Midday open thread

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 22-05-2013-05-2008

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  • Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is Gap’s reputation collapse:
  • No summer downtime for auto plants this year:

    The three Detroit carmakers traditionally shut factories for two weeks around July 4 to do maintenance and change the machinery for new models. But they don’t have that luxury this year. U.S. demand for new cars and trucks has been strong, up 7 percent through April, led by soaring demand for full-size pickup trucks as home construction rebounds. And after closing more than two dozen factories during the recession, U.S. automakers need to use their remaining capacity to its fullest. [...]

    Not all automakers are changing their schedule. Honda and Nissan said Tuesday they still plan to close their U.S. plants for a week around July 4. Toyota is also planning to shut down its U.S. plants for a week this summer.

  • Expelling performance-hurting stereotypes from the classroom:

    Scientific American science writer Ed Yong explores new research on stereotype threat—the fear of confirming derogatory stereotypes about one’s social group. Such anxiety can undermine people’s performance in school, sports and the workplace. A girl in an advanced math class, for example, might worry that she will not test as well as the boys, because of the stereotype that boys are better at math. Her concerns might distract her and tax her mental resources so that she performs below her abilities. Similarly, a young white basketball player might play poorly because he is worried that he is not as skilled as his African-American peers. Stereotype threat is one of the explanations for certain achievement gaps.

  • Budget-cutting lay-offs allow woman to be raped: She called 911 to say her ex-boyfriend who had put her in the hospital a few weeks before was trying to break into her house.

    But the dispatcher has no one to send. Because the local sheriff’s department recently lost millions in federal funds, it laid off 23 of its 29 deputies and limited their availability to eight hours on Mondays through Fridays. The woman’s call to 911 took place on a Saturday. [...]

    Eventually, the ex-boyfriend, a man named Michael Bellah, pried open the woman’s front door. Choked her. And raped her. After he was caught, he plead[ed] guilty to kidnapping, assault, and sex abuse.

  • Ríos Montt’s attorney says the general’s genocide trial must restart: In Spanish, an attorney is an abogado, but the attorney of Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, Francisco García Gudiel, is often referred to in Guatemala as an “abogangster.” Now that the country’s high court has overturned Montt’s conviction for genocide for his ordering the killing in the early 1980s of more than 1,700 Ixil Indians, next steps are being considered.

    [García said:] “You have to cancel the whole process and begin a new trial with new judges.” [...]

    Back in 1983, Elliott Abrams, the assistant secretary of state for human rights under President Ronald Reagan, once suggested that General Ríos Montt’s rule had “brought considerable progress” on human rights.

  • Hanging out at the White House in all his cuteness.
  • Origins of Human Culture Linked to Rapid Climate Change:

    Rapid climate change during the Middle Stone Age, between 80,000 and 40,000 years ago, during the Middle Stone Age, sparked surges in cultural innovation in early modern human populations, according to new research. [...]

    “The occurrence of several major Middle Stone Age industries fell tightly together with the onset of periods with increased rainfall.”
    “Similarly, the disappearance of the industries appears to coincide with the transition to drier climatic conditions.”

  • Why are the “tone police” so one-sided?:

    Basically, I think the problem is everyone knows that progressives are the good guys and reactionaries are the bad guys, and so the onus to take the high road is always and forever on progressives. The problem, of course, is the “high road” is a constantly shifting target. If you refrain from overt jokes about conservatives, the next thing you’re told is too far is sarcasm. If you cave into the intense pressure to stop using terms like “racist” and “sexist” accurately, as we’ve witnessed, even talking about the concept of privilege is considered a bridge too far. You begin to realize that speaking at all from the position of moral authority as a progressive is what is offensive, because you make people feel bad for, well, being bad people.

  • Arizona legislator Juan Mendez says he is an atheist during invocation:

    A state lawmaker acknowledged that he is an atheist as he gave the daily House invocation Tuesday, urging legislators to look at each other, rather than bow their heads, and “celebrate our shared humanness.”

    Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, who said it was freeing to be open about his secular views, also introduced about a dozen fellow members of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, who watched from the House gallery.

  • Take a break from the stress to check out some new images of Saturn & system. – DS

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