October 13th, 2010

Akuma River

Rick Perry corruption knows no bounds and scandals keep popping up while he ducks debates

Rick Perry Sells State Government for Campaign Cash
by: Libby Shaw
Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 21:53:35 PM CDT

The final straw.

Libby Shaw :: Rick Perry Sells State Government for Campaign Cash

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News should be the last straw for voters. Yesterday and today the Dallas Morning News released exhaustive reports about Rick Perry's most recent cash for favors scandal. It is now clear that Rick Perry has been selling state government for campaign cash for 10 long and dark years.
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With the amount of news coverage this election is getting you wouldn't think that Rick Perry is actually up for re-election or that he has a strong Democratic challenger who has a real chance of unseating him.

Hell, It's a week before early voting begins and we haven't seen a single fucking political ad for anyone. Then again I don't have cable I only have ABC and NBC over the air, but still nada on political ads?

Hell, mom had to read in the paper that the Republicans want to make a state property tax.

Considering all the corruption scandals Rick Perry has...I think Texas can now be considered the most corrupt state ever.

Who needs to learn about culture.

The Crisis of the Humanities Officially Arrives

By STANLEY FISH Source @ teh  New York Times 

In a response to last week’s column on “Howl,” the movie about Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem, Charlie from Binghamton asked, “What happened to public investment in the humanities and the belief that the humanities enhanced our culture, our society, our humanity?” And he speculated that it “will be a sad, sad day if and when we allow the humanities to collapse.”

What he didn’t know at the time is that it had already happened, on Oct. 1, when George M. Philip, president of SUNY Albany, announced that the French, Italian, classics, Russian and theater programs were getting the axe.

For someone of my vintage the elimination of French was the shocker. In the 1960s and ’70s, French departments were the location of much of the intellectual energy. Faculty and students in other disciplines looked to French philosophers and critics for inspiration; the latest thing from Paris was instantly devoured and made the subject of conferences. Spanish was then the outlier, a discipline considered stodgy and uninteresting.

Now Spanish is the only safe department to be in. Russian’s stock has gone down, one presumes, because in recent years the focus of our political (and to some extent cultural) attention has shifted from Russia to China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq. Classics has been on the endangered species list for decades. As for theater, the first thing to go in a regime of bottom-line efficiency are the plays.

And indeed, if your criteria are productivity, efficiency and consumer satisfaction, it makes perfect sense to withdraw funds and material support from the humanities — which do not earn their keep and often draw the ire of a public suspicious of what humanities teachers do in the classroom — and leave standing programs that have a more obvious relationship to a state’s economic prosperity and produce results the man or woman in the street can recognize and appreciate. (What can you say to the tax-payer who asks, “What good does a program in Byzantine art do me?” Nothing.)

President Philip cites as one justification for his action the fact “that there are comparatively fewer students enrolled in these degree programs.” Of course, in a bygone time seats in those programs’ classes would have been filled by students who were meeting quite specific distribution requirements; you remember, two advanced language courses, one course in American lit and another in British lit, and so on.

Those requirements have largely gone aw
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  • merig00

The smile that defies the Taliban: Afghan teenager whose mutilated face shocked the world unveils he

An Afghan teenager who was horribly mutilated by her husband under Taliban rule was all smiles as she unveiled her new prosthetic nose for the first time.
Aisha, 19, shocked the world when she appeared on the cover of Time Magazine to lift the veil on the plight of many women in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, she bravely faced the public wearing a prosthetic nose - one that gives her some idea of how she will look after having reconstructive surgery.Collapse )

Brave: Aisha, 19, pictured wearing a type of prosthetic nose often used by film actors. Her nose and ears were hacked off by brutal in-laws after she was promised in marriage aged 12

She went before the TV cameras to receive the Enduring Heart award at a benefit for the Grossman Burn Foundation - the Los Angeles-based organisation that paid for her surgery.
She was given the award by California first lady Maria Shriver.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife told the audience: 'This is the first Enduring Heart award given to a woman whose heart endures and who shows us all what it means to have love and to be the enduring heart.'

Aisha, whose surname has not been revealed, replied: 'Thank you so much.'
When Aisha was 12, her father promised her in marriage to a Taliban fighter to pay a debt. She was handed over to his family who abused her and forced her to sleep in the stable with the animals.

When she attempted to flee, she was caught and her nose and ears were hacked off by her husband as punishment.

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New beginning: Aisha has a prosthetic nose fitted using a special adhesive. She will eventually have reconstructive surgery

'When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out. In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose.

'I opened my eyes and I couldn't even see because of all the blood,' she told CNN reporter Atia Abawi.

Left for dead in the mountains, she crawled to her grandfather's house and her father managed to get her to an American medical facility, where medics cared for her for ten weeks.

They then transported Aisha to a secret shelter in Kabul and in August she was flown to the U.S. by the Grossman Burn Foundation to stay with a host family.

This month, she had a prosthetic nose fitted at the non-profit humanitarian Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital in California as part of her eight-month rehabilitation.

Dr Peter H Grossman said they hoped to give Aisha a more 'permanent solution'.

This could mean reconstructing her nose and ears using bone, tissue and cartilage from other parts of her body.
Dr Grossman's wife Rebecca, the chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation, said Aisha was just one of the thousands of women who are treated with appalling harshness.
She said: 'Aisha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror. But there are still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice.'Collapse )

Recovering: Aisha has received counselling following her traumatic experiences

The UN estimates that nearly 90 per cent of Afghanistan's women suffer from some sort of domestic abuse.

However, the Taliban have released a statement rejecting this.

'The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan rejects this fabrication by the Americans, who are publishing these lies to divert attention of the people from their clear and disgraceful defeat,' said a spokesman.
'In sacred Islamic law, cutting off human ears and noses whether the human is alive or dead is illegal and prohibited.'
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Facing reality: Aisha's photo was on the front cover of Time Magazine in August 2010

Amy and Rory and the Doctor

Melissa Reed was Abducted By Her Mother in 1984, Hand No Idea Until Now

RENO,  Nev. — Melissa Reed was a proud fiancee applying for what she thought was a routine marriage license two weeks ago when she learned a stunning secret: She had been abducted as a child and living under an assumed name.

The woman was actually a former New Jersey girl named Eva Marie Fiedler who was 6 years old when she disappeared with her mother during a bitter child custody battle. The mother, Nancy Dunsavage, says she fled with her daughter and changed their names to save them from an abusive father.

The mother lived with the secret for all these years, but confessed to the double life when her 32-year-old daughter couldn't get a marriage license because she lacked proper identification. She couldn't bear to keep the secret any longer, knowing that she had deprived her daughter of a chance to get married.

"The wedding is set, the guests are committed and she cannot get a marriage license because she has no photo ID," said Dunsavage, also known as Debbie Reed. "This has brought me to the realization that we cannot continue living like this."

The discovery touched off a bizarre chain of events that has landed her 57-year-old mother in jail in Reno on a 1985 fugitive warrant out of New Jersey. Prosecutors in New Jersey want to bring her there to face charges in what they consider a parental abduction.

Details of the secret life the daughter apparently never knew she had began to emerge this week in newly unsealed court documents.

Fiedler said Melissa Reed is the only name she has ever known – "the only name by which I have been known to friends, associates, my fiance and the world for the last 26 years."


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Mail Mail

Apple patents 'anti-sexting' technology

Apple has patented technology that could be used by parents to prevent their kids from sending sexually explicit text messages -- or "sexting."

The technology, which has not been commercialized, would let a phone's administrator block an iPhone from sending or receiving texts with certain words.

Messages containing blocked material either would not be received or would have the objectionable content redacted. Unlike other text blockers, Apple's version would also be able to filter content based on a child's grade level and claims to filter abbreviated words that maybe missed by other programs.

The patent, awarded Tuesday, does not address the sending or receiving of explicit images.

The U.S. patent, which Apple filed for in January 2008, could also turn these filters into educational tools, according to the patent document.

Parents of kids who are studying Spanish, for example, could be required to send a certain number of messages per month in that language, according to the document. If kids did not meet the foreign language quota, their texting privileges could be automatically revoked until they send more Spanish-language text messages.

Grammarians may cheer this innovation. The texting interface also could prod kids towards better grammar, requiring them to identify and fix spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes before sending a message.
So maybe the Apple texting tool will be the end of LOL-speak.

Apple says old methods of monitoring and controlling text communications on phones have largely failed. Allowing kids to communicate only with a pre-set list of phone numbers or e-mail addresses is limiting, the patent document says, and does not address the content of the mobile phone communications, which Apple says is more important.

Other methods of filtering only block certain expletives, Apple says, instead of trying to recognize the overall offensiveness of a message and comparing that to a kid's age and learning level.

The blog TechCrunch asks if the patent will be the end of sexting:
"Yes and no," Alexia Tsotsis writes on that blog, "as those interesting in 'sexting' will probably find some clever workaround to express how much they want to bang, screw, hit it or a myriad of other words that don't immediately set off the censorship sensors."

The Daily Mail in the UK writes that this anti-sexting news "will be music to the ears of Tiger Woods. Or Ashley Cole, or Vernon Kay for that matter," referring to sexting scandals involving those celebrities.

It's unclear exactly how this technology would be incorporated into Apple's iPhone products, but it would appear to work through the phone's built-in text-messaging application. Other texting apps aim to prevent texting while driving and let iPhone users send text messages without incurring charges from AT&T, the mobile carrier that has exclusive rights to the iPhone in the U.S.

Do you think this kind of technology will bring about the end of sexting and SMS slang? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


:/ I...I don't know what to feel about this.
how do you like my little boat?

Hoo boy

Helen Thomas Cries, Denies Anti-Semitism, Calls President Obama 'Reprehensible'

In a radio interview, former White House correspondent Helen Thomas acknowledges she touched a nerve with remarks about Israel that led to her retirement. But she says the comments were "exactly what I thought," even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job.

"I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive," Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas' Washington, D.C., condominium.

Thomas, 90, stepped down from her job as a columnist for Hearst News Service in June after a rabbi and independent filmmaker videotaped her outside the White House calling on Israelis to get "out of Palestine." She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room, where she had aimed often pointed questions at 10 presidents, going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

She has kept a low profile since then.

In the below clip (via Mediaite), Thomas can be heard crying after learning that President Obama condemned her remarks about Israel on the "Today" show, calling them "offensive and out of line."

"I think he was very unfair, and I return the compliment on his remarks," Thomas said. "Reprehensible."

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Clip won't embed, go to the source

OkCupid has some interesting stats to offer...

Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do.
We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here's what we've found, in numbers and charts.

First of all, gay sexuality is not a threat.

Gay people are not sexually interested in straights.

The subtext to a lot of homophobic thinking is the idea that gays will try to get straight people into bed at the first opportunity, or that gays are looking to "convert" straights. Freud called this concept schwanzangst; the U.S. Army calls it Don't Ask Don't Tell.Collapse )

How's that hopey changey thing working? Pretty darn well, thanks for asking!

Respectfully, Mr. President: Thank You!

As the battle for control of Congress has tightened and the so called enthusiasm gap is evaporating, we must continue speaking to voter about what Democrats in Congress have accomplished.

If you are a democrat and you have an enthusiasm gap, I am hoping that this could change your lack of enthusiasm.

The facts are in the last 23 months, the following are things that I think are worth keeping scores about what President Obama and the Democratic congress have accomplished that get over looked without an ounce of credit by some who are always disappointed about something.


I think it is important to not only speak to voters about the fact we are moving forward together but remind activists to see what they have been resisting.

I don't know about you but I am ready to go and these are the reasons why I have more Enthusiasm than ever:


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Mr. T the Patriot

Drama in Chi-Chi-Chi-Le-Le-Le

As the Chilean miners are plucked one by one from their subterranean man fort, they've been met at the surface with overjoyed wives and girlfriends. Only one miner, though (as far as we know), has the potential to be met by both a wife and a girlfriend. That man is Yonni Barrios, who was busted when his wife of 28 years and mistress of ten years both showed up to hold vigil at the mine site in September. Ever since, we've been wondering what will happen when he's finally freed from the mine. Will he kiss his wife, then his mistress? Will he kiss his wife and ignore his mistress? Will they have one big three-way kiss? Hug the wife and then kiss the mistress behind the wife's back? Just run, as fast as possible?Collapse )

(no subject)

Pew: Growing Cell Phone Poll Bias Favors Republicans

Does it matter that many polls -- including the vast majority that we are currently watching at the state and congressional district level -- do not call Americans who use only a cell phone and thus lack landline telephone service? Yes it does. It creates a growing bias that appears to benefit Republican candidates. That's the message of a new analysis released this afternoon by the Pew Research Center.

Since 2006, a rapidly increasing percentage of American households lacks landline phone service. The most recent government estimates find that one in four American households is reachable by cell phone only. Pollsters have been reluctant to sample and call Americans on their cell phones, partly because it costs more and partly because federal law requires hand dialing any call placed to a cell phone, which makes such calls less efficient and puts cell phone polling off limits to automated survey methodologies.

For the last four years, the Pew Research Center has conducted public opinion surveys involving separate, parallel samples of both landline and mobile phones. Their design allows for a comparison between combined samples of landline and cell interviews and samples based only on landline calls.

Before the 2008 election, they found that calling only landline phones introduced a "small but real" bias in favor of John McCain, an average bias of 2.3 percentage points on the margin on nine national surveys conducted between June and October of that year.

This year, according to today's report, the Pew Center finds that sampling only landline phones creates an even bigger bias -- "differences of four to six points on the margin" - in favor of the Republicans. The most recent survey in the study, conducted in late August and early September, also involved comparisons based on a subgroup of "likely voters" chosen using a traditional seven question turnout scale (similar to the classic Gallup likely voter model):

The combined landline and cell estimate produced a seven-point Republican advantage: 50% supported the GOP candidate for Congress in their district while 43% backed the Democratic candidate. The Republican lead would have been 12 points if only the landline sample had been interviewed, a significant difference from the combined sample of five points in the margin.

The impact such a bias may have on this year's pre-election polls depends in part on the polls involved. At the national level, many organizations now routinely sample and call both landline and mobile phones. These include, in addition to the Pew Center,
ABC News/Washington Post, AP/GfK, CBS News/New York Times, Gallup (both their daily tracking and the surveys in partnership with USA Today), Kaiser Family Foundation, McClatchy/Marist University, NBC News/Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

At the statewide level, however, more expensive cell phone interviewing is far more rare. Except for a single experiment conducted by SurveyUSA this summer (involving live interview calls to cell phones) we have not seen any cell phone sampling or calling by the pollsters that use an automated, recorded voice methodology. The organizations we know of that are currently calling samples of both cell and mobile phones include California's Field Poll and Public Policy Institute of California, the University of Cincinnati Ohio poll, and the Marist Poll's statewide surveys. While the Quinnipiac University announced plans to begin calling cell phone samples earlier this year, polling director Doug Schwartz tells the Huffington Post that they "decided to suspend cell phone calling, which is much less efficient than calling landlines," until after the election.


It is also worth noting that while the Pew Center found a modest bias for landline-only samples in their survey experiments in 2008, their post-election analysis found that other national surveys that called on both cell and landline phones were no more accurate than national surveys that called only landline. Moreover, at the statewide level where virtually all polls were landline only, the errors were "still relatively small" and favored Republicans more often than Democrats.

Related: see the archive of reporting on cell phones and surveys from Pollster.com.


Hey, mods!  Can we get a "Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!" tag?  :)
MISC - moustache

GOP's Kleefisch talks about her cancer in TV ad

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Republican lieutenant governor candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, diagnosed with cancer a month ago, touts the treatments she received under her state-subsidized insurance plan at the same time she rails against government-run health care in a new television ad.

The ad also accuses Democratic candidate Tom Barrett of supporting a government takeover of health care even though his campaign spokesman says he does not.

In the ad, which began airing statewide Tuesday, Kleefisch doesn't mention that her cancer treatments were paid for through the state-subsidized health insurance plan of her husband, state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, a Republican from Oconomowoc.

But Kleefisch does say that "thanks to the highest quality health care system in the world, I won my battle with cancer."

Kleefisch pays $85 per month for her health insurance with the rest of the cost, $1,722, paid by the state.

Jill Bader, a spokeswoman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker, said in a statement that Kleefisch was not unlike many Wisconsin residents who receive health insurance coverage through their employer. The statement does not mention that the employer in Kleefisch's case is the state government.

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Study shows Nordic countries lead the way in closing the gender equality gap

Europe's Nordic countries remain global leaders in the campaign to close the gender equality gap, according to a study released Tuesday that said women could play a key role in leading the world out of economic crisis.

Iceland, Norway and Finland topped the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual gender gap index, while Pakistan, Chad and Yemen were bottom of the 134-nation rankings.

Australia has dropped three places since last year to come in at 23rd behind Mozambique.


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