Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday roundup (brought to you by my frozen car battery)

Ukraine is a gangster state.

In Nepal, a young girl died sleeping outside because she was menstruating.

A Maasai woman stood her ground and improved thousands of lives
Finally, after nearly four years of dialogue, the elders in her village changed hundreds of years of culture and abandoned cutting. She had persuaded the men, and with them the village, that everyone would be healthier and wealthier if girls stayed in school, married later and gave birth without the complications cutting can create. 
Ms. Leng’ete — whose neighbors wouldn’t speak to her because she wasn’t cut — became the first woman in history to address the elders at the mountain.
In 2014, they changed the centuries-old oral constitution that rules over 1.5 million Maasai in Kenya and in Tanzania, and formally abandoned female genital cutting. 
In pushing to overturn a cultural commandment, she found that her own cultural pride was her strongest argument.
Here are some wise words about Poland from my former professor.

Will Modi try to cover for his mistakes by fomenting ethnic tensions?

Without an American security guarantee, the freedom-loving people of the Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — would almost certainly be gobbled up by the authoritarian Russians. These Eastern European countries were occupied by the Soviets until the end of the Cold War, and they’ve lived in fear of Russian invasions since Peter the Great. To guard against their annexation, they were invited to join NATO in 2004. 
In a chilling story that posted overnight, two former administration officials tell the Daily Beast that a senior National Security Council official proposed withdrawing some U.S. military forces from Eastern Europe as an overture to Vladimir Putin during the early days of the Trump presidency. “While the proposal was ultimately not adopted, it is the first known case of senior aides to [Trump] seeking to reposition U.S. military forces to please Putin — something that smelled, to a colleague, like a return on Russia’s election-time investment,” Spencer Ackerman reports.
Here are some things that actually improve border security.

Two of the best responses to failed Ann Coulter:


How international papers covered 'shithole.'

This thread!

Milbank on Animal Farm.

I'd watch a gorilla channel.

Nursing homes can be very shady.

The Oprah for president moment is OBE, but this is an important point.

I live near a McDonald's and have to pick up trash all the time.
In denser living, a trash dump or a park next door affects the value of your parcel.
The sexual revolution made a vast number of previously unavailable sexual choices available. But it took place in a society that struggles to agree on what freedom actually means. And without a consensus on what constitutes a free choice, sexuality is bound to remain a domain wherein the powerful are able to exploit the less powerful — and call that freedom — even in a putatively liberated world. 
Quoting Hobbes, then 
In other words, calamitous circumstances don’t diminish a person’s ability to choose freely ; they just change the available choices. In this mind-set, non-physical coercion may not be decent or seemly, but it doesn’t invalidate the freedom of the choice that follows. 
Moira Donegan speaks revolutionary basic truths.
The spreadsheet was intended to circumvent all of this. Anonymous, it would protect its users from retaliation: No one could be fired, harassed, or publicly smeared for telling her story when that story was not attached to her name. Open-sourced, it would theoretically be accessible to women who didn’t have the professional or social cachet required for admittance into whisper networks. The spreadsheet did not ask how women responded to men’s inappropriate behavior; it did not ask what you were wearing or whether you’d had anything to drink. Instead, the spreadsheet made a presumption that is still seen as radical: That it is men, not women, who are responsible for men’s sexual misconduct.
This Ask Polly is long and I wanted to excerpt but there's too much that's too good.



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