We all know about the importance of context in understanding and judging the actions of others. If the person who stole a loaf of bread was starving, and trying to feed her starving child, we judge the theft differently from the way we judge an equivalent theft carried out by some opportunistically looting hooligans. So what would you think of someone who told you about the horrifying details of a wife’s premeditated murder of her husband, but completely omitted to mention the fact that he’d been abusing her terribly, physically and mentally, for 20 years? What would you think of someone who told you of the appalling punishment of ‘necklacing’ carried out by some members of the ANC in the 1980s and early 1990s in South Africa, without ever mentioning the brutalising facts of apartheid in that country at that time? What would you think of someone who described black American criminality without ever so much as mentioning racism or slavery? You might, at the very least, raise an eyebrow and murmur the word ‘context’. Even though each of these cases involve wrongful, sometimes horribly wrongful, actions, you might think that the context is important in judging those who carried out the actions. (And of course context is just as important in judging rightful action too). You might also think that the people who so ignored the context in these cases had rather poor and blinkered moral and political judgment. And if you wanted to explain this lack of judgement, these blinkers, you might in some cases make reference to the persistence of longstanding prejudices against women or Africans or American people of colour.
Now considerthis article in openDemocracy, about ‘the Israel Lobby’. The article walks us through the development of Zionist sympathies among British Jews and others in the UK.
Park rangers set up a tiny camera in Western Australia last May to film fresh-water crocodiles in the Margaret River. When it disappeared, they figured it had fallen into the water. They were wrong. The camera was later recovered and returned to the rangers, who then strung together the delightful footage above. A misguided young sea eagle snatched up the device and took it for a ride, soaring about 70 miles away, where it was found by another ranger. The debatable highlight comes when the eagle lands and begins pecking the hell out of the camera lens, apparently trying to kill it. (Rangers said they believe the eagle was a juvenile because an adult eagle would drop purported prey shortly after taking flight, securing an easy kill.)
LADIES: HOW MUCH RAPE JUICE HAVE YOU BEEN DRINKING?
The SMART program also has a brochure for men that implores them to make sure to ask ARE YOU SURE before having sex, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the campaign assumes that 1. only women are rape victims 2. only men are rapists 3. rape victims who drink too much are at least a teeny bit responsible for what happens to them and 4. a bunch of other problems that I’m too exhausted to go into here. No bueno.
Not sure what this one, from the Hampshire Police last year, was trying to accomplish.
A Michigan tea party activist missed a scheduled court appearance in Wisconsin because he spent Thanksgiving weekend in jail on felony charges in the Upper Peninsula.
Doug Sedenquist was arrested last week and charged with extortion, using a computer to commit a crime, aggravated stalking and possession of a drug chemically similar to a controlled substance.
The extortion and computer crime charges each carry possible 20-year prison terms, said Delta County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Philip Strom.
The 51-year-old Sedenquist, a member of the Republican State Central Committee in Michigan and former vice chairman of the Delta County GOP, had been ordered to appear Tuesday in court in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in a separate case.
Hot Shopping Tip For 2013
Image from- stevenkretchmer.com
Disclosure-My day job is tightly related to gold sales to the jewelry biz. And that pendant is made by a good friends company. But hey, I sell raw materials not jewelry.
I just think that since gold got so hard to afford in the last few years, it’s worth bringing up when it’s a much better price. Rings and earrings and chains are far more affordable. Most of these things will far outlast a tablet or smartphone.
The big brand stores offer terms and a wide inventory. Sometimes a sale or two. Big name designs.
The smaller independent stores are more likely to be responsive to recent drops in the gold price. Those places that do custom work are certainly more closely tied to the day to day price of metals. “Buy Local” works for jewelers too.
For anyone that bought gold coinage in recent years, let me suggest that you can take one or two or three of those coins and have something made. Many jewelers really will take your gold and use it or at least take it in trade. Turning a 1 year old coin into beautiful custom jewelry for yourself or your loved one adds great sentimental value.
The War on Science crosses all boundaries.
Usama Hasan was the imam of a mosque in Leyton until he was driven from the post by death threats. This is perhaps the most extreme reaction there has ever been to an article on Comment is free: the death threats were the response of a section of his congregation to a piece he wrote here defending the truth of evolution. He kept his head down for a couple of years after that, to protect his family, but has now resurfaced as a fellow at the Quilliam Foundation, the counter-extremism thinktank.
At the weekend, he was in Salisbury, at the Muslim Institute’s Winter Gathering, and I chaired a discussion with him there on creationism among Muslims. In close-up his story was even more shocking than it appears in summary. A visiting Saudi cleric issued a fatwa, from the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, that supported his enemies in the congregation: not only did it explain that anyone who denied creationism was an apostate, who could (and should, in an ideal state) be killed, but that his support for women going bareheaded if they wished, and for a secular form of government, were also sufficient grounds for a death sentence.
Since these judgments were circulated in jihadi circles, Hasan and his family were in real danger as a result and were granted police protection for a while.
This is a strange story with a lot of missing pieces. It could well be just coincidence that Reed happened to be collecting bomb materials before the plant blew up, and behaved like a grandstanding goofball afterward. Otoh, I am glad he is behind bars, even if for just a few years. That will keep him on ice long enough for new evidence, if any, to emerge. He will wind up on death row if the authorities can connect him to the explosion itself.
DALLAS — A few weeks after Bryce Reed proclaimed he would personally protect a Texas town devastated by a deadly fertilizer plant explosion, he was arrested by federal agents who said he collected materials to make a pipe bomb, driving suspicion that he might have been behind the blast.
Now, Reed is mostly a footnote. While he will be sentenced Wednesday in Waco for charges related to the pipe bomb, the former paramedic was never charged in the explosion in West, about 80 miles south of Dallas, where residents and town officials are still working to rebuild homes and schools.
“I don’t know if anybody’s paid much attention to that guy,” said Tommy Muska, the town’s mayor. “In my opinion, he had absolutely nothing to do with the explosion.”
An initial fire at West Fertilizer Co. led to the ignition of stores of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used as fertilizer that can become deadly when unstable. As many as 34 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated, causing an explosion that registered as a small earthquake and killed 12 people. It also displaced hundreds of residents and led to the demolition of more than 100 homes.
If any of you work for one of these companies, and you support the contraception mandate and you don’t want your employer to be to violate your reproductive rights, American’s United is her to help! In case you are worried about contacting them, it is completely confidential. You can remain anonymous.
The Affordable Care Act’s so-called contraception mandate, met with immediate outrage from the Religious Right and the Catholic bishops. These groups, unsatisfied with generous religious exemptions to the law, are demanding broader loopholes that are tantamount to a radical redefinition of religious liberty.
Houses of worship are wholly exempt from the mandate, and accommodations have been made for many religious non-profits. But for-profit corporations want the courts to extend those exemptions to them, too. Represented by outfits like the Becket Fund and the Alliance Defending Freedom, owners of secular companies have filed dozens of challenges to the law.
Now, the Supreme Court is set to hear two such challenges to the contraception mandate. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, both secular, for-profit companies owned by conservative Christian families, are asking the highest court in the land to allow them to seriously impede their employees’ fair access to contraception coverage.
I can’t follow this. So including abortion in regular health insurance policies is bad because it pools everyone’s money with the fertile women’s money? Is that the illogic?
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) vetoed the proposed insurance ban last year for exactly this reason — pointing out that it would require rape victims to pay for the total cost of their abortion procedure out-of-pocket, unless they had thought ahead and purchased a separate insurance rider for abortion services. “I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage,” Snyder noted when he rejected the bill last December.
But Michigan’s anti-choice community disagrees. Earlier this year, when advocating for the proposed legislation, a prominent anti-choice leader in Michigan suggested that rape is like a car accident and it’s appropriate to require women to buy “extra insurance” to prepare for it. After Snyder’s veto, abortion opponents decided to simply circumvent the governor and collect enough signatures to provoke a “citizen-initiated” vote on the measure. That petition was successful, and the measure headed to the legislature on Tuesday.
Lawmakers now have 40 days — not including the upcoming holiday break — to act on the measure. If they don’t take any action, the issue will be placed on the 2014 ballot for a statewide vote. If the legislature approves it, on the other hand, the bill will immediately become law — even without Snyder’s signature.
I really commend Melinda Gates for taking on this challenge. Although I’d prefer she include abortion in her cause, I understand that with wide-spread contraception use the need for abortion should (in theory) be less. It is an important step.
With strong leadership and a commitment to community-based health services and family planning, Ethiopia has dramatically reduced child mortality and nearly doubled the prevalence of modern contraceptives in recent years.
Now, Ethiopia is on the leading edge of an innovative effort, using mobile phone technology, to ensure more women have access to voluntary family planning services and a broad range of contraceptive methods, close to where they live.
Going door to door in communities across Ethiopia, a cadre of local women data collectors will interview women about their reproductive health, including contraceptive preferences and use. The responses are entered into mobile phones, and after a day of interviewing the data is uploaded to a cloud-based computer system. The data is available for immediate analysis, and is useful for identifying patterns of contraceptive use, maintaining adequate supplies in health clinics, and monitoring family planning information and services to ensure they are voluntary and high quality and achieving the intended impact.
The effort is part of a broader program, known as PMA2020, that is using mobile technology to help 10 countries - eight in Africa and two in Asia - improve their family planning services. The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins University is leading the effort, with funding support from our foundation.