September 18th, 2011

time, melting, moving, running, busy

Deprived of mosque, Paris Muslims pray in fire station

Latest update: 17/09/2011

Parisian Muslims escaped a government ban on street prayers Friday when some 5,000 worshippers piled into a makeshift mosque in the north of the capital.

By Sarah LEDUC / Sophie PILGRIM (text)

After years of unfurling prayer mats on streets, pavements and in bicycle lanes, Parisian Muslims on Friday were finally able to put their foreheads to the ground somewhere they knew they weren’t stopping traffic. Not quite a mosque yet, their new place of worship is a 2,000-square-metre disused fire station in the north of the capital.

The building’s inauguration Friday afternoon, which saw thousands of Muslims welcomed from across Paris, also marked the first day of a ban on street prayers that had long been promised by France's right-wing government. “Praying in the streets will stop [on Friday],” Interior Minister Claude Gueant told French conservative daily Le Figaro Thursday. “We could go so far as to use force if needed,” he added, although he said he believed it unnecessary.

Collapse )
  • wemblee

Ever-increasing tax breaks for U.S. families eclipse benefits for special interests

As President Obama and congressional Republicans argue over how to rewrite the U.S. tax code, the debate has revolved around "loopholes" for corporate jets and ending "carve-outs" for well-heeled special interests. But if the goal is debt reduction, that's not where the money is.

Broad tax breaks granted to millions of families at all income levels dwarf the corporate giveaways. Over the past two years, largely because of these popular benefits in the federal income tax code, the government has reached a rare milestone in tax collection -- it has given away as much as it takes in.

Collapse )

source: WaPo

Notes: I'll admit: as a dyed-in-the-wool commie-pinko, this rattled me. While I know that the US pays the least income taxes of any "first world" nation, I always thought that the money corporations kept via their tax loopholes had to dwarf the amount kept by upper-middle-class and wealthy families'. Then again, the fact that those two income levels are all I look at -- I mean, that's an ideological lens. Not that this article doesn't have ideological lenses of its own.

Issues I had: It repeats the "half of Americans pay no income taxes" thing without adding that there's a very good reason for that -- they're too poor to pay income taxes. I think that's irresponsible journalism. Also irresponsible scare-mongering: "low-income families whose tax bills were so small that the government had to write them checks to make sure they received the full value." Come on, WaPo.

Stuff I found interesting: That when Republicans and Democrats want to aid people, they do it through tax breaks, so they can act like they're not big spenders and instead are "anti-tax." Due to a mix of ideology (Republicans) and fear of being seen as someone who raises taxes (Republicans and Democrats). Of course, that's a bed the Republicans made. Which says to me that there really needs to be a re-branding/re-framing of taxes as a patriotic duty. Or, you know, as "a sensible way to raise revenue for the government services you want and need" (lolololol like my fellow Americans care about sense.)

The South Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie

Karen L. Cox is an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the author of “Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture.”

IF you go by the sheer number of programs and casting calls, reality television has become thoroughly Dixiefied. Whether it’s Lifetime’s “Glamour Belles,” truTV’s “Lizard Lick Towing” or CMT’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” series purporting to show a slice of Southern life are huge, and getting bigger: more than a dozen new programs have been introduced so far this year, while others have been renewed for second or even third seasons.

Such shows promise new insight into Southern culture, but what they really represent is a typecast South: a mythically rural, white, poorly educated and thickly accented region that has yet to join the 21st century. If you listen closely, you may even hear banjos.

These stereotypical depictions are insulting to those who live in the region and know that a more diverse South exists. Even worse, they deny the existence of a progressive South, or even progressive Southerners.

Southern reality TV programs fall into a few subcategories. Sometimes, producers seek to portray the South as culturally foreign to the rest of America, and they choose characters or remote locations that reinforce this image.

The History channel’s “Swamp People,” for example, focuses on alligator-hunting season in southern Louisiana by showcasing individuals who live and work in the Atchafalaya Swamp, thereby preserving their “ancient way of life.” The show uses subtitles to emphasize the cultural differences between the bayou and the rest of the country, even though the “stars” speak plain English.

Other shows focus on those Southerners that Americans feel as if they already know, like Southern belles and hillbillies. In its own bid to buy into the trend, Animal Planet has given us “Hillbilly Handfishin’,” in which two Oklahomans, Skipper Bivins and his pal Trent Jackson, teach people, generally big-city Northerners, how to catch catfish by using their own limbs as bait.

Then there’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” a Dixiefied version of “The Bachelorette,” only in this setting she is choosing between city slickers and Southern boys. It’s not unlike the show with the catfish duo: both feature a competition between country and city or, put more pointedly, North and South. The message is reduced to a Hank Williams Jr. song: a country boy can survive.


Read more at the NY Times

wasn't really sure what tags to use...
shock-me-gray, bored, apathy

Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World

((I've only posted the first couple of pages of the article as it's very long. I suggest going to the source to read the rest. It's worth it. There are a lot of videos at the source as well.))

((Video at the source))The Practice Round: A year with Justin Canha, a young man with autism who is part of an new transition program to ready him for an independent life as an adult.

Published: September 17, 2011

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — For weeks, Justin Canha, a high school student with autism, a love of cartoons and a gift for drawing, had rehearsed for the job interview at a local animation studio.

As planned, he arrived that morning with a portfolio of his comic strips and charcoal sketches, some of which were sold through a Chelsea gallery. Kate Stanton-Paule, the teacher who had set up the meeting, accompanied him. But his first words upon entering the office were, like most things involving Justin, not in the script.

“Hello, everybody,” he announced, loud enough to be heard behind the company president’s door. “This is going to be my new job, and you are going to be my new friends.”

As the employees exchanged nervous glances that morning in January 2010, Ms. Stanton-Paule, the coordinator of a new kind of “transition to adulthood” program for special education students at Montclair High School, wondered if they were all in over their heads.

Collapse )
shock-me-gray, bored, apathy

Other states attack suicide from the top

By JACKIE BORCHARDT Star-Tribune staff writer | Posted: Sunday, September 18, 2011 12:15 am

They tried donuts, sandwiches, everything they could think of to entice doctors to share suicide prevention techniques and raise awareness.

But the doctors didn't come, even though the sessions were in their own offices, so the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Coalition gave up.

"We were trying everything to get in there," said Jean Davies, executive director of the Wyoming Meth Project and a coalition member. "Nobody was rude, but the only people who ended up coming weren't the people we were trying to reach."

Collapse )
If I could begin to be, Steven Universe

We could all use some happy news once in a while...


Mysterious paper sculptures at Edinburgh libraries

Those of you who don't keep up with Edinburgh's literary world

through Twitter may have missed the recent spate of mysterious paper
sculptures appearing around the city.

Guardian article, 3rd March 2011.

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came
across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the
library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed
to @byleaveswelive - the library's Twitter account - reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…
... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…
This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)
Collapse )

I recommend reading this right at the source itself, as source has a lot more pictures of the gorgeous sculpture and it reads like a story.

I'm glad someone out there is celebrating libraries in such a spectacular fashion, especially seeing as right now in my home city, the idiot of a mayor is looking to close down well-loved libraries in an effort to lower the budgets, and just recently said he didn't even know the name of one of the most famous authors of Canada. And the art lover in me is in raptures over the sculpture, they are gorgeous, exquisite, incredible.....!!!!!

I hope whoever the sculptor is remains a mystery, it seems so much more fitting that way.

Anyhow, I enjoyed reading this, and I thought the denizens of ONTD_P, (especially those from Edinburgh, Scotland) might really enjoy reading it too.

creepy but cute

Some Family’s 'Experiment' in 'Extreme Schooling'

My Family’s Experiment in Extreme Schooling
By Clifford J. Levy

Watch video at

The phone rang, and my stomach clenched when I heard her voice. “Daddy? I want to go home,” said my 8-year-old daughter, Arden. Two hours earlier, I dropped Arden and her two siblings off at their new school in a squat building in a forest of Soviet-era apartment blocks on Krasnoarmeyskaya (Red Army) Street in Moscow. They hugged me goodbye, clinging a little too long, and as I rode the metro to my office, I said a kind of silent prayer to myself that they would get through the day without falling apart.

But Arden had just spent the minutes between class periods hiding in the bathroom so no one would see her crying. Finally, she composed herself, found her teacher and pantomimed that she needed to talk to me. “I don’t understand . . . anything,” she told me. I tried to respond with soothing words, but I had no idea what to do. You can tell your kid to tough it out when she transfers from one school to another in your hometown. This was different.

My three children once were among the coddled offspring of Park Slope, Brooklyn. But when I became a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, my wife and I decided that we wanted to immerse them in life abroad. No international schools where the instruction is in English. Ours would go to a local one, with real Russians. When we told friends in Brooklyn of our plans, they tended to say things like, Wow, you’re so brave. But we knew what they were really thinking: What are you, crazy? It was bad enough that we were abandoning beloved Park Slope, with its brownstones and organic coffee bars, for a country still often seen in the American imagination as callous and forbidding. To throw our kids into a Russian school — that seemed like child abuse.

Most foreign correspondents, like expatriates in general, place their children in international schools. Yet it seemed to us like an inspiring idea. After all, children supposedly pick up language quickly. So what if mine did not speak a word of Russian and could not find Russia on a map. They were clever and resilient. They would adapt, become fluent and penetrate Russia — land of Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Hermitage Museum — in ways all but impossible for foreigners.
Collapse )
-Source (NYTIMES)

tbqh just posting this to read your entertaining comments on a Sunday night... don't fail me ONTDP ^_^

Troy Davis has three days.

Troy Davis’ life in board’s hands
World watches as group prepares to deliberate Wednesday execution

By Bill Rankin and Rhonda Cook

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The condemned in Georgia always have a long and tortuous journey to the execution chamber. But the case of Troy Anthony Davis, whose execution is set for Wednesday, has been perhaps the most extraordinary and controversial legal odyssey in the state’s history.

It also has generated the most worldwide attention of any Georgia case. On Thursday, Davis’ supporters gave the state Board of Pardons and Paroles the names of 663,000 people asking Davis be spared execution. Advocates are using social media to rally support and organize protests around the world.

Davis’ case has taken one unexpected turn after another since he was sentenced to death 20 years ago for the murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. On two occasions, the district attorney who put Davis on death row issued final statements believing nothing stood in the way of Davis’ execution, only to see the case reconsidered. On Monday, the parole board is scheduled to meet once again to determine whether Davis should live or die.

Even though Davis, 42, was condemned to die for killing a cop and prosecutors steadfastly stand behind his conviction, his innocence claims have attracted a host of dignitaries. Among them, former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher and former FBI Director William Sessions say Davis should be granted clemency. Collapse )


He's also got support from death penalty supporters including Bob Barr, a former member of Congress, and some leaders in the Southern Baptist church. (Another article that I couldn't C+P)

The Daily Fail had an article which suggested that police would NEVER coerce witnesses, especially when a case involved a cop-killer. I just- I don't even know what to do with that. Ugh.

Here's a petition:
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

RIP, Electron Boy :(

Obituary: Electron Boy lit up the lives of many

In real life he was Erik Martin, a Bellevue boy with a constellation of severe health problems and a rare form of cancer. But in his imagination he was Electron Boy, a superhero who saved Seattle from the forces of darkness and evil one spring day last year.

Erik died Friday at home. He was 14.

In April 2010, hundreds of volunteers in Seattle and Bellevue came together to make Erik's superhero story come true, in an elaborately choreographed event created by the Washington chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Wearing a handmade superhero costume that he had helped design, and riding in a DeLorean sports car, Erik rescued the Seattle Sounders from Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy. He saved a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) worker stuck in a bucket truck, rescued a group of people trapped on the observation deck of the Space Needle, and captured the villains, played to the hilt by Edgar Hansen and his sidekick Jake Anderson, both of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch."

Collapse )


Excuse me, I think I have to go cry a little now. :(
  • Current Music
    Chad Kroeger - Hero
  • Tags
Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

Some Levity...(kinda): Billionaires and businessmen come to blows over economy

In his skinny jeans and basketball boots, he may appear to be the model of a modern media mogul. But Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire owner of the Independent and London Evening Standard, has shown a flash of his old KGB steel (icwydt) after punching a businessman in the face during a Russian television show.

Lebedev, 51, knocked Sergei Polonsky, a property developer, from his chair as both men were appearing as guests on a show about the global financial crisis that was being recorded in Moscow for the NTV channel on Friday.

Collapse )

Not the Indy