April 26th, 2012


How America is Keeping Us Safe from Uncooperative Suspects, And She Looks so Innocent!

Once Again, the Universe Decides to Be more Fuck Up Than The Onion...

TSA Defends Pat-Down Of Crying 4-Year-Old Girl At Kansas Airport

The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.

The incident has been garnering increasing media and online attention since the child's mother, Michelle Brademeyer of Montana, detailed the ordeal in a public Facebook post last week. The Transportation Security Administration is defending its agents, despite new procedures aimed at reducing pat-downs of children.

The child's grandmother, Lori Croft, told The Associated Press that Brademeyer and her daughter, Isabella, initially passed through security at the Wichita airport without incident. The girl then ran over to briefly hug Croft, who was awaiting a pat-down after tripping the alarm, and that's when TSA agents insisted the girl undergo a physical pat-down.

Isabella had just learned about "stranger danger" at school, her grandmother said, adding that the girl was afraid and unsure about what was going on.
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Homeowners Associations And Solar Panels Don't Always Mix

CUMMING, Ga. (AP) — The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not.

It's a lesson Angel and David Dobs discovered when their homeowners association north of Atlanta denied their request to install solar panels on their roof. Neighborhood officials said the panels would look out of place and might lower home values in a community that regulates details as fine as the coloring of roof tiles, the planting of trees and the storage of trash cans.

"It's like living under communism — someone gets to dictate every possible thing you do," David Dobs said.

Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice. A recent attempt in Georgia to expand the right to go solar had support from environmentalists and some Republican lawmakers concerned about private property rights but it succumbed to opposition from developers and real estate agents.

Roughly two dozen states now forbid or limit homeowners associations or local governments from banning solar panels, according to a database run by North Carolina State University. Similar disputes have prompted lawsuits in Nebraska and California.

Angel and David Dobs supported the Georgia legislation after their run-in with the homeowners association. David Dobs had viewed the project as his personal contribution to prevent global warming.

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Pride & Prejudice

Natasha From Russia

When you’re privileged enough to attend a top-tier American university such as Duke, losing sight of the fact that your fate may have been different often comes with the package. Strutting to class in a pair of pricey high heels to hear well-paid professors talk and relaxing afterwards with a glass of pinot grigio at night, many girls at Duke and schools like Duke never entertain a serious thought about the less fortunate members of their sex, the ones who service twenty so-called clients a day on a dirty mattress in a room with bars on the windows. For some, it’s even acceptable to poke a little fun at the “‘whores,” especially the ones who are imported from foreign countires.

There are a number of “isms” I could direct at my fellow students for this : racism, classism, over-privileged-idiocy-ism, but I’ve grown to believe that in order for criticism to work, it must be constructive. I grew up with mummy and daddy who sent me to private school instead of a brothel; it would be hypocritical of me to act like some kind of self-righteous Mother Theresa out to instruct the less-informed members of her gender on how to combat the plight of trafficked women worldwide. The truth is, a few years ago trafficking in humans barely registered on my radar.

Therefore, I would like to extend my gratitude to all those members of Duke’s international community who, in the past, have branded me a “Russian whore” and told me, with much glee, about what women like me do back in their countries. Without your little jibes, whether uttered in jest or in a calculated attempt at humiliation, I might have never woken up. I would have never seen firsthand the kind of complacency that allows for human beings to be sold like cattle into this special service industry.

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'Quebec Student Strike: Montreal's Riotous Night Leaves A Mess After Government Talks Break Down'

(From the Canadian Press)

MONTREAL - Montrealers woke up to a mess this morning far beyond the smashed windows and shards of glass being swept off the streets of their city.

The intensity of student unrest in the province was illustrated by riotous scenes that unfolded in the city on Wednesday night.

Banks and other businesses, cars, even a police station had their windows shattered by an angry mob that spilled out from a larger crowd of thousands of student protesters.

Police said early today that 85 people were arrested, including three minors, and that three police officers suffered unspecified injuries.

The protesters' furious reaction came after talks broke off between the provincial government and student groups seeking an end to an 11-week battle over [university] tuition hikes.

After the talks were suspended, the leader of the most militant student group, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, warned: "All this does is pour oil on the fire."

The trouble then erupted over several hours as students swarmed the streets and frequently battled with police.

The events that subsequently transpired will have Quebecers asking: What now?

An absence of easy answers was repeatedly underscored by Wednesday's developments.

Some pundits suggested that, in the interest of social peace, the Charest government should back down from its planned $325-a-year, five-year tuition hikes.

The government has repeatedly said it will do no such thing. Even if it did backtrack, there's no guarantee things would settle down.

Some students are now casting this as a deeper struggle — with the phrase, "Quebec Spring," emanating from the lips of several protesters who issued a medley of demands Wednesday: the resignation of Premier Jean Charest, a general election, the complete elimination of tuition, or even broader social change.
More at the Source.
As a student in the province of Quebec, I'm so angry I can't event talk right now. This was entirely preventable, IMHO. I find it depressing that: (i) the student side of things is so underreported in the mainstream media in this province (most/much of which are controlled by one media conglomerate, Quebecor) such that recent polls apparently indicate that the public at large are for the tuition fee hikes, (ii) the government would try to claim that this is not their fault when they negotiated for barely 48 hours (after refusing to even do so for weeks on end) and using an entirely specious argument to suspend the negotiations . 

And the brutality of the police (which suits the government, at the very least) staggers me, as well as the fact that the mainstream media don't even report half of it.

Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

The Coalition: writing the plot for 'The Thick of It' since 2010

The Latest revelations at the Leveson Enquiry (into the practice and ethics of the British Media) have proven to be a nightmare for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as it came to light that his Office's relationship with BSkyB during their buy-out bid to control the majority of the company may have flouted trading regulations.  

The affair quickly moved beyond the 'srs bsns political reporting' stage and into the 'taking the absolute piss out of the government stage' realms of satire.


The night I saw Jeremy Hunt hide behind a tree before dinner with James Murdoch

There are moments writing about politics when one thinks: could this actually get any sillier? Modern government is particularly prone to looking daft because it is built on two incompatible ideas, one old and the other relatively new. The first idea is that government should appear to be relatively, given the age-old constraints, dignified. Ministers rely on protocol and the flummery of office so that they look authoritative, in order that we, the citizenry, comply when they tell us what to do.

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  • chaya

Tree-removal worker dies at NJ nudist club

'Worker hit by falling limb as he was removing tree from the club, authorities say'

A tree removal worker was killed after he was hit by a 4-foot falling limb at a nudist club in New Jersey.

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Authorities say a tree-removal worker died after he was hit by a falling 4-foot limb at a nudist club in northern New Jersey.

Workers from Tamke Tree Experts were removing a large tree from the Sky Farm nudist club in Bernards Township on Wednesday.

Police Capt. Edward Byrnes tells The Courier News of Bridgewater (http://mycj.co/JX8QIu ) the limb, which weighed an estimated 40 pounds, fell about 70 feet, striking the worker.

The worker was pronounced dead at the scene. His name is being withheld until relatives are notified.

Byrnes says the worker was wearing a hard hat and safety gear.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

Source at NYDailyNews.

I couldn't not post this when I found it.
  • qable

The Party of Fiscal Responsibility

Minnesota Republican Party Gets Eviction Notice After Failing To Pay Rent For Its Headquarters

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's debt-plagued Republican Party faces an eviction hearing next week after failing to pay rent for its headquarters since August.

The party's landlord filed the notice in county housing court last week and a hearing is set for next week. Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Pat Shortridge told party members in a memo that officials are trying to renegotiate its lease.

The GOP has 21 months remaining on a lease with Hub Properties Trust for space a block from the state Capitol. Shortridge revealed the rent hadn't been paid in eight months.

The most recent federal campaign reports show the Minnesota GOP owes nearly $1 million to vendors. That includes $107,000 to Hub Properties.

The eviction notice was first reported by Politics in Minnesota.



Gawker Calls Out Hipster Racism, Is Called Out for Hipster Racism

Social Commentary post by Kjerstin Johnson, Submitted (to Bitch Magazine) by Kjerstin Johnson on April 26, 2012 - 3:47pm; 

Oh Gawker. Lindy West's Jezebel post on Hipster Racism is blowing up certain parts of the Internet today. In it, West goes over four main points of "hipster racism"—where folks justify racism by poorly hiding behind irony (Sarah Silverman—we see you!). On Racialicious, Carmen Van Kerckhove dubbed hipster racism one of 2006's top race and pop culture trends, which means that hipster or "ironic" racism has been a topic of conversation by writers of color and others in the social justice sphere for literally years. You won't find any links or acknowledgments of these earlier discussions in West's Jezebel post, but hey, at least a whole new audience of people will be that much closer to knowing how to talk about stuff like Lesley Arfin's insensitive, "ironic" tweet last week.

One dude definitely didn't read the post though (or maybe he did read it, and was oblivious). A. J. Daulerio of Gawker (remember, Jezebel is part of Gawker Media) posted a short but incredibly whiny post complaining about the backlash of Gawker's strange new comments system. "Change is disruptive. Change makes old things go away. Boo, change. We'll deal," said Daulerio. He concluded, "I'm just trying to build sturdy branches for us to chat on. Let's go be a fun family of talking birds on branches in the comments and have a meaningful Native American Chit-Chat. Come, come." What? In case this appropriative and nonsensical metaphor didn't call enough attention to itself, there was also a large graphic of three black birds with feather headbands. You can see the graphic below, followed by the sarcastic Twitter response of Adrienne at Native Appropriations: "Thanks for the insensitive graphic, Gawker. You guys are really on point with the hipster racism. So ironic and funny!"

This isn't really much of a surprise though. Just a couple weeks ago Jezebel editor Jessica Coen trotted out some hipster ableism when she tweeted "The word 'ableism' is lame and crazy." Stay tuned for a bestselling book by her, Daulerio, Arfin (and you too, Chloë Sevigny?!) called How to Be Offensive When You're on the Defensive. You'll know it because of the feathered headdresses on the cover.

Source is one of the few places where it's okay to read the comments
Pride & Prejudice

House GOP Would Kick 280,000 Children Off School Lunch Program To Protect Tax Cut For Millionaires

House Republicans recently proposed cuts to nutrition assistance that will kick 280,000 low-income children off automatic enrollment in the Free School Lunch and Breakfast Program. Those same kids and 1.5 million other people will also lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamp benefits) that help them afford food at home.

Ten years’ worth of these nutrition cuts could be prevented for the price of one year of tax cuts on 3,340 multimillion dollar estates that House Republicans are protecting in their budget.

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Can't pay your traffic ticket? There goes your water!

New Mexico: City Shuts Off Water, Sewer for Photo Ticket Nonpayment
Source - The Newspaper

Las Cruces, New Mexico is threatening to cut off water, gas and sewer service over unpaid red light and speed camera tickets.

With more and more vehicle owners simply deciding refuse to pay red light camera and speed camera tickets, private, for-profit companies and municipalities are growing increasingly desperate. America's second-largest city shut down its photo ticketing program last year largely because residents who could not afford the $500 citations did not pay them. On Monday, Las Cruces, New Mexico announced it would shut off the utilities of city residents who refused to pay Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company that owns and operates the cameras.

"The city is notifying offenders by mail that they have until the due date stated in the letter to pay the fines or make satisfactory payment arrangements," a Las Cruces press release warned. "Failure to comply will result in termination of utilities services."

Las Cruces claims vehicle owners owe $2 million. To encourage payment of the $100 photo fines, the city says it will employ an ordinance the council adopted in 1988 giving itself the right to shut off utility service to residents declared delinquent for any reason.

"The city may decline, fail or cease to furnish utility service to any person who may be in debt to the city for any reason, except ad valorem taxes and special assessments," city code Section 28-10 states.

The city provides gas, water, sewer and trash services. Ordinarily, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission prevents shutting off the utilities of low-income residents from November 15 to March 15. This is primarily a safety issue as lack of heating during a cold snap -- Las Cruces recorded a -10 degree temperature in 1962 -- could endanger the elderly. The commission also protects the seriously ill and customers on Medicaid or on assistance from a charitable organization. A spokesman for the commission, however, told TheNewspaper that no such protections apply to utilities run by a municipality. To have service restored, Las Cruces and its private vendor will charge a $48 re-connection fee on top of $125 per ticket.

Las Cruces gave Redflex approval to issue speeding and red light tickets three years ago. In January, a local university was unable to prove the program delivered a substantial safety benefit. Last year, a majority of voters in Albuquerque voted for the removal of red light cameras.

Info from Las Cruces' Website
mus | like a bird in a cage

Stephen Harper shouted down for saying NDP didn’t support fight against Hitler

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was shouted down during a debate in question period Thursday on the Afghanistan mission for suggesting the NDP – not yet in existence – didn’t even support Canada’s military involvement in the Second World War.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair was asking Harper if he intended to extend the Afghanistan mission past 2014 after a Postmedia News report Wednesday said U.S officials had asked Canadian special forces to stay past the withdrawal date.

The prime minister responded the NDP has a pacifistic ideology “regardless of circumstances” and his government would make the right decision for Afghanistan’s security.

“In 1939, the NDP leader didn’t even want to support the fight against Hitler,” Harper said, before being drowned out by cat calls.

NDP MPs gently reminded Harper from across the aisle that the NDP didn’t come into existence until 1961, birthed by a union between the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress.

“CCF, NDP, same difference,” Harper responded curtly.

“I guess we can start talking about Reform Party policies,” Mulcair replied, to the delight of the opposition benches.

Thursday’s session of question period also brought up the specter of a debate on abortion.

Conservative Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth introduced a motion Thursday to create a committee to look into the definition of when human life begins. Currently, human life is defined by Canadian law as beginning when a baby leaves the mother’s birth canal.

Pro-choice advocates say the motion is intended as a backdoor approach to banning abortion.

Harper has repeatedly said his government would not reopen the abortion debate and stated he would be voting against Woodworth’s motion.

The House of Commons will not vote on the motion until at least June.

Harper, who runs a notoriously tight caucus, was criticized by Mulcair for allowing the motion to occur.

Harper said that any MP can table a private member’s bill if they want.

Pride & Prejudice

Thousands gather in Oslo to sing song Anders Breivik hates

Up to 40,000 Norwegians have staged an emotionally charged singalong in Oslo near the court building where Anders Behring Breivik is on trial for the murder of 77 people in a protest organisers said showed he had not broken their tolerant society.

"It's we who win," said guitar-strumming folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen as he led the mass singalong and watched the crowd sway gently in the rain. Many held roses above their heads, and some wept.

The protest followed several days of defiant testimony from Breivik, who has admitted killing his victims but denied criminal guilt.

The crowd chose to sing Children of the Rainbow, a song that extols the type of multicultural society Breivik has said he despises and one he dismissed during the trial as Marxist propaganda.

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