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On the lighter side

“I can’t feel my legs!”

This is an open thread



Womanvoter brings us:

This is f**ked-up (UPDATED)

(WARNING – you may find this video disturbing)

These are the “good” Talibanis inside our close ally and nuclear weapon-possessing Pakistan.  The 17 year old girl was allegedly guilty of infidelity.

Why are people living in the 14th Century using cell phone technology?



From the Guardian:

The Pakistani government has ordered an inquiry into the flogging of a 17-year-old woman by Taliban militants in the troubled Swat valley, after public outrage triggered by shocking video footage of the punishment.

The images, played yesterday on private television channels, show a burka-clad woman being pinned to the ground by two men while a third whips her backside 34 times. The woman is seen screaming and begging for mercy as a crowd of largely silent men look on. She is accused of having had an illegal sexual relationship, according to local law. Her brother is among those restraining her.

President Asif Ali Zardari led a wave of public condemnation, and ordered the arrest of the perpetrators. Prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani termed it “shocking” and called for an immediate inquiry. At the supreme court, the newly reinstated chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, summoned officials to a hearing scheduled for Monday to investigate the incident.

“Our constitution allows no space for such public brutality, and our civilisation and culture have no tolerance for it either,” said Sherry Rehman, a former information minister.

But the talk of arrests and inquiries are unlikely to amount to much. The Pakistan government’s writ has all but collapsed in Swat, where armed militants loyal to a hardline preacher named Maulana Fazlullah have taken control. The teenage woman was flogged in Kabbal, a remote district where Taliban rule is the law. An order by the chief justice to produce the woman in Islamabad next Monday is unlikely to be heeded.

Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman, defended the punishment as appropriate under Islamic law, but said it should have been applied by a pre-pubescent boy in a private setting. “She had to be punished,” he told Geo News. “The punishment administered by local Taliban was in our knowledge and they did the right thing, but the method was wrong.”

That assertion was challenged by Islamic scholars who appeared on television chat shows throughout the day, often in between clips of outraged comments from ordinary Pakistanis. Harsh punishments such as flogging and stoning are considered to have been imported from the Middle East, and at odds with the milder version of Islam that is indigenous to South Asia.

Iowa Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Same-Sex Marriage


It’s not Good Friday but it’s good news:

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning unanimously upheld gays’ right to marry.

“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision.

Let’s hope the Hawkeye Homobigots don’t pass a Prop H8 like they did here in California.

Friday: Gag me with a spoon

The Obamas hobbitize the Queen in protocol faux pas

The Obama's "hobbitize" the Queen in protocol faux pas

The NYTimes has a nauseating account of Barack Obama’s international debut at the G20 conference in London.  Our apprentice president had his very own press conference where he couldn’t help but conjure up the memories of Churchill and Roosevelt, regretting that it wasn’t just Great Britain and America running things anymore.  Now, every other country has to get into the act, so accommodations must be made.

But the silliest part of this account was the brave leadership he showed at wordsmithing:

In a premiere diplomatic tour that has already been scrutinized for every blemish, Mr. Obama has, thus far, gotten some not-so-good reviews — several European news outlets complained that he seemed aloof — and some raves. (President Nicolas Sarkozy of France called him “very helpful.”)

Mr. Sarkozy was referring to Mr. Obama the mediator. For a tense hour on Thursday, Mr. Sarkozy and President Hu Jintao of China were going back and forth about tax havens. In a large conference room at the Excel Center, surrounded by 18 other world leaders, the two men sniped at each other, according to officials in the room.

Mr. Sarkozy wanted the big communiqué produced by the Group of 20 to endorse naming and shaming global tax havens, maybe even including Hong Kong and Macao, which are under China’s sovereignty. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Hu was having none of it. He appeared angry that Mr. Sarkozy was effectively accusing China of lax regulation, and that the French leader was asking China to endorse sanctions issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of wealthy nations that Beijing has yet to join.

According to accounts provided by White House officials and corroborated by European and other officials also in the room, Mr. Obama escorted both men, one at a time, to a corner of the room, to judge the dispute. How about replacing the word “recognize,” Mr. Obama suggested, with the word “note?”

The result: “The era of banking secrecy is over,” the final communiqué said. “We note that the O.E.C.D. has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information.” Hong Kong and Macao did not appear on the list.

It was not a Middle East peace accord. But Mr. Obama had his first moment as a statesman.

Amazing.  That Harvard Law degree finally gets some exercise.  Well, I know *I* feel safer now.

This is an interesting spin on the conference.  It’s all Obama’s baby.  The conference did manage to accomplish something but it sounds like the Europeans get the edge.  The Europeans got some concessions on the transparency of the banking transactions  and more money for International Financial Institutions while not ceding an inch on providing more stimulus to their own countries’ economies.  Sarkozy called Obama “very helpful” in a way that suggests that the more mature leaders were able to conduct business without him getting in the way.  “Let’s have a little tiff that Obama can settle off in the corner while the rest of us get some work done.  Oh, and can anyone find a teleprompter?  Maybe he can give a speech or something.  Just keep him out of our hair.”

Oh and American workers can just take an old, cold tater and wait:

Answering a question from a reporter from China, Mr. Obama managed to acknowledge that he had to care most about how American workers and companies were affected by globalization, while still making the argument for why globalization was in America’s best interest.

***“Look, I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the president of China,” Mr. Obama said. Then he added, “It is also my responsibility to lead America into recognizing that its interests, its fate, is tied up with the larger world.”

Mr. Obama said that if America neglected or abandoned poor countries, “not only are we depriving ourselves of potential opportunities for markets and economic growth, but ultimately that despair may turn to violence that turns on us.”

“Unless we are concerned about the education of all children and not just our children, not only may we be depriving ourselves of the next great scientist who’s going to find the next new energy source that saves the planet, but we also may make people around the world much more vulnerable to anti-American propaganda.”

Oh, brother, where to start?  How about here *in* America where our teachers are woefully unprepared to teach science and math at a world class level?  Any American child who wants to be the next scientist discovering anything has to run a gauntlet of the educational establishment’s goal to assimilate students and produce perfect accountants.  Resistance is useless!  If you’re lucky enough to have parents who can afford private tutoring you may get a degree in a science field but find that globalization has taken your job to India.

Does he even know what goes on in his own country?  He isn’t president of the world.  His job is to shore up our dying research industry in America, not the rest of the world.  We were once leaders.


Ok, Nicolas, the joke is over.

*** Am I the only one who hears nails on a chalkboard when he starts his sentences with “Look” then follows that with a Bushesque description of his job title?  Both he and Bush have a tendency of talking to us like we might not be aware of his constitutional obligations.  He has to keep reminding us that he is President of America, as if in a global economy, we might not already know.  Can you imagine Hillary talking like this?

StateofDisbelief found this video of Obama’s side vacation in Europe: