September 5th, 2010

Fear the Hat!


Why Is the Anoka-Hennepin School Board Doing Nothing About LGBT Suicide?

by Michael A. Jones August 31, 2010 06:32 AM (PT)

Imagine this as the opening statement of your latest school board meeting.

"“Hi, I’m Tammy Aaberg, the mother of Justin Aaberg, who was a gay student at Anoka High School who committed suicide July 9th of this year."

Tragedy. Statistics on LGBT suicide are alarming, and when the numbers fly by -- that LGBT students are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers -- most of us take a moment to reflect on how hard it must be, still, to grow up LGBT.

But this tragedy gets even worse, at least when it comes to the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota. Because it's not just Justin Aaberg who committed suicide this year. It was two other LGBT students, too. That's three gay students in the span of one year who have taken their lives, all the while the school district has done nothing to open discussions about LGBT bullying or creating safe spaces for LGBT students in Anoka-Hennepin schools.

Why would the school district do nothing amidst three suicides by LGBT youth? Because they're worried about offending some socially conservative religious leaders in the area, who want to keep any mention of homosexuality, even if it relates to anti-bullying, verboten on high school campuses.

A toxic atmosphere for LGBT students + a school board afraid to take action + anti-gay groups wielding homophobia = one school district with a reputation for being a truly dangerous place for students. Send the Anoka-Hennepin School Board a message that it's their responsibility to make sure all students are safe and protected, including students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The Anoka-Hennpin school district is Minnesota's largest, serving upwards of 40,000 students. At that size, you would think the school board would want to do anything it could to make sure that all 40K are treated with dignity, respect, and given a safe place to learn.

But there's a disturbing pattern in the Anoka-Hennepin school district of ignoring the safety concerns and threats that LGBT students face. A year ago, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights issued a blistering investigation into a case of two teachers in the district, who harassed a student because he was gay. In the wake of that incident, activists pleaded with the school district to enact an anti-bullying curriculum that dealt with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The school board didn't listen.

Now, one year later, and with three suicides by gay students under its belt, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board is again being pressured to take a tougher stand on bullying, and to rebuff efforts like those made by Focus on the Family, which see anti-bullying programs as nothing short of indoctrinating kids with homosexuality. These anti-gay activists fight anti-bullying programs tooth and nail. And the result is a toxic climate for LGBT students, and one that leads to violence and suicide.

Justin's mother Tammy puts a somber punctuation mark on the Anoka-Hennepin School Board's ambivalence toward LGBT bullying and LGBT suicide.

"Do you think my son Justin deserved to die because there are other kids who feel superior by picking on him and no staff member will stop them?”

What a dereliction of responsibility by the Anoka-Hennepin School Board. Send their School Board President, Tom Heidemann, plus Superintendent Dennis Carlson a message right now. These leaders are failing their students by allowing a climate where LGBT suicide and LGBT bullying can thrive.

And check out a moving memorial video below dedicated to the life of Justin Aaberg, created by his family and friends. Heartbreaking that because his school district failed to show leadership, and all too easily caved in to anti-gay activists spreading lies and misinformation, that Justin's life had to end all too prematurely. And it leaves a bitter question for the Anoka-Hennepin school district: how many more students have to go through this before you decide to take action?


OP Says: Three from one district in one year. THREE IN ONE FUCKING YEAR!

Dead puppies: Threats on the internet

Note: A bit below, there's a post about this case, with information on a girl who allegedly actually did this. This article was published in the newspaper before that information was known. However, that does not matter, as the focus is on something else. Rather, I thought it important to post it because there's still a lot of misinformation, as I found by even casually googling, and more importantly, it shows why it might not be that great an idea to trust in internet websites and networks to deliver "justice" and applaud them for hunting down people.

I translated this article from the source, which is a well-respected German newspaper. Please excuse any errors and awkward wording; I've found that my English gets worse when I work on both English and German text at the same time.

Dead puppies: Threats on the internet.
"Find the girl!"

By Susi Wimmer and Kathrin Haimerl

A bad joke? Or real? An internet video shows a young woman laughing while drowning puppies. Now the users are hunting for the supposed perpetrator - and are threatening a girl from Aying near Munich.

The video is not for tender sensibilities: A blond girl in a red hooded pullover is standing on a bank, next to her a white bucket with fluffy, fidgeting puppies. She graps one after the other and throws them in the water. The controversial animal rights organisation Peta offers a reward for identifying the teenager. "Peta offers a reward of 2000 dollars for information which could lead to arrest and conviction of those persons" responsible for the content of the video.

Since then, a downright hunt for the girl is taking part on the net: "I hope they find you and throw you into jail, you evil, repulsive creature!" writes a user on the Peta site. Consecutively, a girl from the community Aying in the Munich area came to the attention of the riled-up internet community: A user published name and telephone number of the eighteen-year-old student on the web.

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I found out the name of the Bavarian girl that is wrongly accused without even intending to in a few minutes. The first name begins with a K, in case you see posts about this elsewhere; the name of the Bosnian girl now named does not. K is still identified by name as the perpetrator on a number of forums, blogs, websites etc., usually with no correction whatsoever and commenters wishing all kinds of things on her. Googling her name fills the first result page with sites accusing her of killing the puppies, and it also gives her contact information. I just hope that she is well supported and mentally stable - I honestly don't know what I had been driven to do in her age and situation; or rather, I can make far too accurate a guess.

Is hunting down a girl who killed puppies worth destroying at least one other girl's reputation, and potentially her life?
you haven&#39;t earned it
  • namey

Dan Rather on corporate media.

Dan Rather hits the nail on the head. I have worked in and with  corporate-owned media, and have seen the same things. You don’t need to  believe in any kind of conspiracy — either right or left wing — to  understand how the slavish obsession with profits of our corporate  controlled media is destroying the free exchange of ideas that our  founding fathers knew and declared to be so vital to our democracy.  Instead, you are told, repeatedly and with little regard to the truth,  that which will make them the most money. Even if it kills you.

[Dan Rather tag?]

A Chaplain and an Atheist Go to War

Religious Programs Specialist Philip Chute, left, keeps watch over Chaplain Terry Moran during patrol.

SANGIN, Afghanistan— They say there are no atheists in foxholes. There's one on the front lines here, though, and the chaplain isn't thrilled about it.

Navy Chaplain Terry Moran is steeped in the Bible and believes all of it. His assistant, Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Philip Chute, is steeped in the Bible and having none of it.

Together they roam this town in Taliban country, comforting the grunts while crossing swords with each other over everything from the power of angels to the wisdom of standing in clear view of enemy snipers.
Lt. Moran, 48 years old, preaches about divine protection while 25-year-old RP2 Chute covers the chaplain's back and wishes he were more attentive to the dangers of the here and now.

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WSJ source

There's a lot I don't get about religious faith, but this is definitely at the top of the heap. If I'm surrounded by people who want to kill me, I'm gonna trust the dude with the gun to keep me safe, thankyouverymuch.

Also, when I tell people I've read (parts of) the Bible but don't believe it, I get the same reaction Moran had about Chute. Amusing.

Cross-posting in a couple places.

Why is the right calling the shots?
It's not just the right that's the problem, but both wings of the political establishment.
September 1, 2010

"DEFUND EVERYTHING. Get rid of the socialist aspects of government, not just in health care, but the other entitlement areas that are driving us into insolvency." That was the response of Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, when Fox Business News asked him what parts of the federal government he would get rid of first.

Talk like that would have marked Miller as a crackpot on the far fringes of the Republican right not that long ago. But this is what passes for mainstream discourse in U.S. politics today— the Republicans spout inflammatory lies and pander to bigotry, and the Democrats, though still in control of both the White House and Congress, retreat even more and act like there's nothing they can do about it.

A year and a half ago, when Barack Obama was moving into the Oval Office, it seemed like the demoralized Republican Party would face years as an ineffectual minority party in Washington. Even half a year ago, when the Obama administration finally overcame all the GOP obstacles to passing health care legislation, most commentators thought the Republicans would pay a political price for their fanatical right wing.

Not anymore. Now the Republicans are setting the agenda in U.S. politics, and their right-wing attack machine— from Fox News to the crusaders of the Christian Right— is on the warpath, supremely confident that they can get away with anything, from blocking the construction of a religious center in New York City to appropriating the iconic image of Martin Luther King speaking at the Lincoln Memorial for a right-wing circus presided over by Glenn Beck.

Whether from a politician like Miller or a celebrity blowhard like Beck, the right's campaign is mostly exciting the minority of hard-core conservative supporters that the Republicans can always rely on. The Tea Partiers aren't the "populist" insurgency sweeping the country that the mainstream press often makes them out to be.

But when reactionary ideas go unopposed in mainstream politics and the media— and in an economic climate of uncertainty and fear for millions of ordinary people— they can gain a wider hearing.

The right wing claims it represents the majority of Americans. It doesn't— by any number of measures, most people in the U.S. reject the bigoted and pro-corporate policies that the right actually stands for, once its rhetoric is swept aside.

But because of the pitiful performance of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party, the right never faces a real challenge from inside the U.S. political system. That's why the key to reversing the right turn in U.S. politics is to organize and mobilize outside Washington, in struggles that demand justice and democracy.

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This doesn't really get its hooks super-deep into the problems it describes— problems with the Democrats that I think even a lot of Democrats already know— but anyone who can make it to the October 2nd rally on the National Mall might want to give it a shot. It is inexcusable for reactionary ideologues to not only be dominating mainstream political discussion in the US but to be framing the terms and issues that anyone discusses in the first place.
misc. | Africa City

"Did the World Cup Wreck South Africa?" (Newsweek)

A spending bonanza before the tournament made it look as though the government cares about glitzy showmanship more than its workers. This week their frustration boiled over.

by Eve Fairbanks | September 03, 2010

Striking South African public-service workers march through
the streets of Cape Town on Aug. 26.Mike (Hutchings/Reuters-Landov)

The sound of vuvuzelas became so ubiquitous in South Africa during the World Cup that, lying in bed at night in my Cape Town apartment, I started to hallucinate that my humming indoor heater was a crowd of them honking somewhere far off. But after the final game was played on July 11, the noise disappeared completely. It was eerie, like the volume had been flipped off on South Africa’s soundtrack, like the whole World Cup and the street-festival spirit it engendered had been nothing but a passing dream. Then, last week, after a month of silence, I heard one again, honking outside my window. And another, and another. It was almost a relief. The World Cup was back! But they weren’t honking to support Bafana Bafana or Spain, not this time. They were calling South Africans who poured out from their apartments onto the streets for a darker party: to picket government buildings and storm state hospitals in support of the labor strike that’s now threatening to unwind the mojo South Africa built up during the soccer tournament six weeks ago.
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A few things about the article bothered me, (see my insertion in red text),  but for the most part I posted it to revisit the little-discussed issue of economic disparity and labour rights issues in South Africa, during and after the World Cup. Granted, there's nothing surprising about the typicality of any given host city failing to reap a shitload of fruits from massively investing in hosting the Olympics/FIFA/etc., but to see it hit developing and/or already struggling economies drives the point home harder with regard to economic disparities.
tv | kosem sultan sends her regards.

Doubles Team Makes Statement by Raising Racket

They had barely won their first-round match at the U.S. Open, and they stayed and signed autographs for everyone of all sizes, shapes, colors. Everyone blended together.

Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi of Pakistan and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna of India are friends and partners from places you don't see friends or partners. India and Pakistan are almost always at war with each other, are always in distrust. Nuclear tensions continue to rise, and Qureshi and Bopanna are out there, playing tennis.

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ETA: Earlier this afternoon, Rohan and Aisam defeated the #2 ranked doubles team in the world and advanced to the US Open quarterfinals :)

(no subject)

(AP) CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - One Nevada gubernatorial hopeful sees a speedy fix to Nevada's budget crisis.

Nonpartisan candidate Eugene "Gino" DiSimone believes people would pay for the privilege to drive up to 90 mph on designated highways - and fill the state's depleted coffers.

DiSimone calls his idea the "free limit plan." He estimates the plan would bring in $1 billion a year.

First, vehicles would have to pass a safety inspection. Then vehicle information would be loaded into a database, and motorists would purchase a transponder.

After setting up an account, anyone in a hurry could dial in, and for $25 charged to a credit card, be free to speed for 24 hours.

The Nevada Highway Patrol isn't keen on the idea, saying it would lead to increased injuries and traffic deaths.


BAAAAAWWW, Robert Rodgriguez Is A "Reverse Racist"!


Director Robert Rodriguez’s spoof trailer for “Machete” was easily the best part of his and Quentin Tarantino’s failed attempt to return to those glorious days of early ‘70s exploitation flicks with 2007’s “Grindhouse.” And it made sense that the fan reaction would eventually result in a feature film the director has wanted to make since the mid-nineties. If nothing else, Rodriguez is as famous for delivering low-budget, high concept genre films as he is for directing them. He’s even better at marketing himself and his latest project, exploiting to the hilt an intriguing concept that, unfortunately, usually fails to pay off in a satisfying way on screen. Politics aside, never has this been truer than with “Machete” (though the truly dreadful “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is a close second).

Recently, Rodriguez has furiously tried to backpedal away from the racial bomb he exploded into the middle of the Arizona immigration debate back in May with his cravenly cynical attempt to market “Machete” using a racist trailer. After the backlash and with Texas tax credits on the line, the director’s now selling “Machete” as a goof, a “Mexsploitation” flick that harmlessly employs the same kind of over-the-top politics that have always defined the genre. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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Original ONTD post which got invaded by troll bitches and clueless White People

SOURCE is full of butthurt Tea Baggers

Oh come on Andrew, this is so batshit I can't help but laugh at you!