December 30th, 2011


OMG: Eye test blooper on Norwegian news

TV viewers in Norway were left laughing their posteriors off after a serious nightly news show inadvertently used an eye chart teeming with internet slang.

The visual blunder accompanied a segment about eye treatment for senior citizens on Dagsrevyen, national broadcaster NRK's evening news programme. Rather than featuring a random sequence of letters, a test chart displayed behind the newsreaders began by loudly proclaiming OMG, Oh My God, newspaper VG reports. This was followed by a litany of profane abbreviations, like WTF and STFU, and it wasn't long before the eye-catching error had users of social media rolling on the floor laughing (ROTFL).

Newsroom editor Solveig Tvedt conceded that she and her team hadn’t properly examined the chart before going to air. “We retrieved the picture from one of our image agencies and took it without taking a closer look. If we’d seen what it said we wouldn’t have used it,” she told VG.

Twitter and Facebook users were near unanimous in their appraisal that the national broadcaster had effectively been PWN3D, or conquered, in a self-inflicted attack. But Solveig Tvedt didn't seem to mind that the broadcaster had made a spectacle of itself live on air. "I think it's good that people are following Dagsrevyen closely," she said.

Source: the Local

State cuts to child care force some parents, especially single moms, to consider quitting work

OXNARD, Calif. — Sarah Comito rolls out of bed before dawn most days and slips quietly out of her house. Before her rambunctious toddler wakes up, she heads off to work as a waitress in an upscale weight-loss resort in Malibu.

The hour-long commute is exhausting, but the 33-year-old is thankful to make the trip when she remembers where she and her husband were four years ago: living in a tent in a nearby river bottom, strung out on methamphetamine.

Now Comito fears the progress they have made since then could be lost as California cuts her from a vital child care assistance program, more than doubling the cost of her son’s day care to $600 a month. On a $10 hourly wage, she said she’d be better off quitting her job and staying home with her son while her husband works as a professional tree cutter. But if she stops working, they can’t make rent.

“The only thing I can do is attempt to prepare for the worst,” Comito said, while watching 3-year-old Matthew dart across the yard at the couple’s working-class apartment complex in Oxnard.

For years, child care assistance programs offered low-income parents such as Comito a lifeline. But state legislatures dealing with multibillion dollar budget deficits during the recession have been targeting child care subsidies as one way to help balance their state budgets.

The cuts have come at just the time many parents need that help the most because full-time, well-paying jobs are in such short supply.

In the last fiscal year, combined state and federal funding for child care assistance fell by 2 percent to $12 billion, according to a 46-state analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Federal stimulus money gave a temporary boost to the subsidies, but nearly all that money stopped in 2011.

At the same time, states reduced their general fund spending for child care programs by 7 percent during the current fiscal year, including a 25 percent decline in California, 30 percent in Hawaii and 10 percent in Michigan. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 22 states reported declines in their budgets for child care subsidies, according to the state legislative group.

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Kurds in Turkey: arrests and violence threaten to radicalise a generation

Since the beginning of the Arab uprising Turkey has been held up as a blueprint for the emerging Middle Eastern democracies to copy. But many observers question whether its treatment of its Kurdish minority gives it the right to be treated as a role model.

This year more than 4,000 people have been arrested under arbitrary terrorism charges, including dozens of journalists arrested last week, military operations against Kurdish separatists have intensified, with at least 27 killed in December alone, and guerrillas have stepped up violent attacks on security forces and civilians.

Mass trials of Kurds, including local deputies, mayors, academics and human rights activists, have inched forwards. In the biggest case, more than 150 politicians and activists are being tried in a specially built courtroom in Diyarbakir. More than 100 of the defendants have been in pre-trial detention, some of them for many months.

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The day after this article was published, the Turkish military launched an airstrike on a group of villagers carrying diesel fuel from northern Iraq into Turkey, killing more than 30 people. Meanwhile, earlier in the week, the interior minister was declaring that "terrorism" can also include art, poetry, and academic work (sorry, no satisfactory English articles available for that last source). Saying that a state like this has no right to lecture its neighbors is a dramatic understatement. 

To make myself feel better, here are some supporters of Kurdish liberation singing Ciao Bella in Turkish.

No Enbridge
  • romp

The Ten Most Underreported Health Stories of 2011

For almost seven years, for reasons still unclear to me, I have been following online news reports about various infectious diseases. My blog H5N1 started with a rare, potentially catastrophic virus also known as bird flu. But it soon expanded.

Especially since 2009's swine flu pandemic (the virus is H1N1), I've been blogging about many diseases and the conditions that spread them: climate change, earthquakes, political violence. Again and again, I've been reminded of the terrible truth spoken by the German pathologist and politician Rudolf Virchow long ago: "Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale."

The media cover disease in a predictable pattern. Normally, local outbreaks get only local attention. For an outbreak to gain worldwide interest, it must be sudden, surprising, and as fatal as possible. Even then, media interest is likely to fade within three or four weeks.

As well, governments are usually keen to discourage media interest in disease. Outbreaks make the local government look bad, and they discourage tourism. Apart from that, the public itself doesn't want to think about disease and dying if it can possibly avoid it.

Given such widespread attitudes, I found it easy to compile this list of the 10 most underreported health stories of the year:
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(no subject)

Visitor to 9/11 memorial told police of loaded gun, was arrested

A Tennessee tourist who says she unwittingly broke New York's weapons laws by visiting the 9/11 memorial with a loaded gun -- legal in her home state -- faces 3 1/2 years behind bars for the error, which came to light when she asked guards where she could store her weapon while touring the memorial.

The Dec. 22 incident underscores the disparity in gun-carrying laws among states; some, like New York, ban the carrying of loaded guns and don't recognize the permits issued in other states for visitors carrying weapons. Opponents of strict gun laws argue that the right to bear arms, as outlined in the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, should take precedence and that it is unfair for people like the tourist, Meredith Graves, to be caught in the middle of different states' regulations.

Local media reports have described Graves as a 39-year-old medical student who was in the area for a job interview and decided to visit the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers with her husband, and her loaded .32-caliber pistol. When she saw the signs reading "No guns allowed," Graves asked a security guard where she could check the loaded weapon in her purse, according to the New York Post.

Graves was arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded weapon. She could face a minimum of 3 1/2 years in prison. She was freed on bail Wednesday and is due to appear in court in March.

Tennessee's said Graves got her permit to carry a loaded gun in August 2008 and that it was due to expire in 2012.

New York City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who is chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said prosecuting people like Graves will spur gun advocates to fight harder against restrictions on weapons.

"By prosecuting this woman and seeking 3 1/2 years of jail, we are shooting our own [gun-control] efforts in the foot and giving the rest of the country ammunition," Vallone said, according to the New York Post. "Clearly the laws are too strict here," he added.

But a Tennessee firearms instructor expressed surprise that Graves would not have checked New York's laws before carting her loaded weapon into the city and said it was the responsibility of individuals to check each state's laws before traveling with their weapons.

“There are about 50 different sets of rules. We tell our students to call ahead before they travel with a gun,” David Dukes, the firearms instructor at Gunny's in Maryville, Tenn., told He noted that most states' information is available on the Internet.

Whatever New York's laws might be, the president of the memorial, Joe Daniels, said it should be clear to anyone that loaded weapons would not be permitted at a highly secured site dedicated to the memory of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "It's so obvious -- you shouldn't have to say it," Daniels said.

The X-Files // Scully Glasses

Rob Ford is still a wife-beating asshole, Toronto continues to want to throw him in the Don River

Rob Ford 911 calls raise questions

TW: Domestic abuse

Early Christmas morning, police were called to the home of Mayor Rob Ford about a reported domestic dispute. It was the second such call in as many months.

On Oct. 25, less than 15 hours after Ford himself called 911 regarding the intrusion of the comedy show This Hour has 22 Minutes on his property, officers from 22 Division were back at the Etobicoke residence on a domestic call.

On Christmas, Ford’s mother-in-law called police between 4 and 5 a.m. to report that the mayor had been drinking and was taking his children to Florida against the wishes of his wife, Renata.

The Toronto police Youth and Family Violence Unit, which handles all domestic disputes, including incidents that are strictly verbal, is still investigating both events. No charges have been laid.

An interview request submitted to Ford’s office, which detailed the contents of this story, went unanswered.

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So, yes. It seems like our mayor is beating his wife again. Abusers earn a special type of loathing from me so really all I can say is that I'm just so disgusted by this. And fuck you, Adam Vaughan. Domestic abuse is never 'a private affair.' Fuck you and every single other Councillor who'll excuse this fuckery.
[fútbol] Alexis Sánchez
  • aviv

Israeli man gives birth

Transgender man makes history, becomes first Israeli male to give birth Thursday

Yuval Topper, 24, an Israeli transgender man, gave birth at the Sheba Medical Center Thursday evening.

 Topper is the first Israeli transgender man to become pregnant and give birth. He underwent a sex change operation some three years ago.

 Topper's contractions began Thursday evening while traveling en route to Jerusalem. As result of heavy traffic, he and his partner decided to head to the Sheba medical center, near Tel Aviv. 

"We preferred to go to Hadassah Mount Scopus, a hospital where we received excellent treatment in the past, but we were forced to head to Sheba as result of the birth's quick progress," Topper said. "The staff at the hospital treated us with dignity and consideration."

The Sheba medical center declined to comment on the report.

 Topper shocked medical staff in central Israel a few months ago after walking into an emergency room and informing doctors that he underwent a sex change operation and is pregnant.

 “Everyone was in shock,” said a patient at the hospital who was in the emergency room when Topper walked in. “He looked like a man in every way and insisted that medical staff address him as a male.”

Don't know what tags to use. Any suggestion? :D

Anti-Gay Groups Struggle, Make Year-End Pleas For Financial Help

Jillian Rayfield December 30, 2011

This holiday season, give the gift of support to your favorite struggling anti-gay group.

Barring a cash infusion from willing donors, a few prominent anti-gay groups are poised to end the year with budget shortfalls, according to several last-ditch fundraising appeals sent out during December.

The National Organization for Marriage, which Thursday launched an ad against Ron Paul in Iowa calling him “wrong on marriage,” sent out an e-mail Wednesday telling supporters that there are only 96 hours to go until 2012: “NOM has never been able to financially match the tens of millions of dollars raised by interest groups who want to tear apart traditional values and attack people like you and me who defend the sanctity of marriage.”

The e-mail says a “generous donor” has offered to match donations dollar-for-dollar, and says NOM has already raised $831,718.

But in one December 13 email, NOM asked supporters to help the group “overcome a looming shortfall!”

“Increasingly virulent and frequent attacks from the same-sex marriage lobby have depleted our emergency funds, and we need your help!” the email says, adding: “NOM does not have the resources to accomplish everything we need to do…and with the many new and critical marriage battles upcoming in 2012, this is the exact wrong time for us to have to scale back.”

The email came shortly after the American Independent released NOM’s 2010 tax returns, and reported that the group raised $9.6 million but spent over a million dollars more than that during the year, at $10.7 million.Collapse )



(no subject)

Summary: If elected as President, Newt Gingrich intends to establish a "Religious Freedom Commission" to oppose separation of church and state.

Every time America has strayed from the proposition that all men are created by God, and that they are therefore equal, great suffering and turmoil has ensued.

Likewise, every time government oversteps its bounds and exerts control over an individual’s right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, or otherwise attempts to usurp his ability to discover truth for himself, it must lie to do so.

A government that prohibits an individual from praying or reading the Bible or displaying religious symbols in public is telling the lie that our Founders intended only certain types of religious expression to be protected.

A government that systematically erodes the people’s ability to make laws based on moral or religious judgment is lying about American history, the rule of law, and the American practice of self-government.

A government that tries to eliminate the concept “under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance as well as our entire political philosophy is lying not only about America’s religious heritage but about the nature of human freedom itself[...]

Today, there are ongoing efforts to remove the constitutional protections of faith and the faithful from our system of government, and to eliminate any public acknowledgment that our liberties come from God. No one should be fooled into believing that this was the intention of our Founding Fathers, nor that doing so will yield anything but a corrupt, despotic government.

The choice before us is whether to accept such a society, or to reaffirm and reassert the truth within our families, our workplaces, and our communities that the cause of human freedom can only be realized in a society that protects, supports, and defends the fundamental rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

We believe that a presidential commission on religious freedom can play a crucial role in helping our nation’s leaders focus effectively on restoring our ‘noble inheritance’ of religious freedom, which was ‘bought by the toils, and sufferings’ of our ancestors and is simply indispensable to the fulfillment of America’s promise.

Holy shit, I never thought I'd actually see it. This is the culmination of the whole The United States was founded as a Christian Nation. meme, promoted by luminaries such as David Barton of Wallbuilders and Glenn Beck. There is so much wrong in the source document that I can barely comprehend it.

Tron: Legacy, Castor, Zuse

President Ahmadinejad to Visit Latin American Countries

TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to visit Venezuela and Cuba as part of a four-nation Latin America tour in the second week of January 2012, an official said Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad will also visit Nicaragua and Ecuador on the trip, his international affairs director, Mohammad Reza Forghani, told the official news agency IRNA.

All the countries are left-leaning and share an ideological antagonism towards Iran's arch-foe, the United States.

"Mr Ahmadinejad will first go to Caracas to visit (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez," Forghani said, confirming an announcement made Tuesday by Chavez.

"He will then go to the swearing-in ceremonies for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who has been re-elected," he said.

Ahmadinejad will then travel to Cuba and to Ecuador, where he will hold talks with the respective leaders.

Iran has been seeking to boost its ties with sympathetic Latin American countries in recent years, to the concern of the United States.

The trip was announced ahead of new sanctions expected to be imposed by the United States and Europe on Iran's oil and financial sectors in a bid to halt Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

I was going to bold, but this is pretty short.


This article written in Spanish is superior imo, but my translating skills are bad.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

European shame over the Roma question

European shame over the Roma question
European strategies to 'integrate' Roma populations have failed due to lack due to a lack of inclusiveness.

London, United Kingdom - Earlier this year, the European Commission published one of those beautiful documents called a "Communication" under the title "An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020".

The idea is to force the EU member states to devise their own national strategies for dealing with the Roma question. And this week, the Bulgarian government will dutifully accept a national strategy for Roma integration. The Communication is a result of lobbying, horror and the inadequate behaviour of President Sarkozy of France.

Many organisations lobby for Roma rights. However, most of them are weak, they rarely include any Roma people, they haven't brought about any meaningful political change and they can't even attract the attention of mainstream politicians.

That is why the birth of the EU Roma "Communication" needed a second push. When the European Union accepted 10 new states from Eastern Europe nobody realised that the enlargement came with the largest, and most deprived, ethnic minority. And nobody wanted to know.

Once the enlargement was a fact, Western Europe realised that five million Gypsies had entered the sparkling club and a few more million might come with the future enlargement.

This led to silent horror and fear. People were watching documentaries about Romas selling babies and running highway prostitution rings gasping in disbelief about what was happening on what was already EU territory and sinking into silent denial. European politicians did not go much further than replacing the term Gypsies with 'Roma', which they thought was more politically correct (which it is not, by the way).

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