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newsmongering 02/23

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So I was out of town for a few days (hello, Iowa!) and then I got the plague (hello, NyQuil!) and actually I still have a cold, and as those of you who know me at all may have noted, when I am sick, most functions involing anything more complicated than sprawling on the couch like a beached whale and sniffling pathetically just sort of clear out for a few days.

Except then I get bored.

So this may not be terribly coherent, is what I’m saying, but today’s been a steady string of The Today Show, NCIS, NCIS:LA, Dr. Strangelove, and The Longest Day (also known as The Longest Movie; I dozed off for a good chunk of the middle and it still felt longer than The Return of the King) and almost every cracked.com article since 2009 (except the ones that looked stupid),

So here goes the blog.

> Apparently there’s a Republican debate tonight? So that should be fun. I’m sure there will be a pile of outraged headlines waiting tomorrow morning.

> Speaking of things that are fun, Vladimir Putin continues his “Remember the Soviet Union? Remember how it was Awesome?” campaign by praising the efficiency of old spy networks in the US during the Cold War. Putin also has an op-ed for Foreign Policy about the need fora strong (read: big) Russian military that basically boils down to, “We need to be able to scare the pants off people.” (Meanwhile, Belarus, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are sort of staring at the rest of the world accusingly right now.)  (Also, Putin seems to think that a strong military is what will keep other countries from invading Russia, when in reality, the parts where Russia is a. bloody huge and b. bloody cold are more what keep other countries from invading Russia.)

> Also, Russia is apparently warning the world to “not be hasty” regarding Iran (show if hands if you read that in Treebeard’s voice).

Russia says the world should not draw “hasty conclusions” over Iran’s most recent rebuff of U.N. attempts to probe suspicions that it is working on nuclear arms. But Western powers are criticizing Tehran. The reactions Wednesday came after the International Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged renewed failure in trying to investigate suspicions of covert Iranian nuclear weapons work

> Speaking of Iran, since when did “intervention” (and I use that term loosely) become a serious option? Why are we pretending this is a real possibility? There’s no way – in any scenario – that that works out well. Here, read about polling.

Take the latest controversy over Iran’s nuclear buildup. Americans said by nearly 2 to 1 in a Pew survey this month that it is more important to “prevent Iran from developing weapons, even if it means taking military action” than to “avoid military conflict, even if Iran may develop nuclear weapons.” One could read this result as an implicit call to arms.

But a contemporaneous CNN/ORC poll found just 17 percent supporting “military action right now.” Some 60 percent of those polled favored “economic and diplomatic efforts” and an additional 22 percent supported “no action at all. This poll, then, gives the sense that an invasion is remarkably unpopular.

Also, read a former UN weapon inspector’s piece about how said war would be a really bad move.

> France is phasing out the term “mademoiselle” as an official designation; shortly, all French women will be “madame,” regardless of marital status.

> You know how I rant a lot about contraception and why access is important? Decent article about it here.

Women who don’t get pregnant unintentionally have much less need to turn to abortion as a possible solution to that problem. The former Soviet republic of Georgia had the highest rate of abortions in the world at the turn of the millennium — an annual rate of one abortion for every five married women of childbearing age in 1999. But that rate declined 15 percent over the next six years as contraceptive prevalence increased by nearly a quarter, according to an analysis by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Similarly, a 46 percent decline in abortions in Turkey between 1988 and 1998 was associated with more widespread use of modern contraceptives and more effective use of traditional methods. Again, research from a decade ago in areas of Matlab in Bangladesh where high-quality contraception services were available found that about one in 50 pregnancies ended in abortion. Compare that with a national average in Bangladesh of around one in 10.

> Hey, so if you’re in Virginia and need an abortion, the state government no longer wants to rape you with an ultrasound wand before letting you in. So that’s cool! (Well, whether they want to or not is immaterial, the point is that now they can’t.)

> Something about how a briefcase full of confidential documents regarding drones was lifted off a French military contractor executive in a train station in Paris? I don’t even know.

> And I apparently need to go read up on Iran, so… I’m out. Good night.




Written by whackanarwhal

February 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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