news you should know about

newsmongering 05/11

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> Man, that’s a doozy of a storm outside. On the upside, my car can’t get any more hail-dented than it already is.  On the downside, Mom planted roses yesterday. Um.

> So the Navy was going to let its chaplains perform same-sex unions if the Navy went ahead and recognized openly gay military service this year, but then the House GOP decided that we couldn’t have that.

> An Al Jazeera journalist who’s been missing for two weeks since arriving in Damascus is believed to have been deported to Iran. Iran, naturally, is claiming no knowledge, making no noise, and pretending it doesn’t exist.

> At least ten people have been killed in an earthquake in Spain.

> “Several” (at least nine) protestors have been killed in a fresh wave of violence in Yemen. President Saleh has indeed reneged on his promise to step down within the month (and, uh, not to toot my own horn or anything, but: called it).

> Syrian tanks are shelling Syria’s third-largest city, ostensibly to protect it from “insurgents.” By which they apparently mean most of its citizens. According to NPR this afternoon, over 800 Syrians have been killed in the last six weeks, with scores if not hundreds more disappeared.

> There’s a lot to be said about this article, but I’m just going to focus on the headline and subtitle, because it’s just so incredible that we can even have a conversation about it. The headline: “Rape of women in DR Congo ‘tops 1000 a day’.” The subtitle: “Average of 48 females aged 15-49 are raped every hour in DR Congo, 26 times more than previously thought, study reports.”

Firstly: can we even comprehend the number in the title? One thousand every day. Fortunately, the subtitle breaks it down for us, but it’s still too incredible to comprehend, because it works out to about 48 per hour. And my favorite part – my absolutely favorite part – is that this is nearly twice the previously-reported average of 26 rapes per hour, which of course makes this a horrible tragedy and we shant stand for it. Because it’s those 22 additional victims aged 15 to 49 that make it matter. The first 26 were acceptable losses, apparently.

At what point can we stop ignoring this? And at what point does  it become too big to think about?

> Somewhat speaking of which, Bahrain would like you to know that Al Jazeera’s accusation that its security forces were imprisoning and beating schoolgirls during the recent wave of crackdowns (which I haven’t be covering, I’m sorry) is – and I quote – “a blatant and malicious fabrication.” Given the well-substantiated reports of Bahraini security forces imprisoning doctors for treating wounded protestors, I think we can agree that Bahrain is well-acquainted with all things blatant and malicious.

> Osama bin Laden’s family has released a statement to the New York Times:

Without agreeing to the ways of OBL as to how he professed, believed and operated, We Omar Ossama Binladin, and my brothers, the lawful children of the Ossama Binladin (OBL) herewith demand an inquiry under UNO to reach to the accuracy of the facts as stated by United States into the fundamental question as to why our father was not arrested and tried but summarily executed without a court of law.

Call me naive, but they sort of have a point…? For the sake of – of everything, of clarity, of closure, I understand why the order was made to assassinate him. But it still feels ridiculous to start two official wars and several unofficial ones, let alone an international manhunt, over a man who threatened American ideals…only to not follow those ideals in dispatching him . I know he wasn’t an American citizen. I know he wasn’t in America. But still. But still.


> Hey, kids, remember how the Indiana GOP just cut funding to the organization that provides healthcare to 3,500 women a year? Kindly do bear that in mind, because the National Partnership for Women & Family’s Women’s Health Policy Report would like you to know:

…the percentage of women who did not fill prescriptions or skipped tests, treatments and follow-up visits because they could not afford it increased from 34% in 2001 to 48% last year. About 33% of women in 2010 spent more than 10% of their income on medical costs, compared with 25% who spent that amount in 2001. An estimated 27 million women ages 19 through 64 were uninsured for all or part of 2010, the report found.

So just, you know, think on that. And if anyone wants to dig up some comparative statistics on men, that would be cool.

> Newt Gingrich has announced (after announcing his intention to announce his intention to announce) his 2012 presidential campaign. The BBC describes him as “the best known of what analysts consider a lacklustre field of declared Republican candidates.” His website is here, for anyone’s edification, and I would like to state for the record that I cannot believe someone had not previously registered http://www.newt.org. I’m a bit upset I didn’t. I could have either kept it and rather hacked him off, or sold it for massive amounts of money. Actually, he probably would have simply had me eliminated via remote drone had I taken the latter option. The New York Times has a delightful editorial here.

> The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to allow (but not require – lets head off the rumors now) the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. Awesome! I overheard this one on NPR; a church official released a statement dryly if politely requesting that churches tempted to leave the fold due to the ruling perhaps ought to sit on it for a year and then, having noted that no one is marrying turtles, reconsider. I may have rephrased that.


Written by whackanarwhal

May 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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