August 20th, 2010

Hail the skateboarding priest -- latest Internet sensation on a mission to bring teens closer to God

Source: NY Daily News

BUDAPEST – A Hungarian Roman Catholic priest has become a YouTube hit with his distinctive method of spreading the word on wheels.

The Reverend Zoltan Lendvai, 45, who lives and preaches in Redics, a small village on Hungary's border with Slovenia, believes skateboarding can open the way to God for young people.

The video of him in action, Funny Priest Skateboarding, has so far attracted close to 170,000 hits and now also has a music version.

Lendvai says he follows the ways of Saint John Bosco, an Italian priest and educator in the 19th century who dedicated his life to improving the lot of poor youngsters and used games as part of their education.

"Many times I have felt that this is the way I can bring many people a bit closer to Jesus," he told Reuters.

He learned the skills of skateboarding at the age of 14 at school but it was only later, when he served as a priest in the town of Kormend in northwest Hungary, that he realized the impact his skill could have on youngsters.

He said three boys aged between 16 and 18 who had never attended church before started coming regularly after he showed them a few skateboard tricks.

His first board bore the papal coat of arms and he has since given away at least six to his young parishioners.


Some nice fluff to get our minds off things. <3 He and the Saint who inspired him are reminding me of Monk Gyatso from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Titanic - Fuck You :D

Fox News' corporate parent gave Republican Governors Association $1 million

Bloomberg News reports today that News Corp. -- the media giant which owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal -- has donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, the GOP organization that helps coordinate Republican gubernatorial campaigns and pays for independent ads in support of their candidates.

Media Matters has confirmed Bloomberg's report using publicly available IRS filings. We also found no evidence of corresponding donations to the Democratic Governors Association in the current political cycle. News Corp. wants Republicans elected to office, and they're willing to spend money to make it happen.

According to the article, News Corp. is actually the RGA's "biggest corporate donor." Bloomberg suggests that News Corp. has made these donations due to their opposition to "proposed federal rule changes that would weaken the position of its Fox network in negotiations with cable companies," stating that "Governors may have a stake in the issue."

Whether or not that is the case, this large corporate donation to the GOP underscores News Corp.'s role as an appendage of the Republican Party.

UPDATE: Politico's Ben Smith has received the following quote from a News Corp. spokesman: "News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy." They're not trying to hide it anymore. As the coverage of its media outlets indicates, News Corp. supports the Republican Party's platform. It's just now started putting its money where its mouth has long been.


Mods - The article is from 8/16 but I looked back over all the entries from the past few days and I didn't see this posted. I apologize if it was and I missed it.

WTF this pisses me off. How can they claim to be fair and balanced while giving seven figures to the Republicans? That Supreme Court ruling letting corporations do this is going to ruin our country. I just donated $25 to the Democratic party but it's all I can afford.

In other news, 20-somethings are ~different~

What Is It About 20-Somethings?
Published: August 18, 2010

Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?

This question pops up everywhere, underlying concerns about “failure to launch” and “boomerang kids.” Two new sitcoms feature grown children moving back in with their parents — “$#*! My Dad Says,” starring William Shatner as a divorced curmudgeon whose 20-something son can’t make it on his own as a blogger, and “Big Lake,” in which a financial whiz kid loses his Wall Street job and moves back home to rural Pennsylvania. A cover of The New Yorker last spring picked up on the zeitgeist: a young man hangs up his new Ph.D. in his boyhood bedroom, the cardboard box at his feet signaling his plans to move back home now that he’s officially overqualified for a job. In the doorway stand his parents, their expressions a mix of resignation, worry, annoyance and perplexity: how exactly did this happen?

It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be — on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.

We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s.

The whole idea of milestones, of course, is something of an anachronism; it implies a lockstep march toward adulthood that is rare these days. Kids don’t shuffle along in unison on the road to maturity. They slouch toward adulthood at an uneven, highly individual pace. Some never achieve all five milestones, including those who are single or childless by choice, or unable to marry even if they wanted to because they’re gay. Others reach the milestones completely out of order, advancing professionally before committing to a monogamous relationship, having children young and marrying later, leaving school to go to work and returning to school long after becoming financially secure.

Even if some traditional milestones are never reached, one thing is clear: Getting to what we would generally call adulthood is happening later than ever. But why? That’s the subject of lively debate among policy makers and academics. To some, what we’re seeing is a transient epiphenomenon, the byproduct of cultural and economic forces. To others, the longer road to adulthood signifies something deep, durable and maybe better-suited to our neurological hard-wiring. What we’re seeing, they insist, is the dawning of a new life stage — a stage that all of us need to adjust to.

JEFFREY JENSEN ARNETT, a psychology professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is leading the movement to view the 20s as a distinct life stage, which he calls “emerging adulthood.” He says what is happening now is analogous to what happened a century ago, when social and economic changes helped create adolescence — a stage we take for granted but one that had to be recognized by psychologists, accepted by society and accommodated by institutions that served the young. Similar changes at the turn of the 21st century have laid the groundwork for another new stage, Arnett says, between the age of 18 and the late 20s. Among the cultural changes he points to that have led to “emerging adulthood” are the need for more education to survive in an information-based economy; fewer entry-level jobs even after all that schooling; young people feeling less rush to marry because of the general acceptance of premarital sex, cohabitation and birth control; and young women feeling less rush to have babies given their wide range of career options and their access to assisted reproductive technology if they delay pregnancy beyond their most fertile years.

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So. Since a large quantity of our members are 20-somethings, what do we think? Are we really in a distinct developmental stage? Why are social scientists only noticing these trends right now? I personally find this article fascinating but irritating at the same time. Everyone speaks about "emerging adulthood" like it could be a universal property of humankind, but all the statistical information involves the US population. These patterns of shifting priorities, of living with one's parents, of not doing things the way young adults used to— they surely say something about psychological development, and they have surely existed prior to this recession-depression. But I suspect that for any psychological process in question, the source is still socioeconomic and/or cultural. Across the world, there are countries and peoples who have treated it as perfectly normal for individuals to move back in with their parents if they've finished school but are unmarried; if this is becoming pervasive in the United States, it's new for us but it's not new for the species. Furthermore, statements like "young women feeling less rush to have babies given their wide range of career options and their access to assisted reproductive technology if they delay pregnancy beyond their most fertile years" smack of the idea that pregnancy is still necessary, expected, and desired. Some women feel no rush to have babies because they just don't, not because they have jobs. And then on top of everything else, why say that 20-somethings haven't grown up? "Growing up" is such a loaded, judgmental notion. I found this ageist. tldr/should probably just write in my journal: the article describes something interesting, but the explanations frequently sound like bullshit.
mus | like a bird in a cage

3 Reasons the “Ground Zero Mosque” Debate Makes No Sense

I don’t usually write about politics. It’s important, but something I want no part of – kind of like a raw sewage treatment facility. But frankly, I haven’t been this upset in a long time. And it’s due to the logic-hating, herd-mentality rhetoric that some have been flinging in opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.” For the uninitiated, there are plans to construct an Islamic Community center in lower Manhattan. And, of course, lower Manhattan is where the World Trade Center stood before terrorists destroyed it, thereby murdering 3,000 Americans. I was working in New York City at the time. As was my father. As was my pregnant wife. I remember the day well. And the days that followed. I think most of all, I remember standing on the Staten Island Ferry, coming home with 200 other silent, reverent New Yorkers of every age, race, and religion, as we watched our city still smoldering a full week later. And it is with this backdrop that I can say to every politician spouting off and opposing the construction of this Islamic community center: “Shut up. Go away. You hate America.”

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misc. | Xosha Roquemore

Shenanigans Friday: August 20, 2010.

"NEW DEVEL-LOL-MENTS -- W.H.: ' Obama not a Muslim' "--CNN

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Lesbian filmmaker Laura McFerrin brings the National Equality March to the big screen

Finding a good LGBT protest march these days isn’t as easy as it used to be.

In some ways, that’s good, because the Internet has given us tons of outlets for getting our message across. In other ways, though, it makes me a little sad because nothing matches the feeling you get from marching with hundreds of other LGBT people with one goal in view: equality.

Dallas-based lesbian activist Laura McFerrin captures a bit of that feeling on film with her documentary, March On, which premieres at the Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in September.

March On documents the 2009 National Equality March in Washington, DC through the eyes of five families who marched among the 250,000 participants. NEM organizers contacted McFerrin to record the event on film, but she soon realized that the march itself was just part of the story.

“People were talking about their groups, their hopes and their sense of urgency to get to DC,” McFerrin writes on her website, “and it really knocked me out that the real story is WHY people would stop their busy lives and go to Washington!”

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Source includes photos and trailer.

oh brother.

Husbands Who Earn Less Than Wives Are More Likely To Cheat

Men who are financially dependent on their wives and live-in girlfriends are five times more likely to cheat than those who made the same amount of money, according to a study that looked at trends in infidelity.

But ladies, if your guy makes a lot less than you do, it doesn't mean you should call off the wedding — or hire a private eye — just yet.

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(no subject)

 Does the black church keep black women single?

(CNN) -- Legs covered in skin-toned stockings, her skirt crisp to the knee, Patty Davis slips on the black heels she has shined for the day.

"Got to look good in the Lord's house," she says as she spritzes her neck with White Diamonds perfume and exits her black Lincoln Town Car.

Davis, 46, of Union City, Georgia, has attended African Methodist Episcopal churches since before she could crawl. She sits proudly in the pew every Sunday for service and is among the first to arrive for bible study each Wednesday.
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Johann Hari is awesome once again: Reveals management consultants are bullshitters

Johann Hari: The management consultancy scam

"We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along", he says. "It's like robbing a bank but legal"

In the long fake boom of the Nineties and Noughties, we were sold a thousand scams. End government regulation of the financial system! Turn banks into casinos! Pay CEOs 500 times more than their staff! Bow, bow, bow before our mansion-dwelling overlords and the Total Efficiency they will bring! Yet from under the rubble left by these delusions, one of the greatest scams has skipped out unscathed, and it is now successfully selling itself as a solution to the fading of the boom-light. It is probably in your workplace now, or coming soon. Its name? Management consultancy.

There are now half a million management consultants in the world, and they all grumble that they face one question wherever they go: yes, but what is it that you actually do? They claim to be able to enter any organisation, watch its workers for a short period, and then – using graphs, algorithms, and a jargon that makes quantum physics look like Sesame Street – render it dramatically more efficient, for a fee. They are everywhere: in the US, AT&T (to pluck a random company) spent $500m on them in just five years, while the British state will soon be spending more on management consultants than on upgrading its nuclear weapons.

Yet the process of management consultancy has always been shrouded in priestly secrecy. Over the past few years there has been a string of memoirs by highly successful former management consultants, finally pulling back the flow-charts.

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mus | like a bird in a cage


Omar Khadr not tortured: Gitmo judge finds

TORONTO - Threats of gang rape did not prompt Omar Khadr to make any self-incriminating statements and no evidence exists that the Canadian citizen was tortured, the military judge in his Guantanamo Bay war-crimes trial said in a decision released Friday.

In his nine-page written ruling, Col. Patrick Parrish states Khadr's various confessions to his interrogators are reliable and were made voluntarily.

"There is no credible evidence the accused was ever tortured ... even using a liberal interpretation considering the accused's age," Parrish wrote.

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