September 26th, 2011


Spreading Freedom: Google And The War For The Web

WASHINGTON -- You can't swing a dead cat video in Washington lately without hitting a lobbyist, consultant, attorney or adviser on retainer to Google or one of its tech rivals. Google, whose top executives have long been a bottomless cup of campaign coffee for Democrats, is finally entering its bipartisan phase, theatrically hiring Republican operatives and broadcasting the news through insider Washington publications, pumping air into a K Street tech bubble.

The shift in political strategy comes as Google faces a serious antitrust threat, punctuated by a high-profile hearing on the company held Wednesday afternoon in the Senate. But Google's investment in the infrastructure of the conservative movement goes much deeper than what's been reported this summer.

The company known for its progressive politics is now giving money to the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Republican Governors Association, the GOP firm The David All Group, Crossroads Strategies, the Republican Attorneys General Association and the Republican State Leadership Committee, among others. On Thursday, Google and Fox News cosponsored a Republican presidential debate.

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Redmen team name irks Saskatoon high school graduate

The name of the high school sports teams of Bedford Road Collegiate, the Redmen, continues to irk a graduate of the Saskatoon public school who claims the name and team logo are offensive.

"The name Redmen has become known as a slang term for First Nations' peoples, for the colour of their skin," Erica Lee, a graduate of the high school, told CBC News. "Coupled with the logo, which is a bright red Indian face, it's offensive."

Lee said she is hoping to gather support to have school officials change the name and logo. She has created a Facebook group on the topic, called "Bedford Road 'Redmen,' it’s time for change."

The social networking site also had a group which asserted it was not time for a change.

A spokesperson for the public school said officials are open to discussions about the issue.

Similar concerns about the team name and logo arose in 1996, but students of the day voted to keep things as they were.

Lee said a lot has changed in 15 years.


Here's a link to the FB page

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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Barack Obama, class warrior?

There's no chance that Obama's proposed jobs legislation will pass--and he knows it.


PRESIDENT OBAMA'S September 8 speech announcing his American Jobs Act and his subsequent proposal to raise taxes on the rich have a lot of liberals congratulating him.

Only a few weeks after threatening to withhold the AFL-CIO's support for Obama's reelection bid, the union federation's President Richard Trumka was right back on the Obama 2012 bandwagon. Commenting on the president's speech to Congress, Trumka said: "The President took an important and necessary step tonight: he started a serious national conversation about how to solve our jobs crisis. He showed working people that he is willing to go to the mat to create new jobs on a substantial scale."

Liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has at times been quite critical of the administration, conceded: "I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It's not nearly as bold as the plan I'd want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment."

Liberals who were even more vocally enraged with Obama's many capitulations to the Republicans were willing to forgive and forget. Michael Tomasky, writing in the Daily Beast, said: "This tax fight will be the great test of the Obama presidency. All else--stimulus, bailouts, financial reform, even health care--was prelude. The tax debate is the money shot. If he wins this one, all the failures, even the calamitous debt-ceiling agreement, can be forgiven. Mr. President: Show us the money."

For the institutional liberals who supply the machinery of the Democrats' get-out-the-vote operations on Election Day, Obama's "pivot" toward jobs gives them something to motivate their demoralized supporters about for 2012. Once again, a few empty words from Obama were enough for Trumka to forget his threats to punish an administration that has done virtually nothing to address the jobs crisis.

Just as predictable as liberals rallying round Obama were the voices from Republicans and conservative Democrats decrying or lamenting Obama's "class warfare." Right-wing Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin--a class warrior for the rich--told Fox News Sunday, "Class warfare may make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don't need a system that seeks to divide people. We don't need a system that seeks to prey on people's fear, envy and anxiety."

Mark Penn, the corporate-money-grubbing pollster and pundit who advised Hillary Clinton during her failed 2008 run for the Democratic presidential nomination against Obama, warned:

America is...upset with Obama, who they elected to bring the parties together in the Reaganesque style he championed as a candidate and bring a new generation to government. Instead, they see a tax-and-spend liberal trying to take taxes and spending to new levels. The independents and upper middle class voters who were with him last time are abandoning him in droves.

What Penn doesn't tell you is that Clinton and Obama had the same position on ending the Bush tax cuts in 2008. And the mythical "independent" voters whom Beltway pundits always cite as the reason why Democrats have to move rightwards were the supposed audience for Obama's "adult in the room" posture during the July/August fiasco over the federal debt ceiling. That didn't really work out too well, did it?

More at Source

Edit: Please read the rest of the article at the source. This isn't an support Obama piece.


Sentencing Shift Gives New Leverage to Prosecutors
Published: September 25, 2011

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After decades of new laws to toughen sentencing for criminals, prosecutors have gained greater leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants and reduce the number of cases that go to trial, often by using the threat of more serious charges with mandatory sentences or other harsher penalties.

Some experts say the process has become coercive in many state and federal jurisdictions, forcing defendants to weigh their options based on the relative risks of facing a judge and jury rather than simple matters of guilt or innocence. In effect, prosecutors are giving defendants more reasons to avoid having their day in court.

“We now have an incredible concentration of power in the hands of prosecutors,” said Richard E. Myers II, a former assistant United States attorney who is now an associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina. He said that so much influence now resides with prosecutors that “in the wrong hands, the criminal justice system can be held hostage.”

One crucial, if unheralded, effect of this shift is now coming into sharper view, according to academics who study the issue. Growing prosecutorial power is a significant reason that the percentage of felony cases that go to trial has dropped sharply in many places.

Plea bargains have been common for more than a century, but lately they have begun to put the trial system out of business in some courtrooms. By one count, fewer than one in 40 felony cases now make it to trial, according to data from nine states that have published such records since the 1970s, when the ratio was about one in 12. The decline has been even steeper in federal district courts.

Cases like Florida v. Shane Guthrie help explain why. After Mr. Guthrie, 24, was arrested here last year, accused of beating his girlfriend and threatening her with a knife, the prosecutor offered him a deal for two years in prison plus probation.

Mr. Guthrie rejected that, and a later offer of five years, because he believed that he was not guilty, his lawyer said. But the prosecutor’s response was severe: he filed a more serious charge that would mean life imprisonment if Mr. Guthrie is convicted later this year.

Because of a state law that increased punishments for people who had recently been in prison, like Mr. Guthrie, the sentence would be mandatory. So what he could have resolved for a two-year term could keep him locked up for 50 years or more.

The decrease in trials has also been a consequence of underfinanced public defense lawyers who can try only a handful of their cases, as well as, prosecutors say, the rise of drug courts and other alternative resolutions.

The overloaded court system has also seen comparatively little expansion in many places, making a huge increase in plea bargains a cheap and easy way to handle a near-tripling in felony cases over the past generation.

But many researchers say the most important force in driving down the trial rate has been state and federal legislative overhauls that imposed mandatory sentences and other harsher and more certain penalties for many felonies, especially those involving guns, drugs, violent crimes and repeat offenders.

Stiffer punishments were also put in place for specific crimes, like peddling drugs near a school or wearing a mask in certain circumstances. And legislators added reams of new felony statutes, vastly expanding the range of actions considered illegal.

These tougher penalties, by many accounts, have contributed to the nation’s steep drop in crime the past two decades. They have also swelled the prison population to levels that lawmakers in some states say they can no longer afford, and a few have rolled back some laws.

The ‘Trial Penalty’

In the courtroom and during plea negotiations, the impact of these stricter laws is exerted through what academics call the “trial penalty.” The phrase refers to the fact that the sentences for people who go to trial have grown harsher relative to sentences for those who agree to a plea.

In some jurisdictions, this gap has widened so much it has become coercive and is used to punish defendants for exercising their right to trial, some legal experts say.

“Legislators want to make it easy for prosecutors to get the conviction without having to go to trial,” said Rachel Barkow, a professor of law at New York University who studies how prosecutors use their power. “And prosecutors who are starved for resources want to use that leverage. And so now everyone acts with the assumption that the case should end with a plea.”

“When you have that attitude,” she said, “you penalize people who have the nerve to go to trial.”

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It just ain't like they show it on Law & Order! Well, it never was— as they point out here, the number of cases that actually go to trial has never been as high as you would think from TV shows. But regardless, this is extremely fucked up and it's really the last trend that our already atrocious "justice system" needs. (Though did anyone else squint at they way this writer handled that wife-beating jackass?)
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

In Arizona, Complaints That an Accent Can Hinder a Teacher’s Career

In Arizona, Complaints That an Accent Can Hinder a Teacher’s Career

When Guadalupe V. Aguayo puts her hand to her heart, faces the American flag in the corner of her classroom and leads her second-graders in the Pledge of Allegiance, she says some of the words — like allegiance, republic and indivisible — with a noticeable accent.

When she tells her mostly Latino students to finish their breakfasts, quiet down, pull out their homework or capitalize the first letter in a sentence, the same accent can be heard.

Ms. Aguayo is a veteran teacher in the Creighton Elementary School District in central Phoenix as well an immigrant from northern Mexico who learned English as an adult and taught it as a second language. Confronted about her accent by her school principal several years ago, Ms. Aguayo took a college acting class, saw a speech pathologist and consulted with an accent reduction specialist, none of which transformed her speech.

As Ms. Aguayo has struggled, though, something else has changed. Arizona, after almost a decade of sending monitors to classrooms across the state to check on teachers’ articulation, recently made a sharp about-face on the issue. A federal investigation of possible civil rights violations prompted the state to call off its accent police.

“To my knowledge, we have not seen policies like this in other states,” Russlynn H. Ali, the assistant federal secretary of education for civil rights, said in an interview. She called it “good news” that Arizona had altered its policy.

Silverio Garcia Jr., who runs a barebones organization called the Civil Rights Center out of his Phoenix-area home to challenge discrimination, was the one who pressed the accent issue. In May 2010, he filed a class-action complaint with the federal Department of Education alleging that teachers had been unfairly transferred and students denied educations with those teachers. The Justice Department joined the inquiry, but federal investigators closed Mr. Garcia’s complaint in late August after the state agreed to alter its policies.

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Chanel #3

St. Albert dad fights public school division over Lord’s Prayer

EDMONTON — Luke Fevin likes to call himself an atheist. Secularism and the science method are his creed and credo. So when he and his wife, who live in St. Albert, sought out a school for their three young children, they knew they wanted a public, secular school, one where their own beliefs and values would be respected.

The couple chose Sturgeon Heights school, in the far northwest corner of the their city. Even though the school is now within St. Albert municipal boundaries, it still belongs to the Sturgeon School Division, which serves Sturgeon County.

The Fevins thought they’d found a perfect place to educate their kids, now seven, five, and three.

“It was the Goldilocks school,” says Fevin, wistfully. “Not too big, not too small, not too rural, not too urban. It was, and is, a lovely school.”

Their eldest daughter’s first year in preschool went well. But preschool started later in the morning, after the announcements. It wasn’t until their daughter started kindergarten last September that Fevin got a shock.

At Sturgeon Heights, they began every morning with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer over the intercom. Even if non-Christian families wanted to opt out, they couldn’t, since the prayer was piped throughout the school.

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I find it ironic that the same people who fought so bitterly to safeguard their children from having "homosexuality taught" in schools and forced on their children, are making this argument. Absolute fail.
The Gang
  • acmeeoy

What media coverage omits about US hikers released by Iran

Two American hikers imprisoned for more than two years by Iran on extremely dubious espionage charges and in highly oppressive conditions, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, were released last week and spoke yesterday in Manhattan about their ordeal.  Most establishment media accounts in the U.S. have predictably exploited the emotions of the drama as a means of bolstering the U.S.-is-Good/Iran-is-Evil narrative which they reflexively spout.  But far more revealing is what these media accounts exclude, beginning with the important, insightful and brave remarks from the released prisoners themselves (their full press conference was broadcast this morning on Democracy Now).

Fattal began by recounting the horrible conditions of the prison in which they were held, including being kept virtually all day in a tiny cell alone and hearing other prisoners being beaten; he explained that, of everything that was done to them, "solitary confinement was the worst experience of all of our lives."  Bauer then noted that they were imprisoned due solely to what he called the "32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran," and said: "the irony is that [we] oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility."  After complaining that the two court sessions they attended were "total shams" and that "we'd been held in almost total isolation - stripped of our rights and freedoms," he explained:

In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay; they'd remind us of CIA prisons in other parts of the world; and conditions that Iranians and others experience in prisons in the U.S.

We do not believe that such human rights violation on the part of our government justify what has been done to us: not for a moment.  However, we do believe that these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments - including the government of Iran - to act in kind.

[Indeed, as harrowing and unjust as their imprisonment was, Bauer and Fattal on some level are fortunate not to have ended up in the grips of the American War on Terror detention system, where detainees remain for many more years without even the pretense of due process -- still -- to say nothing of the torture regime to which hundreds (at least) were subjected.]

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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Tomatoes of Wrath by Chris Hedges

 It is 6 a.m. in the parking lot outside the La Fiesta supermarket in Immokalee, Fla. Rodrigo Ortiz, a 26-year-old farmworker, waits forlornly in the half light for work in the tomato fields. White-painted school buses with logos such as “P. Cardenas Harvesting” are slowly filling with fieldworkers. Knots of men and a few women, speaking softly in Spanish and Creole, are clustered on the asphalt or seated at a few picnic tables waiting for crew leaders to herd them onto the buses, some of which will travel two hours to fields. Roosters are crowing as the first light of dawn rises over the cacophony. Men shovel ice into 10-gallon plastic containers from an ice maker next to the supermarket, which opens at 3:30 a.m. to sell tacos and other food to the workers. The containers—which they lug to pickup trucks—provide water for the pickers in the sweltering, humid fields where temperatures soar to 90 degrees and above.
Ortiz, a short man in a tattered baseball cap and soiled black pants that are too long and spill over the tops of his worn canvas sneakers, is not fortunate this day. By 7 a.m. the last buses leave without him. He heads back to the overcrowded trailer he shares with several other men. There are always workers left behind at these predawn pickup sites where hundreds congregate in the hopes of getting work. Nearly 90 percent of the workers are young, single immigrant men, and at least half lack proper documents or authorization to work in the United States.
Harvesting tomatoes is an endeavor that comes with erratic and unpredictable hours, weeks with overtime and weeks with little to do and no guarantees about wages. Once it starts to rain, workers are packed back onto the buses and sent home, their workday abruptly at an end. Ortiz and the other laborers congregate at the pickup points every morning never sure if there will be work. And when they do find daywork they are paid only for what they pick.
“I only had three days of work this week,” Ortiz says mournfully. “I don’t know how I will pay my rent.”
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Source and page two has a few details what can be done.

S. Carolina neighbors wage battle over Confederate flag

My first post here. I hope I'm doing it right!

Remember this?

"SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — A year ago, dozens marched to protest the Confederate flag a white woman flew from her porch in a historically black Southern neighborhood. After someone threw a rock at her porch, she put up a wooden lattice. That was just the start of the building.
Earlier this year, Annie Chambers Caddell's neighbors built two solid 8-foot high wooden fences on either side of her modest brick house to shield the Southern banner from view.
Late this summer, Caddell raised a flagpole higher than the fences to display the flag. Then a similar pole with an American flag was placed across the fence in the yard of neighbor Patterson James, who is black.
One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War began about 20 miles away in Charleston Harbor, fights continue over the meaning of the Confederate flag.

Some see it as a symbol of slavery and racism; others like Caddell say it's part of their Southern heritage.
"I'm here to stay. I didn't back down and because I didn't cower the neighbors say I'm the lady who loves her flag and loves her heritage," said the 51-year old Caddell who moved into the
Her ancestors fought for the Confederacy.

Last October, about 70 people marched in the street and sang civil rights songs to protest the flag, while about 30 others stood in Caddell's yard waving the Confederate flag.
Caddell: I'm not a racist
Opponents of the flag earlier gathered 200 names on a protest petition and took their case to a town council meeting where Caddell tearfully testified that she's not a racist.
Local officials have said she has the right to fly the flag, while her neighbors have the right to protest. And build fences.
"Things seemed to quiet down and then the fences started," Caddell said. "I didn't know anything about it until they were putting down the postholes and threw it together in less than a day."

Aaron Brown, the town councilman whose district includes Brownsville, said neighbors raised money for the fences.

"The community met and talked about the situation," he said. "Somebody suggested that what we should do is just go ahead and put the fences up and that way somebody would have to stand directly in front of the house to see the flag and that would mediate the flag's influence."
Story: Virginia city limits Confederate flag-flying
Caddell isn't bothered by the fences and said they even seem to draw more attention to her house.
"People driving by here because of the privacy fences, they tend to slow down," she said.
"If the objective was to block my house from view, they didn't succeed very well," Caddell added.
Sensitive issue
The Confederate flag remains a sensitive issue in South Carolina.
The battle emblem of the Confederacy had flown on the dome of the Statehouse in Columbia since the Civil War centennial in the 1960s when state lawmakers voted in 2000 to move it to a Confederate monument in front of the building.
Story: Confederate plates could be touchy issue for Perry
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has waged a tourism boycott on the state since then as it seeks to have the flag removed from the Statehouse grounds.
Caddell, Brown and James all say things have been quiet in Brownsville in recent months.
"She's got a right to do what she wants to do," James said.
"That's all I really have to say. She can do what she wants to do in her yard, but I don't share her beliefs."

comics, hug

Jamey Rodemeyer laid to rest (TW for suicide and bullying)

Jamey Rodemeyer was laid to rest on Saturday.

More than 500 mourners, many of who were strangers to his family, turned out in Williamsville, N.Y. to say goodbye to Jamey, a 14-year-old gay teen who committed suicide earlier this week after enduring years of bullying at school and online.

Jamey’s parents and friends said that the bullying had begun during middle school — he had told his parents, sister and closest friends that the hateful comments were mostly all directed at his sexual orientation.

Jamey often blogged about the bullying he was suffering at school, but tormentors also followed him online and left messages on his Formspring page calling him “gay and ugly,” and encouraging him to kill himself.

“Jamey’s suicide is a heartbreaking reminder of the vulnerability of gay teens … while some may say that Jamey took his life, unrelenting homophobia murdered him,” said Malcolm Lazin, founder and Executive Director of Equality Forum, in a statement.

In May, inspired by singer Lady Gaga and her message of tolerance, Jamey posted this “It Gets Better” video on YouTube, in which he said, “Hold your head up and you’ll go far. Because that’s all you have to do, just love yourself and you’re set.”

On Saturday night, Sept. 17, Jamey posted a lyric from Gaga’s song “The Queen” on his Facebook page: “Don’t forget me when I come crying to heaven’s door.”

Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Jamey posted two final messages on his Tumblr blog. One said he wanted to see his great-grandmother, who had recently died, and one that offered thanks to Lady Gaga. His body was discovered hours later.

Earlier this week, his mother Tracy Rodemeyer told CBS News she would bury Jamey in a Lady Gaga t-shirt that reads “Born This Way.”

Outside the church during Saturday’s funeral, a caravan of trucks and buses loaded with students passed by, displaying signs that conveyed messages advocating for tolerance, and support for Jamey’s family.

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai died Monday after an unspecified illness.

"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," her organization said.

Maathai had long campaigned for human rights and the empowerment of Africa's most impoverished people.

More than 30 years ago she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to simultaneously mitigate deforestation and to give locals, especially women and girls, new purpose. They have since planted more than 40 million trees.

In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the first woman from the continent to win the prize.

Texas Miracle: Taking from The Public to Give Back to The Destitute Rich.

Shared Sacrifice! Everybody Knows that The Public Has So Much Already, And the Rich so Little!

Texas Oil Refineries May Be Refunded $135 Million Out Of Public School, Community Funds

Three commissioners appointed by Gov. Rick Perry may grant some of the nation's largest refineries a tax refund of more than $135 million – money Texas' cash-strapped schools and other local governments have been counting on to help pay teachers and provide other public services.

The property tax refund would mean more pain for some communities after a year in which state lawmakers grappled with a $27 billion shortfall and slashed spending on public schools by more than $4 billion. Nearly half the refund would be taken from public schools, and those in cities where the refineries are based would be hurt most.

"We were already cut at the knees as it is, but more cuts? It's appalling," said Patricia Gonzales, a single mother of 13-year-old twins at Park View Intermediate School in Pasadena, a refinery town just south of Houston. Gonzales is president of the school's new parent-teacher organization, formed this summer after the state budget cuts left the school lacking everything from pencils to paper towels.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is evaluating 16 requests for the refund, which concerns a piece of pollution-controlling equipment. If granted, the refund total for those requests could add up to more than $135 million, according to county tax data and application documents analyzed by The Associated Press. What's more, agency documents show that if the commission grants the requests, at least 12 other refineries that have not sought a refund also could qualify.

The three-person commission last year expressed some support for the refund, prompting concern the panel is preparing to side with the industry in the middle of a budget crisis.

Should the commission approve the request, it would fall in line with Perry's argument on the GOP presidential campaign trail that by being friendly to business he has attracted businesses and jobs to Texas while other states suffered.
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shock-me-gray, bored, apathy

Saudi Monarch Grants Women Right to Vote

Published: September 25, 2011

Fahad Shadeed/Reuters
Women in Saudi Arabia endure strict gender separation, including a ban against driving.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Sunday granted women the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, the biggest change in a decade for women in a puritanical kingdom that practices strict separation of the sexes, including banning women from driving.

Saudi women, who are legally subject to male chaperones for almost any public activity, hailed the royal decree as an important, if limited, step toward making them equal to their male counterparts. They said the uprisings sweeping the Arab world for the past nine months — along with sustained domestic pressure for women’s rights and a more representative form of government — prompted the change.

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Home of the enslaved.

Trending at the White House Petition Site: Legalize Pot, Abolish the TSA, Admit Alien Contact

Last week, the White House added an online-petition feature to its official website, as part of this Administration's commitment to devoting slightly more effort to making this appear to be a democracy than the previous guy did. "We the People" allows anyone to create a petition (well, not anyone) and promises that if you can get 5,000 signatures within 30 days, the White House will review and respond to the petition "in a timely fashion."

About 65 petitions are currently active. (Petitions don't become searchable on the site unless you can get 150 signatures to start with, so there could be more below that threshold.) I learned about this because one of the petitions calls for abolishing the TSA, but there are a number of other interesting petitions as well.

The petition to abolish the TSA (full title: "Abolish the TSA, and use its monstrous budget to fund more sophisticated, less intrusive counter-terrorism intelligence") was created on Thursday, September 22, and has already collected 21,171 signatures. You should go sign it too. (If you're worried about the government collecting your information and putting it on The List, I wouldn't worry - I'm sure they already have what they need.)

Only one thing is more important than getting rid of the TSA, judging by the number of signatures: legalizing marijuana. That petition, created the same day, currently has 36,137 supporters. That doesn't tell the full story, though, because there are other petitions aimed at basically the same result. Three call for changing relevant federal laws, two more ask the feds to stop interfering with state legalization efforts, and one cries out for the government to "Allow Industrial Hemp to be Grown in the U.S. Once Again," which I'm told is not quite the same thing. Still, at least ten percent of the current active petitions are aimed at legalizing pot, so it's clearly a popular issue.

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Lowering The Bar
Sod Off

Leisha Hailey kicked off Southwest Airlines flight for being gay

'L Word' star booted from plane for kissing girlfriend
Actress says attendant told her Southwest 'was a 'family' airline and kissing was not ok'

LOS ANGELES — Former "The L Word" star Leisha Hailey complained in a stream of Twitter messages on Monday that she and a girlfriend were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in a dispute over their kissing on a plane.

Hailey, 40, tweeted that a flight attendant had told her that Southwest "was a 'family' airline and kissing was not ok," and that she and her companion were then "escorted off the plane for getting upset about the issue."

"SouthwestAir endorses homophobic employees," she tweeted. "Since when is showing affection towards someone you love illegal? I want to know what Southwest Airlines considers a 'family.'"

She went on to tweet: "Boycott SouthwestAir if you are gay. They don't like us."

Hailey, who starred on Showtime network's "The L Word" as Alice, a bisexual magazine writer and radio host, also demanded a public apology.

The airline issued a statement saying initial reports it received about the incident "indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive."

"Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender," the airline said. "The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight."

The statement concluded: "We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectation."

An airline spokesman declined to comment beyond the prepared statement.

The incident comes a little over three weeks after another celebrity, Green Day rocker Billie Joe Armstrong, was complained he was booted from a Southwest flight in Oakland, California, because he was wearing his baggy pants too low.


First fat people, then black people, now gay people. I don't know why anyone would want to support them tbh. (Edited: I had it in my head that there had been some racially-motivated Soutwest incidents recently but I could not find them. I apologize.
  • kangofu

Affirmative action bake sale

Affirmative action bake sale at UC Berkeley has students up in arms
Source - NY Daily News
Sunday, September 25th 2011, 3:00 PM

A controversy over cupcakes is heating up at UC Berkeley in California, where campus Republicans are planning to hold an affirmative action bake sale on Tuesday.

At the sale, white men will be charged $2 for a baked good, Asians will pay $1.50, Latinos $1, African-Americans 75 cents and 25 cents for Native Americans, KGO-TV reported.

Women will get a 25 cent discount.

"The pricing structure is there to bring attention, to cause people to get a little upset," Campus Republican president Shawn Lewis told the TV station. "But it's really there to cause people to think more critically about what this kind of policy would do in university admissions."

The Campus Democrats immediately slammed the sale, which Lewis said is meant to take a stand against an affirmative action-like bill for the University of California system that is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature.

On Friday, the student newspaper reported that the student government could vote to defund the Republican group over the bake sale. A hearing is scheduled for Sunday on the fiery issue.

"I fully support the idea of members of BCR expressing their views on SB 185, and I believe that there should be dialogue and discussion surrounding this issue, but I do not think that this method is constructive," said ASUC President Vishalli Loomba in an email to the newspaper.

Lewis told the newspaper the whole bake sale was meant to protest a student government-sponsored phone bank which supported the bill.

"They never asked the other side," he said

He added that the Campus Republicans were a diverse group themselves – and the decision had been made by Republicans of many races.

"People just keep screaming that it’s a bunch of white kids," he told the student paper.

The affirmative action bake sale is not a totally original idea – even at a school considered as liberal as Berkeley. In 2009, the Cardinal Conservatives at Wesleyan University held their own version of the affirmative action bake sale.

A similar kind of sale was shut down in 2009 at Bucknell University.

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