Archive for the ‘news’ category

Protection with Teeth

November 8, 2007


“Rapex – dubbed the ‘rape trap’ – is a product worn internally by women. The hollow inside is lined with rows of razor-sharp hooks, which are designed to latch on to a rapist’s penis during penetration. They can only be removed by a doctor.”

With the world’s highest rape incidence (and relevantly high HIV/AIDS transmission in South Aftrica at 5 million, and where 200,000 people die of AIDS yearly), a call for a defense product such as this was answered by Sonette Ehlers. According to the First Post article, feminist groups oppose the contraption for being medieval and akin to chastity belts. This puts the burden of addressing a male problem on women.

My take is, welcome to reality where you can get raped for wearing your favorite sexy dress. It happens. And in South Africa, the danger is exponentially higher. You don’t always get your ideal government who’s aggressive in protecting women’s welfare. Or at least, not quickly enough. You want a male morality overhaul, you won’t be getting it on time, at 1.7 M rape cases annually.

Logically, this does not and should not derail whatever legislative action is being undertaken in repairing this social atrocity, but merely provides an option of protection or, at least, deterrence. Feminist groups should be badgering and reprimanding the government instead for its apathetic stance on the issue. Then maybe one day it would be ridiculous for women to even consder an invention like this.

“She believes the product, priced at one Rand, will be particularly useful for poorer black women who walk long distances to and from work.” I think the possibility that a potential victim is wearing one of these will serve as a significant deterrence. On the question of victim safety, they argue that it could provoke further violence once the contraption takes a bite. Although the level of pain is untested on a real member, assuming the microscopic barbs inflict enough pain, I would bank greater on the possibility that the perp would be more concerned about his appendage than retaliating. Besides, a defensive claw across the face, kick in the jewels or drawing out a gun, mace, or pocketknife from your purse equally presents a deadly retaliation.

Ideally, I wish there was no need for it, but there is. I do not consider myself less of a feminist by welcoming this option on the shelf. At the least, I would be more concerned about the (dis)comfort it gives the wearer.

However, further product efficacy testing would be most welcome

H/T and more interesting info on David Boles’ post.


Ridiculous News Network

November 8, 2007

A Mascoutah Middle School student was given 2 days detention for hugging. Breaking the No-PDA rule, the goodbye hug Megan Coulter, 13,  bestowed on two of her friends earned her a day each. District Superintendent Sam McGowen feels the punishment is fitting, as per student handbook:

“Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.”

Gravity of punishment depends according to the number of arms used (i.e. one-arm hug, bear hug), torque exerted on hugee, and whether hugger’s eyes were open or closed at the time of the act.

Amen, آمين, Amen

September 22, 2007

Religion is definitely a force no one can afford to not understand. For believers, there appears to be a need, now more than ever, to assert their right and/or way of life, especially in this modern world that is deemed deteriorating with the aid of secularism and is corrupting certain values. Some take a more aggressive stand and, consequently, steps to take back what they feel is being lost. They are God’s Warriors. Politics, faith, biblical history, democracy– lines must be drawn, but it is hard especially when points of conflict overlap each other, implying the only solution is to obliterate the others.

I finally saw the documentary God’s Warriors by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. It is a fascinating reportage on three powerful and controversial groups (Jewish, Christian and Muslims), with commentaries from inside people that range from fleshing out their struggle, to some moderates speaking against the fundies. Some questions are answered, to a chilling degree; some raise more questions; however, a peek into what moves these groups is very much needed and make everyone more aware of how to take action.

If you prefer to catch it on YouTube:
God’s Warriors: Islam, Judaism, Christianity.

Meep! Meep!

August 13, 2007

wile310.jpgFor some time I’ve been reading Op-Ed pieces here and there regarding the vulnerability of the US economy particularly under Chinese weight. China has certainly upped itself as a version of a superpower, ballooning into a figure that bears leverage. The scenario always reminds me of Wile E. Coyote vs Roadrunner cartoons– the plot typically begins with the ingenious Coyote hatching a plan and executes; the Roadrunner, on a steady course, eludes. At the last second, the bird turns around to look the Coyote in the eye, “Meep! Meep!” and zooms away, leaving a wide-eyed Coyote bracing as his machination backfires.

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration and former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, writes a succinct article In the Hole to China that should concern everyone, not just Americans, as the reprecussions will consequently quake globally.

The Meat: “Strategic thinkers, if any remain who have not been purged by neocons, will quickly conclude that China’s power over the value of the dollar and US interest rates also gives China power over US foreign policy. The US was able to attack Afghanistan and Iraq only because China provided the largest part of the financing for Bush’s wars.

“No country on earth, except for Israel, supports the Bush regimes’ desire to attack Iran. It is China’s decision whether it calls in the US ambassador, and delivers the message that there will be no attack on Iran or further war unless the US is prepared to buy back $900 billion in US Treasury bonds and other dollar assets.



July 27, 2007


Everyone’s probably aware of Oscar by now, the feline dubbed as the harbinger of death. From a quiet nursing home pet, this cat gains fame for a chilling reason– an uncanny ability to select which among the nursing home’s patients is to leave shortly… as in within hours shortly, within 4 hours to be precise.

Nurses say Oscar makes his rounds and curls next to sick patients in their final moments, thus alerting the staff and, consequently, the patient’s relatives. So far, Oscar’s correctly warned of 25 instances, something that discombobulates doctors and researchers, but has brought comfort to the relatives of the deceased patient.

This is an amazing animal, true.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I were in a place that has a relatively high mortality rate and a cat with this rep decides to sit on my bed one morning, stare me down with those knowing eyes, Oscar will have something to do with my sudden bout of hyperventilation and arrhythmia.

“Dr Dosa described how Oscar once settled on the bed of a patient. Relatives began a vigil.”

It’s a good thing this cat doesn’t have a wicked sense of humor.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

June 12, 2007

Sam Brownback, the Kansas senator, is widely considered by many in the pro-life community to be one of the strongest pro-life candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president. He proved his pro-life bona fides again over the weekend when he said he opposed abortion in cases of rape or incest.”

Wow. I’m speechless, but not quite– someone rip this guy a new asshole.

From here, flagged by Feministe

Death with a Side of Jack

June 8, 2007

chartI was reading a sort of article over at Slate and seeing this chart fascinated me. They asked a pool of 560 physicians to watch Jack Kevorkian on Larry King Live, conducting a survey before and after. The video itself is not so relevant as they barely affected the stats, but what fascinated me was that, of all religion-affiliated doctors, the Jewish ones led the most support to physician-assisted suicide (or offered the least resistance, however you want to phrase it), even beating out the Protestants. Granted this is a rough survey, even with a lax percentage of error, I find the survey telling. I have to admit, I am not that well-informed with regard to Jewish doctrines, so I was compelled to look up an explanation to this surprising “revelation”.

The argument “death with dignity” is an oxymoron from a Jewish point of view. The Jewish people have been taught that human life is, in its very essence, dignified and that death can never be so. According to Rabbi Simmons, “a person’s soul is not his to extinguish, and he cannot not direct someone else to assist him in ending his life. Even the removal of a pillow when a person is in death throes, thereby hastening death, is forbidden.” Clearly, suicide and assisted suicide are DEFINITELY off the table. Although it is noted that in very certain cases, it is permitted, it still doesn’t relate to the generous acceptance reflected by the stats, especially for its legalization. And we are not talking about passive euthanasia (withholding of medication, procedure, etc knowing it can lead to death) to which the Jewish movement is supposedly more tolerant of , but physician-assisted (the aggressive kind, mercy-killing, if you will).

Most articles I’ve read support the anti-euthanasia stand, which doesn’t connect– I would love to know how Slate got its respondents. However, to appreciate the data itself, I am also curious of the fact that while inclination to personally perform said act is moderate/mid, support for its legislation is overwhelmingly high, considering it is the same Jewish lot being surveyed. Hm. Interesting.

On the general issue of euthnasia, the most obvious reason of opposition is its being an apparent violation of the Hippocratic oath. The next would be theological/moral implications, easily reflected by the chart, led by the Catholics. This legalization biz is very sticky as it will not only raise questions on the definition of life (and the can of worms that comes with it) , it will raise questions on the reconciliation of faith in the workplace. Can a Catholic doctor refuse performing it? Can a hospital refuse hiring a doctor whose belief might hinder his full function as one?

(to be continued…)