July 23rd, 2012

Murasaki Shikibu

Photo of boy in public housing with an iPad prompts debate over what the poor should have

Photo of boy in public housing with an iPad prompts debate over what the poor should have

In a story that appeared on Wednesday's front page some residents of the Iberville public housing development talked about their fears that today's scheduled implosion of the nearby Pallas Hotel will make them sick or aggravate the asthma or other respiratory problems they already have. The 17-story hotel is being brought down to make room for the University Medical Center the state is building.

Concerns about airborne particles prompted state officials to offer hotel rooms for residents who live within a 600-foot radius of the demolition site, but the Pallas Hotel and Iberville are separated by 725 feet. So, before Wednesday at least, there was nothing special being planned for folks in the 400-apartment complex. The state's plan was reminiscent of the good old days in Louisiana when at some restaurants there'd be nothing but open air separating the non-smoking section from the smoking one.

But forget about the residents' health worries. Some readers were more worked up over a Rusty Costanza photograph that accompanied Wednesday's story. He showed an 8-year-old boy at the development busying himself with an iPad. That's a relatively expensive piece of technology. Predictably, outrage ensued.

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disbelieving hook

NCAA hands out severe punishment for Penn State

By Carolyn Kaster, AP

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tl;dr version:

here are the penalties:

  1. A $60 million fine, the funds of which go to external programs for child abuse.
  2. A four-year postseason ban.
  3. All wins from 1998-2011 will be vacated (112 wins). Joe Paterno is no longer major college football’s winningest.
  4. A reduction of 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year for a four-year period.
  5. Five years probation with a monitor.
  6. The NCAA can investigate the program further after criminal proceedings.

  • chaya

(no subject)

Woman's horror after Best Buy employee steals 'racy' photos from iPhone and says she must go to his house to get them back

A mother who went to have her cell phone fixed at Best Buy has spoken of her fury after a male employee copied racy photos of her to a CD before later inviting her to his home to collect them.

Last April, Sophia Ellison hired a Geek Squad employee in Fairfax, Virginia to transfer hundreds of photos, numbers and contacts to a newly purchased iPhone for her.

Instead, he copied them on to his own computer and demanded that she see him in person if she wanted to get them back.

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Daily Fail
has video.


In case you forgot, the writer of AZ's SB1070 is a horrible person.

Former State Senator Claims Colorado Shooting Victims Lacked Courage To Stop Gunman

Though the alleged gunman at the theater shooting last Friday was armed to the teeth, able to fire off 60 rounds in a minute, and dressed fully in bulletproof gear, former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce thinks one of the people in the theater should have been able to take him down.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Pearce criticized the people in the theater for a lack of courage and for not being armed, saying that if they had been, they could have saved lives. “All that was needed is one Courages/Brave [sic] man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done,” he posted:

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Source: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/07/23/565821/former-state-senator-claims-colorado-shooting-victims-lacked-courage-to-stop-gunman/

Jesus Christ, Arizona, what the fuck is in your water? Is there like a competition in your state between your politicians to see who can be most horrible?

Hyatt Hotels Boycott Joined By Broad Coalition, Including Football Players Association

To protest what it describes as abusive working conditions, a coalition of labor unions and progressive groups including the National Football League Players Association has ramped up a boycott of Hyatt hotels.

Unite Here, the nation’s largest hospitality workers' union, had previously called for boycotts of individual Hyatt hotel properties, but the unveiling of a global boycott campaign at a Monday morning press conference in Washington, D.C., marked an escalation of this effort. Other members of the coalition include the National Organization for Women, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Black Justice Center and Christian and Jewish labor groups. Demonstrations are planned this week for cities across the country, including San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.

Annemarie Strassel, a Unite Here spokeswoman, explained to The Huffington Post the rationale behind building the broad coalition. "There are many LGBT people that work in the hospitality industry; housekeepers are almost exclusively women,” she said. "We’ve been natural allies in terms of working together to improve the standards of work in the service industry and the hotel industry." The football players association could not be immediately reached for comment.

One of the main charges by organizers of the global boycott campaign is that Hyatt's housekeepers are overworked. Strassel pointed to an April letter from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent to the company that references the “presence of ergonomic risk factors associated with housekeeping tasks” in Hyatt’s hotels. While OSHA did not issue a citation, the post-inspection letter is believed to be a first for the hotel industry.

Another complaint is Hyatt’s reliance on temporary labor agencies to provide a low-paid workforce, as HuffPost reported last year. Though Hyatt is not alone in its adoption of this business model, Strassel claimed the hotel chain goes a step further with its "aggressive subcontracting practices."Collapse )


source, the official boycott website: http://www.hyatthurts.org/
Murasaki Shikibu

Chinese dictionary refuses to turn "comrades" gay

Chinese dictionary refuses to turn "comrades" gay

A newly published edition of an authoritative Chinese dictionary has come under fire for leaving out the homosexual definition of a word commonly used to refer to gay men and lesbians.

The word "tongzhi" traditionally means "comrade" and has been widely used by the Communist Party. But in recent decades the word has evolved to refer to homosexuals.

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(Just in case anyone wants to know, tongzhi is written 同志.)
Bunny ARGH!

GOP senators block top Obama jobs initiative

Washington (CNN) -- Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the No.1 item on the president's congressional "to-do-list," refusing to allow a vote on a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that "insource" jobs to the U.S. from overseas while eliminating tax deductions for companies that move jobs abroad.

In voting against the bill, Republicans raised both substantive and procedural problems with the measure.

The bill fell four votes short of the 60 needed to bring it to debate, with 42 voting against it. Four GOP senators -- Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Dean Heller of Nevada -- voted in favor of the bill.

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  • yeats

Assaulting tolerance in Mali

The nation of Mali, and much of Sahelian West Africa, has long-standing moderate Muslim practices dating back to the ninth century. This broadminded intellectual, spiritual and cultural tradition is being undermined by a new wave of religious colonialism emanating from outside of the region, an especially violent and intolerant form of fundamentalist Islam. The hijacking of a secular separatist movement in northern Mali by outside Islamist groups, and the subsequent loss of human life, restrictions on basic freedoms, and destruction of historical monuments that comprise a UNESCO world heritage site, is the latest and most egregious act of aggression-cum-religion in this embattled country.

Having had elected governments for 20 years, Mali was considered a shining light of democracy in West Africa and a darling of Western donors. This facade came crashing down with a coup d'etat on March 22, launched by a group of young military lieutenants who were frustrated with the government's inadequate support for the army in its ongoing fight against separatist Tuareg rebels in the North, a group that had become emboldened by a recent infusion of trained Tuareg fighters and heavy arms leaving Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in late 2011.

But the flagging military fight in the North offers only a partial explanation of the Malian coup. Mali's population had grown weary of democracy's promises, with multi-party elections yielding limited development gains, and corruption was on rise in recent years. Absent this frustration, the Malian population may have more vigorously resisted a coup that occurred a mere month before the then president, Amadou Toumani Toure, was ready to step down and democratic elections were to be held.

A deeper loss

Political scientists, and Western donors who have supported governance efforts in Africa, will long debate the depth (or lack thereof) of democracy in Mali and the reasons for its fragility at that moment. Unlike its tenuous tradition of multi-party democracy, Mali now risks losing a much deeper and culturally ingrained custom of moderate Islamic practice and religious tolerance. This would be a loss to the entire Muslim World and the global community.

Things have gone from bad to worse in Mali since the March coup. Seizing on the power vacuum in the South, Tuareg separatist rebels, led by the secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), quickly overran the Malian military and captured the major cities of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu in the North, culminating in the declaration of an independent state known as Azawad on April 6. In the South, the situation started to look a little better when the putschist regime, led by Captain Amadou Sanogo, agreed to yield power to a transitional government following the squeeze put on them by sanctions imposed by the regional block known as ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). However, the transitional Malian president, Dioncounda Traore, has been in Paris since he was attacked and beat up by a mob on May 21 that stormed the presidential palace. Now it is even more transparent that it is the military putschists that are incompetently running the southern part of the country.

In the North, the secular MNLA has been ousted by the Islamist Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Ansar Dine, whose sole stated aim is to impose sharia law in the North of the country, has unleashed a storm of religious intolerance on this once religiously broadminded and moderate Muslim region. Women have been whipped for not wearing the veil, music banned in this deeply lyrical society, the tombs of ancient Muslim saints destroyed, and the famous Timbuktu university and library (containing ancient manuscripts) is under threat.

"In addition to the brutal dismemberment of religious tolerance and local expression in this part of world, this region is on the brink of a major famine due to turmoil created by recent power shifts in the North of Mali."

What the outside world needs to understand is that Islam in Mali has long been tolerant and inflected with local traditions. Religious practices have generally not restricted women from economic and political activity, or social interaction. Until recently, very few Malian women wore veils. Not unlike most world religions which tend to absorb local practices as they spread, Islam in Mali often took on mystical elements, ancestor veneration and certain indigenous animist beliefs. Relations between the 90 per cent Muslim majority and religious minorities (mainly Christian and traditional animist) were also generally amicable. In fact, it was not unusual to find adherents to various faiths in one family or for practitioners of one religion to attend the important religious ceremonies of another, such as marriages, baptisms or funerals.

Plenty of responsibility

It is not a stretch to suggest that Islam in Mali, and much of West Africa, had a lot to offer the rest of the Muslim world, and the global community more generally, in terms of its indigenous expression, tolerance of other religions, and freedoms accorded to women. Sadly, this rich tradition is being hijacked in the North of Mali by Ansar Dine and AQIM, groups that have significant ties to outside interests and funding. Make no doubt about it, this is not a divinely endorsed action, or the spiritual epiphany of an impoverished population, but externally financed religious colonial aggression designed to supplant and destroy local desires and practices.

In addition to the brutal dismemberment of religious tolerance and local expression in this part of world, this region is on the brink of a major famine due to turmoil created by recent power shifts in the North of Mali.

We all have a role to play in sorting out this problem. Those foreigners with deep pockets who are financing AQIM and Ansar Dine ought to think carefully about the harm they are inflicting on innocent people in this part of the world, most of whom are Muslim. The Malian people must place increasing pressure on the current putschist military regime in Bamako to completely step aside and allow for the return of freely elected civilian rulers. The international community, including ECOWAS and the UN, must send peacekeepers to northern Mali to stop the killing of innocent people and the destruction of cultural artefacts, to make possible the delivery food aid, and to facilitate a democratic referendum on the future of this region of the country.

source.probably the best article i've read so far on the subject... the phrase "religious colonialism" is really apt.