news you should know about

newsmongering 04/04 (the slightly after the weekend edition!)

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So the Roomates Et Al and I saw Avenue Q on Friday, and then on Saturday, people threw me a birthday party! Which was awesome and unexpected and man, I have great friends (They made me a crown and baked multiple cakes and we watched Star Wars. A crown, guys!). Which is why there have not been updates lately! But fortunately (…?) the world has not ceased falling apart in the intervening 48 hours, so never fear, kids. There’s a lot to cover today!

> Richard Goldstone, author of the aptly named Goldstone Report, which examined Israeli actions during the 2008 siege of Gaza and found that Israeli military deliberatedly targeted and killed civilians, has recanted his conclusions. Near as I can tell, he has not indicated what, if any, specific material has led him to reevaluate. The Report was, unsurprisingly, unpopular in Israel (“‘We face three major strategic challenges,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last year, ‘the Iranian nuclear program, rockets aimed at our citizens and Goldstone.'”), and now Israel is vociferously urging the UN to disregard the Goldstone Report’s findings. Relatedly, the UN may be voting on Palestine’s statehood shortly; Israel is, to say the least, not happy. The vote could be avoided if Israel and the Palestinian Authority could reach an independent and mutually acceptable compromise, but that seems…unlikely. Given the recent upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa lately, it will be interesting to watch Israel reevaluate its regional position. And by interesting I mean nerve-wracking.

> In Cote d’Ivoire, a Catholic charity has announced that over a 1000 civilians have been massacred in an area under the control of internationally recognized President Outarra; the International Red Cross estimates 800. At the time of the article’s publication, no perpetrators had been named and the UN had no information, although they did confirm that that had a thousand peacekeepers on the ground in the area. In the city of Abidjan, the fighting appears to be both fierce and (fortunately, I suppose) two-sided. On Sunday, French forces took over Abidjan Airport from the UN, indicating that it could begin functioning again. Pro-Outtara forces have taken approximately 80% of the country (note that the prior link referred to the massacre discussed at the top of this paragraph as a result of two-sided violence; I haven’t seen direct confirmation either way, although the BBC is reporting that UN forces have engaged/fired on incumbent Gbago’s forces in an attempt to protect civilians) and a link I can’t seem to find indicated that incumbent Gbago had issued a call for his supporters to act as human shields; either way, there seems to be little likelihood that Gbago will retake the country…although I do recall thinking that about Libya not too long ago, so grains of salt all around. The UN has also been airlifting its personnel out of Abidjan.

> Italy has recognized Libya’s rebels as the legal government in that country, although what, if any, structure within the rebellion present resembles a governing body is unclear.

> CNN reports that Eman al-Obeidy is no longer in custody but is under house arrest.

> Sixteen protesters were shot and killed in Yemen today.

> Al Jazeera reports that ousted Egyptian president Mubarak is in Germany (would ‘fled’ be too strong a word?), possibly seeking medical treatment. The Egyptian military is denying these rumors. (Can I just say: called it!)

> I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t aware this had happened until I read about the riots, but Pastor Terry Jones’ church, after threatening a Quran burning last fall, went through with the threat on March 20, leading to massive riots in Afghanistan. The NPR article linked above notes that Afghans only found out about it when President Karzai condemned the act four days later. Following that, Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham are proposing unspecified legal action against Pastor Jones. Glenn Greenwald comments on the dangerous lure of the invisible “except when we’re at war” provision tacked to the First Amendment:

…this event demonstrates one of the most uncounted (though one of the most intended) costs of our posture of Endless War: the way it is exploited to endlessly erode core liberties. The last decade’s unrelenting (and still escalating) War on Terror — i.e., war in multiple countries in the Muslim world — has led to an erosion of virtually every basic civil liberty, including due process, Fourth Amendment protections, and habeas corpus. All wars have the same effect, as many of the most abusive assaults on core civil liberties in American history have been justified by appeal to war.

> A bill in the Alabama legislature would grant personhood  at fertilization (and the “functional equivalent thereof,” which would have interesting repercussions for IVF, one would imagine) and would make all abortions in the state illegal. Honestly, are states actually competing now for the most draconian anti-abortion laws? Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign into law this year two bills that were being touted as “the best abortion restrictions in the country” (supporters’ words, not mine), but it looks like Alabama just one-upped. Better get your A-game on, Kansas!

Just kidding, please don’t.

> So the Southern Poverty Law Center recently added some anti-gay groups to their “hate groups” list, which is great! On the list was the Family Research  Council, which kind of freaked and created a PSA so you’d know that they didn’t deserve being listed as a “hate group.” If you want to see said PSA, you can Google “hating gays doesn’t make us a hate group,” which, as Autostraddle notes, probably tells you more about the Family Research Council than the ad you were theoretically looking for to begin with. Anyway, Autostraddle’s got a great post (“Research Finds Hating Gay People Makes You a Hate Group, People Actually Surprised By This“) and even though I pretty much just Cliff’s Notes-ed it, you should read it anyway. Because it includes such ponderings as:

So just what does a group of well-funded and religiously motivated people have to do to be a “hate group,” anyway? Does hating gay people mean you’re a hate group, or some other nebulous category that combines being a group and hating things?

Speaking of families and research, kind of, a nineteen year-old University of Iowa (go Hawks!) student Zach Wahls, who incidentally has two moms, testified at a public hearing on House Joint Resolution 6, which would ban gay marriage in Iowa. This kid is good.

Take that, Family Research Council.

> The Roommates and I have been speculating on the Republican field for 2012 – aside from Fred Karger, of whom I am a fan, partially because he seems like a great guy and partially because he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance but he’s a voice that needs to be part of the discussion – we’ve been coming up blank, especially given recent foot-in-mouth episodes from Gingrich and Huckabee. Salon seems to think Mitch Daniels has a shot. Stay tuned. (I’ve covered Gingrich’s PR faux pas lately, but the Huckabee one is beautiful and I haven’t discussed it previously, and it’s just… words fail me, but I’ll try anyway, ’cause that’s the kind of gal I am… So Huckabee suggested, at something called that the Christian Supremacy Conference – I can’t make this stuff up, I know, but the broader point is that he was in a room with cameras – that Americans should be indoctrinated with a particular brand of Christian nationalist history at gunpoint. No, that last part was his exact phrase.)

Also: there’s something called the Christian Supremacy Conference? Is it weird that that freaks me out a little? And can you imagine the sort of field day Glenn Beck would have if there was a Jewish Supremacy Conference? Or a Muslim Supremacy Conference? His head would explode.

> And then after aimlessly speculating on the Republican field in 2012, The Roommates and I productively looked at YouTube videos of animals on trampolines. This was the best (and I absolutely swear that the part where it’s an elephant is not a reference to Republicans. It really was the best video! Elephants are awesome!):


Written by whackanarwhal

April 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] On the off chance that you recall: Yesterday I mentioned that the rioting in Afghanistan broke out after President Karzai condemned Pastor Terry […]

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