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  1. Quote

    | 27 notes
    There’s nothing wrong per se with paying more attention to tragedy and violence that happens relatively nearby and in familiar places. Whether wrong or not, it’s probably human nature, or at least human instinct, to do that, and that happens all over the world. I’m not criticizing that. But one wishes that the empathy for victims and outrage over the ending of innocent human life that instantly arises when the US is targeted by this sort of violence would at least translate into similar concern when the US is perpetrating it, as it so often does (far, far more often than it is targeted by such violence). Glenn Greenwald, The Boston bombing produces familiar and revealing reactions
  2. Gallery

    | 395 notes

    FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko writes:

    "I didn’t have time to see if they looked good or not, whether they were blondes or not" – such were the words of Putin after our most recent act of diversion, when Femen activists confronted him in Hanover, shouting to his face, “Fuck you, dictator!” Putin was quick to smile, but a Kremlin official was already demanding that Germany punish our activists. Within half an hour, four criminal cases had been opened against the dictator’s assailants.

    This is our reality. Femen activists are arrested, beaten up or even kidnapped, as happened to us in Belarus after our protest ridiculing president Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk.

    Read her entire piece here

  3. 10 lies we’re told about welfare

    | 127 notes

    Comedian Rick Tomlinson writes:

    image

    Welfare reform, my arse. Has Jim Royle parked his chair, feet up, telly on, in the corridors between the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions? Employing him as adviser can be the only explanation for the utter rubbish that boils forth from this government on welfare.

    Who else could have dreamed up the bedroom tax, a policy so stupid it forces people to leave their homes and drag themselves around the country in search of nonexistent one-bedroom flats?

    That one has to be the result of too many hours in front of Jeremy Kyle (no offence) with the heating on full and a can of super-strength lager. It seems as if that is how this government views ordinary people: feckless and useless – poor, because they brought it on themselves, deliberately.

    Maybe the cabinet is confused. Twenty-three millionaires in the one room can get like that. But do you know what, enough. Let’s call this government’s welfare policy what it is – wrong, nasty and dishonest.

    Off the top of my head, I can list 10 porkies they are spinning to justify the latest stage of their attack on our 70-year-old welfare state.

    1. Benefits are too generous

    Really? Could you live on £53 a week as Iain Duncan Smith is claiming he could if he had to? Then imagine handing back 14% of this because the government deems you have a “spare room”. Could you find the money to pay towards council tax and still afford to eat at the end of the week?

    2. Benefits are going up

    They’re not. A 1% “uprating” cap is really a cut. Inflation is at least 2.7% . Essentials like food, fuel and transport are all up by at least that, in many cases far more. Benefits are quickly falling behind the cost of living.

    3. Jobs are out there, if people look

    Where? Unemployment rose last month and is at 2.5 million, with one million youngsters out of work. When Costa Coffee advertised eight jobs, 1,701 applied.

    4. The bedroom tax won’t hit army families or foster carers

    Yes it will. Perhaps most cruel of all, the tax will not apply to foster families who look after one kid. If you foster siblings, then tough. But these kids are often the hardest to place. Thanks to George Osborne and IDS, their chances just got worse. And even if your son or daughter is in barracks in Afghanistan, then don’t expect peace of mind as the government still has to come clean on plans for their bedroom.

    5. Social tenants can downsize

    Really, where? Councils sold their properties – and Osborne wants them to sell what’s left. Housing associations built for families. In Hull, there are 5,500 people told to chase 70 one-bedroom properties.

    6. Housing benefit is the problem

    In fact it’s rental costs. Private rents shot up by an average of £300 last year. No wonder 5 million people need housing benefits, but they don’t keep a penny. It all goes to landlords. 

    7. Claimants are pulling a fast one

    No. Less than 1% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud. But tax avoidance and evasion is estimated to run to £120bn.

    8. It’s those teenage single mums

    An easy target. Yet only 2% of single mums are teenagers. And most single mums, at least 59%, work.

    9. We’re doing this for the next generation

    No you’re not. The government’s admitted at least 200,000 more children will be pushed deeper into poverty because of the welfare changes.

    10. Welfare reforms are just about benefit cuts

    Wrong. The attack on our welfare state is hitting a whole range of services – privatising the NHS, winding up legal aid for people in debt and closing SureStart centres and libraries. All this will make life poorer for every community.

    Some call these myths. I call them lies. We are being told lies about who caused this crisis and lied to about the best way out of it. But I know one thing to be true: this government’s polices will make millions of people poorer and more afraid. To do that when you do not have to, when there are other options, is obscene. That’s why I’m backing union Unite’s OurWelfareWorks campaign in its efforts to help highlight the truth about our welfare state.

  4. Has feminism failed the working class?

    | 14 notes

    We asked our readers for their thoughts. They replied - and here’s two picks:

    Isabel, Glasgow

    avatar blue

    As a single working mother with a 13-year-old daughter, I couldn’t really not be a feminist. Seeing the pressures my daughter will face as she progresses into adulthood makes me realise we all have a way to go. But it’s not feminism that runs the world, it’s money. The media, Guardian included, tend to fixate on the number of women in boardrooms, or whether some neoliberal rightwing politician is a feminist, rather than looking at the reality of working life. I’ve also been quite shocked at the hostility shown to parents, mothers especially. Some of the comments found on this very website have a real venom to them; there is at times a sense that if you are a mother, and especially a working-class mother, then by default you should not have embarked on parenthood at all.

    I don’t think the issue is about how feminism represents working-class women at all, it’s how the media and politicians choose to portray them. It’s not feminism that has the power to control what advertisers, the music industry and the media tell us; if anything, feminists tend to be the ones pointing out how damaging it can be.

    Seb, London

    avatar yellow

    I come from a white working-class single-parent family. I was a soldier and a teacher, and I worked with working-class white boys in the penal system. I would see myself in the third wave of feminism. I am sick of the second-wave dinosaurs who are currently in power, lecturing me on my undeserved privilege, berating me as an oppressor, excluding me for being male – when by and large I am sympathetic with the majority of their goals. I just don’t like the way they have turned what should be the greatest civil rights movement in history into a single issue lobbying movement which furthers their unearned privilege as wealthy white western women, ignoring everyone else who has suffered from patriarchy (including working-class men).

    With my work, I saw working-class boys being treated as disposable war assets by the government, or as disposable criminal problems by the penal system. If eight times more women than men were in prison, it would be a feminist issue. If three times more women killed themselves every year, it would be a feminist issue. The lack of support in men’s mental health is terrible; my (male) doctor does not even know who to refer a male patient to for support. This impacts me personally, but these issues impact all female family members too. There is so much more we can achieve as a team.

  5. Photo

    | 200 notes
    Cambodia’s women activists are redefining the housewife

By leading a sustained campaign of nonviolent protest against forced evictions, Cambodian housewives are changing the country’s political map. Excerpt:

Western feminists should not lose sight of the fact that in many countries around the world, women’s role as wife and mother remains central to their family and societal status. When homes are threatened with destruction, it is women who are disproportionately affected. While women are commonly framed as defenceless “soft targets” in forced evictions, Vanny and her fellow housewives complicate this assumption. Harnessing softness as a strategy rather than a hindrance, these women have committed themselves to a sustained campaign of nonviolent protest. Worried that involving men would only encourage violence, “turning men into goldfish clashing with each other”, they are using their positions as wives and mothers to co-opt riot police through their songs of suffering and to morally shame them when they are publicly beaten.

Photograph: Erika Pineros/Demotix/Corbis

    Cambodia’s women activists are redefining the housewife

    By leading a sustained campaign of nonviolent protest against forced evictions, Cambodian housewives are changing the country’s political map. Excerpt:

    Western feminists should not lose sight of the fact that in many countries around the world, women’s role as wife and mother remains central to their family and societal status. When homes are threatened with destruction, it is women who are disproportionately affected. While women are commonly framed as defenceless “soft targets” in forced evictions, Vanny and her fellow housewives complicate this assumption. Harnessing softness as a strategy rather than a hindrance, these women have committed themselves to a sustained campaign of nonviolent protest. Worried that involving men would only encourage violence, “turning men into goldfish clashing with each other”, they are using their positions as wives and mothers to co-opt riot police through their songs of suffering and to morally shame them when they are publicly beaten.

    Photograph: Erika Pineros/Demotix/Corbis

  6. Photo

    | 6 notes
    A dubious Paul McInnes writes:

This week, 210,000 leaflets encouraging the dobbing in of drug farmers will be posted through the letterboxes of the English regions. Normally they might blend indistinguishably into the other metric tonne of bumf in our letterboxes, from takeaway menus, to two-for-one buffalo wing offers and appeals to call Susan the Mystic, who might just be able to help you with that terrible swelling. With the addition of scratch and sniff technology, however, everyone will pick the leaflet up, not just to see what blooming marijuana smells like , but also to gaze like the ape from the film 2001, at the remarkable technology that is scratch and sniff.

    A dubious Paul McInnes writes:

    This week, 210,000 leaflets encouraging the dobbing in of drug farmers will be posted through the letterboxes of the English regions. Normally they might blend indistinguishably into the other metric tonne of bumf in our letterboxes, from takeaway menus, to two-for-one buffalo wing offers and appeals to call Susan the Mystic, who might just be able to help you with that terrible swelling. With the addition of scratch and sniff technology, however, everyone will pick the leaflet up, not just to see what blooming marijuana smells like , but also to gaze like the ape from the film 2001, at the remarkable technology that is scratch and sniff.

    (Source: Guardian)

  7. Quote

    | 54 notes
    On Friday, the Mail and Star were good enough to publish a spread of Reeva Steenkamp’s lingerie shots, as befits a family newspaper. If you’re asking what sort of family demands the sexy-ing up of stories about murdered women, I’m drawing a blank. (The provisional wing of the Manson family?) Doubtless they’ll claim they used these pictures because modelling was one of Steenkamp’s jobs – and the next time they illustrate a story about a murdered hairdresser with pictures of her cutting hair, or a murdered student working in the college library, we can treat that justification with something other than a tired: “Bull. Shit.” In this age, many female victims’ social media imprint would yield an image of them at their place of work, and you should totally, totally expect news outlets to use it if the choice comes down to that or a beach snap of them scantily clad.

    Reeva Steenkamp’s corpse was in the morgue, her body was on the Sun’s front page - Marina Hyde

  8. Quote

    | 24 notes

    It is a given that people should be able to love whom and how they want and if pairing off for any length of time is what appeals, then that’s fine. But it’s time that coupledom stopped being touted as the best option, an idea reinforced not just by state approval and resource allocation, but also by religion, the market, popular culture, assorted therapists and our own anxieties.

    Resisting the consolidation of invidious forms of social exclusion, it’s time to get beyond the notion that yoking together love, coupling, marriage and reproduction is the only way to achieve happiness. The scare stories about single people dying earlier or loneliness becoming a pandemic must be seen in the larger context of a social order that is hostile to non-couples and an economic order to which the collective good seems to be anathema. Our own imaginations – and hearts – can come up with better.

    Priyamvada Gopal, on love and coupledom

  9. Photo

    | 11 notes
    Pope Benedict’s resignation: a stunning shock
by Andrew Brown

Pope Benedict’s resignation has been planned for some time – Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, knew about it before Christmas – but it is still a stunning shock to the outside world. No pope has willingly resigned since Pope Celestine V in 1294. Pope John Paul II hung on for years while dying of Parkinson’s disease, while the machinery of the Vatican rotted about him.
During the decrepitude of John Paul II, Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was his right-hand man. It may be that his experience then planted in him a wish to leave office while he was still able to discharge his duties. Modern medicine does not work well with autocratic regimes traditionally renewed by death or disease, and the papacy remains the last absolute monarchy in Europe.
In Benedict’s resignation statement can be seen an implied rebuke to his predecessor, who argued that clinging to life and power for as long as possible was itself a form of witness to Christ’s suffering. Benedict, however, says: “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world … both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”
Nothing is known in detail of the 85-year-old pontiff’s health that would force his resignation.
Benedict leaves a church battered in the west by child abuse scandals and a shortage of priests but still growing fast in the south. In the Middle East, its historic homeland, Christianity is now persecuted with almost unprecedented savagery.
In the US, Germany and Australia, there is an endless and bitter struggle within both clergy and laity between liberals and conservatives. For Benedict, western Europe had been largely lost to Christianity, and was once more a mission field which would have to be reconverted. But it’s hard to see any signs of either planning or success in this task, despite the unexpected triumph of his visit to Britain in 2010. He stood on the side of reaction, and for many of his opponents epitomised it. But he did not manage to damp down the rebellions against compulsory celibacy in the priesthood, which have shaken the church in German-speaking countries. In fact, by his personal support of special arrangements for former Anglican clergy, he may have weakened the tradition of clerical celibacy.
He maintained his predecessor’s hostility to capitalism, and to the sexual revolution. Neither of these things are likely to change under a new pope.
The long planning means that the succession will go as smoothly as possible but it is always difficult to predict the outcome of the conclave in which cardinals elect a pope. As the last two have not been Italian, it may be that the succession will move towards Africa and away from Europe altogether. An African would mean a greater focus on the relationships with Islam, perhaps at the expense of the relations with the rest of Christianity.

    Pope Benedict’s resignation: a stunning shock

    by Andrew Brown

    Pope Benedict’s resignation has been planned for some time – Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, knew about it before Christmas – but it is still a stunning shock to the outside world. No pope has willingly resigned since Pope Celestine V in 1294. Pope John Paul II hung on for years while dying of Parkinson’s disease, while the machinery of the Vatican rotted about him.

    During the decrepitude of John Paul II, Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was his right-hand man. It may be that his experience then planted in him a wish to leave office while he was still able to discharge his duties. Modern medicine does not work well with autocratic regimes traditionally renewed by death or disease, and the papacy remains the last absolute monarchy in Europe.

    In Benedict’s resignation statement can be seen an implied rebuke to his predecessor, who argued that clinging to life and power for as long as possible was itself a form of witness to Christ’s suffering. Benedict, however, says: “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world … both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”

    Nothing is known in detail of the 85-year-old pontiff’s health that would force his resignation.

    Benedict leaves a church battered in the west by child abuse scandals and a shortage of priests but still growing fast in the south. In the Middle East, its historic homeland, Christianity is now persecuted with almost unprecedented savagery.

    In the US, Germany and Australia, there is an endless and bitter struggle within both clergy and laity between liberals and conservatives. For Benedict, western Europe had been largely lost to Christianity, and was once more a mission field which would have to be reconverted. But it’s hard to see any signs of either planning or success in this task, despite the unexpected triumph of his visit to Britain in 2010. He stood on the side of reaction, and for many of his opponents epitomised it. But he did not manage to damp down the rebellions against compulsory celibacy in the priesthood, which have shaken the church in German-speaking countries. In fact, by his personal support of special arrangements for former Anglican clergy, he may have weakened the tradition of clerical celibacy.

    He maintained his predecessor’s hostility to capitalism, and to the sexual revolution. Neither of these things are likely to change under a new pope.

    The long planning means that the succession will go as smoothly as possible but it is always difficult to predict the outcome of the conclave in which cardinals elect a pope. As the last two have not been Italian, it may be that the succession will move towards Africa and away from Europe altogether. An African would mean a greater focus on the relationships with Islam, perhaps at the expense of the relations with the rest of Christianity.

  10. Gallery

    | 37 notes

    Writer Tina Hassania was sick of seeing ‘thinspiration’ on Instagram, so she decided to subvert the hashtag:

    I wanted to try something different. Upon finding a number of pro-recovery Instagram accounts tagged with words such as #edrecovery, I decided to make one myself (@lovethighself) in order to use pro-ana hashtags in an attempt to subvert and effectively spam pro-ana communities. I posted hundreds of quotes that promoted recovery and body acceptance, as well as attractive pictures of average and plus-sized models. I also photoshopped some of the common pro-ana images to refute their harmful messaging.

    These attempts were not intended to be dismissive of a mental illness I do not have, nor to raise the ire of people with anorexia or bulimia, but rather to enable users looking up these hashtags to reconsider their scrolling habits. I figured that not everyone looking at thinspiration has an eating disorder. Some who do may be on the verge of relapse from recovery, while others who don’t (yet) might be slowly becoming obsessed with their weight and curious about thinspiration and dieting tips, putting themselves at risk.

    I soon received tons of comments thanking me and urging me to keep posting. “Please always keep this account. I’m going through an eating disorder and I’m fighting so hard but it pulls me down a lot and I just am still trying to overcome it. My screen saver is one of your pictures and it helps me so much,” wrote one follower. Many users who self-identified as having ana or mia in their bios began to follow me, and I started following some of them, too, providing support when I could. But sadly, because of the sheer mass of thinspiration pictures posted on Instagram every day, it’s been impossible for me to truly dent the thinstagram subculture.

    Read more here.

  11. Photo

    | 45,914 notes
    Chelsea Welch, the US waitress who was fired after she posted a picture of a tip receipt on Reddit, wrote for us:

I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke.
This didn’t even happen at my table. The note was left for another server, who allowed me to take a picture of it at the end of the night.

Someone had scribbled on the receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”

I assumed the customer’s signature was illegible, but I quickly started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer. I refused to confirm any of them, and all were incorrect.
I worked with the Reddit moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch-hunt or hurting anyone.
Now I’ve been fired.
The person who wrote the note came across an article about it, called the Applebee’s location, and demanded everyone be fired — me, the server who allowed me to take the picture, the manager on duty at the time, the manager not on duty at the time, everyone. It seems I was fired not because Applebee’s was represented poorly, not because I did anything illegal or against company policy, but because I embarrassed this person.
In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.
After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9 an hour on average, before taxes. I am expected to skip bathroom breaks if we are busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. I am expected to work until 1:30am and then come in again at 10:30am to open the restaurant.
I have worked 12-hour double shifts without a chance to even sit down. I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people. And I am expected to do all of this, every day, and receive change, or even nothing, in return. After all that, I can be fired for “embarrassing” someone, who directly insults his or her server on religious grounds.
In this economy, $3.50 an hour doesn’t cut it. I can’t pay half my bills. Like many, I would love to see a reasonable, non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries. But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered.
I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard. We care. We deserve to be paid for that.

I am trying to stand up for all of us who work for just a few dollars an hour at places like Applebee’s. Whether a chain steakhouse or a black-tie establishment, tipping is not optional. It is how we get paid.

I posted a picture to make people laugh, but now I want to make a serious point: Things like this happen to servers all the time. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip.
I can’t understand why I was fired over this. I was well liked and respected at Applebee’s. My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management soon. When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light. In fact, I didn’t represent them at all.
I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook – I checked. But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.
I am equally baffled about how a religious tithe is in any way related to paying for services at a restaurant. I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity. However, it’s a plainly stated Applebee’s policy that a tip is added automatically for parties over eight like the one this customer was part of. I cannot control that kind of tip; it’s done by the computer that the orders are put into. I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the “Big Man” used as reasoning.
Obviously the person who wrote this note wanted it seen by someone. It’s strange that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is ashamed.
I have no agenda here. I seek no revenge against the note writer. I have no interest in exposing their identity, and, at this point, I’m not even sure I want my job back. I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home unemployed.
I’ve been waiting tables to save up some money so I could finally go to college, so I could get an education that would qualify me for a job that doesn’t force me to sell my personality for pocket change.

    Chelsea Welch, the US waitress who was fired after she posted a picture of a tip receipt on Reddit, wrote for us:

    I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke.

    This didn’t even happen at my table. The note was left for another server, who allowed me to take a picture of it at the end of the night.

    Someone had scribbled on the receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”

    I assumed the customer’s signature was illegible, but I quickly started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer. I refused to confirm any of them, and all were incorrect.

    I worked with the Reddit moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch-hunt or hurting anyone.

    Now I’ve been fired.

    The person who wrote the note came across an article about it, called the Applebee’s location, and demanded everyone be fired — me, the server who allowed me to take the picture, the manager on duty at the time, the manager not on duty at the time, everyone. It seems I was fired not because Applebee’s was represented poorly, not because I did anything illegal or against company policy, but because I embarrassed this person.

    In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.

    After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9 an hour on average, before taxes. I am expected to skip bathroom breaks if we are busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. I am expected to work until 1:30am and then come in again at 10:30am to open the restaurant.

    I have worked 12-hour double shifts without a chance to even sit down. I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people. And I am expected to do all of this, every day, and receive change, or even nothing, in return. After all that, I can be fired for “embarrassing” someone, who directly insults his or her server on religious grounds.

    In this economy, $3.50 an hour doesn’t cut it. I can’t pay half my bills. Like many, I would love to see a reasonable, non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries. But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered.

    I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard. We care. We deserve to be paid for that.

    I am trying to stand up for all of us who work for just a few dollars an hour at places like Applebee’s. Whether a chain steakhouse or a black-tie establishment, tipping is not optional. It is how we get paid.

    I posted a picture to make people laugh, but now I want to make a serious point: Things like this happen to servers all the time. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip.

    I can’t understand why I was fired over this. I was well liked and respected at Applebee’s. My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management soon. When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light. In fact, I didn’t represent them at all.

    I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook – I checked. But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.

    I am equally baffled about how a religious tithe is in any way related to paying for services at a restaurant. I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity. However, it’s a plainly stated Applebee’s policy that a tip is added automatically for parties over eight like the one this customer was part of. I cannot control that kind of tip; it’s done by the computer that the orders are put into. I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the “Big Man” used as reasoning.

    Obviously the person who wrote this note wanted it seen by someone. It’s strange that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is ashamed.

    I have no agenda here. I seek no revenge against the note writer. I have no interest in exposing their identity, and, at this point, I’m not even sure I want my job back. I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home unemployed.

    I’ve been waiting tables to save up some money so I could finally go to college, so I could get an education that would qualify me for a job that doesn’t force me to sell my personality for pocket change.

  12. Photo

    | 8 notes
    Naomi McAuliffe writes about, er, the vagina’s mystique, and the Brazilian woman who allegedly tried to kill her husband with her lady parts:

Women using poison to murder their husbands is an old trope – one going back as far as Claudius’s poisoning, which implicated his wife Agrippina. “Arsenic Annie” Nannie Doss saw off four husbands, as well as most of her family, in the span of four decades (she confessed to the murders in 1954). And now a Brazilian woman may soon be added to this pantheon of gloom. Although this alleged attempted homicide was unsuccessful, the method will certainly go down in history: she allegedly put poison in her vagina, and invited her husband to perform oral sex on her. The man became suspicious while down south, surprised by an “unusual smell”. He took her to hospital, where the poison was found.

Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

    Naomi McAuliffe writes about, er, the vagina’s mystique, and the Brazilian woman who allegedly tried to kill her husband with her lady parts:

    Women using poison to murder their husbands is an old trope – one going back as far as Claudius’s poisoning, which implicated his wife Agrippina. “Arsenic Annie” Nannie Doss saw off four husbands, as well as most of her family, in the span of four decades (she confessed to the murders in 1954). And now a Brazilian woman may soon be added to this pantheon of gloom. Although this alleged attempted homicide was unsuccessful, the method will certainly go down in history: she allegedly put poison in her vagina, and invited her husband to perform oral sex on her. The man became suspicious while down south, surprised by an “unusual smell”. He took her to hospital, where the poison was found.

    Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

  13. Photo

    | 4 notes
    

Monkeys in space: right or wrong?
Iran has successfully sent a monkey into space. The animal, which was strapped to a harness for the duration of the flight, made it back to Earth alive. The campaign group Peta has in the past criticised the use of primates for such experiments – do you think they are ethically defensible?
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

    Monkeys in space: right or wrong?

    Iran has successfully sent a monkey into space. The animal, which was strapped to a harness for the duration of the flight, made it back to Earth alive. The campaign group Peta has in the past criticised the use of primates for such experiments – do you think they are ethically defensible?

    Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

    (Source: Guardian)

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    | 13 notes

    Abortion: thank God Justin Bieber fans won’t be listening to his mother

    Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett writes:

    What better way to welcome the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade than the news that Justin Bieber’s mother is producing an anti-abortion film? I honestly cannot think of a superior way to celebrate how American women finally succeeded in winning reproductive rights.

    Bieber’s “mom”, less commonly known as Pattie Mallette, thinks the abortion epidemic needs addressing and is hoping to raise $10m through screenings of the film, called Crescendo. The money will go towards so-called “crisis centres” whose function is to deter women from having abortions, presumably through a combination of good old-fashioned indoctrination and endless YouTube repeats of her son’s 2010 hit Baby. From the looks of the trailer (and somewhat strangely for an anti-abortion propaganda film), Crescendo appears to be set in 18th-century France in what I assume is intended to be a kind of Christian fundamentalist version of Les Mis, but with the singalongs and revolutionary fervour replaced by botched abortion attempts with a coathanger and gin in the bath.

    [Read the rest here]

    Photographs: Victoria Will/AP/Invision | Bill Mccay/WireImage

  15. Quote

    | 104 notes

    Unfortunately, while “pro-life” is a hideous misnomer, a simple term like “pro-choice” cannot encompass the gravity of bodily integrity and just how critical it is for women to have rights to our own bodies.

    So, perhaps it’s time to emphasize what Roe has wrought, 40 years on.

    For women, the ability to control the number and spacing of your children is fundamental. It’s nearly impossible to overstate just how crucial that right is: without it, we simply don’t have the same prospects and abilities to live full, free lives. It’s no coincidence that the dual rights to abortion and birth control ushered in some of the most profound cultural shifts in human history.

    While gender equality is far from perfectly realized, women today have more rights and opportunities than ever before. We go to college and most graduate schools at the same rates as men, and are increasingly present in high-paying jobs. We are better able to leave abusive marriages and relationships. We’re healthier, and so are our children – child mortality has greatly decreased, and a low child mortality rate is directly tied to reproductive healthcare and reproductive rights.

    Reliable birth control and access to abortion means that we can pursue an education and work to build a stable career before getting married and reproducing – and the marriages that come later in life between two highly-educated people are by far the most stable. Among couples who have children, those who plan the pregnancies are happier than those who don’t.

    Between 1970 and 2009, child mortality around the world fell by half, which is largely attributable to women being better-educated and better able to make their own reproductive decisions. In the US, along with Roe came safer and earlier abortions; emergency rooms are no longer lined with women injured by illegal terminations, and abortion is now one of the safest medical procedures a woman can have.

    What’s not to support?

    Roe v Wade at 40: what American women owe to abortion rights, by Jill Filipovic

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