September 10th, 2010

MISC - moustache

Sticking a Happy Face on Katrina

The most upsetting statement that I'd seen in the news since I'd come back to the Gulf Coast was made by a reporter who (like many others) glibly declared that three months into the Deepwater Horizon debacle, "the real difficulty" BP and the Coast Guard were experiencing was "finding any oil to clean up." That was until last weekend, when a Washington Post article announced that, five years after Hurricane Katrina, a visitor to New Orleans "had to go looking for traces of its destruction."

It's true that New Orleans has come a long way since 2005. The population is up to 336,000, more than 100,000 shy of pre-Katrina numbers but still 50,000 more people than were here in 2007. Brad Pitt has indeed constructed some fabulous new houses in the 9th Ward; huge strides have been made in not just rebuilding, but reforming, the public education system; and 67 percent of residents say they've recovered from the storm. Though that leaves a lot of people who haven't, it's 8 percent more than two years ago.

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  • iweep4u

Blast from the past

Rodney King to marry juror from LA police beating case

Nineteen years after his brutal beating by four LA police officers, Rodney King is marrying a juror from the case.

Graphic video of King's ordeal was shown around the world in 1991.

King sued the City of Los Angeles and won $3.8m (£2.5m) compensation.

Cynthia Kelley, who helped decide the scale of the damages, met him afterwards and they shared a pizza. Now, reports say, the couple have become engaged and hope to marry soon.

'A godsend'

Although they eventually started up a relationship, the pair later split up.

According to Radar Online, it was only when King telephoned Ms Kelley on impulse four months ago that they were reunited.

King described his fiancee as "a godsend" and told the magazine he could not wait to marry her.

He was in his early twenties at the time of the beating and became an important figure in the subsequent trial of the four police officers.

After they were acquitted, rioting broke out in which more than 50 people died.

As the violence went into its third day, King went on television calling for the riots to stop.

"Can't we all just get along?" he said.


It's like VH1's "Where are they now?" for news nerds. Best of luck to the happy couple :)
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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Unemployment lasts longer for Asian Americans

Unemployment lasts longer for Asian Americans
Unemployment is lower among people of Asian heritage, but it drags on longer.

Asian Americans typically have the lowest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the United States. But in this weak labor market, once they lose their jobs, they have an especially hard time reentering the labor force, data show.

In July, nearly half of all jobless Asian Americans in California had been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, compared with 40% of Latinos and 42% of whites, according to an analysis of data from the state Employment Development Department.

Experts said the strong family and cultural ties that bind Asian entrepreneurs and a largely foreign-born Asian workforce can be a liability during tough times; laid-off workers often aren't sure where to turn for work outside their ethnic circles.

About 13% of the 37 million people who live in California are of Asian descent, according to 2009 census data. About two-thirds of them are first-generation immigrants, said Paul Ong, a UCLA professor who has served as an advisor to the census. Many of them work in businesses owned by Asians, many of whom typically cut employees' hours as a first response to an economic downturn rather than let them go, Ong said. That explains in part why the California unemployment rate for Asians is relatively low, just 9.5% in July, compared with 17.1% for blacks, 14.9% for Latinos and 12.0% for whites.

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Stock - Pink Sakura

Abortions stopped again at clinic

For the second time in a year, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia [Missouri] has stopped offering abortions.

The hiatus is because of a difficulty scheduling doctors to perform the surgical procedure or administer RU-486, the abortion pill, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri officials said. Those services are typically offered one day each week at the Columbia clinic at 711 N. Providence Road.

“We happen to be in a period where the physicians we utilize are unavailable because of scheduling complications,” said Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “It’s temporary. It’s really unfortunate and regrettable, particularly for women in Central Missouri who have to travel some distance to obtain abortions.”

The closest clinics now offering abortions are in St. Louis and suburban Kansas City. The local Planned Parenthood clinic remains open for women seeking contraceptive services, annual wellness exams and other services.

Brownlie declined to say how many doctors work with the clinic on a part-time basis to perform abortions, citing privacy and safety concerns. He said he hopes the clinic can resume offering surgical and pharmaceutical abortions by the end of the month but said he could not be certain of that timeline.

A new state law took effect Aug. 28 requiring a physician or qualified health professional to show a woman an ultrasound of her fetus 24 hours before the abortion. The medical professional also must provide more counseling, and the woman must sign informed consent documents in person 24 hours before the procedure, among other requirements. Brownlie denied these requirements have generated problems for physicians. He said the new law has had the greatest effect on the women.

“That increases the burden on women who travel or who have to make child care arrangements or take time off of work,” Brownlie said. “It doesn’t increase the burden on physicians.”

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Local news, I know, but certainly indicative of a problem widespread throughout this country. Obtaining a safe abortion shouldn't mean having to travel hours away from your home, or even jumping states, not to mention the new 24 hour waiting period law here in MO. I hold out hope that one day things will be different, but I'm not sure if it will be in my lifetime.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse


Pastor cancels Quran-burning, then reconsiders

An anti-Islamic preacher backed off and then threatened to reconsider burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, angrily accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him Thursday with a promise to move an Islamic center and mosque away from New York's ground zero. The imam planning the center denied there was ever such a deal.

The Rev. Terry Jones generated an international firestorm with his plan to burn the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he has been under intense pressure to give it up. President Barack Obama urged him to listen to "those better angels" and give up his "stunt," saying it would endanger U.S. troops and give Islamic terrorists a recruiting tool. Defense Secretary Robert Gates took the extraordinary step of calling Jones personally.

Standing outside his 50-member Pentecostal church, the Dove Outreach Center, alongside Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Jones said he relented when Musri assured him that the New York mosque will be moved.

Hours later, after Musri and the leader of the New York mosque denied such an agreement, Jones said Musri "clearly, clearly lied to us."

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Mr. T the Patriot

Feds: Arizona is violating the rights of its ELL students

Two federal investigations have concluded that Arizona is violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act by shortchanging thousands of students whose first language is not English.

Unless remedied, the violations could lead to a loss of federal funding for education in Arizona.

One of the complaints alleges that the Arizona Department of Education has reclassified "many thousands" of children as proficient in English even though tests indicate they aren't. The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice concluded this deprives students of services they need to succeed.

The federal agencies found that Arizona violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funding. A loss of federal funding is a penalty for a violation of Title VI.Collapse )
A // Can't Knock Me Down

UN in fresh appeal for Pakistan flood victims

The UN has made a fresh appeal for Pakistan's flood victims as film star Angelina Jolie has arrived in the country to highlight their plight.

The UN High Commission for Refugees says that it needs $120m (£78m) for tents and other supplies.

A UN official told the AFP news agency that so far it has received about two-thirds of $459m (£298m) originally asked for in August.

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As always, Help Pakistan Post. For my Canadian bbs, the government stops matching your donations on the 12th, so if you've been meaning to donate try and do so this weekend!

ETA: So, no telethon for Pakistan? The floods have affected more people than the Haiti earthquake, the Tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake and Katrina combined and yet coverage has been nonexistent. =/

MISC - moustache

On a Clear Day You Can See Manhattan

It is the eve of 9/11 in New York, the bat signal has been launched into the sky at Ground Zero, reminding us all to feel bad for some more time, to haunt us with the question, "Is anyone actually going to turn up?" It is an appropriately lonely beacon, catching you unawares as you round a corner at dusk, mired as you might be in your own evening concerns. Suddenly there it is: the twin columns of light silently blasting upwards into the void without words. If I may attempt an approximation of a not uncommon response to such a thing: (1) Surprise (“Ah, here it is again!”); (2) Self-examination (“Does this inspire any kind of feeling in me? It’s pretty, but quite divorced from reality”); (3) Needling guilt (“Have I changed as much as I could in the last decade?”); (4) Simmering resentment (“Don’t tell me how or when to feel”); (5) Wariness (“Here comes the punditry and the day of angry flags”); (6) Resignation (“We are lost; we can’t even handle sadness adequately.”)

Now look, I would actually prefer the soft jolt of this nighttime beacon to all the tearful, vengeful talking that will ensue – it actually seems commensurate with the events themselves: no words, seen from afar, it just happens and demands some kind of reflection, and ultimately it leaves us searching and feeling adrift. Unfortunately, and I think this is because we are an impressionable and deliberate people, the opening that such a spectral image provides is going to be immediately filled in with a variety of narratives. We will be told to be unwavering, to dig our heels in and find our mettle, to never forget; and we will congratulate ourselves on the enormity of the event that we have withstood – in a manner that I suspect has been found rightly offensive to the many people and students of history who know that “thousands dead” is an almost daily occurrence throughout the world. That fact doesn’t need to diminish anything. In fact if anything it ought to be (to borrow from current discourse) a kind of “message force multiplier”: We are a part of this vulnerable world. Or, perhaps, we were, for a moment, before wrenching ourselves apart from it and asserting our role as the standard-bearer for law and conduct. But this has been said before and need not be repeated here at much length – that we squandered an enormous amount of good will and collective empathy by lashing out in every direction at things deemed un-American. What concerns me now is that, over the course of the last decade, this battle has been brought home with laser-like intensity. Foreign policy has become domestic policy. The enemy is no longer out there; the enemy is in our midst, among us, laying eggs and taking root.

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movies | HBIC

Shenanigans Friday: September 10, 2010.


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Film - The Old Guard

No Purple Hearts for Soldiers With Brain Injuries, Because Those Aren't Serious Or Anything

The U.S. Army honors soldiers wounded or killed in combat with the Purple Heart, a powerful symbol designed to recognize their sacrifice and service.

Yet Army commanders have routinely denied Purple Hearts to soldiers who have sustained concussions in Iraq, despite regulations that make such wounds eligible for the medal, an investigation by NPR and ProPublica has found.

Soldiers have had to battle for months and sometimes years to prove that these injuries, also called mild traumatic brain injuries, merit the honor, our reporting showed. Commanders turned down some soldiers despite well-documented blast wounds that wrenched their minds, altered their lives and wracked their families.

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WOW. It's not so much that they're not getting an award, it's that their injuries aren't being seen as valid. It's bad enough they have have no respect for mental and emotional damage, now they're actually ignoring injuries to the most important part of the body. We really need to reevaluate the meaning of "support the troops."
waive rights by shipperchick
  • lidane

Muslim Prayer Room Was Part of Life at Twin Towers

Considering all the wank and idiocy in the news over this supposed "Ground Zero mosque", I thought this was interesting:


Sometime in 1999, a construction electrician received a new work assignment from his union. The man, Sinclair Hejazi Abdus-Salaam, was told to report to 2 World Trade Center, the southern of the twin towers.

In the union locker room on the 51st floor, Mr. Abdus-Salaam went through a construction worker’s version of due diligence. In the case of an emergency in the building, he asked his foreman and crew, where was he supposed to reassemble? The answer was the corner of Broadway and Vesey.

Over the next few days, noticing some fellow Muslims on the job, Mr. Abdus-Salaam voiced an equally essential question: “So where do you pray at?” And so he learned about the Muslim prayer room on the 17th floor of the south tower.

He went there regularly in the months to come, first doing the ablution known as wudu in a washroom fitted for cleansing hands, face and feet, and then facing toward Mecca to intone the salat prayer.

On any given day, Mr. Abdus-Salaam’s companions in the prayer room might include financial analysts, carpenters, receptionists, secretaries and ironworkers. There were American natives, immigrants who had earned citizenship, visitors conducting international business — the whole Muslim spectrum of nationality and race.

Leaping down the stairs on Sept. 11, 2001, when he had been installing ceiling speakers for a reinsurance company on the 49th floor, Mr. Abdus-Salaam had a brief, panicked thought. He didn’t see any of the Muslims he recognized from the prayer room. Where were they? Had they managed to evacuate?

He staggered out to the gathering place at Broadway and Vesey. From that corner, he watched the north tower collapse, to be followed soon by the south one. Somewhere in the smoking, burning mountain of rubble lay whatever remained of the prayer room, and also of some of the Muslims who had used it.

Given the vitriolic opposition now to the proposal to build a Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero, one might say something else has been destroyed: the realization that Muslim people and the Muslim religion were part of the life of the World Trade Center.

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the truth ‡ speak it

Maryland Governor suggests he would sign gay marriage bill

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Thursday suggested that he would sign a bill supporting gay marriage if reelected and one passed the state's General Assembly, which has so far been reluctant to do so.

The comment by O'Malley on WTOP went slightly further than he had previously, and was his most direct public comment on gay marriage during his reelection bid. During his first term, O'Malley has consistently stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage and said he favors civil unions.

O'Malley's remark came in response to a question from a caller on the station's "Ask the Governor" program about the future of gay marriage in Maryland.

"I don't have a crystal ball to predict how this goes," O'Malley said, "but I do know this: I know the people of our state well enough that for all of the differences and diversities of backgrounds and opinions, that all of us want to find a way to craft our laws in such a way that it treats people equally under the law." Collapse )

Oh please please please let O'Malley beat that asshole Ehrlich.

Bill passed in New South Wales allowing gay couples to adopt

A BILL that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children in NSW has been passed by the lower house of parliament by two votes

Forty-six MPs voted for the historic bill and 44 voted against it yesterday, after a two-day debate.

The bill, introduced by independent Sydney MP Clover Moore, allows same-sex couples to adopt a child together. Gay couples can already adopt in the ACT and Western Australia.


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martha my dear, paul

NY Cops Prepare to Handle Rival 9/11 Demonstrations

New York Cops Prepare to Handle Rival 9/11 Demos


At least six separate groups are planning demonstrations Saturday for and against the proposed Islamic cultural center near the site of the 9/11 attacks, say law enforcers in New York City. Nevertheless, the New York Police Department and other agencies are well prepared, and authorities are not expecting major trouble, according to a senior city official who asked not to be named discussing law enforcement planning. The senior official says three groups have indicated that they intend to demonstrate against the “Ground Zero mosque," and three others are planning to hold counterdemonstrations.

Authorities say the biggest protest is likely to be staged by a group calling itself Stop Islamization of America. Its principal organizers are two vehemently anti-Muslim bloggers, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs and Robert Spencer of JihadWatch. Speakers originally billed for the rally included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. United Nations ambassador John Bolton, and Andrew Breitbart, known for his role in promoting ambush videos of the community activist group ACORN and former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod. But rally organizers now say Bolton and Breitbart will be sending video messages rather than appearing in person, and Gingrich’s name is no longer on the list of speakers. According to a Gingrich aide, the former House GOP leader had a conflicting engagement and never agreed to appear at the rally. The top headliner now seems likely to be Geert Wilders, an anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant politician from the Netherlands.

Other anti-mosque protests are being organized by a Kansas group calling itself Elijah Ministries. A posting on the Ministry’s Web site describes how 15 of the group’s “saints” recently stationed themselves outside “the gates of hell”—referring, apparently, to three entrances to a mosque in Wichita—and handed out literature urging Muslims to convert to Christianity. The posting adds that a contingent of “saints” would be in New York for the 9/11 anniversary. A third anti-Islamic demonstration is being planned by activists from the Tea Party movement, the senior city official said, though there is some expectation that Tea Party followers could merge their protest with the Stop Islamization demo. And lining up against the anti-mosque protesters are a handful of groups led principally by a coalition of left-wing activists called the International Action Center.

Both sides’ demonstrations are expected to begin only after the end of a solemn official ceremony commemorating 9/11 victims. The authorities are planning to maintain a separation of several blocks between the pro- and anti-mosque marchers, and thousands of New York City police officers will be deployed to ensure that the demonstrations are kept under control. Authorities say that they expect the biggest problem from the protesters is likely to be traffic disruption, not violent confrontations.

Kissing Parts

Obama awards Medal of Honor to living soldier

Under a bright Afghan moon, eight U.S. paratroopers trudged along a ridge in the Korengal Valley, unaware they were walking right into a trap. Less than 20 feet away, a band of Taliban fighters executed the ambush plan perfectly, enveloping the paratrooper squad in an explosion of bullets and grenades.

Salvatore Giunta, a 22-year-old Army specialist from Hiawatha, Iowa, was knocked flat by the gunfire; luckily, a well-aimed round failed to penetrate his armored chest plate. As the paratroopers tried to gather their senses and scramble for a shred of cover, Giunta reacted instinctively, running straight into the teeth of the ambush to aid three wounded soldiers, one by one, who had been separated from the others.

Two paratroopers died in the Oct. 25, 2007, attack, and most of the others sustained serious wounds. But the toll would have been far higher if not for the bravery of Giunta, according to members of his unit and Army officials.

On Friday, the White House announced that President Obama decided to award Giunta, now a staff sergeant, the Medal of Honor.

He will become the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor who has served in any war since Vietnam.

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To see how rare it is to get the Medal of Honor while alive, see here. The Medal of Honor is, in VP Biden's words, a "big fucking deal". This guy was 23 at the time; I can't even imagine doing something like this when I was that age.

I do agree that medals have been politicized, and it really seemed like Bush and Co just wanted to sweep everything to do with the wars under the rug, and you can't really sweep awarded Medals of Honor under the rug.

Them Thar Gays Be Fulfilling Their Constitutional Duties Just Fine (Take That, Tea Party!)

2010 Census Analysis of Same-Sex Couples: 1 in 7 Not Identified, 30% in Legal Relationships
By: Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

LOS ANGELES September 10, 2010 — The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law issued results of a survey showing that while 99% of same-sex couples participated in Census 2010, 1 in 7 same-sex couples will not be identified as such in Census 2010. In addition, survey findings also show that 30% of same-sex couples are either married (14%) or in a civil union or registered domestic partnership (15%). More than 4 in 10 of those couples in legal relationships do not live in states that recognize their marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership.

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Other study findings include:

• More than 9 in 10 same-sex couples completed and mailed their surveys back, a figure higher than the general population mail-back rate of 7 in 10 households.

• Nearly all married couples who selected unmarried partner to describe their relationship said that they did so because either the federal or state government does not recognize their marriage.

• Among those in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships who selected husband or wife to describe their relationship, virtually all said it was because they were in a legal relationship status or they simply thought of themselves as spouses.

• More than 3% of individuals in same-sex couples indicated that they were transgender or had a transgender partner. Of that group, 55% said that they were either married or in a civil union or registered domestic partnership compared to only 28% of non-transgender respondents.

Very local newsy type source, just not my local


We already know about all the gender and sexual identity fail that is the Census, but I find the turn-out of same-sex couples completing their forms heartening. Now, if only the data from same-sex couples could be counted adequately so as to outweigh the stupid coming from other sectors of the population (who will remain unnamed here).

Being strong= Being elite? Bad college campus decision

Our View: Grow some muscle, Colorado State University

All you iron pumpers out there, save yourselves a trip to the Student Recreation Center front desk to ask where the really heavy dumb bells are, because they’re gone.

No, the weights that weigh more than 85 pounds didn’t get lost. Nobody melted them down or used them for scrap metal. And, no, they’re not being used to make a giant dumb bell sculpture.

Nope, instead a group of students wrote and signed a petition saying that people using heavy weights were intimidating and created an atmosphere of elitism. Then, in a move of infinite wisdom and fairness (yes, that’s sarcasm), the Rec Center removed the weights and put them in storage.

When the Collegian called the Rec Center to confirm, the gym said it doesn’t want to support a culture of bodybuilding, which might be funny if it were a joke.

Apparently working hard enough to use the big-boy weights is now a no no at CSU.

While they’re at it, the Rec Center should go ahead and put a limit on the number of pull-ups a person can do so big back muscles don’t intimidate anyone. Oh, and those hard rock climbing routes –– those need to go too so no one feels left out.

Think you can run for three hours on a treadmill? Too bad, walking speed only should be the rule to make sure lazy drunks like us Collegianites feel comfortable.

One way or the other, because of the Rec Center staff’s asinine decision, all of you out there who’ve worked hard enough to hit the heavy weights, not to mention those of you who use them for common exercises like shoulder shrugs, you’re out of luck.

Sounds like a counter-petition might be in order … unless you’d rather to sit on the couch and eat some potato chips and develop a nice beer gut so none of us get jealous of your big muscles.

Link to another editorial:
Source: CSU newspaper