November 9th, 2010

BtVS: Slayer confrontation

Nancy Grace settles lawsuit over woman's suicide

The Associated Press
updated 11/8/2010 6:40:09 PM ET 2010-11-08T23:40:09
Share Print Font: +-ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The parents and estate of a young woman who shot herself after she faced harsh questioning from talk-show host Nancy Grace have dismissed a lawsuit against CNN and the host.

According to court records, the settlement calls for Grace to establish a $200,000 trust dedicated to finding Melinda Duckett's missing son, Trenton, who was 2 when he disappeared.

The lawsuit accused Grace, whose show airs on CNN's sister network HLN, of inflicting emotional distress on the 21-year-old mother with her questions about the missing boy. Grace accused the woman of hiding something because Duckett did not take a lie-detector test and answered vaguely about her whereabouts when the boy disappeared from her apartment.

Police later named Duckett the prime suspect in the boy's disappearance.

Duckett shot herself the day the taped interview was scheduled to broadcast — Sept. 8, 2006. Duckett had reported the boy missing less than two weeks earlier.

Rest of story here

I'm a bit disappointed. On the one hand, I can understand why both parties would have wanted to settle, but on the other, I wanted to see Nancy get taken to the cleaners over this. I still believe her actions in how she interviewed the woman and (I believe) drove her to suicide is the reason Trenton is still missing.

Olbermann Apologizes to Viewers, But Not to MSNBC

6:15 p.m. | Update In an aggressive statement questioning the legitimacy of his two-day suspension from MSNBC, Keith Olbermann addressed his fans Monday night, saying that they were responsible for his scheduled return to the air on Tuesday, following revelations that he had contributed to the campaign funds of three Democrats in last week’s election.

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Early Cities Spurred Evolution of Immune System?

Matt Kaplan

Published November 8, 2010

As in cities today, the earliest towns helped expose their inhabitants to inordinate opportunities for infection—and today their ancestors are stronger for it, a new study says.

"If cities increase the amount of disease people are exposed to, shouldn't they also, over time, make them natural places for disease resistance to evolve?" asked study co-author Mark Thomas, a biologist at University College London.

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New Self-Cloning Lizard!

You could call it the surprise du jour: A popular food on Vietnamese menus has turned out to be a lizard previously unknown to science, scientists say.

What's more, the newfound Leiolepis ngovantrii is no run-of-the-mill reptile—the all-female species reproduces via cloning, without the need for male lizards.
Single-gender lizards aren't that much of an oddity: About one percent of lizards can reproduce by parthenogenesis, meaning the females spontaneously ovulate and clone themselves to produce offspring with the same genetic blueprint. Collapse )

Son, can you get some canned peaches out of the -- WAIT, NO! DON'T GO IN THERE!

Bush's Opposition To Abortion Grew After Mother Showed Him Dead Fetus In A Jar

Former president George W. Bush explained recently that a formative event in his staunch pro-life stance came when his mother, Barbara Bush, showed him the remains of a human fetus in a jar when he was a teenager, the result of an earlier miscarriage by the elder Bush.

"There's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life", he told NBC's Matt Lauer.

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I'm sorry, but my reaction to my mom whipping out a jar with a miscarried fetus in it would not be, "Oh, my God, abortion is bad!" It would be, "Oh, my God, my mother is psychotic."
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Worker Rights Extend to Facebook, Labor Board Says

In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the
National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

The labor relations board announced last week that it had filed a complaint against an ambulance service, American Medical Response of Connecticut, that fired an emergency medical technician, accusing her, among other things, of violating a policy that bars employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves.

Lafe Solomon, the board’s acting general counsel, said, “This is a fairly straightforward case under the National Labor Relations Act — whether it takes place on Facebook or at the water cooler, it was employees talking jointly about working conditions, in this case about their supervisor, and they have a right to do that.”

That act gives workers a federally protected right to form unions, and it prohibits employers from punishing workers — whether union or nonunion — for discussing working conditions or unionization. The labor board said the company’s Facebook rule was “overly broad” and improperly limited employees’ rights to discuss working conditions among themselves.

Moreover, the board faulted another company policy, one prohibiting employees from making “disparaging” or “discriminatory” “comments when discussing the company or the employee’s superiors” and “co-workers.”

The board’s complaint prompted Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, a law firm with a large labor and employment practice representing hundreds of companies, to send a “lawflash” advisory on Monday to its clients, saying, “All private sector employers should take note,” regardless “of whether their work force is represented by a union.”

The firm added, “Employers should review their Internet and social media policies to determine whether they are susceptible to an allegation that the policy would ‘reasonably tend to chill employees’ ” in the exercise of their rights to discuss wages, working conditions and unionization.

American Medical Response of Connecticut denied the labor board’s allegations, saying they were without merit. “The employee in question was discharged based on multiple, serious complaints about her behavior,” the company said in a statement. “The employee was also held accountable for negative personal attacks against a co-worker posted publicly on Facebook. The company believes that the offensive statements made against the co-workers were not concerted activity protected under federal law.”

The case involves Dawnmarie Souza, who had to prepare a response to a customer’s complaint about her work. Ms. Souza, the board said, was unhappy that her supervisor would not let a representative of the Teamsters, the union representing the company’s workers, help prepare her response.

Ms. Souza then mocked her supervisor on Facebook, using several vulgarities to ridicule him, according to Jonathan Kreisberg, director of the board’s Hartford office, which filed the complaint. He also said she had written, “love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor” — 17 is the company’s lingo for a psychiatric patient.

The labor board said that her comments “drew supportive responses from her co-workers” and led to further negative comments about the supervisor. Mr. Kreisberg said: “You’re allowed to talk about your supervisor with your co-workers. You’re allowed to communicate the concerns and criticisms you have. The only difference in this case is she did it on Facebook and did it on her own time and her own computer.”

An administrative law judge is scheduled to begin hearing the case on Jan. 25. Marshall B. Babson, a member of the National Labor Relations Board in the 1980s, said a broad company rule that says one cannot make disparaging comments about supervisors is clearly illegal under labor law. But he said an employee’s criticizing a company or supervisor on Facebook was not necessarily protected activity.

“There will arguably be cases where it is not concerted activity,” Mr. Babson said, suggesting that if a worker lashed out in a post against a supervisor but was not communicating with co-workers, that type of comment might not be protected.

If the Facebook conversation involves several co-workers, however, it is far more likely to be viewed as “concerted protected activity,” he said.

But employees might cross the line into unprotected territory if they disparage supervisors over something unrelated to work — for instance, a supervisor’s sexual performance — or if their statements are disloyal.

Courts often view workers’ statements as disloyal when they are defamatory and are not supported by facts. Mr. Babson cited a case upholding the firing of airline workers who held signs saying their airline was unsafe. But, he said, if employees held signs accurately saying their airline or restaurant had been cited for dozens of safety violations, that would most likely be protected.

new york times
Stock - Pink Sakura

Prof gets slinky with Twinkies

Forget apples -- a Kansas State University professor says he's living proof that a Twinkie a day keeps the doctor away.

Nutrition expert Mark Haub shed 26.6 pounds during a 10-week class experiment in which he says he fed primarily on Twinkies, snack cakes, doughnuts, Doritos and other foods rich in saturated fats.

He was testing whether calorie-counting is more important for weight loss than nutritional value.

The results were sweet.

The 5-foot-10 Haub dropped from 201 to 174 pounds, and his body fat fell from 33.4 percent to 24.9 percent. His "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, fell 20 percent, while his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, rose 20 percent.

Haub said yesterday he isn't recommending people go on a junk-food binge, but he believes his study shows that dieters don't have to give up sweets to lose weight.

franklin sherman

Rape Survivor Devastated by TSA Enhanced Pat Down

An area Wiccan discovered first hand what most of us are still unaware of – many flyers are now being forced to choose between allowing a TSA agent to see them naked or to have their genitals touched and squeezed as part of what the TSA terms “enhanced pat downs.” Celeste, a survivor of rape, described her experience with the new TSA procedures as devastating.

Putting a cut in for obvious reasons.

This needs to stop. Not now, yesterday.

edit: ACLU survey on TSA security experiences. If youve had to go through invasive security procedures, please fill the survey out. Its the least you can do.

The most would be filing a lawsuit. (Which several people have already done)

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2 lawsuits challenge US Defense of Marriage Act

(New York) Two new lawsuits have been filed on behalf of gay and lesbian couples in four states to challenge a 1996 law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples.

The lawsuits were filed Tuesday in federal courts in Connecticut and New York. They were filed on behalf of couples in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

The lawsuits follow in the steps of a separate one in Boston. That earlier lawsuit has resulted in a judge striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The filing of multiple lawsuits will likely result in several rulings in different federal court districts. That could increase the likelihood that the Supreme Court will eventually consider the issue.


Promised Land -- How Utah became the new economic Zion.

It’s said there are no bad jobs during a recession. But there are depressing ones—like trying to recruit new business. That was Jeffrey Edwards’s task as head of Utah’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), a publicly funded carnival barker for new and emerging companies. Every state has a comparable office. But while nearly every local economy succumbed to the frozen credit markets, failing to grow much during the last two years, Utah has flourished. With Edwards’s help, it set its own records for new companies (more than 40) and capital investment (nearly $2 billion). That has helped sustain an average of 3.5 percent annual growth during the last five years, more than any state other than energy-rich North Dakota. “It’s a weird countercyclical phenomenon,” says Edwards, “but we’ve been busier than we’ve ever been.”

Why Utah? Founded by Mormon pioneers, the state, which has been called “a quasi theocracy” by the editor of its largest newspaper, is overwhelmingly white (93 percent) and Mormon (60 percent). Those demographics make for a socially conservative mind meld—no gay marriage, mixed acceptance of women in the workplace—that might seem hostile to the idea-swapping associated with a go-go economy. Mix in a thin coffee-and-booze culture, and you might expect Utah’s economy to be listless as well.

But the opposite is true. Greater Salt Lake City, the 75-mile corridor stretching from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south, has absorbed massive new data centers for eBay, Twitter, and Oracle; splashy new offices for Disney Interactive and EA Sports; and, just last month, a commitment from Adobe—the makers of Flash and Acrobat—to build a thousand-person software-development campus, where the minimum average salary will be $60,000.

Homegrown tech is booming as well. The University of Utah recently tied MIT for creating the most companies out of its patented research: more than 80 since 2005. Provo, home to Brigham Young University, has the most high-growth companies per capita in the country, according to Inc. magazine. Expressing a shared sentiment among many businesspeople who go to Utah these days, Sequoia Capital venture capitalist Michael Goguen said at a Salt Lake City business conference last month: “We’re noticing.”

From EDC’s Salt Lake City offices, with their view of the snowcapped mountains and horizon-to-horizon blue sky, Edwards delivers a compelling sales pitch. It includes facts like cheap energy, low taxes, and top billing from list makers like Forbes. And it follows a night on the town, where Edwards proves that “you can indeed get a drink,” and “a good cup of coffee isn’t that hard to find.” But the close is almost bumper-sticker simple: cheaper than Washington, cooler than Texas, as outdoorsy as Colorado … and not California. Last year the EDC opened a recruiting center near Riverside, Calif., and Gov. Gary Herbert touts how he is “making the state business-friendly while California is doing the opposite.”

Defining itself against the liberal left coast is an act of jujitsu. Utah’s biggest potential liability—its conservative, religious populus—becomes an indisputable strength. Utah’s people are, indeed, an employer’s dream. They are healthy, hard workers (pouring in 48 hours a week on average), and exceedingly stable, with the highest birthrates in the nation. The large number of young Mormons who spend two years on a conversion mission also means a huge swath of the population earned its sales stripes in hostile terrain. This might not offer an easily replicable path for states looking to follow Utah’s economic lead. Then again, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is always looking to expand.

Home of the enslaved.

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance

This past Wednesday, I showed up at Baltimore-Washington International for a flight to Providence, R.I. I had a choice of two TSA screening checkpoints. I picked mine based on the number of people waiting in line, not because I am impatient, but because the coiled, closely packed lines at TSA screening sites are the most dangerous places in airports, completely unprotected from a terrorist attack -- a terrorist attack that would serve the same purpose (shutting down air travel) as an attack on board an aircraft.

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Male, female or neither? Gender identity debated at same-sex colleges

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- When Kevin Murphy entered as a freshman at Mount Holyoke, a Massachusetts women's college, in 2003, he was female. By the time he received his diploma, he was male.

Phillip Hudson, who attended Morehouse, an all-male historically black college in Georgia, calls himself androgynous, meaning he doesn't identify with masculine or feminine identity norms.

The two men represent a debate that is brewing at some of the nation's same-sex colleges. For these colleges, which have historically defied boundaries and challenged the status quo, a new test of tolerance has surfaced: How are they handling gender identity?

Defining gender on same-sex campuses has become murky as some students say they fall outside the conventional male-female gender binary. More schools are encountering complicated cases where not all students at men's colleges identify as male and not all students at women's colleges identify as female.

The diversity of gender expression comes in many forms, from individuals who consider themselves androgynous or nongender-conforming to students who are transgender or in the process of changing their sex. Transgender people are often defined as those who do not identify with the gender they were at birth.

At Smith College, a women's institution in Massachusetts, the junior class president is Roth, who recently transitioned from female to male. Roth asked to be identified only by his first name.

At Morehouse College, the issue of cross-dressing students emerged on campus last year. A handful of the male students wore women's clothing, purses and high heels.

"You don't have to conform to one idea on what it means to be a masculine male in order to be successful, and the same way with women," said Shane Windmeyer, director of Campus Pride, a resource network dedicated to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender college students.

At the center of the controversy is whether men's and women's colleges should allow transgender or nongender-conforming students to stay on campus when the purpose of same-sex schools is to cater to a single gender. Same-sex schools continue to admit only a single sex, but once the student is enrolled, the rules are less clear.


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Bush yuks it up on Oprah

George Bush, promoting book, laughs it up on Oprah

By Andrew Stern
Tue Nov 9, 1:53 pm ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) – George W. Bush, promoting his memoir that hit store shelves Tuesday, pronounced himself "through with politics" and defended his decisions as president in a jokey interview with television talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.

"A lot of people didn't think I could read, much less write," Bush cracked about his book, "Decision Points," during the taped interview in Winfrey's Chicago studios.

Asked by Winfrey whether he regretted the decision to invade Iraq based on unfounded intelligence that leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Bush admitted feeling "terrible" and "sickened" about being wrong the weapons, but blamed Hussein.

"I'll tell you what was wrong. Saddam Hussein deceived everybody. He didn't want people to know he did not have them ... which is strange because I made it clear to him to let the (arms) inspectors in or we'll remove you from power and he didn't believe me, sadly," Bush said.

"My point is the world is better with him gone," Bush said to applause from the studio audience.

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Ray spelled backwards is GOD

The family that prays together... gets bigger and bigger:

Meet devoutly Christian Mr and Mrs Bates and their EIGHTEEN children

Super-parents Gil and Kelly Bates love babies so much, they can't stop having them.

The couple, from Tennessee, U.S., celebrated the birth of their 18th child a month ago and are already praying for more.

The Bates look set to become the biggest family in the world one day, and are one baby behind the Duggars of Arkansas, who have 19.

'We will have many more children if God allows it,' said proud dad Gil, 45, a tree surgeon.

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What's in a word? Susan Sarandon doesn't see problem with 'Glee'-ful 'tranny' use

Susan Sarandon has no patience for the P.C. brigade - or TV. "Glee" recently took on her 1975 cult hit "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," only to come under fire from GLAAD for using the word "tranny." When we caught up with Sarandon, she said the controversy puzzled her. "What should they have said?" she asked, adding that she knew plenty of people who proudly called themselves "trannies." GLAAD, she said, was "getting like PETA - way out of control." (Not that Sarandon is invested in "Glee" and its dramas. "Now that my kids are gone," she said, "I don't watch TV at all.")

GLAAD spokesman Richard Ferraro responded by reiterating his organization's objections. "The word 'tra—y' has become an easy punch line in popular culture," he wrote in an email, "and many still don't realize that using the term is hurtful, dehumanizing and associated with violence."

Source: NY Daily News

Are you trans, Susan? No? Then it's not your fucking call.