July 5th, 2010

comedy | Rudy Huxtable

PRIDE PotD: July 4, 2010.



Picspam Installment 10 of international Pride events:

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Next Pride photo-spam: New Delhi | Madrid | Rome | Toronto | Vienna



Source/full galleries:
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trapdoor

Gillard plans to send back boat people.


Hundreds of Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum-seekers are likely to be sent home under Julia Gillard's tough policy agenda to deter boatpeople.

As the Prime Minister prepared to unveil a new approach to tackling the issue this week - possibly including a resumption to the processing of Sri Lankan boatpeople - The Australian understands officials are working on a pact with Afghanistan over returning asylum-seekers.


It is believed the agreement, which is not expected to be included in this week's announcement, would involve assurances from Kabul guaranteeing the safety of failed asylum-seekers.

Although up to 60 per cent of Afghan asylum-seekers have had their claims rejected, only two have been returned home since the surge in boatpeople started in late 2008.

Federal cabinet will hold talks on the new approach today ahead of the Thursday deadline for a decision on whether the three-month freeze on the processing of Sri Lankan asylum-seeker claims will be extended or terminated.

In an olive branch to Indonesia following the Oceanic Viking standoff in which dozens of asylum-seekers were left in limbo, Australian officials are working on plans to resource Indonesian police on the front line of the people-smuggling struggle.

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Source.
a_ezio_smile

Godwin loves footie - Neo-Nazis Spurn Germany's Diverse New National Team

Right-Wing Rejection

Neo-Nazis Spurn Germany's Diverse New National Team


By Siobhán Dowling

Mesut Özil celebrates with Cacau, Per Mertesacker and Jerome Boateng.

Most of the country may be in the grip of football fever but one group of Germans are resolutely not supporting the national team. The far-right scene rejects the new multicultural squad as un-German and says it can't identify. For many, it is consistent with their rejection of the entire democratic state.

"I can no longer identify with the national team," someone calling himself Blaue Narzisse writes, explaining why he isn't supporting Germany in the World Cup. "The colors black, red, gold are being abused for the mega event by this motley Germany team." It is a sentiment repeated widely across the far-right scene these days.

Germany may be awash with black, red and gold, as the national flag adorns cars, balconies and pubs. But while most of the country is urging the team on as it faces Argentina in Saturday's quarter-final, for neo-Nazis it is next to impossible to back a team that includes players with names like Boateng, Özil or Podolski. This German national team is the most ethnically diverse ever, celebrated widely as finally being representative of the wider German society. But to the far right, a squad where 11 of the 23 have migrant backgrounds is no longer really German.

"I hope this team is out as early as possible," writes one commentator on the thiazi.net forum. "Or at least they won't be world champions with team made up of 50 percent foreigners!"

A poster calling himself Nationaler Democrat writes on another site: "This multiculti troupe with the label 'national team' doesn't interest me any more."

"Özil, Khedira, Cacau, Podolski can go jump in the lake. And we don't need them, the others are good enough," writes NSRealist.

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Sweaty sauce: SPON

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I was never a football fan really, but I'm beginning to love what the team stands for, and reading stuff like this makes me love the whole situation even more. >:-D

Plus there was this article a couple of days ago about a columnist who "is also a bigot who, in his latest rant blames “multiculturalism” and our “lack of identity” as responsible for losing to Germany in the World Cup." I think the above article is a fitting reply somehow.

Chris Matthews can occasionally be glorious

Tweety vs. Rick Barber.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



It's like you can see the out of breath hamster on the wheel inside of Rick Barber's brain. Interviews like this are why Tweety really does have the most entertaining show on cable news, lol. I love how he dodges the "and I would impeach him" question and acts like ~he wasn't talking about anything specific~

Why is this government against families?

Iain Duncan Smith loves families. Nice families, of course, with a mum and a dad – not any old rag-tag childrearing unit.

His Centre For Social Justice believes that “married two-parent families produce the best outcomes for both adults and children”, and in government, he’s contributed to the policy of removing the dubious “couples penalty” from the benefits system.

Why dubious?

“They calculate this penalty,” says Lisa Ansell, “by looking at net state support, but with no consideration for the cost of childcare or rent, or the earnings potential of a single person with responsibility for a child.”

In other words, the intention is to strip out the benefits that help the most vulnerable parents and children to survive, because the government believes it would be altogether better if those single mums would just settle down with a nice man – and the state is not going to pay anyone to stay single, dammit.


Incidentally, the CSJ doesn’t seem to have looked into the idea that those “missing couples” on its little graph as the wages of the highest earner dip below £20k could reflect the possibility that poverty is both a cause and an effect of lone parenthood – in which case, making people more poor isn’t very likely to make them less lone.

But still, at least Iain Duncan Smith has a plan to get the unemployed into work. The plan: move people to where the work is.

“We have to look at how we get that portability, so that people can be more flexible, can look for work, can take the risk to do it,” says IDS. What risks?

Well, for one thing, moving away from an extended social network is a risk factor for divorce – couples are more likely to survive if they belong to a shared group of friends and family with an investment in their futures.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy
panda bear

(no subject)

Yvonne Moore Demands Donations Back When Church OKs Gay Marriage

Every now and then, a regular American who has fought the good fight to keep our nation's moral fiber in tact, emerges into the spotlight. Meet Yvonne Moore - a Washington, DC woman who sued her church because they began to perform gay marriages. She asked the church for $250,000 in donations she'd made over the past 37 years. That's a lot of loose change in that basket.




Another video at the source
panda bear

(no subject)

Mother of two to be stoned for adultery



An Iranian human rights activist warns Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities.

Only an international campaign designed to pressure the regime in Tehran can save her life, according to Mina Ahadi, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty.

"Legally it's all over," Ahadi said Sunday. "It's a done deal. Sakineh can be stoned at any minute."

"That is why we have decided to start a very broad, international public movement. Only that can help."

Ashtiani, 42, will be buried up to her chest, according to an Amnesty International report citing the Iranian penal code. The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.

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  • ook

Bristol Palin's acting debut TONIGHT!




Bristol Palin makes her acting debut on tonight's ABC Family drama series, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager."

But don't expect her to line up any more acting gigs in the future. Asked if she wants to pursue an entertainment career, she tells UsMagazine.com, "Not acting. I like doing speaking engagements and stuff like that. Right now I'm just focused on raising Tripp," her 2 1/2-year-old [sic] son with Levi Johnston.

Still, Palin, 19, says she was happy to film the episode of Teenager. She appears as a friend of Amy (Shailene Woodley) at a music program for teen mothers in New York.

"I didn’t have many lines or anything like that," says Palin. "I just hope that this show opens up a dialogue between parents and teens -- and teens amongst themselves -- about the consequences of teen pregnancy, sex in general and relationships."

To see her acting debut, tune into "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC Family tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/momsbabies/news/bristol-palin-i-dont-want-to-be-an-actress-197031

Moscow to unveil rules for young women visiting capital

Authorities in the Russian capital have developed a set of rules and advice for young ladies coming to the city from other regions across the country.

"The code of a charming out-of-town woman" will help the young women conquer the capital and its citizens by good manners, charm and moral conduct," the authorities said in a statement.

The rules will give advice on how to make friends with nice young Muscovites, enter a prestigious Moscow university and what to do in case of a failure, the statement said.

"The code will definitely provide a list of the main mistakes made by unduly unwary young ladies in Moscow," it said.

The authors of the rules will tell young Russian women about the main qualities of decent young Muscovites and point to the places in Moscow where they can meet them.

To help the young ladies better understand the rules, the authors will use the language of modern students. An expert chosen among the young women will be responsible for this.

Moscow authorities also plan to compile a code of young Muscovites, which is to help people arriving in the Russian capital from other regions and countries to adapt to life in Moscow.

Source: RIA Novosti
  • sauron

Dem Voters: Not Scared Enough

A new Pew Research Center poll confirms the yawning enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic voters this year—a difference that's becoming all the more worrisome for Democrats as the midterm elections creep closer. The GOP has a large advantage among older voters, who are far more likely to come out to the polls this fall than younger voters, the vast majority of whom vote Democratic. The result?
Fully 56 percent of Republican voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than in previous elections—the highest percentage of GOP voters expressing increased enthusiasm about voting in midterms dating back to 1994. While enthusiasm among Democratic voters overall is on par with levels in 2006, fewer liberal Democrats say they are more enthusiastic about voting than did so four years ago (52 percent then, 37 percent today).

The Republican Party now holds about the same advantage in enthusiasm among its party’s voters that the Democratic Party held in June 2006 and the GOP had late in the 1994 campaign.
Though this trend is nothing new, the Pew findings give another clue as to why Democrats are still falling short. Almost three-fourths of Republican and GOP-leaning voters expect the GOP to do better than it has in recent years—which is also the prevailing sentiment among politicos, analysts, and pollsters across the board. But Democratic voters don't seem to share the same fears—and half of them expect the party to do the same as they had in recent elections:
However, Democratic voters this year are not particularly pessimistic about the election: 29 percent expect the Democrats to do better in this year’s midterm, far more than the percentage of GOP voters who said that four years ago (16 percent). Nearly half of Democratic voters (48 percent) expect the party to do about the same this fall as in recent elections, while just 18 percent say it will do worse.
Palm smacks forehead. The reality is that Democrats are expected to bleed anywhere between 30 and 40 seats in the House, losing their majority, as well as five to seven seats in the Senate, which could make it impossible for them to overcome a GOP filibuster. A number of major governorship are up for grabs as well. All of this will most definitely give Republicans a much stronger hand in obstructing Obama and the Democratic agenda—and will give them far more authority to impose their agenda on the country. Elections have consequences. And, yes, Democratic voters should be very, very afraid.

But Dem supporters don’t seem to realize how far the pendulum could swing in the other direction. And it’s clear that the Democratic Party is failing to communicate what’s really at stake in this year’s elections.
 
source

~*~Prayer Circle~*~
bartlet for america

Hello, I'm a Mac, and I'm helping fuel the war in the Congo

Hello, I'm a Mac, and I'm helping fuel the war in the Congo
by Brooke Shields

Hello, I'm a Mac, and I'm helping fuel the war in the Congo - currently the deadliest conflict in the world. So are PCs, cell phones, digital cameras and other consumer electronics. That's what Apple's famous "I'm a Mac ... And I'm a PC" ads don't tell you. So I and cinematographer Steven Lubensky, with the help of actors Joshua Malina and John Lehr, decided to create a version that does.

It is not surprising if you didn't know that your favorite Apple gadgets -- your iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac -- are linked to the conflict engulfing the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo today and for the past dozen years. Most people don't know - which is in part why the war in Congo has gone on for so long. With more than 5 million people killed, it is the deadliest conflict since World War II.

 

As Nick Kristof wrote in The New York Times yesterday, "Electronics manufacturers have tried to hush all this up. They want you to look at a gadget and think 'sleek,' not 'blood.'"

Tech titans -- including Nintendo, HP, Dell, Intel, and RIM, the makers of BlackBerry -- have made millions from products that use conflict minerals and have gotten off the hook for fueling violence in the Congo, thanks to a tendency in today's culture not to question where our everyday items come from.

That's not necessarily a criticism; it's just the way the world works now, where we interact with materials from every corner of the globe on a daily basis. So we tend to think that our new iPhone came from the Mac store down the street or our new digital camera originated from an online camera store. But as you see in our video, the problem arises with all the components inside.

Essential parts of our electronic devices are made from minerals found in eastern Congo. Tin, tantalum, tungsten -- the 3Ts -- and gold serve such necessary functions as making our cell phones vibrate or helping our iPods store electricity.

The same armed groups who control most of the mines that supply these essential minerals to the world market are responsible for the epidemic of sexual violence in eastern Congo. Women and girls pay a gruesome price, and the persistent health conditions and severe trauma that linger for years after an attack are leaving communities and families in utter ruin. In addition, the labor conditions in the mines are abysmal. Indentured servitude is common practice, and children as young as 11 are used to squeeze into the tight spaces underground.

There are few conflicts in the world where the link between our consumer appetites and mass human suffering is so direct.

The lucrative mineral trade -- estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually -- perpetuates the violence because it enables militias and government soldiers to buy weapons to continue the fight for these valuable resources. All along the supply chain that winds its way through central Africa, armed groups and governments benefit immensely from the trade in conflict minerals, making it a very stubborn problem to eradicate.

This reality isn't the result of an elaborate cover-up. Until consumers started asking, electronics companies were satisfied to say that they didn't know whether their products were made with conflict minerals from Congo. The trade in minerals from eastern Congo is shockingly opaque, hence the easy exploitation. Even now, as the issue of conflict minerals gains traction, companies like Apple continue to tell us that their products do not contain conflict minerals because their suppliers said so.

From towns and campuses across the United States to the U.S. Congress, advocates are protesting this inadequate response and pushing to put a system in place to trace, audit, and certify the minerals in our electronic devices, so that ultimately, we as consumers can choose to buy conflict-free.

Visit RAISE Hope for Congo, www.raisehopeforcongo.org, and send the message to tech companies that you want them to make their products conflict-free. And please share this video with your friends.

Brooke Smith is an actress, writer and director. Brooke has acted in many feature films including "The Silence of the Lambs", "Vanya on 42nd Street" and "Series 7: The Contenders." On television, Brooke played Dr. Erica Hahn on "Grey's Anatomy." The MAC/PC Conflict minerals ad is the third PSA Brooke has directed for The Enough Project's RAISE Hope for Congo campaign.

From HuffPO

 

Death by Gadget

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

“Blood diamonds” have faded away, but we may now be carrying “blood phones.”

An ugly paradox of the 21st century is that some of our elegant symbols of modernity — smartphones, laptops and digital cameras — are built from minerals that seem to be fueling mass slaughter and rape in Congo. With throngs waiting in lines in the last few days to buy the latest iPhone, I’m thinking: What if we could harness that desperation for new technologies to the desperate need to curb the killing in central Africa?

I’ve never reported on a war more barbaric than Congo’s, and it haunts me. In Congo, I’ve seen women who have been mutilated, children who have been forced to eat their parents’ flesh, girls who have been subjected to rapes that destroyed their insides. Warlords finance their predations in part through the sale of mineral ore containing tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold. For example, tantalum from Congo is used to make electrical capacitors that go into phones, computers and gaming devices.

Electronics manufacturers have tried to hush all this up. They want you to look at a gadget and think “sleek,” not “blood.”

Yet now there’s a grass-roots movement pressuring companies to keep these “conflict minerals” out of high-tech supply chains. Using Facebook and YouTube, activists are harassing companies like Apple, Intel and Research in Motion (which makes the BlackBerry) to get them to lean on their suppliers and ensure the use of, say, Australian tantalum rather than tantalum peddled by a Congolese militia.

A humorous new video taunting Apple and PC computers alike goes online this weekend on YouTube, with hopes that it will go viral. Put together by a group of Hollywood actors, it’s a spoof on the famous “I’m a Mac”/”I’m a PC” ad and suggests that both are sometimes built from conflict minerals.

“Guess we have some things in common after all,” Mac admits.

Protesters demonstrated outside the grand opening of Apple’s new store in Washington, demanding that the company commit to using only clean minerals. Last month, activists blanketed Intel’s Facebook page with calls to support tough legislation to curb trade in conflict minerals. For a time, Intel disabled comments — creating a stink that called more attention to blood minerals than human rights campaigners ever could.

Partly as a result, requirements that companies report on their use of conflict minerals were accepted as an amendment to financial reform legislation.

A word of background: Eastern Congo is the site of the most lethal conflict since World War II, and is widely described as the rape capital of the world. The war had claimed 5.4 million deaths as of April 2007, with the toll mounting by 45,000 a month, according to a study by the International Rescue Committee.

It’s not that American tech companies are responsible for the slaughter, or that eliminating conflict minerals from Americans’ phones will immediately end the war. Even the Enough Project, an anti-genocide organization that has been a leading force in the current campaign, estimates that only one-fifth of the world’s tantalum comes from Congo.

“There’s no magic-bullet solution to peace in Congo,” notes David Sullivan of the Enough Project, “but this is one of the drivers of the conflict.” The economics of the war should be addressed to resolve it.

The Obama administration also should put more pressure on Rwanda to play a constructive role next door in Congo (it has, inexcusably, backed one militia and bolstered others by dealing extensively in the conflict minerals trade). Impeding trade in conflict minerals is also a piece of the Congo puzzle, and because of public pressure, a group of companies led by Intel and Motorola is now developing a process to audit origins of tantalum in supply chains.

Manufacturers previously settled for statements from suppliers that they do not source in eastern Congo, with no verification. Auditing the supply chains at smelters to determine whether minerals are clean or bloody would add about a penny to the price of a cellphone, according to the Enough Project, which says the figure originated with the industry.

“Apple is claiming that their products don’t contain conflict minerals because their suppliers say so,” said Jonathan Hutson, of the Enough Project. “People are saying that answer is not good enough. That’s why there’s this grass-roots movement, so that we as consumers can choose to buy conflict free.” Some ideas about what consumers can do are at raisehopeforCongo.org — starting with spreading the word.

We may be able to undercut some of the world’s most brutal militias simply by making it clear to electronics manufacturers that we don’t want our beloved gadgets to enrich sadistic gunmen. No phone or tablet computer can be considered “cool” if it may be helping perpetuate one of the most brutal wars on the planet.

from the NYT

 

This is a cool PSA and a good cause, because the whole Congo situation is so f*cked up and awful, and yet, so horribly, horribly forgotten. Glad to see someone (and my bb Joshua Malina no less!) is calling attention to it, and glad Nick Kristof is on board, as always. He may be a little self-indulgent, but I love how he can't seem to give up on places, not even Eastern Congo. 

Edited for HTML Fail. Fixed now, I hope!
Aubrey Beardsley

Tea Party calls us a "Christian Nation", lacks evidence. News at 11.

4th Of July: Bible, Burgers, And The Tea Party

We’re all accustomed to political rhetoric exhorting God’s blessings on America and Americans. It seems to be the way every political speech must end, regardless of the speech’s message. It’s long been the requisite platitude to end a political speech, but since when did it become the political speech itself?

This weekend I attended an ‘Old Fashioned, Independence day, Picnic-in-the-Park’, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, hosted by the Tea Party. The event featured food, fiddle players, a protest march, and two guest speakers.

Of the approximately 150-180 attendees, most of whom looked as though they’d had decades of experience with all things ‘Old Fashioned’, approximately 60% appeared to be seniors, and close to 100% white, despite the fact that whites make up only 42% of our local population.

The protest march, as advertised, proceeded for one block North, turned around, and then returned to the park. To be fair, this would be quite a challenge for a geriatric group in the New Mexico heat. There was no particular agenda or issue to protest. It was simply a protest. It was a general ‘take our country back from the socialist, Muslim, spendthrift, un-American’ in the White House protest.

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Source. And for your amusement:

Britain’s nuttiest Christian exposes a gay plot to sabotage traditional marriage

A BRAND new layer of paranoia has been added to the maelstrom of madness raging in the mind of Britain’s daftest Christian fundie, Stephen “Birdshit” Green.

Just days before Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, revealed this weekend that the new ConDem coalition was considering allowing same-sex unions to take place in churches – replete with all the bells and whistles and priestly hogwash – Green, writing from the confines of his padded cell, argued that homosexuals had no real interest in marriage and monogamy but were intent instead on sabotaging the institution to further their hedonistic agenda.

Comparing gay marriage to counterfeit £50 notes, Green wrote:
There is a certain number of £50 notes in circulation. Every counterfeit note depresses the value of the real ones. In the same way, the counterfeit of marriage which is civil partnership reduces the value of real marriage, and if homosexuals were allowed to marry, it would be devalued further.
But he then argues that most homosexuals reject the idea of marriage or civil unions. Quoting figures from that bastion of objectivity, The Family Reseach Council in the US, Green points out that:
A mere 21 percent of homosexual men and women registered themselves as civil partners in the state of Vermont, compared to 52 percent of the population in married couple households. Despite a clamour for its introduction and fanfares accompanying civil partnership legislation in Sweden and same-sex ‘marriage’ in the Netherlands, only 2 percent of Swedish homosexuals and just under 3 percent of their Dutch counterparts registered after a year.
So, if so few of the The Gays are getting spliced, what precisely is the problem?

Green seizes on a quote from US gay activist Michelangelo Signorile who said that homosexuals should:
Demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.
Green, who quotes the FRC as saying that “the extremely low rate of sexual fidelity among homosexual men dramatically contrasts with the high rate of fidelity among married heterosexuals”, concludes:
The radical idea to transform marriage into a less-than faithful institution is doomed to failure. But that does not alter the fact that every homosexual civil union, let alone gay marriage, cheapens every real marriage. Laughing at ‘the gays’ and their futile attempts to ape heterosexuality – even at their efforts to redefine marriage – is not enough. Decent people must oppose their whole agenda.

Source: The Freethinker
Cute cat

Kagan Won’t Take Sides on Twilight Debate



Senator asks Kagan to pick Team Edward/Team Jacob


WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan won't picks sides in the Twilight debate between Team Edward and Team Jacob. When jokingly asked by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Kagan said she "can't comment on future cases."

At the Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, Klobuchar asked Kagan about "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" movie, which opened this week. The franchise has a huge following among teenage girls and has sparked debate over whether the tormented heroine Bella should choose Edward the vampire or Jacob the werewolf.

The senator asked Kagan's thoughts on "the vampire versus the werewolf."

Kagan, who has declined to say how she might rule on issues that could come before the court, dodged this one -- presumably on other grounds. She said she hadn't seen the film, and wished the senator wouldn't pose the question.

Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said she realized Kagan "can't comment on future cases. So I'll leave that alone."

Source

dah

Manson follower faces parole board for 19th time

Source:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iwwsK3ilLL2N5IFJQI0WeywHjxhwD9GP4LK00

Leslie Van Houten, the one-time Charles Manson follower long seen as the most likely of his ex-acolytes to win freedom someday, faces her 19th parole hearing with a new lawyer and new case law which may give her the best chance yet for release.

Even if there is a finding of suitability for parole at Tuesday's hearing, freedom would not be immediate. The entire state parole board would review the decision within 120 days and it would then be submitted to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for a final ruling.

Van Houten, 60, remains incarcerated at the California Institution for Women at Frontera, the same prison where another Manson follower, Patricia Krenwinkle, is imprisoned. Susan Atkins, the third woman convicted of murder in the crimes directed by cult leader Manson, died in prison last year after parole officials denied her dying request for freedom.

Van Houten last appeared before a parole board in 2007. Her chances for parole are enhanced by the fact that she has been discipline free since her incarceration in the early 1970s, has positive psychological reports and has been active in self-help groups at the prison including "Golden Girls," a group for elderly women inmates.

She has a new lawyer, Brandie Devall, who told The Associated Press she will refer to rulings by the California Supreme Court in 2008 and 2009 affecting standards for parole.

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dah

Kids seeing more ads for fast food, fewer for sweets

Source:http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/05/kids-seeing-more-ads-for-fast-food-fewer-for-sweets/

Children are seeing fewer television ads for sweets and beverages than they used to, a new report in the online edition of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests. However, the study also suggests, children are being exposed to more TV ads for fast food.

Lisa Powell, a researcher at the Institute for Health and Research Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her team looked at advertising targeted at children from 2003 to 2007. On average, they found children between the ages of 2 and 11 are seeing 30 percent fewer television ads for fruit drinks and regular soft drinks. Exposure to ads for sweets, such as candy and cookies, went down 35 percent. However, exposure to ads for fast food went up 8 percent. Powell says 2- to 5-year-olds now see more fast food ads than cereal ads. "That suggests a lot of branding is going on. They are starting marketing of brand loyalty at an earlier age," she says.

But Powell also says some positive steps are also being taken. She credits the Council of Better Business Bureaus Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative for helping to change that. The initiative's goal is to encourage food and beverage companies to focus advertising to children under 12 that encourages healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles.

That's a start, says Powell, considering 17 percent of American children and teens are obese, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But she says parents also have an important role. "If you can," says Powell, "replace TV time with reading or physical activity."

Am I aggravated by this news? Yes. But am I surprised? Nope.
Greed Icon

The Daily Telegraph foresees a grim future

Middle class families face a triple whammy
Falling pensions, cuts and the banking crisis will impoverish many families, says Edmund Conway.
By Edmund Conway

You don't usually expect radical neo-Marxism from the International Monetary Fund – the last great bastion of capitalism, spreading the gospel about the free market to the furthest reaches of the world. And yet, hidden away in an obscure IMF report a few years back is a short sentence that explains precisely the problems that Britain, and the rest of the Western world, have been sleepwalking towards for years.

The claim made by the IMF's Financial Stability Report in 2005, in a seemingly throwaway remark, was that households had become the financial system's "shock absorber of last resort". In other words, whereas in previous eras, much of the pain of recession and financial crisis was borne by businesses or governments, with families afforded some degree of protection by the pensions system or welfare state, it was now households who were far more likely to face the music.

At the time, the idea received little attention. But it has truly radical implications for economics and politics around the world. This is not merely about the financial crisis, but something more deep-seated: the way in which wealth is distributed around society. It is about the middle classes, and why they have become the biggest victims of all.

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And that was from the Torygraph Telegraph. Imagine how The Guardian would have presented the story!