November 25th, 2010


Yet another leftist history lesson brought to you by reality's liberal bias.

The Pilgrims Were ... Socialists?

Ah, Thanksgiving. A celebration regardless of creed; a time for all Americans to come together after a divisive election year.

But why take a holiday from argument? In these fractious times, even the meaning of Thanksgiving is subject to political debate.

Forget what you learned about the first Thanksgiving being a celebration of a bountiful harvest, or an expression of gratitude to the Indians who helped the Pilgrims through those harsh first months in an unfamiliar land. In the Tea Party view of the holiday, the first settlers were actually early socialists. They realized the error of their collectivist ways and embraced capitalism, producing a bumper year, upon which they decided that it was only right to celebrate the glory of the free market and private property.

Historians quibble with this interpretation. But the story, related by libertarians and conservatives for years, has taken on new life over the last year among Tea Party audiences, who revere early American history, and hunger for any argument against what they believe is the big-government takeover of the United States.

It has made Thanksgiving another proxy in the debate over health care and entitlement spending, and placed it alongside the New Deal and the Constitution on the platter of historical items picked apart by competing narratives.

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New York Times

Call me a humorless history major, but Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. You're lucky I found this article because I was actually looking for something far more depressing to share.


Are Attractive People More Employable?

Are good-looking people more likely to get jobs? That depends whether you’re talking about men or women, according to a new working paper. From the abstract:
Job applicants in Europe and in Israel increasingly imbed a headshot of themselves in the top corner of their CVs. We sent 5,312 CVs in pairs to 2,656 advertised job openings. In each pair, one CV was without a picture while the second, otherwise almost identical CV contained a picture of either an attractive male/female or a plain-looking male/female. Employer callbacks to attractive men are significantly higher than to men with no picture and to plain-looking men, nearly doubling the latter group. Strikingly, attractive women do not enjoy the same beauty premium. In fact, women with no picture have a significantly higher rate of callbacks than attractive or plain-looking women. We explore a number of explanations and provide evidence that female jealousy of attractive women in the workplace is a primary reason for the punishment of attractive women.

Previous research, however, has found that good-looking female workers receive higher raises than their plain or ugly counterparts.

NYT Economix
stock; sunset

S. Korea to hold drills near bombardment site

Defence minister resigns

Last Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010 | 2:35 PM ET

The Associated Press

South Korea's president ordered more troops to a front-line island and dumped his defence minister Thursday as the country grappled with lapses in its response to a deadly North Korean artillery strike.
In scenes reminiscent of the Korean War 60 years ago, dazed residents of Yeonpyeong Island foraged through blackened rubble for pieces of their lives and lugged their possessions down eerily deserted streets strewn with bent metal after Tuesday's hail of artillery.
The barrage darkened skies, set off fierce blazes, killed four South Koreans and raised fears of an escalation that could lead to full-scale war.
"It was a sea of fire," resident Lee In-ku said, recalling the flames that rolled through the streets of this island that is home to military bases as well as a fishing community famous for its catches of crab. The spit of land is just 11 kilometres from North Korea, but had only six pieces of artillery.
Despite warnings from North Korea that any new provocation would be met with more attacks, Washington and Seoul pushed ahead with plans for military drills starting Sunday involving a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier in waters south of this week's skirmish.
The exercises will likely anger the North — the regime cited South Korean drills this week as the impetus behind its attack — but the president said the South could little afford to abandon such preparation now.
"We should not ease our sense of crisis in preparation for the possibility of another provocation by North Korea," spokesman Hong Sang-pyo quoted President Lee Myung-bak as saying. "A provocation like this can recur any time."
South Korea's defence minister also tendered his resignation, and CBC reporter Anthony Germain said Kim Tae-young had toured the island just hours before. Kim was criticized following Tuesday's attack by both government and opposition legislators, who demanded his resignation. They also called on military leaders to step down as well.

Pressure on China

Meanwhile, Washington and Seoul ratcheted up pressure on China, North Korea's main ally and biggest benefactor, to restrain Pyongyang.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao responded by calling on all sides to show "maximum restraint" and pushed again to restart the six-nation talks aimed at persuading North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs in exchange for aid. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, meanwhile, cancelled a trip to Seoul this week.
The heightened inter-Korean animosity is taking place as North Korea undergoes a delicate transition of power from leader Kim Jong-il to his son Kim Jong-un, who is in his late 20s and is expected to eventually succeed his ailing father.
At an emergency meeting in Seoul, Lee ordered reinforcements for about 4,000 troops on tense Yellow Sea islands, top-level weaponry and upgraded rules of engagement that would create a new category of response when civilian areas are targeted.
Skirmishes between the Korean militaries are not uncommon, but North Korea's heavy bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island was the first naval skirmish since the Korean War to kill civilians.
South Korean troops returned fire and scrambled fighter jets in response, but two South Korean marines and two construction workers were killed and at least 18 others wounded. South Korea has said casualties on the North Korean side were likely significant, but none were immediately reported by the secretive regime.
One South Korean woman told CBC reporter Germain that there were three shellings that lasted 10 minutes each. Germain said it appears it was 10 to 15 minutes until South Korea fired back, and with less force than North Korea used.
Marine Lt.-Col. Joo Jong-wha acknowledged that the island is acutely short of artillery, saying it has only six pieces: the howitzers used in Tuesday's skirmish.
"In artillery, you're supposed to move on after firing to mask your location so that they don't strike right back at you," he told reporters. "But we have too few artillery."
On the streets of Yeonpyeong, some spoke of walls of flame, surreal images of blackened skies, massive dust clouds, and orange-coloured lightning.
"My town was almost burned out," said Noh Myung-san, 56, who was planting trees near a mountain when he heard artillery explosions. "I thought it was an earthquake."
Islanders walked gingerly over potholes and past electric poles pockmarked by artillery shells. Blackened beer bottles lay outside what was left of a supermarket. Coast guard officers patrolled the streets in pairs, passing deserted restaurants, offices and schools.
Though North Korea regularly threatens to rain munitions down on its rival, the two Koreas are required to abide by an armistice signed in 1953 at the end of their bitter three-year war.

mus | like a bird in a cage

Danny Williams walks away from politics

As political surprises go, news that Premier Danny Williams is quitting politics was a game-changing blockbuster that shook Newfoundland and Labrador far beyond the corridors of power.

The rhetorical pugilist whose popularity ratings are the envy of other leaders across Canada said he's stepping down next Friday to pursue undisclosed business interests.

Williams fought tears as he stood before a packed news conference Thursday. He said his health is good and it's time to get off what he called a sometimes bruising 10-year ride on the roller-coaster of public life.

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  • kiekee

Justice for Stacy Bonds

Citizen obtains video of Stacy Bonds jailhouse abuse

OTTAWA — Video of a wrongfully arrested Ottawa woman being kneed, pinned to the floor and her shirt and bra cut off with scissors has been released to The Citizen.

The video of Stacy Bonds's treatment in the Ottawa police cells was central to Ontario Court Justice Richard Lajoie's decision on Oct. 27 to stay charges against her of assaulting police. The judge called her arrest and strip-search a "travesty."

In the video, which was recorded just before 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2008 and has no audio, Bonds can be seen being led through the police holding-cell area. The 27-year-old theatrical make-up artist with no criminal record does not appear to be resisting or aggressive.

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Source: <a href=""> Source </a>

This story ENRAGES me! The fact that this happened two years ago yet the truth is only coming out now makes me even angrier. My friends always brush off or laugh at my rants about being black in a Western society, but these types of stories reiterate why I scoff whenever someone tells me Canada is so accepting and

The marvelous city... reacts?

Brazil police battle Rio de Janeiro gang violence

Police in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have launched a major operation to try to stop a wave of violence by criminal gangs.

For three days, suspected gang members have been blocking roads, burning cars and shooting at police stations.

Military police have been deployed in 17 different slum districts.

Rio's governor says the violence is retaliation by drugs gangs who have been driven out of some areas by a police pacification programme.

More than 1,000 officers had been taken away from desk jobs to join the surge on the streets, the military police said, and 300 extra motorcycle police were on patrol.

Rio de Janeiro's state governor Sergio Cabral has also asked the central government for police reinforcements from outside Rio to keep the main highways open.

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Military vehicles enter Brazil slum

Armoured carriers roll into Vila Cruzeiro slum in Rio de Janeiro as security forces prepare to take on drug gangs.

Military armoured vehicles have rolled into the Vila Cruzeiro slum in northern Rio de Janeiro in support of a police crackdown on Brazilian drug gangs.

Thursday's show of strength came after five days of unrest in the city, during which police stations were attacked and armed groups stopped vehicles, robbed the occupants and set fire to cars.

At least 23 people have been killed and 153 have been arrested as Brazilian security forces seek to crush the gangs and impose the law in the violent slums, known as favelas.

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Rio favela violence: How police use hard and soft tactics

For many years the sight of police officers in one of Rio de Janeiro's most notorious favelas signalled to inhabitants that a shoot-out with members of a drug gang was most likely imminent.

Many favelas have long been controlled by heavily armed drugs gangs, which use the slums as a base from which to distribute supplies and impose their own arbitrary punishments on those who offend them or risk attracting police attention.

Police have been criticised by human rights groups for too often using lethal force without justification in Brazil's favelas and many of the poorest communities came to fear those who were meant to protect them.

The introduction of Police Pacification Units (UPPs) in Rio two years ago has seen the first sustained attempt to break this cycle, enforce the rule of law in favelas and win the hearts and minds of the next generation.

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And I decided to add pics and videos...

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Pics taken from here and here.

Huge, huge operation. I'm not there but there seems to be a mix of frustration, hope, doubt, confidence, fear...
[Other] Bill Hader

Wherein a vegan realizes her ways are not realistic, admits it online, and is attacked for it.

Summary: Formerly vegan woman explains her decision to leave the vegan lifestyle behind, based on the undeniable fact that despite being supposedly healthy actually made her health worsen. Goes into some detail on discrepancies of vegan philosophy in the real world, and some of the backlash she recieved when she started considering returning to living as an omnivore.

A Vegan No More
Part 1 – Health Shock
When the doctor first told me that I had numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies, that I was almost anemic, and my B12 was so low she wanted to give me an injection immediately, I refused to believe her. I actually asked her to show me the blood test results because I thought there had to be some sort of mistake. But there was no mistake, it was right there in black and white; deficiencies and abnormalities across the board.

The results explained perfectly why I had been feeling weak and exhausted for more than 6 months. Whereas I had previously lived for working out and even an hour on the elliptical wasn’t enough for me, lately doing more than 20 minutes at a leisurely pace caused me to yearn to spend the rest of the day in bed recuperating. When I could I slept till noon, I felt lightheaded when I stood up, I couldn’t remember simple words or the names of my friends, and I was freezing cold even in the midst of a sweltering Saudi summer. Of the myriad symptoms I’ve listed here and the ones I will not be describing publicly, the absolute worst of all was my depression. This awful, lifelong foe I’ve been battling on and off was sneaking back into my life, painting the edges of my world a sickening black and stealing the joy that I had fought so desperately to regain.

The doctor, who was kind and very understanding, was surprisingly knowledgeable about vegan diets and had a career long specialization in nutrition. After ruling out any other possible medical condition, she patiently spoke over my tears and my hitching sobs and explained that yes, humans are healthiest when eating a large amount of varied plant foods, but that we would be wrong to ignore the small amounts of animal products that many of us so essentially need. “Most human bodies run optimally on the occasional animal product. Eggs and bits of meat every so often are small but very important parts of a healthy diet.” she said, a look of sorrow on her face. She could see how hard this was for me.

She told me that while there are people who can be quite healthy on a vegan, or predominantly vegan, diet, there were many people who simply could not. After all, every human is biologically and physiologically different, she explained. I listened patiently, refuting her claims with the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years. After all, I wasn’t just a regular vegan, I was a hardcore, self-righteous and oh so judgmental vegangelical. I never passed up an opportunity for some preaching. She was prepared. Just as patiently she explained how many of the ‘facts’ I was quoting were just plain wrong, or had been presented in a way that distorted the truth. It was horrifying and I almost passed out in her office because I was so worked up.

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The reaction to this blog post was enormous (her blog server crashed from the overload) - lots of support and criticism, people who didn't believe her and insisted she was just doing something wrong, and then the outright nasty, which includes threats of violence, so she eventually was forced to shut down commenting. It's also quite revealing of how vegans, self-proclaimed lovers of peace and life, can be unrelentingly vicious, particularly when their lifestyles are questioned. Read her response to the comments in this second post here.

That said, I'm kind of interested in trying out some of her vegan recipes on the blog...which includes a link to how to make vegan nutella aklsjdajsd
ETA: Remember she lives in Saudi Arabia.

Part of David Cameron's 'Great Society' = intimidating and beating up schoolchildren, apparently

Inside the Whitehall kettle
by Laurie Penny

It's the coldest day of the year, and I've just spent seven hours being kettled in Westminster. That sounds jolly, doesn't it? It sounds a bit like I went and had a lovely cup of tea with the Queen, rather than being trapped into a freezing pen of frightened teenagers and watching armed police kidney-punching children, six months into a government that ran an election campaign on a platform of fairness. So before we go any further, let's remind ourselves precisely what kettling is, and what it's for.

Take a protest, one whose premise is uncomfortable for the administration - say, yesterday's protest, with thousands of teenagers from all over London walking out of lessons and marching spontaneously on Westminster to voice their anger at government cuts to education funding which will prevent thousands from attending college and university. Toss in hundreds of police officers with riot shields, batons, dogs, armoured horses and meat wagons, then block the protesters into an area of open space with no toilets, food or shelter, for hours. If anyone tries to leave, shout at them and hit them with sticks. It doesn't sound like much, but it's effective.

I didn't understand quite how bad things had become in this country until I saw armed cops being deployed against schoolchildren in the middle of Whitehall. These young people joined the protest to defend their right to learn, but in the kettle they are quickly coming to realise that their civil liberties are of less consequence to this government than they had ever imagined The term 'kettle' is rather apt, given that penning already-outraged people into a small space tends to make tempers boil and give the police an excuse to turn up the heat, and it doesn't take long for that to happen. When they understand that are being prevented from marching to parliament by three lines of cops and a wall of riot vans, the kids at the front of the protest begin to moan. "It's ridiculous that they won't let us march," says Melissa, 15, who has never been in trouble before. "We can't even vote yet, we should be allowed to have our say."

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