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newsmongering 04/11

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> Whilst updating the Master Calendar today, I realized that we have two more weeks of classes. Then I really did have to go find a paper bag. (Me, to The Roommates: “Guys? …Guys?”)

> Relatedly, 1/2 of The Roommates is freshly Jewish! She has a certificate and everything!

> Totally unrelated to the prior point, The Economist discusses the rise of fundamentalist Islam in southern Russia. I almost got to go to Georgia once (not one of the regions discussed, but very adjacent); I’m still kicking myself for not having fought harder to go (in my defense, it was during the South Ossetia War, and I only had about five words in common with the woman I’d’ve been traveling into a war zone with…but still!).

> A subway bombing in Minsk, Belarus has killed eleven and injured over a hundred. Tensions have been high in Belarus since incumbent Lukashenko’s crackdown on the opposition movement in December. Lukashenko, who is sometimes referred to as Europe’s last dictator, has been the president of Belarus since 1994.

> The UN is (was?) beating the crap out of pro-Gbagbo forces in Cote d’Ivoire. That’s some forceful peacekeeping, dude. (Not that I necessarily object – I don’t know enough about the situation to opine either way – but it still just feels like  a misnomer). Additionally, Ouattara forces now have Gbabgo in custody (thanks to Mom for the heads-up!). Ouattara is calling for a truth and reconciliation commission and has called for peace; he’s saying all the right things, and now it shall be interesting to see how that translates to reality. The BBC has more here.

> The Arab League is calling for a no-fly zone over Gaza, which would qualify as a military strike against Israel. Saw that one coming. Netanyahu thinks this is all very amusing.

> One month after the tsunami in  Japan, the Japanese government has upgraded the Fukushima reactor incident from a 5 (Three Mile Island) to a 7 (Chernobyl). Brad? Thoughts?

> Switzerland has jumped on Germany’s train, appearing to be ready to similarly abandon nuclear power.

> This article reports that two women in Paris have been arrested for wearing burqas within hours of the burqa ban going into effect. It also argues that police don’t expect to be enforcing it all that much. (Translation: the poor and invisible will be the hardest hit, and you will not be told about it until there’s a riot.)

> Donald Trump has announced that his campaign is Obama’s worst nightmare. Given the short list of current events I just linked to up above, I’m going to guess that Obama’s got more on his mind at the moment than a reptilian businessman with a bad toupee. No, the one that’s not Dick Cheney.

> Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have teamed up to fight child prostitution (or rather, solicitors of child prostitutes) through publicity and gender ideology in a “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign. It’s a novel concept, although I’m not sure that the parallel between child prostitution and discarded socks is intended to be so obvious (oops?). As near as I can tell, real men also don’t look at explosions or eat tofu. Clearly they’re a quirky group.

> The Roommates and I have spent waaaay too much time watching (and rewatching. And rewatching. And rewatching) this video of late:

Then watch this one!

[Added slightly after the fact, because apparently I really don’t want to do homework right now:]

> So John Kyl made a speech on the Senate floor about Planned Parenthood, and he quite frankly got a lot wrong. Not wrong in the sense of “made an inapt metaphor” like when Rick Santorum said that two men having sex was equivalent to sex with a dog (other comparisons have been made to turtles and goats. Saddam Hussein would be proud). Anyway, Kyl announced that abortions make up “well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does.” It’s actually more like 3%, which John Kyl either somehow completely managed to miss when preparing his remarks or decided he didn’t care about. Either one means you ought to go yell at him; Autostraddle invites you to do so here.

> Also, Salon jumps on the “gay caveman” story with the tenacity of a hungry pit bull on something tasty:

While little is still known about Mr. Caveman’s daily life — we’d really need to see his OKCupid profile to make the call — the fact that he was buried in an atypical way is a potentially exciting discovery. It could ultimately prove a reminder of the innate fluidity of gender, and the way that spectrum of possibility has always been present within our humanity. But in her smart and sassy takedown of the media storm, archaeologist, bioanthropologist and classicist Kristina Killgrove points out that “Just because all the burials you’ve found to date are coded male and female based on grave goods doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate forms you haven’t found and doesn’t mean that the alternate form you have found has a lot of significance.” More meaningfully, she observes that the remains date only back to the Copper Age, which makes them miss the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon era by about 30,000 years, or roughly half the time of a Beltway stalemate. The gay caveman may or not have been gay, but he definitely wasn’t a caveman.

Orientation is as old as the human race itself. But taking the wild leap that being buried with a pot is indicative of homosexuality is as simplistic, shallow and frankly insulting to women and men as the “not that there’s anything wrong with that” line.  Human nature is a little more complicated than that. And you’d think by now we’d be evolved enough to know.

Ha. You knew I couldn’t make it through an entire post without blockquotes.


Written by whackanarwhal

April 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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