June 5th, 2011

'Sexualised' children grow up too fast, say parents

A report into the sexualisation of children seems to have struck a chord with many parents.

Some of those wandering around a west London shopping centre on a quiet Saturday morning stopped to express their opinions on the Bailey Review, into the sexualisation and commercialization of childhood.

The document says parents should be able to buy computers, devices or internet services with adult content already blocked, rather than having to impose controls themselves.

It also calls for age-ratings on music videos and also suggests more advert controls, which the review says should keep advertising with sexual imagery away from schools and playgrounds.

Derek and Renata Holland, parents to a 7-year-old daughter, said that the sexualisation of children through such mediums as music videos and adverts has "already hit rock bottom, and we're past the point of no return".


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Darkness Too Visible

Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?

Amy Freeman, a 46-year-old mother of three, stood recently in the young-adult section of her local Barnes & Noble, in Bethesda, Md., feeling thwarted and disheartened.

She had popped into the bookstore to pick up a welcome-home gift for her 13-year-old, who had been away. Hundreds of lurid and dramatic covers stood on the racks before her, and there was, she felt, "nothing, not a thing, that I could imagine giving my daughter. It was all vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark stuff." She left the store empty-handed.

How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

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Oh dear LORD. I can't even begin to name everything that's wrong with this article. cleolinda has a good summary here.

Additional links collected via Twitter/cleolinda :

@maureenjohnson: Did YA help you? Let the world know how! Tell your story with a #YAsaves tag. And copy the @wsj for good measure.
@JackieKessler My response to the WSJ article that mentions [my book] RAGE: http://bit.ly/mUc6wr/ #YAsaves
@wsj: What young-adult fiction means to you: a selection of touching #YAsaves tweets http://bit.ly/myZFgt (Scroll with arrow keys.)

holy shit that is a lot of tags

The Death Sentence That Defined My Life

I HAVEN’T died on schedule.

Most people don’t think death has a schedule, at least a knowable one. But if you were infected early in the AIDS epidemic, you thought otherwise. At 61, I have now lived half my life with AIDS, my constant companion and distant cousin, the inseparable identity I won’t let define me, the everyday fact and special circumstance that bent the arc of my life in every way.

Although there was not yet a test for the disease, I mark the beginning of my AIDS life in 1982. It’s hard to imagine now the intensity of sexual liberation that gripped gay men then. Oppression was out. Freedom was ours, and we declared it with sex.

But after a tryst with a famous, closeted actor, a huge raincloud of a bruise appeared on my arm. I was hospitalized with a blood disorder that had no apparent explanation. Befuddled doctors guessed a lot, and asked if I drank gin and tonic. I told them it was my father’s drink. Less absurdly, the disorder had been seen among gay men in New York. The phrase “gay plague” was in the air, but no one knew what it was or how anyone got it. It seemed so random then, picking off strangers and acquaintances for no particular reason, but always, you told yourself, for reasons far from you. Then suddenly it wasn’t far from me at all. I left the hospital certain that I had “it.”

As the epidemic grew through the 1980s, all gay men lived with AIDS, whether infected or not. Thirty years ago today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of the disease. It was a helpless and terrifying time. Medical information grew. We learned about H.I.V. and sexual transmission, but everything was misty and qualified.


Read the entire essay at The New York Times
also made by nervous_girl

Queen decorates Nepali for Afghanistan heroics

LONDON (AFP) – A Nepalese soldier in the British army has been given a top bravery award by Queen Elizabeth II for his heroics in Afghanistan, where he single-handedly saw off more than 30 Taliban fighters.
Corporal Dipprasad Pun, 31, said he thought he was going to die and so had nothing to lose in taking on the attackers who overran his checkpoint.
He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC), which is given in recognition of acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.
Pun fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to repel the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.
Surrounded, the enemy opened fired from all sides and for 15 minutes Pun remained under continuous attack, including from rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 guns.
At one point, unable to shoot, he used his machine gun tripod to knock down a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.

Two insurgents were still attacking by the time he ran out of ammunition, but he set off a Claymore mine to repel them.
Pun was given his medal in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on Wednesday.
The CGC is second only to the Victoria Cross -- the highest honour for bravery in the face of the enemy.

"There wasn't any choice but to fight. The Taliban were all around the checkpoint. I was alone," he said.
"I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die so I thought I'd kill as many of them as I could before they killed me.
"After that I thought nobody can kill us now -- when we met the enemy I wasn't scared."
Britain's Major General Nicholas Carter, who was commander of allied forces in southern Afghanistan during Pun's deployment, praised his efforts.
"The CGC does not get handed out lightly. It was a most remarkable achievement," he said.

▲ algebraic

Your blimp won't save you now

Redistricting swipes Ron Paul

One nice thing about running for president from the House is that when things go wrong, you can usually return to a forgiving, uncompetitive, carefully gerrymandered seat in Congress.

Redistricting might make that tougher for Ron Paul this time around, according to the Texas Tribune:
Tea Party godfather Ron Paul, a 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential hopeful, would see his congressional district transformed in a new GOP map proposed Thursday night by Senate Redistricting Commitee Chair Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo.

District 14 would pick up about 300,000 new voters, including all of Jefferson County — where the city of Beaumont is located — and a bigger slice of Galveston County. The percentage of his voting-age constituents who are Anglo would drop from 61 percent in his current district to 57 percent in his new one, while the percentage of African Americans and Hispanics would increase from 35 percent to 39 percent.

Democratic operative Jeff Crosby believes the change is intended to target Paul, who has drawn a cult-like following among conservative activists but is not such a darling in the Texas Republican political establishment. While other congressmen have beaten a path to the Texas Capitol to give their two-cents (and more) about what their districts should look like, Paul has not been lobbying lawmakers.
The Texas map is far from final. And Paul's not alone in this predicament: Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter might run for president in part because he's losing his district. On the Democratic side, Dennis Kucinich is pondering a run for Congress in Washington state because he might lose his district in Ohio.


I might not personally be a Ron Paul fan, but ugh, gerrymandering is something I really truly loathe (and one of the few problems in which one can actually point fingers and say "both sides are bad", fwiw). Even though this is supposedly an attempt to fix previous problems it does sound like the Republicans are trying to elbow out people they don't like. As the Texas Tribute article linked shows, they also want to reshape Lloyd Doggett (Democrat from Austin)'s district to suit them, and I doubt the conniving stops there.

Recipient of lewd tweet criticizes New York Post story via Twitter

Gennette Cordova tried, really tried, to hold her tongue when the news media began stampeding her way last week. After word broke that she was the recipient of a now-infamous photo from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account, Cordova was suddenly in demand.

No interviews, said the 21-year-old college student. No comments about congressmen’s crotches, either. Stop asking and go away, she said.

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Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

Talking proper is aspirational not snobbish, pet

Oh, if we are going to be totally honest here, there were times when I couldn’t entirely understand what Cheryl Cole was saying on The X Factor.
‘Yew urr my cuppah, teah, with two sugars, pet.’ Eh? What the heck is she going on about?
And I am a lover of Geordie accents, with their built-in cheery kindliness and suggestion of steadfastness and humour. This is a total aural delusion, of course. For there must be just as many tricksters and psychopaths on Tyneside as there are anywhere else.

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  • namey


It appears that the Fox News graphic department doesn't know what their own employees look like.

During a segment reporting that Sarah Palin was undecided on whether  or not to jump into the 2012 presidential race, the news channel showed a  photo of Tina Fey imitating the former Republican vice presidential  candidate in 2008.

In 2009, Fox News management sent out a memo to employees saying that on-screen errors would no longer be tolerated.

"Effective immediately, there is zero tolerance for on-screen  errors," the memo said. "Mistakes by any member of the show team that  end up on air may result in immediate disciplinary action against those  who played significant roles in the 'mistake chain,' and those who  supervise them. That may include warning letters to personnel files,  suspensions, and other possible actions up to and including termination,  and this will all obviously play a role in performance reviews."

Moonlit Waters

Girls, pick your bedtime reading with care

Saints and rebels, mavericks and misfits... these are the role models of literature. But Samantha Ellis asks whether she learned the right lessons from their passionate and tortured lives.

Last summer I was on the Yorkshire moors, making the pilgrimage to Top Withens and arguing (over the wuthering) with my best friend about whether we'd rather be Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw. Like Kate Bush, I chose wild, free, passionate Cathy over stoic, virtuous Jane. But my friend found Cathy silly, a snob who betrays Heathcliff for Edgar and makes them all unhappy, while Jane makes her own way. As we reached the top, I had a moment of realisation: all this time I've been trying to be Cathy when I should have been trying to be Jane.

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What do you think? Did reading give you an unrealistic or unhealthy outlook on your own life? And goes without saying, but share your favorite literary characters who have influenced you!

Thirty Years Of HIV/AIDS And The Genocidal Legacy Of Ronald Reagan

 30 years ago today, on June 5, 1981, that the Center for Disease Control first published a report on the mysterious epidemic that we have now come to know as AIDS.

And while Republicans and the Tea Party proudly wallow in the revisionist life history of Ronald Reagan let us, the friends, the family, and the also the victims of this mans bigotry and homophobia remember the truth and continue to shout it to high heaven so it is never forgotten of the genocidal part that Reagan played that killed almost an entire generation of gay men.

Ronald Reagan was and always should be remembered as the President who helped bring back poverty to the masses, the President who changed American foreign policy, by selling arms to Iran, and forwarding the profits to right-wing Central American dictators to help fund their death squads, and most of all as the President who IS GUILTY of Genocide and Murder against the gay community and is personally responsible for the deaths of thousands who died of AIDS

Ronald Reagen deliberately ignored one of the deadliest diseases in history of the world which is now affecting over 70 million people around the globe all in the name of God, bigotry and homophobia.

In 1981 with the emergence of the AIDS epidemic also came the emergence of the Christian Right, who which Reagen ushered into power and disgustingly seized the moment as a sign of God's abhorrence for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Reagan, who saw the first signs of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, his first year in office, . said "maybe the Lord brought down the plague because illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."
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Source: The Bilerico Project