“It felt like here was a democrat that found his spine — that was going to stand up — that was going to fight back.” — Michael Moore on Barack Obama’s August 28th, 2008 Democratic National Convention speech
“Their treatment of women throughout the decades — leading up to even now — this sort of attitude that women are so stupid that they’re going to just vote for somebody because they’re a woman, even though this woman is against the very things that women are for and the things that women need. I mean they really think women are, I guess, just dumb or something. … I don’t think women across the country right now are feeling honored by this event today.” — Michael Moore on John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin
Plain English Campaign
Since 1979, we have been campaigning against gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information. We have helped many government departments and other official organisations with their documents, reports and publications. We believe that everyone should have access to clear and concise information.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has carried out a three-year analysis of the “social determinants” of health.
The report concludes “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale”.
For instance, a boy living in the deprived Glasgow suburb of Calton will live on average 28 years less than a boy born in nearby affluent Lenzie.
See life expectancy in Glasgow compared with other places
Similarly, the average life expectancy in London’s wealthy Hampstead was 11 years longer than in nearby St Pancras.
The research also shows that a girl in the African country of Lesotho is, on average, likely to live 42 years less than a girl in Japan.
In Sweden, the risk of a woman dying during pregnancy and childbirth is one in 17,400, but in Afghanistan the odds are one in eight.
The report, drawn up by an eminent panel of experts forming the WHO’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, found that, in almost all countries, poor socioeconomic circumstances equated to poor health.
The differences were so marked that genetics and biology could not begin to explain them.
The authors write: “(The) toxic combination of bad policies, economics, and politics is, in large measure responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible.”
Psychologists found memories of painful emotional experiences linger far longer than those involving physical pain.
They quizzed volunteers about painful events over the previous five years.
Writing in the journal Psychological Science, they said evolutionary brain changes which allow us to work better in groups or societies could be key.
The volunteers, all students, were asked to write about painful experiences, both physical and emotional, then given a difficult mental test shortly afterwards.
The principle was that the more painful the recalled experience, the less well the person would perform in the tests.
Test scores were consistently higher in those recalling physical rather than “social” pain.
Psychological scoring tests revealed that memories of emotional pain were far more vivid.
Piehole Comment: I always hated when people would use that little rhyme to pacify whomever’s feelings were hurt at the time. I also love this line. “you need to grow a thicker skin” or “You need to let it roll right off your back like a duck in water”.
The men were recruited in Nepal to work in a hotel in Jordan, but were later told they would have to work at a US air base in Iraq, their lawyers said.
Twelve of the men were kidnapped and killed by Islamic militants while being transported inside Iraq.
The 13th man was made to work against his will at the air base, lawyers said.
The execution-style killing of the hostages was recorded by the extremists and posted on a website.
The incident sparked riots in Nepal with angry demonstrators targeting a mosque, some government buildings and offices of employment agencies.
At least two people were killed in the protests.
The lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday alleged “that the illicit trafficking scheme… was engineering by KBR and its subcontractor”, identified as Daoud & Partners.
The men, between the ages of 18 and 27, were recruited “to work as kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in Amman, Jordan”, said a statement from Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, one of the law firms handling the case.
The last two presidential elections both came down to a relatively small number of votes, and in both elections the integrity of the voting process has been called into question. STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote brings together behind-the-scenes perspectives from the U.S. presidential election of
2004 — plus startling stories from key races in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2006. Unbiased and nonpartisan, the film sheds light on a decade of vote counts that don’t match votes cast — uncounted ballots, vote switching, under-votes and many other examples of election totals that warrant serious investigation.
Sat. Aug 30, 2008. Saint Paul, MN Police Department raids a home at 591 Iglehart Avenue at gunpoint. The journalists include a contributing photojournalist with “Democracy Now”, whose host Amy Goodman appears in this clip jumping a fence to question police officers.
This is part of a series of police actions on the eve of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
After several hours, all those detained were released. No arrests. No property was seized as result of the search warrant. The clip ends with an interview with homeowner Mike Whalen. At the start of the clip, a neighbor shouts to the media and onlookers that we could all come into her backyard to see the detained people held in the adjacent backyard.
Video by Chuck Tomlinson
The most underappreciated member of the crossword design team makes the case for his profession.
For the first time ever, both the Northwest and the Northeast Passages are free of ice. Shipping companies have been waiting for this moment for years, but they will have to wait a little while longer before they can make use of the Arctic shortcut.
Shippers in Bremen are getting impatient. The Beluga Group, a shipping company based in the northern German city, had planned to send a ship through the Northeast Passage — or the Northern Sea Route, as Russians call it — this summer, according to spokeswoman Verena Beckhausen. The route leads from the Russian island Novaya Zemlya, off the northern coast of Siberia, through the Bering Strait between far eastern Russia and Alaska.
This route is radically shorter than the normal trip through the Suez Canal. From Hamburg to the Japanese port city of Yokohama, for example, the trip using the northern route is just 7,400 nautical miles — just 40 percent of the 11,500 nautical mile haul through the Suez. Dangerous ice floes normally block the shorter route, but as of a few days ago the Northeast Passage is ice-free according to Christian Melsheimer of the University of Bremen. Scientists at the university use data from the NASA satellite “Aqua” to cobble together up-to-date maps of sea ice.
The Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia doesn’t need running bulls or even booze to have fun. Just give them some mattresses, a bunch of babies and a handful of fun-loving guys — dressed up like devils — and you’ve got yourself a fiesta.
If you’ve ever lived within earshot of a newborn child, it’s no stretch to imagine they can have something devilish inside. The inhabitants of the northern Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia have developed an ingenious technique for exorcising seemingly innocent children. Just spread them on mattresses in the middle of the street, and have a bunch of demons leap over them.
This baby-leaping tradition is part of the El Colacho festival, which has reportedly been held in this town since 1620, though its origins are obscure. The event happens every year as part of the festivities associated with Corpus Christi, a Christian feast day that falls on a Thursday between late May and June.
The festival is organized by the brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva, whose members assume the two main roles associated with the festival: those of el Colacho and el Atabalero. El Colacho, who represents the devil, is dressed in a bright yellow and red outfit and mask, and el Atabalero wears a black suit and a sombrero and goes through the town with his large drum.