whackanarwhal

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newsmongering 07/07

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> So I linked to an article on Facebook called “7 Pieces of Good News Nobody is Reporting” and it went over really, really well. Possibly I should try to link to more cheerful stuff in the future?

> ….but that is not this day! Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (aka Kenneth the Page) signed into effect a bill that would require abortion clinics in his state to post signage notifying women of their alternatives to abortion. Because women in his state are totally going to look at that poster and go, “Whoa, what’s this adoption thing?” And in a brilliant piece of PR, he compared alerting women of their options to Mirandizing criminals. Relatedly, Autostraddle has a roundup of the ways (and states!) in which you are screwed if you possess a uterus here.

> Hey, here’s something cheerful! The White House has named Brenda “Sue” Fulton, an openly gay veteran, to the West Point advisory board.

> I reported yesterday that Indian minister of health described gay sex as “unnatural” and a “disease” at an HIV/Aids conference. He has clarified his remarks, and by clarified, I mean not really. He says he was misquoted. The Wall Street Journal thinks that’s not really true:

Mr. Azad, who appeared to be referring to his government’s bad publicity over corruption allegations, also said that he never even used the word gay in his remarks.

“I am sorry if I have hurt feelings of any section of the society. During my speech I used technical words. I kept myself very clear, didn’t use the word homosexual or gay,” said Mr. Azad, according to a report on the website of news channel NDTV.  “The subject was HIV, [I] used man having sex with man in Hindi for contracting HIV.”

That was not what it sounded like on Monday, when Mr. Azad spoke to a gathering in New Delhi of district council leaders from across the country.

“Unfortunately, this disease, where a man has sex with a man, which is absolutely unnatural and shouldn’t happen but it is happening, is spreading around the world and has also come to India,” said Mr. Azad, speaking in Hindi. “Even in our country the numbers of men having sex with men is significant.”

I never cease to be astounded by the things people will say near cameras.

> I’m behind on Syria (sorry, been busy) and haven’t done more than skim these three articles (1, 2, 3), but take a look to keep yourself updated. An article I saw a few days ago on Al Jazeera and can’t find now indicated that 1,300 civilians have been killed within Syria, with 10,000 arrested by internal security forces and another 10,000 now in refugee camps in Turkey.

> Mother Jones‘s Andrew Marantz spent a summer at an Indian call center in 2005. It’s a fascinating read.

Growing up in rural Haryana, Nishant got his picture of the world from grainy Sylvester Stallone movies on a neighbor’s TV. Like all the boys in his village, he dreamed of living in California. “It was a wonderland to me, where no kid goes hungry, where everyone has those fast cars, those red-colored Ford Mustangs.”

Nishant, now 26, moved to Delhi at age 18. His first job was tracking down Americans with delinquent bills. “In training they told us, ‘It’s easy. These guys have the money, they just don’t want to pay.’ They told us, ‘Threaten their credit score, Americans can’t live without good credit.'”

On his first day, Nishant donned his headset, dialed the number on the screen and was connected to a 60-year-old woman in Tennessee. She had an outstanding hospital bill for $400. “I told her, ‘Just pay this, what’s the problem?’ She told me, ‘You don’t understand, I can’t pay.'” They talked for 45 minutes, and the woman cried as she told Nishant about the Iraq War and its toll on American families. “By this time I’m crying also,” Nishant said.

The same day, he was connected with a man living in a trailer. “I told him, ‘What’s a trailer?’ He told me, ‘It’s this tin shed; it gets 90 degrees; we don’t have our own washroom.'” Nishant learned more about America that first day, he told me, than he had in his whole childhood.

> Europe loves Reagan! I am not making this up. He had a mass in Krakow in late June, has a shiny new statue in Freedom Square in Budapest (I’ve been there. It’s surreal), a street named after him in Prague, and a statue in London outside the US embassy.

“The blessed John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were, and continue to be, the beacon of hope for a world fighting against evil, irrespective of whether it is individual or structural evil, which takes on various monstrous forms,” Father Jan Machniak of the Papal University in Krakow told the Polish Press Agency.

…huh.

> Wikileaked cables indicate that US diplomats quietly pushed Saudi politicians for greater latitude (any latitude) for women in Saudi Arabia.

> GOP golden child Tim Pawlenty is a fan of “Bad Romance.” He’s also partial to “Born This Way,” but he might not be  aware of the lyrical message. Tim Pawlenty got glitterbombed (a form of protest I fully support, by the way) by Code Pink, who commented:

“If elected, GOP Presidential candidate said he would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (the ban on openly-gay service). He vetoed a bill in MN that would have allowed surving partners of same-sex couples the right to decide what to do with their loved one’s deceased body, because he believes in ‘traditional marriage’.”

But he’s on the right track, baby. He was born this way.

> I saw Transformers: Unnecessary Pink Floyd Reference yesterday. Salon says just about everything I could have said about it here. I would like to note that the plot, such as it is, is somewhat more coherent than that of its predecessor, Transformers: Revenge of the Wait This Makes No Sense, but that’s not saying a lot.

>  Wanna see Penn & Teller burn a flag at the White House? Yeah, me, too.

> Riley linked me to this comic yesterday. It’s pretty much my life in like three panels.

Speaking of which, is anyone else having problems with Firefox 4 crashing at inopportune moments? Because seriously, this is getting ridiculous.

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Written by whackanarwhal

July 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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