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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- The Train Wreck Party

We Pardon Spitzer, But Still Judge Former Sex Workers


Five years ago, Eliot Spitzer got caught paying women like me. And now he is stumping, smiling for photographers, and topping the political polls for New York’s next comptroller.

Meanwhile, here I am, working on building a living as a former sex worker, with no full-time job since I lost mine as a schoolteacher three years ago. Today, I spend a lot of my time writing about being a former sex worker (which I have done many times by now). I also teach new writers, including those at risk of sexual exploitation, on how they can tell their own stories. I would be fine with Spitzer’s return to politics if sex workers were allowed the same dignity of returning to normalcy. But apologizing and getting my career back wasn't exactly an option our society supports.

I used to think that sex work was empowering, until I figured out that this was true only in a financial sense — which is no small thing, but it’s not everything, and for a long time, I refused to acknowledge what that “empowerment” cost. In fall of 2010, after I published an op-ed on the Huffington Post under my real name arguing that not all sex workers were victims of trafficking or under the control of a pimp (I certainly wasn’t), I was abruptly sent to the "rubber room," an administrative office turned holding cell for New York City’s unwanted educators. Four years after transitioning out of prostitution, winning a coveted position as a New York City Teaching Fellow, earning my master's degree in education, and giving lessons on art and creative writing at a struggling elementary school in the South Bronx, I sat in that drab room until the City could find a way to fire me. (I was tenured, so that required a hearing.)

Yes, it’s true, I had brought this scandal upon myself, but I could have never anticipated the fallout, or that my candor would make me a victim in another way. Like Spitzer, I was put on blast on the cover of the New York Post, then ridiculed in the national press. I was shamed by the City, including Michael Bloomberg himself. Ultimately, I was forced to resign from a career that I loved. Where, I asked myself, do you go from here? What do you become when the whole world, it seems, has found you guilty of “Conduct Unbecoming”? Can a woman ever be taken seriously after her sexual exploits have been made into front-page news? What if she doesn’t ask for forgiveness? What would society make of an unrepentant whore? Had I predicted the extent of this backlash, I would have made different choices.



Is this goodbye to Lonely Planet?

by Bronwen Clune

After the most recent announcement, it was clear that something was being lost – for travel writers a way of being, for travelers a way of doing, and for Melbourne the demise of one its most successful and adored home-grown companies.

It was there that the empire was co-founded by Tony and Maureen Wheeler in the 1970s, originally as a travel guide “Across Asia on the cheap”. It grew after the publication of their best-selling guide to India in 1981. Up until 1979, Maureen Wheeler said “all the books were stored in this little tin shed out the back and under the beds and everywhere else. It was a very amateur, home-grown business.”

With around one-third of the mostly editorial staff being made redundant, it was clear that after its sale by BBC Worldwide in March this year, the company was being uprooted and shunted from its home despite earlier assurances this would not happen.

The Age reports morale has been low ever since announcement of the sale to Nashville-based NC2 Media, whose major shareholder is a reclusive Kentucky-born businessman, Brad Kelley, who made a Forbes 400 fortune in discounted cigarettes. Its executive director and Lonely Planet’s chief executive is 24-year old Daniel Houghton, who only recently graduated from university. Through the multiple sales of the company, the company has progressively moved further away from its Melbourne base and the visions of its co-founders.

There have been reports that, with the recent job loss announcements, NC2 has asserted that Lonely Planet “were no longer in the business of content creation" and they would be focusing on a digital strategy, though they have to date denied ceasing book publication altogether. Apart from the usual corporate jargon (“These changes will allow us to liberate the enormous potential the business has moving forward”), it smacks of the end of an era.



Another victim of Vulture Capitalism

After Filibuster, a Star Rises in Texas


NEW YORK — She comes from a key district in North Texas, has a slow twang, battle scars and ferocity of spirit, and after one drama-filled day in the bitter abortion fight in the Texas Legislature, Wendy Davis has become a national political star and charismatic new face of women’s rights.

For 11 hours, in a midday-to-midnight filibuster, Ms. Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, held forth on the floor of the State Senate last month against a Republican bill severely limiting abortion. Cheered on by a packed gallery and hundreds of other supporters in the halls of the Capitol in Austin (and thousands watching a live stream of the proceedings), the telegenic 50-year-old single mother of two was able to stop the bill — if only, as it turned out, for three weeks.

She was an overnight sensation.

In short order, she pumped life into the moribund Texas Democratic Party, recharged the state’s women’s movement, raised nearly $1 million in two weeks for her re-election campaign and, not least, was beseeched by supporters and some in her party to run for governor in 2014, which might be a quixotic quest in a state that has not elected a Democrat to that office in 20 years.

Now, while she thinks about all that, Ms. Davis is going to Washington. She will be the host of two fund-raisers on Thursday. One, a $500-a-head breakfast at Johnny’s Half Shell, a restaurant on Capitol Hill, will feature House and Senate Democrats including Senators Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Barbara Boxer of California. Later, she will be the host of a happy-hour fund-raiser, at $25 to $250 a person, at Local 16 in the hip U Street neighborhood.


How Adding Iodine To Salt Resulted In A Decade's Worth Of IQ Gains For The United States


Iodized salt is so ubiquitous that we barely notice it. Few people know why it even exists. Iodine deficiency remains the world's leading cause of preventable mental retardation. According to a new study, its introduction in America in 1924 had an effect so profound that it raised the country's IQ.
A new NBER working paper from James Feyrer, Dimitra Politi, and David N. Weil finds that the population in iodine-deficient areas saw IQs rise by a full standard deviation, which is 15 points, after iodized salt was introduced.

Since one quarter of the population lived in those areas, that corresponds to a 3.5 point increase nationwide. We've seen IQs go up by about 3 points every decade, something called the Flynn effect, so iodization of salt may be responsible for a full decade's worth of increasing IQ in the U.S.

If a mother is iodine deficient while she's pregnant, the cognitive development of the fetus is impeded, and the effects are irreversible. To this day, the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 50 million people suffer some kind of mental impairment related to iodine deficiency.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/iodization-effect-on-iq-2013-7

Another image from Saturn

PASADENA, Calif. -- Color and black-and-white images of Earth taken by two NASA interplanetary spacecraft on July 19 show our planet and its moon as bright beacons from millions of miles away in space.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured the color images of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet.

In the Cassini images Earth and the moon appear as mere dots -- Earth a pale blue and the moon a stark white, visible between Saturn's rings. It was the first time Cassini's highest-resolution camera captured Earth and its moon as two distinct objects.
It also marked the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet's portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances. NASA invited the public to celebrate by finding Saturn in their part of the sky, waving at the ringed planet and sharing pictures over the Internet. More than 20,000 people around the world participated.

"We can't see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Cassini's picture reminds us how tiny our home planet is in the vastness of space, and also testifies to the ingenuity of the citizens of this tiny planet to send a robotic spacecraft so far away from home to study Saturn and take a look-back photo of Earth."


The latest sign that Europe’s plan to cut debt by cutting spending just isn’t working

By Matt Phillips

We’ll say it again. If the goal of today’s European powers is to reduce the debt loads of the troubled countries that set off the European debt crisis over the last three years, it just isn’t working.

The latest official quarterly debt-to-GDP numbers couldn’t be any clearer.

Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio hit 130% during the first quarter of 2013, a new record. Ireland’s continued to escalate, touching 125% at the end of March. Greece remains a basket case. Even after having defaulted on its debt twice over the last few years—which sharply cut the debt outstanding—it posted the highest overall debt-to-GDP ratio, 160%. But it also posted the highest quarter-over-quarter rise in the measure. Look for yourself.

The situation in Europe is an example of what British economist John Maynard Keynes called the “paradox of thrift.” While it is considered prudent for heavily indebted individuals and families to cut down on spending, the same process isn’t always wise for entire economies. That’s because unlike with an individual or family, in an economy spending on consumption and investment is needed to spur growth. One person’s spending becomes another person’s income. And if everyone tries to cut spending and boost savings at once, it means that the economy as a whole slows.

The result is lower tax revenues, higher spending on social welfare programs, and zero progress on cutting debt.


Tuesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest









Tuesday Toon Roundup 2- The Baby

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Talking about Race

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