April 3rd, 2012


Business Community Already Sick of Tea Baggers.

Tea Baggers to Join in Prayer to Ask the God of The Free Market to Save us From Big Government.

Business Bets on the G.O.P. May Be Backfiring

Big business groups like the Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars in 2010 to elect Republican candidates running for the House. The return on investment has not always met expectations.

Even though money for major road and bridge projects is set to run out this weekend, House Republican leaders have struggled all week to round up the votes from recalcitrant conservatives simply to extend it for 90 or even 60 days. A longer-term transportation bill that contractors and the chamber say is vital to the recovery of the construction industry appears hopelessly stalled over costs.

At the same time, House conservatives are pressing to allow the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which has financed exports since the Depression, to run out of lending authority within weeks. The bank faces the possibility of shutting its doors completely by the end of May, when its legal authorization expires.

And a host of routine business tax breaks — from wind energy subsidies to research and development tax credits — cannot be passed because of Republican insistence that they be paid for with spending cuts.
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Why I've lost my hunger for violent, unethical games

The arrival of The Hunger Games on the big screen has sent thrills around the world. Already a publishing blockbuster, Suzanne Collins's sensational trilogy is cleaning up at the box office as well. The first instalment is an enthralling film that keeps audiences spellbound throughout. Or so I hear, for I won't be going.

I read all three books in my professional capacity as a reviewer and experienced first-hand their hypnotic quality. But while they may provide gripping entertainment, they carry some worrying ethical messages.

Collins conceived the idea while channel surfing between reality TV shows and news coverage of a war zone. Many are convinced that the trilogy presents a violent, unjust and horrifically dystopian future world as a poignant critique of reality television, totalitarian government and screen violence as entertainment. Educators have been thrilled to find an engaging series they can use to discuss such important themes.

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What do you think? Personally, as someone said in the comments, I believe these books (and the movie) are the least of our worries when it comes to children being desensitised to violence. And at least this story isn't saying 'yay violence is cool!'.

When I think "Hitler" I really am thinking "Shampoo!!!"

A Turkish TV advert for men's shampoo, featuring Adolf Hitler, has been withdrawn following complaints from the country's Jewish community.

The 12-second advert shows footage of Hitler with a dubbed voice shouting that men should not use women's shampoo if they do not wear women's clothes.

Turkey's Jewish community threatened legal action over the "unacceptable" use of Hitler to promote the product.

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TBH I really wish I was more surprised.
Murasaki Shikibu

5 Big Media Stereotypes About the South

5 Big Media Stereotypes About the South (And the Real Story Behind Them)
Every election season, Southerners are reminded of the devastating misconceptions many Americans have about us.

“Doubts on Romney’s Conservatism Help Santorum in the South,” reads the ABC News headline from March 13. The headline would have you believe that Rick Santorum trounced Mitt Romney in the Alabama and Mississippi GOP primaries. It obscures the fact that Santorum beat Romney by just 44-39 percent in Alabama and 42-39 percent in Mississippi. In other words, nearly half of GOP primary voters in these states voted for Romney.

The headline not only obscures the kinds of political divisions that divide the rural and more liberal urban parts of the South; it also feeds into the idea that Southern conservatives vote primarily on “family values” issues, and takes it on good faith that Romney -- who has moved awfully far to the Right during primary season – is somehow the more civilized, sane, humane and/or liberal of the two.

In January, CNN contributor John Avlon wrote about the ugly stereotypes about South Carolina that he saw as that state’s primaries kicked off: “You know, the characterization of South Carolina as a swamp of sleazy politics and brutal attack ads, a Bible belt bastion of rednecks and racism, a state defined by Bob Jones University. Sometimes these stereotypes are floated in political conversations as evidence of how ‘real’ the state is in determining the true feelings of the conservative base.”

These stereotypes are nothing new. In fact, they often date back to the Civil War. They tend to denigrate the Southern poor, under-educated and rural in ways that bear striking resemblance to Republican rhetoric that demonizes the poor in general. But every election season, those of us who have spent most of our lives in the South are reminded of the devastating misconceptions that many other Americans have about us. The Right romanticizes us as the “real America” while the Left treats us a punchline. Polling organizations like Public Policy Polling design studies that target Southern states and reinforce the national sense that we are backward and dim-witted. Here are just a few of the ways in which popular political narratives distort the contemporary realities of Southern life in historical context.

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I'm not sure how to tag this at all. We don't have a tag for "the South." Suggestions?
Tron: Legacy, Castor, Zuse

Colombia's Farc rebels release hostages

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Medellin: "This is perhaps a turning point in Colombia's civil conflict"

Colombia's Farc rebels have released their last 10 police and military hostages - some of whom have spent 14 years in captivity.

They were collected from the jungle by a Brazilian military helicopter and flown to safety.

President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the releases but said they were "not enough" to open direct peace talks.

Farc has been fighting Colombia's government for five decades, making it Latin America's oldest insurgency.

The rebels, who have lost ground in recent years, are still holding an unknown number of civilians hostage.

Television pictures showed the former hostages waving and punching the air as they got off the helicopter at the city of Villavicencio, where they were welcomed by their relatives and given medical checks before being flown on to the capital, Bogota.

Some emerged with their pets, which included a peccary - a kind of wild pig - and a monkey.

"Welcome to liberty, soldiers and policemen of Colombia," Mr Santos said at the presidential palace.

"Freedom has been very delayed but now it is yours, to the delight of the whole country."

But he warned that until all hostages were freed, his government would continue its policy of confronting armed groups.

"When the government believes there are enough guarantees to begin a process that leads to the end of the conflict, the country will know it," he said.

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A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney

THE recent remark by Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom that upon clinching the Republican nomination Mr. Romney could change his political views “like an Etch A Sketch” has already become notorious. The comment seemed all too apt, an apparent admission by a campaign insider of two widely held suspicions about Mitt Romney: that he is a) utterly devoid of any ideological convictions and b) filled with aluminum powder.

The imagery may have been unfortunate, but Mr. Fehrnstrom’s impulse to analogize is understandable. Metaphors like these, inexact as they are, are the only way the layman can begin to grasp the strange phantom world that underpins the very fabric of not only the Romney campaign but also of Mitt Romney in general. For we have entered the age of quantum politics; and Mitt Romney is the first quantum politician.

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Liberia Anti-Gay Group Issues Hit List Of LGBT Rights Advocates

MONROVIA, Liberia -- An anti-gay group in Liberia distributed fliers over the weekend with a hit list of people who support gay rights, and one member of the group threatened to "get to them one by one."

The fliers mark the latest development in an increasingly hostile national debate about gay rights in this country on Africa's western coast.

Lawmakers in February introduced two new pieces of legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by possible jail time. And a vow by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last month to preserve an existing law criminalizing "voluntary sodomy" prompted a statement of concern from the U.S. State Department.

The fliers distributed over the weekend in parts of Liberia's capital were signed by the Movement Against Gay's in Liberia, or MOGAL. The group said those involved in promoting gay rights "should not be given space to get a gulp of air."

"Having conducted a comprehensive investigation, we are convinced that the below listed individuals are gays or supporters of the club who don't mean well for our country," the fliers read. "Therefore, we have agreed to go after them using all means in life."

No individual members of MOGAL signed the flier. But Moses Tapleh, a 28-year-old resident of the main community where the flier was distributed, said he was affiliated with the group and stressed that its threats should be taken seriously.

"We will get to them one by one," Tapleh said. "They want to spoil our country."

Asked what specific action might be taken against those on the list, he said they could be subjected to "dangerous punishments" including "flogging and death."


read more at the source
[Firefly] Inara

egyptian comedic actor jailed for insulting islam

One of the Arab world's most famous comic actors Adel Imam has received a three-month jail sentence for insulting Islam in films and plays, a court document has shown.

Imam, who has frequently poked fun at authorities and politicians during a 40-year career, has one month to appeal and will remain free until that process is concluded.

The case was brought by Asran Mansour, a lawyer with ties to Islamist groups, judicial sources said. The sentence on Thursday came weeks after Islamists won most seats in a parliamentary election.

Mansour accused the actor of offending Islam and its symbols, including beards and the jilbab, a loose-fitting garment worn by some Muslims.

Among the material targeted by the lawyer were the film Morgan Ahmed Morgan and the play al-Zaeem (The Leader), the report said.

Court cases against directors, actors, artists and intellectuals for failing to respect religious authority are common in Egypt. But the case against Imam is likely to draw attention owing to his fame and the timing of the verdict.

"I think the lawyer who filed the case against Imam is taking advantage of the current circumstances with Islamists gaining power in Egypt," said Nabil Abdel Fattah, an analyst and researcher at al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.

He said the sentence had likely been handed down because Imam had failed to appear in court, and expected it to be overturned on appeal.



The article is a bit old, but they're still talking about it on the Egyptian news today.

US student sues school over anti-homophobia t-shirt

A student at a high school in Cincinnati, Ohio has filed a law suit in federal court today, after school officials refused to let him wear a t-shirt that read: “Jesus is not a homophobe.”

Maverick Couch, 17, of Waynesville High School wanted to wear the t-shirt on April 20 to show his support for the Day of Silence, which draws attention to the plight of LGBT students who suffer from bullying and abuse. However, the school principal, Randy Gebhardt, has repeatedly rejected the request, the suit alleges.

Mr Couch said that the t-shirt in question was not permitted because it was deemed “indecent and sexual in nature.” Exceptions were also taken to the image of the fish, a symbol of importance to the Christian faith.

“I don’t think the shirt is sexual at all,” Mr Couch added. “I don’t know how I can say that. I don’t think it’s indecent.”Collapse )