Friday, June 3, 2011

Roundup

Time for another Roundup! Also known as: I sift through the mess so you don't have to. And since it was memorial day this week, here's a link to Howard Zinn's Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day?.

Random Picture:

More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010 from GOOD
It hasn't been a secret that for the last two years more American soldiers committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for a while now, but I'm still amazed that no one seems to care (at least in politics).

Articles/Posts:

Opposition to Elizabeth Warren extremely well funded, inherently sexist by the Daily Kos:
Frank, speaking at at news conference with members of Congress who had signed a letter to Obama asking him to use his recess appointment power to give Warren the slot, said that sexism played a role in the opposition to her appointment.

"The fact that she's a woman is a part of this; financial regulation has been very male preserve," Frank said. "There is no question that the effort to demonize Elizabeth Warren is in part because a woman shouldn't be telling bankers what to do.

"That's not appropriate. Some people think that for a woman to be in a heightened position regarding the titans of the financial industry is not appropriate," Frank said. "Consumer issues are issues that women are very much concerned about. Woman are the handlers of family finance, they are often taken advantage of."
TRASHING: The Dark Side of Sisterhood by Joreen:
It's been a long time since I was trashed. I was one of the first in the country, perhaps the first in Chicago, to have my character, my commitment, and my very self attacked in such a way by Movement women that it left me torn in little pieces and unable to function. It took me years to recover, and even today the wounds have not entirely healed. Thus I hang around the fringes of the Movement, feeding off it because I need it, but too fearful to plunge once more into its midst. I don't even know what I am afraid of. I keep telling myself there's no reason why it should happen again -- if I am cautious -- yet in the back of my head there is a pervasive, irrational certainty that says if I stick my neck out, it will once again be a lightning rod for hostility. For years I have written this spiel in my head, usually as a speech for a variety of imaginary Movement audiences. But I have never thought to express myself on it publicly because I have been a firm believer in not washing the Movement's dirty linen in public. I am beginning to change my mind.

...What is "trashing," this colloquial term that expresses so much, yet explains so little? It is not disagreement; it is not conflict; it is not opposition. These are perfectly ordinary phenomena which, when engaged in mutually, honestly, and not excessively, are necessary to keep an organism or organization healthy and active. Trashing is a particularly vicious form of character assassination which amounts to psychological rape. It is manipulative, dishonest, and excessive. It is occasionally disguised by the rhetoric of honest conflict, or covered up by denying that any disapproval exists at all. But it is not done to expose disagreements or resolve differences. It is done to disparage and destroy.
This article was written in 1976, but I think a lot of us can relate to this sentiment (especially online).

White House launches LGBT website by Pink News:
The White House has launched a website aimed specifically at LGBT people and highlighting President Obama’s ongoing support of and commitment to the LGBT community.

The website – called Winning the Future – has been launched to coincide with American LGBT History Month.
Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechdel test by Jennifer Kesler:
Right. A bunch of self-back-slapping professed liberals wouldn’t want you to think they routinely dismiss women in between writing checks to Greenpeace. Gosh, no – it was they. The audience. Those unsophisticated jackasses we effectively worked for when we made films. They were making us do this awful thing. They, the man behind the screen. They, the six-foot-tall invisible rabbit. We knew they existed because there were spreadsheets with numbers, and no matter how the numbers computed, they never added up to, “Oh, hey, look – men and boys are totally watching Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley like it’s no big deal they’re chicks instead of guys.” They always somehow added up to “Oh, hey, look – those effects/that Arnold’s so awesome, men and boys saw this movie despite some chick in a lead role.”
A Matter of Class: Legal Action and Barriers to Such S.E. Smith:
“Within the criminal justice system system, the government is required to provide legal assistance to people who cannot afford it, but the quality of that assistance varies. Not, I hasten to add, because people like public defenders are bad at their jobs. Because they often have very high case loads, which makes it hard to focus on a single case, especially a complex one. Because they have limited resources for conducting investigations, retaining expert witnesses, and doing everything possible to win a case. Public defenders do the best with what they have and sometimes catch a lucky break in the form of pro bono assistance through a law firm or public service organization.

But this is nothing compared to the defense and legal teams people with money can muster. Starting with ‘team,’ as in a group of highly qualified lawyers supported by paralegals, administrative assistants, and investigators. If information is available, there’s a good chance they will find it, because they do not leave a single stone unturned. They conduct detailed investigations, they plan ahead, they devote a lot of time and energy to defense. If they can’t win a case, they will push hard for sentence reduction, credit for time served, and other benefits, with the goal of making the situation as comfortable for their clients as possible. This level of service is not available to people who need public defenders. It’s just not, and that sets up inherent inequalities even in the system where people allegedly have an equal and fair shake.”
Follow the link. The blog has lots of insight and interesting posts.

Michele Bachmann Money-Bomb Fizzles

On Wednesday, Bachmann launched a money-bomb fundraising event entitled, "Make Barack Obama a One-Term President," tying the event to her own potential candidacy and the hopes of her supporters that she might get in the race.

...At time of writing Thursday morning, the counter on Bachmann's campaign site indicates that she has raised...$165,151, far short of the $240,000 goal. Compare that to Mitt Romney, who recently staged a one-day fundraising bonanza, utilizing a nationwide phone bank, which took in a whopping $10.25 million.
U.S. official cites misconduct in Japanese American internment cases:
Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal, in an extraordinary admission of misconduct, took to task one of his predecessors for hiding evidence and deceiving the Supreme Court in two of the major cases in its history: the World War II rulings that upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.

Katyal said Tuesday that Charles Fahy, an appointee of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, deliberately hid from the court a report from the Office of Naval Intelligence that concluded the Japanese Americans on the West Coast did not pose a military threat. The report indicated there was no evidence Japanese Americans were disloyal, were acting as spies or were signaling enemy submarines, as some at the time had suggested.
Egypt: general confirms "virginity checks" forced on female protesters by military by Xeni Jardin:
Via CNN and other sources today, the revolting news that a senior Egyptian general admits so-called "virginity checks" (presumably, forcible examination of the hymen) were performed on women arrested in at least one demonstration this spring. Previously, military authorities denied it. Now, an Egyptian general who asked not to be identified defends the practice—wait for it—as a protective measure for the women's own good.
They just wanted to make sure the women weren't virgins so they couldn't say they were raped by Egyptian authorities apparently. And they weren't virgins. Those dirty whores!

Random Videos:

Introducing the New Food Icon:


I know it's a little cheesy, but I like it. I think the plate is clear and more direct in a way that children can easily understand. The food pyramid sucks.

Bush & Cheney Top List Of Worst People Of ALL Time:


Ha! Some middle school kids deserve a high five at least.

Down by 311:


Global Commission On Drug Policy Calls For Drugs Legalization:


War on Drugs has failed? I'm shocked!

Random Quote:
“I wish that my childhood would have been different. I do not, however, regret what happened. This does not mean that I would gladly go through it again. But mythologies of all times and all places tell us that those who enter the abyss and survive can bring back important lessons. I have no need to merely imagine the unimaginable. And I will no longer forget. I have learned that whether I choose to feel or not, pain exists, and whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, atrocities continue. I have grown to understand that in the shadow of the unspeakable I can and must speak and act against our culture’s tangled web of destructiveness, and stop the destruction at its roots.” —Derrick Jensen

5 comments:

  1. Oh my Gosh !
    I posted that video about Bush and Cheney. It's funny. Even funnier, is the superintendent's reaction as he tries to weasel out of responsibiity.


    I didn't realize the suicide rate was higher than the combat death rate. That is scary and sad.

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  2. mac: I must have missed the video but I totally agree! Hilarious.

    And yes, it's incredibly sad.

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  3. Clearly, these kids - because they ARE - are not equipped for combat. Killing isn't that hard. However, unless you're a psychopath, living with reality of being a killer is very difficult.

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  4. Yes definitely. It's also interesting because the rates are higher amongst reservists and a lot of the soldiers have never left the country. If you follow the GOOD link the say:

    One of the problems hindering the military's attempt to address soldier suicides is that there's no real rhyme or reason to what kind of soldier is killing himself. While many suicide victims are indeed afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after facing heavy combat in the Middle East, many more have never even been deployed. Of the 112 guardsmen who committed suicide last year, more than half had never even left American soil.

    "If you think you know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, "because we don't know what it is."

    Crazy.

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  5. The forced virginity checks are messed up on so many levels. Aside from the fact that there is no medically accurate way of testing whether someone is a virgin, they're basically saying that only virgins can be raped. Does that mean they think it's okay for police to sexually assault women as long as the women have had sex before? I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they're saying, and presumably some of those deemed non-virgins by the test are in fact virgins, based on how statistically inaccurate those tests are. They're just giving themselves an excuse. (and all of that aside, I would consider a forced virginity test to be sexual assault in and of itself)

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What's on your mind?