Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sexual Assault on Campus

I don't get it. Rape, and other varieties of sexual assault, are felonies.  Such crimes should be the purview of the police, not some stupid college faculty committee.  Students who are assaulted should go directly to the police — not the campus police, but the real police.  If they are so misguided as to go to college authorities instead of the real police, the college should bring in the real police, and then get out of the way.  Why should Congress have to enact special legislation to deal with nationally recognized felonies?

Frequently, it seems, the felons are frat boys and/or athletes.  Money and reputation are involved, so  colleges are hesitant to do anything at all.  Well, sexual predators are present at all levels of society.  Let's just have the cops do their jobs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Religion and Ethics

I like to watch the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on PBS.  In the real world, though, there seems to be far too much of the former and a paucity of the latter.  If there ever might be a better time for mass conversions to atheism, I can't imagine when it might be.

For starters, Pakistan is a sinkhole, all on its own.  With honor killings, prosecutions for blasphemy, persecution of the Ahmadi sect, and more, its efforts to get control over extremists in North Waziristan don't count for much.

It seems likely that the perverts who captured and killed the three Israeli boys actually were not members of Hamas, but that didn't stop the Israelis from conducting a pogrom against anybody associated with Hamas on the West Bank, primarily to prevent a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.  Bibi needs an enemy to stay in power.  On the other hand, the killers of that Muslim boy certainly were religious fanatics.  That (in addition to the pogrom and the need to improve their reputation for political purposes) inspired Hamas to launch their rather inept rocket attacks on Israel.

Boko Haram is yet another crazy Islamic cult, making an unstable part of the world even less stable.  Then again, in the Central African Republic, the Christians may be more bloodthirsty than the Islamists.  Moving up to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the crazy animists are attacking medical relief workers trying to address the the Ebola epidemic.  Well, their shamans can't be too much less effective than Doctors Without Borders as far as cures go, but MSF probably stands a better chance of containing the outbreak.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is solidly behind Putin.  Buddhists (yes, Buddhists) are killing Muslims in Cambodia.  Let's not even mention (okay, I'll mention it) relationships between India and Pakistan.  Back here in the USofA, the "Family Values" crew seem to be losing on gay marriage, but the 2011 post-census redistricting has offered them definite advantages, not least in states like North Carolina and Virginia.

What the hell.  I'm old, and pretty soon I'll be dead, and Jesus won't be there to welcome me home.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gaza explained

Find the most cogent explanation of what happened to create the crisis in Gaza here.  It's brilliant.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Annus horribilis: part two (children's edition)

More Gaza
Four little boys went out to play;
Along came a bomber and blew them away.
The news that inspired that couplet was in the Times this morning.  By the time I got home this afternoon, and despite a six-hour cease fire, three more Palestinian children were dead.  Well, when the announced ground invasion begins, one would hope that Israeli troops, from ground level, will better be able to differentiate people who are four feet tall from people who are significantly taller.

The Nigerian Girls

Boko Haram grabbed a whole lot of Nigerian girls from a school up in north-eastern Nigeria.  Rumor has it that most of them have "escaped," but it's hard to say because Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is not especially "transparent."

Granted, Boko Haram is a lot crazier than most other crazy Islamist groups.  People who get too addicted to their religions always are especially dangerous.

Migrant Kids

I am outraged that people across the United States are protesting having migrant children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador taking refuge in their communities.  Parents don't send their kids on enormous journeys, with pretty scetchy adults in charge, unless the conditions at home are immanently lethal.  I welcome those children to my neighborhood.  Probably, I could squeeze three or four into my miniscule home for a while.  The dog would love it.

If Obama expedites the extradition of those children to their home countries, my low esteem for him will drop even lower.  As usual, I'm pissed off.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Annus horribilis: part one

I don't want to read the newspaper, lately.  Nevertheless, let's look at some disparate pieces.


Yes, of course the ballot boxes were stuffed.  Maliki did it in 2010, and he's done it again, now.  For some not especially obscure reasons, the USofA encouraged Maliki to get away with it in 2010.  That, some of us now can see, was a big mistake.


The creation of a parliamentary system, rather than a typically authoritarian Middle Eastern presidential system, might be a step in the right direction.  Just the same, expect an independent Kurdistan, and good luck to them.

Probably there is too much billionaire opposition to the "Islamic State" for it to make substantial headway in the near or not so near future, but who knows?  One dreadful shithead.  Another dreadful shithead.  Go figure.


Since, according to Israeli authorities, no Israelis actually have died from the Palestinian rocket attacks, and close on two hundred Gaza civilians have died in Israeli air strikes, it seems like somebody might be overreacting.

Israel attributes the missile attacks to Hamas, but provides no proof.  Islamic Jihad seems a more likely suspect, but the potential reconciliation of Hamas and the PLO is a greater threat to Israel's apartheid state.


There will be more to come; and soon, I hope.  I will do my best to smack myself out of this sad, soporific suspension of distaste and remind myself that, even if I am likely to die before any of this is resolved, I still can try to provide my particular prospectus.

I like it.  Do you?

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Supremes

Abortion protest

In unanimously striking down the Massachusetts 35 foot protest barrier around the entrances to its abortion providers, the Court defended the free speech of protestors — and free speech should be defended.  The Court also suggested that harassment and physical abuse continue to be against Massachusetts law, and that those laws should continue to be enforced.

It may be wise for the Massachusetts legislature to have a fresh look at its laws defining the nature of harassment, and making certain that it's police forces (especially in Boston, where the worst of the crazies congregate) are trained and willing to hook up verbal abusers of vulnerable women.

Agency Fee

The Court carved out a "narrow" exception allowing certain employees represented by labor unions to stop paying for services provided to them by unions — essentially allowing them to become "free riders."

One obvious solution is to deny the deadbeats the benefits of the union contract, and force them to negotiate and fight employer abuses on their own.  How would the conservative Justices vote on that one?

Hobby Lobby

Corporations no longer are just "persons" who may enter into contracts while protecting shareholders with limited liability.  Since the Citizens United decision, they are "persons" who may dump unlimited funds into election campaigns.  Now a corporation can be a "person" who has a "religious belief."  Gag me with a spoon!

If one of the right-wing Justices were suddenly to drop dead while Obama still is President, I would not be among the mourners.  (NOTE:  This is not a suggestion that somebody assassinate one of those assholes, so please don't blame me if it happens.  If anybody reads this blog, it's unlikely that she or he owns a gun, or knows how to construct a bomb, or grow anthrax or whatever.  I certainly don't.)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dead Boys

Three Israeli boys were hitchhiking home from Yeshiva.  They caught the wrong ride, and ended up dead.  Bibi, as usual, blamed everybody he didn't like, and punished them all.  A bunch of young stone throwers found their stones met with bullets.  Then, an Arab teen — who probably wasn't even hitchhiking — was kidnapped and killed.  Revenge, people said, as if shooting the stone throwers was not enough.

Bibi "disapproved" the reprisal killing, even though he himself had created the atmosphere that made it pretty much inevitable.

Those three Israeli boys, it seems, took a ride with a couple of Palestinians — now conveniently disappeared.  Clearly, they were bad guys — but, most likely, they didn't "represent" Hamas.  Most likely, those Israeli boys had taken rides from Palestinians before, and never had a problem.

Nobody wants dead boys, but nobody seems to want a two-state solution either.  Bibi seems to want to continue the apartheid state, so Israel can continue to be the "Jewish" state.  Maybe a two-state solution is the wrong answer, though.  Maybe Israel should be the model for the multi-ethnic democracy that isn't working in Iraq or Syria.

Maybe Israel is the last, best hope.  Most likely, though, it's just hopeless.