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Google may shut down Chinese operations due to censorship and cyber attacks

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Google may shut down Chinese operations due to censorship and cyber attacks

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The U.S.-based multibillion dollar online search engine, Google Incorporated, has announced Tuesday in a public statement on its official blog that the company has been the victim of a “highly sophisticated” and “targeted attack” against their corporate infrastructure that they allege “originated from China.”

The author of said statement, David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, noted that Google was not the only multinational corporation targeted. “As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses—including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors—have been similarly targeted.” The names of these other corporations in question have yet to be released. To this end, Google states that they are “currently in the process of notifying these companies,” and they are cooperating with the “relevant authorities.”

Drummond goes on to say that through a separate and unrelated investigation, Google has additionally discovered that the accounts of “dozens” of Gmail users worldwide who are “advocates” of political and human rights in China “appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties” as well.

However, he affirms that “…these accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.”

As a result of what has occurred here, Google said it has already made significant changes to the security infrastructure of its users’ accounts as to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

At the same time, Google advised individual users to use more discretion while online, “We would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you think Google should exit the Chinese market?
Add or view comments
We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn…We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

Google launched its Chinese-language search engine, Google.cn, in January 2006. The only precondition to operating in China was that the company had to acquiesce to certain censorship demands from the one-party government. When defending their controversial rationale for operating in the socialist republic, Google said “…that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China, and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results.”

Nevertheless, Google has still been widely criticized for this voluntary censorship of search results of topics, such as the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, movements for Tibetan and Taiwan independence, and the Falun Gong religious movement along with other information considered harmful to the Chinese government. Some feel it goes against and is hypocritical of Google’s informal motto, “Don’t be evil”.

In response, a spokesperson for the Chinese Consulate in New York City, Wenqi Gao, said in a phone interview to The New York Times, “I want to reaffirm that China is committed to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign companies in our country.”

In contrast, Sharon Hom, the executive director of Human Rights in China said, “It’s a wakeup call for the international community about the risks of doing business in China. The tendency has been for companies to keep their eye just on the benefits of doing business. But the risks are real—The risks are to our intellectual property. The risks are to our values.”

Analysts noted that this move has the potential to financially hurt Google, which has a somewhat limited share of the Internet search market in China, which is dominated by the Chinese-based Google-like website Baidu. Google’s shares fell just under two percent after hours to US$579.50. Meanwhile, Baidu shares rose five percent to US$406.

Harvard Business School professor David Yoffie said, “The consequences of not playing the China market could be very big for any company, but particularly for an Internet company that makes its money from advertising.”

“It will hurt their profits. They get eight to ten percent of their revenues from China,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst for Global Equities Research. “If they walk, they will eventually be invited back into China, because the Chinese people will request that. Openness always wins, but it will take some time.”

Tim Ghriskey, the chief investment officer for Solaris Asset Management said, “Clearly not good news for Google and clearly not good news for consumers. You’ve got to think that eventually Google figures out a way to deal with this. If they do have to shut down their Chinese operations, that they would be able to reinstate them. Hopefully soon. I can’t imagine that this would be permanent.” He added, “China is a great growth engine for every business. It is a great opportunity for Google as well.”

In response to all that has happened and what has been said, Drummond explains that this has “led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China.”

He goes on to state, “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

Drummond concludes his statement by trying to assuage the situation the best he can, “The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences…We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.”

In depth: Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal controversy

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In depth: Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal controversy

Friday, May 26, 2006

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

In February of 2006, the Savarino Services Construction Corp. proposed the construction of a seven million dollar hotel on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York. In order for the hotel to be built, at least five properties containing businesses and residents would have to be destroyed. It was not certain whether the properties were owned by Savarino or by the landlord Hans Mobius. The hotel was designed by Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group, and is planned to be a franchise of the Wyndham Hotels group.

Elmwood Avenue is known by the community as a popular shopping center, and Nancy Pollina of Don Apparel (who is “utterly against” the construction) claims it’s the only reason why students from Buffalo State College leave campus. Additionally, Michael Faust of Mondo Video said he did not want to “get kicked out of here [his video store property].”

In 1995, a Walgreens was proposed to be built on the same land, but Walgreens later withdrew its request for a variance because of pressure from the community. More recently, Pano Georgiadis tried to get the rights to demolish the Atwater House next to his restaurant on Elmwood Avenue, but was denied a permit due to the property’s historical value. He has since been an opponent to the hotel construction.

In the process of debating the hotel, it was thought that a hotel had previously existed on the proposed site, however; research done at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society had shown that no hotel had previously existed on the site.

Contents

  • 1 In depth
    • 1.1 The initial meeting
    • 1.2 Hotel redesign
    • 1.3 The second meeting and the planning board’s decision
    • 1.4 Threats of lawsuit
    • 1.5 Approval by the Common Council and Planning Board
    • 1.6 Lawsuit filed
    • 1.7 Proposal withdrawn
    • 1.8 Properties for sale
    • 1.9 Documents threaten hotel proposal, businesses on site
  • 2 Chronology
  • 3 Gallery

Better Sensual Activity Requires Better Preparation}

Submitted by: J Dugan

There are few things more enjoyable for a man than spending a productive and enlivening evening in bed with a person who equally enjoys spending their time with him. The pleasure their sensual union produces drives men to seek ways to achieve even better sensual activity. They take pains to maintain their male organ health at an appropriately respectable level, research arcane sensual practices and jump into new positions at the drop of a hat. Yet sometimes what can help lead to better sensual activity is some simple advance preparation the steps they take throughout the day that lead to bed.

Not just pre-coupling stimulation

While pre-coupling stimulation is certainly an important part of preparation for coupling (and can help lead to better sensual activity), what is being discussed here is something different. Men sometimes need to be reminded that sensual attraction isnt relegated simply to the time two people are bare together. By demonstrating that he thinks of sensual activity as a longer game involving more than just bodies rubbing against each other, a man can create a better situation for his partner and for himself as well.

Start at breakfast

If sensual activity is on a mans mind for later in the day, he should start laying the groundwork in the morning. If he is living with his partner, he should do something special: make her favorite breakfast, compliment her on her figure as she gets dressed, take some time to kiss her lightly and caress her before leaving for work. If he lives apart from his partner, he should send her a playful text or email a link to something he knows shell like.

Keep it up during the day

Without becoming annoying or stalkerish, a guy can let his bedmate know hes thinking of her. A simple message saying In five more hours, Ill be lucky enough to be holding an angel or something equally loving can lift her spirits.

Start before she walks in the door

Plan the evening in advance rather than leaving everything to the last minute. If shes on a diet, find a menu that works well for her and still has some zest to it, and commit to fixing that for her. Even if take-out is the best option, be sure to make the dinner presentation something special: no eating from Styrofoam containers. Set a very nice table, with linen napkins and something better than the everyday dishes and glasses. Let her know she is special.

When she walks in, make sure theres an appropriate mood. Spend time getting the lighting the way you want it, put on some relaxing music that she will like and definitely put away any socks and underwear that somehow ended up on the floor or the couch.

After dinner, offer to give her a nice, relaxing massage; if she likes certain scents, find a light body oil that boasts her favorite aroma. Dont be in a hurry; really use the time to help her get nice and relaxed. Perhaps a cuddly two-person bath would be in order as well.

Also key: The man needs to make sure that, earlier in the day, he has placed fresh, clean, soft sheets on the bed. Few things are more of a turn-off than jumping into a bed whose sheets are stale, or worse, stench-drenched.

Preparing the male organ as well

Preparation tips such as these can lead to better sensual activity, as they demonstrate a level of caring and attention which moves beyond the mere physical mechanics. Now a man needs to incorporate a superior male organ health crme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) into his daily care routine to keep his equipment healthy and receptive to better sensual activity. Be sure the crme includes alpha lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant which deflects harm from free radicals and the resulting oxidative stress, leaving the manhood healthier and younger looking. It should also include acetyl L carnitine, which reverses damage to manhood cell mitochondria. These ingredients work synergistically, so if one crme contains both, they pack considerably more punch.

About the Author: Visit

menshealthfirst.com

for more information about treating common male organ health problems, including soreness, redness and loss of male organ sensation. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men’s health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1959568&ca=Sexuality }

Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

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Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”. “Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”. He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.

Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism

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Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Four months and 3,200 kilometres ago, Canadian runner Jonathan Howard began his run across the second-largest country in the world, to raise awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

A graduate of McMaster University, Howard arrived in Toronto this week, to address the nation’s largest city before continuing his westward run which will take him through all ten Canadian provinces.

Howard was met Monday at a charity barbecue by Senator Art Eggleton. The fundraiser was part of Howard’s strategy to raise 2.5 million dollars to assist families that support children with ASD. “Spectrum is a very puzzling word,” he told the gathering “because there are many types of autism on that spectrum”. The real goal of his RunTheDream.ca charity drive though, Howard explained, was simply to “get people involved in the issue” and generate attention for the little-understood disorder.

Eggleton, who welcomed Terry Fox to the city as mayor in 1980, drew comparisons to the Marathon of Hope runner who became a Canadian icon. While praising Howard’s efforts to raise money and awareness, the senator said he believed that “an awful lot more needs to be done” at the political level to combat the financial and emotional difficulties that face those dealing with autism.

Howard reassured supporters that he still intended to reach Victoria, B.C. before December 31. “The challenges are great,” he confessed “but as long as the determination is greater, anything can be achieved”.

Terry Robinson, a two-time Canadian Paralympic contender born with cerebral palsy, pledged to follow Howard’s journey two weeks ago on its three-month leg from Ottawa to Winnipeg.

Robinson addressed the city, speaking about how his own disabilities left him with an appreciation for how important it was to ensure that people struggling with autism had access to services that could support them.

BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

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BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Torture proliferates American headlines today: whether its use is defensible in certain contexts and the morality of the practice. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone was curious about torture in American popular culture. This is the first of a two part series examining the BDSM business. This interview focuses on the owners of a dungeon, what they charge, what the clients are like and how they handle their needs.

When Shankbone rings the bell of “HC & Co.” he has no idea what to expect. A BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) dungeon is a legal enterprise in New York City, and there are more than a few businesses that cater to a clientèle that wants an enema, a spanking, to be dressed like a baby or to wear women’s clothing. Shankbone went to find out what these businesses are like, who runs them, who works at them, and who frequents them. He spent three hours one night in what is considered one of the more upscale establishments in Manhattan, Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, where according to The Village Voice, “you can take your girlfriend or wife, and have them treated with respect—unless they hope to be treated with something other than respect!”

When Shankbone arrived on the sixth floor of a midtown office building, the elevator opened up to a hallway where a smiling Rebecca greeted him. She is a beautiful forty-ish Long Island mother of three who is dressed in smart black pants and a black turtleneck that reaches up to her blond-streaked hair pulled back in a bushy ponytail. “Are you David Shankbone? We’re so excited to meet you!” she says, and leads him down the hall to a living room area with a sofa, a television playing an action-thriller, an open supply cabinet stocked with enema kits, and her husband Bill sitting at the computer trying to find where the re-release of Blade Runner is playing at the local theater. “I don’t like that movie,” says Rebecca.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the night when Shankbone was waiting to be escorted out (to avoid running into a client). Rebecca came into the room and sat on the sofa. “You know, a lot of people out there would like to see me burn for what I do,” she says. Rebecca is a woman who has faced challenges in her life, and dealt with them the best she could given her circumstances. She sees herself as providing a service to people who have needs, no matter how debauched the outside world deems them. They sat talking mutual challenges they have faced and politics (she’s supporting Hillary); Rebecca reflected upon the irony that many of the people who supported the torture at Abu Ghraib would want her closed down. It was in this conversation that Shankbone saw that humanity can be found anywhere, including in places that appear on the surface to cater to the inhumanity some people in our society feel towards themselves, or others.

“The best way to describe it,” says Bill, “is if you had a kink, and you had a wife and you had two kids, and every time you had sex with your wife it just didn’t hit the nail on the head. What would you do about it? How would you handle it? You might go through life feeling unfulfilled. Or you might say, ‘No, my kink is I really need to dress in women’s clothing.’ We’re that outlet. We’re not the evil devil out here, plucking people off the street, keeping them chained up for days on end.”

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Bill & Rebecca, owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, a BDSM dungeon.

Contents

  • 1 Meet Bill & Rebecca, owners of a BDSM dungeon
    • 1.1 Their home life
  • 2 Operating the business
    • 2.1 The costs
    • 2.2 Hiring employees
    • 2.3 The prices
  • 3 The clients
    • 3.1 What happens when a client walks through the door
    • 3.2 Motivations of the clients
    • 3.3 Typical requests
    • 3.4 What is not typical
  • 4 The environment
    • 4.1 Is an S&M dungeon dangerous?
    • 4.2 On S&M burnout
  • 5 Criticism of BDSM
  • 6 Related news
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Sources

Make The Most Of Online Advertising With Affordable Website Design Services}

Make the Most of Online Advertising with Affordable Website Design Services

by

William Rogers

Many people today prefer going online to find products or services that they’d like to buy. This is why a fully operational and well-designed website must be made, whether you have a business or lead a charitable organization. Most folks cited financial constraints as one of the causes why they think twice in producing a website. There is no need to be concerned though because sitedesignadviser.com is offering high quality yet affordable website design.

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This cheap web design is ideal for small companies that are still taking their first steps. When you are still new, you need to focus your financing in the progress of your item. Sitedesignadviser.com provides web design services that enables you to have a functional website which doesn’t cost a lot. There is already a ready-to-operate content management system integrated in the website. So that you can avail of the bigger discount, don’t forget to tell the web designer if the function of developing your site is for a charity organization.

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Make the Most of Online Advertising with Affordable Website Design Services

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U.S. Senate approves revised bailout package after controversial additions

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U.S. Senate approves revised bailout package after controversial additions

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The U.S. Senate passed a revised bailout bill designed to help the struggling U.S. financial economy, which has measures nearly identical to the bill rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

“Senate Democrats and Republicans believe it is essential that we work quickly on this important legislation to restore confidence to our financial system and strengthen the economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new revisions include raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000, a move designed to please progressives. However, the $110 billion in tax breaks, earmarks and what has been called pork barrel spending is not offset by any increases in revenues and has added opposition to the bill from some Representatives in the House.

Earmarks added into the bailout bill included $192 million in tax rebates for the Virgin Islands rum industry, $148 million in tax cuts for the wool industry, $100 million tax cuts to the auto racing industry, and $48 million in Hollywood tax incentives.

Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Steve Ellis, offered his explanation for the pork and earmarks added in. “People who support some of these provisions will forget about the $700 billion and concerns they may have on that, and say, ‘If you give me a few million in tax breaks for my constituents, I’ll go along'”.

The tactic seems to have worked, however, managing to flip enough votes to pass the bill.

“The inclusion of parity, tax extenders and the FDIC increases has caused me to reconsider my position,” said Representative Jim Ramstad (R Minnesota), who voted against the previous bill on Monday. “All three additions have greatly improved the bill.”

But Representative Marcy Kaptur (D Ohio) was not changing her no vote. “I will not support this legislation because it’s the wrong medicine,” she said.

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The Senate took H.R.1424, a bill originating in the House concerning “equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment,” and extended it with the bailout provisions.

H.R.1424 was introduced on March 9, 2007, by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (RI-1) and had the support of First Lady Rosalind Carter. It is noted on the Congressional Website that “On 10/1/2008, the Senate passed H.R.1424 as the vehicle for the economic rescue legislation. In the EAS version of the bill (Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by the Senate), Division A (pp.1-110) is referred to as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; Division B (pp. 110-255) is referred to as the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008; and Division C (pp. 255-441) is referred to as the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008.” It was not treated as an appropriations bill in the House.

There were two votes in the Senate. The first was to amend H.R.1424, which required 3/5 to be accepted, which it was. The second was a vote on the bill. Passage of the Bill required only a 1/2 majority. It was passed with 74 yeas and 25 nays. Senator Kennedy did not vote.

Finnish police isolate ports in Helsinki

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Finnish police isolate ports in Helsinki
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Saturday, August 6, 2005

The Finnish police isolated the ports of Katajanokka and Länsisatama on Saturday. The ports were isolated at around 9.30 p.m. local time and the isolation was called off at around 11.30 p.m.

Finnish police received reports from Estonia that a shipping container loaded with explosives could be coming from Estonia Saturday evening. They checked every truck that passed the ports with the assistance of the Border Guard Service. There are still two ships due to arrive in Helsinki tonight, but they were already checked in Tallinn.

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‘Recession gardens’ replace victory gardens

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‘Recession gardens’ replace victory gardens
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday, March 29, 2009

With the United States in a recession, more and more people are looking for ways to spend less money and get a better bargain at the same time. In a time where prices are higher, ‘recession gardens’ are becoming increasingly popular, echoing the victory gardens which were planted during World War I and World War II which helped to reduce the stress and pressure of food shortages.

“There is more interest in vegetable gardens similar to the victory gardens. Because of the economy, they are being called recession gardens,” said a master gardener who volunteers at Ohio State University‘s Extension Service office, Fred Hanacek.

The new fad recently caught on in Iowa where families have began to plant the recession gardens to save money in the produce sections of supermarkets, especially organic fruits and vegetables. Public News Service quotes the National Gardening Association (NGA) as saying that they expect a nearly 20% increase in personal home garden across the U.S.. Some of the increase is also due to people wanting to know what goes onto their vegetables and in their foods.

“I do believe you’ll find there’s an extra expense in actually producing your own food, but the food quality you get is far better than what you can purchase in a store,” said Beverly Bernhard a veteran gardener from Iowa.

The new trend has also gotten the attention of U.S. president Barack Obama who recently stated that he plans to plant a vegetable garden at the White House. It will be the first vegetable garden to be planted at the White House in over 20 years. The last time a garden of this kind was planted at the White House was in World War II when Eleanor Roosevelt planted her Victory Garden. In 1800, former U.S. president John Adams is reported to have planted the first White House garden. Andrew Jackson went a bit further, building a greenhouse.

Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States, broke ground on the new garden with the fifth grade class at Bancroft Elementary located in Washington, D.C. on March 20. The garden, which will be 1,100 square feet and an ‘L’ shape, will be located on the White House’s South Lawn and the Obamas plan to grow over 55 varieties of vegetables.

“Let’s hear it for vegetables. Let’s hear it for fruits,” yelled Mrs. Obama as they broke ground on the garden. “I’ve been able to have my kids eat so many different things that they would have never touched if we had bought them at a store,” she added. Mrs. Obama also said that it will be the entire family’s responsibility to maintain the garden, including the U.S. president.

Many vegetables grow easily, without having to do a lot of work to maintain them. Some examples are lettuce and zucchini. The NGA says at least 9 million Americans will grow vegetable gardens for the first time ever in 2009. An estimated 43 million Americans will plant their own personal vegetable gardens this year.

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