December 31st, 2011

buffy spike black&violet by gilkurtisctx
  • tabaqui

The 50 Best Moments For Women In 2011

How do you sum up what this year meant for women? It's easy to think only of what needs to change and hasn't, or of the really awful things that are being done to women around the world -- this minute, in fact.

But plenty of things happened for women this year that are worth celebrating, too. Here are the 50 moments in 2011 that struck us as particularly important or astonishing or lovely. They include wins, memes, athletics, an inauguration, a birth, songs, dances, books, movies, speeches, and feats of precociousness. You probably won't agree with all of our choices -- so tell us in comments what we left out.

And whenever you need to be reminded what good company women are in, we hope you'll return to this list. While 2011 wasn't perfect, it certainly had its moments.

Huffingtonpost: 50 Best Moments.

Some of these are very cool, some are kinda wtf. I definitely think there should be more.

Mods: There isn't any 'embed' function for the slideshow that is the bulk of this article. Not sure if just a link is acceptable or not. Any tag suggestions appreciated.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

The Yakuza and the Nuclear Mafia: Nationalization Looms for TEPCO

The Yakuza and the Nuclear Mafia
Jake Adelstein

The Yakuza and the Nuclear Mafia: Nationalization Looms for TEPCO
Jake Adelstein

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the monolithic corporation that controls all electric power in Greater Tokyo, and runs the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant that experienced a triple meltdown following the March 11 earthquake, is on the brink of nationalization according to Japanese government sources. The official reason is that the firm may not be able to handle the massive compensation payments it owes to victims of the meltdown without going bankrupt. Unofficially, the firm has such long-standing ties to anti-social forces, including the yakuza—that some members of the Diet, Japan’s national legislature, feel the firm is beyond salvation and needs to be taken over and cleaned up. A Japanese Senator with the Liberal Democratic Party stated on background, "TEPCO's involvement with anti-social forces and their inability to filter them out of the work-place is a national security issue. It is one reason that increasingly in the Diet we are talking de facto nationalization of the company. Nuclear energy shouldn't be in the hands of the yakuza. They're gamblers and an intelligent person doesn't want them to have atomic dice to play with."

In June we reported that yakuza were working at the Fukushima nuclear power plant as cleanup crews and manual labor, but the post-meltdown yakuza ties were only the tip of the iceberg. This month, a new book was published, Yakuza and The Nuclear Industry: Diary of An Undercover Reporter Working at the Fukushima Plant (ヤクザと原発-福島第一潜入記-鈴木-智彦) in which a former yakuza fan magazine editor Tomohiko Suzuki reports on the nuclear business-industrial-political and media complex in Japan known as the “nuclear mafia” and Japan’s actual mafia: the yakuza. The book is already generating controversy and renewed examination of Japan’s “dark empire” and its ties to the underworld. It presents more solid pieces of evidence that Japan’s nuclear industry is a black hole of criminal malfeasance, incompetence, and corruption.

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Fuck Tepco.

Also, it will be interesting to see the impact of all the new anti-yakuza laws (the new laws are part of why Olympus risked having their stocks delisted - these laws are BIG).

Kelly Clarkson Album Sales Rise After Ron Paul Twitter Flap

“Miss Independent” singer Kelly Clarkson endorsed GOP hopeful Ron Paul on her Twitter page earlier this week and it’s costing her the support of some of her long-time fans.

But sales for Clarkson’s album “Stronger” have skyrocketed since news of the incident spread across the Internet. In fact, sales for the album jumped up over 400% in just 24 hours on Amazon. Collapse )

Have we not discussed how Kelly Clarkson can't have it both ways supporting Ron Paul? She cares about your rights LGBTQ community and Black people, just not enough refrain from supporting someone who doesn't support you.

Sources 1, 2, 3

San Jose Plastic Bag Ban Starts Sunday

Starting Sunday, retailers in San Jose and unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County can no longer use single-use plastic bags and paper bags without recycled content, as a city and county ordinance to ban the bags takes effect.

Under the new policy, passed by the San Jose City Council in December 2010 and by the Board of Supervisors in April, only restaurants, nonprofits and social organizations will be able to hand out the bags.

Proponents claim that a ban on plastic bags would lead to a cleaner environment, saving the city money in clean-up efforts. Single-use bags litter roadsides, clog drainage systems, pollute local creeks and streams and harm wildlife, according to proponents of the ban.

Meanwhile opponents have said that the ordinance will hurt consumers and small businesses because they don't have the same buying power as the bigger stores.

The San Jose ordinance, proposed four years ago by Councilman Kansen Chu, permits retailers to provide single-use paper bags that contain a minimum of 40 percent recycled content. They must charge shoppers a fee of 10 cents per bag, which would be increased to 25 cents in two years.

There would be exceptions for retailers that provide plastic or paper bags for items such as fresh produce, meat, or bulk goods.

Businesses in unincorporated areas will still be allowed to use plastic bags for items including fresh produce, meat, frozen foods, prepared foods, bakery items, plants, prescription drugs and newspapers.

Retailers in unincorporated areas can sell customers single-use paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and contain a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer waste at a cost of 15 cents each.

In response to the new ordinance, Pet Food Express announced this week the business will reduce the cost of its reusable bags to 49 cents and donate 100 percent of the money collected in the sale of reusable bags to San Jose Animal Care and Services.

The fundraiser will be in effect at all three Pet Food Express stores in San Jose between Sunday and April 1. Pet Food Express will also have paper bags available for 10 cents that are at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled.

Michael Levy, founder of Pet Food Express, said the fundraiser would directly go toward helping homeless animals in San Jose.

"We realize the ban is going to be a major adjustment for people shopping in San Jose, and we wanted to find a way to help them in the transition by reducing the price of our reusable bags," Levy said in a statement.


i really like the idea of this overall, but what in the actual fuck are they thinking by charging $0.10 per paper bag now, and $0.25 per bag in 2014? as far as i can tell, there's no low-income waiver, small business exception or anything like that. just another example of a great idea being handled in exactly the wrong way.

And have a Happy F*cking New Year

With Reservations, Obama Signs Act to Allow Detention of Citizens

In his last official act of business in 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act from his vacation rental in Kailua, Hawaii. In a statement, the president said he did so with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge.

The legislation has drawn severe criticism from civil liberties groups, many Democrats, along with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who called it “a slip into tyranny.” Recently two retired four-star Marine generals called on the president to veto the bill in a New York Times op-ed, deeming it “misguided and unnecessary.”

“Due process would be a thing of the past,” wrote Gens Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar. “Current law empowers the military to detain people caught on the battlefield, but this provision would expand the battlefield to include the United States – and hand Osama bin Laden an unearned victory long after his well-earned demise.”

The president defended his action, writing that he signed the act, “chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed.”

Senior administration officials, who asked not to be named, told ABC News, “The president strongly believes that to detain American citizens in military custody infinitely without trial, would be a break with our traditions and values as a nation, and wants to make sure that any type of authorization coming from congress, complies with our Constitution, our rules of war and any applicable laws.”

One official explained that President Obama does believe, however, that American citizens can be temporarily detained, and that the military has the right to capture and hold any citizen who is engaged in conflict against the United States. If various provisions in the law prove unworkable, the president could go back to Congress to ask for changes.

“The president is going to adhere to the policies that he has held over the last three years, making sure that none of these congressional provisions impede the ability of the counterterrorism and military professional from keeping the country safe,” the official said.


No Enbridge
  • romp

Gen Silent, LGBT aging documentary, streaming free

Today’s LGBT seniors grew up under harsh oppression in the years before Stonewall. Many are estranged from their families and must rely on paid caregivers for assistance with mobility, healthcare, or basic life needs. But what if the only helpers available are intolerant, discriminatory, or abusive? Would you go back in the closet if it were necessary to survive? This moving documentary illustrates these issues through the heartrending stories of our community’s elders and the small but dedicated group of professionals working to provide them with compassionate, supportive care.
Run time: 62 min.

The critically-acclaimed LGBT aging documentary, Gen Silent, is streaming now through Sunday, January 8th.

The movie isn't news but streaming for free is. Hope this is okay, mods.
No Enbridge
  • romp

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.

The small Nordic country of Finland used to be known -- if it was known for anything at all -- as the home of Nokia, the mobile phone giant. But lately Finland has been attracting attention on global surveys of quality of life -- Newsweek ranked it number one last year -- and Finland's national education system has been receiving particular praise, because in recent years Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world.

Finland's schools owe their newfound fame primarily to one study: the PISA survey, conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey compares 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science. Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore. In the most recent survey in 2009 Finland slipped slightly, with students in Shanghai, China, taking the best scores, but the Finns are still near the very top. Throughout the same period, the PISA performance of the United States has been middling, at best.

Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model -- long hours of exhaustive cramming and rote memorization -- Finland's success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play. All this has led to a continuous stream of foreign delegations making the pilgrimage to Finland to visit schools and talk with the nation's education experts, and constant coverage in the worldwide media marveling at the Finnish miracle.

So there was considerable interest in a recent visit to the U.S. by one of the leading Finnish authorities on education reform, Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education's Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Earlier this month, Sahlberg stopped by the Dwight School in New York City to speak with educators and students, and his visit received national media attention and generated much discussion.

And yet it wasn't clear that Sahlberg's message was actually getting through. As Sahlberg put it to me later, there are certain things nobody in America really wants to talk about.
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