Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Mashup (4/18/08)

  • Boy, this didn’t take long…

    Spain and Italy were embroiled in a war of words on Wednesday after Silvio Berlusconi criticised his Spanish counterpart for appointing so many women to his cabinet.

    In one of the first interviews after being elected Italy's prime minister for the third time, Mr Berlusconi attacked Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government, describing it as "too pink".

    Speaking about Mr Zapatero's decision to give nine out of 17 cabinet positions to women, he said: "Now he's asked for it. He'll have problems leading them."
    I’m so glad to see “Prime Minister Jesus” back in power. World news was starting to get so boring and repetitive.

  • And don’t look now, but Dubya has apparently named a competent individual to replace Alphonso Jackson at HUD, and that would be former SBA head Steve Preston (here - Dubya's expression here is only slightly exaggerated from the look on his face in the pic provided by MSNBC).

    Only took Incurious George 7 ½ years to get the hang of the whole “putting competent people in charge of agencies who aren’t total party hacks” thing. The mind reels!

  • According to this story, it sounds like “Click It Or Ticket” as they say in our beloved common- wealth, has come to Iraq…

    Later this month, traffic police officers...will start issuing tickets to anyone who drives without buckling up. Violators will be fined 15,000 dinars — about $12.50. “It is part of the healing process of this country and of Baghdad to enforce the law, law by law,” said Brig. Gen. Zuhair Abada Mraweh, traffic commander for the capital’s Rusafah district.
    No word on whether or not drivers will receive extra credit for negotiating through endless checkpoints, enduring many blocked roads while trying to commute short distances, avoiding other drivers swerving across lanes, or – oh, I dunno – merely making it through the day alive!!

    I applaud the desire of some Iraqis to establish something approximating civilized behavior while crazies exist everywhere trying to blow up whomever and whatever they can (gee, maybe there was a reason Saddam Hussein was such a mean, brutal guy, you know?). But somehow I don’t think it’s wise to waste scarce resources on trying to enforce something like this.

    And since Iraq has chosen to model itself after PA this way, I suppose it’s only a matter of time now before someone petitions the Iraqi “government” to make sure no law mandating that motorcyclists wear helmets is ever passed, or to repeal any such law that may exist (And texting? DU NT GO THRE!).

  • Barack Obama was endorsed today by former Dem senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, and yesterday, he was endorsed by Republican William Ruckelshaus

    Ruckelshaus was serving as deputy attorney general in 1973 when he made history as part of the infamous Saturday Night Massacre. He and his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, were fired after they refused Nixon’s order to dismiss the independent counsel investigating the Watergate break-ins.

    The former Nixon FBI director and secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency hopes to help Obama defeat Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton in the May 6 primary in Ruckelshaus’ homestate of Indiana. The state has been a longtime Republican stronghold in presidential politics.

    “Senator Obama’s ability to attract not only Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents, makes him uniquely qualified to build the broad coalitions needed to address our nation’s challenges,” said Ruckelshaus in a statement.
    And as history tells us, though neither Richardson nor Ruckelshaus fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, Solicitor General Robert Bork stepped in and did so on Nixon’s orders; in the process, Richardson and Ruckelshaus ended up earning the enmity of movement conservatives for all time (and the thanks of all people of reason everywhere).

    Update: Forgot about Robert Reich here...

  • Speaking of movement conservatives, here’s another “triumph” from perhaps the reddest state of them all…

    The Oklahoma Legislature voted Thursday to override Gov. Brad Henry's veto of a bill that would require women to receive an ultrasound examination before receiving an abortion.

    By an 81-15 vote, the House voted to override the veto. That followed a 37-11 vote in the Senate.

    It is the first time Henry has had a veto overridden in his two terms as governor.
    I don’t know what is worse, the fact that this was overridden by such a wide margin, or the fact that Henry vetoed this only because it didn’t exempt victims of rape or incest.

    I consider turning this into law an act of torture, and I’m not talking about the unborn life in question, by the way.

  • In light of the prior story, I don’t know if Eve Ensler has ever performed “The Vagina Monologues” in Oklahoma, but if she hasn’t, I believe she needs to do so if she can.

    The Times of London here tells us that the production marked its 10th anniversary last weekend with a performance in the New Orleans Superdome (gosh, I’m sure Faux News was all over this, but drat, I still missed it!).

    Explore this penetrating (ahem...) story, as they say…

    Few people know that New Orleans is the vagina of America. Few would suggest it. “It is fertile. It's a delta. And everyone wants to party there,” explains (Ensler), activist, feminist icon - and the author of The Vagina Monologues. Never one to act on a small stage when a bigger one would do, last weekend she turned the New Orleans Superdome into the Superlove - a two-day global event to mark the tenth anniversary of her V-Day movement, the campaign to stop violence against women which she founded on the back of her play.

    Not everyone got it. “When Eve told me New Orleans was the vagina of America, I was like, oh sweet Jesus,” says the actress Kerry Washington, putting her head in her hands. “Sometimes I think, Eve, do you really want to go there. Really? But now I get it. Its sexy, everybody loves it - but when it has problems nobody wants to know.”

    With success, she turned her time, and a portion of her profits, over to creating V-Day, a charity aimed at stopping violence against women. And that meant all violence against women in the world. En route, she recruited a cast of A-list celebrities including Oprah, Jane Fonda, Glenn Close, Salma Hayek, Kerry Washington and Rosario Dawson. Kate Winslet was among those who turned out for the first V-Day benefit performance in the UK at The Old Vic in 1999. That was back in the days when Ensler performed the show herself at The King's Head in Islington, London. “Ah, the King's Head,” she says fondly. “I had to pee in a pot because there weren't any toilets.” She returned to London in 2001 for a successful West End run, and annual V-Day performances have continued up and down the country.

    Few could have predicted V-Day's spontaneous success - ranked as a top ten charity, it retains only a few staff, working from their own homes, tuning into a global grassroots network of women that have raised more than £25 million.
    Kudos to Ensler – her play isn’t really my thing, as they say, but she’s worked hard for the betterment of women in danger across the world, and for that she deserves credit.

    I wonder if she’ll receive a congratulatory telegram from Silvio Berlusconi?
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