May 13th, 2012

Pride & Prejudice

Four Iranian men due to be hanged for sodomy

Iran court sentences four men from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, to death by hanging for sodomy.

Four men named ‘Saadat Arefi’, ‘Vahid Akbari’, ‘Javid Akbari’ and ‘Houshmand Akbari’ are due to be executed shortly after their verdict was approved recently by high court judges, according to a report from the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) in Iran.

The four men are said to be from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province of Iran.

According to HRANA and JOOPEA, these four men will be hanged for sodomy according Shari’a law.

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Murasaki Shikibu

DeKalb officer investigated after allegedly kicking pregnant woman in stomach

DeKalb officer investigated after allegedly kicking pregnant woman in stomach

Channel 2 Action News has learned a DeKalb County police officer is under criminal investigation for allegedly kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach, then charging her with obstruction of a police officer.

Records show the department never investigated the incident and five supervising officers signed off on the officer's actions.

"I was upset because I couldn't believe an officer would kick me, with my child in my stomach," Raven Dozier told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.

Dozier was nearly nine months pregnant and helping to calm down her brother who was arguing with police. They used a Taser on him, and she cried out.

That's when Officer Jerad Wheeler used what he described in his report as "a front push-kick to the abdomen, as he was taught to do at the academy."

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There are two TV clips and pictures at the source.
Sherlock: Wind in his hair

Christine Todd Whitman: Most Republican Women Support Abortion Rights

At a lunchtime discussion Thursday, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman — a Republican — said she feels ostracized by her party. But, she said, average Republicans — "people who believe in the party that I grew up with, the party that believes in the individual" — have more in common with her than many liberals might think,

Whitman claimed that the majority of Republican women support the right to choose. They may oppose late-term abortions, she said, but few actually want abortion banned in all cases — and that Mitt Romney's opposition to abortion rights is the major reason he's had trouble appealing to female voters.

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  • yeats

A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

Kelsey Griffith graduates on Sunday from Ohio Northern University. To start paying off her $120,000 in student debt, she is already working two restaurant jobs and will soon give up her apartment here to live with her parents. Her mother, who co-signed on the loans, is taking out a life insurance policy on her daughter.

“If anything ever happened, God forbid, that is my debt also,” said Ms. Griffith’s mother, Marlene Griffith.

Ms. Griffith, 23, wouldn’t seem a perfect financial fit for a college that costs nearly $50,000 a year. Her father, a paramedic, and mother, a preschool teacher, have modest incomes, and she has four sisters. But when she visited Ohio Northern, she was won over by faculty and admissions staff members who urge students to pursue their dreams rather than obsess on the sticker price.

“As an 18-year-old, it sounded like a good fit to me, and the school really sold it,” said Ms. Griffith, a marketing major. “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.”

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source. sorry if it seems like i bolded every other sentence, but this is such a well-researched and frankly terrifying article that i wanted to make sure people got it. also, the times has a host of great interactive features about the cost of schooling, plus more information about the students interviewed.
Floating Lady

Pentagon course: Mecca and Medina may have to be obliterated

US military course taught officers 'Islam is the enemy'

Pentagon suspends course after study materials posted online suggested that Mecca and Medina may have to be obliterated

Associated Press in Washington, Friday 11 May 2012 08.28 BST

A course for US military officers has been teaching that America's enemy is Islam in general and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following second world war precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

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Newsweek Cover: Obama 'First Gay President'

It won't be nearly as controversial as Time magazine's breastfeeding cover, but Newsweek's May 21 issue declares Barack Obama the country's "first gay president."

The accompanying cover story was written by Andrew Sullivan, the popular--and openly gay--political blogger. The magazine even gives the commander-in-chief a rainbow halo.

Sullivan's cover story is not yet online, but in a blog post published earlier this week, Sullivan wrote that Obama's support of gay marriage brought him to tears:

I do not know how orchestrated this was; and I do not know how calculated it is. What I know is that, absorbing the news, I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words for a while, didn't know what to write, and, like many Dish readers, there are tears in my eyes.

So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.

The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama's journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees--as we all see--that you cannot have one without the other. But even then, you knew he saw that woman's son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment--way off the record at the time--that clinched my support for him.

Today Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That's why we elected him.
source has an image of the cover.

the fuck is this?
Ripley Alien

Men as the Second Sex

Lagging at school, the butt of cruel jokes: are males the new Second Sex?
They work longer hours, face economic insecurity and suffer worse health. Now their feckless ways are lampooned in the media. A controversial new book argues that men increasingly face a prejudice that dare not speak its name
by Elizabeth Day

You might not have realised it, but men are being oppressed. In many walks of life, they are routinely discriminated against in ways women are not. So unrecognised is this phenomenon that the mere mention of it will appear laughable to some.

That, at least, is the premise of a book by a South African philosophy professor which claims that sexism against men is a widespread yet unspoken malaise. In The Second Sexism, shortly to be published in the UK, David Benatar, head of the philosophy department at Cape Town University, argues that "more boys drop out of school, fewer men earn degrees, more men die younger, more are incarcerated" and that the issue is so under-researched it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.

"It's a neglected form of sexism," Benatar says in a telephone interview. "It's true that in the developed world the majority of economic and political roles are occupied by males. But if you look at the bottom – for example, the prison population, the homeless population, or the number of people dropping out of school – that is overwhelmingly male. You tend to find more men at the very top but also at the very bottom."

The American men's rights author Warren Farrell calls it "the glass cellar". There might be a glass ceiling for women, Farrell once told theObserver, but "of the 25 professions ranked lowest [in the US], 24 of them are 85-100% male. That's things like roofer, welder, garbage collector, sewer maintenance – jobs with very little security, little pay and few people want them."

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Remember the homophobic rant lady? Yeah, about that....

Referencing back to this post on Friday.

Video of testifier's anti-gay words goes viral, but there's more to the story

A video of a woman testifying against the anti-discrimination ordinance at the Lincoln City Council this week went viral, but her family says she is diagnosed with schizophrenia and shouldn't be taken seriously.

Jane Svoboda, 52, made several bizarre and disjointed statements during her five minutes of testimony at Monday's meeting.

"A huge percent of gay men in school grounds molest boys, partly because they don't have AIDS yet," she said.

"Whitney Houston was found without clothes in a bathtub. Every corpse found without clothes has a partner who did away with them.

"Hillary Clinton's roommate four years in college was a gay woman. To avoid going gay like Clinton did, college students need single rooms and single gender dorms."

The Huffington Post, MSNBC and popular sites such as Gawker and Reddit published the video and stories Friday with little context and Svoboda's name misspelled. The stories garnered more than 100,000 views.

The HuffPo's post got more than 1,000 comments, many responding to what viewers saw as hate speech. Many seemed to not recognize Svoboda's mental illness.

Svoboda lives at an assisted-living facility in Lincoln and is listed as a protected person, according to court documents. Her brother, Patrick Svoboda of Ogallala, is her conservator because she is incompetent, the documents say.

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Pride & Prejudice

Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Defining Kissing And Holding Hands As ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’

Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem has signed the ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’ bill into law. Earlier this year, the Tennessee Republican controlled legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill, passing the House 68-23 and the Senate 28-1. The governor signed the bill before the Mother’s Day weekend.

The law is so vague that it could define kissing and holding hands as ‘gateways to sexual activity’ and make it difficult for sex education teachers to address such activity in class. The law also may prevent sex education teachers from discussing contraception.

The new law allows teachers who do encourage the use of contraception to promote safe sex to be punished, which could scare teachers from even mentioning contraception at all, meaning sex education courses would consist of just abstinence-only programs, which are proven to not work in preventing teen pregnancy.

The law also levies a fine of up to $500 to guest speakers who promote safe sex or “gateway sexual activity.” So if a speaker from Planned Parenthood or another organization visits the sex education class to speak, talking about anything that isn’t abstinence-only would be punished. What this amounts to is the punishing of free speech and it’s the Republicans who passed it.

Sex education teachers are being boxed in by a party that has been hijacked by religious extremists who think anything they consider sexual is evil. This bill has made Tennessee a joke. To outlaw crucial information from being discussed in sex education is unfair to students who will one day have to go out into the real world unprepared. Sex is a part of human nature and when abstinence-only is all that is taught, the likelihood that students will have unsafe sex that lead to unwanted pregnancies increase.

If Republicans really believe that teaching only abstinence will stop kids from having sex, they’re living in a dream world. If there is one thing teenagers are curious about when they hit puberty, it’s sex. No matter what parents do to keep their kids from engaging in sexual activity, they can’t protect their kids all of the time. That’s why teaching about safe sex methods is critical. Because if kids are going to have sex, they should at least have the knowledge to make it safe. But since when do Republicans actually want our children to learn anything at all? It’s almost as if the GOP wants our kids to be stupid and unsafe.

music | Janelle Monáe

"Red Table Talk" (new web series): Jada Pinkett Smith, her mom and daughter.

Here’s the full first installment of Jada Pinkett-Smith’s web series “Red Table Talk”, which premieres online this Sunday-Mother’s Day.

One of the topics Jada talks about, is the challenges of being a wife and a mother and trying to find that balance. While she’s assisting her kids with their dreams, assisting her husband with his dreams, and in the midst of that, trying to figure out what her dreams are. She discusses how she forgot how to take care of herself because she was so consumed with being a mom, and her kids were her world.

She discusses the messaging we receive from society, that to be a good mother you have to completely sacrifice everything.Jada points out that in the midst of seeking our validation and happiness, we look to others like our children and our men to do it for us. We lose our way and forget how to make ourselves happy. She stresses the importance of taking care of ourselves.

Source: one | two | three | four

Obviously, very few to zero people here  will relate to the conversations related to dealing with fame, but the rest of the discussion -- especially with regard to parenting that fell short, resenting or forgiving serious parental shortcomings, how the world values (or rather, doesn't) the identity of a women outside of motherhood -- easily relatable. Thought it was a fitting treatment of Mother's Day and what it means to a lot of people, without the Hallmark-card-esque veneer. Was also striking to see three generations of black females discussing things removed from the usual doomed/dystopian way in which black and other WOC are discussed in the media.