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Looking at the case of Madeleine Martin, the 39-year-old RE (Religious Education) teacher and mother of two, jailed for 32 months and placed on the sex offenders' register for sleeping with a 15-year-old male pupil, do we seriously think that a female teacher sleeping with a male pupil is on a par with a male teacher sleeping with a girl pupil? I don't. And neither, I'd wager, would most 15-year-old boys.

The issue shouldn't be taken lightly. All teachers, male and female, are in a position of trust and should not abuse it, though reading of Martin and the boy having sex in car parks, of her buying him mobile phones and tattoos with her name on "so he wouldn't forget her", of her failing marriage and terminally ill sister, Martin seems more pathetic than predatory.

Certainly, she has been severely punished for her nine-day tryst with the teenager, who, his mother says, has been mocked by peers. If anything, one would have thought they might be jealous. The internet is awash with sites dealing with "older woman teacher-pupil" fantasies. And there lies the rub – should the law be treating male and female pupil victims equally when male and female teenagers are so different? (the Guardian)

Oh, it gets worse. The writer goes on to argue that through her interviews with the youth, she learns that teenage girls want attention whilst teenage boys want sex, as if this is a mitigating factor.

While a large proportion of teenage boys may not have the sense to make the best choices, they are "up for it," none the less. This is why, in my view, a male teacher sleeping with a girl pupil amounts to statutory rape, whereas a female teacher sleeping with a 15-year-old male is a far greyer moral area.

Just because a boy at 15 is up for it doesn't mean he's asking for to be taken advantage of by an adult, FFS. And the law is quite clear in the UK: age of consent is 16. Even if the teenager in this case consented, it was done so in a highly suspect environment - buying a young man a mobile phone and tattoos should sound off alarm bells right away. Happily, many of the commentators on the Guardian site give the writer a right telling off for her appalling article.
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I stayed up last night so I could watch the BBC's Question Time with panelists Jack Straw (Labour), playwright Bonnie Greer, Nick Griffin (BNP), Baroness Sayeed Warsi (Conservative), Chris Huhne (LibDem). Around the same time it was morning in the UK, and many had begun the day tweeting about Nick Griffin's controversial appearance. In fact, "Nick Griffin" was second in Trending Topics. For those who are unaware of the insidious group called the British National Party - they are a fascist lot who seek a return to a 'true' Britain free of nonwhites.

This was me as I watched the entire thing.

Cut to save the flist from my angry livetweets )

One thing Griffin said that I hadn't tweeted: that David Duke came from a KKK that's non-violent. He had the nerve to say that whilst sitting beside an African-American (Bonnie Greer). The man is clearly delusional, but has his appearance on Question Time lent him an air of legitimacy? The press articles seem to suggest so, picking up on the many across the country who voiced their support.

The BBC's own Have Your Say QT forum became filled with pro-Nick Griffin comments. And most of the 400 callers who called the BBC on QT complained Griffin was being 'ambushed'. Griffin himself is to lodge a formal complaint against the corporation for how his appearance was handled and requests to be filmed outside of London -- a city he claims is 'ethnically cleansed'. If Nick Griffin does appear on QT a second time, I fear it will tip a large segment of the population who are frustrated with the three major parties into considering voting BNP. Not because of they agree with crazy things Griffin says, but because they will now view him as a legitimate option to voice their anger.
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You guys I am busting my gut out here, it is so freakin' funny. Via the BBC:

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has described himself as the most persecuted person "in the entire history of the world".

Mr Berlusconi also said he was "the best prime minister we can find today".

In an impassioned statement, he then mistakenly told reporters he had spent millions of euros on "judges", before correcting himself to say "lawyers".

the most persecuted person in the entire history of the world.

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"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Norwegian committee said as the prize was announced.
"His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population." (via BBC)

WOAH. Not that I don't think the President's efforts aren't related to peace, but the quote makes me believe the selection is due to Obama's popularity. Nevertheless, this is a major acknowledgment of his influence and perhaps it will lend some cachet to the administration's current attempts with the Israelis and Palestinians. Then again, President Jimmy Carter has one too and he hasn't much luck with both sides. /frown
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If you missed last night's embarrassing behaviour from a politician, google 'Joe Wilson'. There will be plenty of material for your perusal. To sum up: this is a grown man heckling the President during an important speech, who then apologises, and this morning makes the remark that the apology wasn't his idea (video).

This stinks to high heaven of disrespect. Several commentators on [ profile] ontd_political noted that this disruption is nothing new -- in fact, that's partly the fun of watching (or listening in my case) to Prime Minister's Questions. However, this happened during a State of the Union speech in the United States. You would expect some decorum from members of Congress, ffs. Would this have happened in any speech by previous Presidents? And what about the politicians who are convinced Obama is a Socialist Militant Muslim born overseas?

The Resident Republican on [ profile] ontd_political best sums up the attitude of those desperate to oppose Obama/Democrats/Liberals: after the article she posts in the community is soundly debunked by commentators, she responds

ETA: I can't answer all of you individually. I now see that this article is in fact WRONG.I really wanted to believe Obama is a liar.

If you do not agree to a person's point of view or ideas, as a responsible adult you do not respond by calling that person names. You do not spread rumours about the person's background or cast aspersions on the person's character. You do not derail any discussions by refusing to provide clear facts and evidence. And you certainly DO NOT become so close-minded you will demonise your political opponent and believe anything negative at first go. This goes for everyone, Conservative or Liberal. It's just common sense, people.
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Read the official press release over at The Source.

In short: WB created a new company called DC Entertainment to consolidate its comics and their various alternate media projects within one place. Paul Levitz will step down from his post as President of DC Comics and remain with DC Entertainment as a writer, contributing editor, and something called an 'overall consultant'. Deadline Hollywood's Nikki Finke states this is a deal that's been simmering for 2 years and is not a reaction to the Disney-Marvel acquisition. Rather, the move was probably best realised during the whole Watchmen rights debacle.

By the way, Finke has a great column on how deep the connections was for said Disney-Marvel acquisition and it's a must read. Who knew Disney CEO Bob Iger's great-grand uncle was Jerry Iger, who created Eisner & Iger studios with Will Eisner?

ETA: Paul Levitz's letter here. It sounds like he might leave, doesn't it?

ETA2: Or not. Levitz is writing Adventure Comics with the Legion of Superheroes backup.

ETA3: Diane Nelson will be in charge of DC Entertainment. The Beat speculated on 29 Aug on her appointment, noting that Nelson had run Warner Premiere which makes the straight-to-video DCU animated films. Additionally, it seems she handled negotiations during the Harry Potter movie production process.
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The Beat has the latest news regarding the recent development of Kodansha allowing their licenses to publish titles with Tokyopop to expire. As it turns out, there is news of a publishing deal with Random House for Kodansha manga including new editions of Akira and Ghost in the Shell.

Anyone still have those phone-book sized volumes of Akira? I lusted after them like crazy, and they were just out of my financial reach (like now). It's exciting news to read that Kodansha manga will return, but sad that it won't be through Tokyopop. Ten years ago manga were selling $15 and up (my bilingual GTO was $19.95). The average reading material was limited to whatever had been a recent anime hit (Evangelion, Akira, Ghost in the Shell). Worse, I'd find the company publishing a favourite series (Slam Dunk) had gone out of business. When TP came out with books that were affordable and sold at major bookstores (no more searching for anime shops), it was really revolutionary.

Such asis the market today that it makes good business sense to go into publishing with a partner, rather than through an intermediary. I can't help but feel it's a real shame, though. There's quite a few series that'll won't be wrapped up. has a list of Kodansha titles published by Tokyopop that will be affected. The titles I'm interested in are already out of print, and for sure someone would probably be selling their copy of Tramps Like Us on ebay anyway.
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WTF. Looks like negotiations didn't go well. Was Kodansha not happy with the amount Tokyopop was willing to pay for the licensing? At any rate I did a quick Google search to see recent Kodansha news and nothing stood out. Tokyopop, however, went through a restructuring last year.

Press Release from Tokyopop

The Japanese publisher , from whom TOKYOPOP has licensed many terrific series over the years — Chobits, Love Hina, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Rave Master, Initial D, Kindaichi, Life, GetBackers, and Love Attack, to name a few — has decided to let all existing contracts with TOKYOPOP expire on all manga series that they have licensed to us. As a result, Kodansha will not renew any licenses with TOKYOPOP for any new manga volumes.

What does this mean? TOKYOPOP will not be allowed to complete the publication of any series that is currently in progress; in addition, TOKYOPOP will not be allowed to reprint titles after the current inventory has been sold out, so once these series are sold out at retail, they will not be available for consumers to purchase. The reasons for Kodansha’s decision were not communicated to TOKYOPOP.

We have received many emails and phone calls about titles related to this announcement, and given the nature of the negotiations, we could not definitely answer any of those questions until now. We love all of these series, and we are disappointed that we will not get to enjoy the outcome of some of our favorite manga. We hope to see these series completed some day.... However, if they are ever published again, they will not be published by TOKYOPOP.

Thankfully the only manga I regularly buy now is Blade of the Immortal, and that's Dark Horse. If DH ever stopped translating and putting out latest volumes, I'll probably have no choice like the fans of Initial D and look for scanlations.
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From the Guardian:

The health debate in the US is taking an ugly turn with Barack Obama and other Democrats pushing reform being compared with Nazis and one congressman having a swastika daubed outside his office.

The FBI is investigating the swastika that the staff of the congressman, David Scott, found painted on a sign bearing his name near the entrance to his office in Smyrna, Georgia.

The police hope that the incident might have been picked up on surveillance cameras.

The incident came less than a week after a rowdy town hall meeting in which Scott was involved in acrimonious exchanges with critics of Obama's proposed health reform.

And via [ profile] ontd_political:

Outside, the gathering verged on a street brawl. The opposing forces lined up like screaming armies on either side of the street, about 1,000 people a side. Diane Campbell of Kingston, N.H., held a sign with Mr. Obama's face superimposed on a Nazi storm trooper, a sign, she said, that was made by her chronically ill mother.

Her mother's hereditary autoimmune disease is treated with expensive transfusions of gamma globulin, paid for by Medicare. Her sister, Louise, was born with no arms and one leg, and is also covered by Medicare, the government-run, health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

"Adolf Hitler was for exterminating the weak, not just the Jews and stuff, and socialism -- that's what's going to happen." (WSJ)

As I was passed out half-asleep in the car yesterday, NPR's All Things Considered featured a man who once worked for the healthcare industry but resigned to become the public's health advocate. He was sure that plenty of people who disrupt the town halls are actually plants by the insurance companies. Fear, he said, was what's driving people to believe the lies the companies spread around, including that Obama's health care plan might have a panel that would cut short the life of the elderly. NPR's Morning Edition debunks that claim here.
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From the Guardian's Ethical Living Blog, a recent entry related the observation of few POC riders. Matt Seaton wonders what sort of barriers exist for the diversity in participation:

One might be that cycling, though not historically a middle-class sport, has a fairly high cost of entry in terms of equipment, which may have acted as a disincentive to relatively disadvantaged immigrant communities. But I think the answer lies in cultural conditioning more than economic circumstances: it's not just cycle sport, but cycling itself that is fairly white – cycling just doesn't have the grassroots appeal to non-white communities. There isn't even much research, seemingly, on this, although a recent Sport England report did find that black and ethnic minority participation in cycling as sport and recreation was only 6%, where in other activities it averages 9%.

But just look around you: even in ethnically diverse inner-city areas, I bet that the vast majority of cyclists you see will be white (and probably middle-class, too – but that's an issue for another day)

Read more under the cut )
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
I've been away the whole day and have come home to old news everyone's already heard:

1) Well tried, Andy Murray! You were a champ through and through, despite the immense pressure of an entire nation. There's plenty more chances to win Wimbledon.

2) Palin, wow. I really what's the angle there. The Daily Beast has 11 theories why.

3) The Supreme Court of Honduras refuses to reinstate ousted President Zelaya (via BBC News)
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
From The Times Online:

The President of Honduras was ousted in a military coup today when troops arrested him in his pyjamas and sent him into exile in neighbouring Costa Rica.

The action against President Zelaya, the country’s most popular leader in recent history, raised fears of widespread violence, as supporters took to the streets, throwing rocks at army vehicles and shouting “Traitors! Traitors!”

The United States called for calm, with President Obama saying that “existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully”. The European Union condemned the coup. The Organisation of American States called an emergency meeting at its Washington headquarters.

In a nutshell: President Zelaya, having extended reached the end of his term limit, sought to pass a referendum that would make a change to the country's constitution and allow him to stand for re-election. When Zelaya sacked the military chief opposing the referendum and refused to reinstate him, the military stepped in to remove the president from power.
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The Times is reporting Jiverly Voong or Jiverly Wong, a Vietnamese immigrant, was recently laid off by IBM. During an interview with ABC's Nightline, there was confirmation Voong lost his job and speculation his difficulty with the English language may have been the trigger. Unfortunately, we may never know the real motive behind his actions.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (


Didn't that dick Berlusconi once say to his pal Medvedev that Obama was tanned? UGH.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (lulz)
[ profile] ontd_political learns what a bacon buttie is in a post about a family in the UK who claim they are 'too fat' to work.

Paging Jamie Oliver!
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (sickens)
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to suspend a county contract with Planned Parenthood to provide health education for thousands of teens and preteens because the nonprofit organization offers abortions. (via LA Times)

None of the Orange County money is used to fund abortions, said Jon Dunn, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood for Orange and San Bernandino counties.

To the Board of Supervisors: Your personal views on abortion should have no bearing on whether a vital source of education and information on family planning and women's reproductive health should lose its funding.

FUCK. I fucking hate Orange County.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
Today is the start of oral arguments on California's recently passed Proposition 8 in the state's Supreme Court. Proposition 8 defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and was passed by 52% of California's voters. While he originally thought it was his duty as the state's Attorney General to defend voter wishes, Jerry Brown himself filed the legal challenge against Prop 8 to invalidate the amendment. An interesting note: the opposition and legal defender of Prop 8 is a one Ken Starr. Y'know, that obsessed guy from the Clinton-era who authored as heavy tome on Bill Clinton's sexual relations.

*shudders* Guess what, though? Brown is on Twitter, and it looks like he's been Twittering during the hearing. LOL.

This position is surely going to help Brown in his bid for governor in 2010, though not as big a boost as he might hope. His competitor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, has been making the talk and radio show rounds speaking out on his support for overturning Prop 8. Newsom is also on Twitter, and was most recently on NPR -- check this interview, bb is fierce!

"Separate inherently is not equal," he said. "There's a reason why $45 million was spent against marriage equality. It's because people understand the word does have meaning. And equality comes when we accept the same notions and the same institutions for everyone, regardless of race and gender and regardless of sex orientation."

A million times THIS.
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Some of the recent reactions to Frank Miller’s Spirit movie made me think about this phenomenon though. As Peter David commented on Blog@Newsarama and Heidi MacDonald somewhat echoed on The Beat, “Even when Frank Miller falls, he falls from heights that most of us cannot hope to achieve, myself not excluded. If it’s too much to think that you should show at least a modicum of respect for someone who has devoted his life to this medium, then at least acknowledge that the reason you’re doing the happy dance over the failure of someone who has achieved more in his life thus far is than you likely ever will in the entirety of yours is because you’re unspeakably petty and ungrateful and ungracious.” (via Newsarama)

Wherein I pretend this has a modicum of sense under the cut )

TL;DR version: I am doing my happy dance on The Spirit movie failing whilst remembering all that Miller has done for us. Happy now, Peter David?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
ALBUQUERQUE (CN) - A clinic nurse first removed her intrauterine birth-control device without permission, says the patient in a federal action, then told her that "having the IUD come out was a good thing," because "I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion. I don't know how you feel about abortion, but I am against them." (via Courthouse News)

The nurse's excuse: 'Everyone in the office always laughs and tells me I pull these out on purpose because I am against them, but it's not true, they accidentally come out when I tug.'

Lady, WTF. It takes a whole lot of tugging to take an IUD out.

As someone noted on the comments page, this is a direct result of the recent law Bush signed that allows health care professionals to refuse to provide medical care that goes against their ideology.

Two more days. Just two more days.
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Dramatist and author Sir John Mortimer, who created enduring character Rumpole of the Bailey, has died aged 85 after a long illness. (via BBC News)

Another talented writer lost this year and it's only January. 2009 you seem destined to be full of heartbreak ;___;



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