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September 03, 2007

On John Edwards, Unions and Trial Lawyers

Pandagon :: Do they even let your kind into the courtroom? :: September :: 2007

John Edwards once got a debate question about how he could consistently rail against corporate lobbyists while accepting lots of donations from trial lawyers. Aren’t they just as bad? And how about the other group that likes Edwards so much — organized labor?

The answer is simple. If you think that consumers have been robbing corporations blind, or that the balance of power between workers and executives is unfairly tilted against executives, then these donors should make you look darkly at John Edwards. But if you think consumers need better protection against corporations whose products disembowel little girls, or if you think that the next president needs to fight tooth and nail for working people’s interests, you should be happy that trial lawyers and unions support him.

I may be leaning towards Edwards as my candidate.

September 02, 2007

Prostitution ring suspected at D.C. firehouses

Prostitution ring suspected at firehouses�--�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Is it me, or does this sound like the plot to an old USA Up All Night movie?

D.C. fire officials are investigating whether department employees have been running a prostitution ring out of several of the city's firehouses.

"The allegation is being taken seriously. It is being investigated at this time," said Battalion Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, a spokesman for Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin.

. . .

The sources say the ring has been referred to as "D.C. Fems" — a play on the acronym for the city's Fire and Emergency Medical Services department. The sources say investigators are looking into whether female emergency medical technicians performed sex acts for money on men, including male fire department employees, in the bunkhouses of fire stations since late last year.

Why do we have cops looking to bust men seeking sex?

America’s Toe-Tapping Menace - New York Times

WHAT is shocking about Senator Larry Craig’s bathroom arrest is not what he may have been doing tapping his shoe in that stall, but that Minnesotans are still paying policemen to tap back. For almost 40 years most police departments have been aware of something that still escapes the general public: men who troll for sex in public places, gay or “not gay,” are, for the most part, upstanding citizens. Arresting them costs a lot and accomplishes little.

In 1970, Laud Humphreys published the groundbreaking dissertation he wrote as a doctoral candidate at Washington University called “Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places.” Because of his unorthodox methods — he did not get his subjects’ consent, he tracked down names and addresses through license plate numbers, he interviewed the men in their homes in disguise and under false pretenses — “Tearoom Trade” is now taught as a primary example of unethical social research.

That said, what results! In minute, choreographic detail, Mr. Humphreys (who died in 1988) illustrated that various signals — the foot tapping, the hand waving and the body positioning — are all parts of a delicate ritual of call and answer, an elaborate series of codes that require the proper response for the initiator to continue. Put simply, a straight man would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered.

Why? The initiator does not want to be beaten up or arrested or chased by teenagers, so he engages in safeguards to ensure that any physical advance will be reciprocated. As Mr. Humphreys put it, “because of cautions built into the strategies of these encounters, no man need fear being molested in such facilities.”

Epidemic of shyness blamed on gadgets

Art of chatting face to face dying | The Daily Telegraph

THE introduction of e-mail, text messaging and iPods is causing a worldwide epidemic of shyness.

Psychologist, Harvard Business School researcher and etiquette columnist Robin Abrahams says societies have become filled with shrinking violets.

"In the past, only about 40 per cent of people reported being shy in social situations,'' Ms Abrahams said.

"It's now a significant problem affecting about half.''

Ms Abrahams, visiting Tasmania as the University of Tasmania's guest for National Science Week, said social shyness was most prevalent in Japan and least prevalent in Israel.

(via)

September 01, 2007

The Iron DM Challenge

Welcome

In this competitive tournament, Dungeon Masters are given three "mystery ingredients" with which they have 1 hour to craft the most awesome, complete, exciting adventure experience they can muster. The DMs then run their adventure for groups of discerning players, using props, gimmicks, and plenty of showmanship in a battle for the title "Iron DM." Presided over by author and taskmaster Nicolas Logue, this year's Iron DM special ingredients were "river rafts," "rakshasa," and "redemption," which came together to make the winning adventure involving a race for salvation down the River Styx. The game has a ton of energy, a lot more (good-natured) shit-talking, and was really something to see.

(via)