news you should know about

newsmongering 05/12 (the ‘I think I have a sunburn. Again. Oops?’ edition)

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> By revoking the citizenship of any Palestinian who has left the West Bank since 1967, Israel has revoked the citizenship of 140,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank.

> US Attorney General Eric Holder is insisting that the bin Laden operation was not an assassination but rather a “kill or capture” mission because bin Laden’s surrender would have been accepted if offered. Seizure of computers and hard drives from the bin Laden mansion in Abbottabad following the operation suggest that bin Laden was heavily involved in the continued operation of Al Qaeda.

> Relatedly, the Navy SEAL team that (didn’t?) assassinate bin Laden is under increased security for fears of reprisal attacks. Precisely how one guards a team of SEALS is something I wonder about in my spare time. I hope it involves Tank Girl.

> More protestors have been wounded in Yemen.

> Remember the new DR Congo rape statistics I discussed yesterday? What the article didn’t mention was that around 60% of those rapes are committed by husbands or partners – not machete-yielding rebels. The article’s author suggests that it’s a result of desensitization to violence created by decades of war. Foreign Policy’s Elizabeth Dickinson takes a similar tack, noting that the number of rapes have not increased recently; rather, reporting has become more accurate. Rape, she argues, has become part of the Congo’s social system.

> India has pledged $500 million to the Afghan government in support of Kabul’s efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.

> The trials of American hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal has been delayed. They have been held in Iran on espionage charges since late July 2009. Iran has given no explanation.

> The ‘kill the gays’ bill has allegedly been shelved in Uganda, for the moment. The ever-excellent rm reminds us that this isn’t enough:

So you know what happens if we manage to stop the Ugandan LGBT death penalty law (which got tabled and then they extended the legislative session to deal with it again)? They get laws instead that only put LGBT people in prison for 7 years to life, and gay people there keep getting murdered in crimes the police will, at best, ignore.

Added 08:31 – Just kidding! The bill hasn’t been shelved, and the execution component has not, as was sometimes reported, been removed.] Man, remember when David Bahti was on The Rachel Maddow Show? Most simultaneously awkward and infuriating interview ever:

Maddow: You’re advocating murdering innocent people.

Bahti: We are a sovereign nation protecting our people!

Maddow: You’re advocating murdering innocent people.

Bahti: They are recruiting children!

Maddow: …no, they aren’t, and you’re advocating murdering innocent people.

Bahti: …sovereign nation!


I may have paraphrased some of that.

> Foreign Policy has a list of Middle East blogs you (and I) (and the President) should be reading.

> Teachers in a school district in California have been ordered by the school board to make sure their lessons are “politically balanced.” Wonder what that’ll do to test scores?

> There’s quite a cool article on the implications of Chris Colfer’s/Kurt Hummel’s countertenor here:

Colfer’s is the first solo voice in recent memory to break into the mainstream as gender-queer, and as such, has become the site of both euphoria and anxiety. The gender ambiguity of his voice, specifically its “feminine” register, is always a prominent thread in discussions on websites ranging from YouTube to gay-specific blogs such as Towleroad, and this femininity is almost always framed as a problem (“he’s got a good voice, but he sings like a girl” or “he’s the worst gay stereotype”). Such responses reiterate dominant conflations of voice, gender, and sexuality, and Colfer’s deviations from these norms has spurred dismissive reactions to his “inauthentic” style and allegations of Auto-Tuning. But the nay-sayers only reinforce his cultural significance. Colfer and his voice embody the complex emotional life of what is usually the most ridiculed of gay stereotypes: the sissy. Initially a potentially stock character, Kurt has developed into a transformative one.

> Salon would like you to know that seeing Bridesmades is a social responsibility (in a good way). A few of my friends have seen prescreenings of the film and report that it is excellent. Also, Tilda Swinton’s We Need To Talk About Kevin is apparently terrifying and excellent.

> I haven’t watched the videos yet, but apparently Mike Huckabee would like to teach your children US history!

…kids today are simply not excited by the incredible stories and lessons of our past. What’s worse, some teachers and education boards are using history and social studies classes as their soap box to promote their own political opinions and biases! And to me, that’s simply unacceptable.

Again, I haven’t watched it, but apparently Huckabee’s history involves a lot of American Exceptionalism, and manages to teach World War II without mentioning FDR. There is, however, a lot of Reagan! So enjoy that, and Huckabee’s complete lack of – how did he phrase it? – “own political opinions and biases.”


Written by whackanarwhal

May 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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