British bars selling sex toys - in vending machines

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 11:58 By: Tom Swiss

Love that European sensibility about sex: bars and nightclubs in London and other British cities have begun selling sex toys such as mini-vibrators out of vending machines.

The company has also has exported about 20 of the machines to Italy and about 10 to the United States - that should be interesting, given our sexual politics these days...

"Constraint therapy" for stroke victims may help them regain function

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 11:47 By: Tom Swiss

This AP story concerns a fascinating therapy for stroke victims who lost partial use of one arm.

Their strong arm was restrained during two weeks of intensive therapy, forcing them to use the weakened one, and to "rewire" the brain. Most people saw significant improvement.

As the cliche goes, use it or lose it!

Grand jury decries 'arrests without merit'

Posted on: Mon, 03/20/2006 - 11:45 By: Tom Swiss

The Baltimore Sun reports that a grand jury convened to "address the lack of confidence that exists between many members of the public and law enforcement", has decried a tremendous number of arrests made by city police without merit.

Just within the African-American population, over 21,000 arrests without charges being filed were made between April 2004 and April 2005.

The grand jury also handed down indictments of three cops: one accused of raping a woman brought to the station house in handcuffs, the other two accused of doing nothing to stop it.

Cops gone wild. Welcome to the police state, brought to you by the War on (Some) Drugs.

Democratic party delenda est

Posted on: Wed, 03/15/2006 - 10:03 By: Tom Swiss

So Russ Feingold has introduced a modest resolution to censure Bush for his egregious violation of the Bill of Rights in the form of domestic spying. Not to impeach, not to criminally prosecute, not to publicly horsewhip and tar and feather, but merely to censure, to say "naughty boy!"

And not a single other Democratic senator has stepped forward to co-sponsor it, and only one has said he'll vote for it if it comes up. Everyone else is hemming and hawing as if Feingold's proposal for the Senate to actually do its goddamn job and act as a check on presidential power was more of a challenge to them than, say, authorizing Bush to go kill 100,000 people in an illegal, immoral, and stupid war.

Chris Chandler at the New Deal Cafe, March 24

Posted on: Tue, 03/07/2006 - 00:49 By: Tom Swiss

I've been a huge fan of the "folken word" of Chris Chandler since I saw him perform at College Park's "Planet X" coffeehouse back in the early 1990s. Chris has traveled the nation and worked with musicans and poets from Allen Ginsberg to Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger to Mojo Nixon. (For those of you who know the work of Billy Jonas - Chris is credited as co-writer of Billy's wonderful song "God is In")

Chris now lives in Tacoma Park, and I'm happy to have helped introduce him to Greenbelt's fine fine venue, The New Deal Cafe. Chris will be playing there March 24 - you do NOT want to miss this! Spread the word!

Ronald Dworkin: Even bigots and Holocaust deniers must have their say

Posted on: Mon, 02/27/2006 - 17:44 By: Tom Swiss

Very nice piece in The Guardian by law professor Ronald Dworkin:

Free speech is a condition of legitimate government. Laws and policies are not legitimate unless they have been adopted through a democratic process, and a process is not democratic if government has prevented anyone from expressing his convictions about what those laws and policies should be. Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended...So in a democracy no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended.
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