mistersandman: How would you feel if you had to put on a really stupid hat? (RAGE)
[personal profile] mistersandman

WASHINGTON – A lawsuit targeting the Pentagon contains an astonishing anecdote about a retired Sergeant's experience after being sexually assaulted by a colleague during a deployment to Afghanistan.

The lawsuit, available here, was filed by 17 military women against Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld in Virginia. It assails "the military's repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights."

Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla alleges in the complaint that in 2006, after her military supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her, she was raped by a colleague she was working with at the time.

"He pulled her into his bed, held her down, and raped her. He also photographed the rape," it reads. Havrilla reported the incident within a month.

In February 2009, she reported for active duty training and, upon seeing her rapist, went into shock.

"She immediately sought the assistance of the military chaplain," the lawsuit reads. "When SGT Havrilla met with the military chaplain, he told her that 'it must have been God's will for her to be raped' and recommended that she attend church more frequently."

The complains adds that "SGT Havrilla suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression."

Havrilla's harrowing story, and the broader lawsuit, sheds light on the ongoing and widely reported problem of sexual assault in the military.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said it was "a command priority" to "ensure all of our service members are safe from abuse" and pledged to commit more resources to the goal.

"Sexual assault is a wider societal problem and Secretary Gates has been working with the service chiefs to make sure the U.S. military is doing all it can to prevent and respond to it," Morrell told NBC News.

mistersandman: How would you feel if you had to put on a really stupid hat? (RAGE)
[personal profile] mistersandman
The Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year.

Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage.

“I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event. Read more... )
I apologize for using the NY Times, if you are reading this FROM THE FUTURE, the NY Daily also covered this story here. The LGBT community has been unimpressed with the Democrats' response (or lack thereof) to LGBT issues but when this is the sort of treatment they can expect from the opposition....

The Huffington Post suggests that this is the end of Paladino's campaign. I hope they are right.

[personal profile] treesahquiche I'm going to SUGGEST you don't TAG politician: Carl Paladino in hopes that his political career is over.

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[personal profile] mistersandman

In an appearance on Fox News last night, Karl Rove questioned the governing ability and "checkered" past of Tea Party-backed candidate Christine O'Donnell, who pulled off a stunning win for Delaware's Republican Senate nomination on Tuesday, and voiced his doubt that O'Donnell was a viable candidate in the general election.

"We were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate," Rove said in an interview with Fox's Sean Hannity. "Now we're looking at seven to eight, in my opinion. This is not a race we're going to be able to win."

Rove pointed to unresolved questions about O'Donnell's financial practices, potentially dubious campaign tactics, and generally "nutty things" she'd been saying. "It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for," Rove said. "One thing that O'Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn't in the primary is her own checkered background."

Rove also emphasized his belief that O'Donnell's victory was less a reflection on her suitability for the position than of party discontent with Mike Castle, a nine-term Delaware congressman who hadn't lost a political race since his election to the state House in 1966. "This was about Mike Castle's bad votes," Rove said.

"It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for," Rove said.

O'Donnell, a marketing consultant who has twice led unsuccessful Senate campaigns, fired back at Rove this morning on ABC's Good Morning America, condemning what she called "political cannibalism" and calling Rove's accusations "unfactual."

"Everything he is saying is unfactual," O'Donnell said. "And it's a shame, because he's the same so-called political guru that predicted I wasn't going to win. And we won and we won big... He's eating some humble pie and he's just trying to restore his reputation," she said.

O'Donnell also took a shot at Rove's personal wealth when responding to his question about why she had taken "nearly two decades" to pay off her student bills.

"I'm not a trust fund baby," she said. "Most Delawarians can relate to having to work hard to pay for their college education. I was never dishonest about that."



When the initial buzz over Christine O'Donnell blew over, I didn't comment on it because I didn't want to contribute to the tremendous public beating she received shortly after her ascendancy to candidate status.  Everyone says stupid shit when they're younger, and with the advent of the internet, it's easier than ever for youthful dumbassery to haunt you forever.  Now, I can't think of any major candidate who had a worse track record in the past fifteen years, but  I have to wonder if the backlash would have been so strong if O'Donnell were male. 

Anyway, it's always been a childhood fantasy of mine to live to see a major new party come into being.  But in the potential Rove/Palin schism, I'm not sure who I would want to come out on top.
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[personal profile] mistersandman
It's a horrifying thought: Is Sarah Palin progressives' fault? Could it be that we brought this on ourselves?

Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister think so. As they argued in their New York Times op-ed yesterday, "If Sarah Palin and her acolytes successfully redefine what it means to be a groundbreaking political woman, it will be because progressives let it happen." By not doing enough to nurture their own women leaders, Holmes and Traister say, it was Dems who cleared the way for Palin and her raging pack of grizzlies to maul our politics. Progressives "have done nothing to stop an anti-choice, pro-abstinence, socialist-bashing Tea Party enthusiast from becoming the 21st century symbol of American women in politics."
Read more... )

But, after being sidelined by the male-dominated McCain campaign, vilified by the left and ridiculed by the media, Palin found a warm embrace among conservative women, who were thrilled to see one of their own enjoy a taste of power for a change. "My experience with Palin's supporters left me alert to the fact that she was building an army of followers—not just scared and angry xenophobes…but women (and men) who felt that their support for this candidate was about an expansion of opportunities for women," Traister writes.

So who's to blame for Palin? Of course, there's no simple, single answer. Perhaps we're all a bit guilty. I'd lay much of the responsibility on the media, for casting her as the Republican starlet and then treating her to a spectacular tabloid meltdown, for celebrating her beauty and earthy charm and then glorying in her every humiliation, and now blasting her every inane tweet into a vast and thought-killing echo chamber. But it's we media consumers who can't stop looking and listening.


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[personal profile] mistersandman
I've often fretted whether or not to post certain articles on the basis of said articles not being 'news' or perhaps not being political enough. Today, CNN has put an end to those fears forever. Apparently, former Prime Minister Tony Blair mentioning George W. Bush in his autobiography is news, so noteworthy that it deserved to be on the front page. The article, archived forever under CNN Politics, shares a few none-too-interesting excerpts of anecdotes found in Blair's newest book, "A Journey."

"Blair writes that Bush was "very smart" while having "immense simplicity in how he saw the world." "Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership... he sincerely believed in spreading freedom and democracy,"

Blair laughs off as a "great 'George' moment" the episode in which Bush was caught on microphone greeting him with the expression "Yo, Blair!" at the 2006 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. "It indicated total intimacy," he writes."

Riveting. With a title like "A Journey," I'm sure Blair hoped to conjure images of adventure, of arduous struggles overcome, of lessons learned, and maybe the slightest most shallow hope that his career has not arrived at its inevitable destination of obscurity. CNN's coverage, however, leads this poster to believe that Blair's only journey was through the archives of the most inane sort of gossip magazine with the sole purpose of trawling up outdated gossip about American politicians.  Very few details about Tony Blair himself are included in the article.

The article concludes:

"Blair also suggests Clinton's affair with Lewinsky may have arisen in part from his "inordinate interest in and curiosity about people."

"In respect of men, it was expressed in friendship; in respect of women, there was potentially a sexual element. And in that, I doubt he is much different from most of the male population.""

I'm taking a religious studies course and that is still probably the most sexist thing I've read all week. Thank you, Tony Blair. Thank you, CNN.


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[personal profile] treesahquiche

US Vice-President Joe Biden has been cracking jokes about the Russian spy scandal on a TV chat show.

Referring to one of 10 agents sent back to Russia, comedian Jay Leno on The Tonight Show asked Mr Biden: "Do we have any spies that hot?"

Mr Biden said: "It wasn't my idea to send her back." He also defended only getting four spies released by Moscow for the 10 that they returned.

The US and Russia made a spy swap on Friday on airport tarmac in Vienna.

It was Mr Biden's first appearance on the show since taking office in 2009, although he has taken part several times before being elected.

Mr Leno showed the vice-president a photo of 28-year old Anna Chapman, one of the alleged spies.

In response to Mr Leno's questioning, Mr Biden, in a mock-serious tone, told him: "Let me be clear. It wasn't my idea to send her back."

Mr Leno also asked him why the US was only getting four people in return for the 10 accused spies they were letting go, saying it did not "seem fair".

Mr Biden responded by saying: "We got back four really good ones".

"And the 10, they'd been here a long time, but they hadn't done much," he added.


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[personal profile] treesahquiche

By Martha Nussbaum

In Spain earlier this month, the Catalonian assembly narrowly rejected a proposed ban on the Muslim burqa in all public places -- reversing a vote the week before in the country's upper house of parliament supporting a ban. Similar proposals may soon become national law in France and Belgium. Even the headscarf often causes trouble. In France, girls may not wear it in school. In Germany (as in parts of Belgium and the Netherlands) some regions forbid public school teachers to wear it on the job, although nuns and priests are permitted to teach in full habit. What does political philosophy have to say about these developments? As it turns out, a long philosophical and legal tradition has reflected about similar matters.

Let's start with an assumption that is widely shared: that all human beings are equal bearers of human dignity. It is widely agreed that government must treat that dignity with equal respect. But what is it to treat people with equal respect in areas touching on religious belief and observance?

Click for a coherent, objective, and secular defense of religious and expressive freedoms! )

[For more on this issue, visit the Times Topics page on Muslim veiling.]

Martha Nussbaum teaches law, philosophy, and divinity at The University of Chicago. She is the author of several books, including "Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality" (2008) and "Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities" (2010).


This article is a bit lengthier than the ones that I typically post here, but it is definitely worth the read. As a minority woman, I've been uncomfortable with Europe's burqa-banning tendencies, which to me seemed like sexism and bigotry cloaked in something societally acceptable. (Think about it -- male politicians and the majority populace are restricting women's freedoms to dress and practice their faith as they choose "for their own good.") I'm not Muslim, but "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I've never really been able to articulate my feelings properly, since all someone would have to say is something along the lines of, "Well, it's a security threat," and my argument would fall apart because "I should hope that it'd take more than some cotton covering someone's face to stump a security check if I have to pay all those taxes for Homeland Security" isn't a very solid rebuttal.

I'm glad that Dr. Nussbaum has said exactly what I have wanted to say to those who would pretend that their own intolerance is a noble cause for the greater good.
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[personal profile] mistersandman

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the personal is political. No more so than in the issue of personal appearance.

Read more... )


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