Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Internet rallies behind teased Star Wars girl

    AP050517016965In the sort of heartwarming storyline one might expect from an elementary-school-style episode of "Glee," a 7-year-old girl has attracted an outpouring of support from Star Wars enthusiasts who read that she was being teased for her fandom.

    Katie Goldman's mother, Carrie, wrote on her blog that first-grade boys at Katie's school in Evanston, Ill., were teasing her over her Star Wars water bottle because "it's only for boys." Katie (whose Star Wars enthusiasm has earned her the nickname "Little Jedi") already felt different for being adopted and for having to wear an eye patch. In response to the bullying, she asked her mother if she could bring a pink water bottle to school instead -- and then cried when her mom asked her why she wanted to switch.

    [Where are they now: The 'Star Wars' kid resurfaces after lightsaber routine]

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  • The ‘It Gets Better’ video timeline

    The folks at YouTube have made a pretty amazing timeline of "It Gets Better" videos. We interviewed the project's creator Dan Savage, who said he started the project to prevent young gay kids from taking their own lives, and flagged some of our favorite videos from the project.

    A video from Pixar employees, below, is the most recent video in YouTube timeline:

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  • FIRST LOOK: Tax cut deal will cost $858 billion

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • The tax cut deal will cost $858 billion over ten years. (WSJ)

    • The EPA will delay handing down tougher rules on greenhouse emissions. (NYT)

    • Corporate America is sitting on $1.93 trillion in cash. (WSJ)

    • There's still a way for Don't Ask repeal to pass the Senate in lame duck. (AP)

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  • ‘Don’t ask’ repeal dies in Senate

    AP101115158228The repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service was defeated today after a deal between GOP Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid broke down publicly on the Senate floor.

    "I'm perplexed and frustrated that this particular bill is going to become a victim of politics," Collins said on the floor, after Reid would not agree to four days of debate on the bill and to allow Republicans to offer 10 of their own amendments.

    Collins still voted yes to begin debate on the defense authorization bill. But GOP Sens. Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski, who indicated they would vote for the bill if Reid agreed to Collins' plan, voted no. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin also voted against debate, leaving only 57 senators who voted for debate, three shy of the 60 needed to prevent a Republican filibuster. (UPDATE: Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman says he will introduce a stand-alone bill to repeal "Don't ask" this year.)

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  • Zuckerberg’s charity vow turns up heat on young tycoons

    106890920You know what's cool? Giving away a billion dollars.

    That's the message Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, both in their 20s, sent when they announced a jaw-dropping commitment to give away at least half of their total wealth to charity over their lifetimes. The pair join the distinguished company of (comparatively) elder philanthropic statesmen Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates in their pledge to make the world a better place by giving away their cash rather than passing it all on to heirs.

    The Facebook titans are part of a new, young generation of entrepreneurs who made their wealth very early in life. This move signals to their peers -- and those who want to be their peers -- that it's important to be precocious in philanthropy as well as in business. The effect on young entrepreneurs will be enormous, say two people in the young tech crowd.

    Thayer Walker, the spokesman for a group that brings together young entrepreneurs called the Summit Series, tells The Lookout the move will have a "huge" impact on the group's members. (Among those involved: Evan Williams, the founder of Twitter.)

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  • New strain of bacteria slowly destroying Titanic

    106468621Twenty-seven strains of bacteria have formed a destructive blob of icicle-like "rusticles" that are slowly eating the historic wreckage of the RMS Titanic steamship.

    Canadian researchers told OurAmazingPlanet that the rusticles may completely destroy the remains of the ship within 15 years. Using DNA technology, the scientists discovered a new strain of bacteria among the rusticles. They named the life-forms Halomonas titanicae.

    [Fascinating facts: The novel that predicted Titanic's sinking, the cost of a ticket and more]

    The ship sank in 1912. French and American expeditions found the wreckage in 1985, about 300 miles off Newfoundland, Canada. The rusticles will eventually disintegrate, and the Titanic will only be a "rust stain," researcher Henrietta Mann told OurAmazingPlanet.

    [Learn more: A brief history of the Titanic]

    [Related: Scientist outcry over NASA 'alien' discovery]

    The impressively destructive new strain of bacteria has inspired us to round up some of the other news-making microorganisms of the year:

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  • Reid buys time on DREAM vote

    AP101202114753Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) delayed a vote on the DREAM Act, which would give young immigrants a path to legal status if they attend college or join the military.

    The House narrowly passed the measure Wednesday night, with eight Republicans -- most of them not returning to Congress next year -- joining Democrats in the vote. Reid moved to table the Senate version of the bill Thursday so that the body can vote on the House version later. Senate Republicans have vowed to filibuster all legislation before the chamber passes a tax cut deal, so the delay is probably aimed at clearing the way for a tax cut vote to come first. (Though it's possible, of course, that Reid won't bring the bill back up for a vote.)

    Director of the National Immigration Forum Ali Noorani tells The Lookout that he is "confident" Sen. Reid will get 60 votes. "This is the worst-case scenario for Senate Republicans," Noorani says, since GOP senators from states with large Hispanic populations will now be forced to vote on the measure after the House has already passed it. Noorani says supporters of his organization, which supports comprehensive immigration reform, put in 40,000 calls to lawmakers Wednesday.

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  • Senator who led fight against gays in military says ‘don’t ask’ should end

    Now this is an interesting conversion. Former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, who led the fight against allowing gays in the military 17 years ago, now says "don't ask, don't tell" should end.

    "Society has changed, and the military has changed," Nunn, a Democrat, told the AP. Sen. Harry Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, says supporters are "close" to a deal with several moderate Republicans to end the policy.

  • FIRST LOOK: Facebook founder pledges to give away half his wealth

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • The DREAM Act narrowly passed the House yesterday, but its Senate prospects look dim. (Washington Post)

    • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg joins 16 tycoons in pledging to give away most of his wealth. (Wall Street Journal)

    • Unhappy Democrats say the tax cut compromise will pass as Senate debate begins today. (AP)

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  • Arizona immigration-law author jokes Obama doesn’t ‘have papers’

    AP100815031966The author of Arizona's contested immigration law, state Sen. Russell Pearce, joked in a talk Wednesday that the best thing about the new law is Obama won't visit his state "because you have to have papers now."

    Pearce said the comment was a moment of "levity" in his talk to the conservative Judicial Watch group. But polling shows that a significant chunk of the American population actually does doubt Obama was born in the United States, a requirement to serve as president. This misperception can be credited in part to the "birther" movement, a fringe group that insists against all evidence that Obama's Hawaii birth certificate is forged.

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