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Obama 2008?

Well it looks like Obama is running for president. I'm still not too sure about him yet but I hope he at least pays homage to the people in our history who came before him that paved the way and made this opportunity possible ... like David Palmer.
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(no subject)

Rubyphoenix posted in her journal a few weeks ago asking for people to list their favorite misheard lyrics. I know I mishear lyrics but I couldnot think of any ... until now.

Maxwell- Til the Cops Come Knockin
Misheard: 1) Didn't you tame the way I rubbed your pincurl
2) Didn't you take the way I rubbed your paint girl

Actual: Didn't you dig the way I rubbed yo back girl


On the flipside, ever heard a lyric that you just knew had to be a mishear but turned out to be real?

For Example:
Maxwell- Til the Cops Come Knockin
Misheard: I'll be your lotion
Actual: I'll be your lotion
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Need Laptop, Need Advice

I'm thinking of getting a laptop. I'm completely clueless as to what I should buy. I really just need it for word processing and internet. It should be inexepensive and relatively cute.

I had only been considering PCs but I've been hearing really good things about Macs so I've been considering that as well. I went to apple.com and the Mac lap tops look crazy expensive ($1000+). ... There is the Mini Mac that's only $500-600 ... it's quite tiny but can you really carry it around with you.

Advice about what I should buy would be appreciated...
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http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/23/opinion/23kristof.html?hp

Photos don't normally appear on this page. But it's time for all of us to look squarely at the victims of our indifference.

These are just four photos in a secret archive of thousands of photos and reports that document the genocide under way in Darfur. The materials were gathered by African Union monitors, who are just about the only people able to travel widely in that part of Sudan.

This African Union archive is classified, but it was shared with me by someone who believes that Americans will be stirred if they can see the consequences of their complacency.

The photo at the upper left was taken in the village of Hamada on Jan. 15, right after a Sudanese government-backed militia, the janjaweed, attacked it and killed 107 people. One of them was this little boy. I'm not showing the photo of his older brother, about 5 years old, who lay beside him because the brother had been beaten so badly that nothing was left of his face. And alongside the two boys was the corpse of their mother.

The photo to the right shows the corpse of a man with an injured leg who was apparently unable to run away when the janjaweed militia attacked.

At the lower left is a man who fled barefoot and almost made it to this bush before he was shot dead.

Last is the skeleton of a man or woman whose wrists are still bound. The attackers pulled the person's clothes down to the knees, presumably so the victim could be sexually abused before being killed. If the victim was a man, he was probably castrated; if a woman, she was probably raped.

There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper.

One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them.

Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head.

This archive, including scores of reports by the monitors on the scene, underscores that this slaughter is waged by and with the support of the Sudanese government as it tries to clear the area of non-Arabs. Many of the photos show men in Sudanese Army uniforms pillaging and burning African villages. I hope the African Union will open its archive to demonstrate publicly just what is going on in Darfur.

The archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August, the document calls for the "execution of all directives from the president of the republic" and is directed to regional commanders and security officials.

"Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes," the document urges. It encourages "killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur."

It's worth being skeptical of any document because forgeries are possible. But the African Union believes this document to be authentic. I also consulted a variety of experts on Sudan and shared it with some of them, and the consensus was that it appears to be real.

Certainly there's no doubt about the slaughter, although the numbers are fuzzy. A figure of 70,000 is sometimes stated as an estimated death toll, but that is simply a U.N. estimate for the deaths in one seven-month period from nonviolent causes. It's hard to know the total mortality over two years of genocide, partly because the Sudanese government is blocking a U.N. team from going to Darfur and making such an estimate. But independent estimates exceed 220,000 - and the number is rising by about 10,000 per month.

So what can stop this genocide? At one level the answer is technical: sanctions against Sudan, a no-fly zone, a freeze of Sudanese officials' assets, prosecution of the killers by the International Criminal Court, a team effort by African and Arab countries to pressure Sudan, and an international force of African troops with financing and logistical support from the West.

But that's the narrow answer. What will really stop this genocide is indignation. Senator Paul Simon, who died in 2003, said after the Rwandan genocide, "If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different."

The same is true this time. Web sites like www.darfurgenocide.org and www.savedarfur.org are trying to galvanize Americans, but the response has been pathetic.

I'm sorry for inflicting these horrific photos on you. But the real obscenity isn't in printing pictures of dead babies - it's in our passivity, which allows these people to be slaughtered.

During past genocides against Armenians, Jews and Cambodians, it was possible to claim that we didn't fully know what was going on. This time, President Bush, Congress and the European Parliament have already declared genocide to be under way. And we have photos.

This time, we have no excuse.
1blackberry

What to expect on election day

Civics books make voting look like a breeze, but it can be hard work. Voter rolls are inaccurate, ID requirements vary and are erratically enforced, partisans try to disqualify likely supporters of their opponents, and lines at the polls can be excruciatingly long. In 2000, as many as six million presidential votes were lost for technical reasons, and this year the number could be even larger. Voters, particularly in battleground states, should head to the voting booth prepared to fight for their vote to be counted:

1. Know where to go. In many states, you will not be allowed to vote if you show up at the wrong polling place. Worse still, you may be given a provisional ballot to vote on that will later be thrown out. Your board of elections can tell you where to vote. If you can't reach the board, a nonpartisan hotline, 1-866-OURVOTE, has a polling place locator. So does the Web site mypollingplace.com.

2. Bring proper ID. The rules vary by state. If you have a photo ID, it's wise to bring it, just in case. Too often, poll workers demand ID when it is not required, or demand the wrong ID. If you do not know the law in your jurisdiction, you should check your local board of elections Web site.

3. Review the sample ballot before voting. Ballots are often confusing, and their designs can change considerably from election to election. And as the infamous "butterfly ballot" showed in 2000, a poorly designed ballot can trick voters into choosing a candidate they did not intend. If you have questions about how to vote on your ballot, ask a poll worker or poll monitor for help.

4. Check your ballot before finalizing your vote. As we saw in 2000, if punch card chads are not punched out precisely, votes may not be counted. On electronic machines, a brush of the hand can erase or change a vote. On paper ballots, stray or incomplete marks can disqualify a vote.

5. Know your rights concerning provisional ballots. No voter can be turned away in any state this year without being allowed to vote. If there is a question about your eligibility, you must be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot, the validity of which will be determined later. But if you are entitled to vote on a regular ballot, you should insist on doing so, since a provisional ballot may be disqualified later on a technicality.

6. Know where to turn for help. If you experience problems voting, or if you see anything improper at the polls, you may want to get help. There will be nonpartisan poll monitors at many polling places. (There may also be partisan poll watchers, and it's possible one of them may be the person objecting to your voting.) It is a good idea to bring a cellphone, and phone numbers of nonpartisan hotlines like the Election Protection program's 1-866-OURVOTE and Common Cause's 1-866-MYVOTE1.

7. Be prepared for long lines. In some precincts, the wait may stretch into hours. Try to get to your polling place very early in the morning, or between the before-work and after-work rushes. As long as you are in line before the polls close, you are legally entitled to vote. Do not let poll workers close the polls until you have voted.

(Taken from NYT)
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dont read if you're not in the mood for something heavy

OP-ED COLUMNIST
Sentenced to Be Raped
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Published: September 29, 2004



MEERWALA, Pakistan — I'm still trying to help out President Bush by tracking down Osama bin Laden. After poking through remote parts of Pakistan, asking for a tall Arab with a beard, I can't say I've earned that $25 million reward.

But I did come across someone even more extraordinary than Osama.

Usually we journalists write about rogues, but Mukhtaran Bibi could not be more altruistic or brave, as the men who gang-raped her discovered. I firmly believe that the central moral challenge of this century, equivalent to the struggles against slavery in the 19th century or against totalitarianism in the 20th, will be to address sex inequality in the third world - and it's the stories of women like Ms. Mukhtaran that convince me this is so.

The plight of women in developing countries isn't addressed much in the West, and it certainly isn't a hot topic in the presidential campaign. But it's a life-and-death matter in villages like Meerwala, a 12-hour drive southeast from Islamabad.

In June 2002, the police say, members of a high-status tribe sexually abused one of Ms. Mukhtaran's brothers and then covered up their crime by falsely accusing him of having an affair with a high-status woman. The village's tribal council determined that the suitable punishment for the supposed affair was for high-status men to rape one of the boy's sisters, so the council sentenced Ms. Mukhtaran to be gang-raped.

As members of the high-status tribe danced in joy, four men stripped her naked and took turns raping her. Then they forced her to walk home naked in front of 300 villagers.

In Pakistan's conservative Muslim society, Ms. Mukhtaran's duty was now clear: she was supposed to commit suicide. "Just like other women, I initially thought of killing myself," said Ms. Mukhtaran, now 30. Her older brother, Hezoor Bux, explained: "A girl who has been raped has no honorable place in the village. Nobody respects the girl, or her parents. There's a stigma, and the only way out is suicide."

A girl in the next village was gang-raped a week after Ms. Mukhtaran, and she took the traditional route: she swallowed a bottle of pesticide and dropped dead.

But instead of killing herself, Ms. Mukhtaran testified against her attackers and propounded the shocking idea that the shame lies in raping, rather than in being raped. The rapists are now on death row, and President Pervez Musharraf presented Ms. Mukhtaran with the equivalent of $8,300 and ordered round-the-clock police protection for her.

Ms. Mukhtaran, who had never gone to school herself, used the money to build one school in the village for girls and another for boys - because, she said, education is the best way to achieve social change. The girls' school is named for her, and she is now studying in its fourth-grade class.

"Why should I have spent the money on myself?" she asked, adding, "This way the money is helping all the girls, all the children."

I wish the story ended there. But the Pakistani government has neglected its pledge to pay the schools' operating expenses. "The government made lots of promises, but it hasn't done much," Ms. Mukhtaran said bluntly.

She has had to buy food for the police who protect her, as well as pay some school expenses. So, she said, "I've run out of money." Unless the schools can raise new funds, they may have to close.

Meanwhile, villagers say that relatives of the rapists are waiting for the police to leave and then will put Ms. Mukhtaran in her place by slaughtering her and her entire family. I walked to the area where the high-status tribesmen live. They denied planning to kill Ms. Mukhtaran, but were unapologetic about her rape.

"Mukhtaran is totally disgraced," Taj Bibi, a matriarch in a high-status family, said with satisfaction. "She has no respect in society."

So although I did not find Osama, I did encounter a much more ubiquitous form of evil and terror: a culture, stretching across about half the globe, that chews up women and spits them out.

We in the West could help chip away at that oppression, with health and literacy programs and by simply speaking out against it, just as we once stood up against slavery and totalitarianism. But instead of standing beside fighters like Ms. Mukhtaran, we're still sitting on the fence.
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