October 31st, 2010

Gwen Stefani - Pretty in Pink

Behind antigay Facebook rant, echoes of civil rights movement

This week, Arkansas became ground zero in the cultural clash between fundamentalist Christian beliefs and gay rights.

It began with the publication of angry, anti-gay Facebook posts by Clint McCance, the vice president of Midland School Board, a school district in Arkansas. Infuriated by "spirit day" – a day when people nationwide wear purple as a show of support for victims of antigay bullying – Mr. McCance wrote he would only wear purple if all gays committed suicide, adding that he was gratified that homosexuals "often give each other AIDS and die."

Thursday night, McCance resigned on CNN, acknowledging that his comments were "hateful."

Yet the issue underlying them remains deeply divisive throughout much of the rural South as the push for gay rights takes on some of the aspects of a modern civil rights movement – with small groups attempting to make change on a local level. This week, protesters from Little Rock descended on McCance’s small town, Pleasant Plains, 80 miles away.

“Such movements tend to be grass roots that pop up more or less spontaneously in one community or another and are moved by individual people or groups of people who are deeply burdened by discrimination,” says Harry Watson, director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Mother Nature's Wrath

135 people feared killed in Tsunami found alive

msnbc.com news services
updated 10/30/2010 6:15:11 AM ET 2010-10-30T10:15:11
Share Print Font: +-Up to 135 people reported missing after a tsunami wave hit Indonesia, killing more than 400 people, have been found alive, according to reports.

Sutrisno, vice-chairman of the National Agency of Disaster Mitigation (BNPB), said the death toll as of Saturday at 1 a.m. ET was 413, China's Xinhua news agency said.

"As many as 163 others are still missing, reduced from 298 in the previous data as 135 of them are already found alive," Sutrisno told Xinhua in a brief message.

Rest of Article here

posted because we need some silver liniing of happy in a sea of depressing news.

PS: Anyway to get a tsunami tag up here?

Megachurch Pastor Comes Out

The pastor of a megachurch in Conyers, Ga., told his congregation last week that he’s gay, saying that while he knows his announcement might ruin his career, the recent rash of suicides pushed him to speak out.

Jim Swilley, 52, founded Rockdale County’s Church in the Now 25 years ago. His wife, Debye, was the associate pastor, and together they had four children.

Swilley says he’s known that he’s gay since he was a boy, and his wife knew when they got married. Jim and Debye are now divorced, but they kept his secret for more than 21 years. Earlier this year, Swilley says, Debye told him she thought it was time he stop living a lie.

Swilley says he decided she was right after reading stories about kids being harassed by antigay bullies and committing suicide.

“As a father, thinking about your 16-, 17-year-old killing themselves, I thought somebody needed to say something,” he told WSB TV in Atlanta. “I know all the hateful stuff that’s being written about me online, whatever. To think about saving a teenager, yeah, I'll risk my reputation for that.”

Watch his interview, here.


Night of the Living Wonks

Toward an international relations theory of zombies.

There are many sources of fear in world politics -- terrorist attacks, natural disasters, climate change, financial panic, nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, and so forth. Surveying the cultural zeitgeist, however, it is striking how an unnatural problem has become one of the fastest-growing concerns in international relations. I speak, of course, of zombies.

For our purposes, a zombie is defined as a reanimated being occupying a human corpse, with a strong desire to eat human flesh -- the kind of ghoul that first appeared in George Romero's 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, and which has been rapidly proliferating in popular culture in recent years (far upstaging its more passive cousins, the reanimated corpses of traditional West African and Haitian voodoo rituals). Because they can spread across borders and threaten states and civilizations, these zombies should command the attention of scholars and policymakers.

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Read the full article about Zombie World Politics at the source

Happy Halloween everyone!
fuck the mcu

Silvio Berlusconi gave me €7,000, says 17-year-old belly dancer

Karima Keyek, known as 'Stealer of Hearts', claims prime minister offered her cash and jewellery at Valentine's dinner

The latest sex scandal threatening Silvio Berlusconi has deepened after a 17-year-old Moroccan belly dancer linked to the Italian prime minister said he had given her €7,000 and jewellery when she sat next to him at a Valentine's Day dinner held this year for 10 women at his mansion near Milan.

The girl, named in the Italian media as Karima Keyek but known more widely by her stage name Ruby Rubacuori, or Stealer of Hearts, denies sleeping with Berlusconi.

"It the first time in my life that a man has not tried to take me to bed. He behaved like a father, I swear," she told La Repubblica from Genoa, where she is hiding out in an apartment allegedly lent to her by a former porn star.

But she has painted a vivid portrait of private parties held by the 74-year-old prime minister, known by the Italian media as lavish affairs that often transformed into "bunga-bunga" sessions involving after-dinner sex between male and female guests.

In La Repubblica yesterday, Keyek said her host had told her not to come to see him any more after discovering she was not, as she had claimed, 24. "Berlusconi said he had had enough problems in the past with another underage girl," she said.

Keyek told Oggi magazine: "Silvio took me upstairs. He wanted to help me. He told me that he wouldn't ask anything in return.

"He gave me an envelope with €7,000 in it and I told him I dreamed of gaining Italian citizenship and becoming a policewoman." She told La Repubblica: "It was like going to the church charity where they give you a bag of shopping."


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News you can use.

Drive-through law office gives service to go

MANCHESTER, CT (NBC) - You won't get fries with that, but you can get professional legal advice at a Manchester, CT drive-through law office.

The Kocian Law Group has opened for business inside a renovated building that once housed a Kenny Rogers Roasters.

The personal injury and malpractice specialists plan to put that drive-through to good use.

"We have drive-throughs for ATMs and we have that customer convenience. Why not a law firm?" attorney Nick Kocian asked.

Kocian wanted to make things convenient for customers to easily drop off and pick up documents.

"We represent a lot of injured people," he said. "If you have somebody who's in a wheelchair or somebody who's hurt, it's convenient."

He also has several clients who visit the firm once a week to pick up worker's compensation checks.

Kocian said he thinks it's the first drive-through legal service in Connecticut and possibly the country.

A paralegal operates the window, hands out documents and answers questions.

But don't mistake the quick and convenient drive-through for a firm that's short on giving customers attention. Consultations and meetings with attorneys take place inside.

"If there's some advice or things like that that people may have about what to do with their papers, that will, of course, be afforded to them," Kocian said.

Besides the drive through, they're also open nights and weekends.

"It's really something that law firms should have done a long time ago," Kocian said.


German Businessman Imports 'Heatballs' to Dodge EU Light Bulb Ban

ESSEN, Germany — A businessman has devised a way around a European Union ban on incandescent llght bulbs of more than 60 watts by producing and pitching them as mini-heaters called "heatballs."

The European Union began phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy efficient bulbs in 2009. Sales of traditional light bulbs of 100 watts or greater were the first to go in September 2009, and sales of bulbs of 75 watts or greater followed this past September. Sixty-watt incandescent bulbs will be available for sale until September 2011.

According to Reuters:

"Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs -- by producing them in China, importing them as 'small heating devices' and selling them as 'heatballs' ...

"Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light -- he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent -- they could be sold legally as heaters."

To underscore the idea, the Heatball website (a screen shot from heatball.de is pictured above ) says, "The intended use of Heatballs is heating." The site also notes that 0.30 euros of the Heatball purchase price of 1.69 euros is being donated to a project for rainforest protection. That comes to about 42 cents of a purchase price equivalent to $2.37.

In the U.S., the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 calls for a transition to more energy efficient lighting starting January 1, 2012, when 100-watt incandescent bulbs will no longer be sold. Seventy-five-watt traditional bulbs will be the next go in 2013. Sales of 40- and 60-watt bulbs are to end in 2014.

Recent studies by GE Lighting and Osram Sylvania showed that although more Americans are purchasing energy efficient light bulbs, most are clueless about the regulations mandating the switch.


~Brazil General Election Aftermath Live Post~


Results should be up in the next half hour or so. Post relevant article links/pictures/videos/poll results here! All other entries on this topic will be REJECTED!

Useful Links
The Guardian election roundup
Explanation of run-off system in Brazil and other countries
Polls open in general election
Real time election results (in Portuguese)
Wikipedia Election Overview
thebirds, que

Here we GO!

Health Overhaul May Bring Free Birth Control

Fifty years after the pill, another birth control revolution may be on the horizon: free contraception for women in the U.S., thanks to the new health care law.

That could start a shift toward more reliable — and expensive — forms of birth control that are gaining acceptance in other developed countries.

But first, look for a fight over social mores.

A panel of experts advising the government meets in November to begin considering what kind of preventive care for women should be covered at no cost to the patient, as required under President Barack Obama's overhaul.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., author of the women's health amendment, says the clear intent was to include family planning.

But is birth control preventive medicine?

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sexy source

OP has no commentary as she's still cooking the information in her head.  Personally, she favors free birth control becoming available.

Vague encouragement re: the likely GOP victory? Or should enlightened US citizenry still fear it?

The Grand Old Plot Against the Tea Party
Published: October 30, 2010

ONE dirty little secret of the 2010 election is that it won’t be a political tragedy for Democrats if a Tea Party icon like Sharron Angle or Joe Miller ends up in the United States Senate. Angle, now synonymous with racist ads sliming Hispanics, and Miller, already on record threatening a government shutdown, are fired up and ready to go as symbols of G.O.P. extremism for 2012 and beyond.

What’s not so secret is that some Republicans will be just as happy if some of these characters lose, and for the same reason.

But whatever Tuesday’s results, this much is certain: The Tea Party’s hopes for actually effecting change in Washington will start being dashed the morning after. The ordinary Americans in this movement lack the numbers and financial clout to muscle their way into the back rooms of Republican power no matter how well their candidates perform.

Trent Lott, the former Senate leader and current top-dog lobbyist, gave away the game in July. “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples,” he said, referring to the South Carolina senator who is the Tea Party’s Capitol Hill patron saint. “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.” It’s the players who wrote the checks for the G.O.P. surge, not those earnest folk in tri-corner hats, who plan to run the table in the next corporate takeover of Washington. Though Tom DeLay may now be on trial for corruption in Texas, the spirit of his K Street lives on in a Lott client list that includes Northrop Grumman and Goldman Sachs.

Karl Rove outed the Republican elites’ contempt for Tea Partiers in the campaign’s final stretch. Much as Barack Obama thought he was safe soliloquizing about angry white Middle Americans clinging to “guns or religion” at a San Francisco fund-raiser in 2008, so Rove now parades his disdain for the same constituency when speaking to the European press. This month he told Der Spiegel that Tea Partiers are “not sophisticated,” and then scoffed, “It’s not like these people have read the economist Friedrich August von Hayek.” Given that Glenn Beck has made a cause of putting Hayek’s dense 1944 antigovernment treatise “The Road to Serfdom” on the best-seller list and Tea Partiers widely claim to have read it, Rove could hardly have been more condescending to “these people.” Last week, for added insult, he mocked Sarah Palin’s imminent Discovery Channel reality show to London’s Daily Telegraph.

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Rutgers students accused of inciting fellow student’s suicide, drop out

The two Rutgers University students, charged with invasion of privacy when a fellow student killed himself after his romantic encounter with another man was streamed on the Internet, have dropped out for the semester.

Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei are accused of placing a camera in Tyler Clementi’s dorm room and streaming the images of the encounter onto the internet on Sept. 19.

Shortly after the video was broadcast, Clementi committed suicide Sept. 22 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

According to the New York Daily News, Ravi has transferred to another school and Wei quit out of fear for her life, their lawyers said Friday.

Ravi is currently free on $25,000 bail and Wei is free on her own recognizance while prosecutors consider upgrading their charges to bias crimes because Clementi was gay.

In their first public statements about the incident, attorney’s for Ravi and Wei now say Clementi’s encounter with another man was viewed only on a single computer — and did not show the pair having sex, according to friends and attorneys of the two freshmen charged in the case, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

“When the forensic evidence from all the seized computers is revealed, the truth will come out,” said Steve Altman, Ravi’s attorney. “Nothing was transmitted beyond one computer and what was seen was only viewed for a matter of seconds.”

Rubin Sinins, Wei’s attorney, said he was unaware of any evidence of sexual contact.

“The statute defining sexual contact refers to nudity and private parts, and, to my knowledge, nothing like that was seen.” said Sinins. “I’m also unaware of any evidence that any video was recorded, reproduced or disseminated in any way.”

Ravi of Plainsboro, N.J., and Wei of West Windsor, N.J., would have faced disciplinary action had they stayed at Rutgers. If convicted, they will face up to five years in prison.

  • xerox78

Michele Bachmann sics her mother on her opponent

Even More Tension In 6th District Race

In a race already fractured by record spending and personal attacks, 6th District Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on Friday is deploying a new weapon -- she's playing the mother card.

On Friday, residents in the 6th district began receiving a mailing that's a harshly-worded open letter from Bachmann's mother Jean LaFave.

In the letter, paid for by the Bachmann campaign and picturing LaFave standing with Bachmann, she calls Tarryl Clark "hypocritical disgrace."

"I have never seen a candidate for higher office stoop as low as you," LaFave writes, "with your false and vulgar attacks."

Most upsetting, she says, is the Clark television ad aimed at seniors.

LaFave writes: "You shamelessly used Michele's voice and photo in one of your ads to claim she wants to destroy Social Security."

In a twist, the Clark ad uses footage from a Bachmann ad to claim that Bachmann wants to take seniors off Social Security.

"Whose message is that?" asks the ad, as an image of Bachmann appears onscreen. They then use Bachmann's voice, saying, "I'm Michelle Bachmann and I approve this message."

Clark is sharpening her attacks on Bachmann, describing her as a 'bully' more interested in her national fame than Minnesota.

In a terse statement, the Clark campaign said: "When someone stands up to bullies like Michele Bachmann, they (the bullies) often go running to their moms. Bachmann knows her position on Social Security is indefensible. That's why she's spending an astounding $9 million lying about Tarryl's record -- and her own record. Voters deserve better."

The Bachmann campaign did not respond to WCCO-TV's request for comment on the mailing.


* I haven't been able to find full text of the letter or the Clark camp's response. I'll post it if/when I find it.

EDIT: Ms. LaFave's letter found by idkmybffironman.

* I haven't been following this race, so I don't know how ugly it's been on either side, but I figure anyone trying to take Bachmann out can't be all bad.
celeb - smg

Texas Supreme Court Cites The Wisdom Of Spock On Star Trek

NSILMike points us to an amusing bit of news concerning a recent ruling in the Texas Supreme Court, where the court cited Star Trek's Spock (though, it's mostly hidden in a footnote):

Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan21), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.

Then, if you jump down to Footnote 21, you get:

See STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (Paramount Pictures 1982). The film references several works of classic literature, none more prominently than A Tale of Two Cities. Spock gives Admiral Kirk an antique copy as a birthday present, and the film itself is bookended with the book's opening and closing passages. Most memorable, of course, is Spock's famous line from his moment of sacrifice: "Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . ." to which Kirk replies, "the needs of the few."

And so, Spock is now a legal authority on the Texas Constitution. Very logical.

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy



Home-Grown Reefer Madness

The argument against Proposition 19, the California ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana, goes something like this: if the initiative were to pass, it would create a world where lackadaisical employees would show up to work with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. In between responding to e-mails, operating machinery, or planning a classroom lecture, they could take a quick break—poking their heads out the closest door or window to light up, inhaling the sweet smoke of California skunk, without any consequences. Out on the streets, intoxicated drivers would weave in and out of Southern California palm trees, and the smell of cannabis would seep from local apartment complexes, where new dealers would be growing stock. Marijuana would slowly begin showing up in schoolyards where it wasn’t already; at parties, too. Ultimately, it would be a gateway drug to much, much worse.

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No Blake Skjellerup, Saying Justin Bieber Was Made To Look 'Trans' Is Not An Insult

Blake Skjellerup, New Zealand's Olympic speed skater who came out in May, did not like the headline of our post on Justin Bieber's massively Photoshopped magazine cover. Allow us to respond.

Writes Skjellerup, who's now living in Canada (and might still be single!), about how some of The Gays like this website aren't setting a good example:
Two articles have come to my attention about teen heartthrob/pop sensation Justin Bieber. Dean Blundell, a radio host for The Edge radio station in Toronto, recently insinuated that Bieber was gay and referred to one of his male fans, a 12 year old boy, as a future “chugger.” That’s slang, one I have personally never heard of, used to refer to male prostitutes.

Then there’s Queerty.com, a website who’s tagline is “free on an agenda, except that gay one,” which today published a picture of Bieber on the cover of this month’s Toda Teen Star, a Brazilian teen magazine. The title that went along with the post was “Justin Bieber, Trans Teen Star.” One would think that a website that was free of an agenda would not go out of its way to insult the very people that keep it alive. Justin has been clearly photo-shopped to a level that I am sure he finds unacceptable.
Oh, that post. About the Brazilian magazine Toda Teen Star transforming Justin into an uber-feminine version of himself.The complete text of which read:
Justin Bieber, or some version of him, appears on the cover of Brazil's Toda Teen Star magazine. First comes the nail polish, then comes the complete makeover.
Calling Mr. Bieber a "trans teen star" is not, friends, an insult; only people who think being labeled transexual or transgender is cruel would think that (and I'm including Dan Savage in that group, for he actually does call people transexual to insult them, but also uses the word "tranny" as an LOL) The headline I went with was a concise way of saying, "Hey, look how this magazine is marketing Bieber to readers."

Unarguably, Toda Teen Star went out of its way to make Justin more feminine, with eye liner and softening his already baby-boy face. (There's also an argument to be made the photo editors gave him a nose job, but that's for another post.) Yes, the magazine put him through the gender-bending machine. That's not bad, per se, because screwing with gender norms can be pretty cool; it's only bad if you care about accurate representations of people on magazines. Moreover, pointing out how Justin was portrayed is not bullying.

Had the magazine gone another direction and played into the notion that Justin looks like a lot of lesbians, our headline "Justin Bieber, Lesbian Teen Star" would not have been a slam, but a mention about how a magazine chose to style and Photoshop him. Is "lesbian" now a slur?

While I do not care much for Justin's music, his celebrity does fascinate me — particularly the way it involves gender, which is why the magazine cover caught my eye. He launched his career with a high-pitched pre-pubescent ("girly") voice and attracted straight female fans young and old; young boys are "allowed" to be Bieber fans without being shamed; and the kid releases his own line of nail polish and nobody bats an eye (this is good).

On Wednesday Skjellerup tweeted, "I dont quite understand @Queerty First U stick up for Bieber, then U add fuel 2 the fire by commenting on his appearance. Whos bullying now?"

Pointing out a celebrity's appearance ("He's wearing blue") is not the same as calling a celebrity fat or ugly or fugly or a hag. And commenting on Justin's femininization by a major magazine was a (very brief) comment on how the media markets celebrity. That the original post or this one even mentions Justin's actual physical characteristics is a secondary point. And so calling Justin a "trans teen star" is not an attempt at making fun of the kid, or knocking him a peg, or even making any comment about his sexuality or gender identity. Because calling him or his representation in the media "trans" — or calling any kid or person gay, or straight, or bi — is not an insult, nor is it a compliment. It's an observation. And of all people, The Gays should understand that.

Around here there's much love for our trans and cross-dressing brothers and sisters, whether celebrating the gauche, the victimized, and the pretend. In fact, Queerty has a big fucking problem with people hating on The Ts.

Source: Queerty
movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD - Halloween Edition™: October 31, 2010.

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mus | like a bird in a cage

Khadr gets 8 years despite jury call for 40

Canadian war-criminal Omar Khadr was handed an eight-year sentence for war crimes Sunday in accordance with a plea agreement, even though a military jury called for 40 more years behind bars.

The sentence was welcomed by the widow of the American soldier Khadr killed as a 15 year old, when he threw a grenade at the end of a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002.

"Today is a huge victory for my family . . . and for hundreds of families out there," said Tabitha Speer, who earlier in the week blasted Khadr as a killer.

"The plea, for us, is final."

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