October 25th, 2011

  • ook

TSA: Gross Invasion of Privacy or Just Gross?

“This is what TSA will do when they inspect a bag you checked and find a, um, ‘personal item,’” wrote Feministe blogger Jill Filipovic after Transportation Administration luggage screeners noticed a vibrator in her bag and decided to wish her well with that.

“Get your freak on girl” is scribbled across the insert travelers find when their bag has been looked through by TSA personnel.

“Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room,” said Filpovic.

She told Boing Boing that after this incident she’s decided to retire the vibrator.

Source: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/10/24/your-tax-dollars-at-work-2/

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UPDATE: Inappropriate TSA Note Author Identified and Removed From Screening

Thanks to peebs1701.

The Suffering of the Rich that No One Can Understand. Will Someone Listen to Their Plight?

Meanwhile, Nation Continues to Protest Obama's Bailout of the Irresponsibility of Poor Home Owners.

The Wild Ride of the 1%
The once-stable incomes of America's biggest earners now fluctuate dramatically from year to year. And as go the rich, so goes much of the economy.

Jacqueline Siegel paces the floor of her unfinished 7,200-square-foot ballroom. The former beauty queen, with platinum-blond hair, blue eye shadow and a white minidress, clacks along the plywood construction boards in her high heels trailed by a small entourage of helpers and staff.

"This is the grand hall," she says, opening her arms to a space the size of a concert hall and surrounded by balconies. "It will fit 500 people comfortably, probably more. The problem with our place now is that when we have parties with, like, 400 people, it gets too crowded."

The Siegels' dream home, called "Versailles," after its French inspiration, is still a work in progress. Its steel-and-wood frame rises from the tropical suburbs of Orlando, Fla., like a skeleton from the Jurassic age of real estate. Ms. Siegel shows off the future bowling alley, indoor relaxing pools, five kitchens, 23 bathrooms, 13 bedrooms, two elevators, two movie theaters (one for kids and one for adults, each modeled after a French opera theater), 20-car garage and wine cellar built for 20,000 bottles.

At 90,000 square feet, the Siegels' Versailles is believed to be the largest private home in America. (The Vanderbilt family's Biltmore house in North Carolina is bigger at 135,000 square feet, but it's now a tourist attraction). The Siegels' home is so big that they bought 10 Segways to get around—one for each of their eight children.

After touring the house, Ms. Siegel walks out to the deck, with its Olympic-size pool, future rock grotto, three hot tubs and 80-foot waterfall overlooking Lake Butler. Her eyes well up with tears.

Versailles was supposed to be done by now. The Siegels were supposed to be living their dream life—throwing charity balls and getting spa treatments downstairs after a long flight on their Gulfstream. The home was the culmination of David Siegel's Horatio Alger story, from TV repairman to chief executive and owner of America's largest time-share company, Westgate Resorts, with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and $200 million in profits.

Yet today, Versailles sits half-finished and up for sale. The privately owned Westgate Resorts was battered by the 2008 credit crunch and real-estate crash. It had about $1 billion in debt—much of it co-signed by the Siegels.
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oh holy shit
  • chaya

Thomasson warns of ‘very dangerous’ queer studies ‘infection’

Randy Thomasson of Save California joined Janet Mefferd on Friday to discuss the Queer Studies minor at Cal State Fullerton, and the anti-gay activist called the program an “oxymoron.”

According to Thomasson, a sincere academic discussion of the LGBT community would show that no one is born gay and that people can simply change their sexual orientation and become ex-gays, “but they are dishonest so they are indoctrinating college students to think that homosexuality, bisexuality and transexuality is good and natural, maybe even for them.”

He went on to warn that the minor could spread like an “infection” through academia and will be “training up an army to become intolerant activists” who will work to undermine and extinguish “free speech” and “religious freedom.”

Mefferd: So we discovered recently Cal State Fullerton recently became the fourth Cal State to create a Queer Studies minor. It’s an interdisciplinary concentration that pulls courses from a variety of fields. Program coordinators say the minor focuses on norms and how they’ve changed over time and throughout different cultures, but they do acknowledge also that non-normative sexualities are a large part of the curriculum. Here with us for some reaction is Randy Thomasson, he’s president of SaveCalifornia.com. I didn’t know we had to study norms Randy, I thought norms were just something we all understood, I guess I’m just behind the times here.

Thomasson: No you’re not, they say they can call themselves queer but you and I can’t; it’s amazing.

Mefferd: What do you think about this new program? Obviously it’s not the first college to do this and I know there are lots of lgbt programs all over the place. Queer Studies, what do you make of that?

Thomasson: It’s an oxymoron, it should be called the promotion of homosexuality, bisexuality, transexuality. They’re not studying it, if they studied whether it was normal or not they’d have to hold a news conference or tell all the students, you know what, ‘there’s no “gay gene,” we’ve never found it, nobody has found it, Hamer didn’t find it, LeVay didn’t find it, we have noted there are thousands and thousands of former homosexuals and they’ve got families to prove it, they’ve got testimonies to prove it, we’ve seen that a huge amount of those of us in this lifestyle were sexually molested or had very bad relationships with our fathers or our mothers, and we see that this is something that can be changed, certainly with bisexuality. We acknowledge that transexuality, cross-dressing is not normal, cutting off healthy body parts is not natural, it takes a scalpel, and we have no evidence at all that this is a natural thing that people are born homosexual actually and it is a behavior. So we have to announce that as the findings of our study.

If they were honest, that’s what they would do, but they are dishonest so they are indoctrinating college students to think that homosexuality, bisexuality and transexuality is good and natural, maybe even for them, but more so because the students that are interested in this are already relativistic because of the government school mentality they’ve been in through kindergarten through twelfth grade, probably. They are sitting ducks to become activists. So this is training up an army to become intolerant activists who want to trample parental rights, religious freedom, marriage, the Boy Scouts, property rights, business rights, medical doctorate rights, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, free speech, religious freedom. This is very dangerous, it is on several campuses in California, and yes I do believe that this is a wave. Because what do we have on most college campuses? Liberal administrators who allow this, so this is a fertile bed for an infection of Queer Studies that will not be studying anything that’s true but will be promoting a lie.

Source has an audio link.
  • kangofu

Today in Natural Disasters...

Two dead, hundreds stranded in Irish flooding
Source - Reuters
DUBLIN/BELFAST | Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:24am EDT

(Reuters) - Two people died and hundreds were stranded in northern and eastern Ireland on Tuesday after torrential rain closed roads and rail lines, left shops and homes under water and led to the capital, Dublin, being put on an emergency footing.

More than one month's rain fell on Dublin in 24 hours, causing several rivers to break their banks and flooding the country's largest shopping centre in the south of the city.

Dublin City Council said the amount of rain that fell on the east coast on Sunday and Monday was unprecedented, damaging hundreds of properties and forcing many people to evacuate their homes.

Police said an unidentified body was washed up on the banks of a river outside Dublin and local media said it was probably that of a policeman who was swept into the river on Monday when trying to help stranded motorists.

Emergency services found a woman's body in the basement of a flooded house in south Dublin, police added.

Eighteen people, including two young children, were rescued by firefighters in boats in the northern county of Tyrone when flood waters engulfed their homes.

The country's largest shopping centre in south Dublin remained shut on Tuesday after a nearby river burst its banks and flooded the ground floor. One of the capital's main courthouses was also closed because of flood damage.

The rain stopped overnight before resuming early on Tuesday. Ireland's meteorological service said there was a risk of heavy rain in the east and north of the country but that it expected mainly dry weather for the rest of the day.

Video here

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Donation Links:

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
International Medical Corps
UNICEF's Emergency Relief Programs
Global Giving
Global Impact
World Vision Disaster Relief Fund
(These are all BBB accredited charities.)

Don’t EVEN Get Me Started, Mythical Bootstraps College Student

This photo’s been kicking around Facebook for the past few days. The first time I saw it, it miffed me. The second time, it aggravated me. Times three and four I was angry. And now that I’ve seen the photo posted, shared, and tagged a half a dozen times, I’m enraged; which is where this post comes from, a place of fully developed rage.
This flip little photo angers me because it’s a lie.

I’m sure those who posted it thought it was pithy and bold and really hit home the “truth” of an already much propagated agenda. But the thing that is so very offensive about this photo is that there’s nothing true about it.

Even before I set out to do my research, my educator and lawyer hackles were up; this crap doesn’t even pass the smell test. If you thought it did, you weren’t paying attention. If you didn’t think it passed muster but wanted to share it as propaganda anyway, shame on you.

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AN: The pic I posted is from the Tumblr I got the link from; the original photo is on the left and the one on the right is part of this rebuttle/blog entry. I'm not super sure blog posts are allowed, but this, while super long, is interesting, and I know i've seen in other OWS posts, people get pissed about the original photo, so I thought it was relevant. So if you want, FB this, tumblr, twitter, etc, whatever...it's a pretty awesome piece.

Fixed the cut, sorry guys. I just got to my laptop at home. :( won't happen again

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Man arrested for allegedly running over toddler in China

Man arrested for allegedly running over toddler in China

A 24-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter for the death of Wang Yue, the toddler who garnered international attention after she was run over and ignored by passersby, authorities said Tuesday.

Authorities arrested a man named Hu Jun, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The man, who is from eastern China, is accused of being one of two drivers who drove over the two-year-old girl on a narrow street in southern China earlier this month.

The girl, known by the nickname Yue Yue, later died.

Video captured by a nearby security camera showed the drivers, one after the other, hitting the girl in Foshan, Guangdong province. More than a dozen people walked, cycled or drove past the toddler as she lay bleeding in a busy market area.

The video footage sparked a global outcry about the state of morality in China's fast-changing society. That included generating a flurry of activity on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, and spurring a "Stop Apathy" online campaign.

The girl was eventually rescued by a 58-year-old scavenger who pulled her aside and tried to get help.


It looks like the source has the video clip of Yueyue being run over; I'm not sure because I refuse to click on it; the still frame enough for me. And I used the "avoid the comments" tag because just ten comments in, and there's already one racist comment about the Chinese and another blaming the parents.

Pat Robertson Is Worried About Republicans Being Too ‘Extreme’

The Republican presidential primary field entrenching into a Mitt Romney vs. Really Conservative Alternate Person contest presents a fine opportunity to see which regular employers of ultraconservative, uncompromising red meat rhetoric on the right are actually just establishment GOP operatives. Do they start fretting publicly about candidates' general election viability, or do they resist practical temptations and hold out for a true believer? In the case of haunting televangelist Pat Robertson, it's going to be the former.

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so I read this earlier, then saw it highlighted on TDS. I liked the point Stewart made about what Pat Robertson is saying; that it's okay to be extreme, just don't let them know about it. I usually avoid youtube comments, but someone put it very nicely when they said "If your beliefs are so extreme you have to hide them from normal people, perhaps it is time you sit down and examine your beliefs." But still. When Pat Robertson tells you you're being too ridiculous, even if he just means about it "in public", you're really, REALLY being too ridiculous.

MODS: resubmitted with tags, please ignore my first one :)
No Enbridge
  • romp

Protest And Occupation: Billy Bragg Interviewed On The Future Of The Left

On Saturday (Oct 15) I was one of thousands of people packed into a tight knot outside St Paul's Cathedral. The heavy-looking wall of policemen made it abundantly clear we'd get no closer to the London Stock Exchange, but that didn't seem to matter all that much. We'd settle for occupying the home of the old God rather than the new. It was difficult to ignore the sense that anger shared across generations at how corrupt, how selfish and how venal the banks have been is now coming to a head in a long fine flash. A sense of relief, too, that there is international momentum. The occupation which has remained on the steps of the Cathedral since then is just one of hundreds which have sprung up across the world like franchises of the protest on Wall Street. And why not start franchises? After all we are all children raised by multinationals, and this is a protest for a globalised age.

Billy Bragg was there too, but as a supporter, not a leader. "That's not my role," he'd told me over coffee a few days earlier. "What I can't do, despite having been asked by some people, is go down there with my guitar and become Che Guevara. My role is to try and reflect what's going on. Write about it. Old geezers like me, with our perspective, hopefully we can help to inform. Connect it with what happened in the Thirties, with Woody Guthrie, stuff like that, but they don't need me there. They're doing fine. They need me to help spread the word, through the internet and through writing songs. That's my role, and it's important that songwriters remember that. Some of the young bands say to me, when I ask them why they don't talk about this sort of thing in interviews: 'Oh, I don't know enough about politics.' How the fucking hell do you think I learned about it? I left school when I was 16! I didn't know shit about socialism until the miners' strike, but you know enough to write the songs."

We were sat in a house on Cable Street, opposite the mural which commemorates the street battle of October 1936. Anti-fascist groups fought the Metropolitan Police after preventing the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley, from marching through Jewish communities in the East End. As the banner painted across the mural reads: "Mosley shall not pass. Bar the road to British fascism." Popular resistance to heavy-looking policemen is nothing new.
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I don't agree with it all but liked the history and his perspective