Saturday, November 5, 2011

Erica's news of the week

Okay kids, this week's "In the News" is jam-packed with the articles I've found while trolling the interwebs for the past twelve days. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride of excitement, disappointment, rage, and fun. Ready? READY!

First up, a rage-note from the New Hampshire legislative panel that's apparently voting to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law. While it looks like such a repeal might not make it past the governor, I'm dismayed that lawmakers can't seem to let this go and I truly don't understand the benefit of yanking peoples' chains where their civil rights are concerned.

Next up is a somewhat fluffier article from the ever-neurotic Liz Jones at the Daily Mail. As she slowly starts writing articles about how her anxiety around weight and her appearance has plagued her for her entire life, she finally starts owning how this is ruining her body in a very real way. I'd feel more sympathy for these articles, however, if her other articles weren't all about how this star's looking fat in these jeggings or this other star has the perfect bikini body. Right now it just sounds like a load of hypocritical tosh.

Next up comes another hypocritical note from the Internet vigilante group Anonymous, which has started shutting down sites that contain or support child pornography. I'm not complaining about their actions, mind you- but I do think it's entertaining that Anon originated from 4chan, a chat site that was famous for its libertarian views on Internet use and child pornography. On another entertaining note, they're supposedly planning to shut down Fox News on November 5th. As of right now the website is still up, but we'll see.

Canada, that paragon of universal healthcare on the North American continent, has just released a study done to see who puts what sorts of drains on the system. Shockingly enough (and yes, that was sarcastic), people who are obese don't appear to require much more from their health care system than their skinnier counterparts. What it seems to come down to is whether a person maintains a healthy lifestyle, weight aside- which prompts my sarcasm filter to drop long enough to scream "SO YOU CAN BE TWIG-THIN AND STILL WAY UNHEALTHIER THAN THE PERSON WEARING 22W JEANS? FUCKING DUH!" Sorry. It's bothered me for a very long time that we've so strongly associated size with health (for women), especially when so many skinny people in the limelight (Gwyneth Paltrow, for example) show off their diets and how frighteningly unhealthy they actually are.

Another one in the "duh" department is a poster campaign against offensive Halloween costumes. If reading that automatically triggers your "relax, it's just a holiday" gene, then maybe you should click the link and reconsider your point. I don't know about you, but if someone decided that dressing like the Irish Republican Army was a good idea, things would get ugly very quickly. Just...don't. Halloween can be a lot of fun without being completely tasteless.

On a completely different note, a district attorney in Staten Island has come up with a new plan for protecting victims of domestic violence: GPS ankle trackers on their offenders. No, wait, hear me out. One of the problems with restraining orders is that they don't work on people who don't care, because they're just pieces of paper, so it's not uncommon for a victim of abuse to get a restraining order but continue to be harassed, attacked, and unfortunately killed by their abuser. While many states have made it a felony to violate a protection order more than once or twice (?!), we still have the problem of a victim not knowing if it's safe to go home tonight or not. With the GPS device, abusers who have already violated their protection orders are being tracked; when they enter the protected zone (i.e. the house or the workplace), the victim/protected party is given a phone call alerting them to the abuser's presence and in turn giving them a chance to get out safely (or not go home yet). HOW AMAZING IS THAT? I wish I had that option for some of my clients.

A quick note from Foreign Policy looks at some of the ways in which the regime change in Libya is impacting relations between sexes. While cultural values around what happens before marriage might not have changed, it is interesting (and important) to note how much a government can affect the ability of people simply to talk to each other.

And finally, of course, is the sinking ship that is Herman Cain's presidential campaign after it was revealed that he's faced multiple complaints for sexual harassment. The news has swung wildly on this over the last few days- the latest being that one of the accusers won't be speaking in public- but it looks like Mr. Cain had a tendency to say and/or do things in the late 90s that, at best, were unprofessional and sketchy. More likely, from my experience, he knew what he was doing and thought he could get away with it. Way to go, sexual harassment panda!

That's it. I'm done. Time to go back to bed and hide from the news for a while.

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