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August 29, 2010

A small man with a mean message

Op-Ed Columnist - Bob Herbert - Glenn Beck in Washington...

New York: Republican candidate for Governor wants to put welfare recipients in prison

NY candidate: Prison dorms for welfare recipients - The Buffalo News
NEW YORK (AP) - Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in "personal hygiene." Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists, isn't saying the state should jail poor people: The program would be voluntary. But the suggestion that poor families would be better off in remote institutions, rather than among friends and family in their own neighborhoods, struck some anti-poverty activists as insulting. . . . Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would work for the state - "military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service," he said - while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors. "Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," Paladino said.

August 25, 2010

France deports gypsies to Romania

BBC News - France sends Roma Gypsies back to Romania Not that the Roma people are even from, y'know, Romania.
Dozens of Roma (Gypsies) have arrived back in Romania after being repatriated by France under a controversial policy backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy. Some 86 Roma left France and hundreds more will follow in the coming weeks after their camps were shut down. The French government says it is a "decent and humane" policy of removing people from deplorable conditions. But rights groups say the Roma are being demonised, and Romania has warned France against "xenophobic reactions".

Amazon quietly removes gay books from search results, bestseller lists

Not all queer books, but very many. Including award winners and seminal favorites like "Rubyfruit Jungle" or Bechdel's marvelous "Fun Home." Amazon de-ranks so-called adult books, including National Book Award winner | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times
"American Psycho" is Bret Easton Ellis' story of a sadistic murderer. "Unfriendly Fire" is a well-reviewed empirical analysis of military policy. But it's "Unfriendly Fire" that does not have a sales rank -- which means it would not show up in Amazon's bestseller lists, even if it sold more copies than the "Twilight" series. In some cases, being de-ranked also means being removed from Amazon's search results. Amazon's policy of removing "adult" content from its rankings seems to be both new and unevenly implemented. On Saturday, self-published author Mark R. Probst noticed that his book had lost its ranking, and made inquiries. The response he got from Amazon's customer service explained: In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature. Probst wrote a novel for young adults with gay characters set in the old West; he was concerned that gay-friendly books were being unfairly targeted. Amazon has not responded to the L.A. Times request for clarification. Our research shows that these books have lost their ranking: "Running with Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs, "Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel, "The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1" by Michel Foucault, "Bastard Out of Carolina" by Dorothy Allison (2005 Plume edition), "Little Birds: Erotica" by Anais Nin, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" by Jean-Dominque Bauby (1997 Knopf edition), "Maurice" by E.M. Forster (2005 W.W. Norton edition) and "Becoming a Man" by Paul Monette, which won the 1992 National Book Award.