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Current Topic: Society

RE: 'Ban Harry Potter or face more school shootings' | the Daily Mail
Topic: Society 9:43 am EDT, May 30, 2007

That would not happen if students instead read the Bible, Mallory said.

She added that the books were harmful to children who are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy.

Right, sticking your head in the sand is reality. Teach your children to read between the lines and to understand the difference between facts and ideas. Harry Potter may be using magical spells to accomplish his goals, but the idea within the message is akin to many in the Bible - selfless acts for the greater good, with the constant nemesis of those who embrace greed, prejudice and bigotry. I'm sure that's why all of the school shootings proliferate - because the shooters all believe that they are doing selfless acts against the greedy, prejudicial bigots.

RE: 'Ban Harry Potter or face more school shootings' | the Daily Mail

Think Progress [tag Path to 911]
Topic: Society 1:21 pm EDT, Sep  7, 2006

ABC is marketing its docudrama, The Path to 9/11, as “based on the 9/11 Commission Report.” It is defending the films multiple inaccuracies by claiming some scenes were “drawn from a variety of sources.”

Now we finally have an answer to the question:
What does it take to air a 2hr docudrama commercial free on broadcast television now a days.

The answer is lies, lies, lies.

_Path to 9/11_ is a "docudrama" whose major thesis is that 9/11 happened because President Clinton didn't prevent it. It is airing on ABC.

This is a link to the thinkprogress tag about everything related to the film. I can only cite some of the highlights:

* Scholastic is giving out materials to teachers clearly made w/ partisian politics in mind.

* At NO POINT did Fmr National Security Advisor Sandy Berger discourage going after Osama bin Ladin.

This is so very paritsan it's sick. The best part is that it will air commercial free. When's the last time you heard a broadcast network do that? (esp. concidering all the free press it's been getting on this fantasy)

Think Progress [tag Path to 911]

Alan Moore's erotic 'Lost Girls' and Peter Pan Copyright Woes
Topic: Society 8:06 am EDT, Jun 28, 2006

BoingBoing has a good compilation of information and links regarding the not-quite-epic but pretty substantial struggle between Alan Moore's desire to use the character of Wendy from the Peter Pan stories (a still active copyright in the UK) in a sexual setting. That debate in itself is old hat, and has gone the rounds for decades whenever fan fiction becomes well written and popular enough to stand on its own.

Alan Moore states:

"It presents this material in a way which is every bit as sensual and beautiful and at times, startling, as the actual sexual act itself can be. I think that was probably why we did it. The sexual imagination, which is the biggest part of sexuality, is not well served in our culture, and I really don't understand why that should be.

The only way that we can talk about or refer to sex -- we have two choices: we can either do it in grubby works of pornography that will be read by people who are desperately ashamed of what they are reading, or we can discuss sex in the clinical manner of sex manuals or The Joy of Sex. Neither of these things have got anything that I, or probably most other normal people actually associate with our sexuality."

Alan Moore's erotic 'Lost Girls' and Peter Pan Copyright Woes

RE: Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning - Los Angeles Times
Topic: Society 2:45 pm EST, Nov  8, 2005

Decius wrote:

On June 9, the church received a letter from the IRS stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church … " The federal tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

I had no idea that this kind of thing was grounds for loosing tax exempt status. Lots of meaty philosophical questions in here. No, I don't buy the idea that this is politically motivated in absense of data that demostrates a pattern across a spectrum of cases.

This is one of the reasons that Nashville 2600 is a non-profit corporation, but not a 501(c)3 Charitable Non-Profit. Under those rules, you have to stay away from political topics, but there's no real good definition of what a "political" topic is in the IRS context. I'd only be glad to see this rule being enforced if it goes both ways - say in taking away the tax exempt status of the church that hosted Justice Sunday or that openly endorses one candidate over another (as an official stance, not as a collective poll of its congregation).

RE: Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning - Los Angeles Times

Just like a woman
Topic: Society 9:35 am EDT, Oct 13, 2005

Aside from Sidore, Davecat has never officially dated anyone. He compares his interaction with women to a bodily reaction, something over which he has no control, much as he wishes that he could meet a woman who breathes. "People who are allergic to roses can enjoy artificial roses," he says. "In the same way, artificial women serve the same purpose for men who are, in whatever way, allergic to real women."

Unlike some other doll owners who have no interest in "organic" women, Davecat says he hasn't completely given up hope. In the meantime, though, he's considering getting another doll -- or two or three -- to keep Si-chan company. But if the right real woman were to enter his life, he says giving up Si-chan would be excruciatingly painful, like removing a limb.

This is an article that was at the top of earlier this week and I started to read it, made a quick judgement of the content, and moved on. It was still up there the next day, so I decided to read further, and I'm glad that I did. From a sociological standpoint, this is a very interesting and in-depth look at the basic archetypes of the thousands of people buying Real Dolls, called iDollators by many of their own. While not appropriate for children, this is not some made for cable soft porn article, either.

Just like a woman

Turning off gays
Topic: Society 11:30 am EDT, Jul 21, 2005

According to Love in Action's rules, posted on Zach's blog, clients must report sexual fantasies to the staff. The program specifies the exact length of haircuts and how many times men must shave each week (seven). Love in Action bars jewelry and clothing by Abercrombie and Fitch. The rules prohibit "campy gay/lesbian behavior and talk." New clients are not allowed to talk to or make eye contact with anyone for the first three days. Clients have to wear pajamas to bed and if they get too cozy they "must always have exactly one person between them." Clients cannot keep a diary, and all their belongings are searched every morning by the "Chain of Command." All secular media, including music and movies, are forbidden. Also, during counseling -- no "disgusting" faces.

The Refuge program is "like a boot camp, but worse," Zach wrote. "What is it with these people? How could you support a program like this?"

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services investigated the Love in Action facility for possible child abuse but discontinued it because of lack of evidence. The brouhaha exposed an oddity of the ex-gay ministries, which is that they are largely unregulated. Ministries claim they are not hospitals or any other facility that would typically require regulatory oversight or licensing. Love in Action spokesman Tommy Corman says the facility does not need to be licensed by the state at all because it is not doing anything "therapeutic." A bold declaration, considering the group promotes "the prevention or treatment of unhealthy and destructive behaviors facing families, adults, and adolescents," according to its Web site.

Nevertheless, the ministries fall into a regulatory blind spot. "There has been some question of who licenses that facility," said K. Danielle Edwards, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. "This would not be under our jurisdiction. I have not been able to ascertain who licenses that facility." On July 11, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities sent a letter to Love in Action, warning the facility that it may be operating without a required license. Results of the investigation are pending.

This is the first really in-depth story that I've read about the Christian Conservative's movement to "deprogram" gays. No matter what stance you take on the matter, I highly recommend the article just so that you can know what it is that the group is trying to accomplish and what the hindsight view of some who have been through the program is.

There are four parts to this story - I linked to the final installment since it has links to the first three at the top of the article.

Turning off gays

Gangsta Gadgets
Topic: Society 9:02 am EDT, Jul  1, 2005

I don't know which one I'd prefer to show off with... the Bling Ringer or the Laptop Lowrider. Make sure that the next time you take a shower in a hotel or another person's home that they haven't installed an R. Kelly Golden Showerhead.

Gangsta Gadgets

Welcome to the new
Topic: Society 10:02 am EDT, Apr 21, 2005

] Year after year, Wal-Mart's low pay and meager
] employee benefits force hundreds of thousands of
] employees to resort to Medicaid, food stamps, and public
] housing. Call it the Wal-Mart Tax. And it
] costs you $1.5 billion in federal tax dollars every year.

They had a full-page ad in the Times today.

Welcome to the new

Cory Doctorow | I, Robot
Topic: Society 8:34 am EST, Feb 16, 2005

] "This is R Peed Robbert, McNicoll and Don Mills
] bus-shelter."
] "That's nice. This is Detective Icaza de Arana-Goldberg,
] three blocks east of you on Picola. Proceed to my
] location at once, priority urgent, no sirens."
] "Acknowledged. It is my pleasure to do you a service,
] Detective."
] "Shut up," he said, and hung up the phone. The R Peed
] - Robot, Police Department - robots were the
] worst, programmed to be friendly to a fault, even as they
] surveilled and snitched out every person who walked past
] their eternally vigilant, ever-remembering electrical
] eyes and brains.
] The R Peeds could outrun a police car on open ground on
] highway. He'd barely had time to untwist his clenched
] hands from the steering wheel when R Peed Robbert was at
] his window, politely rapping on the smoked glass. He
] didn't want to roll down the window. Didn't want to smell
] the dry, machine-oil smell of a robot. He phoned it
] instead.

Cory Doctorow is writing short stories again, but with a vengeance. This is his latest whereby he writes of the future where patents have limited creativity and there is only one kind of robot left in the world. He also called it "I, Robot" as part of his new effort to write new stories with the same title as a famous story by another author. It's a bit of a protest of all the bitching about Michael Moore using "Fahrenheit 9/11" as a title since it is so close to "Fahrenheit 451".

Anyway, enjoy.


Cory Doctorow | I, Robot

Budding Jordan cyber love ends in divorce
Topic: Society 11:09 am EST, Feb 10, 2005

] Separated for several months, boredom and chance briefly
] re-united Bakr Melhem and his wife Sanaa in an Internet
] chat room, the official Petra news agency said.
] Bakr, who passed himself off as Adnan, fell head over
] heels for Sanaa, who signed off as Jamila (beautiful) and
] described herself as a cultured, unmarried woman -- a
] devout Muslim whose hobby was reading, Petra said.
] Cyber love blossomed between the pair for three months
] and soon they were making wedding plans. To pledge their
] troth in person, they agreed to meet in the flesh near a
] bus depot in the town of Zarqa, northeast of Amman.

That's got to be the funniest story I've heard yet about online dating.


Budding Jordan cyber love ends in divorce

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