October 9th, 2012

The Gang
  • acmeeoy

The citizen scientist

Chris Williams looks at the legacy of a towering figure among environmentalists.

IN THE same sad week that saw the deaths of several globally renowned revolutionary voices, another intellectual giant of the left passed away at the age of 95: ecologist, activist and scientist Barry Commoner.

A life-long champion of the need for scientific engagement with the public at large, Commoner constantly sought to bring to light the iniquities of industrial capitalism, beginning with his campaign against above-ground nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s, and continuing with his opposition to nuclear power--that is, the transition to more polluting and toxic but highly profitable synthetic compounds in place of natural ones.

As the New York Times noted in its obituary, Commoner "came armed with a combination of scientific expertise and leftist zeal."

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Fun with Technology

Maine Republicans Slam Candidate's WoW Persona

A state Senate race in Maine is heating up over a Democratic candidate's World of Warcraft hobby.

The Maine Republican party is slamming Colleen Lachowicz for comments she made while leading a "bizarre double life" as a level 85 orc on the online role-playing game.

"So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things…a lot. Who would have thought that a peace-lovin', social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!" Lachowicz once wrote of her gaming hobby on the liberal blog Daily Kos.

The 48-year-old, whose plays as an Orc Assassin Rogue named "Santiaga," is also accused of making incendiary remarks about Republicans - including conservative tax activist Grover Norquist.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bath tub," she wrote.

David Sorenson, communications director for the Maine Republican party, told ABC News that Republicans are criticizing Lachowicz for "the comments she made while gaming" - not for gaming, in itself.

Maine Republicans have compiled the remarks, which Sorenson calls "unbecoming to a state Senator," on the website ColleensWorld.com.

They've also sent out a press release and several mailers describing Lachowicz's "disturbing alter-ego."

Lachowicz, meanwhile, is returning the fire. She blasted her opponents for choosing to focus on her personal hobbies — and not the issues.

"Instead of talking about what they're doing for Maine people, they're making fun of me for playing video games," she said in a statement. "What's next? Will I be ostracized for playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends? If so, guilty as charged!"

Commenters on World of Warcraft forums fell on both sides of the argument.

"With the amount of information we have been given, it would be naive to defend or assault her competence because she plays WoW," one user wrote.

"i think i would prefer it if politicians spend their time doing other things. call me old fashioned i guess," another added.

Lachowicz, who is running against Republican Sen. Thomas Martin of Benton for the seat in District 25, maintains that her online gaming habit is far from unusual.

"As a gamer, I'm in good company with folks like Jodie Foster, Vin Diesel, Mike Myers, and Robin Williams," she said in a statement. "Maybe it's the Republican Party that is out of touch."

Source is undergeared for its level.

jesus horse1

Atheism is the fastest-growing "religious" group in America

According to CNN.

Survey: One in five Americans has no religion

Washington (CNN) – The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans.

Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.

Pew found that those who are religiously unaffiliated are strikingly less religious than the public at large. They attend church infrequently, if at all, are largely not seeking out religion and say that the lack of it in their lives is of little importance.

I found this interesting:
The Pew survey suggested that the Democratic Party would do well to recognize the growth of the unaffiliated, since 63% of them identify with or lean toward that political group. Only 26% of the unaffiliated do the same with the Republican Party.

I have to admit that I don't know any Atheists or Agnostics who are Republican (I, myself, am Atheist). Is there anyone in this community who is or do any of you know someone who is? I'd be interested in hearing how they justify their political affiliation given the fact that the Republican party is traditionally centered heavily around and supported by those with evangelical religious beliefs (but not always).
P // White Seal of Approval™

The 15 Most Overrated White People

Today, our nation engages in one of its most bizarre cultural rituals: the celebration of Columbus Day as a national holiday. Although history proves that Christopher Columbus was an immoral treasure hunter who merely stumbled upon a region that had already been "discovered" by indigenous non-whites, we continue to praise the vicious conquistador as a hero.

To honor the true spirit of Columbus Day, I have created my own list of overrated white people. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, as there are countless other White people who are equally underwhelming.

Elvis Presley - Elvis didn't write his own songs (despite taking credit for them), barely played the guitar, and was a worse actor than the entire cast of Belly. Despite being a cheap facsimile of Little Richard, he is still known as the "King of Rock 'n Roll." Only in America...

Ronald Reagan - You can't have a conversation with a Republican without hearing Reagan's name invoked as the patron saint of American politics. As a result, Ronald Reagan moves closer and closer to the Mount Rushmore of our public imagination with each passing year. How easily we forget that Reagan was largely responsible for shutting down mental hospitals, bloating the military, shrinking benefits for the needy, sparking mass incarceration, and declaring ketchup a vegetable for our children's school lunches.

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As a Canadian I'm vaguely insulted at the NHL jab. Altho the claws only really come out if you insult Timmy's. Shit will go down if you insult the double-double, just saying.

As for my overrated white people picks... look at prominent white people in Canadian and American politics, global history, and Hollywood. I probably think they're overrated. (Except Jack Layton. Jack was fantastic.)

Victims angrily confront Sandusky at sentencing after he receives 30 to 60 years for child sex abuse

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to no less than 30 years and no more than 60 years in prison at a hearing on Tuesday. It is, effectively, a life sentence.

Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, and faced a maximum of 400 years in prison.

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(ME!) we are not amused

Olive Garden, Olive Garden no!

Olive Garden, Red Lobster Scale Back Employee Work Hours to Avoid Paying for Health Insurance.

Darden Restaurants Inc., the parent company of popular casual dining establishments such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouse, is no longer offering full-time work schedules to employees at "a select number" of restaurants in four markets across the country.

Though details were scant, the company did say there were no immediate plans to expand the "test," which is aimed at "help[ing] us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business."

Starting January 2014, when most major provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect, companies with over 50 employees will be required to provide health insurance to employees working over 30 hours a week. Companies that flout the law will be fined $3,000 per uncovered employee.

"I think a lot of those employers, especially restaurants, are just going to ensure nobody gets scheduled more than 30 hours a week," Matthew Snook of the human-resources consulting company Mercer told the Orlando Sentinel.

Jumping the gun, Darden said in its statement that employees at restaurants where the pilot program was put in place will be limited to 28 hours a week.

A recent study by the nonpartisan Urban Institute found that companies with over 1,000 employees will only experience a 4.3 percent increase in overall spending due to added healthcare costs. Currently, some 75 percent of Darden's 180,000 employees are already working exclusively part-time and are not eligible for benefits.

Darden, which, ironically, bills itself as "the world's largest full-service restaurant company," made headlines last year when it started a "tip sharing" program requiring the waitstaff to share its tips with all other employees. According to the Associated Press, "That allows Darden to pay more workers a far lower 'tip credit wage' of $2.13, rather than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour."

marinara source

As someone on plurk put it, this is Wal-Mart-style douchebaggery.

Alan Jones states that Julia Gillard's father 'died of shame'

VETERAN radio host Alan Jones has sparked outrage by telling Young Liberals that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father "died of shame".

The 2GB breakfast show host was recorded making the remarks in a speech to 100 members of the Sydney University Liberal Club President's dinner, just weeks after the death of John Gillard.

Mr Gillard died at the age of 83 on September 8 after a battle with illness.

“Every person in the caucus of the Labor Party knows that Julia Gillard is a liar,” News Limited Sunday papers reported Mr Jones as saying at last Saturday's event at a Sydney restaurant.

“Everybody, I'll come to that in a moment.

“The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he had a daughter who told lies every time she stood for parliament.”

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tldr: Julia Gillard's (Australian PM) father died last month. Talkback radio host (think Rush Limbaugh) at a private function, attended by front benchers of the Liberal party (right wing Australian party) states that Julia Gillard's father 'died of shame' A reporter at the event records this and it comes out. Outrage is massive. Jones issuess a non apology. Online petitions call for advertisers to pull advertising form his show. From Monday the show has been running without advertising due to the high number pulling ads. Jones and his bosses are now stating that Jones is a victim of cyber bullying and the poor widdle thing!