Is it wrong to celebrate Bin Laden’s death?

I’ll give you the short answer: yes.  Read on or click here to jump directly to full article.

 

Impromptu celebrations erupted near the White House in Washington and ground zero in New York when news of Osama bin Laden’s death was reported and tweeted.

Laura Cunningham, a 22-year-old Manhattan reveler — gripping a Budweiser in her hand and sitting atop the shoulders of a friend — was part of the crowd at ground zero in the wee hours Monday. As people around her chanted “U-S-A,” Cunningham was struck by the emotional response. She told New York Observer: “It’s weird to celebrate someone’s death. It’s not exactly what we’re here to celebrate, but it’s wonderful that people are happy.”

Those mixed feelings get at the heart of the moral ambivalence of the moment: Of course there is relief that an evil mastermind cannot commit acts of terror in the future. But is it ever a good idea — from a spiritual or philosophical standpoint — to celebrate with beer and good cheer over the death of anyone, even a widely acknowledged monster? (Source/Read the rest)

Top 10 Most Segregated Ameri-cities

Decades after the end of Jim Crow, and three years after the election of America’s first black president, the United States remains a profoundly segregated country.

That reality has been reinforced by the release of Census Bureau data last week that shows black and white Americans still tend to live in their own neighborhoods, often far apart from each other. Segregation itself, the decennial census report indicates, is only decreasing slowly, although the dividing lines are shifting as middle-income blacks, Latinos and Asians move to once all-white suburbs — whereupon whites often move away, turning older suburbs into new, if less distressed, ghettos.

Head on over to Salon to check out the rest of this article on (and slideshow of ^) the most segregated cites in America.

Tween Cyber Security Contest

Now super texting tweens are being recruited to fend off forces of evil…

Image source

Cyber security has been at the forefront of American politics in recent months following high profile cyber security attacks like the Stuxnet worm and Aurora attacks. Those attacks underscored growing concern over the future of cyber security in the U.S. and the lack of native cybersecurity talent. Now a new multi-state competition is seeking to encourage U.S. teens to develop the kinds of cyber security skills needed in the workforce.

The Cyber Foundations competition is a creation of The U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), a national, public-private partnership focused on identifying and developing cyber security skills. It is open to students nationally, with registration open until February 18, with awards being issued at the state level.

The Cyber Foundations competition was piloted in California, Maryland, and Rhode Island and is now being officially launched, with a number of states conducting formal campaigns to encourage schools and students to participate.  USCC’s goal is to find 10,000 talented Americans to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation. (Source)

A Climate of Hate?

The video (youtube) and text (Paul Krugman) are not associated with one another, but are oh-so-related:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7046bo92a4&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]

Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.

Conservatives denounced that report. But there has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, including both Judge John Roll, who was killed Saturday, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords. One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has.

It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.

Last spring Politico.com reported on a surge in threats against members of Congress, which were already up by 300 percent. A number of the people making those threats had a history of mental illness — but something about the current state of America has been causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence. (Source)

Concerns For Transgender Travelers

This new TSA nekkid booty-scanner/German pat-down policy may have an impact on the lives of transgender people that a ninja like myself didn’t even anticipate. How would you feel if every secret about your genitalia were suddenly revealed, or worse, if you were outed against your wishes in front of co-workers or friends?

The new policy presents transgender travelers with a difficult choice between invasive touching and a scan that reveals the intimate contours of the body. Unless and until NCTE and our allies can get these unreasonable policies fixed, NCTE encourages transgender travelers to think through the available options and make their own decisions about which procedure feels least uncomfortable and less unsafe. (Source – complete with travel tips)

Unfortunately, someone’s genitalia and/or chest not matching up with their gender presentation and/or marker may be enough to raise an inspector’s suspicions. A trans person is then put in the position of having to explain their situation, which is not something most of us enjoy doing, particularly those living stealth. But really for any of us, it is uncomfortable and opens us up to the possibility of judgmental reactions from these strangers who have authority over us in that moment. Explaining to someone why I have a vagina, or why there is an elastic band around my waist with a pouch and a fake dick sounds like something really triggering.

Also, pat-downs are “conducted by same gender officers.” Obviously this could lead to awkward and even dangerous situations for trans people whose appearance may not lead to an obvious perception of male or female, or whose gender markers haven’t been changed, don’t match, etc. (Source)

Should Obama be a One-Term President?

Given that this is an opinion article, from the Washington Post of all places, it should be taken with a grain of salt (and a dash of paprika).  It’s kind of interesting, though.  Republicans really ARE doing everything they can to discredit Obama, which is odd after they had the worst president in modern history (or at least recent memory) just 2 years ago… anyhow.

This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.

To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012. (Read More of this Semi Nonsense)

Um… Why does Experian have a blog?… anyway, this is from there: “The political winds in the United States shifted sharply to the right earlier this month with Republicans making gains across the board. While political party affiliation was a strong indication of a candidate’s success in the election, we wondered: Can the political leaning of a TV show’s audience determine the success of the program? The answer is yes.” (Source)

Conservative Lessons for the Tea Party

Words Excerpted From the NYT Article: “Post Tea Party Nation
Art Linked From:  Source

Lesson 1: The danger of closed information systems. Well before the crash of 2008, the U.S. economy was sending ominous warning signals. Median incomes were stagnating. Home prices rose beyond their rental values. Consumer indebtedness was soaring. Instead, conservatives preferred to focus on positive signals — job numbers, for example — to describe the Bush economy as “the greatest story never told.”

Too often, conservatives dupe themselves. They wrap themselves in closed information systems based upon pretend information. In this closed information system, banks can collapse without injuring the rest of the economy, tax cuts always pay for themselves and Congressional earmarks cause the federal budget deficit. Even the market collapse has not shaken some conservatives out of their closed information system. It enfolded them more closely within it. This is how to understand the Glenn Beck phenomenon. Every day, Beck offers alternative knowledge — an alternative history of the United States and the world, an alternative system of economics, an alternative reality. As corporate profits soar, the closed information system insists that the free-enterprise system is under assault. As prices slump, we are warned of imminent hyperinflation. As black Americans are crushed under Depression-level unemployment, the administration’s policies are condemned by some conservatives as an outburst of Kenyan racial revenge against the white overlord.

Meanwhile, Republican officeholders who want to explain why they acted to prevent the collapse of the U.S. banking system can get no hearing from voters seized with certainty that a bank collapse would have done no harm to ordinary people. Support for TARP has become a career-ender for Republican incumbents, and we shall see what it does to Mitt Romney, the one national Republican figure who still defends TARP.

The same vulnerability to closed information systems exists on the liberal side of U.S. politics as well, of course. But the fact that my neighbor is blind in one eye is no excuse for blinding myself in both.

Read the other lessons here.

An AK with your New Truck? If you’re looking for that Southern staple, a pickup truck with a gun rack, one central Florida dealership will give you your first gun free.  General sales manager Nick Ginetta said that since the promotion was announced on Veterans Day, business has more than doubled at Nations Trucks in Sanford. (Source)