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Why would the Marines open a recruiting station in Berkeley of all places?

Battle royal brewing at Berkeley council meeting

Hundreds of protesters from across the country and the political spectrum are expected to descend on City Hall with bullhorns, drums, banners and plenty of vitriol in anticipation of the City Council's debate over the Marines' recruiting station in town.

The ruckus started last week when the council voted to send a letter to the Marines, calling them "unwanted intruders" for opening the recruiting center on Shattuck Avenue last year. At the same time, the council granted Code Pink a parking space and a sound permit to make it easier for the peace group to conduct protests outside the center.

On Monday, Councilwomen Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli introduced an item for this week's meeting, asking the city to retract its statements about the Marines and clarify that the city is against the war, not against the armed forces.

"We're starting to get people coming in from all over the U.S.," said Catherine Moy, executive director of Move America Forward, one of several pro-military groups planning an all-day protest Tuesday at Maudelle Shirek City Hall. "People are pretty upset. We want to avoid clashes, but it could be really, really big. We don't really know what's going to happen."

February 09, 2008

Americans have lost the fear of getting punched in the face

Boxing - Norman Mailer - Chuck Klosterman - Esquire

It is impossible to deny that the culture is coarsening. Everyone concedes this -- even the people who are happy about it. It is now acceptable to say almost anything, about almost anyone, in a public space, and for no reason whatsoever. There is no line to step over, because such lines no longer exist. And I think those boundaries disappeared the moment people really, truly lost the fear of getting punched in the face. Americans have understood this intellectually for decades, but I don't think we accepted it in totality until now. Adults are now so insulated by technology (and so protected by modernity) that the possibility of a physical consequence for any action is a psychological nonfactor. We have removed interpersonal fear from day-to-day behavior. Today, boxers are the only people who get hit for fucking up.

February 07, 2008

U.S. Woman arrested in Saudi Arabia for sitting next to a man in Starbucks

Sin: U.S. Woman Arrested For Sitting With A Male Co-Worker At Starbucks in Saudi Arabia

She sat with a male colleague in the Starbucks' family area, the only place women are allowed to sit with men.

"Some men came up to us with very long beards and white dresses. They asked 'Why are you here together?' I explained about the power being out in our office. They got very angry and told me what I was doing was a great sin," she told the Times.

Following her arrest and interrogation, the woman was hauled before a judge.

"He said 'You are sinful and you are going to burn in hell.' I told him I was sorry. I was very submissive. I had given up. I felt hopeless," she told the Times.

Judge drops sex case as 'outrageous'

Judge drops sex case as 'outrageous' -- themorningcall.com

A Lehigh County judge has dismissed the case against a woman who was charged with promoting prostitution at a North Whitehall Township spa, ruling that state police engaged in ''outrageous'' conduct when they paid an informant to have sex four times with employees.

State police investigating the Shiatsu Spa on Route 309 paid the informant $180 for his ''time'' and gave him money to pay for sexual acts in the spa in June and July 2006.

''We conclude that the decision to send the citizen into Shiatsu Spa on four occasions for a smorgasbord of sexual activity violates the principles of fundamental fairness,'' Judge Robert L. Steinberg said in a Jan. 24 written opinion. ''Neither the prostitution activity inside the Shiatsu Spa nor the police decision-making is to be condoned.''

57 Killed by Tornadoes in South

Death toll rises to 57 in U.S. tornadoes - Yahoo! News

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Communities across the U.S. South grieved for the dead and tried to pick up their lives on Thursday after the deadliest round of tornadoes in nearly a quarter century killed 57 people.

Damage was likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Tennessee's Madison County alone estimated it had suffered $47 million in property damages.

Two additional deaths were confirmed on Thursday, one each in Tennessee and Alabama. Tennessee counted 32 dead, Arkansas 13, Kentucky seven and Alabama five. There were many injuries, with some survivors reported in critical condition.