August 2nd, 2010


BP Running Out of Money!! How Are They Ever Going to Pay Rent?

BP offers one-off payouts to stem Gulf oil spill lawsuits
Lump-sum compensation offered in return for waiving the right to sue, but uncertainty remains for those indirectly affected

BP will begin its legal offensive this month to cap its liabilities from the Gulf of Mexico disaster by offering those affected one-off compensation payouts in return for them waiving the right to sue.

US lawyers say tens of thousands of affected people in the Gulf, particularly those in the fishing and tourism industries, are weeks away from bankruptcy.

BP, which will try to permanently seal the Macondo well with a "static kill" operation on Tuesday, hopes that settling claims in this way will help it to begin to draw a line under the crisis and to quantify the costs.

But lawyers say it is impossible to calculate future lost earnings. There is also no way for claimants to know whether they would receive more compensation if they decided to sue BP in the courts, which would take many months with no guarantee of success.
Brent Coon, a Houston-based lawyer, said: "These are mostly uneducated people."

Applicants could rush to apply for a one-off, lump sum payout if they believe that BP will run out of money or will put its US business into bankruptcy.
Collapse )
Amy and Rory and the Doctor

Immigrant Maids Flee Lives of Abuse in Kuwait

KUWAIT — With nowhere else to go, dozens of Nepalese maids who fled from their employers now sleep on the floor in the lobby of their embassy here, next to the visitors’ chairs.

In the Philippines Embassy, more than 200 women are packed in a sweltering room, where they sleep on their luggage and pass the time singing along to Filipino crooners on television. So many runaways are sheltering in the Indonesian Embassy that some have left a packed basement and taken over a prayer room.

And in the coming weeks, when Ramadan starts, the number of maids seeking protection is expected to grow, perhaps by the hundreds, straining the capacity of the improvised shelters, embassy officials say. With Kuwaiti families staying up into the early hours of the morning, some maids say they cook more, work longer hours and sleep less.

Rosflor Armada, who is staying in the Philippines Embassy, said that last year during Ramadan, she cooked all day for the evening meal and was allowed to sleep only about two hours a night.

“They said, ‘You will work. You will work.’ ” She said that she left after her employers demanded that she wash the windows at 3 a.m.

The existence of the shelters reflects a hard reality here: With few legal protections against employers who choose not to pay servants, who push them too hard, or who abuse them, sometimes there is nothing left to do but run. The laws that do exist tend to err on the side of protecting employers, who often pay more than $2,000 upfront to hire the maids from the agencies that bring the women here.


Collapse )


Read rest of the article at the New York Times and check out the accompanying slideshow

No Kuwait or domestic workers tag?

Sarah Palin, "Mama Grizzlies," Carl Jung, and the Power of Archetypes


I've been thinking about this paradox: the most important political ad of 2010 so far did not play on television, and came from someone not currently running for any office. It was Sarah Palin's latest web video, "Mama Grizzlies."

For those who haven't seen it yet, the video features footage of women of various ages taken at an assortment of Tea Party and Palin rallies, accompanied by audio clips from a recent Palin speech. Among the choice sound bytes:

"It seems like it's kind of a mom awakening...women are rising up."

"I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody is coming to attack their cubs."

"You thought pit bulls were tough? Well, you don't wanna mess with the mama grizzlies!"

It's classic Palin. And, as often is the case with Palin, the video doesn't feature a single word about policy -- as many of her critics have pointed out. But they are completely missing the point. Indeed, this video and the response to it are a perfect illustration of why we need to widen the scope of our political analysis.

We are awash in crises right now -- crises that require smart and creative policy fixes. So why is somebody who so rarely deals in policy fixes so popular? It's because Palin's message operates on a level deeper than policy statements about the economy or financial reform or health care or the war in Afghanistan.

To really understand her appeal, we need less policy analysis and more psychology. Specifically, we need to hear from that under-appreciated political pundit Carl Jung.
Collapse )

Da Good Book

Guys on Immodesty, Lust, and the Violence of Women’s Bodies

Administered by a Christian website, the survey questions were submitted by “Christian girls” who wanted to know what “Christian guys” think is modest. 1,600 guys then answered the survey, offering both quantitative and qualitative answers. Why would girls care what guys, as opposed to God, think? Because Christian guys, their future husbands, are judging them on their modesty. Ninety-five percent of them say that modesty is an important quality in their future wife (see the question in the upper left corner):

So, how do these “guys” define immodesty? The most common theme was dressing to draw attention to the body instead of the heart or spirit.

Collapse )


(no subject)

UAE says BlackBerry ban will affect visitors too

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Emirates' looming ban on BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web browsing services will extend to foreign visitors too, said the country's telecom regulator, raising the stakes in its dispute with the maker of the popular business tools.
Device maker Research in Motion Ltd. has so far declined to comment on the plan to suspend the services, which Emirati authorities announced Sunday.

The UAE contends some BlackBerry features operate outside the country's laws, "causing judicial, social and national security concerns." At the heart of their concerns is the way the BlackBerry handles data, which is encrypted and routed through the RIM's servers overseas, where it cannot be monitored for illegal activity.

Critics of the crackdown say it is also a way for the country's conservative government to further control content they deem politically or morally objectionable. The smart phones enjoy a following not only among the region's professionals, but also among tech-savvy youth who see their relatively secure communication channels as a way to avoid unwanted government attention.

The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority had left the question of phones run by foreign operators unanswered in announcing the ban, scheduled to take effect Oct. 11.

But in an e-mailed response to questions Monday, the regulator said the service suspension would apply to all users in the country, including visitors using roaming services on foreign BlackBerry phones.

"Roaming for BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry e-mail and BlackBerry Web browsing will also be suspended," the TRA said in its unsigned e-mail. "They won't be able to use the mentioned services in (the) UAE as it's suspended (in) the country."
That would put BlackBerry service out of reach for business travelers and others passing through the Mideast's busiest airport in the international business hub of Dubai, which averages about 100,000 passengers a day.
The UAE has singled out BlackBerry devices for scrutiny before.

Last year, RIM criticized a directive by the UAE state-owned mobile operator Etisalat telling the company's BlackBerry users to install software described as a service upgrade. Tests showed the download actually installed spy software on users' phones that could allow authorities to access private information stored on the handsets. It strongly distanced itself from Etisalat's decision and told users how to remove the software.

The TRA says there are 500,000 BlackBerry subscribers in the UAE.

Telecommunication officials in Saudi Arabia have also said they are planning to curtail use of the BlackBerry messaging service, but not other services on the phones.

Yeah, that's not really going to be helpful to their business and tourism industries.  Like, at all.
  • luomo

Tea Partiers Bent On Ruining Americans' Family Vacations

Tea Partiers Bent On Ruining Americans' Family Vacations

Unsatisfied with being belligerent at town hall meetings and creating racist signs, Tea Party activists are swarming on Williamsburg, Virginia this summer to ruin educational family vacations by yelling and asking costumed reenactors how to overthrow the government. Ugh.

There's always a guy on a guided tour who's wearing a fanny pack and knee high socks, asking really stupid questions and embarrassing the rest of his family, right? Now add some loud, uninformed right wing zealotry, and you've got Colonial Williamsburg Summer 2010! The Washington Post went to Williamsburg and described the scene there these days, as Tea Party activists take in the sights and look to meet the Founding Fathers in person:

They stand in the crowd listening closely as the costumed actors relive dramatic moments in the founding of our country. They clap loudly when an actor portraying Patrick Henry delivers his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. They cheer and hoot when Gen. George Washington surveys the troops behind the original 18th-century courthouse. And they shout out about the tyranny of our current government during scenes depicting the nation's struggle for freedom from Britain.

"General, when is it appropriate to resort to arms to fight for our liberty?" asked a tourist on a recent weekday during "A Conversation with George Washington," a hugely popular dialogue between actor and audience in the shaded backyard of Charlton's Coffeehouse.

Yes, man wearing a wig and dressed up as George Washington, do tell us! The Tea Partiers travel to Williamsburg seeking answers from actors, as opposed to, say, checking out a book from the library. Fair enough. Some Tea Partiers, like Bob Rohrbacher, who was inspired by none other than Glenn Beck to visit Williamsburg, think the members of our big bad government should "all should come here and listen. They've forgotten about America." But the Tea Partiers themselves don't always hear what they want to hear:

Sometimes, the activists appear surprised when the Founding Fathers don't always provide the "give 'em hell" response they seem to be looking for.

When a tourist asked George Washington a question about what should be done to those colonists who remain loyal to the tyrannical British king, Washington interjected: "I hope that we're all loyal, sir" — a reminder that Washington, far from being an early agitator against the throne, was among those who sought to avoid revolution until the very end.

When another audience member asked the general to reflect on the role of prayer and religion in politics, he said: "Prayers, sir, are a man's private concern. They are not a matter of public interest. And nor should they be. There is nothing so personal as a man's relationship with his creator."



GOP wants to gut the U.S. Constitution that they're supposedly so fond of preserving.

Kyl: Illegal Aliens' Kids Shouldn't Be Citizens

Wants Hearing on 14th Amendment Which Grants Citizenship to Children of Illegal Immigrants Born in America

Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., said today that Congress should hold hearings to look into denying citizenship to illegal aliens' children born in the United States, as the fight over immigration widens into the explosive "birthright" issue.

Kyl told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he supports a call by fellow Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to introduce a new amendment to repeal the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Support is growing for this stunning reversal from Graham, who in 2007 drew the ire of Republicans when he lobbied for granting legal status to 12 million undocumented workers, and along with President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., led the failed immigration reform effort that would have given illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

The 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868 to ensure that states would not deny citizenship to former slaves. It reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Arizona's Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce - the architect of the controversial immigration law that was largely struck down by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton - also separately proposed the same measure.

"The 14th Amendment [has been] interpreted to provide that if you are born in the United States, you are a citizen no matter what," Kyl said. "So the question is, if both parents are here illegally, should there be a reward for their illegal behavior?"

Kyl said Congress should hold hearings and invite constitutional experts to look at the state of the 14th Amendment. The growing support for the issue suggests the Republicans are exploring different strategies to fight the Obama administration's victory over the Arizona immigration law, after Bolton issued a preliminary injunction on key provisions.

Collapse )


Mr. T the Patriot

ONTD_P Let's Make a Difference

Many people in this community have expressed an interest in being active politically or through volunteering in their community. Yet, there are quite a few of us who just aren't sure where to start. This list is meant to be living a resource for any member or viewer of ontd_political with an interest in doing something meaningful. There is a link to this post on the info page of ontd_political so you can always come back and make suggestions for updates.

Collapse )

Plagiarism may be because of our ~postmodern society~?

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age
Published: August 1, 2010

At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness — and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information.

At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.

Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that.

But these cases — typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism — suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed.

Collapse )

Source wants you to cite it.

As a recent college graduate, I personally think the first few academic notions mentioned for the explosion in plagiarism are... well, bullshit. Besides the part where they smack of "kids these days" ageism and technophobia, the much simpler explanation is what Ms. Wilensky says: nobody is being taught how to think for themselves, or how to write. And with regard to writing, I don't mean that people lack "good grammatical skills" or "power of rhetoric" or anything. The educational system is just pure shit in the US.
Mr. T the Patriot

What did you do? JULY (NEW THEME POST)

In addition to the volunteer list post the mods are starting a new recurring theme post. What did you do? This is a chance for ONTD_P members to share their achievements volunteering or donating in their community and beyond.

The goal is to give people a place to brag about their accomplishments, be recognized, and hopefully inspire other members to take action. These posts should also a place for people to share tactics, strategies, and ideas with other current volunteers. Anyone who has an interest in volunteering but hasn't yet should feel free to come here and ask questions. If you have ideas for making a difference post it here and maybe you can find someone else to work with you. Big or small I want to hear all of your ideas and accomplishments. If you donated $1 to a cause you believe in or opened up a new animal shelter in your city I want to hear it all.

If there are enough participants next month I will pick a member or accomplishment and spotlight their work.

So tell me ONTD_P, what did you do in July?
  • luomo

Creator Of Racist 'Tea Party Comix' Speaks: I Do Hate Obama, But I'm No Racist

The creator of the now-infamous "Tea Party Comix" has spoken. The response, sent to Comics With Problems' Ethan Persoff last week, ends speculation by some that the black-and-white comics featuring a racist caricature of President Obama might be a liberal parody gone wrong (or just misunderstood). In the rambling email sent early Thursday morning, the unnamed creator of the comics (the name was withheld by Persoff) suggests that they were created out of anger at Obama, but -- according to the creator -- not out of any intention to make a racial statement.

"I do not understand the connection with 'big ears' and 'racism', and I do not understand how a 'dark face' implies racism," the creator of the comics wrote to Persoff. "The accusation of 'Hate' is true, but it is the hate of an IDEOLGY [sic], not a of race of people..... I understand that the ideology has captured 80 or 90% of the race(s) in question, but it is STILL a AN IDEOLOGY and NOT a "race" that this comic book attacks."

Despite the denial of any racist intent, the creator told Persoff the comics are just too hot to handle and are being removed from sale.

A number of tea party leaders disavowed the comic books last week, claiming that they're an obvious plant by tea party opponents.

Read the full email from the creator of the comics, as posted to Persoff's website (note, emphasis/spelling are original from author):

Subject: TEA PARTY COMIX Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:23 AM

From: [Name and email address redacted by EP.TC]

To: Ethan Persoff

I have taken all TEA PARTY COMIX OFF of [Internet marketplace]. I hope you are happy and I hope the world is a little bit better better place in which to live now. ....I do not understand the connection with "big ears" and "racism", and I do not understand how a "dark face" implies racism...... The accusation of "Hate" is true, but it is the hate of an IDEOLGY, not a of race of people..... I understand that the ideology has captured 80 or 90% of the race(s) in question, but it is STILL a AN IDEOLOGY and NOT a "race" that this comic book attacks.... Cartoonists have historically drawn "the enemy" in a negative light... Please search cartoons of Reagan and Bush for instance ( and please see my caracature of Janet Napolatano in Tea Party Comix #2!)..... Think, and you will have to admit there was NO LIMIT placed upon these depictions.... But somehow, ANY negative drawing of Presient Obama is automatically "racist"... Be honest with yourself, if it is possible. ....Think. And maybe admit that you have an advantage that you are taking advantage OF..... In Tea Party Comix #1 there is a strip in which a person handing out Tea Party Comix #1 has an ALAN KEYES tee-shirt... Did you upload THAT strip?? Not that it would matter to people who think that RACE is more important than IDEOLOGY, but I would think that a fair-minded person might include that strip....

You can edit this and make me into any monster you like, that's up to you. We'll see what a moral person you are, and you can live with that. I'm sure you will be safer than I feel tonight, either way......

The undergrounds of the sixties WERE "allowed". Apparently "Tea Party Comix" are NOT allowed.... To any reasonable man, well, this miight give him something to think about, about how far we have "come"..... Is it truely a BETTER world?? You tell ME! - [name redacted ]

Persoff, who of course is a master chronicler of comics of the potentially offensive variety, weighs in on the parody debate in his post on the Tea Party Comix creator's statement. In comment boards on TPM and other sites over the past few days, some have wondered aloud whether those who are offended by the comics are missing the point -- and worry that there could be too much sensitivity on the left to allow for satirical works. Persoff writes:

If these were published in a forum like National Lampoon in the 1970s we'd likely applaud it as daring and hilarious. And I know a lot of people who agree with me. So there is space in this discussion for appreciating Tea Party Comix, even if they're possibly the most racist looking things since, say, Clean Fun Starring Shoogafoot Jones. But if these are not satire, but rather jokes directed at an audience willing to laff it up as fuel, the implications sharply shift.

Read Persoff's full post, where offers a full response to the creator's email, here.



Fureign Non-Jewish Workers Upsetting Real Jews.

Real American: Maybe We are Not so Different After All.

Israel To Expel Children Of Migrant Workers

Israel on Sunday approved new residency criteria that could result in the deportations of hundreds of children of migrant workers.

The decision by Israel's Cabinet represented a small step by Israel to clear up the status of thousands of foreign workers in Israel.

Under the decision, children of migrants whose parents entered Israel legally may remain if they are enrolled in school, speak Hebrew and have been here longer than five years.

An Israeli advocacy group, the Hotline for Migrant Workers, estimates 700 of 1,200 school-age children are at risk of deportation, along with their parents.

About 200,000 migrant workers live in Israel, mostly from the Philippines, China and Africa. About half have overstayed their visas, thousands for many years. Many have children who were born in Israel and know no other home.

Some Israelis complain that illegal migrants are taking jobs away from citizens. Others worry that the non-Jewish workers could upset the Jewish nature of the society.

At the Sunday Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed with the critics. "This is a tangible threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel," he said.

In another step to limit the influx of foreigners, Israel is building a fence along its rugged 130-mile (200-kilometer) border with Egypt. Thousands of asylum seekers and illegal migrants cross the Sinai desert border every year, many guided by Bedouin trackers who live in Sinai.

Netanyahu said the border fence would be completed by 2013.

Transgender woman says hospital mistreated her

MUNCIE, Ind. — A transgender woman said she was ridiculed by hospital staff and eventually denied treatment when she went to a Muncie emergency room coughing up blood.

Officials at Ball Memorial Hospital said they are investigating Erin Vaught's allegations, which triggered complaints from advocacy groups.

"The irony here is that we spend so much time teaching about transgender issues at Ball State University," said Vivian Benge, president of the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance. "And yet there is Ball Memorial Hospital treading a transgender like this. It is so sad."

Vaught is a transsexual, someone who has transitioned or is transitioning from one gender to another, The Star Press reported Friday. In her case, it's from male to female.

Vaught said when she, her wife and son went to the ER on July 18, she was entered into the hospital computer system as male despite an ID that stated she was female.

"I pointed out that my ID says female," Vaught said. "There were two ladies there, and one of them snickered a little bit and covered her mouth. The other got a very annoyed look on her face."

When she went to the exam room, she was met with stares and insults and was referred to as a "he-she," an "it," and a "transvestite."

Vaught said she was kept waiting for two hours without any treatment before a doctor saw her and said she couldn't treat her because of her transgender condition.

"I was confused," Vaught said. "I told them I didn't know my condition, that's why I was there. She said 'No, the transvestite thing.' She said I couldn't see a doctor until I came back with test orders from my doctor in Indy."

Benge said such reactions are not uncommon. But Vaught and her supporters wrote about her experience on the hospital's Facebook page, attracting the attention of advocacy groups including the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance and Indiana Equality.

The groups sent a joint letter to the hospital about how Vaught was "inhumanely treated, dehumanized and disrespected."

Ball Memorial spokesman Will Henderson said the hospital first became aware of Vaught's concerns on July 19 via a Google alert, and that a patient representative was investigating the issue.

"We take our patients' rights policy very seriously," Henderson said.

While the policy doesn't mention transgender people specifically, Henderson said it would apply.

"And, should there be any merit to the concerns expressed in the comments, the Hospital will respond in the appropriate manner," hospital president Michael E. Haley said in a post on Ball Memorial's Facebook page.

Haley said the hospital is "committed to providing care with respect, dignity and courtesy."

Meanwhile, Benge said the Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance has arranged for Vaught to be treated at an Indianapolis hospital.

"We are trying to help her to regain her dignity and humanity," Benge said. "This is a very difficult kind of thing to go through."


This just makes me so angry that they treated her like that and then refused to treat her because she is transgender. WTH is wrong with people?!
Lesbian kisses

CA DA amends three-strikes law

Cooley's law

A Republican district attorney seeks to make three-strikes more humane

Jul 29th 2010 | Los Angeles

THE judge remembered Larry South well when he saw him in a Los Angeles courtroom in June. Twelve years had gone by since he had sentenced Mr South to life in prison for attempting to steal $29-worth of plumbing supplies from Home Depot. Now, however, Mr South was in court to be freed. “I’m so pleased,” said the judge. Emily Galvin, his lawyer, held back tears as Mr South embraced his sons, aged 19 and 12. Even the prosecutor seemed delighted.

Collapse )

via The Economist.

I found this on a friend's Facebook and found it to be really interesting, both in "omfg what life sentence for attempting to steal less than $50 of stuff?!" and where it's going now.

Safety Regulations Will Scare Away Thrill Seeking Miners. Gov Not on The Job of Saving Lives

Paul claims mine safety regulations are unnecessary because ‘no one will apply’ for jobs at dangerous mines.

In April, two miners were killed at the Dotiki Mine in Western Kentucky after the mine’s roof collapsed. The non-union mine had been cited for 840 safety violations by federal inspectors since 2009, and the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing issued 31 orders to close sections of the mine or to shut down equipment during the same period. But when asked about the incident, Kentucky’s Republican Senate candidate, Rand Paul, saidmaybe sometimes accidents happen.” And as it turns out, Paul doesn’t believe that the federal government has any responsibility at all to set safety standards to protect mine workers:
“The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules,” Paul said at a recent campaign stop in response to questions about April’s deadly mining explosion in West Virginia…“You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You’d try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don’t, I’m thinking that no one will apply for those jobs.
As Amanda Terkel pointed out, a bunch of dirty coal groups lobbying for looser regulations have banded together to form a 527 to elect industry-friendly Republicans. One of the candidates they intend to back is, of course, Rand Paul. The Wonk Room takes a further look at how Paul’s positions favor law-breaking corporations over the safety of workers.
(MUSIC) jake shears anderson cooper, (ANDERCONS) anderson jake shears
  • epicet


The crime rates for year-to-date were released today for Dallas, TX. Rape has gone up 25%. Obviously this is something that needs to be closely examined and dealt with seriously, public prevention education considered, and police response evaluated.

Dallas Chief of Police David Brown's reponse:

"We're needing to create a message to the victims of this type of crime, related to, you know, someone you don't know that well, you having a little bit too much to drink," explains Chief Brown, suggesting women, "have your friends watch you" if you intend to drink in front of a man.

Collapse )

Original story and reaction here, from the Dallas Observer's blogging of the public safety committee meeting. I cannot find any other coverage on this, which is a bit distressing to say the least.