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    • And They Made A Desert: 80 to 90% Drop In Nutrients In Food
      Stumbled across this lovely chart the other day. The core fact most people, including the folks in the “best every world” Panglossian movement (like Pinker) don’t seem to understand, is that even if they were right (questionable), the prosperity we have is based on burning down our house. “Sure is hot! Hottest it’s every been!” […]
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Are women real citizens or not? Not if we have no control over our own bodies.

CBS News graphic

I came across a shocking story a few days ago, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. The story is about a young college student who was raped at a party, after apparently being drugged. How many times have we heard this story? Well, it happened to “Hannah” in December of 2006. Here’s Hannah’s story, magnificently told by Amanda Hess at the Washington City Paper.

The story is long, but I hope you can take the time to read the whole thing.

The gist of it is that Hannah was dancing with Bilal, another Howard University student whom she knew slightly. This is her last memory of that night:

“He was getting a little rough, and I remember trying to kind of just get away from him,” she recalled in the deposition. “I remember I tried to stop dancing with him.…[There was] a little too much of sexual suggestion.…just touching me too much.” She started to feel blurry, woozy, dizzy, “and then nothing.”

The young men who threw the party supposedly had a rule that no one was allowed upstairs. They even had a furniture barricade and a bouncer guarding the staircase. But somehow Hannah ended up in the upstairs bathroom anyway. The next morning, Hannah

woke up in her Howard University dorm room with a piece of her life missing. Hannah, a 19-year-old sophomore, had unexplained pain in her rectum and hip. Her panty liner, which she had worn the night before, was missing. Vomit dotted her gloves and coat. Her friend Kerston lay beside her in the skinny dorm room bed. Kerston told Hannah not to shower—they had to go back to the hospital to secure a rape kit.

Hannah had been fortunate in that her girlfriends stuck by her. They demanded to be allowed upstairs to look for her and kept insisting they wouldn’t leave with out her even when the bouncer and the young men who lived in the house tried to make them leave. Hannah was finally allowed to come downstairs, and one of her friends stayed with her all night to make sure she didn’t shower or do anything else to prevent evidence from being collected.

Hannah was so ill that she couldn’t stop vomiting, even the next morning. She was in pain in her rectum and her hip and leg hurt so much she was limping. When her friends got her to the hospital, she was terribly sick and incoherent from whatever drug she had been given.

You’d think a doctor or nurse would realize that this young woman had been hurt and probably given a date rape drug, and would at least treat her injuries. But that isn’t what happened to Hannah, because in Washington D.C., only the police can determine whether someone was raped. The hospital refused to give Hannah a rape kit because the police determined that, since she couldn’t remember the last name of the young man she was dancing with and since she had been drinking and “must have blacked out,” she couldn’t be given official rape victim status.

About a year ago, I wrote a post about the LAPD’s shameful backlog on analyzing rape kits. But until now, I had no idea that hospitals didn’t routinely collect rape kits–evidence that could be used in a prosecution of the crime.

Hannah was drugged and raped, and the next day she was re-traumatized by having to deal with two misogynistic bureaucracies–the DC police and the Howard University Hospital. According to Amanda Hess, a program called SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) was in effect in DC area hospitals at the time of Hannah’s rape. This program was supposed to prevent rape victims from having to sit in emergency rooms for 12 hours waiting to be seen. But it wasn’t easy to find a hospital that would participate in the program.

“One hospital’s response literally was, ‘We don’t want to be the rape hospital,’” [a sane spokewoman said]. Finally, Howard University Hospital agreed to host the program, providing local rape victims a greater chance of seeking justice from their attackers. But once the program was established at Howard, rape victims encountered another problem: All victims would have to receive police authorization before receiving an examination.

That was the Catch-22. The police had to authorize a rape kit, and the police decided Hannah couldn’t have one. Therefore, no police report was taken, no charges were filed, and no one went to the scene of the crime to collect evidence!
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Friday Morning News and Views

morning_paper

Good Morning, Conflucians. The big story of the day is the massacre at Fort Hood in Texas. Last night it was reported that the shooter, Major Malik Nadal Hasan, was dead. But he is still alive and in stable condition even though he was shot several times. It still isn’t clear what motivated Hasan, who was a both a devout Muslim and a psychiatrist and was going to be deployed to Iraq at the end of November. A short time ago, the 13th shooting victim died. Reports say that 31 victims were injured.

From The New York Times: Suspect Was ‘Mortified’ About Deployment to War

Born and reared in Virginia, the son of immigrant parents from a small Palestinian town near Jerusalem, he joined the Army right out of high school, against his parents’ wishes. The Army, in turn, put him through college and then medical school, where he trained to be a psychiatrist.

But Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the 39-year-old man accused of Thursday’s mass shooting at Fort Hood, Tex., began having second thoughts about a military career a few years ago after other soldiers harassed him for being a Muslim, he told relatives in Virginia.

He had also more recently expressed deep concerns about being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Having counseled scores of returning soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, first at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and more recently at Fort Hood, he knew all too well the terrifying Da

Hasan may have posted sympathetic writings about suicide bombers on the internet. Someone with the same name did so, according to this and other stories. Hasan had not told his family he was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq.

More Stories on the Shooting and Aftermath:

Army post shooting rampage leaves 13 dead, 30 hurt

NYT:
Army Doctor Held in Fort Hood Rampage

NYT: Shooting Victims Flood Local Hospitals

Raw Story: Muslims fear backlash in wake of Fort Hood massacre

Other stories on Hasan:

SF Examiner: Troubling portrait emerges of Army psychiatrist suspected in rampage at Fort Hood, Texas

Roanoke Times: Suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan: Social awkwardness kept with him into adulthood

Analysis of the Fort Hood Story

There is an excellent discussion of the significance of the story by Dahr Jamail at Truthout: Mass Shooting Indicates Breakdown of Military

Jamail interviewed a soldier at Fort Hood who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The soldier says that the mood on the base is “very grim,” and that even before this incident, troop morale has been very low.

“I’d say it’s at an all-time low – mostly because of Afghanistan now,” he explained. “Nobody knows why we are at either place, and I believe the troops need to know why they are there, or we should pull out, and this is a unanimous feeling, even for folks who are pro-war.”

After a similar incident in May, in which

a US soldier gunned down five fellow soldiers at a stress-counseling center at a US base in Baghdad. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a news conference at the Pentagon that the shootings occurred in a place where “individuals were seeking help.”

“It does speak to me, though, about the need for us to redouble our efforts, the concern in terms of dealing with the stress,” Admiral Mullen said. “It also speaks to the issue of multiple deployments.”

Commenting on the incident in nearly parallel terms, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the Pentagon needs to redouble its efforts to relieve stress caused by repeated deployments in war zones; stress that is further exacerbated by limited time at home in between deployments.

The condition described by Mullen and Gates is what veteran health experts often refer to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How much longer will our government continue sending people back to Iraq and Afghanistan even though they are suffering from serious psychological disorders?

We need to end both of these wars, but will President Obama have the courage to do it when it might mean he’ll be a one-term President? That is what Gary Wills claims in a recent blog post at The New York Review of Books blog. Wills foolishly believes that Obama has the will and the guts to do what Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon didn’t do when we were in Vietnam. Poor Gary. He’ll wake up to reality eventually, no doubt.


OTHER NEWS


Wall Street Firms getting H1N1 Vaccine ‘ahead of hospitals’

Pelosi scrambles for health care votes

Details on Health Care Bills in House, Senate

Pentagon pursuing new investigation into Bush propaganda program

Deal Over Honduran Crisis ‘Dead’

Families in Cleveland Wait for ID’s of Victims

Texas polygamist sect member found guilty of sexual assault


After all that horrible news, here’s an interesting story from developmental psychology and specifically my own field–language development.


Babies ‘cry in mother’s tongue’

Babies Cry With an Accent, Study Finds
Newborns Cry With the Melody of Their Parent’s Language

I hope today will be a better day than yesterday.


THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY

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What will it take for Koolaid drinkers to finally accept reality?

Some still refuse to see the truth

Some still refuse to see the truth

The Obama administration’s betrayals of liberalism are ubiquitous. Has he ever kept a single one of his campaign promises? They could hardly be called promises anyway, since Obama had such a long history of voting “present” before he ran for President. Way back in January, 2008, I was asking Obama supporters to name an issue that he really cared about enough to stand and fight.

I never got a clear answer–because Obama never made those kinds of commitments. He was always wishy-washy and all over the place when it came to important issues. Yet we are still seeing passionate Obama supporters who fail to deal with this reality. Here are three examples of Obama administration betrayals that I found today in about 10 minutes of ‘net surfing.

Outrage #1

Long-time Obama stooge and Huffpo columnist Sam Stein reports today that unnamed “Hill aides” have complained to him that the votes for the public option would be there in the Senate if only President Obama would step up and fight for its inclusion in the health care reform bill.

“There is a clear sense that it would be helpful,” said one senior Democratic aide. “Throughout this entire debate the White House line has been ‘We will weigh in when it is necessary’…. Well now we need 60 votes. So if it’s not necessary now, then when will it be?”

“I think folks in general in Congress were looking to the president to clearly define his feeling on the issue,” another aide said. “And I don’t think he has done that on the public option from the get-go… With a lot of senators nervous because of elections or other political dynamics, it would be helpful for the president to send a strong signal that this is what he wants in the final bill.”

Let me get this straight. There are still people working for U.S. Senators who actually believe that Obama supports the inclusion of a public option in the bill?! And these morons are helping to run our government? No wonder things are so f**ked up! These “Hill aides” need to put down the Koolaid glass and step away from the punch bowl. Time for a reality check. Obama doesn’t care about the public option. He will only accept one if it is either completely neutered or forced on him. Pull up your britches and fight for it yourself! Continue reading

Jaycee Lee Dugard Lived for 18 Years in a “Paedophile Ghetto.”

Philip Garrido and Jaycee Dugard, age 11

Philip Garrido and Jaycee Dugard, age 11

Warning: Read this post only if you have a strong stomach and a burning desire to end violence against women and children.

Jaycee Lee Dugard is a young woman, now 29, who was abducted in 1991 at age 11 by convicted sex offender Philip Garrido and his wife Nancy Dugard. The Garridos kept Dugard in a series of tents and sheds in their back yard in Antioch, California, for 18 years. During that time Philip Garrido repeated sexually abused Dugard and twice impregnated her, fathering two children with her.

Garrido never should have been on the streets in the first place. In 1977, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the kidnap and rape of 25-year-old Katie Callaway Hall in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Hall was interviewed on Larry King Live (video at link–if you can stand King’s offensive questioning). From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Continue reading

Can Honour Killing In Muslim Communities Be Ended Through Islam?

Recent events in the United States and Canada, in which fathers and families treat their daughters in an inexcusable manner, compel me to release this draft of an incompletely distilled paper. I apologize for its length, but the topic is not amenable to a series of posts, and it may offer some understanding as to why these practise exist and what might be done to change them.

Aqsa Parvez was strangled to death in her Mississauga home, Peel police said today.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death as “neck compression.” The 16-year-old was taken to hospital Monday morning after a man called police and said he killed his daughter. She died later that night. Friends told reporters that Aqsa fought with her Muslim family over whether or not to wear the hijab. She often stayed overnight with friends, afraid to go home, they said. Her father, Muhammad Parvez, 57, appeared in court today and will face either a first- or second-degree murder charge. He was denied bail and remanded into custody until a hearing via video link on Jan. 29.

Why did Aqsa Parvez’s father strangle her to death? Why is the honour killing of women, over perceived or actual improprietous conduct, a feature of practice among some Muslim communities? Why do these communities enforce such rigourous and strict regulation of women’s conduct? Given that many of these killings violate both the word and the spirit of the Koran and the prophet, why does the practice persist? In this brief essay, I sketch the physical and social conditions that lead to the emergence of the structures that control women’s conduct within the Muslim communities that practice honour killing. I show that the more stringent control structures are artifacts from pre-Islamic Bedouin communities. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the gender-based honour killings that are features of these structures violate Islamic principles and law. In fact, much of the structure of social control goes against the principle that the practice of Islam is a matter of internal conviction. Continue reading

Woman Excommunicated for Daughter’s Abortion

Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho

Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho

This is an unbelievable story. It’s a few days old, but I hadn’t heard about it before. I just saw it reported on CNN.

A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

The girl, aged nine, who lives in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins.

It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather.

The excommunication applies to the child’s mother and the doctors involved in the procedure….

Abortion is only permitted in Brazil in cases of rape and where the mother’s life is at risk and doctors say the girl’s case met both these conditions.

Police believe that the girl at the centre of the case had been sexually abused by her step-father since she was six years old.

From MSNBC:

Despite the nature of the case, the church had to hold its line against abortion, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho said in an interview aired Thursday by Globo television.

“The law of God is higher than any human laws,” he said. “When a human law — that is, a law enacted by human legislators — is against the law of God, that law has no value. The adults who approved, who carried out this abortion have incurred excommunication.”

From AOL news

Fatima Maia, director of the public university hospital where the abortion was performed, said the 15-week-old pregnancy posed a serious risk to the 80-pound girl.

“She is very small. Her uterus doesn’t have the ability to hold one, let alone two children,” Maia told the Jornal do Brasil newspaper.

But Marcio Miranda, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in northeastern Brazil, said the girl should have carried the twins to term and had a cesarean section.
“It’s the law of God: Do not kill. We consider this murder,” Miranda said in comments reported by O Globo.

If the girl had continued the pregnancy and died, what would that be?

Time Magazine reports that unwanted pregnancies and abortions are extremely common in Brazil, despite the laws and the influence of the Catholic Church.

Although abortion is illegal, an estimated 1 million women each year have one. The poor are forced into clandestine clinics or take medication, while the better-off are treated by qualified physicians at well-appointed surgeries known to anyone with money and overlooked by colluding authorities.

That secrecy has a price. More than 200,000 women each year are treated in public hospitals for complications arising from illegal abortions, according to Health Ministry figures. Those who don’t have the courage or the money to be treated take the pregnancy to term. Although the fertility rate has fallen considerably in Brazil (from 6.1 children in 1960 to about 2 today), 1 in 3 pregnancies is unwanted, according to Dr. Jefferson Drezett, head of the Hospital Perola Byington, Latin America’s largest women’s health clinic.

I don’t even know what to say. Please tell me we aren’t going to go back to this kind of inhumanity in the United States.

Hypocrite Watch: NOW’s Kim Gandy Opines about Misogyny

Kim Gandy

Kim Gandy

Of course it has nothing to do with Obama, Favreau, or the shocking media misogyny that went on during the 2008 election season, but still…it’s something. MTV asked the President of NOW, Kim Gandy to explain why so many people–even women–are blaming pop singer Rihanna for getting beaten up by her boyfriend, R&B star Chris Brown.

The New York Daily News reports that Rihanna told police that the recent incident was not the first time Brown had physically abused her. Some background:

…the shocking fight that landed Rihanna in the hospital ignited when Brown got a suggestive text message from another young woman following a pre-Grammy party Saturday night.

“He got a booty call. He got a text. Rihanna saw it and she got upset. They started to argue. She got out of the car. He wanted her to get back in, so he grabbed her,” the well-placed music industry source said.

“She pulled away. That’s when she’s told people he hit her,” the source said.

Rihanna, 20, had “visible injuries” when cops arrived, and she’s been cooperating with the investigation while freezing out Brown, the source said.

When Rihanna gave him the cold shoulder, Brown’s friends passed along signs of remorse, saying the 19-year-old R&B sensation “feels very bad.”

Brown, meanwhile, is due for another interview with investigators building a case against her boyfriend. He was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats Sunday night and released on $50,000 bail.

According to TMZ’s review of the police report, Rihanna took the keys out of the ignition of the couple’s rented Lamborghini and enraged Brown when she “faked a call” to someone during the fight, saying something like “he’s dropping me off,” and “make sure the cops are there.”

That’s when Brown spat out, “I’m going to kill you,” TMZ reports, citing the police report.

Continue reading