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"This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they 'naturally' go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation."
The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It's no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. [...]
2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women's lives. [...]
3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, [...]
4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. [...]
5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. [...]
6. Giving zygotes "personhood" rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. [...]
7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, [...]
8. Allowing employers to delve into women's private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control. [...]
9. Sacrificing women's overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. [...]
10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn't disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his -- largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.
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How Companies Learn Your Secrets:

The only problem is that identifying pregnant customers is harder than it sounds. Target has a baby-shower registry, and Pole started there, observing how shopping habits changed as a woman approached her due date, which women on the registry had willingly disclosed. He ran test after test, analyzing the data, and before long some useful patterns emerged. Lotions, for example. Lots of people buy lotion, but one of Pole's colleagues noticed that women on the baby registry were buying larger quantities of unscented lotion around the beginning of their second trimester. Another analyst noted that sometime in the first 20 weeks, pregnant women loaded up on supplements like calcium, magnesium and zinc. Many shoppers purchase soap and cotton balls, but when someone suddenly starts buying lots of scent-free soap and extra-big bags of cotton balls, in addition to hand sanitizers and washcloths, it signals they could be getting close to their delivery date.

As Pole's computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a "pregnancy prediction" score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

One Target employee I spoke to provided a hypothetical example. Take a fictional Target shopper named Jenny Ward, who is 23, lives in Atlanta and in March bought cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. There's, say, an 87 percent chance that she's pregnant and that her delivery date is sometime in late August. What's more, because of the data attached to her Guest ID number, Target knows how to trigger Jenny's habits. They know that if she receives a coupon via e-mail, it will most likely cue her to buy online. They know that if she receives an ad in the mail on Friday, she frequently uses it on a weekend trip to the store. And they know that if they reward her with a printed receipt that entitles her to a free cup of Starbucks coffee, she'll use it when she comes back again.

"We have the capacity to send every customer an ad booklet, specifically designed for them, that says, `Here's everything you bought last week and a coupon for it,' " one Target executive told me. "We do that for grocery products all the time." But for pregnant women, Target's goal was selling them baby items they didn't even know they needed yet.

"With the pregnancy products, though, we learned that some women react badly," the executive said. "Then we started mixing in all these ads for things we knew pregnant women would never buy, so the baby ads looked random. We'd put an ad for a lawn mower next to diapers. We'd put a coupon for wineglasses next to infant clothes. That way, it looked like all the products were chosen by chance.

"And we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn't been spied on, she'll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don't spook her, it works."


And they're hostile about it, too:

When I sent Target a complete summary of my reporting, the reply was more terse: "Almost all of your statements contain inaccurate information and publishing them would be misleading to the public. We do not intend to address each statement point by point." The company declined to identify what was inaccurate. They did add, however, that Target "is in compliance with all federal and state laws, including those related to protected health information."

When I offered to fly to Target's headquarters to discuss its concerns, a spokeswoman e-mailed that no one would meet me. When I flew out anyway, I was told I was on a list of prohibited visitors. "I've been instructed not to give you access and to ask you to leave," said a very nice security guard named Alex.
foxtongue: (have to be kidding)
For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance
"Yes, but starting tomorrow, we're going to start searching your crotchal area" -- this is the word he used, "crotchal" -- and you're not going to like it."
"What am I not going to like?" I asked.
"We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance," he explained.
"Resistance?" I asked.
"Your testicles," he explained.
'That's funny," I said, "because 'The Resistance' is the actual name I've given to my testicles."

Full Frontal Nudity Doesn’t Make Us Safer: Abolish the TSA 
Bipartisan support should be immediate. For fiscal conservatives, it’s hard to come up with a more wasteful agency than the TSA. For privacy advocates, eliminating an organization that requires you to choose between a nude body scan or genital groping in order to board a plane should be a no-brainer.

Man opts out of porno scanner and grope, told he'll be fined $10K unless he submits to fondling 
He opted out of showing his penis to the government, so they told him he'd have to submit to an intimate testicle fondling. He told the screener, "if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." After faffing around with various supervisors and supervisors' supervisors, he opted not to fly, collected a refund from the American Airlines counter, and started to leave the airport. But before he could go, the supervisor's supervisor's supervisor told him he wasn't allowed to leave the checkpoint once he entered it, that he was already in for up to $10,000 in fines, and that he would have to return and allow the man's minons to palpate his genitals before he'd be allowed to leave the airport.

Lobbyists join the war on terror 
The degradations of passing through full-body scanners that provide naked pictures of you to Transportation Security Administration agents may not mean that the terrorists have won -- but they do mark victories for a few politically connected high-tech companies and their revolving-door lobbyists. [...] But this is government we're talking about. A program or product doesn't need to be effective, it only needs to have a good lobby. And the naked-scanner lobby is small but well-connected.

National Opt-Out Day
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.

TSA Opt-Out Day, Now with a Superfantastic New Twist!
By the way, it is the official position of Goldblog that everyday is opt-out day. There's no need to wait until November 24th. But come November 24th, here's an idea you might try to make the day extra-special. It's a one-word idea: Kilts.

Rape Survivor Devastated by TSA Enhanced Pat Down
Coming back from Chicago, Celeste, like increasing numbers of travelers, was forced to make a difficult choice – either allow strangers to see her naked or allow strangers to touch and squeeze her breasts and groin in full view of other travels and TSA agents. “This was a nightmare come to life,” Celeste says, “I said I didn’t want them to see me naked and the agent started yelling Opt out- we have an opt here. Another agent took me aside and said they would have to pat me down. He told me he was going to touch my genitals and asked if I wouldn’t rather just go through the scanner, that it would be less humiliating for me. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I kept saying I don’t want any of this to happen. I was whispering please don’t do this, please, please.”

Stop the TSA's Nude Scanners!
Bold legislators in New Jersey and Idaho have introduced bills stopping the new porno-scanners, but that's not enough -- we need to pass these bills in every state! So I set up a thing to make it super-easy to contact your state legislator about it. Just add your name and zip code to our petition and we'll automatically email your state rep.

Fly With Dignity
An organization seeking advocacy and recognition of the TSA’s and DHS’s actions against our privacy and right to refuse unwarranted search.

Complete List of Airports with Whole Body Imaging/Advanced Imaging Technology Scanners
foxtongue: (have to be kidding)
70% of US federal spending reports don't add up:

Today the Sunlight Foundation launched analysis that reveals more than $1.3 trillion in federal reporting data from 2009 is broken. These data inaccuracies account for 70 percent of the total $1.9 trillion in government spending data reported last year. Clearspending offers a critique on the reliability of data from USASpending.gov, across three metrics--consistency, completeness and timeliness--and covers spending from 2007, 2008 and 2009.

While there has been an increase in the number of programs reporting to USASpending.gov in the past three years, the reported data suffers from an abundance of errors, as well as problems with the data's timeliness and completeness. Findings from Sunlight's Clearspending show that a significant portion of the government's data is unreliable and that USASpending.gov has not fulfilled its legal requirement of providing the public access to accurate, timely and detailed information on how federal agencies fulfill their spending obligations.
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Via Stephen:

Bye Bye Blue-fin.

My announcement is premature but perhaps not by much. Up until a couple of months ago the blame was on fishing and particularly Malta. With the blue-fin getting rarer and the price for a fish up around a third of a million bucks it would hard to imagine that fishermen would stop going after this lucrative prey.

However, it seems that BP will strike the final blow. Giant underwater dispersant and oil plumes are creating huge dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and ... that's where blue-fin tuna spawn - and it's the ONLY place they spawn.

So go buy a couple of tins and put them away somewhere cool and maybe in 50 years or so we can try to recreate the blue-fin from canned DNA - or just eat it when you get tired of soylent green.
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California Schools Ban Dictionaries for Containing Lewd Information
Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex".

Merriam Webster's 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the "sexually graphic" entry is "just not age appropriate", according to the area's local paper.

The dictionary's online definition of the term is "oral stimulation of the genitals". "It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature," district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.


School Outlaws "Sexual Bending". Educators issue rules covering grinding, other dance offenses.
While dancing back to front, all dancers must remain upright - no sexual bending is allowed. Examples are, no hands on knees, and no hands on the dance floor with your buttocks touching your dance partner. There will be no touching of the breasts, buttocks or genitals. There will be no straddling of each others' legs. Both feet must remain on the dance floor at all times. Students will be given wrist bands at the door. One warning results in a teacher cutting off the wrist band. A student dancing inappropriately with no wrist band will be asked to leave the dance. This may result in loss of dance privileges for the year.

The dance will be videotaped to insure the safety of all students attending.
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via jwz:

You are being lied to about pirates
In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury - you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply.

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation - and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".
foxtongue: (Default)
via, again, jwz:

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe
The most serious space weather event in history happened in 1859. It is known as the Carrington event, after the British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, who was the first to note its cause: "two patches of intensely bright and white light" emanating from a large group of sunspots. The Carrington event comprised eight days of severe space weather.

There were eyewitness accounts of stunning auroras, even at equatorial latitudes. The world's telegraph networks experienced severe disruptions, and Victorian magnetometers were driven off the scale. [...]

According to the NAS report, a severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people. [...] The truly shocking finding is that this whole situation would not improve for months, maybe years: melted transformer hubs cannot be repaired, only replaced. "From the surveys I've done, you might have a few spare transformers around, but installing a new one takes a well-trained crew a week or more," says Kappenman. "A major electrical utility might have one suitably trained crew, maybe two." Within a month, then, the handful of spare transformers would be used up. The rest will have to be built to order, something that can take up to 12 months.

Even when some systems are capable of receiving power again, there is no guarantee there will be any to deliver. Almost all natural gas and fuel pipelines require electricity to operate. Coal-fired power stations usually keep reserves to last 30 days, but with no transport systems running to bring more fuel, there will be no electricity in the second month.

With no power for heating, cooling or refrigeration systems, people could begin to die within days. There is immediate danger for those who rely on medication. Lose power to New Jersey, for instance, and you have lost a major centre of production of pharmaceuticals for the entire US. Perishable medications such as insulin will soon be in short supply.

Hurricane Katrina's societal and economic impact has been measured at $81 billion to $125 billion. According to the NAS report, the impact of what it terms a "severe geomagnetic storm scenario" could be as high as $2 trillion. And that's just the first year after the storm. The NAS puts the recovery time at four to 10 years.
Previously, previously.
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Copied from [livejournal.com profile] spiderfarmer via James Grant:


Palestinian doctor has house shelled on Israeli news.

If you cannot see the subtitles do the following:
1. Play the video
2. Click the triangle button at the bottom-right corner of the video
3. Click the Turn on captions button that looks like the letters CC.

Israeli TV broadcast a father's heartbreak Friday night when a Palestinian doctor living in Gaza made a frantic phone call to a newscaster saying an Israeli tank had shelled his home, killing three of his daughters and injuring other family members.

Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, who speaks Hebrew, worked as a gynecologist in an Israeli hospital. Even as the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel had largely been closed in recent months, he had traveled frequently from one place to the other. But he had remained in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began 21 days ago. He gave frequent interviews to the Israeli media on living conditions in the seaside enclave. He spoke of having tanks around his house and of passing through checkpoints; he told Israelis what it was like to be Palestinian.

Minutes away from a scheduled phone interview on Israeli TV 10 with newscaster Shlomi Eldar, Aboul Aish called Eldar's cellphone, screaming and weeping in Arabic and Hebrew. The doctor's home had been struck by a shell:

"Oh God, oh my God, my daughters have been killed. They've killed my children. . . . Could somebody please come to us?"

Sitting at his news desk for one of Israel's main evening news broadcasts, Eldar held his phone up. For three minutes and 26 seconds, Aboul Aish's wailing was broadcast across the country.

Eldar welled up. He put his head down. He looked at the camera. He looked at his phone. He made pleas for helpfor the family, but the doctor kept crying, his voice scratchy, like sand on paper, until Eldar took out his earpiece and walked off the set to try to arrange for help. The newscaster's bewildered face seemed to capture a bit of pause in a nation that has largely supported its military campaign and prefers not to question its course.

News reports said there had been shooting in the area of the doctor's house before the shelling. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Israeli officials permitted ambulances carrying members of the doctor's family to cross the border to a hospital.

Aboul Aish was a single father. His wife had died of cancer. He made his daughters sleep close to the walls of their home in hopes that would keep them safe if airstrikes or artillery collapsed the ceiling.

"I don't know how this man will stand on his feet again after this tragedy," Dr. Liat Lerner-Geya, an Israeli who worked with Aboul Aish, told the Hebrew-language news website Ynet. "He would come to Israel and sleep at friends' houses for three nights. Even though he had all the necessary permits, they always gave him trouble at the crossings. But he believed there should be coexistence and practiced this in his work."

After the newscast, Eldar met with reporters. He said the doctor told him that evening "that since his wife's passing, the girls had been his entire life. He said his eldest daughter wanted to study at Haifa University. Just today another one of his daughters had told him she had gotten her period. 'In the middle of a war you get your period. You are a woman now.' "

She and her sisters are dead. The news spread across Israel's websites; the video of the doctor’s broadcast quickly made it to YouTube.

Eldar said of Aboul Aish: "It is simply surreal. He is part of this place yet not of it, belonging and not belonging."

Even so, across Israel the doctor's anguished voice kept playing over and over.

jeffrey.fleishman@latimes.com Sobelman works in The Times' Jerusalem Bureau.


Photo from BBC News, Gaza, Early January 2009, via Warren:

foxtongue: (misery)
"R.I.P. Habeus Corpus, 1215 - 2006" from [livejournal.com profile] jwz

The Military Commission Act has been signed.

Washington Post:
President Bush this morning proudly signed into law a bill that critics consider one of the most un-American in the nation's long history.

The new law vaguely bans torture -- but makes the administration the arbiter of what is torture and what isn't. It allows the president to imprison indefinitely anyone he decides falls under a wide-ranging new definition of unlawful combatant. It suspends the Great Writ of habeas corpus for detainees. It allows coerced testimony at trial. It immunizes retroactively interrogators who may have engaged in torture.
All but one of the items on the bill of rights has been affected by this new law.

ACLU:
The president can now - with the approval of Congress - indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act.


"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America. He didn't get his wish." George W. Bush, upon signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law.

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