March 2012 Archives

Pinterest under pressure to block "Thinspiration"

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Online photo-collage website Pinterest sent out a notice to its users that it, too, will start policing its site for "thinspiration" boards, taking a lead from which banned pro-anorexia pages last month.'s
Hilary George-Parkin wrote that the controversy lies in the issue of free speech measured against a sense of responsibility for preventing online violence, including messages that may provoke emotional or mental harm.

Rebecca Greefield, writing for The Atlantic Wire, reported on the influx of thinspiration and pro-ana boards on Pinterest after many of these sites were closed down by Tumblr, increasing the pressure on Pinterest to do something about the issue.

In addition, Tumblr, Pinterest, and others may begin setting up messages or ads directing users to hotlines and help centers alongside results for certain related keyword searches, Stylelite reported.

Nagasaki will hold a Buddhist ceremony in honor of Masami Matsuda, known locally as the man who designed Como Park's Ordway Memorial Garden. Matsuda died at age 89 early last month, the Star Tribune reported.

Matsuda worked on the designs of many gardens in a number of countries, and he returned to them throughout the following years to improve them and make changes.

The Star Tribune's Pamela Miller reported in his obituary that a letter from Matsuda that was read at a commemorating ceremony twelve years ago reads in part, "May this experience become a bridge, enhancing the exchange between our countries and expand[ing] the ring of peace and friendship in this world."

Malian coup leader trained in the U.S.

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Malian people believed for some time that the leader of the junta that overthrew Mali's democratic government last Thursday, Amadou Sanogo, was killed in a counter-coup attempt after rumors spread on the Internet.

Serge Daniel of the AFP reported that Sanogo appeared publicly on television, reassuring people that "I am Captain Sanogo and I am in good health, all is well."

Sanogo draws much of his legitimacy as junta leader from is proficiency in the English language, something that allows him to give the junta a voice internationally.

Sanogo also has embarked on a couple of trips to the United States to receive military training and has also attended a number of military summit meetings with other countries, the AFP reported.

"Kandahar Massacre" Perpetrator had history of Fraud

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Before he enlisted in the Army, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, notorious now as the face of the March 11 "Kandahar Massacre," had what Bloomberg's Michael C. Bender and Mark Niquette termed a "broken career."

Bloomberg reported that following 9/11 Bales had worked for five different companies in as many years selling community-bank stock.

Bales' reputation fell when he was accused of swindling more than $600,000 from a couple's retirement account, Bloomberg reported.

The Chicago Tribune quotes Cincinnati lawyer Joseph Dehner saying that Hamilton-Shea,a firm where Bales worked, was "the kind of place where you learn to cold call, to 'pump and dump.'"

The Tribune elaborated that what Dehner is referring to is a "practice in which firms artificially raise the prices of stocks they hold by aggressively selling shares to clients and then selling their own shares."

Attempts to set up a small investment business of his own with his brother and his high school friend, NFL player Marc Edwards, also went wrong. Spartina Investments fell apart when the company failed to file its annual report on time.

Kim McGuire, writing for the Star Tribune, reported that Friday morning the superintendent of six years for Little Falls School District will replace Eden Prairie's superintendent, Melissa Krull; Krull had taken a lot of flak over her redistricting proposals last year.

Curt Tryggestad, she wrote, was chosen with unanimous support by the Eden Prairie School Board, and he has a long history of similar work, serving as superintendent for Esko Schools and principal at Pine City Schools prior to his stint at Little Falls.

According to an article posted by the Brainerd Dispatch, Early last year, Tryggestad won acclaim from Little Falls students and parents when he introduced ipads to the curriculum as an experimental move geared towards improving education in a technology-oriented world.

Reported Matt Richtel of The New York Times, Tryggestad was also one of a select few Minnesota teachers to visit Apple's headquarters in a couple of times over the last few years,. Richtel wrote that in addition to the experience the teachers received, these trips were beneficial to Apple as well when the Little Falls district extended its technology experiment by introducing iPads to 1,700 of its 2,500 students.

President Obama spoke briefly Tuesday in response to the early-morning killings of Afghan civilians by a lone U.S. soldier in Kandahar Province.

The Star Tribune reports Obama as saying "The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens, and our children, who were murdered."

In total, 16 civilians were murdered, three of whom were children, reports the Star Tribune.

Sara Sidner, writing for CNN, reported that the suspect, as yet unknown to the public, has turned himself in, and that the case will be handled by the military. In addition, she wrote, citing comments by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the case may result in the death penalty.

Remarks made by Panetta and published by CNN point to growing concern about the situation in Afghanistan.

DVF x GapKids, BabyGap Launches March 15th

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The collaboration between GapKids, BabyGap, and CFDA-certified designer Diane von Furstenberg will be available Thursday. The collection, ranging between $20 and $120, will be available online as well as in select stores nationwide (including the Mall of America and Rosedale shopping center in Minnesota).

Izzy Grinspan, writing for, commented that the collection is "just as cute in person as it is in the look book. The bad news: Even if you're a tiny adult, you probably won't be able to wear any of the stuff."

According to Olivia Bergin at the Telegraph, the collection will include the kinds of pieces the designer is known for, including wrap dresses in miniature and hibiscus prints that echo the collection she showed at New York Fashion Week.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the retailer has done other collaborations with high-end designers in the past, including one with Stella McCartney.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy drew criticism for his remarks on immigration and French economic proposals after his campaign speech in a Paris suburb last Sunday.

Steven Erlanger, writing for the New York Times, reported that Sarkozy vowed to pull the country out of the European Schengen Agreement if its rules on immigration were not revised.

The Schengen Agreement has allowed Europeans to pass freely, without visas, across the borders of 26 of the European Union member states since 1985.

Sarkozy also took a hard line on economic policies, referencing the 1933 Buy American Act with calls for a "Buy European Act." The West Australian newspaper quoted him saying, "I say no to a Europe that opens up its markets when others don't. Such behaviour does not mean accepting free trade, it means accepting being a Europe that is a sieve."

Sarkozy, France's incumbent in the upcoming elections, has taken a more conservative turn, pulling in votes from far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, in an effort to keep his position in the April-May elections.

The furor over a new Vikings stadium was once again the topic of choice for Minnesota's Governor Mark Dayton when he spoke with WCCO last Sunday, this time with debate centered on the possibility of using money generated by electronic pull tabs to help fund the stadium if it were to be built.

According to CBS Minnesota, Dayton told WCCO that he would be open to the proposal to fund the stadium with profits from electronic pull tabs, amounting to approximately $400 million.

In a recording of the original interview posted to CBS Minnesota's website, Dayton spoke with WCCO's Chad Hartman after meeting with MN house speaker Kurt Zellers and majority leader Amy Koch, saying that the source of funding would be "Wherever revenue crunches numbers."

Hartman asked Dayton if he believed it was possible for the bill to pass, OK'ing a new stadium but with no mention of using money from electronic pull tabs. Dayton's response was that he was uncertain, but reassured Minnesotans that "There will be no general fund tax revenues used in the financing of paying off of the bonds."

MPR's Tim Nelson noted that the funding issue has been the greatest area of contention and is much of the reason for why the debate over the stadium has continued since the beginning of Dayton's tenure 15 months ago.

Jenny Lundgren, a special education teacher at Skyview Middle School in Oakdale and member of the teachers' union Education Minnesota, presented her views on the proposed "Right to Work" legislation before the Minnesota Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee at the state capitol Monday.

She commented in a video uploaded to the Oakdale Patch's website that Republicans ought to oppose the legislation, which would allow for non-union employees to reap the benefits from union bargaining even as they pay no union dues.

Writing for the Pioneer Press, Megan Boldt, reported Lundgren asking the crowd, "Is it fair that I pay for these benefits and services, while others get a free ride? As a Republican, as an educator, as a parent 'right to work' doesn't fit my values and I don't believe it fits yours."

The bill seemed well-intentioned as an attempt to speak to conservatives' often negative views on unions, though as Lundgren pointed out, it would be most in line with conservative principles to oppose the legislation on the grounds that it would offer the equivalent of free rides to non-union employees.

Patty Busse, writing for the Oakdale Patch on the matter, reported that about 1,500 people showed up to protest the bill, which the committee eventually ended up passing 7-6.

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