September 7th, 2010

  • koken23

(no subject)

Someone just got busted

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Australian protocol considers it perfectly acceptable to wear someone else's medals, but if you're going to do it you wear them on the right side of your jacket so everyone who sees you knows they're not yours. He should have known that. It's pretty common knowledge among Australians; even if your family can't drill that into you, it's often taught to kids at school. Doing otherwise, especially with the interviews and stuff to give him such a public profile...that has to have been deliberate.


At least he's not claiming any pension or benefits off it...

Teachers Get Chance to Fix Poorer Schools

NEWARK — Shortly after landing at Malcolm X Shabazz High School as a Teach for America recruit, Dominique D. Lee grew disgusted with a system that produced ninth graders who could not name the seven continents or the governor of their state. He started wondering: What if I were in charge?

Three years later, Mr. Lee, at just 25, is getting a chance to find out. Today, Mr. Lee and five other teachers — all veterans of Teach for America, a corps of college graduates who undergo five weeks of training and make a two-year commitment to teaching — are running a public school here with 650 children from kindergarten through eighth grade. ...

“This is a fantasy,” Mr. Lee said. “It’s six passionate people who came together and said, ‘Enough is enough.’ We’re just tired of seeing failure.”

The Newark teachers are part of a growing experiment around the country to allow teachers to step up from the classroom and lead efforts to turn around struggling urban school systems. Brick Avon is one of the first teacher-run schools in the New York region, joining a charter school in Brooklyn started in 2005 by the United Federation of Teachers.

Others have opened in Boston, Denver, Detroit and Los Angeles.


The school has 38 teachers, including Mr. Lee, Ms. Haygood and the other four Teach for America veterans who took it over.

Teachers have more say over what they teach, and starting next year they will have more time to work with children when they introduce a longer day.

To an unusual degree, they are shown they matter, as with the air fresheners left in the faculty lounge and bathrooms, or the new air-conditioner that will be raffled off at the end of the month to a teacher with perfect attendance.

Driving the establishment of teacher-run schools is the idea that teachers who have a sense of ownership of their schools will be happier and more motivated.

More at the source.

This seems to make sense but comments at the source have a point: it's been done before, and may be hard to expand due to economies of scale. I'm applying to TFA this year though, and so far what they've accomplished as corps. members and alumni really impresses me. 

Regina King: The Emmys, As White As Ever

Since the Emmy ceremony, I have been going back and forth about whether or not I should compose this letter. I try hard in my daily life not to engage in uncomfortable situations regarding race. But sometimes it's very difficult to find other reasons that better explain why certain events play out the way they do.

It is impossible for me to ignore the published statistics regarding the number of people of color mentioned, celebrated or honored in the history of the televised Emmys. Up to and including this year, there have been only 53 non-white actors nominated for Emmys out of nearly 1,000 possible nominations in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy.

I've worked in television nearly all of my professional life, and that statistic is quite sobering to me. And to add injury to my already sensitive nerve endings a picture of Rutina Wesley from True Blood, who attended this year's Emmys, had a caption that read: "Regina King enters the 62nd Emmys." No, I wasn't there. Mistakes happen, right? Well after a few "mistakes" of how people of color are portrayed in the Hollywood media, I decided it was important to say something about how things go down in Hollywood.

The initial pull on my heart strings was not seeing the veteran Sesame Street actress Alaina Reed Hall included in this year's memoriam. I know I am taking it somewhat personally because of the history I shared with her, but then I stopped to think about the fact that she was on Sesame Street for 12 years, a show that is an American institution.

People of all ages and generations have seen and enjoyed this highly influential television show. You have to admit, to not recognize her contribution to television baffles the mind. I first wondered, maybe I had turned my head quickly and missed seeing Alaina's picture scroll past the screen or she was mentioned later. But no such luck.

I am assuming other actors have lost someone close to them who weren't recognized during that segment of previous Emmy telecasts. So I will take the stats about people of color out of my complaint and pose an essential question on behalf of any television artist of note working in our business. What is the process in determining who will and will not be recognized during the Emmy memoriam?

Sunny-Dee Beer

Mayor Daley says he will NOT run for re-election

Mayor Richard Daley says he will not run for re-election in 2011, saying it's "time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on."

"The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months," Daley said at a City Hall news conference. "In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less."

His wife Maggie stood by his side with the help of a crutch, smiling broadly as the mayor continued: "I have always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they won't always agree with you. Obviously, they don't like it when you make a mistake. But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult decisions, rooted in what's right for them.

"For 21 years, that's what I've tried to do," he said. "But today, I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as mayor of the city of Chicago.

"Simply put, it's time," said Daley, 68. "Time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on."

The mayor said that "improving Chicago has been the ongoing work of my life and I have loved every minute of it. There has been no greater privilege or honor than serving as your mayor.

"Working alongside seasoned professionals, incredibly committed business and community leaders, and some of the most dedicated public employees you will ever expect, I have had the opportunity to expand, to build, to create, unite and compromise for the betterment of Chicago."

Daley spoke for less than five minutes and took no questions.

His announcement comes as he faces a record $655 million budget shortfall. Last month, the mayor said he's looking at hiring private firms to take over more city functions, including potentially running the Taste of Chicago, as a way to cut costs.

Daley limited his options this time around after raising property taxes in 2007, selling off parking meters and raising fees in 2008 and spending reserves last year. The mayor reiterated late last month that he won't be increasing taxes or fees or auctioning off more city assets.

The mayor joins at least a half-dozen aldermen already have said they won't seek re-election next year.

His decision also comes as Maggie continues to battle cancer. In March, she underwent surgery to strengthen a leg damaged by cancer and the resulting treatment.

The city's first lady has been battling metastatic breast cancer since 2002. In December, the mayor announced his wife would use a wheelchair to get around while undergoing radiation treatment for a cancerous bone tumor on her right leg.

Daley's decision sets off a major power scramble following more than 20 years of stifled political ambitions in city politics.

Daley was first elected mayor in 1989 following a failed bid in 1983. The mayor won re-election every four years since then, always with little to no opposition.

But Daley's public approval rating had dipped recently, with a Tribune poll earlier this summer showing that more than half of Chicago voters said they don't want to see him re-elected.

The poll found only 37 percent of city voters approve of the job Daley is doing as mayor, compared with 47 percent who disapprove. Moreover, a record-low 31 percent said they want to see Daley re-elected, compared with 53 percent who don't want him to win another term.

The mayor's administration has been buffeted by a spate of summer violence, a weak economy and a high-profile failure to land the 2016 Olympics. Dissatisfaction abounds, the survey found, over Daley's handling of the crime problem, his efforts to rein in government corruption and his backing of a controversial long-term parking meter system lease.

A few aldermen are shopping themselves around as potential candidates, and some politicians with broader political bases have been glad to see their names tossed into the ring -- but none had shown a willingness to challenge Daley.

Among aldermen discussed as potential mayoral candidates are Robert Fioretti, 2nd; Sandi Jackson, 7th; Thomas Allen, 38th; Scott Waguespack, 32nd; Brendan Reilly, 42nd; and Thomas Tunney, 44th.

Earlier this year, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel voiced his mayoral ambitions. But the former North Side congressman quickly added that he wouldn't take on Daley, for whom he served as a strategist and fundraiser in the mayor's first winning bid. Likewise, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he won't run for mayor unless the office is open.

Outgoing Cook County Assessor James Houlihan, by contrast, was considered a potential candidate whether or not Daley runs again. Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman also has been mentioned, but he just lost a grueling Democratic U.S. Senate primary.


(no subject)

Beauty meets brute force: Are tough screen heroines empowering, or do they send a dangerous message?

It's hard to recall which image of female mayhem startled us most.

Was it a 12-year-old in "Kick-Ass" named Hit Girl using Britain's favorite c-word — and we don't mean cancer — before wreaking havoc with a knife and a spear on a roomful of drug dealers?

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I don't know how I feel about this writer's perspective.  Obviously Angelina Jolie cannot take down an entire room of men with her bare hands without so much as a scratch, but guess what?  Neither can any of the male actors doing the same types of movies.  Will girls watch these films and develop an unrealistic perspective on how they might fare in a physical fight?  Possibly.  But so have/will the boys.

And then what exactly is the point of this:  "Ladies, do not try these kick-butt maneuvers in a dark alley faced with a real assailant."  So....are you saying women shouldn't fight back if someone attacks them? WTF?  Obviously it wouldn't be appropriate to blame a victim of an assault for not being able to take down their attacker (whether the victim be male or female), but why would someone at least trying to fight back be a bad thing? My friend in the marines who's a 5 foot nothing but can take down any of the guys I know should just remember "oops, nvm I'm a girl hehe" and let someone beat the shit out of her?  Idk.  What do you guys think?

MISC - moustache

After fleeing gang, family now faces U.S. government

After gangsters in El Salvador murdered her teenage son and harassed her family three years ago, Maria Canales de Maldonado fled to the United States, seeking refuge and a measure of peace in Maryland. Now the American government is at the root of new fears.

In July an immigration judge in Baltimore granted asylum to Canales de Maldonado and her 18-year-old son, Pablo, after they arrived illegally in the United States seeking sanctuary from the gang that continued to torment their family. The ruling cleared the way for the two to begin building a new life in Maryland with family members living here legally: her husband, also named Pablo, and son, Santos, 14, whose similar plea for asylum had already been granted by the courts.

But a decision by the federal government to appeal the asylum granted to Maria and Pablo — even as it chose not to contest asylum for Santos — means the family of four could yet be cleaved in half. If the asylum order is reversed, an outcome that might not be known for a year or more, she and her oldest son would have to go back to El Salvador and the gang that stalked them relentlessly.

Canales de Maldonado, 47, said through an interpretor that she is quite certain what would happen. "If we went back to El Salvador," she said in a high-pitched voice thick with emotion, "the gang will kill me and my son."

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The European Parliament to debate discrimination against married/registered same-sex couples


 Tonight from 21:00 (CET) the European Parliament will debate the issues of discrimination against married and/or registered same-sex couples. Many EU countries introduced legislation making marriage accessible also to same-sex partners or introducing other legal systems to officially register same-sex relationships.

However, married and/or registered same-sex couples face a number of obstacles and are being discriminated against when there move around the European Union. This is because not all EU countries recognise each other’s laws which regulate marriage and registered partnerships for same-sex couples. This way one of the fundamental basic principles upon which the EU was built – freedom of movement – is being seriously undermined.

In 2004, the European Union adopted a new Directive on the right to free movement which only encourage EU member states to facilitate this right for married and/or registered same-sex partners and does not create an obligation to do so. ILGA-Europe was behind this partial victory for same-sex couples. You can view our Guidelines on how this Directive should be implemented to secure the right of free movement to same-sex couples.

Tonight’s debate was initiated by a number of the members of the European Parliament from various political groups. These questions are addressed to the European Commission and ask how the European Commission is planning to address the issue of discrimination which married and/or registered same-sex couples experience in the EU, namely restrictions to their freedom of movement rights, and lack of automatic recognition of civil status.

You can read the questions on the website of the European Parliament. Please scroll down the agenda.

Webcast of this debate will be available on EuroParlTV.

Is that so? [Bayonetta]
  • grazie

Karma sucks. Arizona Republicans run homeless on Green Party ticket.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for statewide office in Arizona, lists his campaign office as a Starbucks. The small business he refers to in his campaign statement is him strumming his guitar on the street. The internal debate he is having in advance of his coming televised debate is whether he ought to gel his hair into his trademark faux Mohawk.

Mr. Pearcy, 20, is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees public utilities, railroad safety and securities regulation. Although Mr. Pearcy says he is taking his first run for public office seriously, the political establishment here views him as nothing more than a political dirty trick.

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Well... I'm not sure this is QUITE the best way to take care of a homeless person. Basically, after using these people for a political point, what's going to happen to them? They're not going to be helped, especially not by the guy who recruited them.

What Right Have We To Make A Fuss About A Little Stoning For Adultery?

BBC's misinformed and unbalanced debate on Stoning in Iran

I was meant to speak on BBC Sunday Live's debate today on whether it was right to condemn the regime for Sakineh's stoning.

In the live debate, they managed to interview Suhaib Hassan from the Islamic Sharia Council defending stoning and someone from Tehran saying she faces execution for murdering her husband but somehow there was no time in the debate for me.

Even the presenter, Susanna Reid, said stonings were rare and that none had taken place since the 2002 moratorium! In fact 17 people have been stoned since the moratorium; also there are court documents provided by her lawyer specifying her stoning sentence for adultery. BBC had all this information. Without providing evidence to the contrary, BBC Sunday Live took as fact the regime's pronouncements on her case. They failed to mention that the man charged with her husband's murder is not being executed and that the trumped up murder charges are an attempt by the regime to silence the public outcry and kill Sakineh. As Sakineh herself has said: "they think they can do anything to women."

The crux of the debate is this - of course it is right to condemn the regime. It has nothing to do with imposing 'western' values or imperialism. It's a matter of choice really. Do you choose the regime's values or that of Sakineh and her son's who are fighting to keep her alive.

BBC Sunday Live has clearly made its choice. And the millions worldwide, including in Iran, who won't stop fighting to save her life have made ours.

We will not stop till we end stoning and save Sakineh.

To see the debate, click here. If you are unhappy at the way the debate went, please contact the programme and ask for a balanced view on the issue:

Sunday Morning Live
Blackstaff,39-43 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EE
T: 028 9033 8379 M: 07875001606

The actual debate they ran on BBC Sunday Live can be seen below:

Enough with the cultural relativism crap! It's not cute! Especially when you decide to exclude a woman who is in contact with relatives of the victim within that culture and campaigning for that victim's right not to suffer a disgustingly misogynistic execution sentence.