July 11th, 2010

  • zoram

Nobody expects the Swedish sex-scandal!

Sven Otto Littorin, member of the Swedish government until a few days ago, has resigned. At the press conference he stated that his reasons for quitting (6 weeks before the election) were an infected custody battle with his ex-wife, and pressure on his children by the media.

According to Aftonbladet, one of the biggest newspapers in Sweden, this was not the case. 16 hours before he announced his resignation they confronted him with evidence of a crime committed by him, though they did not reveal what this crime was.

In todays newspaper, though, a 30 years old woman claimed that Littorin had purchased sex from her in 2006, and that she had made it very clear to him that she was <i>selling</i> sex.  In Sweden this is a crime punishible by up to six months in prison, though the time that has passed since the crime was committed means that he can't be sentenced for it.

Comments by other politicians:

Göran Hägglund (other party, the Christian Democrats, but also in the government) says that there is "no defense for the actions attributed to him"  and that "everything is turned upside-down" is this turns out to be true.

Peter Eriksson (one of the party leaders in the Green Party, in the opposition) thinks that this explains why he "disappeared so quickly with his tail between his legs", and feels that the government has taken very poor care of this situation, and that they've tried to show off a polished surface instead of revealing the whole truth.  

The other party leaders have refused to comment.

And here's how Aftonbladet's readers feel that this will affect the election:

36.0% think that it will work for the opposition
10.9% feel that it will help the government
and 53.1% think that it won't have any influence at all.

sources: http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7447620.ab (Swedish)
http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7446604.ab (Swedish)
http://www.thelocal.se/27710/20100710/ (English)


(no subject)

Toyota's Rebuttal to Brainiac: "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!! I Hate You!! Damn You, and Your Facts!!"

Toyota Lashed Out At Professor David Gilbert During Big Recall

It's the kind of publicity any university might dream about: An instructor uncovers a possible flaw that's causing some of the world's most popular cars to accelerate suddenly. His ground-breaking work attracts interest from Congress and reporters worldwide.

But as Southern Illinois University's David Gilbert sought to show that electronics might be to blame for the problem in Toyotas, the world's largest automaker tried to cast doubt on his findings. One Toyota employee even questioned whether he should be employed by the school, which has long been a recipient of company donations.

Electronic messages obtained by The Associated Press show the automaker grew increasingly frustrated with Gilbert's work and made its displeasure clear to his bosses at the 20,000-student school.

"It did kind of catch us off-guard," university spokesman Rod Sievers said.

So did the fallout. Two Toyota employees quickly resigned from an advisory board of the school's auto-technology program, and the company withdrew offers to fund two spring-break internships.

"I didn't really set out to take on Toyota. I set out to tell the truth, and I felt very strongly about that," said Gilbert, who was among the first to suggest that electronics, not sticky gas pedals or badly designed floor mats, caused the acceleration that required the Japanese automaker to recall millions of vehicles.

Toyota insists its relationship with the school remains "strong," and company officials say they have no plans to stop contributing to SIU. They also say the two Toyota representatives who stepped down from the advisory board did so merely to avoid any appearance that the company was exerting influence over Gilbert's testimony.

"We have absolutely no issues with SIU and retain an excellent relationship. That won't change," Toyota spokeswoman Celeste Migliore said.

Driven by his own curiosity, Gilbert in January found he could manipulate the electronics in a Toyota Avalon to recreate the acceleration without triggering any trouble codes in the vehicle's computer. Such codes send the vehicle's computer into a fail-safe mode that allows the brake to override the gas.
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Teacher who called pupil 'fat gay boy' suspended for a year

A Liverpool maths teacher who called a pupil a "fat gay boy" and used his school laptop to browse the web for sex toys has been suspended for one year.

Geoffrey Johnston, who has taught at Fazakerley High School in Liverpool since 2004, was also accused of making fun of pupils and speaking to them about his "personal and sexual matters".

A General Teaching Council (GTC) panel heard he was suspended in 2008 for having "inappropriate" conversations with children and a forensic search of his laptop found he had used it for gambling and searching for sex toys.

According to the Times Educational Supplement, investigations into Mr Johnston began when three pupils told a senior teacher they felt "too uncomfortable" to go to his lessons.

The GTC panel said: "They stated that he made fun of pupils and when they became upset Mr Johnston claimed it was just ‘banter’. He also spoke to pupils about personal and sexual matters relating to his relationship."

In the same year Mr Johnston had called pupil A “a fat gay boy”, which the panel said was "demeaning and discriminatory".

It concluded: "His conduct fell below the standard expected of a registered teacher and the standards of propriety expected of the profession. Accordingly, he is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct."

Mr Johnston will have to complete training on safeguarding children before taking up another post.

Source: Pink News
movies | HBIC

PRIDE PotD: July 11, 2010.

Vintage photos of LGBTQ persons, figures, and couples:
early to mid-Twentieth Century.

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Source/full galleries:

A School Closing That Some See as Fiscal Responsibility, Others Racism

BILOXI, Miss. — It still looks like a happy, thriving school: child-size chairs in the cafeteria, yellow buses in the parking lot, a marquee sign that declares “Tomorrow’s Leaders Begin Here.”

But unless things change before next month, this city is going to close its top-ranked school, Nichols Elementary, to save about $400,000 a year — less than 1 percent of the school district’s $50 million budget. Worse than that, say residents of the poor and largely black east side of Biloxi, the neighborhood is losing one of its chief sources of pride and cohesion.

The question of whether closing the school is an act of fiscal prudence or discrimination has become an explosive subject in Biloxi, reopening age-old racial divides.
Nearly 90 percent of the school’s students are black or Asian, while the four School Board members who voted in April for the closing are white.

“I simply cannot get my arms around it,” said William Stallworth, the only black member of the City Council, who is lobbying the board to reverse its decision before classes begin on Aug. 11. “What kind of city closes its best school?”

The answer, says Paul A. Tisdale, the schools superintendent, is a city that endured a $5.5 million cut in state education financing and a $1.5 million decline in casino revenue. “This is the Great Recession,” he said. “What do you do as a steward of taxpayer dollars?”


The rest of the article can be found at the New York Times

I hope they are able to save their school.
Shirley Animated

Hate the government? Run for Senate!

Sharron Angle struggles on the national stage

How does a political protest movement that encompasses some 30 percent of Americans sit on the national stage? Not always so comfortably, it turns out. U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada, a tea party favorite who is running to unseat Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, has been trying to pull off this awkward balancing act since she won the GOP primary last month. In her latest entry in national political debate, liberal political websites including the Huffington Post have picked up on a radio interview Angle gave last week detailing her opposition to abortion in cases involving incestuous rape. The hypothetical example that KXNT-AM host Alan Stock presented to Angle was a 13-year-old girl impregnated by her father. Angle replied:

"My own personal feelings--and that is always what I express--my personal feeling is that we need to err on the side of life. There is a plan and a purpose and a value to every life no matter what its location, age, gender or disability. ... I think that two wrongs don't make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at-risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade."

Angle's comments reflect an institutional dilemma for candidates like herself and fellow tea party favorite Rand Paul, the Republican nominee in Kentucky's open Senate race. Both candidates are mounting major statewide campaigns in nationalized races without the full benefit of their own national party's support.
After suffering some unwelcome scrutiny for his libertarian critique of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Paul has tried to reassure GOP establishment figures that he's ready for prime time by edging toward the mainstream.

But Angle has so far tried a different, split-screen approach to her campaign, continuing to pitch campaign appeals to her conservative base while avoiding the national mainstream press. As a result, her campaign has suffered a series of difficulties that may serve as cautionary tales for future tea party candidates. Here's a review:

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For the love of all things holy, do not read the comments at the source. I have a sort of morbid fascination with this woman. I saw one of her interviews last week and the woman has no idea what she's talking about. It's rather entertaining to watch.

(no subject)

Good News Everyone, We are Becoming China... Or Maybe Our Chinese Masters are Becoming Us...

End Of The Cheap 'Made-In-China' Era Sends Companies Scrambling For Options

Factory workers demanding better wages and working conditions are hastening the eventual end of an era of cheap costs that helped make southern coastal China the world's factory floor.

A series of strikes over the past two months have been a rude wakeup call for the many foreign companies that depend on China's low costs to compete overseas, from makers of Christmas trees to manufacturers of gadgets like the iPad.

Where once low-tech factories and scant wages were welcomed in a China eager to escape isolation and poverty, workers are now demanding a bigger share of the profits. The government, meanwhile, is pushing foreign companies to make investments in areas it believes will create greater wealth for China, like high technology.

Many companies are striving to stay profitable by shifting factories to cheaper areas farther inland or to other developing countries, and a few are even resuming production in the West.

"China is going to go through a very dramatic period. The big companies are starting to exit. We all see the writing on the wall," said Rick Goodwin, a China trade veteran of 22 years, whose company links foreign buyers with Chinese suppliers.
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When Is It OK To Use The Handicap Restroom?

There's a pretty heated debate a-brewin' on the normally tame pages of Dear Abby's advice column this week about when -- if ever -- is it okay for someone without a disability to use the restroom stalls constructed for use by the disabled?

Looks like Abby had previously advised a reader of larger size that it was okay for her to use the handicap stall because she had difficulty getting situated in the smaller stalls. Since then, the longtime advice columnist has gotten plenty of feedback from both sides of the argument.

There are those who claim that, like handicap parking spots at stores and offices, these stalls are reserved for those who need them most.

Then the opposite side of the argument goes that these stalls are for everyone's use and that they exist to accommodate those who need them.

Surely our readers have just as many varied and well-reasoned opinions as the old biddies (like me) who read Dear Abby?


A drug to ‘cure’ lesbianism?

This week Newsweek reported that a doctor at Florida International University has been experimenting with a drug to treat pregnant women, whose unborn female foetuses show signs of a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).

This condition can result in the babies being born intersex.

The drug, Dex, is supposed to reduce the likelihood that the babies will be born with ‘ambiguous’ genitalia.

Only a few weeks ago, many feminists were cheering as Scientists finally came to the conclusion that gender and sexuality are not ‘natural’ or innate, but socially and culturally produced.

But it now looks like biological determinism is back with a vengeance, if it ever went away in the first place.

Dr New, who developed this treatment, spoke about it to parents as early as 2001, showing them slides of ‘girl’ babies with ‘abnormal’ genitalia said:
The challenge here is … to see what could be done to restore this baby to the normal female appearance which would be compatible with her parents presenting her as a girl, with her eventually becoming somebody’s wife, and having normal sexual development, and becoming a mother….
Comments by Dr New and previous research by her and her colleagues, led some journalists, such as Dan Savage in The Stranger to declare this as a drug aiming to ‘cure lesbianism’. But the Newsweek article doesn’t leap to this conclusion.

Dr Petra Boynton , a social psychologist with says this case should be examined on its academic and scientific.

She is also concerned the drug was not endorsed by US Federal Drug Administration:
There are issues about off label prescribing that need to be looked into. The issue of research ethics, consent, and supervision of research. As well as the individual researcher/practitioner being accountable we also need to look to their employer, the journal who published the work, reviewers etc. All of whom need to focus on the issue of how the practice involves fit within our wider understanding of sexuality.
The American feminist blog Feministing reported on the case, serving to highlight just how quiet UK feminists and LGBTQ activists have been since this issue came to light.

But biological determinism is still valuable to a range of feminists and LGBTQ activists.

Some scientists who have been searching (in vain) for the ‘gay gene’ for example, are gay or lesbian themselves, and see it as a way of justifying the naturalness of their sexuality to the Christian Right (especially in the States).

And radical feminists, who are so keen to maintain that ‘women’s oppression’ lies at the feet of ‘men’ are possibly going to find it difficult to deal with the fact that this research highlights how many babies are born as neither male nor female, and so destabilise the ‘male v female’ binary on which radical feminist dogma relies.

I’m concerned by this ‘biological determinism redux’. But I am also concerned by UK feminism’s inability to respond to it, and what that says about our beliefs.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy

Suit won't deter Pr. William leader's immigration law push

The Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona's controversial immigration law won't stop Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart's campaign to bring a similar law to Virginia.

If anything, said Stewart (R-At Large), he will push harder to get legislation passed at the state level that would enhance police officials' power to capture, detain and deport illegal immigrants and create specific Virginia penalties for illegal immigrants.

"I think the Obama administration has made a strategic blunder," Stewart said. "The Justice Department is going to have egg on its face when its case is dismissed. Arizona is on very firm legal footing, and the administration is just trying to intimidate Arizona."

Last month, Stewart launched the Virginia Rule of Law Campaign to rally support for Virginia immigration legislation. Stewart said Virginia needs to follow in Arizona's footsteps, even if it sends President Obama's administration after the commonwealth.

"I hope the Justice Department sues Virginia, as well," he said. "I hope they have so many targets that they are unable to focus on Arizona. . . . Every state that supports Arizona should implement a similar law to make it impossible for the [federal government] to focus on any one state or jurisdiction."

Prince William has received national attention for its crackdown on illegal immigration. The county's law, enacted in 2007 and modified in 2008, requires that police officers check the immigration status of all people arrested on suspicion of violating a state or local law. Stewart said his campaign for a Virginia law is his own, not something he is doing as chairman of the board.

"I think this is very irresponsible of someone who has lived in the county and seen the kind of devastation this kind of legislation can cause," said Nancy Lyall of the immigrant advocacy group Mexicans Without Borders.

Lyall said Prince William's immigration law hurt the county by damaging the relationship between police and some community members, draining county funds and harming businesses as people fled the county. Why, she asked, would Stewart want that to happen at the state level?

Although Virginia is strapped for cash, Stewart said a lawsuit and the money it could cost would be worth it. Stewart said he plans to release his proposed bill in the next few days. Many people have supported Arizona's actions, Stewart said, and he expects the same in Virginia. As of Friday, he had about 500 people following his Virginia Rule of Law Campaign page on Facebook.

Akuma River

Somalia's al-Shabab is suspect in bombs against World Cup fans in Uganda

Uganda Bomb Attacks Kill World Cup Fans: Al Shabab Suspected In Kampala Explosions
GODFREY OLUKYA | 07/11/10 07:29 PM |

KAMPALA, Uganda — Bombs exploded at two sites in Uganda's capital late Sunday as people watched the World Cup final on TV, killing at least 30 people. Foreigners, including Europeans and possibly Americans, were believed to be among the casualties.

Police Chief Kale Kaihura said he believed that Somalia's most feared militia – al-Shabab, which has pledged loyalty to al-Qaida – could be behind the attacks.

One of the bombs went off at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala, Uganda's capital. Al-Shabab views Ethiopia as an enemy. The second blast went off at a restaurant called the Kyadondo Rugby Club.
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My thoughts, these guys may think that they just showed how 'tough' they are to attack in another nation and kill Americans (not yet confirmed, I think?), but they don't understand what they did. Before, the attacks were within Somalia but only Somalia, by crossing their attacks to another nation they prove the President's worry that they are a threat to the international community at large and that the UN and First World Nations (i.e. everyone involved in the 'war against terror' -- what is it called now?) that they should take this threat seriously and do something more about it.

I don't think we will be declaring war on Somalia...but you can expect more troop activity there. I already know that some 'secret' operations have been taking place in Somalia because of the threat of al-Shabab and that was before they formally aligned themselves with al-Qaida.

What do you guys think will happen?
  • lesket

Victims buried as Bosnia marks Srebrenica anniversary

Hundreds of victims of the Srebrenica massacre are being buried at a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the atrocity in the Bosnian town.

The 775 coffins with the remains of newly identified victims from mass graves are being laid to rest at the Potocari cemetery, outside Srebrenica.

More than 7,000 (8372 is the official number, I believe) Muslim men and boys from the town were killed by advancing Bosnian Serb troops in July 1995.

The massacre was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Serbian President Boris Tadic is attending the ceremony, in what is seen as a significant gesture.

In March, Serbia's parliament passed a landmark resolution apologising for the massacre, saying Belgrade should have done more to prevent the tragedy.

Srebrenica had been declared a UN safe zone, to which thousands of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) had fled during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. But the Bosnian Serb army easily overran the lightly-armed Dutch force there in July 1995.

The massacre is the only episode of the conflict to have been deemed a genocide by the UN tribunal.

Segregated town

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My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims being buried today, those already buried, those still unidentified after 15 years and everyone affected by the genocide, as well as the greater war. Nobody should ever endure suffering like this.

LGBT/Queer Youth and the Prison Industrial Complex

There are multiple new reports and national attention coming to the impact of incarceration on LGBT/queer young people. The following are a number of different pieces worth checking out, some of them better and more radical than others. It’s essential to educate ourselves about the violence of this system and the work that needs to be done to abolish it. As we move forward toward abolition we also must stand with people in their survival strategies to reduce the amount of harm they are experiencing.

*** This video was sparked by an article in The Nation written by Daniel Redman, “I Was Scared to Sleep: LGBT Youth Face Violence Behind Bars” available HERE

More GRITtv

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Source: blackandpink.org

Russian Spies Can Be Such Jerks

How Russian Spies Trick Americans

The recent spy scandal, involving “hottie spy” Anna Chapman, seems like a Cold War throwback. But for Western diplomats in Moscow, weird incidents of espionage are part of everyday life.

Sam—and let’s just call him Sam—is an American journalist. Last fall, he arrived in Moscow, wide-eyed and overwhelmed by the city’s tantric energy. He moved into his new apartment complex, which houses various Western press outlets and is owned, like all such buildings, by the UPDK, the branch of the Russian foreign ministry that oversees diplomatic housing.

Soon after his arrival, Sam was sitting in a Moscow café when he realized that his briefcase, which had been sitting on the floor between his feet, the shoulder strap wrapped around his ankle, was gone. He panicked. That briefcase had his iPod, his press badge, his digital recorder, and some Russian homework.

The next day, he received a call from a friendly woman who said her father had found Sam’s briefcase and would Sam mind picking it up? With chocolates and flowers in hand, Sam met the man, and got his briefcase back, but his iPod and recorder were missing.

He thought nothing of it, until he had dinner later with an American diplomat who was not surprised by his story. “Oh, yeah,” the diplomat said, in Sam’s recounting, “It’s your turn. That’s the FSB”—the security service that succeeded the KGB. “They do that to new diplomats and new journalists when they first get to Moscow. They just want to let you know they’re around.” And that’s when Sam realized that something had been a bit weird: The man had called Sam’s landline, which was not listed on any document in the briefcase.

There are lots of strange stories like Sam’s floating around Western diplomatic and journalistic circles in Moscow, and the recent flameup over Anna “Bond Girl” Chapman made me think of them; how Russians spy on Westerners, not abroad, but at home. It is not unusual to come home to find the furniture subtly—but noticeably—rearranged. Sometimes, a piece of furniture is missing, but reappears hours later. Sometimes, the diplomat or journalist comes home to find the computer turned on, with files and email opened. Or teams of dubious tech specialists arrive, unannounced, to fix unbroken wiring.

One evening, a British friend of mine, a journalist, came home to her new apartment to find a gun lying on the floor outside her door, carefully aimed at her apartment. Terrified, and not wanting to add her own fingerprints, she left it untouched in the hallway. When she left for work the following morning, the gun was gone.

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Rick Scott, Floridian Gubernatorial Candidate, Sues Florida

As self-financed gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott nears a crucial cap, he has filed a lawsuit hoping to keep his competitors from benefiting from his spending.

Scott, a Naples-based health care executive with a large personal fortune, has eschewed public financing for his campaign. But Florida’s campaign finance law provides for matching publicly-financed funding for candidates once one member of the races spends $24.9 million, or $2 for every registered voter in the state. Once an independently financed campaign crosses that threshold, all opponents are entitled to matching funds up to $4 for every registered voter, or about $49.8 million this year.

Scott has already spent $21 million of his own money, according to a lawsuit he filed in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee. The suit contends the law that gives his candidates a dollar-for-dollar match for any amount Scott spends more than $24.9 million violates Scott’s First Amendment rights to political speech. Scott’s suit also claims he is doubly penalized by the rule because he plans to support whomever wins the Republican nomination for governor, a candidate who could be attacked with matching funds given to candidates from other parties.

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