February 11th, 2011

UK government to announce law to remove gay sex crimes from criminal records

 The government is to finally announce the full details of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, that will among other issues remove convictions for now legal consensual gay sex from criminal records. The move, first announced during the general election campaign in an article for PinkNews.co.uk by the prime minister David Cameron will end decades of mistreatment by the state of gay men.

It is expected that the full details of the Protection of Freedoms Bill will be announced later today. These will include moves to narrow the scope of the DNA database, introduce restrictions on CCTV cameras and a scaling back on the checks on people working with children.

The move of most significance to the gay community will be the deletion of criminal records.

In 1967, consensual gay sex was decriminalised in England and Wales for males over the age of 21, it took until 1980 for decriminalisation in Scotland and 1982 for decriminalisation in Northern Ireland.

In 1994, the age of consent for gay men was reduced from 21 to 18, and in 2000, it was reduced further to 16, equalising with the age of consent for straight people.

However, these changes in the law were not retrospective, so there are a considerable number of men who are required to disclose that they have a criminal record for a sexual offence, despite the action that they took part in being completely legal now.

These convictions need to be disclosed when applying for certain jobs and even for volunteering in hospitals or with children as they will be listed on a person’s Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) certificate.

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Source: Pink News

Not enough to get me actually liking the Tories (I'm a Northerner... ain't gonna happen), but nice move nonetheless.

Montana House votes to repeal medical marijuana law

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana House of Representatives voted Thursday to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law.

The 63-to-37 vote, largely along party lines in the Republican-controlled chamber, pushed Montana to the front lines of a national debate about social policy, economics and health as medical marijuana use has surged in the 15 states and the District of Columbia that allow its use.

“We were duped,” said the House speaker, Mike Milburn, a Republican and sponsor of the repeal bill, who said he thought that the arguments about medical use had been a pretext for encouraging recreational use and creating a path to full legalization. He said he feared gang drug wars in Montana’s cities and debilitation of its youth.

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Source needs a new bong.

I can't understand why Montana is so utterly reluctant to embrace the MMJ industry-- I moved here from CO in the middle of both states' booms, and the differences in approach are like night and day. Some of the other proposals up here have just been ridiculous, this 'backup bill' that some asshole legislator from some tiny town out in east bumfuck Montana proposed basically makes MMJ patients have to jump through ridiculous hoops, and forces the pain patients to be on what is presumably a strong opiate regimen first, it's fucking insane. That, and I had no idea people didn't see MMJ as (partially) backdoor legalization; I was talking to my mom about it when she voted on Colorado's MMJ law, she was all like 'of course I knew it was basically sneaky legalization, it's one of the reasons I voted for it!', and since it's become a huge industry for my home state, as well as a moneymaker for the state government, this epic fear is something I just can't understand.

Maybe if we could just cast off eastern Montana and give it to the Dakotas, this state would be more sane? :P

Teabagger gets 8 years for beating Obama supporter with a pool cue

Tea Party member gets 8 years for attacking Obama supporter

LAWRENCEVILLE — A Gwinnett judge sentenced a tea party member to serve eight years in prison for attacking and hospitalizing a President Barack Obama supporter during a 2009 bar room altercation, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Jurors convicted Carnesville resident Larry Morgan, 39, of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated battery this week for smashing several bones in the victim’s face with a pool cue on Jan. 31, 2009 — a few days after Obama’s inauguration. Deliberations took only an hour.

The single blow, which broke the pool stick in half, happened about 1:30 a.m. at Will Henry’s Tavern in Stone Mountain, said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Taylor, who prosecuted.

The victim, Patrick O’Neill, then 24, was hospitalized for five days and endured a months-long recovery. He testified that he suffered numerous facial fractures, including a broken nose and orbital ethmoid bone, Taylor said.

“The pictures of his injuries were some of the most egregious pictures I have seen,” Taylor said. “(He) is very lucky to be alive.”

According to testimony, trouble began when Morgan was talking to other bar patrons about his negative feelings about Obama, when one of O’Neill’s friends said he had voted for the president.

Morgan replied, “Well, you are stupid as hell,” before making some racist comments or jokes, witnesses testified, Taylor said.
All people involved were white, she said.

Later, O’Neill and his friend were laughing about or poking fun at Morgan’s comments when he became angry, fetched a pool cue and broke it across O’Neill’s face. The impact was so forceful that the victim had no memory of being struck or the circumstances leading up to it, Taylor said.

Morgan, who testified he considers himself a tea party member, told the court he was acting in self-defense. He claimed O’Neill and his friend had threatened “to beat him up in the parking lot,” Taylor said, recalling testimony.

Witnesses for the prosecution testified that Morgan tried to run from the scene, but a bouncer and other individuals held him down until police arrived.

Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner sentenced Morgan immediately after the verdict, and he was taken into custody. He had been free on bond for more than two years after spending a day in jail.

There was no video of the incident, Taylor said.

The jury acquitted Morgan of one count of criminal damage to property in the second degree. That count was related to a window behind O’Neill that was broken in the attack.

Testimony conflicted as to whether the victim fell back into the window after being hit or if the splintered pool cue broke it, Taylor said.

“It wasn’t clear how the window was broken,” she said.

Pride & Prejudice

To us, it's an obscure shift of tax law. To the City, it's the heist of the century.

You thought elections counted for something? Look at what wasn’t in the manifesto.

“I would love to see tax reductions,” David Cameron told an interviewer at the weekend, “but when you’re borrowing 11 per cent of your GDP, it’s not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn’t.” Oh no? Then how come he’s planning the biggest and crudest corporate tax cut in living memory?

If you’ve heard nothing of it, you’re in good company. The obscure adjustments the government is planning to the tax acts of 1988 and 2009 have been missed by almost everyone. They are, anyway, almost impossible to understand without expert help. But as soon as you grasp the implications, you realise that a kind of corporate coup d’etat is taking place. Like the dismantling of the NHS and the sale of public forests, no one voted for these measures, as they weren’t in the manifestos. Collapse )


Sarah Palin too close to Scientology lobby to oppose it

Thursday's War Room publication of The Church of Scientology's friends in Washington is drawing no shortage of public attention to the growing lobby the Church of Scientology now boasts. According to the report, which follows another recent exploration of the issue by The New Yorker, the church of Scientology avoids "official" political donations, but prominent members still support politicians and politicians return the favor.

Former Rep. Ben Gilman, R-N.Y., received thousands from the church, and, in return, as chairman of the International Relations Committee, he complained on several occasions that European nations were discriminating against Scientology. Florida's Mark Foley was a Scientology ally. (It was rumored that he checked into a church-affiliated recovery center after his resignation from Congress.) As a state legislator, Nevada's Sharron Angle supported a Scientology-affiliated drug treatment therapy program for prisoners.

The Church of Scientology infamously espouses a system of beliefs and related practices created by fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, starting in 1952 as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature. The story of Xenu is part of Scientologist teachings about extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in Earthly events, collectively described as space opera by Hubbard.

Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as "auditing", in which practitioners aim to re-experience consciously painful or traumatic events in their past, in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Study materials and auditing courses are made available to members in return for specified donations. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States and other countries, and the Church of Scientology emphasizes this as proof that it is a bona fide religion.

Over time, however, Scientology and its practices have grown immensely controversial. There are, of course, the previously reported stories of "rampant physical abuse of underlings" by church head David Miscavige, the church's large contingency of underage workers signed to "billion-year contracts" performing manual labor "for little to no money," and the tales of the church "separating families and milking its members for thousands of dollars." As highlighted in the War Room piece, the church is even under investigation by the FBI "for what could amount to human trafficking."

Consequently, there is no shortage of brewing opposition to the Church of Scientology gaining power inside the Federal Government. In the wake of recent headlines, many Tea Party activists have grown vocal against prominent political figures growing so cozy to a church about which millions of Americans have legitimate concerns. But, to date, Sarah Palin has not answered calls from fellow Tea-Partiers to speak up and demand that elected officials not accept financial donations from the church of Scientology and its members until more questions are answered about the religious organization's questionable practices.

Sarah Palin, of course, is no stranger to Scientology and, as a result, may not readily join the large and growing anti-Scientology movement. As coverage from the War Room notes, "Sarah Palin is personal friends with prominent Scientologists Greta Van Susteren and her husband, attorney John Coale. Coale helped Palin start her PAC -- and he once proposed starting a Scientology PAC, in the 1980s."



Dad sentenced for teen son's deadly rampage

A German court has sentenced the father of a teenager who went on a shooting rampage in 2009 for negligent manslaughter, saying he facilitated a crime that ended in 16 deaths.

The court gave Joerg Kretschmer, a shooting club member who owned 15 guns, a 21-month suspended sentence for leaving the pistol used by his son, Tim, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition unsecured.

"Weapons and ammunition were not separated sufficiently," Judge Reiner Skujat said.

Police had said 14 of the father's guns were stored in a safe as required by law, but the 9-mm Beretta used by Tim had been left in his father's bedroom.

Clad in black combat gear, Tim, 17, opened fire on students in a classroom at his former school in the southern town of Winnenden, killing nine students, three teachers, and three others before shooting himself dead when cornered by police.

Dozens of victims' relatives took part as plaintiffs in the prosecution of Kretschmer the father, 52, who had sought an acquittal and remained mostly silent in courtroom appearances.

Prosecutors had said he was probably aware of the fragile mental state of his son, who had been treated for depression before breaking off treatment.

The killings prompted calls for a tightening of gun laws in Germany that are already far stricter than in the United States, where such shootings are more common.


Comrade Walker plans to destroy state unions, I will lose my home in the process.

MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker says he wants to end the ability of state employee unions to negotiate anything but their salaries.

It’s part of a larger bill he’ll introduce Friday to cover a $137 million revenue shortfall in the current state budget that ends June 30th.
Walker’s plan would stop giving the unions a say on their benefits and work rules – and they could only get pay raises up to the rate of inflation, unless voters approve higher raises in a referendum. But law enforcement and fire department unions would be exempt from these limits. Those groups supported Walker in last fall’s election.

The Republican Walker told one media outlet that none of this should be a surprise, and – “The shock would be if we didn’t go forward with this.”

He said it was necessary to avoid the layoffs of 6,000 state employees – and to avoid 200,000 kids from being dropped from Wisconsin’s Medicaid health programs for the poor.

Walker will say more at a news conference Friday morning. Democrats said he was “declaring war” on union employees.

Unlike private sector unions, which are governed by federal law, state unions are governed only by a pair of state laws that are 40 years old. Walker’s proposal would also stop requiring employees to pay union dues if they don’t join. And it would wipe the ability of UW employees to form unions – a right they won just 2 years ago from Democrats and former Governor Jim Doyle.

Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee said Walker’s measure would remove the experience of the state’s most dedicated workers and, “flush it down the toilet.” But Republican finance co-chair Alberta Darling says if nothing’s done now, “We’re never going to get control of labor costs.”

But not all Republicans are on board. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said a lot of questions need to be asked – and he’s not sure if it has the votes to pass right now.

The budget repair bill would also make state employees pay over 12 percent of their health insurance costs and almost 6 percent of their pensions. It refinances $165 million in state debt, and pushes principal payments into the next budget.

Health officials would have new power to cut Medicaid costs, but the finance committee could reject their plans if it chooses. And some civil service posts would become political appointees of the governor – including chief legal counsels and agency spokesmen.


Walker budget plan would limit state unions to negotiating only on salaries

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker wants to help fix state finances by cutting benefits for union workers and wiping away their ability to negotiate over anything but their wages, setting up a potentially explosive battle in the Capitol.
That would mean public worker unions would not have any say on benefits and work rules and would face a new restriction on salary increases as well.
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This ignorant ass has had a vendetta against organized workers since his days in Milwaukee. I did the math, and his proposed increases would be the equivalent of not one, but TWO lost mortgage payments taken out of my family's paychecks per year. We can barely make the payments now, and between me and my husband, we work two full-time state jobs AND three more part-time ones.  My sources tell me this will all be enacted retroactively, too, if Walker has his way.

The National Guard was put on alert in Wisconsin last week in anticipation of pissing off the 40,000+ workers in the unions; not many know that.

Fox News Declares Brown People Cant Haz Democracy, Not in Their Nature

What Kind of a Foolish Fool Thinks He Can Foolishly Believe He Can Foolishly Spread Democracy in the Middle East on a Foolish Feverish Dream?

Former Bush-Cheney National Spokesman Thinks Muslims Are Incapable Of Democracy: ‘This Is The Middle East’

This morning on Fox News, anchor Martha MacCallum hosted a panel of three experts that was very hostile towards the idea of backing the protesters in Egypt. MacCallum pointed out that people in Tahrir Square “want democracy, they’re tired of being repressed, they want something better,” but her point was immediately challenged by former CIA agent (and frequent Fox guest) Michael Scheuer, who said that only “ill-educated Americans” think that Muslims would reach for an “alien ideology” like democracy. Terry Holt, a former national spokesman for the 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, immediately agreed, saying “unfortunately, this is the Middle East” before suggesting he supported the Mubarak dictatorship:

MACCALLUM: What about the argument that these people — you know, you hear them, you listen to what they’re saying in that square, they want democracy, they’re tired of being repressed, they want something better.

SCHEUER: Well Martha, you know, it is only in the minds of ill-educated Americans and especially their leaders to expect 32 million Muslims to reach for — in a time of violence and uncertainty and tumult, to reach for an alien ideology like secular democracy instead of reaching towards a thousand years of faith and trust in Islam. It is absolutely counter-intuitive to believe that people will reach for the strange, rather than for the familiar and trusted. And I really think that —

HOLT: I would like to say — can I say — I appreciate people’s sympathy and interest in democracy, that’s an American instinct. But unfortunately in this case, this is the Middle East. And the traditions there do not support their embracing — if they were allowed to vote in an open election, they would put themselves vulnerable, and make us vulnerable, to dangerous terrorism. Egypt has been our friend as an intelligence gathering operation and we need to realize the reality of the situation.
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once upon a time

How is this NOT a violation of the First Amendment?

Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich is throwing the book at dozens of people arrested during recent political demonstrations — a major shift in city policy that has him pressing for jail time in types of cases that previous prosecutors had treated as infractions.

Some of the activists arrested, including eight college students and one military veteran who took part in a Westwood rally last year in support of the DREAM Act, face up to one year in county jail.

Trutanich's aggressive stance is the latest episode in the city's decades-long legal struggle over the rights of protesters. The Los Angeles Police Department's treatment of demonstrators at the 2000 Democratic National Convention and at a 2007 May Day rally at MacArthur Park led to lawsuits against the city.

Trutanich said in an interview that recent demonstrations, conducted without permits, had cost the city thousands of dollars for police response and disrupted traffic. Organizers of illegal protests should face consequences, he said.

"My whole deal is predictability," he said. "In order for us to have a civilized society, there has to be a predictable result when you break the law. I want to make sure that they don't do it again."

The new policy, he added, was designed with an eye on what he called "professional" protesters who demonstrate repeatedly — sometimes for pay, he said — and never seem to be punished for their illegal activities.

"There's a right way and a wrong way" to protest, Trutanich said. "When you break the law, it's a not a mainstream 1st Amendment activity. You have the right to protest; you don't have the right to break the law."

Critics, including civil liberties advocates and at least one City Council member, accuse him of overkill and say his policies could imperil legitimate free speech.

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Sheriff’s deputy resigns after posting ‘homophobic’ comments on news websites

A 13-year veteran of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office resigned this week amid allegations that he posted “racial and homophobic” comments on local news websites, using his county computer while on duty.

Lt. Jeff Egnor, posting under the screen name “Abu Mybutt”, allegedly made hundreds of postings websites operated by KMGH-TV and KUSA-TV, according to Undersheriff Tony Spurlock.

KMGH-TV reports:

Egnor commented on various stories from police shootings to the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that will let gay soldiers serve openly in the military.

“New miltary slogans: The few, the queer, the Marines! Butt Rangers lead the way! Be as gay as you can be! Aim for a high hard one, Air Force! Join the Navy, see naked men!” Egnor posted on Dec. 20, 2010, misspelling military.

Two similar posts: “Now we have a new weapon against our enemies: the sissy slap! :-P” and “I hear the Army is forming a new division: The Rump Rangers! :-D.”

Egnor also made comments about religious figures and attacked liberals, saying Democrats are ruining the United States.

The Sheriff’s Office investigation began Monday following a tip from KMGH-TV, which discovered that the IP address of the computer was traced back to county government offices. The station was responding to complaints by users about the inflammatory remarks being posted on its website, thedenverchannel.com.

“It was determined it was Lt. Jeff Egnor’s computer,” said Sgt. Ron Hanavan, a sheriff’s spokesman.

On some days, Egnor had more than a dozen posts during work hours, which Spurlock said violates the county policy that says work computers are for performance of official job duties.

Although the allegations are not criminal in nature, the Sheriff’s Office does not condone expressing personal opinions in public forums when the employee is working and using office equipment, said Hanavan.

Toshiko Sato is cute as a bloody button

Because I hadn't even *heard* of World Book Night before I saw this...

World Book Night branded 'misguided and misjudged'
Independent booksellers and authors say the million-book giveaway will damage trade and writers' incomes

Three weeks ahead of the inaugural World Book Night book-giving event on 5 March, a row has broken out over whether the event will damage independent booksellers and harm authors.

World Book Night, dubbed "the largest book giveaway ever", will see 20,000 members of the public giving away 48 copies of their favourite book – chosen from a list of titles that includes work by Margaret Atwood, John le Carré, Sarah Waters, David Mitchell and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. In total, one million books will be gifted on the night.

Masterminded by Jamie Byng, managing director of publisher Canongate, the event has a roster of starry supporters and will receive extensive coverage on BBC2. Many of the authors – who will all waive the royalties on their books – have given World Book Night enthusiastic public support, with Atwood saying she was "amazed by its magnitude".

But Vanessa Robertson, who owns the Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, has claimed that, far from spreading the joy of reading, World Book Night will simply flood the market with free books and devalue the work of authors in the eyes of the public.

In a highly critical blog posted on the website State of Independents Robertson says many booksellers are "horrified" by the "misguided and misjudged" venture.

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There's an interesting-looking fist-fight going on in the comments with someone who I think is claiming to be Andrew Bentley-Steed and who is claiming to have been heavily misquoted.

More generally, I'm not certain what I think about this one, though as an event it sounds like fun. And haven't we heard these 'it will kill the market' arguments before about online presses, ebooks etc?
once upon a time

Dodging Disney In The Delivery Room

Typically, the last thing you'd want to see in the hospital is a mouse. Especially on the maternity ward. But earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Disney has begun sending sales reps into 580 hospitals nationwide. The reps are offering new moms, within hours of giving birth, a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit for their babies if they sign up for e-mail alerts from DisneyBaby.com. The idea is to encourage mothers to infuse their infants with brand loyalty as if it is mother's milk.

Suddenly the delivery room command to "push" has a whole new meaning.

Disney Baby is modeled on the staggering success among preschoolers of the Disney Princess, launched in 2000 after a Disney executive noticed little girls at an ice show dressed in — horrors! — homemade princess outfits. That massive branding opportunity was soon corrected, and within a decade Disney Princess went from earning $300 million a year to an annual $4 billion. There are currently more than 26,000 Disney Princess products.

Now, Disney has identified another problem: Children are not becoming consumers of its products until preschool, resulting in a good three years of potential revenue loss. Getting an expectant mom thinking about her family's first theme-park visit while her child was in the womb, an exec told the Times, would be like hitting "a home run."

I've spent the past three years looking at the ways the Princess Industrial Complex transformed the culture of little girlhood — the long-term impact of the 24/7, 365-days-a-year royal press of pink and pretty on our daughters' femininity, sexuality and identity. But reading about the attempt to turn fetuses into consumers made me wonder whether it's time to have a larger conversation about the wisdom and ethics of marketing to small children of either sex.

Disney called the apparel giveaway a "beachhead" for its newborn products. Doubtless, once that beachhead is breached, as with the Princesses, every other corporation will come flooding in to stake its claim. The Advertising Educational Foundation already hails infants 1 year and under as — and I quote — "a more informed, influential and compelling audience than ever before." Children as young as 12 months, the foundation adds, can recognize brands and are "strongly influenced" by advertising and marketing. Like that's a good thing.

The truth is, some studies show that children under 8 years old can't distinguish between ads and entertainment. Until then, they don't fully comprehend that advertising is trying to sell them something. That gives marketers an unfair — not to mention predatory — advantage over our kids. No wonder so many other countries have tight restrictions on marketing to children under age 12.

As for parents — I recall those hours in the hospital room with my baby girl as among my most vulnerable as a mother. I was exhausted. I was exhilarated. I was scared. I was thrilled. Here was this baby, this bundle of endless potential, this open question of a being who suddenly, miraculously existed and was in my care. My hopes and dreams for her were boundless, but I'm pretty sure they did not involve the brands she'd someday buy.

At least for that moment, at least for those few years, can't parents and their children have the magic without the Magic Kingdom?


Right. That does it. Between this and some hospitals barring you from filming your newborn, if I ever have kids, I'm doing it at home, with an experienced mid-wife, and it'll be orgasms all the way. 
franklin sherman

All kinds of libertarian lulz to be had at CPAC

Infighting in the republican party at CPAC. Lets watch the show.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson Gives amazing speech about making real cuts including healthcare, medicade, defense and the war on drugs.
"Half of what we spend on law enforcement is drug related. Calls for marijuana legalization. Gets "played off" before his speech ends.

Reason covers "THE GAY WARS," the philosophical fights between pro-rights libertarians, and anti-gay republicans. "And they are all homosexualists who smoke marijaywanna." "Not all of them, but they are at least friendly to gay people." o_O

Rand paul calls for defense cuts, along side of domestic spending cuts.A gasoline powered alarm clock that has been rated by energy-star for energy efficiency. They'll approve anything. Calls for "gradual, rational" cuts.

Dick Cheney Called a WAR CRIMINAL and DRAFT DODGER

Never-been-elected-to-anything Donald Trump calls been-elected-more-then-five-times Ron Paul "unelectable" during speech. Crowd Boos. Trump is going to get the ron paulies everywhere he goes from on. Rand Paul says "I think his chances are less than my father's."



The people have spoken! They want HARRY BAALS!

Now that I have your attention...


A former Indiana mayor who won four terms in the 1930s and 1950s is proving less popular with modern-day city leaders, who say they probably won't name a new government center for him because of the jokes his moniker could inspire.

Harry Baals is the runaway favorite in online voting to name the new building in Fort Wayne, about 120 miles northeast of Indianapolis. But Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy said that probably won't be enough to put the name of the city's longest-tenured mayor on the center.

The issue is pronunciation. The former mayor pronounced his last name "balls." His descendants have since changed it to "bales."

Supporters said it's unfair that the former mayor can't be recognized simply because his name makes some people snicker. But opponents fear that naming the center after Baals would make Fort Wayne the target of late-night television jokes.

"We realize that while Harry Baals was a respected mayor, not everyone outside of Fort Wayne will know that," Malloy said Tuesday in a statement to The Associated Press. "We wanted to pick something that would reflect our pride in our community beyond the boundaries of Fort Wayne."

An online site taking suggestions for names showed more than 1,000 votes Tuesday for the Harry Baals Government Center. That's more than three times the votes received by the closest contender.

Jim Baals, 51, who has lived in the city his entire life, said it's unfortunate that his great-uncle's name won't be considered for the building.

"Harry served four terms and was a wonderful mayor. I don't know what the problem is," he said. "I understand people are going to poke fun at it. That's OK. I've lived with that name for 51 years now and I've gotten through it. I think everybody else can, too."

City spokesman Frank Suarez said the city has no regrets about opening the name selection up to people online.

"It is a new way of reaching out to the community," he said. "The fact that 17,000 votes have come in tell us the buzz created by this is really good. When was the last time somebody could say they had fun with their government? We've had fun with this."

Suarez told The Journal Gazette that Mayor Tom Henry will meet with local groups and choose from up to 10 finalists from the suggestions submitted. Online voting ends Friday.
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Books, Social Networking and Kashmir

Kashmiri narrative is emerging

Walk into a bookstore, and you are drawn to a stack of titles on Kashmir conflict. Though non-Kashmiri writers have authored most of these books, there has been a refreshing change over the years with local writers attempting to give a local perspective of the intractable conflict. Now you can find Victoria Schofield, Sumantra Bose, Sumit Ganguly, M J Akbar and others alongside Basharat Peer and Mirza Waheed.

The local narrative is important given the prevailing climate of opinion in India about Kashmir.The debate about Kashmir has been conducted primarily by sensational journalism in India. The negative image of Kashmiris among the Indian people receive daily reinforcement from the news media. As a result, to the average Indian newspaper reader, Kashmiris and secessionists have become almost interchangeable terms. In the absence of any contact with real Kashmiris in daily life, many have accepted this kind of image as a substitute.

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Source: Rising Kashmir
Social networking and Kashmir
These sites have emerged as a fast means of circulating news for beleaguered residents of Valley
Zahoor Hussain Bhat

Through social networking, internet users use networks of online friends and group memberships to keep in touch with friends, reconnect with old friends or create real–life friendships. Some social networking sites help members find a job or establish business contacts.
Most social networking websites also offer additional features. In addition to blogs and forums, members can express themselves by designing their profile page to reflect their personality. The most popular extra features include music and video sections. Members can read bios of their favorite music artists from the artist's profile page as well as listen to their favorite songs and watch music videos.

Users are making decisions and getting information from conversations taking place on social networking sites, online tools that help people connect with others who share similar interests, or with those who are interested in exploring new interests and activities. Social networking sites can help organizations to increase awareness about an issue, find signatures for a petition, and encourage supporters to take action.

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Source: Rising Kashmir

North Dakota House passes bill criminalizing killing unborn from conception

A strong majority of lawmakers in the North Dakota House of Representatives on Friday afternoon passed a law that would make it illegal to murder any human being from the moment of their conception.

The Defense of Human Life Act, HB 1450, recognizes every human being at any stage of development as a person under state law with a right to protection.

“The overwhelming community and legislative support for HB 1450 proves that North Dakota could be the first state to recognize the value and dignity of every living human being,” stated Representative Dan Ruby. “The Defense of Human Life Act is just common sense. Of course every human being is a person, and every innocent person should receive legal protection. I am motivated to see women and children protected by HB 1450, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate in the near future.”


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