Day: 2014.04.19

A Question That Seems Somewhat Obvious

Okay, there must be something I’m missing:

Shadows in Gaza

Seven years into an Israeli blockade and ten months into a crippling Egyptian one, Gaza’s economic growth has evaporated and unemployment soared to almost 40 percent by the end of 2013.

Opposition to the Hamas militant group which runs the Gaza Strip has led its neighbors to quarantine the enclave, shutting residents out of the struggling Mideast peace process and leaving them with plenty of parties to blame.

Living on U.N. handouts of rice, flour, canned meat and sunflower oil, with limited access to proper health care or clean water, families like the Mustafas – seemingly permanent refugees from ancestral lands now part of Israel – have no money, no jobs and no hope.

“We’re drowning … We feel like the whole world is on top of us. I turn on the television and I see the lifestyles on there, and I think, God help me leave this place,” said Tareq, 22.

The Mustafas often must pick up and move when rain floods their low-lying home – even on a sunny day, it’s lined with slick, smelly mildew. They stand in the dark, as 12-hour power cuts are now the norm throughout Gaza due to scant fuel.

“There’s no money for university or to get married. There’s not even enough to spend outside the house so we can escape a little. What kind of life is this?” Tareq asks.

Well over half of Gaza residents receive food from the United Nations, and the number is on the rise.

UNRWA, the U.N. Refugee Works Agency devoted to feeding and housing the refugees, told Reuters it was now feeding some 820,000, up by 40,000 in the last year. The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) gives food aid to some 180,000 other residents.

(Browning and Al-Mughrabi)

To the one, it seems like an obvious question. To the other, let us set aside the usual rhetoric about who must or is allowed to protect themselves from whom and why. It really does seem like a straightforward question:

What is this supposed to accomplish?

(more…)

Louisiana

Pick your passion, indeed.

The Louisiana House voted 66-27 on Tuesday to keep the state’s unconstitutional sodomy ban under Louisiana’s crimes against nature law.

Louisiana's crappy flag.Yes, really. As Shadee Ashtari explains for Huffington Post, the Pelican State legislature decided that it would be better to maintain the unconstitutional law as a statement of the “values of Louisiana residents”.

The backstory on this one is rather quite incredible. Oh, did we say, incredible. Our apologies, we meant to say the backstory is rather quite stupid.

An undercover East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy was staking out Manchac Park about 10 a.m. one day this month when a slow-moving sedan pulling into the parking lot caught his attention. The deputy parked alongside the 65-year-old driver and, after denying being a cop, began a casual conversation that was electronically monitored by a backup team nearby.

As the two men moved their chat to a picnic table, the deputy propositioned his target with “some drinks and some fun” back at his place, later inquiring whether the man had any condoms, according to court records. After following the deputy to a nearby apartment, the man was handcuffed and booked into Parish Prison on a single count of attempted crime against nature.

(Mustain)

Right.

So, sending out deputies to proposition homosexual men in order to arrest them?

Welcome to Louisiana.

(more…)

Oklahoma! Where the Wind Comes … Something, Something, er … Whatever

OklahomaThe lede, from Paul Monies of The Oklahoman:

Utility customers who want to install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines could face extra charges on their bills after legislation passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday.

Go ahead, read that one again. That is to say, if you feel confused, well, yes, you probably did read that correctly.

Sigh.

____________________

Monies, Paul. “Oklahoma House passes solar surcharge bill”. The Oklahoman. April 15, 2014.

Death on Existentialism

Death, existentialEvery now and then, I fall apart.

Oh, wait. Wrong song. Never mind.

Anyway, every now and then we all have our sentimental moments. Just ask Mary Death.

You know, it’s like, Really? Come on, kiddo, you’re not gloomy enough to have Death as a best friend. Try Cosmo and Wanda.

Then again, what are warm fuzzies to the Grim Reaper who is human enough to need them?

Guilty pleasure, maybe? Or is all pleasure guilty when you’re in that line of work?