December 14th, 2011

  • acmeeoy

'Law & Order: SVU’ Imitation Occupation Draws Real Protesters, and City’s Ire

“Law & Order” helped give the phrase “ripped from the headlines” as much of a place in the consciousness of New York as detectives’ chatter about “perps” and “vics.” Or that clang-clang noise at the beginning of each scene in the television show.

But when the “Law & Order: SVU” production crew began setting up for a scene in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan on Thursday night, some of the people who actually generated the headlines that “SVU” was preparing to rip from — the Occupy Wall Street protesters — were less than pleased.

They, in turn, generated some headlines that “SVU” did not want to rip from — it turned out that the “SVU” crew did not have a permit to be there.

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hula girl

Putin's Call-In Show To Air Amid Unrest

14 December 2011
By Jonathan Earle

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could break his silence on the protests that swept Russia following the State Duma elections on Dec. 4, which were tarnished by widespread fraud allegations, when he hosts his annual call-in show on Thursday.

Judging by the questions currently listed as "most asked" on the show's web site, this year's program will focus on bread-and-butter issues, such as pensions, housing and health care. But at least two visitors to the site asked Putin for his opinion on the protests, the largest of which brought tens of thousands of people to Bolotnaya Ploshchad in central Moscow on Saturday.

The show, which will be broadcast live at noon Thursday on television and radio, comes at a time of sagging approval ratings for Putin 30 percent in a Levada poll in late November and the United Russia party, which he heads without being a member.
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Forbes’ Gene Marks Needs To Check His Priv

December 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm Greg Laden

Gene Marks, you wrote an essay for Forbes that has gotten a lot of people rather upset. People are upset because you display insensitive unchecked privilege and, essentially, you blame an entire class of people as the victims of what is mostly not their fault but rather, your fault and the fault of the modal Forbes reader, as well as society more broadly, history, culture, economics, racism and all sort of other things that are largely beyond the control of the Poor Black Kids of the Inner City of whom you write.

I think you meant well, but you did not do well. There are many ways in which you display a marked lack of a clue about your topic. How so? Let’s start at the beginning of your essay:
You referred to the “Inner City” when speaking about the “Poor Black Kids.” Nice.

And when I say “Nice” I am being sarcastic.
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Infographics Ahoy!

Frugal Dad has put together a couple of awesome infographics, one about Amazon and the other about Walmart:

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about Amazon this year. The story of its growth in the last 17 years can only be compared to the thunderous rise of Walmart. And in some ways, the curve is steeper: the million-title-bookseller turned world's-largest-retailer hit the $50 billion sales mark in half the time it took Walmart. As far as online sales go, Amazon has laid waste to a list of successively higher-caliber competitors. Playing full-court with Barnes & Noble to Walmart all the way to Apple, Amazon just keeps outgrowing its labels: bookseller, e-tailer and now tech company?

Check out the infographic that's helping everyone at Frugaldad understand the heights to which this furious ambition has led.

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After reading your comments about the Amazon Infographic that we released two weeks ago (check it out here if you haven’t seen it), it got me thinking about just how big Walmart could be. So I started researching Walmart and found the information to be unbelievable...but, it makes sense since this Black Friday shoppers turned out to Walmart in record breaking droves. Within hours of Thanksgiving night opening, thousands uploaded videos online of the spectacular struggles over cheap TVs, waffle makers and baby clothes.

In the heat of the holiday shopping season, I'm taking a moment to consider where I spend my hard earned money. You might be familiar with the status: Walmart's the largest grocery store in the U.S., the largest retailer in the world, the leader in global corporate revenue and the largest employer in existence. Still, these facts don't do much to demonstrate the reach of this superpower.

Check out our graphic demonstrating the Weight of Walmart, and if you find the statistics as shocking as we do, please share it with everyone you know:

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  • kangofu

Time Magazine's Person of the Year: The Protester

The Protester
Source - Time Magazine
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of history. Back then, when citizen multitudes took to the streets without weapons to declare themselves opposed, it was the very definition of news — vivid, important, often consequential. In the 1960s in America they marched for civil rights and against the Vietnam War; in the '70s, they rose up in Iran and Portugal; in the '80s, they spoke out against nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Europe, against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, against communist tyranny in Tiananmen Square and Eastern Europe. Protest was the natural continuation of politics by other means.

And then came the End of History, summed up by Francis Fukuyama's influential 1989 essay declaring that mankind had arrived at the "end point of ... ideological evolution" in globally triumphant "Western liberalism." The two decades beginning in 1991 witnessed the greatest rise in living standards that the world has ever known. Credit was easy, complacency and apathy were rife, and street protests looked like pointless emotional sideshows — obsolete, quaint, the equivalent of cavalry to mid-20th-century war. The rare large demonstrations in the rich world seemed ineffectual and irrelevant. (See the Battle of Seattle, 1999.)

There were a few exceptions, like the protests that, along with sanctions, helped end apartheid in South Africa in 1994. But for young people, radical critiques and protests against the system were mostly confined to pop-culture fantasy: "Fight the Power" was a song on a platinum-selling album, Rage Against the Machine was a platinum-selling band, and the beloved brave rebels fighting the all-encompassing global oppressors were just a bunch of characters in The Matrix.

"Massive and effective street protest" was a global oxymoron until — suddenly, shockingly — starting exactly a year ago, it became the defining trope of our times. And the protester once again became a maker of history.

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Runners Up
Video - Why Times Chose 'The Protester'
Profiles of Protesters
Pictures of Protesters Around the World
Revolution in Egypt: 18 Day the Shook the World (pictures)
Time's video "Why They Protest: American Movements."


Ohio landlord fights 'White Only' pool sign ruling


The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — A landlord found to have discriminated against a black girl by posting a "White Only" sign at a swimming pool wants a state civil rights commission to reconsider its decision.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission found on Sept. 29 that Jamie Hein, who's white, violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign at a pool at the duplex where the teenage girl was visiting her parents. The parents filed a discrimination charge with the commission and moved out of the duplex in the racially diverse city to "avoid subjecting their family to further humiliating treatment," the commission said in a release announcing its finding.

An investigation revealed that Hein in May posted on the gated entrance to the pool an iron sign that stated "Public Swimming Pool, White Only," the commission statement said.

Several witnesses confirmed that the sign was posted, and the landlord indicated that she posted it because the girl used in her hair chemicals that would make the pool "cloudy," according to the commission.

Hein, of Cincinnati, hung up when The Associated Press called her for comment Tuesday. A message was left at her lawyer's office.

The commission's statement said that its investigation concluded that the posting of such a sign "restricts the social interaction between Caucasians and African-Americans and reinforces discriminatory actions aimed at oppressing people of color."

Commissioners were scheduled to hear Hein's request for reconsideration at a meeting Thursday in Columbus, commission spokeswoman Brandi Martin said.

If the commissioners uphold their original finding, the case would be referred to the Ohio attorney general's office, which would represent the commission's findings before an administrative law judge, Martin said.

Penalties in the case could include a cease-and-desist order and even punitive damages, but the administrative law judge would determine any penalties, Martin said.

It still would be possible for the parties to reach a settlement before resorting to legal action, she said.

Any decision by the administrative judge could be appealed to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, Martin said.


Chanel #3

The canvas of emotion

Face veils are not like any other religious garment - they are intended to smother identity, writes Dan Gardner

On Monday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney directed that anyone taking the citizenship oath must bare his or her face. Muslim women who wear a veil and refuse to comply will not be permitted to take the oath. And if they don't take the oath, they can't become citizens.

I'm not going to debate the wisdom of that decision. Reasonable arguments can be made for and against it.

But some liberal opponents of these measures go too far when they suggest that veils are no different than turbans, hijabs, yarmulkes or Senators jerseys.

Veils smother identity. They impede communication. They cripple integration. Veils are unlike any other garment in our multicultural wardrobe: They are not only anti-woman, they are anti-social. Even anti-human. That's because veils cover the face. And the importance of the face in human psychology cannot be overstated.

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ETA: Courtesy of radname, a RESPONSE from a Muslim woman defending the veil, which Gardner posted on his blog.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Why Forbes' Column Crossed the Line

Why Forbes' Column Crossed the Line
Middle-class white guy writes about what he would do if he were a poor black kid. Craziness ensues.
Elon James White

OK, folks. How come no one told me that it's Slander Poor Black Kids Month? Was there a memo that went out? No one could send me a Facebook message about this?

If you're not aware of what I'm talking about, let me enlighten you. First Newt Gingrich explained recently that poor black children don't know how to work. Donald Trump co-signed him. In the midst of this, a Forbes (!!!) writer, Gene Marks, steps in to help the troubled youths by explaining what he would do if he were a poor black child.

Seriously. Where was the flonkin' memo?

Now, admittedly Gingrich didn't say poor black children at first, and I surely didn't frame my argument around that when I responded. I tried to keep this fight color-neutral. Of course, when I read a follow-up from him after I wrote my article, I was enlightened. Gingrich said:

Look, at a time when you have up to 43 percent black teenage unemployment, you have entire communities that are devastated, you have neighborhoods where nobody has worked and nobody has any habit of work.

Ah. Ha.

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Sorry for the lack of bolding, included links and other formatting; my right hand and arm are in a plaster splint now, so typing is kind of hard (so I probably won't be commenting or posting much this week.) :(

Oh, and for anyone wondering #whitelove came from Elon's twitter, when he live-tweeted watching The Blindside.

Edit - this just came on my twitter feed, and it ties in with this (and close enough it wouldn't really work as it's own post, so here's a link): Voices: Reactions To ‘If I Were A Poor Black Kid’

Definitely a good read; I recommend it.
mus | like a bird in a cage

On behalf of my country, I am OFFENDED

Florida Family Association Intensifies Pressure Campaign Against 'Degrassi' Advertisers

Before it received national attention for its pressure campaign against TLC’s All-American Muslim, in April the Florida Family Association launched a pressure campaign against advertisers on the TeenNick show Degrassi because of the show’s “irresponsible affirmation of a transgender lifestyle” and negative portrayal of “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The FFA was also outraged that Degrassi ran PSAs for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and The Trevor Project, an anti-suicide group that focuses on at-risk LGBT youth.

In an interview today with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, FFA president David Caton claimed credit for convincing Macy's and Target to stop advertising on Degrassi and said that the group is redoubling its efforts to pressure other advertisers as a result of the show’s supposed promotion of “immoral behavior”:

In response to pressure from concerned parents, more sponsors are withdrawing their support from a pro-homosexual cable television show for teens.

Because the work of the Florida Family Association (FFA), Macy's and Target have stopped advertising on Degrassi (see earlier story). David Caton explains why MTV's Teen Nick show is not appropriate for kids and why his organization is urging businesses to pull their sponsorship from the program.

"It has content that is very extraordinarily explicit towards transgender and homosexual lifestyles," he details. "It often has promotions on there that direct teens to organizations that will encourage them to embrace and accept the transgender or homosexual lifestyle," particularly -- a website that describes itself as "a free and confidential service that's open for gay and questioning youth," and claims to be "saving lives" by encouraging confused kids to "be proud of who you are."

His organization is currently targeting Mars and Wrigley, both owned by the same company, as they continue to run Orbit gum, Skittles, Snickers, Starburst, and Twix commercials during the show.

"We're challenging Mars-Wrigley to stop advertising and stop supporting this kind of content that is aimed at an immoral behavior that children would embrace," reports Caton.


Do you think he'd feel better or worse if we told him that the trans character is straight?
Not what you think I am

A Bad Day (and New Year) for U.S. National Security

"FBI Director Robert Mueller just this morning told the Senate that he fears the proposed law will create confusion over who has authority to investigate terrorism cases.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the National Defense Authorization Act will restrain the Executive Branch's ability to use "all the counterterrorism tools that are now legally available" and "needlessly complicate efforts by frontline law enforcement professionals to collect critical intelligence concerning operations and activities within the United States."

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has written that it "would introduce unnecessary rigidity at a time when our intelligence, military and law enforcement professionals are working more closely than ever to defend our nation effectively and quickly from terrorist attacks."

Still, ignoring the advice from his most senior federal military and law enforcement professionals, President Obama is expected to sign the 2012 law, according to his senior advisors.

The concerns aren't limited to federal officials. Earlier this week the 20,000-member International Association of Chiefs of Police wrote to Congress expressing concern that the law could "undermine the ability of our law enforcement counterterrorism experts, in particular those involved with Joint Terrorism Task Forces, to conduct effective investigations of suspected terrorists."

A bipartisan group of 26 retired generals and admirals recently wrote that the legislation "both reduces the options available to our Commander-in-Chief to incapacitate terrorists and violates the rule of law" and "would seriously undermine the safety of the American people."

The U.K. and Germany have said they won't share intelligence or turn over suspected terrorists to the U.S. if they know they'll be headed to indefinite military custody.

And that's just the national security concerns.

Americans from across the political spectrum are in an uproar that the law would, for the first time since the McCarthy era, allow the indefinite detention without trial of U.S. citizens and lawful residents in the United States. (The Internal Security Act was repealed before it was ever used.)

It would also make permanent fixtures out of what were intended to be temporary U.S. military prisons abroad. The Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba and the Parwan detention facility on the U.S.-run Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan together hold around 3000 detainees in indefinite detention.

The NDAA would not only extend current restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo, but could extend them to Bagram, making it nearly impossible to transfer future detainees back to where they came from. Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson has called the transfer restrictions "onerous and nearly impossible to satisfy." Other senior officials have warned that they could hamper the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Politically, there may be reasons why Congress has supported the NDAA, including the many earmarks that bring costly projects to members' districts. But as a matter of national security and American principles, the bill is a disaster.

"When he took office, President Obama told the American people that he would restore the nation's commitment to the rule of law and the protection of human rights," Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First said today. "Today's announcement proves that he is unwilling to put his full power behind those presidential promises. The American people need a leader whose commitment to smart national security policies will not wane in the face of opposition from Capitol Hill. This legislation will be a loaded gun in the hands of any future administration." "


Tried to bold all the important things. I saw the freak out over this on Twitter, and I'm more then frightened at the American citizens being detained part. My inner Sci-Fi writer thinks this is in part to the rise of the Occupy movements, but I don't like thinking about where that road will lead. 



he University of Vermont chapter of fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon is being suspended for passing out a survey to its members that asked questions including, “If I could rape someone, who would it be?” The university may take further disciplinary action, and women on campus are circulating a petition to have the chapter shutdown entirely that has already received over 1,000 signatures. The incident is the latest in a long series of rape-promoting stunts by fraternity members at American universities. Jezebel notes that “Sigma Phi Epsilon should know the drill, since UVM’s chapter was shut down from 1993-1997 for hazing, which included making pledges tell racist jokes and describe what they’d do with a stripper whose company they enjoyed the night before.”

Source: fucking words, I want to burn frat houses to the ground.
Amy and Rory and the Doctor

Baby Seal Breaks into House and Promptly Takes a Nap

A baby fur seal crawled through the cat flap of a New Zealand home, hopped up on the sofa and fell asleep. From the Mail Online:

The stunned owner of the house, Annette Swoffer, thought she was hallucinating when she found the pup in her kitchen, hanging out with her cats.

It had made its way from the waterfront at Welcome Bay, New Zealand, through residential streets, across a busy road, and up some steps. 'I was in my office and I heard an awful racket down below,' Miss Swoffer told the Bay Of Plenty Times. 'I thought the cats have brought a rabbit or something in so I went down and had a look—and there's a seal in my kitchen. I thought "I'm hallucinating, this is just wrong". I'm looking and I'm definitely seeing flippers and not paws.'

Miss Swoffer called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals—who struggled to believe her at first. 'They were giggling away and I'm saying "I'm not drunk, I'm not lying, there's a seal in my house",' said Miss Swoffer.

This reminds me of a filming trip I made to to Mexico's San Ignacio Lagoon many moons ago when an immature sea lion crawled up the ladder onto our live-aboard boat, hopped into a cabin and onto a bunk, where he fell blissfully asleep.

For the next week, he came and went from the boat as he pleased, returning in true Goldilocks-fashion to one bunk or another.

In the end we had to forcibly (gently) evict him before sailing north to San Diego.

Source has adorable picture of the seal