October 11th, 2010

Dark Side of the Moon

Not Again

Two lesbian youth found dead in Orangeville

The bodies of girlfriends Jeanine Blanchette, 21, and Chantal Dube, 17, were found in a wooded area in Orangeville on Saturday.

After ruling out foul play and a connection to a high-profile murder in September, police are investigating the possibility of a double suicide, reports CTV (watch the video for more details).

The Toronto Star has more:

The tragic story began on Tuesday [Sept 28] when two friends received "goodbye" phone calls from Jeanine and Chantal and reported them to police. The young women also left behind goodbye letters to family members.

Jeanine’s mother, Ellen Blanchette, said the police responded quickly that day, but then didn’t take their concerns seriously as the week progressed. Instead, Ellen said, Orangeville police and OPP seemed to think the young women had run away.

On Sept 29, Jeanine's mother drove to her daughter's apartment, where she found receipts for hundreds of antipsychotic pills, reports the Star.

Discussion about queer youth suicide has swelled in recent weeks, in the wake of six reported cases in the United States. Determined to reach out, columnist Dan Savage has created a viral video campaign to let queer youth know that it gets better.

Vigils are planned across Canada this month, for lives lost due to homophobic bullying:

Toronto - Oct 6, 8pm - Church & Wellesley

Kingston - Oct 6, 8pm - JDUC, University & Union

Montreal - Oct 6, 8pm - Parc de l'Espoir, Beaudry Metro

Ajax - Oct 20, 6:30pm - Heritage Square, Ajax Town Hall

Source: http://www.xtra.ca/blog/national/post/2010/10/04/Two-lesbian-youth-found-dead-in-Orangeville.aspx

OP Says: Two more dead. When will people understand the consequences of their (in)actions?

Technology has unleashed ugliness in us by Leonard Pitts

There is another story here.

That it has escaped us thus far is not surprising. After all, the primary story, the obvious one, is compelling and sad.

In recent weeks, a string of teenagers have killed themselves after being tormented by classmates because they were, or were believed to be, gay. That includes 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who hanged himself, 13-year-old Asher Brown, who shot himself, 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who hanged himself. It includes Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers who leapt into the Hudson River after his roommate secretly ``webcammed'' him making out with another man in their dorm room and streamed it live.

Add in the bizarre case of Chris Armstrong, a gay University of Michigan student who is the target of ongoing harassment by no less august a personage than Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, and it's not hard to understand why the headline here is about the bullying of gay young people. In a 2005 Harris Poll, a staggering 90 percent of gay students (versus 62 percent of straights) reported being harassed or assaulted in school. So, yes, the headline is appropriate.


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Scores arrested in Belgrade after anti-gay riot

Anti-gay protesters have fought running battles with police in an effort to disrupt a Gay Pride march in Belgrade - the first in the city since 2001.

Rioters threw petrol bombs and stones at armed police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The office of the ruling Democratic Party was briefly set on fire, and at least one shot was fired.

Calm was eventually restored but more than 100 people, mostly police, were injured, with another 100 arrested.

Sunday's march was the first Gay Pride parade in Serbia since a 2001 event was broken up in violent clashes provoked by far-right extremists.

Before the march, the head of the EU mission in Serbia, Vincent Degert, addressed around 1,000 gay activists and their supporters who gathered at a park in downtown Belgrade surrounded by riot police and armoured vehicles.

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Officer given life for boy's murder in Greek riot case

A Greek policeman has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a schoolboy in 2008, an incident that sparked mass unrest.

A court in the town of Amfissa convicted Epaminondas Korkoneas, 38, of intentionally killing 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

He was shot dead on 6 December 2008 in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia.

Korkoneas's patrol partner, Vassilios Saraliotis, 32, was given a 10-year jail sentence for complicity.

The riots that followed the killing saw cars being set alight and shops looted in a number of cities. Hundreds of businesses in Athens were targeted and the second city of Thessaloniki also saw serious unrest.

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A Dingo took my Baby - NEW coronial inquest opened

30 years later, there still hasn't be any official determination as to what happened to baby Azaria Chamberlain at Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory.


NT preparing to open new Azaria inquest

Northern Territory authorities are moving to establish a new coronial inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain, 30 years since the baby girl disappeared in the shadow of Uluru.

Three coronial inquests, a trial, two appeals and a royal commission have all failed to put a conclusive answer on the child's death certificate.

That continues to upset Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, who have been convicted and exonerated over their daughter's death.

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Pride & Prejudice

Sajjad Ghaderzadeh and Houtan Kian have been arrested

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s son and lawyer, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh and Houtan Kian respectively, were arrested along with two German journalists in Tabriz on 10 October 2010 at 1900 hours local time. The security forces raided the lawyer’s office where an interview was taking place and arrested all four.

Their whereabouts are currently unknown and no news has been received of their situation since their arrests. All that is known is that they were arrested given that at the time of the raid, one of the journalists was on the phone speaking with Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of the International Committee against Stoning and International Committee against Execution. He had to abruptly end the call when the security forces brutally pushed their way in.

Since the arrests, Mina Ahadi has tried to contact them for several hours but to no avail. She also immediately contacted the relevant press agency and the German authorities. The arrests have now been confirmed.

We will make every effort to to secure the release of the four and call for increased pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The four and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani must be immediately released.

martha my dear, paul

Paladino: No regrets over gay remarks

NEW YORK — The Republican candidate for governor of New York said Monday that he does not regret controversial statements he made about homosexuality and gay marriage because "the remarks that I made I believe in."

"I'm only responsible for what I say," Carl Paladino told NBC's TODAY. "And I've always stood behind everything that I've said."

Statements Paladino made to a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Sunday — including one about people being "brainwashed" about gay issues — have sparked outrage from critics.

"My feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal; I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. My only reservation is marriage," Paladino said. The gubernatorial hopeful noted during the interview that he would recruit gays to serve in his administration and currently has homosexual staffers working on his campaign.

"I say that unequivocally I will be a governor for all the people of the state of New York and I've never moved off of that position," Paladino added.

He said, however, that he took issue with the decision of his opponent, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, to take his two daughters to a gay pride parade.

"I don't think it's proper for them to go there and watch a couple of grown men grind against each other. I don't think that's proper, I think it's disgusting," Paladino said. 

Paladino's campaign had said that several media outlets initially reported that the gubernatorial hopeful had said: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual."

He said he had read the written remarks before speaking publicly, but crossed that particular line out.

"I did not say that.  That's unacceptable," Paladino said in the interview with TODAY.  Paladino did not specify who wrote it, but said no one from his staff did.

But the other comments Paladino made Sunday are still drawing outrage.

"That's not how God created us," Paladino said of being gay, "and that's not the example that we should be showing our children."

He added that children who later in life choose to marry people of the opposite sex and raise families would be "much better off and much more successful."

"I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option," he said.

Of that remark, Paladino said Monday: "I'm talking about young children. Young children should not be exposed to that at a young age, they don't understand it."

Paladino, who has received Tea Party support, made the comments at a synagogue in Brooklyn's Williamsburg area while trying to strike a contrast between himself and his Democratic rival.

A Cuomo campaign spokesman, Josh Vlasto, said Paladino's comments demonstrate "a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality."

"These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York," Vlasto said.

Paladino's comments were striking because they came hours after eight people were arraigned in an attack on a gay man and two gay teens in the Bronx on Oct. 3.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Cuomo supporter who is the city's highest-ranking openly gay official, said Paladino's statements "are not only deeply offensive, but they are dangerous" given the Bronx incidents and the suicides of gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi and several others, Politico reported.

Asked on Sunday whether his comments were appropriate given the attack, Paladino said he does not support violence against gays.

Asked if his comments could still incite similar activity, Paladino said, "I hope not. I was trying to define myself very clearly as opposed to Mr. Cuomo," and again referenced his rival's visit to a gay pride parade.

"It's a very, very ugly experience for those that are discriminated against, it's terrible, and it shouldn't be. Our society should be more accepting," said Paladino, who had earlier in the interview referenced his gay nephew, who he said has suffered such discrimination.

But Quinn indicated a belief that Paladino's statements from Sunday represent a larger problem.

"We need our elected officials to be leaders on diversity, not urging second-class citizenship for some groups of people," her statement added, according to Politico.

Paladino, a multimillionaire developer from Buffalo, has previously stated that he is opposed to gay marriage.

Paladino, who apologized for forwarding racist and sexist e-mails early on in his campaign to replave Democratic Gov. David Paterson, was campaigning on Sunday through traditionally Jewish conservative neighborhoods of Brooklyn.


Recent polls have showed Cuomo with a big lead over Paladino in the governor's race. Several minor-party candidates also are seeking to replace Paterson, who took office after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down in a prostitution scandal but isn't seeking election to a full term.




National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day.

Now, more than ever, it is time to take a stand and let family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and people we do business with know that we are gay, we are out and we are proud!

As the LGBT community continues to make major gains in acceptance and tolerance among the American public, evidenced by countless polls and studies in recent years, the work is far from done.

Over the weekend, the news broke out of the Bronx in New York about a horrific crime of homophobic violence as nine gang members were accused of beating, torturing and sexually abusing a 30-year-old man and two teenage boys – simply for being gay.

Anti-gay politicians representing the Tea Party and the Republicans are openly homophobic in their messages of intolerance and hatred in their desperate attempts to get elected.

Right-wing conservative groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Focus on Family use homophobic rants to drum up cash to support their harmful messages.

Families, unable to cope when their gay and lesbian children come out, ship them off to “conversion camps” that are 100 percent frauds, further damaging the self-worth and lives of impressionable children.

In our schools and colleges, anti-gay bullying and harassment is commonplace despite efforts to curb the problem.

It is no wonder that gay and lesbian teens are four times more likely than their straight counterparts to complete suicide. And the media have focused on a rash of teen suicides in recent months from anti-gay bullying and harassment.

So in 2010, National Coming Out Day has greater significance that a celebration of who we are. Now is the time to make a stand for yourself and your community.

Let the world know that you are out, you are proud and you are not going to take it any more!


Howdy, I'm popehippo, and I am bisexual; I have been out since I was 17, and that was 6 years ago. :)

Oldest Evidence for Dinosaurs in Tiny Footprints

Footprints found in 250-million-year-old rocks suggest dinosaurs evolved a few million years after Earth's most severe extinction event to date.

  • The oldest fossils of the dinosaur lineage have been found in 250-million-year-old rocks from Poland.
  • The fossils are footprints from dinosauromorphs, very close relatives of dinosaurs.
  • Dinosaurs may have evolved from these small animals, which lived right after Earth's most severe extinction event.

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moi + chicago

Son of Anti-Gay Professor Comes Out of the Closet

In an op-ed submission to the St Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, Isaac Katz, son of notoriously homophobic Washington University professor Jonathan Katz, came out of the closet as a proud gay man.

In his op-ed piece for the Post-Dispatch, the 22-year-old Katz reflects on his personal experiences growing up inside of an outwardly homophobic family. He writes, "when I was perhaps 10 years old, my brother called me a faggot ... My dad was angry not because my brother used a curse word — but because, simply and literally, he said that I was gay."

In 1999, when Katz was eleven, his father published an essay entitled "In Defense of Homophobia," which argues, among other things, that gay men should be ostracized because they are responsible for the AIDS epidemic. Several years later, the tenured physics professor responded to protests over the exclusion of sexually active gay men from university blood drives with additional vitriol. He wrote, “In order to satisfy their demand for full acceptance by society, the homosexual movement demands to kill some transfusion recipients by infecting them with AIDS, or to kill patients who need transfusions by making it impossible for blood banks to collect blood.”

Just recently, the elder Katz made headlines again after GLBT advocates pressured the Obama administration to remove him from a panel of scientists assembled to stop the BP oil spill.

Although the younger Katz defends his father's scientific merit in his op-ed piece, stating "I don't believe that anyone's personal opinions have any impact on whether they can help fight oil spills," he writes that after he came out to his parents this summer, his father asked him "to deny who I am rather than to engage in an act so abhorrent as to love another man."

Still, Katz says his decision to come out has greatly empowered his life. "I am happier than I have been in many years," he says. He dedicates his op-ed piece to "struggling gay and lesbian teens in St. Louis and beyond" and assures them, "as a young gay man I gladly repeat Dan Savage's words: It does get better."


not exactly huge political news, i know, but still a heartening addition to national coming out day imo
LOLitics | Hold On Gurl...

ONTD_P Clusterfuck 2010 Follow-Up Mod Post(s)™ is still being prepared.

Yes, we are still posting the Follow-Up. Yes, it has been 3 months. No, there is no secret ploy to put it off long enough so that members will magically forget anything happened. Yes, it will be up sometime soon, roughly  within a 1 to 2 week window.

And because the Clusterfuck was quite enormous, and some members have grown impatient with the wait, anticipate matters and issues needing to be addressed in two stages, via what we hope are just two separate follow up posts.


ETA [Oct 30]:

We'll hopefully have the Follow-Up posted next weekend (November 5 to 7-ish), latest.


ETA II [Nov 5]:

Alright, sorry folks -- give us just a few more days; we're trying to resolve some formatting issues. We're just as eager about trying to resolve this, believe us.

ETA III[Nov 17]:

Anticipate it being done/over with/published by this weekend (Nov 20-22) and would SOOOOOO love to not have it delayed any later than Monday.
life - dani (omg pretty)
  • kseda

Flowchart: Know Your Female Character Stereotypes

via Jezebel

This incredible flowchart from Overthinking It breaks down the many clichés female characters fall into. Note to writers: The "Mama Bear" and "Vanilla Action Girl" do not count as "strong female characters."

Overthinking It's Mlawski writes that the infographic is a companion to her essay on why we need interesting characters who are female, rather than more one-dimensional women who brandish a sword or mouth off to the male protagonist to prove they're no damsel in distress.

While there are obviously many male tropes in pop culture as well, Mlawski says, "Hollywood has a significantly harder time writing non-stereotypical female characters than male ones, so I made this chart to help out." It seems most writers still haven't wrapped their heads around the Bechdel Test, but hopefully they'll find this picture easier to understand.

(click to embiggen; EDITED to Tinypic in order to avoid hotlinking)

original source @ Overthinking It

I'm not going to bother with commentary. Have fun, guys. Also let me know if any tags should be added.
Akuma River

Yeah, this can't go wrong at all

Tight budgets lead to more civilians used for policing

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
Police agencies across the country are recruiting thousands of civilians for a growing number of duties previously performed by uniformed cops, in an unusual concession to local budget cuts.
The positions — some paid and others volunteer — are transforming every-day citizens into crime-scene investigators, evidence gatherers and photographers in what some analysts suggest is a striking new trend in American policing.

"It's all being driven by the economy and we should expect to see more of it," says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, who analyzes law enforcement practices. "As budgets are squeezed, an increasing number of duties are going to be moved off officers' plates."
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Having civvies investigate crime scenes? Canceling training for police officers? Are you fucking kidding me? Why aren't they cutting other shit like the Governors' salary? We need our police to be trained to the max. Do we want more Cop brutality issues? What about cross-contamination in crime scenes? What about shootouts? Do you know how many violent crimes we have in out nation? What about recognizing trends in crimes? If you have the civvies doing break-ins what happens if the person later on committs a murder and they don't trace him back to the other crimes because hey the civvies are doing it?!

This is insane.
aurora // once upon a time

UAE banishes Canada from base, blocks [Defence Minister] MacKay from its airspace

The United Arab Emirates abruptly ended years of collaboration with the Canadian Forces on Monday, forbidding Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his top general from even flying over the country on a return trip from Afghanistan.

The public rebuke flowed from a spat over Canadian landing rights for airlines based in the Gulf and will complicate the Canadian Forces’ exit from Afghanistan next year, officials and experts said.

Throughout its deployment in Afghanistan, Canada has relied on Camp Mirage in the UAE as a stopover on the way to and from Kandahar and Kabul. But the UAE put an end to that arrangement after failing to secure dozens of new landing slots in Canada for Dubai-based Emirates airline and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.

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Butterflies are much smarter than once believed.

Study Finds Monarch Butterflies Use Medicinal Plants to Treat Offspring

OCTOBER 11, 2010-Emory University

Monarch butterflies appear to use medicinal plants to treat their offspring for disease, say researchers at Emory University. Their findings were published online in the journal Ecology Letters."We have shown that some species of milkweed, the larva's food plants, can reduce parasite infection in the monarchs," says Jaap de Roode, the evolutionary biologist who led the study. "And we have also found that infected female butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on plants that will make their offspring less sick, suggesting that monarchs have evolved the ability to medicate their offspring." (See interview with de Roode here: esciencecommons.blogspot.com)

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Makes you go 'Hmmmm, butterflies.'

Gliese 581g and the Question of Intelligent Life

As I'm sure you've heard by now, there may be a new kid on the liveable planet block, Gliese 581g. This is the first exoplanet that has the potential to have a solid surface and that is in the habitable zone around its star where liquid water can exist. We all immediately thought, "could there be life?" and one SETI researcher claims to have a possible signal.

There really is no telling yet how many potentially habitable planets there are in the galaxy, though one could make an estimate based on the solar system and Gliese 581's system.


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Akuma River

Prosecute the fuckers!

States to Probe Mortgage Mess
Attorneys General Hope Lenders Will Re-Write Loans With Troubled Documents
October 12, 2010

A coalition of as many as 40 state attorneys general is expected Wednesday to announce an investigation into the mortgage-servicing industry, an effort some of them hope will pressure financial institutions to rewrite large numbers of troubled loans.

The move comes amid recent allegations that mortgage-servicers, which include units of major banks such as Bank of America Corp., submitted fraudulent documents in thousands of foreclosure proceedings nationwide.

The banks say the document problems are technical—largely the result of papers approved by so-called robo-signers with little review—and don't reflect substantive problems with foreclosures. Still, they have drawn criticism from consumer advocates and state and federal lawmakers.

"I think the mortgage-servicing firms need to understand that they face real exposure now, and they would be well advised to take this very seriously, to clean this up by doing loan workouts to keep people in their homes, which up till now they've just paid lip-service to," said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.
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