Tina K. Russell

March 25, 2008

4,000 too many

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 6:09 pm

Tom Toles, comics, editorial cartoons, email comics, political cartoons

Shed a tear for number 4,000.

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Awesome Transsexuals, Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Tina Russell @ 5:15 pm

Bangkok Post : Outlook

While a young boy riding on the back of a buffalo plodding through muddy rice fields in Lampang province, Kiranunt Suwannasingha looked up at the aeroplane flying among the fluffy clouds in the sky. “I was wondering what the giant metal bird was doing up there. And I wished I could ride on it some day,” Kiranunt recalled.

Today, Kiranunt flies across the country almost every single day on board an aircraft, taking care of the safety, welfare and comfort of the passengers. Well-known among fellow cabin crew members as “Nicky”, Kiranunt enjoys walking up and down the aisle with baskets of snacks for passengers who are unaware that this flight attendant, wearing make-up and in a full air stewardess’s uniform, was not born a woman.

Yaaay!

March 21, 2008

On the lack of a way to peace, and what peace is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 3:01 pm

Pakistan to Try New Approach to Militants – New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Faced with a sharp escalation of suicide bombing in urban areas, the leaders of Pakistan’s new coalition government say they will negotiate with the militants believed to be orchestrating the attacks, and would use the military only as a last resort.

“We are dealing with our own people,” said Mr. [governing coalition co-leader Nawaz] Sharif, who was twice Prime Minister of Pakistan in the 1990s. “We will deal with them very sensibly. And when you have a problem in your own family, you don’t kill your own family.

“You sit and talk,” he added. “After all, Britain also got the solution of the problem of Ireland. So what’s the harm in conducting negotiations.”

I was a little skeptical of this, at first. After all, extremists are crazy, you can’t negotiate with them! But, I know we have a parallel in the United States: the drug war, where we tried to fight the problem guns blazing and didn’t realize that every dealer and every user was someone’s brother or sister, someone’s son or daughter, someone’s best friend, and when you target too many people (and assume too many are beyond reason) you turn the entire community against you. This is seen in the unfortunate “Stop Snitching” saga, a cancer that is preventing police from doing their jobs.

(more…)

The Girl Of My Memes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 1:49 pm

Another spontaneous Internet trend has marketers baffled!

Warning: the link contains sliky-skinned, full-frontal nudity. You may not want to look at it, unless you are currently in possession of a human body.

March 20, 2008

Ideology still not an adequate substitute for science

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tina Russell @ 9:02 pm

Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines – New York Times

SAN DIEGO — In a highly unusual outbreak of measles here last month, 12 children fell ill; nine of them had not been inoculated against the virus because their parents objected, and the other three were too young to receive vaccines….

Measles, almost wholly eradicated in the United States through vaccines, can cause pneumonia and brain swelling, which in rare cases can lead to death. The measles outbreak here alarmed public health officials, sickened babies and sent one child to the hospital.

If you want to put your child at risk, that’s disgusting. If you want to put my child at risk, it’s personal.

Defenda Brenda

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Tina Russell @ 4:15 pm

IGDA Appoints New Board Members : Next Generation

The International Game Developers Association has appointed new board members, including Tim Train, Brenda Braithwaite and Mark DeLoura.

If you don’t know, Brenda Braithwaite is an advocate for the intelligent use of sex in games, so she’s one of my heroes. I’m very happy about this!

Of course, given that the last high-profile game to deal with sex in a mature and confident way (in one cutscene of about a billion, no less), Mass Effect, was temporarily banned in Singapore and had its own Fox News mini-fiasco, don’t expect anything to change, soon. It’s sad, because when the media deplore any kind of sex in games, they don’t let the medium develop intelligently. In fact, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas‘s notorious hidden sex scenes (which were clothed, rather tame, and required a degree in GameShark-ology to access) were meant to introduce a bit of tenderness to the game by requiring the player to be kind to a female character for a long time before ever getting to the “hot coffee.” Sex is a beautiful and confounding human condition that could spawn a million games. If the anti-game pundits are successful, though, it will remain a childish, exploitative notion, expressed only through Soul Calibur ninjas with boobs the size of oil tankers.

E Pluribus Unix

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 3:02 pm

FCC commish: Net neutrality shouldn’t extend to illegal acts

I think that what this FCC guy doesn’t get, here, is that the Post Office will certainly open letters they suspect of containing bombs or poisons, but they wouldn’t open a letter or package because they suspect it contains information, say, about securities fraud, or for that matter, contains a trove of pirated movies. The “holiness” that surrounds America’s sovereign mail is a right hard-fought-for, and it ought to continue into the digital realm for the same reasons: snooping for reasons other than palpable and immediate danger puts a chilling effect on free speech and prevents the productivity we associate with a free society.

Besides, I hope they realize that Internet transmissions are not immediately discernible streams of data, but tiny packets that are sorted and assembled at the destination each way. Who’s to say that an individual packet contains a portion of a movie that I bought legally, or a portion of a movie that I pirated? In order to find out, the government, or a private company, would have to do much more snooping than I’m comfortable with. And if we single out one kind of traffic, like peer-to-peer or BitTorrent, then we will stamp out legitimate uses and prevent new technology from developing on those protocols.

I hope we realize that Tim Berners-Lee and company invented the Internet warts-and-all… they took a huge risk. Just like how democracy lets anyone run for public office, cyberspace lets anyone express one’s own voice and own one’s own printing press. If we’re going to tackle the ‘Net’s dark side, we need to work within it, not above it.

The Bullied Pulpit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 1:53 pm

Obama Challenges the Racial Divide – New York Times

To the Editor:

The flap over whether Barack Obama should denounce his minister for saying divisive things from the pulpit strikes me as ridiculous. If parishioners thought they were required to believe every word their pastors uttered, I suspect the churches would empty.

What was the pastor’s offense? He’s a black man who gets stirred up over social injustice. Why is that divisive?

Even if the minister did cross some line, the world is full of flawed messengers who manage to inspire in spite of themselves.

Constance Emerson Crooker
Portland, Ore., March 19, 2008

Thank you. I go to a church, and my pastors, whom I love and adore, are flawed human beings. So am I, so is Wright, and so is Obama. It’s time for a little perspective, and a little understanding.

(Also: Portland repre-sent!)

Bad Move

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tina Russell @ 1:14 pm

Idaho Turns to Chess as Education Strategy – New York Times

This bugs me. All right, I’m positive that chess has beneficial effects for kids growing up. But, I have had it up to here with bold educational experiments. I’m skeptical that, with this nation in a profound education crisis, this attempt to bring chess into every school in Idaho (starting with a 100-classroom pilot program) is viewing the game as a kind of panacea that will fix anything, or at least an easy way to cram many disciplines into a short amount of time.

(more…)

Small Business, Big Results

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tina Russell @ 9:01 am

Small Businesses Offer Alternatives to Gang Life – New York Times

This is good stuff. The reason I urge my liberal friends not to dismiss capitalism out of hand as exploitative is because capitalism and altruism can be melded to create real value, for the many, and not merely the few. Muhammad Yunus said something like this in his autobiography (Banker to the Poor… I still need to read his new book, Creating a World Without Poverty), that for capitalism to succeed, we need to come up with a new model of wealth, one that includes social as well as material wealth.

One problem I have with the article is that the friar who started the business chose not to buy an automatic dough mixer after being given a grant for one, saying that having workers knead bread by hand would allow the business to hire more employees and thus get more people off the street and into jobs. This is a common misconception, that new technologies that increase productivity will put workers out of work by making them obsolete. To the contrary, such advances in productivity serve the purpose of increasing the value of hiring more workers by making each one more productive. Besides, it seems a little cold, like a chain gang, to force every worker to knead the dough by hand. But, it does sound like a great business and I definitely hope the model is copied elsewhere.

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