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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 23,864

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Journal Archives

Court: Injured intern can't sue Oregon chimpanzee sanctuary

[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-bottom: none; border-radius: 0.3846em 0.3846em 0em 0em; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]Court: Intern can't sue Oregon chimpanzee sanctuary
[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-top: none; border-radius: 0em 0em 0.3846em 0.3846em; background-color: #f4f4f4; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that an intern whose thumb was bitten off by a chimpanzee four years ago can't seek damages from the sanctuary that employed her.


Howard's lawsuit claims the sanctuary was negligent in failing to secure the doors to the cage, failing to control Kimie before and after the first attack, and in minimizing the dangers associated with chimpanzees.

The appeals court found that chimps at the sanctuary attacked humans seven other times between 1995 and 2009. In three cases, the victim totally or partially lost a finger or thumb. The court noted, however, that several attacks occurred while people were disregarding the sanctuary's safety policies and not one was analogous to Howard's situation, in which a tunnel door was left unlocked.


The sanctuary's training manual states that 9-1-1 is to be called only in a life-threatening situation, and only Day and two other officials are authorized to make the call. The court opinion says when another intern phoned 9-1-1 after Howard was attacked, Day said: "'Who called 9-1-1? It's just your thumb.'"

The whole article is worth reading because my choice of four paragraphs is intended to point out what I thought was interesting and it doesn't contain all the facts of the case. Still, I feel pretty sorry for the girl. She's a young college student (anthropology major) and 10 days in she's viciously attacked in what appears (according to the articles I've read so far) to be negligence on the part of the organization she was doing free work for.

From another article, which doesn't mince words:
[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-bottom: none; border-radius: 0.3846em 0.3846em 0em 0em; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]Injured intern's suit against Chimps Inc. sanctuary in Central Oregon can't go forward, court says[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-top: none; border-radius: 0em 0em 0.3846em 0.3846em; background-color: #f4f4f4; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a college student who filed an $828,000 lawsuit against a chimpanzee sanctuary after one of the animals bit off most of her thumb can't go forward with her suit because a liability waiver she signed is ironclad.


Howard's attorneys alleged that the nonprofit protected the image of chimpanzees to a fault: Scolding another intern for calling 9-1-1 after Howard was attacked because the sanctuary's training manual states only the founder and two others should call 9-1-1 in life-threatening situations. Founder Lesley Day said the sanctuary was trying to avoid "receiv(ing) any unnecessary scrutiny over safety concerns," according to the opinion.


Howard, an anthropology student, applied for an internship at Chimps Inc. and signed a liability waiver stating she understood the risks of being at the sanctuary and that she wouldn't sue even if injuries she suffered were due to the "negligence or carelessness" of the sanctuary.

Ten days into her internship, she was attacked after entering an empty cage to clean it, she said in a deposition. An employee had told her chimps couldn't enter the cage through tunnels that led to it because the doors in the tunnels were locked, she said. But a tunnel wasn't locked and Kimie entered the cage and attacked her, she said. According to the appeals ruling, the Tumalo sanctuary requires all interns to agree that they will never talk about their experiences at the organization.

Again, for a clearer view, please read the full article. But...come on! I've worked for high tech companies which had less stringent NDA's than that.

Maybe you've guessed my OP isn't about chimps or animal sanctuaries at all. It's about how much liability an organization can contractually shift to an employee even when the organization may be entirely reponsible for injury or death due to negligence. With more and more Americans choosing unpaid internships in order simply to get a good recommendation for their résumé, are there other situations like this happening where interns are unpaid and without any sort of recourse?

Have any DUers been in a similar situation as an intern or heard of someone in a situation where they were injured but had no recourse?


CNN: 310 million -- Total number of nonmilitary firearms in the US as of 2009

This is an interesting article just posted by CNN about 30 minutes ago. It's simply statistics and figures relating to firearms in America and some information on how views on firearms have changed over time. I just thought the numbers were interesting. I couldn't find a comprehensive cite in the article except "according to federal figures."


60% -- Americans who supported a handgun ban in 1959
26% -- Americans who supported a handgun ban in 2011
5,400 -- licensed firearms manufacturers in the U.S. in 2011
310 million -- Total number of nonmilitary firearms in the U.S. as of 2009

I think coming to a conclusion about "what all those figures mean" is outside of the scope of the article or my OP. I don't traditionally follow gun-related news on a national level but on an international level.

As in, America is by far the largest arms exporter on the planet. (Just in case you forgot)

That's from the Arms Industry Wiki page, BTW.

We didn't get to number 1 on that list by accident: Just about everything America does foreign policy-wise involves, in ways obvious or not-so-obvious, the sales of weaponry. And while that involves tanks and airplanes it also involves a shitload of firearms. Pistols, rifles.

I think when we think about the proliferation of firearms and America, we kind of either think about them as a national issue or (if you follow international news as I do) an international issue, in which America plays a large part. But I don't think we often think of them as related, as one thing, as two sides of the same coin.

Are they? If if so, which came first, in your opinion? Was it America's love of individual firearm ownership that drove the creation of the largest arms industry in history? Or did the creation of such a large arms industry somehow help cultivate such a strong culture of gun ownership in America? Or is it an unanswerable chicken and egg question to begin with?


"Becomes an internet sensation. Too busy landing a robot on Mars to notice."

This is Bobak Ferdowsi, the activity lead and flight director on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission.

He chooses a new hairstyle for every mission.

And every one of them look good, 'cause they're sitting on top a badass!

Bobak Ferdowsi's Mohawk Blows Up Twitter As NASA's Curiosity Rover Lands On Mars

And I can't resist one more...


Negro does a little dance in happiness: White people assume it's coded gang message.

I would be laughing my ass off at how absurd that is if it wasn't for all the deeply unsettling things that implies about the collective psyches of the people who choose to view it that way.

White privledge: I can do the same jig and because I'm white, nobody's going to assume I'm doing it as part of gang-related activity I must inherently be associated with. They'd just see me doing a little hoppy dance.


Ah-ha! So WOMEN were pushing little children out of the way too, eh?! Bullshit.

The study doesn't really appear to have been about 'Women and children first' but about......whether women and children survive the experience. What the study appears to really have been measuring is whether or not women and children had a good chance of surviving the disaster, not whether they were necessarily given berths on the lifeboats as 'Women and children first' implies, or even whether the crewmembers, captains and male passengers treated them with deference or sacrificed resources in order to help them survive- whether in vain or not.

The high percentage of survival for crew members & captains is unsurprising: In almost all situations I've read about, at least one crewmember is required to man the lifeboat. After all, they're seamen, not the passengers. They're used to living at sea! The survivability percentage of men, women and children doesn't surprise me but the article doesn't seem to show that those statistics were related to whether or not they were given a berth of a lifeboat or anything like that.

Because being on a lifeboat doesn't ensure survival, especially in a situation where the conditions are harsh and/or the survivors are in the lifeboat at sea for any length of time.

The article seems to play with words intended to blur the situation. For instance:
In examining 18 shipping disasters dating to the 1850s, the economists found little evidence that men were inclined to surrender their survival advantage.

Surrender their survival advantage? Is that something someone can do, intentionally? It sounds as though men are pushing women and children aside and rushing into the lifeboats, but what appears to be happening is that the chivalrous nature of the people isn't being surveyed, or any of their acts or how selfless they were, but simply at the end of the day who lived and who died.

You could have a crewmember on a lifeboat with 10 children at sea for 10 days without food or water. Most or all of the children died of exposure, hopelessness, etc., and the crew member survived- but they could have sacrificed every resource available to them for the children.


It's a natural reaction to assume Chavis Carter was executed. But, IMO, there's a slight...

...chance that Mr. Carter wasn't executed by police officers and that he didn't intentionally take his own life either: That he might have been trying to retrieve the hidden handgun that the police had missed during the searches and that during the process of trying to extract or move the handgun, with his hands bound by cuffs, it accidentally discharged and killed him.

I think the posts I've made here over the last 10 years or so would pretty clearly indicate I don't spend any of my time fabricating bizarre scenarios in order to cover for police brutality. But looking over the information that's coming out there a number of things that strike me as odd, the first of which being that if you were a police officer who wanted to execute someone (and get away with it) this is, without a doubt, the most self-incriminating way to do it.

I'm not saying definitively that he wasn't executed by one or more officers and I'm not saying definitively that he didn't commit suicide. In either one of those cases either the officers are lying or Mr. Carter's own mother didn't know her own son's psychological state. I'm also not saying there aren't a number of fishy aspects to the story, namely the release of the two white males who were with him, possibly just prior to or just after the shooting. There are some other curious aspects as recounted by the officers in the articles I've read, being that when they found him A) his hands were allegedly still cuffed and locked, still behind his back or partly underneath him (to the point that the officer said he attempted to uncuff Mr. Carter but could not easily do so because of the position of the body) and B) that Mr. Carter's head was almost in his own lap, as though he were already unnaturally bent over when shot in the head. I don't have the links for all those, but this article from BET appears to have the best list of events, chronologically.

What I am saying is, however improbable, there actually is a way that both sides of the story are telling the truth, and that his death may have resulted from an accidental discharge of a firearm.

From this very recent Huffington Post article:
Several calls to the Jonesboro Police Department were not returned. But Chief Michale Yates told Jane Velez Mitchell on HLN that the death is "definitely bizarre and defies logic at first glance."

“We are actively trying to determine how that happened,” Yates said.

“There’s no indication of any projectiles coming from outside the vehicle. We’ve reviewed the dashcam video and as late as today managed to have some witnesses come forward that observed the incident from start to finish," Yates said. "And their statements tend to support that whatever transpired in the back of that police car transpired in the back with the officers in a different location.”

The police chief indicates that witnesses and dashcam footage corroborate the story of the two officers. Of course, there's the possibility that he's "in on the coverup" as well. But his department's rapid request for the FBI to join the investigation, especially to help with ballistic forensics, also seems to be a piss-poor way to coverup a murder, if that's what you're trying to do.

Dashcam evidence available: CHECK
Corroborating witnesses from start to finish: CHECK
Police Chief openly admitting the scenario itself is bizarre: CHECK
Police department rapidly enlisting the aid of the FB for help in forensic analysis: CHECK

If these officers are trying to get away with murder, if their chief is attempting to cover for them, they're all going about it in absolutely the most absurd way possible.

I think it might be worth waiting a few days on this one before coming to a conclusion. I think the FBI's involvement will rapidly expedite the investigation into what happened and those things will also start coming out soon.


Missile Defense Staff Warned to Stop Surfing Porn Sites

[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-bottom: none; border-radius: 0.3846em 0.3846em 0em 0em; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]Missile Defense Staff Warned to Stop Surfing Porn Sites
[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-top: none; border-radius: 0em 0em 0.3846em 0.3846em; background-color: #f4f4f4; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency warned its employees and contractors last week to stop using their government computers to surf the Internet for pornographic sites, according to the agency’s executive director.

In a one-page memo, Executive Director John James Jr. wrote that in recent months government employees and contractors were detected “engaging in inappropriate use of the MDA network.”

“Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images,” James wrote in the July 27 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code,” he wrote.

More at the link!

Bonus blast from the recent past:
9/3/2010: Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography
A 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation into the purchase of child pornography online turned up more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department -- including some with the highest available security clearance -- who used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations. But the Pentagon investigated only a handful of the cases, Defense Department records show.

The cases turned up during a 2006 ICE inquiry, called Project Flicker, which targeted overseas processing of child-porn payments. As part of the probe, ICE investigators gained access to the names and credit card information of more than 5,000 Americans who had subscribed to websites offering images of child pornography. Many of those individuals provided military email addresses or physical addresses with Army or fleet ZIP codes when they purchased the subscriptions.

I ask you all to consider the reality of this, if only for a moment.


The Know-Nothing’s Guide to Pussy Riot, the Realest Punks Alive

[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-bottom: none; border-radius: 0.3846em 0.3846em 0em 0em; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]The Know-Nothing’s Guide to Pussy Riot, the Realest Punks Alive
[div class="excerpt" style="border: 1px solid #bfbfbf; border-top: none; border-radius: 0em 0em 0.3846em 0.3846em; background-color: #f4f4f4; box-shadow: 2px 2px 6px #bfbfbf;"]After enduring five months of delays and attracting worldwide attention, the Pussy Riot trial finally began in Moscow this week. But what is Pussy Riot? Why is it on trial? What is Moscow? All your questions will be answered here.

What is Pussy Riot?

Pussy Riot is a Russian punk collective founded in September of last year in the wake of Vladimir Putin's announcement that he would seek election for a third presidential term. (Putin, currently the prime minister, stepped down from the presidency in 2008 due to limits on serving consecutive terms; the current president, Dmitri Medvedev, is a Putin ally.) "[A]t that point," Pussy Riot's Serafima (members use pseudonyms) told Vice in February, "we realized that this country needs a militant, punk-feminist, street band that will rip through Moscow's streets and squares, mobilize public energy against the evil crooks of the Putinist junta and enrich the Russian cultural and political opposition[.]"


What happened?

On February 21, Five Pussy Rioteers took to the church's altar and performed a mock prayer, begging the Virgin Mary to chase Putin out of power. They lasted about 30 seconds before being removed by security guards, and the footage was later used in a music video, which you can see here.

That's it? [Rolls eyes.]

Well, where the U.S. has successfully neutralized the protest possibilities of punk rock through a careful combination of commodification and fashionable cynicism, Russia doesn't fuck around: two weeks after the prayer, three women in Pussy Riot — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — were arrested and charged with hooliganism, which can carry a sentence of up to seven years. They've been languishing in jail since then, denied bail and waiting through several delays; two of the women are mothers and haven't seen their young kids since the arrest.

Holy shit.

Yeah. Who's punk rock now, huh?

Great article from Gawker, worth reading the whole thing at the link!


Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels


(Reuters) - President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding," broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.


Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined.

The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined comment.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120801

Quite a bit more at the link!


For $10 million a saddle, you can actually ride Mitt Romney like a pony.

First in line, businessman Sheldon Adelson. Romney is reported to be "excited and nervous" about the mounting, which will take place Thursday of this week, and reportedly hopes he "executes the complex prancing maneuvers to Mr. Adelson's liking."

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