November 21st, 2012

Six-year-old schools Hasbro on gender equality

When Jennifer O'Connell's six-year old daughter was playing the Hasbro board game "Guess Who?" with her brothers, she noticed something was a little off.

The game, which encourages kids to guess which character their opponents have chosen based on facial characteristics, features 19 boys and 5 girls. That, the toddler thought to herself, didn't seem fair, so she decided to hip Hasbro to the issue. And in the end, she proved to be a heck of a lot more cognizant than the corporate automatons she reached out to.

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Cory Booker To Live On Food Stamps After Making Twitter Challenge

Not content to simply rescue neighbors from burning buildings and invite cold Hurricane Sandy victims into his home, Cory Booker has a new plan to connect with his constituency. He's going to live on food stamps.

On Saturday, the Newark mayor and Twitter legend engaged in a back-and-forth with @MWadeNC, a self-described Army veteran and Army wife "fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism."

It began, as all good Twitter spats do, with an ancient Greek proverb.



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@MWadeNC has now made her twitter private
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Israel-Gaza Ceasefire: Hamas And Israel Reportedly Agree To Truce

GAZA, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Israel and the Islamist militant group Hamas agreed on Wednesday to a Gaza ceasefire deal, said a Palestinian official with knowledge of Egyptian mediation between the two sides.

The official declined to be named or to give further information.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the news, which came on the eighth day of intensive Israeli fire on the Gaza Strip and militant rocket attacks out of the Palestinian territory.

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I'll edit the post when there is more information

Israel-Hamas Ceasefire: Egypt Announces Peace Deal To Take Effect At 9 P.M.


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and the Hamas militant group agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday to end eight days of the fiercest fighting in nearly four years, promising to halt air strikes and rocket attacks that have killed scores and to discuss easing an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip.


Cheering Gazans emerged from their homes after a week, flooding the streets in wild celebration. Gunmen fired in the air, and chants of "God is Great" echoed from mosque loudspeakers. Residents hugged and kissed in celebration, while others distributed candy and waved Hamas flags.


"I just hope they commit to peace," said Abdel-Nasser al-Tom, from northern Gaza.


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Also, according to ynetnews, Gaza has launched rockets after the cease fire.
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Anti-Cory Booker Mayhem Turns City Council Meeting into Near-Riot



Police had to resort to pepper-spray to end an unruly city council meeting in Newark last night, after a procedural move by Mayor Cory Booker caused angry citizens to storm the stage in protest—an evening of mayhem that should lead to tremors in a possible fight against Chris Christie.

To give you the background on the scene, courtesy of the Newark Star-Ledger: the council was meeting to nominate a replacement for Donald Payne Jr., who gave up his seat two weeks ago after being elected to Congress. Booker was looking to nominate an ally, Shanique Davis Speight, to the empty slot. His opponents were pushing for John James, the son of former Newark mayor Sharpe James, who Booker beat in 2006 to claim his current job. When a councilman supporting James attempted to speak, he was not recognized by the acting chair, so he and three other council-members walked out in protest, leaving the council without a quorum.

That's when Booker stepped in. In the absence of a quorum, council rules allow the mayor to sit in and cast votes. Anticipating just such a moment, Booker's chief of staff had planned ahead, making sure the mayor was at the council meeting—for the first time ever—to take action. Speight was nominated to the empty seat and Booker cast the deciding vote in her favor.

That's when the mayhem started. Residents grew furious over what looked like back-room cronyism orchestrated by Booker and his allies, and began chanting "Cory's gotta go." When Speight entered the chamber to be sworn in, dozens of citizens stormed the dais and had to be pushed back by police. One man was even arrested. Speight had to leave the room to be sworn in elsewhere.

No matter which way you look at his maneuvering—and his staff insists he followed all the rules—this incident won't look good for Booker the next time he runs for office. Booker is widely expected to challenge Chris Christie for the New Jersey Governor's chair next year, and the Republicans already have their first ready-made campaign ad. Booker's own constituents turning against him and losing their minds over a shady deal to pack the city council with his friends? That's not the image that America has come to expect from its superhero Twitter mayor. (@CoryBooker has been unusually silent since the meeting last night.)

With Christie riding high for his "state before party" approach to hurricane relief (a new poll this morning finds his approval rate at 67 percent), and Booker's food stamp challenge suddenly overshadowed, the episode gives Christie the opportunity to label the mayor as partisan hack.

source: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/11/anti-cory-booker-mayhem-turns-city-council-meeting-near-riot/59223/#
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Michigan Considers Fetus Tax Credit Bill After Slashing Tax Credits for Actual Children

Pro-choicers have been accusing conservatives for decades of valuing fetuses more than actual born children (and exponentially more than post-pubescent women), and now state legislators in Michigan are considering proving them right. The legislature held a hearing on Tuesday for House Bill 5684 and 5685, which would "allow taxpayers to claim a dependency exemption for a fetus that has completed at least 12 weeks of gestation as of the last day of the tax year and that has been under the care and observation of a physician since at least 12 weeks of gestation." Yep, tax exemptions for fetuses.

This bill really demonstrates the exciting new extremist direction of anti-choice nuttery—the bill author's Todd Akin-style imagined reality, where OB-GYNs are fetus doctors instead of lady doctors, is particularly charming. But what makes this even more offensive than the norm of offensiveness we've grown used to is that Michigan just slashed a bunch of tax relief for actual children. Michigan Republicans took the hatchet to the Earned Income Tax Credit and child care subsidy, a move that directly hurts families who are trying to house, clothe, and feed children unfortunate enough to have developed beyond the fetal stage into the living, breathing person stage. If Michigan passes this new bill, it can only be taken as a direct statement that fetuses have far more value to Michigan than children.

Clearly, the only solution here is for women to simply stay pregnant. But medical science tells us that, barring some futuristic cryogenic fetus-preserving technology, those pesky and unruly female bodies tend to complete the incubation stage at a predictable pace, turning adorable, tax-exempt fetuses into stupid old money-sucking babies with their never-ending health care and nutrition needs. Needs, or, as Mitt Romney might call them, "gifts."


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Racism Is Bad for Health

By Fabiana Frayssinet

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 14 2012 (IPS) - If a black woman and a white woman both need emergency obstetric care, a Brazilian doctor will assist the white woman because of the stereotype that black women are better at handling pain and are used to giving birth.

Because of cultural and social conventions in Brazil “blacks are seen in terms of stereotypes, and that leads to them not having the same guarantees in healthcare treatment as whites have,” Crisfanny Souza Soares, a psychologist with the National Network for Social Monitoring and Health of the Black Population, told IPS.

A campaign in Brazil is seeking to combat these stereotypes, which reflect racism that undermines public health, in the country’s hospital system.

The Pro Health National Mobilisation of the Black Population was launched this year by Afro-Brazilian organisations with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The aim of the campaign, whose theme is “Long, healthy life free of racism”, is comprehensive healthcare at all stages of life. It encourages society, and especially the health system, to fight discrimination, in order to bring down the high mortality rates among the country’s black population.

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Gaza rockets hit south after truce; IDF holds fire

After ceasefire between Israel, Hamas takes effect at 9 pm, Gaza terrorists launch rockets toward south. Officials: Next round of violence matter of time
Ynet reporters
Latest Update: 11.22.12, 01:24 / Israel News

Several rockets were launched from Gaza toward south Israel after 9 pm Wednesday, when the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took effect. The IDF held its fire.

 

Air raid sirens were heard after 9 pm in Eshkol, Sderot and the Hof Ashkelon and Sha'ar Hanegev regional councils. Rockets landed in the Eshkol and Sha'ar Hanegev regional councils, but there were no reports of injury or damage.

Sirens were sounded in Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi and surrounding communities shortly after 10 pm. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one rocket over Ashdod. Around 10:30 pm sirens were heard in Ashdod, Gan Yave and Gedera.

IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai confirmed that the ceasefire had taken effect at 9 pm in accordance with the political echelon's instructions. "The IDF has stopped firing at the Strip and will open fire only if our forces are put in danger," he said.

  

The IDF spokesman added that a decision on whether to release the reserve forces would be made on Thursday.

"The operation's goals have been achieved. Hamas suffered a serious blow and is in a great amount of distress. After the organization's leaders come out from their hiding places, they will see the extent of destruction. We understand from intelligence sources that Hamas is in distress."

  


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Allen West (finally) concedes

It wasn’t supposed to end this way for Allen West.

The tea party House freshman had an astonishing $17 million war chest, sky-high name ID and a Republican-leaning district. His opponent, Patrick Murphy, was a 29-year-old construction company executive who had never sought office before. Even Democrats privately acknowledged late in the campaign that Murphy was probably a little green to be going up against a powerhouse like West.

But on Tuesday morning, it was West, not Murphy, issuing a lengthy concession statement after a two-week recount that confirmed he had fallen a painful 2,000 or so votes short. The congressman’s unexpected loss left his advisers, donors and legion of tea party fans searching for answers.

His tight-knit circle of top campaign aides was “shocked,” said one Republican close to the incumbent. On the eve of the election, a private survey conducted by West’s veteran pollster, Gene Ulm, had the congressman leading by 5 percentage points.
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