Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Khadija Knew" by Faatimah Knight


Osama Bin Laden strike shows shift in U.S. policy under Obama to shoot to kill targeted terrorists


Reminds me of a point Glenn Greenwald was making...(see "The bin Laden dividend")

Battle over circumcision is shaping up in California

Glasser notes that the World Health Organization supports circumcision as a preventative measure against HIV transmission, and several Centers for Disease Control studies show the same result. The American Academy of Pediatrics is neutral, as is the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. But Glasser says those positions have not be revisited since the most recent AIDS studies.
“The unfortunate part is that people laugh -- they say the San Francisco crazies are at it again. But this is no laughing matter,” he said. “Circumcision is very low-risk and has tremendous benefits, including life-saving benefits.”
Joel Paul, professor of constitutional law and associate dean of the University of California Hastings School of Law, says the law likely would not survive a court challenge -- which could come even before the Nov. 8 ballot.
The proposed measure appears to violate the First Amendment protection of the free exercise of religion, and entangles the state in religious matters by putting the state in the position of judging whether a certain religious practice is permissible. Moreover, putting such a matter to a popular vote contravenes the Constitution’s many protections of the rights of individuals and minorities.
“This proposition would let the majority decide religious practice for a religious group,” Paul told JTA. “It’s not part of our politics. No one should have to go into an election and be asked to defend their religion.”
Hess argues, on the other hand, that the law is on his side. Noting that female genital mutilation is illegal in this country, he says boys should get equal protection under the law, no matter the religious beliefs of their parents.
That is a false and dangerous analogy, Porth says.
“Female genital mutilation is illegal because it is a cruel practice, medically harmful and performed for the explicit purpose of preventing female sexual satisfaction,” she said. “In contrast, there’s no credible medical evidence that male circumcision is harmful or that it prevents sexual satisfaction. Its purpose is for health reasons and religious belief.”

WEST WINDSOR [NJ]: Mosque hearing draws a crowd


Putting a Crimp in the Hookah

In fact, because a typical hookah session can last up to an hour, with smokers typically taking long, deep breaths, the smoke inhaled can equal 100 cigarettes or more, according to a 2005 study by the World Health Organization. 
That study also found that the water in hookahs filters out less than 5 percent of thenicotine. Moreover, hookah smoke contains tar, heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals. An additional hazard: the tobacco in hookahs is heated with charcoal, leading to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide, even for people who spend time in hookah bars without actually smoking, according to a recent University of Florida study. No surprise, then, that several studies have linked hookah use to many of the same diseases associated with cigarette smoking, like lung, oral and bladder cancer, as well as clogged arteries, heart disease and adverse effects during pregnancy. And because hookahs are meant to be smoked communally — hoses attached to the pipe are passed from one smoker to the next — they have been linked with the spread of  tuberculosisherpes and other infections.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

From Bush to Obama, the snooping goes on The Patriot Act's section 215 – just renewed by Congress – permits almost unlimited powers of surveillance of US citizens

President Obama's approach to civil liberties has been similar to that of his predecessors: for them, when convenient; against them, when upholding our rights would interfere with his exercise of untrammelled executive power. Last year, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero pronounced himself "disgusted" with Obama's civil rights record. 
George W Bush and Dick Cheney remain outliers because of their embrace of torture, secret rendition and the like. Otherwise, though, Obama fits into a long pattern of presidents whose actions on civil liberties are very different from their pious words.



According to here, this documentary will be aired on HBO TV on 1 August 2011 at 9.00 pm.