Conferences are Workplaces for Many: that does not mean they are not fun

The Workplace (photo: deVos)

To me, a conference or convention has always been a workplace. And, to some extent the Internet is too. I’ve sat on enough committees, had enough diversity training, and been involved with enough academic (mostly) disputes (hey, I was part of the Most Dysfunctional Department in the Universe for a few years!) that I tend to see human interactions gone bad in the light of mediation, HR rules and potential intervention, policy, and so on. This is why I am not real sanguine on the idea of working out how young men can go to conferences and a) not act like idiots and at the same time b) get laid anyway. (more…)

Court Strikes Down Key Part of DOMA

U.S. Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to married gay couples unconstitutional: Appeals court

BOSTON — A U.S. appeals court Thursday declared that the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The unanimous ruling said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman discriminates against gay couples because it doesn’t give them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

The ruling was very narrowly defined and did not address the specific issue of same sex marriage.

JC Penny Out Gays the Homophobes

Remember that boycott against JC Penny because they did something gay? Which got totally Streisanded and converted into widespread pro-JC Penny sentiment? Well, JC Penny is giving back to the Progressives and Pro-Gay community with a pro-gay Father’s Day Ad.

The good news about Gay Fathers Day is that you didn’t have to get stuff for your mother of Mother’s Day. The bad news is …

Anyway:

According to the company, the two men who appear in the ad are “real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith,” and the jubilant children are their kids, Claire and Mason.

“First Pals: What makes Dad so cool?” reads the ad’s copy. “He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver – all rolled into one. Or two.”

source

Perhaps it is time that DJ Grothe resign as the President of the JREF

DJ Grothe has done some great things and he’s taken the James Randi Educational Foundation a long way; he’s made an important mark and we should all appreciate him and his prior efforts. Hell, we should create an award named after him and give it to people every year. Thank you DJ Grothe for all you’ve done for the skeptic movement. (more…)

Let’s treat women badly, destroy resources to help them, and help the Republicans take over everything state by state

Sexism and Atheism: mutually exclusive, surely?

A single woman went to an atheist conference in a country she was not familiar with. While there, she spoke at this conference, about how she does not like to be sexualised out of context. Basically, her talk was about how to avoid making women feel uncomfortable, so as to create a more welcoming atmosphere and get more women to enter the atheist community…..

…and then…

Women’s Center In New Orleans Destroyed By Arson, Third Incident in the South

Thanks to the fast response of all of our supporters across the country, many of you have already heard that our office was broken into last night and set on fire. The worst damage was concentrated in our community organizing and outreach office where we store all of the resources we use to educate our community. We lost everything…

…and then...

Sex and the Keynote

Then, at the very end, when everyone was preparing to leave, and I was packing up the Hug Me table, answering questions, and generally socializing with other speakers and attendees, thinking about how fat my check is going to be from Big Pharma when one man and his wife, whom I’ve become vaguely acquainted with on Facebook in the last week, approached my table.

…and then…
Dirty Tricks In Wisconsin: Secret Group Shuts Down Phones Of Scott Walker’s Democratic Challenger With Spam Texts

One week before Wisconsinites vote on whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), a conservative group is engaged in dirty tricks that have shut down the Democratic challenger’s campaign phones.
According to multiple reports, independently verified by ThinkProgress, the following spam text message is being blasted out to many Wisconsin cell phones:

…and then…

Emacs Mail Amusements

Apropos this, cribbed from the GNU Emacs manual by (originally) Richard Stallman:

35.6 Mail Amusements
====================

`M-x spook’ adds a line of randomly chosen keywords to an outgoing mail
message. The keywords are chosen from a list of words that suggest you
are discussing something subversive.

The idea behind this feature is the suspicion that the NSA(1) and
other intelligence agencies snoop on all electronic mail messages that
contain keywords suggesting they might find them interesting. (The
agencies say that they don’t, but that’s what they _would_ say.) The
idea is that if lots of people add suspicious words to their messages,
the agencies will get so busy with spurious input that they will have
to give up reading it all. Whether or not this is true, it at least
amuses some people.

You can use the `fortune’ program to put a “fortune cookie” message
into outgoing mail. To do this, add `fortune-to-signature’ to
`mail-setup-hook’:

(add-hook ‘mail-setup-hook ‘fortune-to-signature)

You will probably need to set the variable `fortune-file’ before using
this.

———- Footnotes ———-

(1) The US National Security Agency.

___________
Please send FSF & GNU inquiries to gnu@gnu.org. There are also other ways to contact the FSF.
Please send broken links and other corrections (or suggestions) to webmasters@gnu.org.

Copyright © 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Updated: $Date: 2007/06/10 18:26:22 $ $Author: cyd $

Romney on How To Fix Edumication

First, dismantle public school funding. That was pandering to the charter school people he was sitting with. Second, more “no child left behind” type policies. Third, increase classroom size. Because classroom size doesn’t matter. Fourth, cancel teacher improvement programs.

From the Washington Post:

During the roundtable session, Romney said there was no correlation between classroom size and student performance, citing a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company. That sparked a debate with some educators and other leaders around the table.
“I can’t think of any teacher in the whole time I’ve been teaching, for 10 years, 13 years, who would say that more students [in the classroom] would benefit,” said Steven Morris, a music teacher at the school. “And I can’t think of a parent that would say I would like my teacher to be in a room with a lot of kids and only one teacher.”

Yes, some studies showed that but as far as I can tell, they were comparing class sizes that were too big with class sizes that were way too big. Turns out there is not much difference between totally broken and way totally broken.

Mississippi Representative Andy Gipson: Put gays to death

This is just coming to light, apparently. Mississippi Republican Andy Gipson posed the following on his Facebook page on May 10th:

“Been a lot of press on Obama’s opinion on “homosexual marriage.” The only opinion that counts is God’s: see Romans 1:26-28 and Leviticus 20:13. Anyway you slice it, it is sin. Not to mention horrific social policy.”

According to Leviticus 20:13, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Unity Mississippi asked him to apologize, but instead he said:

“To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God’s Word. It is one thing that will never “change.” Anyone who knows me knows I also believe that all people are created in God’s image, and that all people are loved by God, so much so that He gave us the truth of His Word which convicts us of the reality and guilt of our sin, and He gave us His Son Jesus who paid the full penalty for all our sins, by His grace through our faith in Him as we repent of our sin. John 3:16. It is this message that I preach every Sunday. I sincerely pray God will reach someone through this message.”

We await his resignation. Oh, wait, he’s a state rep in Mississippi. He’ll be elected governor.

I am the Masonic Harvard Antichrist

No kidding.

You’ll remember that a few days ago I encouraged people to complain to WordPress about the website hosted there run by the Greek Nazis (Golden Dawn). The idea was to poke the Nazis in the eye, using the fact that they had violated the WordPress terms of use. Some of you didn’t get that and were all “boo hoo” about the Nazis and wanted me to leave the poor babies alone. But what no one realized at the time is a darker, much darker truth: I do not oppose the Nazis because they promote violence against “races” and classes of people they abhor. No, my dearies, that is not it at all. I oppose the Nazis because I am a faithful member of the Masonic Order of the Illuminati, Harvard Branch, and I carry Antichrist credentials. Long before I was born, the soul that would later be implanted in my body made a pact with the Devil…or Flip Wilson, I can’t remember…to lay in wait until the rise of the Nazis in Greece in 2012. Then, to poke them in the eye.

I was not going to tell you about this but, alas, my true identity has been exposed by a shrewdly managed web site run by Nationalist Orthodox Antisemitic Christians in Greece. The site is written in Greek, but my friend Google was able to translate it. Sort of. And, I’ve gone over the gist of the site with my man in Greece. Sort of. And I can give you the lowdown, in pictures and words: (more…)

Signs will be in both native and immigrant’s languages in northern Minnesota

Apropos recent discussion on Native American issues in Minnesota, we have this from MinnPost:

Tourists visiting Bemidji this summer may pick up a few words of a “foreign” language.

That’s because the first city on the Mississippi River way north in Minnesota may be the only town off a reservation trying to incorporate the area’s indigenous Ojibwe language into daily life.

All over town Ojibwe language signs are posted right alongside English language labels, and for a just cause. The signage is part of a broader effort to preserve the language spoken by an estimated 60,000 persons across areas of the northern United States and into Canada as well as to bridge cultural divides between whites and American Indians.

Words such as “boozhoo,’’ an Ojibwe word for “welcome” and many other Native American terms crop up around town, in an appliance store, the local hospital, the convention center, a local coffee shop, and this spring in the public schools. …

Can Blogs Be Used to Resolve Conflicts?

Someone is always wrong on the Internet. The idea that the most free-wheeling part of the Internet–blogs–would be a place where conflict is resolved seems laughable. The detachment of argument from social cues normally used to moderate our conversations combined with the intentional sloughing off of civil norms means that the only resolution that happens here might be the screen resolution of your computer. It would be easy to say that the Internet is where conflict is born, not resolved.

But that would miss an important point…

Read more (and comment!)

NAACP Endorses Same Sex Marriage

From MetroWeekly:

The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the “political, education, social and economic equality” of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.

TED Talks didn’t want you to see this video:

The Washington Post notes:

Chris Anderson, head honcho at TED, has responded to Nick Hanauer’s claims that his TED talk was censored. TED, Anderson says, tries “to steer clear of talks that are bound to descend into the same dismal partisan head-butting people” and that Hanauer “framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan.” The upshot, though, is that he’s letting viewers decide for themselves.

Chris Anderson was abysmally wrong to call this partisan. Who’s funding Ted anyway?1

See Also:

_________________
1AT&T, Autodesk, Blackberry, Cokacola, Delta, GE, IBM, Intel, Johnson&Johnson, Kauffman Foundation, Levis, Pioneer, Rolex, Santander, Shell, Stellcase, J. and J. Knight, Tiffany, Walmart, (Red), Adobe, Akamai, Aljazeera Network, Allianz, AOL, ARUP, Audi, Baille Gifford, bing, Cengage, Cisco, Coffee Common, Datatran Media, T Dewar’s, Direct Brands Inc, Dow, Genantech, GM, 10,000 women, Goldstar, Google, Grameen America, GREY, Gucci, Hyundai, Ideo, Jawbone, Jack Spade, Liberty Mutual, Loncoln, LObard Odier, Lynda.com, Microsoft, Newegg.com, OVI Nokia, Pfizer, Qatar Museums Authority, Benault Nissan, Siemens, Sony, Syfy, Target, Toyota, University of British Columbia, Walt Disney, Wipro, Women at NBCU, Workspring.

Hat tip: 99% Miles.

Finally, we’ve got enough white people and can now move on to other things!

From the New York Times:

After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.

It’s about time. I was getting really tired of all these white people everywhere.