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newsmongering 06/09

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> Sean Hannity said that Big Bird was evil. I disputed that assertion.

> The Bahrain Grand Prix has been cancelled because eleven of its drivers/teams refused to participate. The race had already been rescheduled once because of what could be euphemistically referred to as “unrest” in the country.

> There’s apparently some concern that the “gay girl in Damascus” blog is/was a hoax.

> After dozens (Syrian authorities say over a hundred) security forces were killed and some army members defected to the opposition in the northern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shugour, tanks and thousands of troops have been dispatched to “pacify” the city. Hundreds of Syrians have fled to Turkey ahead of the troops; British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned Syria that Britain “will not be silent.” I suspect that at this point, the Syrian government doesn’t particularly care how much Cameron squawks. And unfortunately, I also suspect that the situation in Syria will have to get much, much worse before the UN is able to mobilize to do much of anything; between NATO’s present involvement in Libya and Russia and China’s policies of not interfering, it will take scenarios much worse that the present to push them into action.

And into what sort of action – I don’t know.

> The suicide rate in Japan in May is up 20% from the same month the previous year.

> The UN has announced that internet access is a human right. Depending on which circles you run in, this either makes the UN pretty hip or really out of touch. Haven’t read the full language yet; will try to tonight after work, but wading through 22 pages of legalese has a way of taking time.

> A scientist in India has developed a form of male birth control that involves two injections to the scrotum, is 100% effective for ten years, is completely reversible, and has no side effects.

Here’s how it works: a non-toxic, positively charged polymer gets injected into the little tube that your sperm pass through on their way from your testicles to, you know, out. The polymer doesn’t actually block the tube, but it stays there, and when sperm (which have a negative charge) pass by, the charge differential from the polymer zaps them. All of them. Every time.


> History geeks (and normal people), listen up! The University of Iowa has a project where YOU can transcribe scans of civil war diaries. It looks really, really cool.

> Pandagon’s Amanda Marcotte on Rick Santorum and his candidacy for president, focusing on his demonization of birth control and the deliberate distancing of GOP candidates from anything approaching mainstream:

I mention contraception in large part because it’s an excellent stand-in for how far right the Republicans have gone in response to Obama winning the election.  And how they’ve deliberately chosen to be out of touch and paranoid over the other available options.  I have a mixed response to this.  On one hand, I’m glad, because by concentrating their efforts on just the most paranoid, out-of-touch people in their base, Republicans are limiting their general appeal to voters.  Most people just really aren’t going to be as fully on board with a politics that is based solely on sex and race panic.  I think most of us are too busy trying to get work and trying to get laid.

> I’m behind on the Daily Show, but apparently Stewart (and his viewers) felt that his coverage of Weinergate had been lacking. He and John Oliver took it upon themselves to rectify this scenario. You also get to see Stewart bleeding pretty badly onscreen, which may or may not make you more inclined to watch the clip.

> Speaking of the Weiner, his wife is apparently pregnant. Salon’s Joan Walsh is now calling for his resignation, arguing that his wife shouldn’t be dragged through the upcoming investigations and media tsunami; I say wait and see what the wife wants. She’s Hilary Clinton’s body man. She knows how politics work.

> Also on Salon, Steve Kornacki has a rundown of the four possible ways he believes Weiner’s scenario will end. Two words: cable news.

> Nick Kristoff says that the conservative American vision of the US looks an awful lot like Pakistan.

> Okay, so I’ve been rewatching The Lord of the Rings lately, so it’s probably just a coincidence that Apple’s new campus looks a lot like Isengard.

> J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg have made a movie called Super 8. I may actually have to see this (adding this to Harry Potter 7.5 and the new X-Men).

> The Netherlands has enacted a law ensuring net neutrality.

> The descendents of Plessy and Ferguson (of the landmark 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, which legalized racial discrimination in the US until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954) have formed a coalition to fight racism. It’s a pretty cool article.

“The first thing I said to her,” recalled Plessy, “was, ‘Hey, it’s no longer Plessy versus Ferguson. It’s Plessy and Ferguson.’ ”

And if they aren’t going to team up and, I don’t know, fight crime, it’s pretty great that they’re fighting racism.

> The ever-excellent rm on the evolution of pride parades:

Which means all of this is about the evolution of community and about assimilation again. About how we’re not supposed to be able to have it both ways, but how we are supposed to be grateful for floats from Chipotle and Delta (do they make you feel more human?). And let’s not even get into the marginalization I feel as a woman at Pride — there’s the dance and the women’s dance. I am just as gay as you, and people shouldn’t make assumptions about gender, and I hate the many, many types of segregation that go on in my community (along lines that include orientations, genders and race).

My community. Which I feel like I need more than ever because we are in this fight for so many things that are so close, so close, right now. But that community feels more fractured, apathetic, and lost than it ever has. We weathered crises and have wound up at sea.

> Sarah Palin would love to meet Margaret Thatcher on her upcoming trip to England! Lady Thatcher, however, believes that Sarah Palin is nuts. If this were a romantic comedy, they’d be engaged within 90 minutes.

I’m actually kind of impressed that Sarah Palin knows who Margaret Thatcher is. She probably found a link on Ronald Reagan’s Wikipedia page.


Written by whackanarwhal

June 9, 2011 at 1:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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