Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Last week I didn't feel much like reading the news so it seems I had a lot to make up for today. Here's a roundup highlighting some of the more interesting things I've come across lately online.

Random Pic:

From Awful Library Books. One of the more entertaining blogs I've come across recently.


Israel Bans Boycotts Against the State:
The Israeli Parliament on Monday passed contentious legislation that effectively bans any public call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.

Critics and civil rights groups denounced the new law as antidemocratic and a flagrant assault on the freedom of expression and protest. The law’s defenders said it was a necessary tool in Israel’s fight against what they called its global delegitimization.
Majority Don’t Want Entitlement Cuts To Reduce Deficit:
Despite all the talk about cutting the deficit, neither party has wanted to be the first one to put entitlements on the chopping block. A Pew poll released Thursday explains why, as it shows that a robust majority of Americans don't want the government to rollback benefits for entitlement programs, even if those cuts are made to reduce the deficit...

Those findings come as several reports indicate that the White House may offer cuts to both Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican concessions on other fronts.
This is my shocked face.

Everything you need to know about phone hacking in five minutes:
The story started five years ago. A private investigator called Glen Mulcaire and the News of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman, suddenly found themselves in deep water. They expected to get away with intercepting messages meant for the royal family. They were wrong. The pair went to jail, there was a minor bit of scandal and the paper's editor, Andy Coulson, resigned. Everything went back to normal.

Skip forward to 2009 , when investigative reporter Nick Davies published evidence that phone-hacking was actually extremely widespread at the newspaper – not the 'one rogue reporter' explanation the News of the World had relied on. The Met had a quick look at the allegations and decided that it wouldn’t reopen the case...

And so it rumbled on. Everything changed last Monday, when the scandal went from one which concerned celebrities to normal families. The latest Guardian revelations suggest that journalists at the newspaper hacked into the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a teenage girl who went missing in 2002. They listened in as her family and friends left increasingly desperate messages. Then, when the system started to fill up, they did something that would change everything. They deleted the previous messages. This gave the family false hope, because they presumed it was their daughter still using the phone. It complicated the police investigation and potentially deleted important evidence.
Political InQueery - Gaffes & Annoyances:
We are still early in the 2012 election cycle, but already the primary phase has had its share of missed opportunities, hilariously inaccurate statements, and misplaced emphases. Defining those moments is probably up to some debate, but here are some candidates...
Short post about some of the idiocy of the election.

Obama cracks down on abuses by big-city police departments:
In a marked shift from the Bush administration, President Obama's Justice Department is aggressively investigating several big urban police departments for systematic civil rights abuses such as harassment of racial minorities, false arrests, and excessive use of force.

In interviews, activists and attorneys on the ground in several cities where the DOJ has dispatched civil rights investigators welcomed the shift. To progressives disappointed by Eric Holder's Justice Department on key issues like the failure to investigate Bush-era torture and the prosecution of whistle-blowers, recent actions by the DOJ's Civil Rights Division are a bright spot.
One of the few stories about Obama's DOJ that doesn't piss me off.

The Politics and Cartels of Mexico's Drug War:
The narcomantas, as these public communiqués of the cartels are known, presaged a horrific explosion of violence in Monterrey, a city of 4 million people in northeastern Mexico and the country’s financial capital. In the months that followed, students would be gunned down at the gate of the city’s elite university. A mayor would be abducted, tortured and murdered. City squares, police stations and even the US consulate would be attacked with grenades. Blockades controlled by masked gunmen would paralyze the city for days on end. At the root of this violence was a turf war between the authors of the narcomantas, the Zetas, and their former ally the Gulf Cartel.

It was the kind of violence one had come to expect in places like Ciudad Juárez or Tijuana—border cities that have long served as trafficking hubs to the United States. But how could thriving Monterrey, the “Sultan of the North,” which only years earlier had been deemed one of the safest cities in Latin America, descend so quickly into chaos? If it could happen here, was anywhere in Mexico safe for long?

Yet what from the outside looked like a sudden collapse was in reality decades in the making. At its root was the decay of the institutions entrusted with providing law and order, ones that, despite their chronic dysfunction and corruption, had been able to contain drug violence in the old state-run system. But when that system crumbled, and when, in the face of “the monster” of organized crime, Monterrey’s elite, politicians and public turned to those institutions to rescue them, they found them rotten to the core. And so, Monterrey’s residents turned in desperation to the last power they felt they could trust: the military. It was a choice many would come to regret.
A long but detailed article on drug cartels in Mexico.

In U.S., Hawaiians Least Stressed, Residents in Utah Most:
Hawaiians were the least likely in the United States in 2010 to say they felt stressed for much of the previous day, at 30.2%. Residents of Utah were the most likely to report experiencing stress, at 45.1%, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index...

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index state data underscore that stress is a complex emotion that is likely related to numerous life issues. States where residents have higher levels of stress differ from each other on various fronts: Some have more high-income residents, while others have more low-income residents. Some, like Utah and Massachusetts, have residents who boast great physical health, while others, like Kentucky and West Virginia, have residents who are in poor health. And in some of the high-stress states residents rate their lives highly -- as in Connecticut, Utah, and Massachusetts -- while in others, residents rate their lives at the lowest end of the scale, as in Ohio and Rhode Island.
Interesting poll.


Michele Bachmann Craziness:

Yes, because when I hear "fair minded reasonable thinking person" Bachmann is the first person I think of.

My Drunk Kitchen Holiday - Fourth of July:

How LeBron James Broke the Golden Rule of Sports:

Who Knew? Study Says Men Like to Cuddle:

Gasp! Men like cuddling? Say it isn't so! I don't know if I'm just unlucky, but I seem to always get the cuddlers.

Random Quote:
“I’ve had librarians say to me, “People in my school don’t agree with homosexuality, so it’s difficult to have your book on the shelves.” Here’s the thing: Being gay is not an issue, it is an identity. It is not something that you can agree or disagree with. It is a fact, and must be defended and represented as a fact.

To use another part of my identity as an example: if someone said to me, “I’m sorry, but we can’t carry that book because it’s so Jewish and some people in my school don’t agree with Jewish culture,” I would protest until I reached my last gasp. Prohibiting gay books is just as abhorrent…

Discrimination is not a legitimate point of view. Silencing books silences the readers who need them most. And silencing these readers can have dire, tragic consequences. Never forget who these readers are. They are just as curious and anxious about life as any other teenager.” — David Levithan

1 comment:

  1. I've pretty much resigned myself to vote for whoever is not an incumbent in the coming elections. Except for maybe Isaakson. He seems to have some decent ideas about the budget.


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