September 25th, 2010

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Evidence of child labor at 2010 Commonwealth Games

Hard evidence of child labor at 2010 Commonwealth Games

As Indian officials struggle to deal with mounting international criticism toward the safety and security of Commonwealth Game athletes, new evidence has emerged that show children as young as seven are being used in the construction of game venues.

In an exclusive interview with CNN International, Harvard fellow and trafficking expert Siddharth Kara told Becky Anderson that child labor was a widespread and well known issue in New Delhi.

Explainer: What are the Commonwealth Games?

"I reliably documented in just a few days 32 cases of forced labor and 14 cases of child labor all for construction related to the Commonwealth Games," Kara said on Connect the World.

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There are pics of the kids working and a video at the source.
Shirley Animated

Why Did She Wait So Long? Later Abortions and the Implications of the New Nebraska Ban

*The stories in this article are true summaries of women who presented for services at the ParkMed Physicians clinic in New York during 2009.  Details have been changed to protect the anonymity of the women.

At 17, Rachel* was a high school senior when her steady boyfriend forced her to have sex. Rachel’s period was not regular, and like her family, Rachel had always considered herself pro-life. When she finally realized that she was pregnant and thought about her strong desire to go to college and her life goals, she realized that for her, abortion was the right decision.

Rachel called the nearest clinic and was informed that her state had a parental consent law, requiring her to get the consent of a parent or a judge because she was under 18. For the next three weeks Rachel feared telling anyone, especially family, but after much deliberation and anxiety she finally told her mother. While her mother was initially angry, within a few days she agreed to help Rachel get an abortion. They called the nearest clinic and got the first available appointment, one week away.  At the appointment, Rachel and her mother were shocked when the ultrasound showed that Rachel was already five months (20 weeks) pregnant. The clinic did not offer abortions past 14 weeks. They referred her to a clinic five hours away, but because of limited physician availability that facility had no appointments for three weeks. They also learned that the clinic could not accept the health insurance that Rachel’s family had. Since Rachel’s procedure would take two days to perform, they would also need to make arrangements to stay in a hotel. Rachel and her mother spent the next three weeks borrowing $2,500 to pay for the travel, hotel, and abortion. On the day that Rachel finally had her abortion, she was 2 days shy of 24 weeks pregnant.

Rachel’s story is more common than many might think. “Pro-choice” or “pro-life,” most people do not realize that although only one percent of abortions occur at 21 weeks or later, this one percent represents about 11,000** women in the United States who get later abortions every year.[1],[2]  Many of these women must raise $2,000 to $4,000 to get the abortion they need. These women are disproportionately young and poor, and many already have a job. Some struggle to cover the cost of birth control pills, in addition to food and the next month’s rent. Pulling together the money for an abortion takes time and sacrifice. 

This is compounded by the fact that the nearest abortion provider is often in another state. In addition to various state regulations that restrict access to abortion care, such as waiting periods and parental consent laws, only a few facilities nationwide provide abortions late in the second trimester. Since these abortions usually require two or more days to complete and are not widely available, women who must travel to these providers have to make extensive arrangements for travel, childcare, and accommodations. These all add to the cost for the woman, and as she scrambles to put all the pieces together, the cost of her abortion continues to rise. At 10 weeks the average abortion costs $450.  Each additional week may add $100 or more.  Studies have found that many women who obtain later abortions tried to have the abortion sooner but could not overcome these financial, geographic, and political barriers. [3],[4]

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Sauce via RH Reality Check

This is a really important piece. I think there's a lot of misinformation surrounding late-term abortion and it's something that needs to be talked about.
harry potter YAY
  • milly93

Texas goes through with textbook changes

AUSTIN – The State Board of Education on Friday instructed textbook publishers to make sure their new world history texts are more favorable to Christianity and less positive toward Islam if they want to sell their books in Texas.

Social conservatives on the board joined in a 7-6 vote for a resolution citing two textbooks – no longer used in Texas – that it said had a pro-Islamic, anti-Christian bias in how historic events were treated and in how much coverage was given to each faith.

That won't be tolerated, the board said, when new social studies books are approved in two years.

"This resolution will ensure upfront that potential biases are taken care of before these books reach the board," said Chairwoman Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, who supported the resolution.

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sauce: Dallas Morning News

Ugly America: What the Failure To Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Reveals About the U.S.

In 1958, more than a half-century ago, a book titled The Ugly American was published. Exposing American arrogance and "ugly" behavior in foreign lands, it quickly became a bestseller. But in a twenty-first century America, that arrogance and ugly behavior has come home.

Thursday morning, President Obama addressed the United Nations, touting America's accomplishments in the battles of terrorism, climate change, and civil rights. Thursday evening, his Department of Justice filed to narrowly restrict a federal court's ruling that found "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to be unconstitutional. And all this just two days after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," an unconstitutional and discriminatory law that 78 percent of Americans want repealed.
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No words

9 states file brief opposing gay marriage

CHEYENNE, Wyo.—Wyoming and nine other states have filed a gay marriage opposition brief to a federal appeals court in California.

The amicus brief sent Friday to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said that the Constitution does not require marriage to include same-sex couples. The 39-page brief also said that states, not federal courts, have final say in whether to allow same-sex marriages.

A federal judge ruled last month that that California's Proposition 8, a voter-passed ban on same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled there was no legitimate state interest in preventing same-sex marriages and that "moral disapproval" alone wasn't sufficient reason to justify banning it.

The case is being appealed.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported that other states who joined the brief against gay marriage are Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. They argued that same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right.

"If public affirmation of anyone and everyone's personal love and commitment is the single purpose of marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term marriage of any meaning," the brief said.

The amicus brief was criticized by Jason Marsden, of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a Denver-based gay-rights organization. He told the newspaper it was "very puzzling" that Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg joined given that
the Wyoming Legislature last year defeated a resolution to ban recognition of gay marriages performed in other states.

"I thought it'd be pretty clear that the legislative branch, at least, doesn't want to send this kind of message of lack of acceptance to its gay and lesbian citizens," Marsden said. "But the attorney general appears to have taken another direction."

Salzburg, who was away from his office Friday, wasn't available for comment.

Becky Vandeberghe, of WyWatch Family Action, a Wyoming-based family-values group that opposes gay marriage, said she was "very pleased" to see that Wyoming joined the brief. WyWatch joined more than 30 other groups in submitting an amicus brief of their own to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week against the California decision.

"The California voters spoke, and that should be honored," Vandeberghe said. "We don't believe that judges should be overruling what the will of the people is."


I don't even... (ノ。◕__◕。)ノ 彡 ┻━┻
donk... donk... donk...

(no subject)

As you may have heard, this week the Republican Party released what they’ve termed a “Pledge to America,” a document that lists their agenda for the next legislative session. Erin Echols, a student at Kennesaw State U., took a look at it and was struck by the contents, particularly the images.

Of the 48 total pages of the document, 14 consist of images, either a single one or a collage of several. Of course, in a document of this sort, you’re going to have the required patriotic images — the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the Capitol and other buildings in D.C. Nothing surprising there. But Erin points out that the cowboy seems to be a recurring theme. There’s a full-page silhouette:

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absinthe, wormwood

Labour's Latest Leader

Ed Miliband is elected leader of the Labour Party

Ed Miliband is the new Labour leader, it has been announced at a special conference in Manchester.

He beat brother David by the wafer thin margin of 50.65% to 49.35% after second, third and fourth preference votes came into play.

Ed Balls was third, Andy Burnham fourth and Diane Abbott last in the ballot of Labour members and trade unionists.

Mr Miliband, 40, replaces acting leader Harriet Harman in the contest triggered by the resignation of Gordon Brown.

He paid tribute to each of his fellow candidates in turn and told the conference: "Today we draw a line under this contest and move forward united as a team."  The shadow energy secretary appears to have benefited from a last-minute surge of support before voting in the postal ballot closed on Wednesday.

Older brother David won a majority of support from Labour's MPs at Westminster, but appears to have been defeated due to Ed's dominance among trade unions and grassroots activists in Labour's electoral college voting system.


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Thoughts?  Ed certainly isn't as charismatic as his elder brother, but any break from the Blairite faction of the party is a welcome change.

Bill Maher: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified

Last night's Real Time with Bill Maher panel included Andrew Breitbart, Amy Holmes, and Seth MacFarland. And the New Rules segment lead into an editorial on the proposed removal of the Bush tax cuts which benefited the wealthiest Americans. Great stuff as usual, but I wasn't expecting Ben Stein to be cited as a whiner about this, or for that matter Mayor Bloomberg. Of course, I agree with Mr. Maher's points and in an odd way, wished the Democratic candidates would show more cojones in this regard, since poll after poll show most Americans favor increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

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Tea Party Script Written In Washington

An extensive review of GOP campaign literature, floor speeches and public statements reveals that Republican candidates and officeholders routinely use GOP talking points verbatim in their speeches and campaign literature, while passing off the language as their own personal views.

Using the plagiarism detection software program iThenticate as well as Google and the Library of Congress, HuffPost found that more than 30 members of the House and Senate eschew originality when it comes to making their case.

A search for Democratic violations turned up far fewer instances. But if Democrats show less of a penchant for blatant copying, it may reflect their traditional unwillingness to follow the party line more than any higher ethical standards. Will Rogers's oft-quoted declaration -- "I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat" -- has worn well over time.

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  • xerox78

Taking liberals under the bleachers

Liberal Blogger Accuses White House of "Hippie Punching"

The White House yesterday beseeched liberal bloggers to help the administration rally Democratic voters this November, but instead, the Democrats' liberal base decided to let the White House know just how disappointed they are in the administration.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told liberal bloggers on a conference call yesterday, "You play a great role in informing people about the stakes of elections," the Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports.

Blogger Susan Madrak of the website Crooks and Liars reportedly retorted, "Have you ever heard of hippie punching?" Madrak was referencing a phrase thrown around by bloggers who think the Obama administration has treated its liberal base with disdain.

"You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough of the hippie punching," she said. "We're the girl you'll take under the bleachers but you won't be seen with in the light of day."

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Wounded in Iraq, double-amputee returns to war


When a bomb exploded under Dan Luckett's Army Humvee in Iraq two years ago — blowing off one of his legs and part of his foot — the first thing he thought was: "That's it. You're done. No more Army for you."

But two years later, the 27-year-old Norcross, Georgia, native is back on duty — a double-amputee fighting on the front lines of America's Afghan surge in one of the most dangerous parts of this volatile country.

Luckett's remarkable recovery can be attributed in part to dogged self-determination. But technological advances have been crucial: Artificial limbs today are so effective, some war-wounded like Luckett are not only able to do intensive sports like snow skiing, they can return to active duty as fully operational soldiers. The Pentagon says 41 American amputee veterans are now serving in combat zones worldwide.

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Akuma River

Bill White vs Rick Perry - latest numbers

Due to recent asshattery from my state I felt that I should re-inform you haters that we are in the middle of a HIGHLY IMPORTANT ELECTION SEASON!

Poll shows Perry leads White by 7 points in governor's race

Posted Saturday, Sep. 25, 2010
By Dave Montgomery

AUSTIN -- With just over five weeks before the Nov. 2 election, Gov. Rick Perry holds a seven-point lead over Democratic challenger Bill White and appears to be withstanding a strong anti-incumbency tide among voters, despite his 10 years in office as the state's longest-serving governor, according to a statewide poll by the Star-Telegram and other major Texas newspapers.

The survey also suggests that many voters agree with one of Perry's central campaign themes: that Texas has fared better than most states during the economic downturn and is heading in the right direction under his leadership. But at the same time, pollsters said, Perry has not reached a "safe" 50 percent threshold and therefore remains vulnerable to a potential surge by White.

Perry leads White by 46 percent to 39 percent, according to the poll, conducted Sept. 15-22 by Blum & Weprin Associates. Libertarian Kathie Glass, a Houston attorney who hopes to cut into Perry's conservative base, has 4 percent. Green Party candidate Deb Shafto, a retired Houston schoolteacher, has less than 1 percent.

Eight percent remain undecided, while 3 percent declined to give a preference.
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October 4, 2010 is the deadline to register to vote!!!!!

And the dates: