June 19th, 2013


Today's Victim Blaming of the Day is brought to you by, the Wallstreet Journal.

Wall Street Journal Columnist Calls Allegations Of Sexual Assault ‘A He-Said/She-Said Dispute’

Conservative commentator James Taranto, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Monday night, detailed a set of allegations of sexual assault in the military before concluding that they amounted to a “he-said/she-said dispute” that only revealed “a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.” All of it, he argues, amounts to a “war on men.”

Taranto tried, without much success, to tie his grievances to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) attempt to stall the nomination of a Lt. Gen. Susan Helms to be vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. McCaskill is holding up the nomination because Helms once granted clemency to a man in the military accused of sexual assault.

But ultimately, Taranto’s greivances — which are simply against a changing culture that is starting to hold men accountable for treating women like objects — came through in his piece. And they had nothing to do with McCaskill’s, or Helms:

It’s fair to say that Capt. Herrera seems to have a tendency toward sexual recklessness. Perhaps that makes him unsuitable to serve as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. But his accusers acted recklessly too. The presumption that reckless men are criminals while reckless women are victims makes a mockery of any notion that the sexes are equal.

What’s worse, Taranto followed up his op-ed with an appearance on Wall Street Journal’s video channel, where he argued that “female sexual freedom” is responsible for a “war on men,” and that war is embodied in allegations of sexual assault. During that interview, he also said that a woman alleging assault and a man denying it “differed… on whether she consented.” Taranto also cast doubt on the report because someone present “didn’t even hear this going on.”

“What does female sexual freedom mean?” Taranto added, “It means, for this woman, that she had the freedom to get drunk and get in the back seat of a car with this guy.”

donk... donk... donk...

Couple return from holiday to find grass by their street cut to different lengths

A PAIR of bemused Carlton pensioners returned from holiday to find patches of grass on either side of their street cut at completely different lengths.

Bill, 65, and Sylvia Fenton, 67, of Shelford Road, Carlton, were baffled when they were told it was because one side of the road, at the junction with County Road, is managed by Notts County Council while the other is looked after by Gedling Borough Council.

A month later, the 75-square-metre space outside the Fentons' house has been left to grow up to 12 inches long while the other side has been cut again.

"It feels like it's not on their list of things to do," said Bill. "We just don't feel like we're getting the service we pay for. I drove through Burton Joyce yesterday and all the patches of grass look like billiard tables."

Mr Fenton added: "At first we thought that this may have been an oversight but, to our astonishment, the lower grass has been cut again. It's a small job that wouldn't take much effort, so I don't know why they can't just talk to each other and arrange Gedling to do this extra patch."

The grass patches lie opposite Stanhope Primary School, where the county council maintains the grass fields.

Both councils said grass is cut purely for safety reasons, not to make the surrounding area look nice.

Gedling Borough Council cuts its grass areas 14 times a season, between March and October, compared to Notts County Council, which cuts five times between April and September.

Dave Walker, the county council's district highways manager for Gedling, said: "The county council is responsible for cutting more than 5,000 kilometres of grass verge right across the county. There was a delay starting this year due to bad weather which, unfortunately, also helps the grass to grow that bit quicker."

He added: "We are just coming to the end of the first cut so all areas, including Shelford Road, should have been cut by now."

The county council also added that cost plays a part in the number of times grass is trimmed and that grass grows at varying speeds in different areas, depending on the soil.

Erin McDaid, of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, said: "We would like to see the grass longer in areas where there is potential for a wildlife habitat."

He added that the cost of could potentially be offset by savings in mowing costs.

Nottingham Post
contemplative gambit sitting on a chair

Fatness: Now a disease!

The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the association’s board, said in a statement. She suggested the new definition would help in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are linked to obesity.
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Source at NY Times

Good, accessible breakdown on what's wrong with this decision #1, and good, accesible breakdown on what's wrong with this decision #2.

OP: Don't we have a bad science tag? For the record: BMI is bullshit masquerading as science; weight is about 77% inherited, which is essentially the same heritability of height; and obesity is not the huge looming health threat it's made out to be.

TWA Flight 800 crash not due to gas tank explosion, former investigators say

The producers of an upcoming documentary on TWA Flight 800—which exploded and crashed into the waters off Long Island, N.Y., on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 people on board—claim to have proof that a missile caused the Paris-bound flight to crash. And six former investigators who took part in the film say there was a cover-up and want the case reopened.

"There was a lack of coordination and willful denial of information," Hank Hughes, a senior accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said on Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. "There were 755 witnesses. At no time was information provided by the witnesses shared by the FBI."

Jim Speer, an accident investigator at the time of the crash for the Airline Pilots Association, who sifted through the recovered wreckage in a hangar, said he discovered holes consistent with those that would be formed by a high-energy blast in the right wing. He requested it be tested for explosives. When the test came back positive, he said, he was "physically removed" from a room by two CIA agents.

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9/11 truthers probably just orgasmed over this news.
king rad

Subway, Salad, Soccer Protests in Brazil

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration is having a hard time making sense of the protests erupting across the country.

A couple of things are clear. Rousseff must come to terms with the end of a period of nearly boundless popularity. And she must contend with a new middle class that feels politically empowered but squeezed by the rising cost of living in Latin America’s largest economy.

More than 250,000 people took to the streets in cities across the country on Monday and Tuesday, primarily to denounce a 7 percent increase in subway and bus fares, along with a host of other grievances. The uprising has been called the Revolta da Salada, or “salad movement,” by some after a reporter was arrested for carrying vinegar to combat tear gas. Protesters blocked streets, burned things and even climbed atop the National Congress building to vent.

On Tuesday, Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper quoted Gilberto Carvalho, Rousseff’s secretary general, saying: “It would be presumptuous to say we understand what’s happening…. These are new ways of mobilizing, which for us, of the generation of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s is unknown.”

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master post at Tumblr

I knew that Brazil wasn't doing WC14 preparations as timely as they needed to but I thought it was simply due to mismanagement - I had no idea the problem was so complicated. Scary.

Is Forced Fatherhood Fair?

This weekend millions of Americans will happily celebrate the role that fathers play in their families. For some families, though — specifically those in which dad’s role was not freely assumed, but legally mandated — Father’s Day can be an emotionally complicated occasion. And that somewhat messy reality raises a question that is worth examining today as the very definition of parents and families continues to undergo legal and social transformation.

If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, his choices are surprisingly few.
Women’s rights advocates have long struggled for motherhood to be a voluntary condition, and not one imposed by nature or culture. In places where women and girls have access to affordable and safe contraception and abortion services, and where there are programs to assist mothers in distress find foster or adoptive parents, voluntary motherhood is basically a reality. In many states, infant safe haven laws allow a birth mother to walk away from her newborn baby if she leaves it unharmed at a designated facility.

If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, and does not want to raise the child with her, what are his choices? Surprisingly, he has few options in the United States. He can urge her to seek an abortion, but ultimately that decision is hers to make. Should she decide to continue the pregnancy and raise the child, and should she or our government attempt to establish him as the legal father, he can be stuck with years of child support payments.

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Tagged under women's rights because of the child support impacts of such implications. My fiancee linked me this saying it was "interesting" and then came home complaining that men have to support a child they don't want for 18 years... WTF.
Rose and 10 - Doctor Who

14-year-old arrested for wearing pro-NRA shirt to school may face a year in jail

The West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended and arrested in late April after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association appeared in court this week and was formally charged with obstructing an officer. As CBS affiliate WTRF reports, 14-year-old Jared Marcum now faces a $500 fine and a maximum of one year in prison.

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Judge: Obama Comments 'Unlawful Command Influence'

TW: Sexual assault

Two defendants in military sexual assault cases cannot be punitively discharged, if found guilty, because of “unlawful command influence” derived from comments made by President Barack Obama, a judge ruled in a Hawaii military court this week.

Navy Judge Cmdr. Marcus Fulton ruled during pretrial hearings in two sexual assault cases -- U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes -- that comments made by Obama as commander in chief would unduly influence any potential sentencing, according to a court documents obtained by Stars and Stripes.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Fulton approved the pretrial defense motions, which used as evidence comments that Obama made about sexual assault at a May 7 news conference.

“The bottom line is: I have no tolerance for this,” Obama said, according to an NBC News story submitted as evidence by defense attorneys in the sexual assault cases.

‘I expect consequences,” Obama added. “So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable -- prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”

The judge’s pretrial ruling means that if either defendant is found guilty, whether by a jury or a military judge, they cannot receive a bad conduct discharge or a dishonorable discharge. Sailors found guilty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 120, which covers several sexual crimes including assault and rape, generally receive punitive discharges.

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OP: Today, Army wide units watched the documentary "The Invisible War" (http://invisiblewarmovie.com/) which very directly talks about the rampant issues of sexual assault and harassment in the military. At points it directly counterpoints statements of high level brass, with statistics and facts that directly contravene. I love wearing a uniform, but after watching that movie I have a hard time mustering anything but disgust and anger. Then to read this... tripe. It's taken years for this to be an issue that gets discussed at the levels necessary, and for the President to state very clearly that the obfuscation, and posters, and victim blaming has to end, and something has to be DONE... and then to see those statements used to prevent perpetrators from being punished... it sickens me. ESPECIALLY WHEN INDEPENDENT CIVILIAN PROSECUTORS WOULDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT "undue command influence". This isn't what Honor looks like. This isn't the Esprit de Corps I was promised. This is fuckin' BULLSHIT.

Source: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/06/17/judge-obama-comments-unlawful-command-influence.html?ESRC=army-a.nl
Gryffindor tie

In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists

For about a year-and-a-half I lived the reality of Occupation. Like other male and female soldiers serving in the Occupied Territories, I learned soon enough the kind of conduct acceptable and expected of me as a combatant in this reality. I learned to do the job assigned to me – controlling Palestinians. I learned to speak the language of occupation, a language of imperatives and demands. It became my mother-tongue.

In the reality of occupation there are no Palestinian civilians, there are only potential terrorists. Any Palestinian man might attack any moment, any Palestinian woman is – dangerous. They have no face and no rights. Our job is to rule. To do that, we must make the Palestinians obey us, and they will only obey if they are afraid of us.

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OP: For those familiar with Breaking the Silence how are they received in Israel? Do a lot of people know about them? Do they care to hear these stories?