whackanarwhal

news you should know about

newsmongering 06/07

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> Happy birthday to Griswold v. Connecticut! This 1965 ruling protected the right to privacy, which in this case meant birth control for married couples (fancy that!), and paved the way for Roe v. Wade in 1973.  The language from the decision is pretty great:

Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.

We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights – older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.

> Yemeni president Salleh has (“temporarily”) left the country to seek medical treatment following a rocket attack on his palace on Saturday. He is now in Saudi Arabia with a collapsed lung and burns over 40% of his body, and there’s apparently some contention over whether he’ll return. Reportedly Royal Marines are off the coast of Yemen in case an evacuation order is issued for the hundreds of Britons in the country.

> Foreign Policy doesn’t believe the US will recognize the Libyan rebels as the country’s legitimate government, pointing out that transferring recognition from an established (if despotic) government to a rebel group is counter to established US policy. Although given that we pretty well led the charge to oust said established (if despotic) government, I wonder if we may break with policy.

> Libyan rape victim Eman al-Obeidy is apparently headed for the US:

CNN reports that Obeidi had moved from Tunisia to Qatar and was awaiting resettlement as a refugee when she was suddenly deported on Thursday and sent back to Benghazi. It appears that she was beaten before she left Qatar, and Najah Dawaji, a Libyan freedom activist based in the U.S., says says she had a black eye, bruises on her legs, and scratches on her arms.

The Qatar-based newspaper The Peninsula denies that Obeidi was beaten or deported, but she says officials in Libya’s opposition Transitional National Council pushed the Qataris to kick her out. The U.S. said it was “disappointed” by this turn of events, which it called a “breach of humanitarian norms.”

Thankfully American and European officials have stepped in and helped Obeidi out of the country once again. Yesterday a State Department source said that she had boarded plane to Malta with her father, and was heading to a processing center in Romania.

Obeidi has said in several interviews that she would like to live in the U.S., and the State Department source says they’re “prepared to provide whatever help and support Eman may need.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reportedly, “been deeply interested in the case and has followed it throughout.” Her sister, Marwa al-Obeidi, said Clinton arranged for a private plane to take Obeidi and her father to the U.S. via Malta and Austria. It may take them weeks to be cleared to enter the country, but for the time being it seems she’s out of immediate danger.

> Footage has made its way to YouTube depicting Syrian security forces planting weapons on the corpses of unarmed civilian protesters.

> Bahrain has 47 doctors and nurses who treated injured protestors on trial for (among other charges – there’s a full list at the article) “calling for the overthrow of the ruling system,” “inciting hatred against the ruling system,” and “taking part in illegal protests for criminal ends.” On the way to work today, I heard NPR discussion how Bahrain’s actions against the doctors/nurses has fanned what was a relatively small protest from the lowest classes into a middle class and therefore, a more politically-significant issue.

> The Iranian women’s football (soccer) team has been banned from the 2012 Olympics, as their headscarves are apparently a uniform violation. Allegedly it’s a safety issue, but I’d be curious to see how headscarves would be problematic in ways that loose long hair or ponytails wouldn’t be. Either way, it’s a shame:

In the Islamic Republic of Iran all women are obliged to cover their hair, neck, arms and legs according to the state’s interpretation of Shiite Islamic tenets. Female athletes who compete internationally have to obey the country’s dress code. Iranian women athletes have excelled during international events in sports such as karate and volleyball, but are notably absent from sports such as swimming and gymnastics.

“This ruling means that women soccer in Iran is over,” said Shahrzad Mozafar, the team’s former head coach. She said that now that FIFA is no longer allowing Iranian women to wear scarves, the Iranian government will no longer send them abroad for competitions. “Headscarves are simply what we wear in Iran,” she said.

> Apparently a ten year-old Egyptian boy at school in Kuwait was briefly expelled from school – from all Kuwaiti schools – for “inciting revolution.” By some accounts, the kid was a snot, but still.  Anyway, he asked his teacher why Kuwait didn’t have a revolution like other countries did, and BAM expulsion. Following a brief international incident, the kid’s back in school.

> Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is now a legal political party for the first time (it’s been around for 80 years). Provided Fox News et al have remembered that Egypt exists,  I think we can expect histrionics any day now.

> To the surprise of absolutely no one (although perhaps to some resigned irritation), Qaddafi has announced that he will “fight to the end.” Which is the sort of statement that tends to come shortly before said end. NATO airstrikes have hit Tripoli, thus far a Qaddafi stronghold, and explosions have been reported in the close vicinity of the Qaddafi compound.

> Protests have apparently “erupted” in Macedonia after a young man was beaten to death by police in a public square. However, I haven’t seen a head count (or a body count), nor discussion of any reprisals, nor any discussion of what precisely was being protested (corruption? Brutality? Unemployment?)…so we’ll see how this unfolds.

> Okay, okay, fine, I did some light digging… There was just an election, there’s been looting and pillaging and pretty disgraceful behavior all over the place, and absolutely no accountability…basically, tensions were high and this was the tipping point. From what I’m seeing. And there’s more on the beating here.

> In the aftermath of Fukushima, G20 is meeting in Paris today to discuss nuclear safety.

> Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi appears to (finally) be on his way out:

“The election debacle is not my fault,” the Italian Prime Minister defiantly declared following local and regional elections last week. Instead, he blamed the media.

The irony was hard to ignore. Berlusconi, after all, is a media czar, controlling several Italian television stations and newspapers in addition to having a significant degree of control over RAI, the state-owned public broadcaster. Indeed, such far-reaching control of the media is unheard of elsewhere in the European Union.

But Berlusconi seemed untroubled by such trifles. Thankless voters like those in Naples, he said, would “deeply regret” their decisions and the citizens of Milan, his traditional base of power, should “start praying.”

…Despite such efforts at bravado (Berlusconi also claims to have “zero point zero” problems), it is becoming increasingly clear that Italians are preparing for the post-Berlusconi era.

…Following the communal and regional elections, the opposition now controls seven out of 11 major Italian cities. In Milan, left-wing candidate Giuliano Pisapia succeeded in breaking the conservative grip on the city stretching back to 1992. In Naples, the party of leftist candidate Luigi de Magistris took 65 percent of the vote in a run-off election, leaving just 35 percent to the candidate from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party.

> National Geographic has a heartbreaking piece on child brides here.

So in communities of pressing poverty, where nonvirgins are considered ruined for marriage and generations of ancestors have proceeded in exactly this fashion—where grandmothers and great-aunts are urging the marriages forward, in fact, insisting, I did it this way and so shall she—it’s possible to see how the most dedicated anti-child-marriage campaigner might hesitate, trying to fathom where to begin. “One of our workers had a father turn to him, in frustration,” says Sreela Das Gupta, a New Delhi health specialist who previously worked for the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), one of several global nonprofits working actively against early marriage. “This father said, ‘If I am willing to get my daughter married late, will you take responsibility for her protection?’ The worker came back to us and said, ‘What am I supposed to tell him if she gets raped at 14?’ These are questions we don’t have answers to.”

> Anonymous has released a message to NATO. As messages go, it’s not great; there’s no real list of complaints or desired gains. And I’m not sure that “So come at me bro” was actually necessary. I don’t see what the overall point of the message is; it’s certainly not going to sway hearts/minds in NATO, and it’s not specific enough to incite public support for Anonymous’ actions.

> A Catholic school in Ontario has banned rainbow paraphernalia on the grounds that rainbows are associated with the Pride movement, and therefore are anti-Jesus or something. I also seem to remember this thing with God and Noah and a rainbow, but apparently God’s promise to humanity takes a backseat to homophobia.

> Coffee can apparently cause hallucinations! Certain people I know suddenly make a lot more sense.

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Written by whackanarwhal

June 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] A Libyan rebel group has sold its first oil – and they’ve sold it to the US: “The rebel government in control of the eastern part of […]


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