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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Quote of the day 


"We are surprised at the hastiness of wanting to recognize Israel."

Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri.

Frankly, this whole "recognize" thing is a little silly. Imagine Yasser Arafat walking up to someone in the 1970s. "No, I don't recognize him," the politically correct person would say. "I don't have any idea who that guy is." But times changed by 1988:


Mayor Andrew Young, who was forced more than nine years ago to resign as the chief United States delegate to the United Nations for meeting with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, today applauded the American decision to initiate contacts with the P.L.O....

The meeting in a Manhattan apartment between Mr. Young and the P.L.O.'s United Nations observer aroused fear in Israel and in the United States that the Carter Administration was embarking on some accommodation with the group and breaking with its longstanding policy.



In my view, recognition does not equate with agreement.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(3) comments links to this post

Saturday, May 27, 2006

As the Violent Femmes used to say, "Kiss off" 


Every generation has their revelation. However, this unmasking was not planned by the band in question.


Nearly 200,000 Finns have signed an online petition to express their dismay after tabloid magazines published pictures of Eurovision winners Lordi out of their trademark monster suits.

Though viewers around the world were curious about the real identity of the five monsters who shot to fame with their song "Hard Rock Hallelujah," many Finns were annoyed to have them unmasked and had signed the petition by Friday.

The band had asked media not to run pictures of them out of character....

Band leader Mr Lordi is recognizable to millions around the world since achieving victory in a silver monster suit, with horns and blazing red eyes.

But Tomi Putaansuu, as he is also known, was revealed to be a bespectacled 32-year-old with long brown hair and a goatee, when his picture was published in the magazine 7 paivaa (7 days) this week.



But oldsters like me (heh..."oldsters"...that's neato) remember the last big unmasking.


When KISS unmasked, it was kind of interesting. There was a certain element of shock that this band that looked, sounded and acted like a bunch of dumb New York wog guys with hairy chests, were in fact, a bunch of dumb, New York wog guys with hairy chests.


Well, in a sense. But you have to get to New York to be a New York guy.


Chaim Witz was born in Haifa, Israel, on August 25, 1949. The son of Florence and Feri Witz, Gene entered a newly independent Israel, a tough small country surrounded by enemies. From the end of the Second World War, Israel became the destination for many of the few remaing Jews, those who had survived the Holocaust in Europe, and those who wanted to escape the entrenchment of the Soviet sphere of influence and control in the East. It was from here that Florence, a Hungarian survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, emigrated, though whether she had married Gene's father by that time is unclear. Of Gene's father little is known, apart from his occupation as a carpenter. Gene's parents divorced in 1954 and in 1958 Gene and his mother emigrated to America, landing at LaGuardia Airport after surviving the trauma of a one-stop flight on which Gene threw up twice, where she found work at a dress making factory. Living in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, NY, Gene started to learn English. While years later, in 1978, Gene would record "When You Wish Upon A Star", as a tip-of-the-hat to Disney, an early aid for his learning the language of his adopted country, Gene also used commercials and televison as learning aids though it is not suprising that this sort of media caught the attention of young Gene who at that point only spoke Hebrew, Spanish, Turkish and Hungarian! But Disney would have a more profound effect on the young man. "I was starting to learn English by watching TV", recounts Gene in a Goldmine interview with Ken Sharp, "but certainly when I saw Pinocchio I thought the little cricket was talking to me. 'You, Gene, I'm talking to you. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true'".


Of course, Gene Simmons had some pretty interesting dreams.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

On the importance of education 


Whether you are going for your doctorate or your GED, the most important thing that an educational institution can teach you is how to think. How to process and evaluate information.

A certain intellectual level is required to evaluate certain messages. For example, Stag links to dmho.org:


Welcome to the web site for the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division (DMRD), currently located in Newark, Delaware. The controversy surrounding dihydrogen monoxide has never been more widely debated, and the goal of this site is to provide an unbiased data clearinghouse and a forum for public discussion.


Here is some of the shocking information that is provided:


The dangers, uses and potential threats posed by this chemical, Dihydrogen Monoxide, are widespread, and some feel, terrifying. Here is just a small taste of what Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is....

Dihydrogen monoxide was found at every recent school shooting
Athletes use DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE, or DHMO, to enhance performance
Dihydrogen Monoxide has been found in our rivers, lakes, oceans and streams
Dihydrogen Monoxide is a major component of acid rain
Thousands die each year after inhaling dihydrogen monoxide
Dihydrogen Monoxide can be deadly....



And this page doesn't even categorize the addictive qualities of DHMO, which are well-proven and widespread. Again, education can help you understand this important information. As well as this, which I just saw on TV this past week (in a rerun):


There is a famous episode of "The Man Show" on Comedy Central in which the hosts of the show started a petition campaign to "help stop women's suffrage." They managed to gather a group of women to march and chant "Stop women's suffrage now!"


Back to DHMO. In response to an e-mail, the office of Sue Kedgley sent the following (emphasis mine):


From: Sue Kedgley's Office
To: GULLYS
Sent: Wednesday, 10 October 2001 13:30
Subject: Re: DHMO

Dear Philip

Thanks for your email regarding DHMO. I know Sue would be absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance in NZ. Unfortunately, the reality is that she is working on many such issues, and there are only so many hours in the day! That being said, and taking into consideration her time constraints, did you have any ideas in mind on how she could be of assistance to the campaign?

Kind Regards
[name deleted]
Sue Kedgley's Office



Subsequently Kedgley blamed the whole thing on a temporary secretary.


"Until today I had not seen the e-mail in question. At the time I had a temporary secretary in my office who responded to the hoax e-mail."


I believe that she needed a temporary secretary because her regular had been getting sick. From dihydrogen monoxide overdoses, no doubt.

Fast forward to 16 June 2004:


Oral Question - Beauty Product Labelling
Sue Kedgley MP, Green Party Health Spokesperson

...

SUE KEDGLEY: Is the Minister aware that I was calling for a simple electronic system of registration along exactly the same lines that the Green Party is proposing for dietary supplements, and why would he seek to ridicule a proposal to introduce cosmetic regulations and mandatory labelling requirements that other countries like Australia, the USA, and the European Union already have?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: I think it is because a recent study carried out in Australia indicates that a number of adverse events are associated with herbal medicines. The recorded use of nutritional substances and homeopathic medicines in Australia is substantial, as it is here of course. The types of events that are negative in terms of their use are not trivial, and this most recent study indicates precisely that.

LARRY BALDOCK: Does the Minister think that health issues of this type, which are often raised by Sue Kedgley and her ilk, perform a useful public service, or does the Minister of Health see them as dangerous scaremongering in the pursuit of an increasingly narrow political agenda?

Mr SPEAKER: That is asking for a matter of opinion. The Minister will be careful.

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Parliament is a robust arena, and members individually and collectively as parties have the right to raise issues that they deem to be important. I think it is equally important that those who advise Governments from a specific and specialist point of view have their viewpoints and that the information they give to the Government is advised to members and to the general public. Members of the public then have to make up their own minds, and I am sure they will.

LARRY BALDOCK: In the role of Minister of Health is the Minister of the opinion that parabens cause more or less of a concern for public health than dihydrogen monoxide, a potentially deadly substance used in nuclear reactors that the member for the Greens also tried to have banned until discovering that its more common name was water?

JEANETTE FITZSIMONS: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You really cannot allow questions that make statement like that that have no basis whatsoever in fact.

Mr SPEAKER: I think that the question was getting wide of the responsibility of the particular Minister and I will not allow it.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(1) comments links to this post

Friday, May 26, 2006

A dishonorable practice, and the consequences, and a tangent 


First off, I'm going to defend myself against my own immaturity by not explicity referring to the name of the Turkish city from which this report originates. Trust me on this one.

From Reuters/Yahoo:


Bahar Sogut was 14 when she shot herself in the head with her father's gun.

Her mother and grandmother, who live in a small mud-built house in a village...in Turkey's poor southeast, said it was her fate.

"She died with Allah's (God's) bidding," her mother, Nefise Sogut, told Reuters. Fate was the only explanation either gave for what happened.

Bahar Sogut was one of 14 people -- 10 of them women and girls aged under 23 -- who have killed themselves this year in...a city of 250,000 people, activists say. Another was aged 12 and threw herself off a building opposite her school.

Rising suicides among women in the mainly Kurdish southeast has prompted the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Yakin Erturk, to visit the region, where rights activists say families are forcing young women into suicide because the government has clamped down on so-called "honor killings."...

Turkey...has toughened legislation on honor killings, carried out against women seen to have tainted the family's name, for example by having a child outside marriage or merely by being the subject of rumor.

Men, previously treated leniently by judges who considered "honor" a mitigating factor in murder, now face life sentences under a new penal code passed last year. Activists say that has made families put pressure on the woman in question to kill herself to spare the male relative from jail....



But this is not just a Muslim thing. Here's a 2003 story from merry olde England:


Police are to examine the scale of "honour crimes" in the Asian community amid growing evidence that women are being subjected to violence and sometimes murdered for refusing to obey the traditions of their culture....

Their perceived crimes can include wanting to go to university, refusing an arranged marriage or having a boyfriend.

While there is a great deal of research into honour crimes in the Middle East, India and Pakistan, until now British police have not examined the problem in depth....

Officers in east London are considering honour killing as a motive for the murder last month of Anita Gindha, 22, who was heavily pregnant. Mrs Gindha, who was born a Sikh but renounced her religion, was strangled in front of her 18-month-old son.

Detectives suspect she may have been the victim of an honour killing, after learning that she refused an arranged marriage two years ago and fled to London.

She later married her boyfriend but no close relatives attended the wedding.

In January, Sahda Bibi, 21, was stabbed to death on her wedding day in Birmingham after refusing an arranged marriage. West Midlands Police have charged a 25-year-old man with her murder and are still hunting Miss Bibi's cousin, who is believed to have fled to Pakistan.

Sudarshan Bhuhi, who runs a helpline for women, said she dealt with two new cases a day of young women fleeing home because they feared violence for refusing an arranged marriage or disobeying a husband. "Honour crimes are one of the biggest ways of threatening women," she said.

"The threat of violence and death stops women from taking their chosen route.

"Women genuinely fear honour killing; it is one of the first things they think about if they are considering doing something different with their lives." Domestic violence is often the first sign that women will be vulnerable to attack for apparently letting down their family.

Self-harm and attempted suicide - which in young Asian women are three times higher than the national average - are seen as symptoms of the pressures on them to conform....

Ram Gidoomal, a leading Asian businessman, said honour crimes were a "distressing practice". Political correctness was in part blocking exposure of what was going on, he claimed.

"Individuals, usually young women, face either being killed by family members or driven to suicide as a result of the shame perceived to have been caused by their behaviour.

"It is time that all those in authority stopped hiding behind the shield of political correctness, which allows the practice of such killings to take place under the guise of a 'cultural norm'."



And before one puts one's nose in the air and says "Christians would never do that" - well, they would:


Faten Habash's father wept as he assured his daughter there would be no more beatings, no more threats to her life and that she was free to marry the man she loved, even if he was a Muslim. All he asked was that Faten return home.
Hassan Habash even gave his word to an emissary from a Bedouin tribe traditionally brought in to mediate in matters of family honour, a commitment regarded as sacrosanct in Palestinian society. But the next weekend, as Faten watched a Boy Scouts parade from the balcony of her Ramallah home, the 22-year-old Christian Palestinian was dragged into the living room and bludgeoned to death with an iron bar. Her father was arrested for the murder....

Faten Habash's murder was unusual because she came from the Christian minority in the Palestinian territories. Her desire to marry a young Muslim, Samer Hamis, so infuriated her family that the couple decided to elope to Jordan.

Faten's father enlisted the family priest to stop his daughter on the grounds that, even though she was 22, all women are legally regarded as minors under the authority of their male relatives. The Palestinian authorities returned Faten to her home where she was beaten and her pelvis broken as she was either thrown from a window or jumped trying to escape. She spent six weeks in hospital. She sought protection under an ancient Bedouin formula for resolving disputes, known as Tanebeh. Abu Dahouq, a lawyer for the Dawakuk tribe, negotiated with the Habash family.

Mr Dahouq said: "Faten believed she had received a guarantee of security." Two days later she was murdered. "This family had no honour, no manners, no ethics," he said. "And the girl was as honourable as could be. All she wanted to do was marry this man she loved. I think the people in her church also have responsibility for this killing. They told this family that their daughter brought shame, so that makes them part of the crime."

The family priest, Father Ibrahim Hijazin, declined to talk about Faten's killing other than to say he called the Palestinian authorities to prevent her from reaching Jordan. But he says other families would have reacted as hers did. "There is no interfaith marriage among Arabs. Catholics here are Christian by faith and Muslim by culture, and in this community it is forbidden for Christians to marry Muslims. It's not good. It's a tribal mentality. I don't accept it, but it is the culture," he said.



Frankly, I couldn't find a lot more about Christian honor killings (although it's possible that these killings occur under another name). But I did find this:


[Elizabeth Kim] re-creates her uncle and grandfather's gruesome "honor killing" of her rebellious mother, who returned to her [Korean] village with the baby of an American GI--a grim event that launched Kim's painful life as a tainted "half-breed" in a society that reveres its ancestry and traditions. Eventually, Kim was left at a Christian orphanage where disinterested American missionaries provided a steady diet of hymns, biblical parables, small bowls of rice and little else. Desperate to be loved despite her forbidden mixed-race heritage, Kim hoped her fortune would change when she was adopted by a white, fundamentalist American couple. However, their pious tyranny was matched only by the harsh, racist abuse Kim endured at school from her classmates....Seeking to escape, she married the young deacon at her parents' church, who turned out to be an abusive schizophrenic. Fortunately, Kim avoids melodrama in chronicling her flight with her daughter from her tormentor....


However, at least one Korean argues that Elizabeth Kim isn't Korean:


[ks-open] Re: half-white "Kim" Chambers [was: Why honor Elizabeth "Kim" Chambers?]
brian myers brianzhi@hotmail.com
Thu, 28 Dec 2000 08:28:18

...[H]er claim to relate information about Korean culture (unlike your claim as a scholar) rests SOLELY on her purported Koreanness. She casually admits to having done no research into the honor killing issue which forms the center of the book. She herself stresses that Sorrows is just one person's subjective account of life in Korea. It is therefore VERY relevant for her readers to know just what her Koreanness consists in: was she raised to the age of six or seven in a Korean speaking household, say?...Or is Chambers' Koreanness simply a matter of maternal genes and a three year infanthood on the peninsula?...

The fact that Chambers cannot change her skin, or that people in society
will react to her as a Korean-American no matter how marginally Korean she
is, would be relevant only if I were questioning her account of American
racism. I am not; it's about the only part of her story I believe. But the
fact that she may have been discriminated against for being K-A - actually,
for being Asian-American, as she states - does not in itself qualify her to
make sweeping statements about Korean tradition.

The name "Kim" was assumed only in the past few years.



The web records a lot of controversy around 2000, but it seems to have died down. Under the name Elizabeth Kim, Kim or Chambers or whoever is still represented by Greater Talent Network.

Let me go off on a wild tangent and look at Mike Warnke:


In June of 2006, Mike will celebrate his 34th anniversary of full time ministry to the lost and brokenhearted. Mike uses his unique comedic style to gain the attention of his listeners. His painful past history as a satanist high priest, hippie, drug addict, pusher and Naval hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Corps unit in Vietnam has taught him compassion beyond compare. He knows, first hand, no one is too tainted for Jesus.


Uh, what?


In 1992, Cornerstone magazine released a cover story (and the longest article in its history) entitled “Selling Satan: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke,” a 24,000-word exposé of Mike Warnke, an alleged former Satanic high priest and now a popular Christian comedian. Warnke’s ministry spanned nearly 20 years. Our article was a take-off on Warnke’s first book, The Satan Seller (Logos Publishing, 1972) in which Warnke claimed to have led over 1,500 other Satanists near San Bernardino, California.

“Selling Satan” demonstrated that not only was Warnke’s testimony fraudulent, but that Warnke raised money for projects that never materialized, was involved in serious immorality while in public ministy, and that several figures in the contemporary Christian music industry knew about the situation but failed to take biblical steps to resolve it.



Warnke's response:


Q. What about the controversy we heard about, where do things stand with this?
A. The Board of Directors of the ministry asked that the information from the Tribunal Board Hearing be made available to any with questions about the controversial article written in 1992. If further questions remain please let us know and we will direct you to one of the Board Members for further answers.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Will Mega Meets Cindy Sheehan - sort of 


From merry olde England:


Maverick British politician George Galloway has claimed it would be "morally justified" for an assassin to target Prime Minister Tony Blair, but he said he was not advocating an attempt....

"It would be entirely logical and explicable — and morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq as Blair did," the monthly GQ magazine quoted Galloway as saying....

Galloway, currently in Cuba, verified the accuracy of his comments in a statement posted on the Web site of his political party, Respect....

Galloway was kicked out of Blair's Labour Party in October 2003 for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq....

In his magazine interview, Galloway claimed to been the best fighter at his school, and said he would like to go a few rounds with both Blair and Bush.

"I'd take them both at once," Galloway said.

"That's what really upsets me. They are the sort of men who are ready to fight to the last drop of other people's blood. They couldn't personally punch their way out of a paper bag. They send other mothers' sons to their death, and I find them both deeply repugnant," he said.



But Galloway has one thing in common with Will Mega:


Galloway spent three weeks last year starring on the reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" and was ridiculed for scenes in which he lapped up imaginary milk and purred like a cat.

His decision to participate in the program — away from his duties in Parliament and alongside a topless model, an androgynous pop singer and former NBA star Dennis Rodman — resulted in criticism from constituents and lawmakers.



Back to mothers of the Iraqi dead. Thomas Lipscomb wrote the following:


On a pleasant hillside in the Vacaville-Elmira cemetery in California, there is a grave that still has no gravestone almost two years after a brave young soldier was buried there.
According to his mother, he was born on Memorial Day and died at age 24 on April 4, 2004, fighting with the First Cavalry Division in a militia- and terrorist-infested district of Baghdad named Sadr City.

He was not an unknown soldier. In fact, thanks to his mother's constant use of his name in media appearances, he may be the best-known soldier of the Iraqi war. He's Casey Austin Sheehan, the son of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan.

The expense of a memorial gravestone is a problem for many people on limited incomes. But Cindy Sheehan was the beneficiary of $250,000 from her son's insurance policy. Besides, the federal government pays for funeral expenses and a simple marble marker. As a veteran, Casey Sheehan also merited a free plot with perpetual care in one of the nation's many national cemeteries....

So with all of these resources, why is Casey Sheehan's grave still unmarked?...

[C]ritics...faulted [Cindy Sheehan] for placing 2,000 crosses with names of U.S. casualties at what she called "Camp Casey," near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, last summer, while she has yet to place a marker at her own son's grave. In fact, there has been such a firestorm in the blogosphere about Casey Sheehan's grave that there are more than 250,000 Internet entries on the subject.

Cindy Sheehan is indignant at this kind of attention. She attributes it to a "Rovian, heartless and ignorant smear machine" attacking her "for the 'crime' of being brokenhearted and trying to save lives." And she vows: "They can't stop me from trying to save lives. No matter what they cook up next. It is too important. No more needless gravestones. No more wasted lives."...

Cindy Sheehan says she was too brokenhearted to do anything but occasionally put flowers on her son's grave the first year. And perhaps she had some inner resistance to accepting a government gravestone from a Bush administration she detests. But she should remember that the stone doesn't come from one administration. It comes from the government of all of the American people who wish to honor her son's service.

The good news is that Casey Sheehan's father, Patrick, has had enough of this and has quietly arranged with a local monument company to erect a memorial. Wouldn't it be fitting if it were in place in time for Casey Sheehan's birthday, which this year once again falls on Memorial Day?



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

On the Raccoon Look 


I believe that most, if not all, of what we define as "attractive" is based upon our surroundings. If I lived in Saudi Arabia, I'd probably have an unhealthy obsession with exposed women's ankles.

Well, I've never lived in Saudi Arabia, but I went to Reed College. And, as a result, I developed a love for women who do not wear gobs of makeup. (I also developed a love for women with fuzzy legs, but that has faded over the years.)

At Reed, the women (and the men) just plain don't bother with makeup and stuff like that. I remember one weekend when some of us Reed students gathered with Christians from other Oregon colleges. One of the Reed women (sorry, "wymyn" or whatever the non-oppressive term is) was regaling us with tales about the women from the other colleges, and how many tons of makeup and hair dryers they were bringing into the bathrooms. This particular wymyn graduated from Reed and eventually became a Quaker pastor. Quaker. Plain. It all adds up. (And, for the record, she was a very pretty wymyn.)

So since then I've haven't gone for gobs of makeup, and have been known to tell my wife and daughter, "You don't need that. You look great!"

But not all people share my view. Witness this comment that I made three days ago about a video on YouTube:


Good song, good video (well, except for Helen's raccoon look).


Helen is Helen Marnie (a/k/a Helena Marnie). The group is Ladytron. The video is "Blue Jeans" (a song from a few years back).



For those of you who don't know, Helen is the one NOT playing an instrument.

Excellent song, good frentic camera work on the video...but I just can't get over the raccoon look.

Obviously Marnie did not get married on the day of the video shoot:


When it comes to bridal beauty, you have to be very very carefuly about what you use, what you choose and what you wear, because you want your make-up to last ALL DAY!! After all, you don't want to have to powder down or blush up for the photos and you most certainly don't want raccoon eyes showing up either-- no matter how many tears of joy you have. It's important to do test drives with make-up because you can wind up with bridal beauty horror stories that will be in photos that last FOREVER!! (EEEK).. To save you from the stress and hassle of trying to figure out what to do, Valerie Beverly Hills is here to save your day and make you the most radiant bride!!


And Maggie tried...oh she tried:


it's called eye makeup remover....

not spreader. gah! guess i'm just going to look like a raccoon this week.



And I'm not the only one who's looking for raccoon eyes on YouTube. Melissa from Monster on a Rope gets bonus points for the title of her post, Taking Tiger Beat (By Strategy) (presumably with a song about an autograph session, "We signed and we signed, oh how we signed, my how we signed...."):


"I Eat Cannibals" by Total Coleo. Oh my word. Bad, bad dancing. Even worse hair. And please bring back the subtlety and delicate nuance of Nina Hagen's make-up over these morbid raccoon eyes and blood-red wide mobile mouths. Refresh my memory what any of this has to do with eating cannibals. And again it bears repeating: Bad, bad dancing. What's worse is that I used to own the single to this song.


Going off on a tangent, Melissa also talks about Laurie Anderson. Yeah, Laurie Anderson. (Quote edited in case I am ever governed by District 128 rules.)


"O Superman" by Laurie Anderson. [Gosh] am I glad to see this video again. As far as the medium goes this to me is as near to perfection as any I've seen to date. No flashy visuals to overwhelm the minimalistic craft of the song itself. Just Laurie's striking face, charismatic persona, and a single white spotlight on the wall behind her. [Intercourse], I love this woman.


Now I'm trying to remember if Brian Eno ever had raccoon eyes in his younger days.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

Thursday, May 25, 2006

In which I misuse Bombay TV 

(0) comments links to this post

Inappropriate? 


Followup, concentrating on the question "What should a school district consider as inappropriate behavior for an off-campus student?"

This started with the original article (emphasis mine):


The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.


In my original post, I asked:


The question is - what exactly is inappropriate?


As an example, I cited the case of a Myspace user who had offensive views (Nazi) and who engaged in offensive activity (spamming). This user's account was deleted by MySpace.

Here's part of what Scott says about the "inappropriate" portion of the school board's decision:


...Now, "inappropriate" - there's a term that's not so solid in it's definition. Is the Libertyville school district a bunch of Puritanical divas who see a great number of things as inappropriate or are they ex-hippies who just want everyone to love one another? Given the unanimous vote, I'd have to lean toward the former. So let's assume for the sake of argument that a student's parents definition of inappropriate differs from the school's. Do you think that in the end the parents give a rat's ass what the school thinks about their kid's MySpace post? I highly doubt it. Where does the school get off enforcing it's morality on their kids when they're not on school time or property? ON school time and property, the school then has some semblance of a right to impose their beliefs....

...In school it's definitely necessary to impose discipline and order in order to teach. Most teachers can't work in anarchy and parents understand that. For a school to have no rules that it can impose on it's students for the sake of order is absurd. Going a step further, however, and imposing discipline for expression outside of school is equally absurd. How many artists delve into the realm of what the school board would certainly consider inappropriate? Would Lautrec have been kicked off the Libertyville debate team because of his paintings involving the daily life of prostitutes? Would Stephen King have been sent to detention for posting his first notes from The Stand?...



Jim Downey (no, not the SNL/Letterman guy) says this:


...My last question is what is inapparopriate and who gets to determine that standard?

Will a student that voices an opinion about the school, its administration, the elected school board, or even a particular teacher be punished? I can see room for concern over the manner in which such o[p]inions are expressed, especially in terms of mere gossip, libel and/or defamation, but such an overly broad and vague set of rules seems to be unconstitutional ab initio....

...If the blog is not a sponsored school activity, the school has no jurisdiction or legal standing. If a student commits a tort against the school or a member of the school faculty, administration, staff or board, then they can pursue the matter through the generally available legal processes....



At this point, however, all of us are making assumptions regarding what Community School District 128 will deem "inappropriate." What I'd really like to see is the actual resolution passed by the board, rather than a third-party newspaper description of it. Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate a copy of the text itself. All I could find was a description in the May 22 agenda and the agenda supplement:


4. PROGRAM/PERSONNEL COMMITTEE - Chairperson Mauer
*a) 2006-07 Ombudsman Program Agreement
*b) 2006-07 Hockey Club Agreement
*c) Codes of Conduct
1) Athletic
2) Fine Arts
3) Student Activities
Item 4c – The Program & Personnel Committee will provide recommendations for the Athletic, Fine Arts and Student Activities Codes of Conduct. The proposed codes were developed based upon the work of a large District committee representing all appropriate stakeholder groups including District legal counsel. Associate Superintendent, Prentiss Lea, facilitated the process.



And for now, the district isn't talking:


Communications
Mary E. Todoric Director of Communications (847) 327-7186
Carol Szkodyn Communication and Personnel Secretary (847) 327-7185

Statement to Media Regarding Revised Codes of Conduct

Community High School District 128 has been inundated with requests for interviews regarding recent revisions to the student codes of conduct. As we enter the two busiest weeks of the school year, our focus must be on our students, end-of-year activities and school operations. We will not conduct any additional media interviews regarding this issue. Members of the media wishing to receive a copy of the District media release regarding the revisions may contact the Communications Department at 847-327-7185.



But I couldn't find the Code of Conduct (even the pre-revised one) anywhere on the District 128 website. (Some might argue that the district's behavior in not making this available to students is inappropriate.)

I was able to find a small quote from the Code of Conduct:


[M]aintaining or being identified on a blog site which depicts illegal or inappropriate behavior will be considered a violation of this code.


At this point it's not known whether the code goes into more detail regarding the definition of "inappropriate." But here's what other school administrators think:


Meredyth Cole, assistant head of school at Madeira...warned that personal information posted online can also be read by college admissions officers and future employers....

Ellis Turner, associate head of school at Sidwell, said that the issue came to the attention of administrators only recently, when they became aware of "inappropriate material that was being posted on Facebook."

Sidwell's Upper School recently sent letters home to parents and held a student assembly and a parent meeting on the dangers of students posting too much -- or unwise -- information about themselves....

Steve Jones, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago...cited a recent case in which three middle-school students in the Chicago area were suspended after posting obscene and threatening remarks about a teacher on a Web log. The school community was split over the action....

Tim Trautman, head of Silver Spring's Barrie School, would not give specifics about the reason his school recently asked a student to leave. He said rules forbid students to "use technology at Barrie and elsewhere that defames individual members of any community."

In November, after a student at Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring posted derogatory comments about black students on a blog, printouts of the comments were circulated on campus. The student eventually left; administrators would not say whether disciplinary action was taken.



While I couldn't find any code of conduct at the District 128 website, I was able to find a section about Internet safety. Here's part of the introduction:


What these teens and parents are also now discovering is that the personal information they’re posting is creating a smorgasbord for online sexual predators along with a shadow résumé that may interfere with their acceptance to college, application for scholarship, or finding employment. In some cases publicized nationally, photos and comments about inappropriate student behavior off-campus are also getting teens in trouble at school. Community High School District 128 is concerned about these potentially unsafe activities and wants to proactively partner with parents on an education program that provides both our parents and students some basic information on how to use the Internet safely.


The district follows this with six safe practices for teens:


#1 Disguise yourself!...
#2 Don't post photos of yourself or your friends!...
#3 Password protect your site....
#4 Never say anything negative about anyone on your website!...
#5 Remember that whatever you post online is public information, not private....
#6 Report online stalking or harassment!...



If anything, this makes the definition of "inappropriate" even muddier. Is it a violation of the District 128 code of conduct to post one's real name on a web page? Is it a violation to post a picture? Is it a violation if you say something negative about someone? Granted that now I'm reading assumptions into this whole thing, but the whole meaning of inappropriate needs to be clarified.

However, it should be noted that even if the school district is prevented from monitoring the activities of Libertyville High School students, that doesn't prevent anyone else from doing so. It's perfectly legal and perfectly Constitutional to laugh at absolutely anyone who does stupid stuff.

So here's what one 18 year old said:


"take off your blouse and your OONDAPANTS!!"
Female
18 years old
LIBERTYVILLE, ILLINOIS
United States

...i'll be a freshman at southern illinois university in carbondale next fall. i work at an after-school club because i love kids. that is why i hope to become an elementary teacher one day....

...i no longer drink alcohol because i've realized being wasted is wasted time. a lot of people probably thought they'd never hear me say that. actually i used to party a little too hard in highschool, which taught me a lot in the end....

...i can't wait to get out of libertyville and live where people arn't so consumed with themselves.. :D



Frankly, I don't think her future principal is going to care if she was drinking at age 17. And any employer with half a brain probably realizes that quotes don't mean actualities. But, as Robert Plant, once said, "ooooh, it makes me wonder":


uh oh...tequila drinking

"love. live. laugh. & party as hard as you can!"

Female
17 years old
LIBERTYVILLE, ILLINOIS
United States

...im a junior. i go to lhs where everything is everyones business. i hate school. i love to party, maybe i love to party a little too much.



So I guess the libertarian message to Libertyville High students - get as wasted as you want, have as many abortions as you want - just don't do it on school property. Thank you and good night.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(3) comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Anyone can read what I'm writing right now. 


Warning - I'm going to come off very fatherly and old and geezerly in this post. Deal with it.

Buerba.net references an article about an Illinois school district. The city in question is named Libertyville.


The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action....

District officials won't regularly search students' sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member.



Some parents think that the school district is acting like Big Brother here:


Mary Greenberg of Lake Bluff, who has a son at Libertyville High School, argued the district is overstepping its bounds.

"I don't think they need to police what students are doing online," she said. "That's my job."



The school district disagrees.


Associate Superintendent Prentiss Lea rebuffed that criticism.

"The concept that searching a blog site is an invasion of privacy is almost an oxymoron," he said. "It is called the World Wide Web."



The article then veers into everybody's favorite villain, MySpace...although, frankly, the school district rule is not specific to MySpace, or even to blogs in general. You can engage in illegal or inappropriate behavior anywhere. The question is - what exactly is inappropriate? As a for example, take this post that I wrote in a KFI message board (on MySpace, natch) which quotes another message and (in the response to me) gets into the whole topic of inappropriate behavior:


I recently received the following message:

-------
From: KFI Tribute Page

Date: May 20, 2006 8:55 PM
Subject: Racist...let's get this guy off MySpace
Body: Please report the following link to the MySpace moderators. I did, but this guy is still on, for some reason. Perhaps you guys can help.

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=78475763

I appreciate anyone who reports it. We don't need people like him on MySpace. Thanks...
-------

Agreed that the person's views are terrible, but why should such people be banned from MySpace? Are we suddenly going to force people to conform to politically approved views before they can speak?

That would be like KFI itself forcing its on-air talent to retract their views under pressure - oh wait, they already did that to Bill Handel. (I wrote about this previously in a blog post entitled "KFI - More Hypocritical Talk Radio," about the period when KFI was promoting its free spech concepts in its advertising, even as they were forcing Handel to apologize.)

Are there other KFI listeners who believe that shutting up dissent is a GOOD thing?

P.S. If you haven't heard about the judge who's trying to shut down a blogger, read about it here.



Here's the response that I received regarding why the Hitler wannabe should be banned:


...I'd just like to say that I DO agree with you in that people shouldn't be forced to conform to politically approved views before they can speak, and that shutting up dissent is a BAD thing. But in "Hitlar"'s case, dissent was not the issue. The fact of the matter was that "Hitlar" violated MySpace.com's Terms of Use Agreement.

Prohibited Content includes, but is not limited to Content that:

1. Is patently offensive and promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual;

7. Promotes information that you know is false or misleading or promotes illegal activities or conduct that is abusive, threatening, obscene, defamatory or libelous;

9. Involves the transmission of "junk mail, " "chain letters, " or unsolicited mass mailing, instant messaging, "spimming, " or "spamming"

"Hitlar" was responsible for violating these policies. If you, Ontario, have a problem with MySpace's Terms of Use Agreement, I suggest you contact MySpace.

I personally believe that MySpace's Terms of Use should be enforced, as MySpace would be one hell of a disaster if it weren't for it's strictly enforced policies. (Look at how Xanga turned out. It's a bloody mess!).

And apparently, many loyal KFI listeners strongly oppose racial discrimination, as I received literally dozens of supportful messages after posting that bulletin.



There are several issues with Hitlar here - one being spamming, and the other being Hitlar's views, which are characterized as racist, bigoted, and hateful. If you want to see for yourself, go to Hitlar's profile:


Invalid Friend ID.
This user has either cancelled their membership, or their account has been deleted.



Well, it's a moot point in this instance, although if we could find the theoretical Nazi that DIDN'T spam, perhaps this topic could be addressed again.

But back to the World Wide Web. It's world wide. And it's a web. And RockStarSuzie didn't like that:


There Once Was A Disney Princess Named Rockstar Suzie Who Had An Amazing Myspace With The Bestest Friends Ever

Rockstar Suzie Had Some Nosy Parents Who Stalked Her Myspace

Rockstar Suzie Didnt Like The Idea Of Her Parents Knowing What She Does

So Rockstar Suzie Made A New Myspace



And Gone is gone:


I am officially out of this myspace Ive had it MYSPACE IS A PLACE WHERE TEENS CAN BE FAKES THATS RIGHT FAKES ARE YOU LISTENING PARENTS? YOUVE JUST HAD US TEENS FORBIDDEN TO EVER SEE GOOD FRIENDS YA BELIEVE IT OR NOT GOOD FRIENDS NONE OF MY FRIENDS DO DRUGS YOU STUPID PARENTS WE DONT DRINK WE ARE ALL STRAIGHTEDGE ARE YOU KIDDING? WHY WOULD I HANG OUT WITH KIDS THAT DO DRUGS? YOU OBVIOUSLY DONT KNOW ME WELL ENOUGH I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY PARENTS OH MY GOSH YOU REALLY DONT KNOW ME I DONT HANG WITH KIDS THAT WOULD BRING ME DOWN I HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE THAT ARE TRUE TO ME AND ARE GREAT FRIENDS WETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT YEP THATS RIGHT ON THIS MYSPACE IVE LIED ALOT - I DONT HAVE A LIPRING - I AM NOT BI - I DONT SMOKE - I DONT DRINK I LIED ALOT AND IM SORRY IF YOU GUYS EVER BELIEVED ME BUT THATS WHY MYSPACE IS SO ADDICTING BECAUSE YOU CAN LIE AND BE SOMEONE ELSE THAT YOUR NOT WELL NOW THAT YOU STUPID PARENTS KNOW THIS MYSPACE IS OVER YOU PARENTS MADE ME FEEL HORRIBLE AND IM SICK OF IT


Let's follow the logic. I made up all this terrible stuff about myself, Mom and Dad found out, and now it's Mom and Dad's fault that I feel really horrible at the moment. But let's see what one of Gone's friends says in the comments area:


Saruhhh

11/15/2005 3:43 PM

Love!

I heard about the parents situation.

It's complete bullshit.

I completely agree with EVERYTHING you said in your "About Me" section. Myspace is where teens can be completely fake. Half of the shit kids say on here isn't true.

Parents should know that.

And Rae's parents, if you read this, Mili is NOT a bad influence, nor are most of the kids in Bethel Park. I've known Mili for a long time and he's my best friend. Neither of us do drugs, smoke, or drink. They're all stupid. Rae is friends with some of the nicest people you'd ever meet, but on myspace they make themselves out to be like they're hard. But they're DEFINATELY not. I also think that if you met Mili, you'd see what a nice kid he is. He may have the image of a "druggie" or a "stupid punk" but I'm sticking up for him because I know he's definately not at all like that.

Rae I love you! <3



The above was written by a 93 year old female. I'm "definately" suspicious of that claim. Betcha she's at least 97.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Iranian newspaper news 


Just saw this:


Iran has suspended publication of its official state newspaper after it printed a cartoon that sparked violent ethnic protests in the northwestern city of Tabriz, a senior judiciary official said on Tuesday.

Cartoonist Mana Neyestani and the editor-in-chief of the "Iran" newspaper, Mehrdad Qasemfar, were arrested over the drawing that was deemed to insult Iran's Azeri minority, Tehran's chief Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi said.

"Some charges were brought against both of them and they were transferred to Evin prison," he told state television. He did not specify the charges....

The cartoon, which appeared in Friday's edition of Iran, showed a boy repeating the Persian word for cockroach in different ways while the uncomprehending bug in front of him says "What?" in Azeri.

Neyestani's relatives told Reuters he had not intended to insult Azeris.

The Azeris of northwestern Iran speak a language related to Turkish. Although Azeris, who form about a quarter of Iran's population, have many prominent figures among the commercial elite, they are the butt of jokes among the majority Persians.



Which reminded me of Iran's response to the Danish cartoons. What happened?


The Iranian newspaper Hamshahri is sponsoring a holocaust cartoons contest in response to the uproar over the Danish Muhammad cartoons....

One cartoon submission reflects the opinion of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who drew international outrage last year when he said that the Holocaust was a myth.

The cartoon, by Firouzeh Mozafari, an Iranian, shows nine Jewish men continuously entering a gas chamber that shows a counter reading "5,999,999," implying that Jews have inflated the number of Holocaust victims.

The contest goes on until May 15.



May 15? Hey, that was last week! I haven't found out who won the contest, but it looks like the evil Jews beat the Muslims to the punch:


the Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoons Contest announced this week a winner in its drive to find a Jewish artist who could produce "the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew-hating cartoon ever published."

Earning the dubious honor was "September 11" — a cartoon that depicts the iconic figure of a Jewish fiddler watching somewhat mysteriously — if not downright conspiratorially — from the Brooklyn Bridge as the Twin Towers burn.

"The idea is very simple," explained Amitai Sandy, a graphic artist and comic book publisher who created the contest with fellow Tel Aviv resident Eyal Zusman. "By joking about ourselves, we wanted to show how ridiculous all these images can be."

The pair envisioned their award as a response to another competition — the call for Holocaust-themed political cartoons, issued by an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, in the wake of the controversy triggered by cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that had run in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Sandy emphasized the educational power of the more than 150 intentionally provocative — and in some cases downright disgusting — entries submitted. "My hope is that the next time someone in Iran, for example, sees an antisemitic cartoon in their daily paper, they will see it for what it is: absurd," he told the Forward....

Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt, who was involved in the early stages of the contest's organization, lauded the idea as a "stroke of brilliance," drawing an analogy with her own battle with Holocaust denier David Irving. "The worst thing that happened to David Irving," she told the Forward, "was not just the defeat of his ideas, but that he was made to look stupid and ultimately really silly."

The contest winner, 24-year-old Aron Katz of Los Angeles — whose cartoon is a nod to the rumor that Israeli spies were somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks — has decided to donate his $600 prize to Jewish charities working on human rights issues. Taking second place in the competition was "Studio 6," a drawing made by Australian artist Ilan Touri that spoofs the claim championed by some Holocaust revisionists that Auschwitz was actually a film location.

According to Sandy, "My personal favorite was actually 'The Jew Monster,'" a cartoon by New York's Eli Valley depicting a Jew with two penises — "so he could rape both Muslim and Christian girls at the same time."



But not everyone was thrilled:


Not all have shared the organizers' belief in the positive impact of the irreverent contest. "We don't think this is the right way," a spokesperson for Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial said. The Simon Wiesenthal Center dismissed the competition as "gallows humor."


And at least one cartoon got rejected:


Admittedly, even I submitted my own anti-semitic cartoon to the contest, along with a letter stating my support of free speech and expression. Not sure why it was rejected, considering the un-cartoonish quality of most of the accepted submissions. Maybe mine was too offensive?


Back to Hamshahri. IranCartoon.com has published a list of participants, by country, in their contest:


The list of Participants in
International Cartoonet Festival
About Danish Cartoons and Holocaust

Afghanistan
Atiq Shahid

Arab Saudi
Sultan El Sebay

Argentina
Javier Ariano
Cristobal Reinoso

Algeria
Ferhaoui Louafi
Choukri BELHADI
Sadon Fathi

Azerbaijan
Seyran Caferli

Bahrain
Rami Omran

Bangladesh
Nabik Sindabad
Sadat Ahmed
Ahmed Kabir
Kishore Ahmed

Belgium
Benjamin Heine
Thierry Hebbelinck

Brazil
Augosto Franke Bier
Carlos Latuff
Casso
Antonio Pereca
Fabiog Da Silva
Eugênio de Faria Neves
Sin Fronio
Einstein Cival
Sidnei marques
J.Bosco
Raimondu Waldez Da C. Durate
Waldez Duarte
Marcio Leite da Silva
Osnildo
Luciano Kayser
Hector Salas
Carlos Roberto Gonçalves
Galvio
Tharley Seabra da Silva
Eloar Guazzelli
Eliene Lopes de Souza

Bulgaria
Stefan Penev
Nikolai Arnaudov

Canada
Marc Pageau

China
Dachuan Xia
Guangiun Li
Lei hao
Zhu Hui Qin
Lei hao
Hou Xiao Qiang
Xue Hong
Huang Weiqin
Chen An Yong
Liang Yu
HOU XIAO QIANG
Invoke SunRonggui

Colombia
Fernando Pica
Raul Fernando Zuleta Sanchez

Croatia
Ivan Kesic
Zeljko Ceric / Raf
Damir Novak

Cuba
Angel Boligan
Ares
Enrique Lacosta
Alex Falco
Luis Felipe Wilson Valera
José Francisco Delgado Vélez (Delga)
Juan Carlos Pedreira

Denmark
Bitsch

Egypt
Cherif Loutfi
Hanan Marzouk
Esmail Effat
Tamer Youssef
Hassan Hanafy
Hany Mohamed Mohamed El-Sagher
Hany Mohamed Samir Abd-Elfatah
kamel berbache
Mohamed Mosbah Shaban
Mohammed Aamer
OSAMA A BELAL
Amr Aasem El Sawy Rezk
Diaa Sabry

Estonia
martt

Ethiopia
Abdul Selam Ahmede

France
Dab
Chard
A. M.
Ain
R. B.
Bernard.B.
KAMARDINE

Germany
Florian Hipp

Greece
Michael Kountouris

Honduras
Allan Mcdonald
Luis Rolando Chavez

Hungary
Josip Kovacevic
Balazs Szabo

India
Abdul Rasheed
Soma Shankar
Suman Kumar
Kaur Chand Badhok
Iam Suman
Om Prakash Sharma
G.Kiran Kumar
Kamal Basha
Malik Sajad
Sairam Akundi
Sri Ramoju
Zehra Ziadi
KARUNAKAR YENIKAPATI
Madhan Mohan
Satish Acharya
Om Prakash Sharma

Indonesia
Musa Muzauwir
Abdurahman.M.Alattas
Rahardi Handining
Leonardus Wahyudi Sunarwan
Ollid Denis
Taufan Galaxy
Fathoni
Jitet Koestana
Tommy Thomdean
Utoyo
Djoko Susilo
Doddy Iswahyudi
Elton Rolland
Ikhsan Dwiono
Afri Diyansyah

Iran
Abas Parhizgar
Abdolhossein Amirizadeh
Ahmad Bahrami
Abolfazl Mohtarami
Akbar Torabpour
Ali Merikhi
Ali Nourian
Ali Romanee
Ali Shabani
Ali Tajadod
Ali Vazirian
Alireza Golmohammadi
Alireza Nosrati
Alireza Zakeri
Amar Javani
Amin Hashemi
Amir Amini
Amir Fathali Nezhadiyan
Amir Vahedi
Arash Ansari
Aref Rajabi
Arezou Aghababaiyan
Ashkan Sepehrkhou
Babak Shekari
Bahram Arjomandnia
Basir Enayati
Behruz Yaghoubi Kiani
Behzad Riazi
Benam Bahrami
Behzad Ghasabi SEtvat
Darush Farzaneh
Davood Deldar
Davood Kazemi
Ebrahim Azad
Ebrahimzadeh Houshang
Esmaiil Babaee
Fahime Azizi
Farid Mortezavi
Farid Yahaghi
Farhad Naji
Fraz Salek
Jaber Asadi
Jalal Pirmarzabad
Javad Takjou
Habib Sadeghi
Hadi Farokhnezhad
Hadi Nasiri
Hadi Tabasi
Hamed Nabahat
Hamidreza Javadi
Hamidreza Mosayebi
Hamideh Dehghani
Hamid Sharifi
Hassan Ali Besanjideh
Hasan Mousazade
Hassan Rouholamini
Hamidreza Hayatroshanaie
Hamidreza Javadi
Hamidreza Mosayebi
Homayoun Abdolrahimi
Hossein Abdollahi Adli
Hossein Anabestani
Hossein Alizadeh
Hossein Elmi Mousavi
Hussain Al Shakoori
Hossein Fadaiy
Hossein Hajiagha
Hossein Kazem
Hooman kamrani
Hossein Rahimkhani
Hossein Taheri
Hossein Yuzbashi
Iman Sadeghi
Ghasem Lotfee
Khatereh Khodai Anakhatoun
Khosrow TalebPour
Maaede Ebadipoor
Mahmoud Nazari
Majid Adibi
Malaeke Farhang Adib
Massoud Sajad
Mehdi Mohammady
Mehrdad Samadi Zakaria
Mohammad Hosein Banakaran
Mohammad Ashena
Mohammadreza Doustmohammadi
Masomeh Hamzeh Loo Safaei
Mohammad Hossein Niroumand
Mohsen Rafiee
Morteza Asadi
Morteza Azarkheil
Massoud Shojai Tabatabai
Massoud Vahabzadeh
Mahdi Joudi
Majedeh Motalebi
Mahnam Najafi
Mahnaz Mahmoudi
Mahdi Tamizi
Marza Azadi
Maziyar Bizhani
Mahmoud Mokhtari
Mahmoud Nazari
Mehdi Azizi Shad
Mehdi Mohammadi Rouzbahani
Mehrdad Mazrai Farahani
Mohammad Hossein Karami
Mohammad Hossein Niroumand
Mohammad Kazem Hasanvand
Mohammadreza Besharati
Mohammadali Rajabi
Mohsen Nouri Najafi
Mohsen Asadi
Mostafa Estarian
Mostafa Mahin Hosseinnia
Mohammadreza Eftekharypour
Naser Kordi
Neda Tanhai Moghadam
Payman Kouhi
Pedram Hakimzadeh
Pendar Nasser Sharif
Reza Javani
Rahim Baghal Asghari
Rahim Taghipour Sedgh Razmjou
Reza AKarami
Reza Jangi
Reza Radmehr
Reza Javani
Reza Mozafari
Sadegh Bagheri
Saeed Sadeghi
Sajad Hejazi
Sam Keshmiri
seyed hossein Yazdan keshmiri
Seyed Javad Miraghazadeh
Seyed Kazem Ghafari
Seyed Mohammad Esmaili Taba
Seyed Mostafa Hosseini
Seyed Mehdi Esmaili
Seyed Mahmoud Javadi
Seyed Mostafa Hosseini
Seyedeh Shirin Seyed Rezazad
Seyed Vahid Mosatafavi
Shahram Khoram
Shahram Omid
Shahram Rezai
Shahram Shirzadi
Shahrokh Malekzadeh
Shiva Sahamifard
Sina Mohajer
Soheil Setayesh
Vahid DashtyariKhodayar
Vahid Khodayar
Zahra Nayebi
Zainab Amini
Zainab Nikchedehi

Italy
Gatto Alessandro

Japan
I. B.
Tetsuro Susumu

Jordan
Omar Adnan Salem Al Abdallat
Baker Al-Haski
Khaleel
Jihad Awrtani
Naser Al Jafari
Mosa Ajjaw

Kazakhstan
Galym BORANBAYEV

South Korea
Lee-Hyunsik

Lebanon
Fuad Eyash
Asad Amro
Ibrahim Adel Hamdan
Nour Hijazi

Macedonia
Zlatko Krstevski

Mexico
Alberto Jorge Haro Escamilla
Arturo Rosas Pineda

Morroco
Derkaoui-Abdellah
khalil Khay
Brahim Bougharraf
Naji Benaji
AASSID Houcine
Tallil Abdellatif
Brahim BOUGHARRAF
Abdelmalek Lahlali
Abdelghani Jekki

Norway
Jim Hambourg
Firuz Kutal

Oman
Abdel Nasser Moustafa Salama

Palestine
Nedal Hashim
Khaleel Muhhammed
Samer Al Samiri
Abu Jabri
Rami Omran
Omar Rezvan

Pakistan
Kashif Ghalib
Ikram Shah
Raza Zaidi
Murad Ali Shah

Poland
Marcin Bondarowicz
Adrian Franczyk
Joanna Wasiak-Bassa
MACIEJ WIERZBICKI
Miroslaw HAJNOS

Portugal
José António Marques Correia

Romania
Cletiu Radu
Ghinea Andrei-Vlad

Russia
Eryx Miliaris
Igor Savenkov
Vladimir Sharlaj
Yuriy Mukhin
Andrey Lupin
Elena Merkurieva
Rudin V.
Troyn Buss

Serbia
Aleksandar Blatnik
Vlada Avramoivc
Dusan Vukojev
Oglasni Sektor
Slobodan Trifkovic

Singapore
Dawei Yan

Spain
Jose Luis De Valero
Rafael Iglesias
Luis Menta
Dragan Lukic
Muhammad Hassan Royo

Sudan
Ahmad Akra

Sweden
A. Rami
Laurentz Dahl
Jan Bernhoff

Switzerland
Suat Suha

Syria
Waleed al-Rawi
Raed Khalil
khaled al-swid
Farah Khalil Ibrahim
khaleel
Feras Nouf
Nedal Ali Deep
Yassin Alkhalil
Wissam Asaad


Turkey
Ahmet Aykanat
Hayati Kaihan
Yusuf Temiz
Burak Oktay
Sadik Pala
Gökalp Yildiz
Numan KODAL
Emrah Ar‎kan
Fethi Develioglu
Ahmet Vahit Akca
Ibrahim Kalayci
Hilmi Simsek
Ferhat Demirbas
Ismail kar
Murat Makara
Ahmet Oztürklevent
Muhammet Mustafa AYDIN
Sevket Yalaz
Sabri Ergüder
Turker Yildirim
Umit Mufit DINCAY
Osman Suroglu
Serdar toka
Yalsin Eroglu
Yasar Nuket Terzioglu
Yavuz Özhan ÖNÜR
Murat Yilmaz
Omer Cam
Murat Top
Yasar Nuket Terzioglu

UK
David Varen
Bill Smith
Robert Edwards
Tim Bryant

Venezuela
Jose chacin

USA
Mike Flugennock
Aaron Heineman
Robin Moore
John Bryant
David Baldinger
Peter Lifton
Jack
Matt G.
Bernhard Kurt Vennekohl
Foreed M.
Hugh Bradley

Yemen
Mazin Hamud Shuga'a Al-Deen
Mohammed Masoud Ahmed
Adnan Mhakree



And, in another story, here's what Al Jazeera is reporting on activities outside the Arab world:


An Iranian film director has again fallen foul of the Islamic republic's censors, this time with a light-hearted critique of a ban on women going to football matches.

Jafar Panahi, 46, said he had not heard from Iranian censorship authorities for his Offside film.

The film depicts a group of girls who disguise themselves as boys in an attempt to watch their national side qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany....

Iranian women have been barred from football matches since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and a recent step by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, to end the ban was vetoed by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(1) comments links to this post

Perhaps the neo-conservatives ARE constitutional 


From the U.S. Constitution, Article 1 Section 6 (emphasis mine):


...They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place....


Wikipedia says the following:


Members of both Houses have certain privileges, based on those enjoyed by the members of the British Parliament (see parliamentary privilege). Members attending, going to or returning from either House are privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony or breach of the peace. Their speeches may not be questioned in any place outside Congress; thus, one may not sue a Senator or Representative for slander occurring during Congressional debate.


Here's some background on parliamentary privilege (emphasis mine):


Parliamentary privilege, also known as absolute privilege, is a legal mechanism employed within the legislative bodies of countries whose constitutions are based on the Westminster system....

In the United Kingdom, it allows members of the House of Lords and House of Commons to speak freely before those houses without fear of legal action on the grounds of libel. It also means while a member is within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster he/she cannot be arrested on civil matters; there is no immunity from arrest on criminal grounds....

The rights and privileges of members are overseen by the powerful Committee on Standards and Privileges. If a member of the house is in breach of the rules then he/she can be suspended or even expelled from the House. Such past breaches have included giving false evidence before a committee of the House and the taking of bribes by members....

Parliamentary privilege is controversial because of its potential for abuse; a member can use privilege to make damaging allegations that would ordinarily be discouraged by defamation laws, without first determining whether those allegations have a strong foundation....



Bear this in mind as we see the bipartisan reaction to the William Jefferson case (again, emphasis mine):


Leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill accused the FBI on Tuesday of overstepping constitutional boundaries designed to protect Congress when it raided a Democratic lawmaker's office over the weekend.

The Justice Department's bribery investigation of Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson...has turned up $90,000 in his freezer and won guilty pleas from two associates, but Republicans and Democrats alike said investigators went too far when they ignored long-standing precedent and executed a search warrant on his office on Capitol Hill.

"I clearly have serious concerns about what happened and whether people at the Justice Department have looked at the Constitution lately," said House Majority Leader John Boehner.

"I've got to believe that at the end of the day it's going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court," the Ohio Republican added.

The House's No. 2 Democrat, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer...said it was another example of the Bush administration's disregard for limits on its power.

"No member is above the law, but the institution has a right to protect itself against the executive department going into our offices," Hoyer said....

Jefferson's colleagues did not criticize the FBI when it raided his homes in New Orleans and Washington last August....

But many said the raid on his Capitol Hill office violated the separation of powers as set out in the Constitution.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist expressed concern about the search and Mississippi Republican Trent Lott said his Rules Committee was looking into the situation....

Jefferson, who has maintained his innocence, is one of several lawmakers facing criminal probes by the Justice Department in at least three corruption scandals.

Former California Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham is serving more than eight years in prison for accepting $2.4 million in bribes, and four former congressional staffers have pleaded guilty to corruption charges in separate cases.

One of those staffers said Jefferson demanded bribes to help Kentucky-based iGate Inc. sell Internet equipment to West African countries, an account backed up by iGate's president in a guilty plea earlier this month....

Gonzales said the Justice Department authorized the raid because Jefferson did not voluntarily hand over requested evidence.

"We have before been able ... (in other investigations) to reach an agreement to receive the evidence that we need to prosecute wrongdoing through a subpoena," Gonzales told a news conference. "And for a variety of reasons, that could not occur here."



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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For process geeks who were envious of finance geeks 


From CSU Long Beach:


Monopoly, Pay Day, and Cash Flow are board games that are fun to play while teaching simulated experiences of real-world concepts. Spare Change is a new board game designed to be fun to play while teaching experiences of measurement and process improvement concepts. Roll the dice, tally the numbers, and analyze your data every 90 spaces. Get breakthrough ideas for lively team building...or play at home while spending quality time with your kids, and reduce the fear of metrics.


From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Today's YouTube video, from the Star Trek 2.0 people 




Courtesy Annika, courtesy Victor.

By the way, I've actually watched Star Trek 2.0, but I've never participated. More information here. Nicholas Bradshaw opined:


G4 has added a number of features combining the best elements of C-SPAN and VH1's pop-up video to enhance the Star Trek viewer's experience.

In addition to watching the sci-fi classic, viewers now can participate online via a number of interactive features. First, there is the "Spock Exchange" which involves buying and selling shares of various Star Trek characters and commodities, including Captain Kirk, the phaser and the Enterprise, earning a fortune in "federation credits." The value and the level of trading on stocks are continuously scrolled across the screen a la the New York Stock Exchange.

Also, the Spock Market is open online, 24 hours a day, so investors can buy, sell or trade their stock at any time during the day and monitor the changes online.

The Star Trek 2.0 online experience also features a number of Star Trek chat rooms. G4 pulls messages from these chat rooms and scrolls them across the TV screen during the show.

This unique feature offers fans the chance at brief Star Trek immortality as their comments may appear beside Captain Kirk as he woos his latest alien hottie.

Fans can also earn 15 seconds of fame as their endlessly clever usernames like kirkrocks7842 and igrokspock2000 appear beside their super-witty Star Trek comments and observations during the show.

The program also keeps a running tally of a myriad of common Star Trek occurrences, such as someone beaming down to a strange planet, Kirk making out with an alien or beating up a bad guy, or Spock giving the Vulcan hand salute. These are also displayed on the screen as the program is running....



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Victimizing in God's name 


Pastor Ruy Silva, Pastor Emma Gerald, and others have been indicted over an immigration issue, as reported in the Brockton News and elsewhere:


A church pastor and five others face charges they took more than $200,000 from illegal immigrants in exchange for helping them gain amnesty by lying about when they entered the United States.

An indictment unsealed Thursday in federal court in Atlanta says one of the defendants, Emma Gerald, used money from the scam to buy a home and a Mercedes.

Gerald and the others held meetings related to the scam in Brockton, Mass.; Boca Raton, Fla.; and at least twice at a Marietta, Ga., church where co-defendant Ruy Silva was the pastor, the indictment says.

According to prosecutors, Gerald cast herself as an immigration consultant and charged illegal immigrants, mostly from Brazil, as much as $1,100 per married couple for help falsifying applications under the Catholic Social Services Amnesty Program.

Applicants are eligible for temporary legal residence if they lived in the U.S. unlawfully during a certain period and met other requirements.

The indictment says Gerald and her co-defendants encouraged ineligible immigrants to apply for amnesty under the program and guided them through the process, all the while telling them that the Department of Homeland Security did not have records to prove they were lying.

The six _ Gerald, Ruy Silva, Denise Silva, Marcos Amador, Douglas Ross and Hudson Araujo _ are charged with conspiracy to defraud....



The U.S. Department of Justice announced the following:


SIX PERSONS INDICTED IN MULTI-STATE
AMNESTY FRAUD CONSPIRACY

Atlanta, GA - EMMA GERALD, 54, of Kennesaw, RUY BRASIL SILVA, 49, of Roswell, MARCOS AMADOR, 19, of Atlanta, DENISE SILVA, 45, of Roswell, DOUGLAS ROSS, 29, of Marietta, and HUDSON ARAUJO, 27, of Brockton, Massachusetts, were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 9, 2006, on charges of conspiracy to encourage and induce aliens to reside unlawfully in the United States and to make false statements in applications presented to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). EMMA GERALD, RUY BRASIL SILVA, and MARCOS AMADOR are charged in separate counts for making false statements in applications presented to DHS. EMMA GERALD is also charged with two counts of money laundering.

ROSS was arraigned today in Atlanta. ARAUJO was taken into custody by federal
agents in Brockton, Massachusetts, and had his initial appearance in federal court in Boston today. DENISE SILVA is a fugitive being sought by federal law enforcement authorities. GERALD, RUY BRASIL SILVA, and AMADOR were indicted on related charges on
February 14, 2006. GERALD was released on a secured bond and RUY BRASIL SILVA
and AMADOR are in custody. Their arraignments on this indictment have not yet been
scheduled.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “The six individuals indicted in this
conspiracy were involved in a multi-state scheme to solicit immigrants who were illegally present in the United States to file fraudulent applications for amnesty with the Department of Homeland Security. The defendants, as part of a money making scheme, allegedly assisted immigrants who did not meet legitimate amnesty program requirements to file applications containing false statements. This office is committed to vigorous investigation and prosecution of schemes such as this one, as part of the President’s initiative to strengthen enforcement of the Nation’s immigration laws.”

“Not only did these individuals seek to exploit our legal immigration system for
personal financial gain, they used their positions as religious leaders to prey upon the immigrant community," said Ken Smith, Special Agent-in-Charge of ICE's office of
Investigations in Atlanta....

According to United States Attorney Nahmias, the charges and other information
presented in court: EMMA GERALD, the pastor of a local church, held herself out as a
consultant to aliens seeking amnesty in the United States. GERALD did business under the name “EJ Consulting Services.” Under a program known as the “Catholic Social
Services/Lulac/Newman Amnesty Program” (the “CSS Amnesty Program”), certain aliens
who were illegally in the United States were eligible to apply for temporary residence in this country. In order to be eligible, an alien had to meet certain requirements, including having been present in the United States unlawfully from prior to January 1982; and having previously applied for temporary residence but having been turned down because the alien left and re-entered the United States without the permission of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

GERALD conducted meetings at Marietta churches to solicit aliens, largely Brazilian
nationals who were illegally present in the United States, to apply for the CSS Amnesty Program. RUY BRASIL SILVA was a pastor of one of the churches and made it available to GERALD for the meetings....

GERALD charged the aliens between $300 per person/ $500 per married couple to approximately $600 per person/ $1100 per married couple. For an extra fee, GERALD and AMADOR would provide the aliens with letters falsely stating that they
met the program requirements as to length of residence and previous application for amnesty....



The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, quoting from the Boston Globe, was criticizing "Pastor Emma's" activities back in December 2005 (emphasis mine):


A woman from Georgia -- ''Pastor Emma," she called herself -- promised to show immigrants how they could remain in the United States legally under a 1986 amnesty law. So several hundred undocumented Brazilians flocked to the Radisson Hotel Brockton to hear her pitch.

Each of them handed over between $60 and $100 -- cash only, no refunds -- and listened intently to what Pastor Emma Gerald had to say. With the aid of a PowerPoint presentation and two Portuguese translators, she told them that, for the low price of $675 -- cash only, no refunds -- she would guide them through the application process and send their forms to the Department of Homeland Security for them.

Several people handed over the money, said Fausto Da Rocha, executive director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center, who attended one of the sessions. He and others say that Gerald deceived the immigrants, that the scheme was illegal, and that she may have put the Brazilians at greater risk of being arrested by immigration authorities by sending their applications to Homeland Security.

''We want to stop this kind of thing," Da Rocha said. ''It's not fair to push people to make a wrong petition. And she uses God's name. She tells them, 'You are here because God wants you to be here,' to push people to believe they should do a fake thing."

A few in the crowd who understood the complexities of immigration law did not like what Gerald had to say. They stood up and tried to explain to their hopeful compatriots that the 1986 amnesty provision could not apply to them. Gerald allegedly referred to her critics as ''Satans" and ''demons," and demanded that they be cast out of the room....

After he attended one of Gerald's meetings a few weeks ago, Da Rocha went on a radio program to dissuade listeners from giving her money. He said Gerald then called him and threatened to sue him for a million dollars. Da Rocha tried calling police and the attorney general's office, he said, but they told him there was little they could do....

Neither the attorney general's office nor Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, responded to requests for comment on Gerald yesterday....

The immigrants may have put themselves at great risk by following Gerald's instructions, said immigration attorney Harvey Kaplan....

If authorities did catch up with Gerald and moved to press charges, the people who fell for her pitch would be at even greater risk for deportation, Kaplan said, because a fraud investigation would open all of her records to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers....



But Wizbang isn't that sympathetic to the people who gave their money to Pastor Emma:


It's an old aphorism, and for the most part it's true: most scams are dependent on the greed of the victim. They are convinced that they are getting something for nothing, or something for a lot less than it's worth, and they are blinded to the truth....

I was reminded of that little lesson when I read this story, about a woman who told illegal aliens that she could help them become legal -- for a fee, of course....

The fun part is, once they've filed the paperwork, the government is aware of them and they are at higher risk for arrest and deportation. But by that time, Pastor Emma and her ill-gotten gains (cash only, and no refunds, of course) will be long gone, on to the next batch of illegal aliens to fleece.



But there may be another deception that's being played. I performed an Internet search for Georgia churches pastored by Emma Gerald or Ruy Silva and could not find a single reference to any such church. Apparently they had very small congregations. Or all of the members were green and had names like Franklin and Jackson.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Politicians Bravely Vote to Keep Four Million Illegal Immigrants Out 


This is not a two-sides debate. Despite my posturings, it's not even a three-sides debate.

Take the Orange Card. Here's what a blog called Philadelphia says:


la raza action alert

support senator feinstien's orange card program ammendment for immigrants.the current proposals put an unnecessary burden on immigrants and they should be granted amnesty.the compromise which sounds as if they won't even vote on it is hard to implement and a waste of time.call senator feinsteins aid peter cleveland and take him out for a hamburg.



If anyone can decipher the message above, please let me know.

Representative Sensenbrenner said the following to Senator Feinstein (while also speaking about slavery), as quoted at Expose the Left:


But who’s going to pay for all this bureaucracy that Senator Feinstein has talked about? Are we just going to add it to the deficit? Are we going to raise taxes to do it? Or are we going to have the employers who want to hire these folks pay for this with a user fee? There’s so many unanswered questions that I can just see 1986 repeating itself. And a lot of the illegal immigrants in this country will not sign up for whatever program it is—call it amnesty, call it earned legalization—because they’re afraid they’re going to lose their job. The market works. It is always cheaper to hire an illegal immigrant than to hire a citizen or a legal immigrant with a green card.


Feinstein responded:


On, on the question of cost, the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Tax Committee, have just come out with a report this past week that indicates that over the 10 years, the cost of the program, of everything in the Senate bill, which has been changed since then to reduce it, is a, the cost is about $54 billion. And the cost of fees coming in from the programs, $66 billion. Now that’s Joint Tax and CBO. Those are two good authorities that say the program does pay for itself—more than that—financially.


Well, all of this discussion is moot, since the Orange Card went up in flames. Here's how Suzanne Gamboa of the AP described it:


The Senate rejected a California Democrat's plan to allow the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country to remain, work and eventually become Americans, preserving a fragile bipartisan coalition needed to pass the bill....

"This legislation is on the edge of the ledge as it is," said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, one of the Republicans supporting a delicate compromise that has kept the bill alive — letting two-thirds of illegal immigrants stay but making the other third leave.



So, instead of a bill to allow the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country to remain, work and eventually become Americans, we now have a bill to allow a mere 8 million illegal immigrants in the country to remain, work and eventually become Americans.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Monday, May 22, 2006

On Hollywood 


As I previously mentioned somewhere or another, I went to Hollywood on Saturday. When I get around to it, I'll talk more about the trip itself (including possible multimedia experiential stuff), but first I want to talk about my relationship with Hollywood over the last 23 years.

For most of that time I hardly ever went to Hollywood. I live over 40 miles away from Hollywood, and it wasn't really in my list of things to do. In fact, I can only think of two times that I visited the Hollywood areain the twentieth century.
  • The first occurred when an old college roommate came to town. He works in the music industry and had to be in the area on business. I can't remember what we did, but I do remember that I ended up valet parking on Rodeo Drive to see him. (And yes, I know that Rodeo Drive is not in Hollywood, but from an Inland Empire perspective the two neighborhoods might as well be one.)

  • The second time was when a European journalist was visiting the Los Angeles area. This journalist was a freelancer, and therefore did not have access to corporate budgets like my roommate did, so while she was staying in Hollywood, it wasn't necessarily the nicest area of town. In the end, she ended up staying with us in the Inland Empire, and we'd drive her into town when she needed to be there.

This intermittent relationship with Hollywood changed when we started hosting foreign exchange students, since it is a goal of every student from Europe or Japan or wherever to see Hollywood (and to hang out at the beach, and to go to the local Disneyland, etc.). Before my frequent trips to Hollywood, I knew that it wasn't the glamour capital of the world - I "knew" that Hollywood was a sleazy dump. Turns out that has changed, at least in some areas. Normally we go to Hollywood and Highland, which has undergone a transformation similar to the transformation at Times Square, New York.

Well, mostly:


A man dressed as horror movie villain Freddy Krueger — all the way down to the knives on his gloved fingers — was arrested for allegedly stabbing a man on Hollywood Boulevard....

Police said the stabbing occurred about 7 p.m. Saturday, just down the street from the fabled Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where Hollywood stars have left their footprints in cement for decades....

People in the area are often dressed as characters from films, and officers said they arrived to find Zachary decked out as the villain from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies....



Approximately three hours before this incident occurred, we were right in the area of this theatre (which, technically, is now called Mann's Chinese Theatre) hanging out with Elmo and Spongebob Squarepants (neither of whom was armed, as far as I could tell). I suspect that somebody didn't tip Freddy, and the altercation began.

Our trip was much less violent. More later.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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