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04 Dec 2011 22:57


U.S.: Scandal-plagued megachurch leader Eddie Long steps aside, for now

  • The church needs a cleansing. I’m real disappointed. He was a man we all looked up to.
  • Valencia Miller, a former worshipper at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta • Discussing church leader Eddie Long’s decision to stop preaching at the influential megachurch temporarily, in the wake of a sex scandal involving five young male parishioners, a settlement, and the subsequent announcement that his wife was seeking a divorce. Vanessa Long made the announcement Thursday, wavered Friday, then wavered back that same day. Now Eddie Long is taking a break. For parishioners like Miller, they hope Long (who long preached against homosexuality, making the allegations even more troublesome) leaves the church for good. source

04 Nov 2011 19:47


World: Greek PM George Papandreou survives no-confidence vote

  • yeah … After a week full of hand-wringing (he called a referendum on an aid package, then backed off) after months of general annoyance, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou managed to survive a no-confidence vote on Friday.
  • … but Don’t expect him to remain in power for long; Papandreou reportedly plans to work towards forming a unity government, which he may or may not lead. He says he’s willing to step aside if it’s a good choice for the country. source

20 Sep 2011 21:00


Biz, Tech: Amazon faces complaints, scrutiny over factory working conditions

  • I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one. They can do that because there aren’t any jobs in the area.
  • Former Amazon factory worker Elmer Goris • Complaining about the conditions at the Allentown, Pa. Amazon warehouse facility, which handles East Coast orders. The problem? It was really freaking hot this summer, and the factory didn’t have air conditioning, turning the working conditions somewhat nightmarish. People reportedly fainted from heat exhaustion. In the wake of the lengthy Morning Call article that brought the allegations to light, Amazon appears to have put up a job posting for on-support medical staff, and now plans to install an air conditioner in the plant. In their defense, average temperatures throughout the year are reasonably cool, so the situation this summer was somewhat unexpected. Still, though. source

16 Sep 2011 18:06


U.S.: FBI claims anti-Muslim training materials were work of one person

  • There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology. The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.
  • A FBI training presentation • Suggesting that mainstream — not just radicalized — Muslims are dangerous. The training materials, leaked to Wired by FBI whistleblowers, seem to suggest that normal religious behavior protected by the Constitution is a tell sign of terror ties. The training documents, some of which were produced solely by William Gawthrop, seem to support fairly controversial views he’s previously pushed forward on such sites as WorldNetDaily. The FBI responded to Wired’s article today, saying that the presentation was only given one time, was the work of one person (presumably Gawthorp), and doesn’t reflect FBI policy as a whole. “As of August 2011, the individual who delivered the presentation no longer provides training on behalf of the FBI,” their response states. “These corrective measures were made before recent media attention was given to this topic.” The real question: How did this guy get in a position where he could make such a presentation in the first place? This is a huge black eye for the FBI. (thanks kateoplissource

29 May 2011 13:33


World: Amid divisions, Israel investing lots of money to improve Jerusalem

  • $100 million to keep Jerusalem an “undivided capital” source
  • » Israel’s long-term plan: While Obama continues to push Israel to return to their 1967 borders, Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu has plans for the capital, now a single piece thanks to the Six-Day War, which changed those borders. “The city was united 44 years ago,” he noted, “and we returned to our ancestral lands. Since then Jerusalem has flourished.” The multi-year package would increase funding for tourism, education grants and also give bio-technology companies incentives to work in the long-divided city.

18 May 2011 15:28


Politics: Lars von Trier dishes up Hitler sympathy at Cannes

  • What can I say? I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely. But I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end. He’s not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little bit. But come on, I’m not for the Second World War, and I’m not against Jews. I am very much for Jews. No, not too much, because Israel is a pain in the ass. How can I get out of this sentence? … OK, I’m a Nazi.
  • Lars von Trier • Giving a pretty good impression of verbal self-destruction in just a handful of seconds. Von Trier has already apologized for this dispiriting and horrible speech, on the heels of organizers of the Cannes Film Festival, which von Trier was speaking at when he let this slip, called his performance “disturbing.” source

12 May 2011 15:35


Tech: Facebook and Google: A story of jealousy, bad PR and bad stories

  • Google You know, the giant company that seems to have their nose in everything nowadays. Could their success possibly be making Facebook jealous?
  • Facebook It seems like it. A PR agency working for someone tried to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers and bloggers. (Some may have taken the bait.) source

11 May 2011 16:18


Politics: Sarah Palin, Common, and the White House have a tussle

  • This week in objections: There’s been a controversy swirling over the White House’s decision to invite rapper Common (his real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn) to a poetry event. The outcry, spearheaded by Sarah Palin, centers rather predictably around his lyrics through the years, some of which people might find offensive (the New Jersey State Police union, for example, is upset about this). Here’s the reality: Michelle Obama probably likes Common, mostly known for his socially-conscious rapping and this terrible album, and she wants him to attend. How many of us can honestly say if somebody else found an artist we enjoyed controversial, we’d like the art less? It’s certainly rich coming from Sarah Palin, whose ethics on controversial speech are plainly situational — it places lyrics above actions, which seems backwards to us. source

10 May 2011 09:43


Politics: The sad tale of CUNY, Israel, and an unlucky playwright

  • what A prominent Pulitzer-winning playwright, Tony Kushner, was denied an honorary degree from the City University of New York last week.
  • why Apparently, one of the members of the board thought he wasn’t pro-Israel enough for his taste, which led to the bizarre decision.
  • redo After an outcry in which noted alums returned their degrees to the school in protest, Kushner got the decision reversed. Ouch. source
  • » The lesson: Don’t have someone on your board who uses “support of Israel” as a litmus test for playwrights who few even know for their foreign policy views.

28 Apr 2011 20:46


U.S.: Groupon didn’t “dump” Donald Trump. Here’s what happened.

  • An earlier version of this post said that Groupon dropped their sponsorship of “Celebrity Apprentice.” That’s half-true. The company will no longer allow their ads to show up on the Apprentice Web site. However, they never actively sponsored them, but instead showed up on the site thanks to Google and other ad networks. So, while ThinkProgress (30,000 followers), did throw the tweet to the company (35,000 followers), and Groupon did agree to it, it’s something of a misnomer. They agreed to “dump Trump” … if Trump happens to be in the same room as Groupon. But he isn’t right now. Still, there are examples of this technique being used against sponsors, including:

(via BrooklynMutt; photo originally by Gage Skidmore)