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‘Gay Coffins’
11.17.2010
10:05 pm

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Current Events
Queer

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These look like they were designed by a crazed interior decorator. Well, I guess you’re going to be in there forever, right?

Funeral directors in Germany are bidding for the pink pound - by launching coffins specially designed for gay customers.

The caskets feature homoerotic artwork on the outside and come with a series of tastefully luxurious plush designer interiors, say makers Mike Konigsfeld and Tom Brandl in Cologne, Germany.

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Gay coffins lift lid on new market

(via Buzzfeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
November 24 is National Opt-Out day
11.17.2010
03:42 pm

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It’s my most sincere wish that a citizen’s backlash (for once) against these hideous new security theater assaults upon innocent travelers can actually affect some change. I’m not holding my breath…

It’s the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an “enhanced pat down” that touches people’s breasts and genitals in an aggressive manner.  You should never have to explain to your children, “Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.” 

The goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change.  We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we’re guilty until proven innocent.  This day is needed because many people do not understand what they consent to when choosing to fly.

Here are the details:

Who?
   You, your family and friends traveling by air on Wednesday, November 24, 2010.  Remember too, as the TSA says, “Everyday is opt-out day.”  That is, you can opt out any time you fly. 

What?
   National Opt-Out Day.  You have the right to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines (AIT, or Advance Imaging Technology, as the government calls it).  All you have to do is say “I opt out” when they tell you to go through one of the machines.  You will then be given an “enhanced” pat down.  This is a right given to you by the TSA.

Where?
   At an airport near you! 

When?
   Wednesday, November 24, 2010.  We want families to sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about their experience - what constitutes an unreasonable search, how forceful of a pat down will we allow on certain areas of our body, and that of our children, and how much privacy are we will to give up for flying?  We hope the experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and the airlines to demand change. 

Why?
   The government should not have the ability to virtually strip search anyone it wants without cause. The problem has been compounded in that if you do not want to go through the body scanner, the TSA has made the alternative perhaps even worse by instituting “enhanced” pat downs.  There are reports from travelers across the country about how the TSA now touches the genitals and private areas of men, women and children in a much more aggressive manner.  We do not believe the government has a right to see you naked or aggressively touch you just because you bought an airline ticket. 

How?
   By saying “I opt out” when told to go through the bodying imaging machines and submitting to a pat down.  Also, be sure to have your pat down by TSA in full public - do not go to the back room when asked.  Every citizen must see for themselves how the TSA treats law-abiding citizens.

Be sure to write Congress to let them know how you feel!

 
(for once I agree with a Republican !)

 
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 is NATIONAL OPT-OUT DAY!

 

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Richard Dawkins reads hate mail and answers Reddit questions
11.15.2010
03:34 pm

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Belief
Current Events
Thinkers

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(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Aung San Suu Kyi
11.13.2010
04:54 pm

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Today, we celebrate the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader and human rights activist who has spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest. Suu Kyi’s release has been welcomed across the world, and it is hoped that this is the first step towards democracy within Burma (aka The Republic of the Union of Myanmar).

Suu Kyi’s political career started in August 1988, after a mass uprising against Burma’s military junta left thousands dead, Suu Kyi gave a speech, in front of 500,00 supporters, calling for an end to military rule and a new democratic government.

The following month, Suu Kyi co-founded the National League for Democracy (NLD) and became the party’s general secretary. The pro-democracy movement quickly gained support across the country, which led the junta to place Suu Kyi under house arrest for the first time in July 1989.

In May 1990, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory, but the ruling junta refused to recognize the results. The following year, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.

...Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression…

...In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.

In 1995, Suu Kyi was temporarily released from house arrest, but her movements were restricted. She was offered the opportunity to return to her family in the UK, but Suu Kyi opted to stay an continue the fight for democratic freedom.

These photographs from her family’s collection, reveal Suu Kyi’s life before she returned to Burma. Married to academic, Michael Aris in 1972, the couple had two children, Alexander and Kim, who are now grown men, one with a family of his own. Suu Kyi’s campaign for the greater good has come at great personal cost, her husband Michael died of prostate cancer in 1999, but he accepted what Suu Kyi saw as her destiny, as before they were married she told Aris:

“I only ask one thing, that should my people need me, you would help me to do my duty by them.”

When Aung San Suu Kyi was released today, she addressed thousands of well-wishers, saying:

“There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk. People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal.”

It can only be hoped that Suu Kyi’s release is the first step towards achieving the goal of democracy within Burma.
 
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More rare photographs of Aung San Suu Kyi after the jump
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Did Garfield.com screw up on Veterans Day?
11.11.2010
12:22 pm

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Um, er… This seems a little inappropriate don’t cha think?

Visit Garfield.com to see today’s comic strip.

Update: Jim Davis has issued this apology:

Dear Friends, Fans and Veterans:

In what has to be the worst timing ever, the strip that runs in today’s paper seems to be making a statement about Veterans. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance.

Regarding today’s Garfield comic strip , it was written almost a year ago and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today—of all days. I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days so when this strip was put in the queue, I had no idea it would run on Veterans Day. What are the odds? You can bet I’ll have a calendar that lists everything by my side in the future.

My brother Dave served in Vietnam. My son James is a Marine who has had two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’d have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our Veterans have done for all of us.

Please accept my apologies for any offense today’s Garfield may have created. It was unintentional and regrettable.


(via BB Submitterator )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Students Demonstrate Outside Tory HQ London
11.10.2010
11:24 am

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Today in London, there have been angry scenes at Millbank Tower, home to the Conservative Party HQ, as students and lecturers demonstrate against the hike in tuition fees. As the BBC reports:

There have been clashes between demonstrators and police in London, as students and lecturers protest against plans to treble tuition fees and cut university funding in England.

Protesters have broken into the building housing the Conservative Party headquarters in Westminster.

They have set fire to placards outside.

Student leaders condemned the latest action as “despicable”. They say about 30,000 people took part in a march earlier.

A stand-off is taking place between students and the police, with protesters surging forward at Millbank Tower, chanting.

Some protesters are on a roof terrace at the top of the building.

Missiles have been thrown at the police, as thousands of demonstrators crowd the street outside.

The London Ambulance Service says nine people have been treated for minor injuries.

BBC News correspondent Mike Sergeant is at the scene. He says the protesters on the roof have been throwing liquids down and that a female police officer has been injured.

And demonstrators have been cleared from outside the Liberal Democrat headquarters, where a car window has been smashed.

The Guardian newspaper is running a live feed.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Lucha VaVoom: Burlesque and chicken wrestling
11.09.2010
08:48 pm

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Pop Culture

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Lucha VaVoom tonight at Webster Hall in NYC and the Park West in Chicago on Thursday. Miss them at your peril.

Lucha VaVoom combines burlesque and Lucha Libre-style wrestling with a post-modern spin. The wrestlers are experienced in the art of grappling as well as other things. In the words of Lucha Vavoom superstar Cassandro:

“I’m just a gay guy, and I wrestle in my hair and makeup and my feathers and the glamour — I’m like the wrestling Liberace. One of my moves is the lip lock. I like to kiss people, so you better watch it if you’re around there.”

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The PTC’s 18 Dirty Words You Shouldn’t Say on TV
11.09.2010
03:12 pm

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Media
Television

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The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibbard writes:

Parents TV Council claims profanity is up a shocking percentage in primetime. (In fact, they say it’s up 69% ... snicker). While I don’t think the PTC would intentionally cook their numbers, they’re not exactly an unbiased organization about this stuff, so you have to be a tad skeptical when any activist group presents in-house research. Most interesting is the PTC’s list of words they’re objecting to (their chart, below), which expands mightily on George Carlin’s famous list of seven words you can never say on TV. Wondering: Does the Bible-based “hell” and “damn” really seem like profanity? What about “suck” and “screw”? Is bleeped profanity the same as profanity that you actually hear? (Perhaps ... you do sort of get the point). And is anybody else curious what the euphemisms were for “fuck”? And what does “other breasts” mean, exactly?

Read the article and see the full graph here.

Via Warming Glow

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The future of marijuana merchandising as imagined by artist Ron English
11.09.2010
02:44 pm

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Art
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Drugs

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Pop artist Ron English has come up with some witty new products in anticipation of the eventual legalization of pot.

See more at Ron’s site Popaganda. “English coined the term Popaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones.”
 
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Via CB

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Thinking Through and Beyond the Election by Peter Dreier
11.08.2010
02:28 pm

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Of all the attempts to analyze the post-election “now what?” question, by far, the clearest-headed effort has come from Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He composed his thoughts in an email that he sent to friends, family and colleagues, and now this email is going viral. Here’s an excerpt:

Amazingly, as Harold Meyerson notes in today’s Washington Post, Americans who blamed Wall Street for the nation’s economic problems favored Republicans over Democrats by a 14% margin!! It is time to reframe the debate over which party is in Wall Street’s pocket!

In his column Tuesday, Robert Reich reminds us that during FDR’s first term, almost every major business organization and leader, as well as almost every daily newspaper in America, attacked his New Deal ideas — such as Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act — as unwarranted “big government” and even “socialism.” During his re-election campaign in 1936, FDR mobilized public opinion against his political enemies. “Never before have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today,” he thundered. “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” FDR won re-election in a landslide. Reich suggests that Obama and progressives should follow FDR’s example.

Obama’s biggest victory (which the Republicans now hope to repeal) was the passage of the historic health care reform. As I wrote last May in the American Prospect, that victory happened because progressive groups — unions, consumer groups, community organizing groups, and others — mounted a grassroots protest campaign that saved the health care bill from defeat. The activists focused public attention on the influence and greed of the insurance industry, and gave wavering Democrats, including the President, the support they needed to push for a reform bill. Progressives and liberals need to sustain an permanent protest campaign focusing on the outrageous greed, irresponsible practices, and political influence-peddling of big business. It would help if the President and the Democratic leaders were partners in this “inside/outside” strategy.

In an op-ed in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Marshall Ganz, who helped design Obama’s grassroots organizing effort in 2008, argues that Obama needs to find his voice as an inspiring “transformational” leader, and, in doing so, help unleash the potential power of his 2008 supporters.

We need to constantly reframe the public debate to remind Americans that the Republicans, like Cong. John Boehner (the likely next Speaker of the House) and Sen. Mitchell McConnell, are wholly-owned subsidies of corporate America. That’s where they get their money. That’s their agenda. In case you’ve forgotten already, here it is again.

Boehner, McConnell, and their corporate sponsors have already declared war on Obama, the Democrats, and any attempt to tame corporate abuses, or reduce income inequality and poverty. McConnell today repeated that his top priority in Congress is to make Obama a one-term President. As Ganz, Reich, and others have written, this is no time for Obama and the Democrats to compromise principles for the sake of an illusionary bi-partisan consensus. Boehner, McConnell, DeMint and the other Republican leaders have absolutely no interest in bipartisan compromises.

Read more: Thinking Through and Beyond the Election

Thanks for the heads up, James McCardle!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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