contradicting their own positions, sometimes in the same day or even the same sentence. They're passing off gibberish as statesmanship. They're holding the American economy hostage in the most obvious political ratfuck since the Nixon years, only this time, the stakes are deadly serious. Your job. Your money. The future of the economy. They're sabotaging all of it.

But "stop spending" fits nicely on a t-shirt or on a misspelled protest sign. So that's something at least.


The G20 protests and the security state

A massive police crackdown on protesters at the G20 Summit in Toronto last week ended in the arrests of hundreds of primarily peaceful activists. Canada's Socialist Project issued this statement of solidarity with the protesters targeted by police.

THE MASSIVE police presence in Toronto over this week has been officially justified on the basis of protecting the leaders of the G8 and G20 countries meeting in Huntsville and Toronto.

We were told that the creation of the fenced-in fortress, the massive mobilization of police (estimates ranging from 10-20,000) from across Canada, and even the passing of a secret law on policing (by the executive of the Ontario government without reference to the Legislative Assembly and the opposition parties) that made it a crime to appear within five meters of the security fence would protect our right to protest as well.

This is not what unfolded in Toronto over the weekend.

Thousands of protesters marched peacefully on Friday, challenging the purpose and agenda of the G20, although completely hemmed on all sides by thousands of heavily armed police over the entire march (and severely hampering the freedom of assembly).

On Saturday, in the midst of a larger demonstration (estimated at between 10,000 and 25,000), organized by the labor, anti-privatization and peace movements, a series of unwarranted acts of vandalism by a small number of protesters against stores, vehicles and buildings, was used as an excuse for a massive unleashing of repression and attacks by police against the democratic rights of both protesters and Torontonians as a whole.

(Like what happened at the Montebello Summit of North American leaders in August 2007, it will come out over the next weeks how widely the police had infiltrated some of the key groups--especially the so-called Black Bloc--knew the planning and participated as agent provocateurs.)

There seemed to be no real effort on the part of the police to stop the attacks on the stores. As well, none of the massive police contingents tried to stop some of the small groups from burning three of their police vehicles. It was as if the police weren't all that concerned with these actions. Reporters from European broadcasters and newspapers reported that this was totally out of keeping with any real concern to prevent violence.

The police then unleashed waves of repression against the legitimate protesters. This included those who wished to push toward the security fence--in an effort to challenge the militarization of the streets and demand that the G20 leaders respond to concerns about austerity and attacks on poor and working people; those who were simply voicing their concerns about the G20 agenda (with its radical austerity agenda of having the public sector and the poor pay for the bailout of the banks); and journalists and even innocent and curious bystanders.

In one attack on a "free protest" zone (previously negotiated with the police) rubber bullets and tear gas was used, and people were indiscriminately taken down, beaten and arrested.

In all, by Sunday morning, estimates were that some 500 people were arrested (and there have been hundreds more over the course of the day, bringing estimates up to 900 detainees).

It is impossible for anyone to know how many of these were instigators of violence and how many were people simply exercising their right to protest. But clearly, the mass majority were only protesting and exercising their rights to assembly and free speech, which the Toronto police and the wider security forces have been systematically violating.

The temporary jail that protesters have been placed in is located at the old Toronto Film Studios on Eastern Avenue on the eastern edge of the downtown, converted into a series of cages in essentially a huge warehouse. The jail is described by inmates as a kind of Guantánamo North: cold, dirty and especially humiliating for those who were said to have refused arrest.

People have been held for hours without recourse to legal representation, of which there has been a large legal team at hand. Protesters hoping to provide some type of support for those incarcerated, have themselves been attacked, tear-gassed and dispersed by police violence, with several more being arrested.
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Source: Socialist Worker

UK firm Octel bribed Iraqis to keep buying toxic fuel additive

The former chief executive of a British chemical company faces the prospect of extradition to the US after the firm admitted million-dollar bribes to officials to sell toxic fuel additives to Iraq.

Paul Jennings, until last year chief executive of the Octel chemical works near Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, and his predecessor, Dennis Kerrison, exported tonnes of tetra ethyl lead (TEL), to Iraq. TEL is banned from cars in western countries because of links with brain damage to children. Iraq is believed to be the only country that still adds lead to petrol.

The company recently admitted that, in a deliberate policy to maximise profits, executives from Octel – which since changed its name to Innospec – bribed officials in Iraq and Indonesia with millions of dollars to carry on using TEL, despite its health hazards.

The firm's Lebanese agent, Osama Naaman, was extradited and agreed this week to plead guilty and co-operate with US prosecutors. Although the US department of justice has run much of the case, the Serious Fraud Office is keen to claim jurisdiction.

Senior Iraqi oil ministry officials are accused of taking British bribes throughout the UK-US occupation, up until 2008. Ahmad al-Shamma, the deputy oil minister in Iraq, told the Guardian he would investigate the charges. He strongly denied courtroom allegations that he himself had taken a free holiday in Thailand. He said he had never been to Thailand and that a middle man involved, now under arrest in the US, may have pocketed the alleged payment himself.

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Source: The Guardian (video there, for those entranced by shiny moving objects)

Is 'The Last Airbender' Racist ... or Just Drawn That Way?

Some viewers heads are spinning over the look of 'The Last Airbender,' which opens July 1. Not over the fantasy-action 3-D special effects, but over the faces of the main characters, which are largely white in the movie but Asian and Inuit in the popular Nickelodeon cartoon that inspired the film.

Complicating the accusations of racial insensitivity over the casting is the fact that those casting decisions were made by director M. Night Shyamalan, who is of Asian descent himself. In fact, Shyamalan bristles at the accusations and insists that, not only is his cast as multicultural as possible, but also that it's his critics who are the real racists.

The characters in the TV series 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, are clearly drawn from Asian and Inuit cultures, from their names to their costumes to their martial arts styles. The hero, Aang, is inspired by Tibetan Buddhist monks. His friends, Katara and Sokka, live in a realm of anoraks and igloos. Antagonist Zuko and his tribe appear as classical Chinese warriors.

In the movie, all four characters were initially cast as Caucasian actors: Noah Ringer (Aang), Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), and Jesse McCartney (Zuko). Before shooting began, however, McCartney was replaced by Dev Patel, of 'Slumdog Millionaire' fame. That change did not appease the project's critics, who noted that the heroes were still all white Westerners, while the only Asian in the principal cast was the villain.

The clearinghouse for the protests has been the website Racebending, which is calling for a boycott of the film. "American actors of color rarely get to play the hero, if ever," said Marissa Lee, one of Racebending's co-founders, in a statement. "We're really disappointed. Paramount felt that white actors were better suited to play heroes of color than hardworking, underrepresented actors who are actually of Asian or Inuit descent."
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Ebert, Variety, and RottenTomatoes have all given The Last Airbender some really, really bad reviews.

NGL, I'm gloating an ugly way, LOL. (Except I really do feel bad for Patel & Taub, and hope their careers don't suffer from this.)