News Appetizers! In Short, Digestible Bursts!

Hello hello! I’m testing out a new column here, or should I say, a NEWS column here (get it? New/news? It’s always best to start out with a pun). Because our commenters are so wonderful and thoughtful, I thought it would be nice to have a gathering place to discuss the latest headlines and figure out just how quickly the world is going to hell and in which kind of handbasket. 

So, without further ado:

WTF, America. // Image from

Gallup says that Santorum is up by 8 points over Romney nationwide. He is running ads in Michigan, focusing on “values.” I would like to take this opportunity to make a joke about surging Santorum, but I can’t. I can’t. WTF, America.

Related: Santorum is against prenatal testing because he thinks it increases abortions, and right now my keyboard is about to spontaneously combust with all of the angry typing and then angry erasing and then angry typing that I am doing. Fuck you, Rick Santorum.

So, you heard about the ESPN headline, right? About Jeremy Lin? [TRIGGER WARNING FOR RACISM] ESPN ran a headline about the Knicks’ loss on Friday; the Knicks had been having very unexpected success and a rags-to-NBA-stardom story with their player Jeremy Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent. The headline: “Chink in the Armor.” The upshot: ESPN fired the writer of the headline. The downshot: HAVE WE NOT GOTTEN PAST THIS BULLSHIT YET?

Iran has suspended oil exports to British and French companies. This is apparently in response to sanctions against Iran from the West, which are in response to Iran getting nuclear weapon capabilities, which is in response to the rest of the world having nuclear weapon capabilities, which is in response to oh fuck, everything is in response to everything. This is all sorts of scary on all sorts of levels. One: when are we going to figure out how to manage without oil? Two: isn’t there a better way? Three: why is macho still the default button that is pressed when it comes to international relations?

A suicide bomb in Iraq killed 15 people and wounded 21 others. It was targeting a police academy. WHY IS VIOLENCE THE ONLY WAY? Why are there people so desperate that this seems like a good idea?

Oh hey, more violence. 38 people killed in a Mexico prison riot. But! There is a female presidential candidate (the first one!) that is going to battle machismo if she gets elected. Josefina Vazquez Mota is an economist and will hopefully win and get things back under control.

And… Homs, Syria, continues to be a place of horror and tragedy at the hands of Bashar al-Assad. CNN writes: “After 16 straight days of bombardment, Homs is such an incessantly bleeding wound that Syrians speak of it now as though it were a norm,” which is the saddest sentence I have seen so far. I feel so helpless with this situation. Oh hey, look, it’s happening in Zabadani, too.

Three people died in an avalanche in Washington on Sunday. Is there nothing good that can be reported?

A teenage mother and her 1-year-old daughter were found shot in a garage in Cleveland. According to CNN, “Thomas Lorde, the estranged boyfriend of 19-year-old Latasha Jackson and the father of 1-year-old Chaniya Wynn, was found next to them, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said Sunday.” I don’t know what this means. Is this domestic violence? Is this the boyfriend coming upon them and being distraught? It is sickening regardless, and I don’t want to put a value on “sickening,” but if there is an element of male-to-female intimate partner violence… when is this shit going to end?

Okay, enough of the violence. Here are some less horrifying stories:

Linguists say that social media may be helping to keep endangered languages alive, which is super, super cool.

Experts have decided to put off deciding whether or not they should publish data on H1N1. I don’t know what to think about this, Persephoneers. On one hand, knowledge is power! On the other hand, knowledge is power. What do you think?

Looks like Joachim Gauck is going to be the new president of Germany. He seems like a good guy: he was a dissident in East Germany and helped to expose the Stasi war crimes. He is a member of the Social Democrats and Greens party, and Angela Merkel supports him.

Carnival has begun in Brazil. Related: Anybody know of any cheap tickets to Brazil?

Whitney Houston’s funeral was held. So, so sad.

Lindsay Lohan is going to host SNL which isn’t that important, really, but whenever I think of Lindsay Lohan I think of that amazing little girl in The Parent Trap and I can’t help but root for her. Come on, Lindsay. You can do this.

Two British boxers got into a huge fight after one of them got beaten by Vitali Klitschko. I am only including this because I am a Ukrainophile. Carry on.

So. Hopefully this whets your appetite for the main meal, which can be found at any of the links. Also, hopefully the world will change for the better soon, because there is some fucking awful shit happening out there.

By Susan

I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

92 replies on “News Appetizers! In Short, Digestible Bursts!”

I love this post!

Fuck you Santorum.

Honestly, I cannot imagine a world where Santorum is president. It is horrifying to say the least. The fact that people like him at all is mind-boggling and the fact that he is ahead in the polls is even more scary. I mean I hate all the other Republican candidates but the things this man says is just plain idiotic and, well, horrifying! How can Republicans not see that? I honestly cannot wrap my brain around the fact that people are voting in the polls for this douche.


Oh, hey, Santorum should move to Ireland. We don’t have routine prenatal screening cos we don’t have legal abortion. He’d love it here! There’s loads of churches standing empty, as well, maybe he could hole up in one and leave the rest of the sane world alone.

My thinking about the Santorum phenomenon has evolved into what I call the NASCAR theory: people watch this flaming trainwreck of near-humanity for the potential gore, for the crashes and catastrophes.

It’s a kind offer, but what has Ireland ever done to deserve such punishment? Go, save yourselves.

Ooh, news! I love news roundups! There’s always at least one item that I haven’t heard about, sometimes for the better.

I feel like Santorum is very high-stakes. On the one hand, I can’t imagine him beating Obama if he wins the nom, so I kind of want him to get it over Romney et al. and every news piece I see that puts him ahead makes that more realistic. On the other hand, stranger things have happened, and if he gets the nom and beats Obama, then I’m going to need to find a new place to live.

Somebody called in to Dan Savage’s podcast and said “I think we should all support Santorum because there’s no way he can defeat Obama,” and Dan Savage said, “I tried that.  In 2000.  With George W. Bush.”

Ugh.  I don’t trust America sometimes.

In fairness to Dan Savage and other Gore supporters, Bush didn’t win. Was appointed, yes, but that’s not so much the fault of the electorate.

Maaaaaaaaaan, I miss Clinton. Even if he’s the reason I had to be told some sex stuff earlier than I should have been.

Appointed, he was definitely appointed. But no, I don’t trust Americans to be educated voters. SO many people vote against their best interests, it seems. I remember reading a journal article a few years back about how the poorest county in America voted for Bush the Lesser, against all reason. Something about brown people and baby killers, I think. Ugh.

Not all that related, but Dan Savage is an asshat. Susan, you should take him on instead of Dr. Laura one week!

I know that I should hate Dan Savage, and I listen to him with an asterisk, because especially when it comes to fat acceptance he is just plain wrong.

But I credit him with helping me lose a lot of the shame I felt about sex, and for being able to talk about sex as a biological act instead of hiding it and being terrified of it.

So I can’t hate him.

I agree he’s pretty class-centric.  I don’t know how I feel about bi-phobic and trans-phobic, to be honest.  He says some asshattery stuff, but he also says a lot of non-asshattery stuff about it. I have more of a problem with the fat acceptance issue, which he is consistent on.

My first response was “oh for fuck’s sake.”  Then it was to giggle at the impotent action of refusing to sign a resolution saying “happy 100th birthday!”

AND THIS!  OH my god, I am about to pee in my pants:

He said he did some web-based research and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allows transgender females to join and encourages sex.

Sally shared this with me earlier and I’m still raging about it.  If I still had a uterus, it would have escaped, run to Fort Wayne, flopped down in Rep Bob’s lap and explained a few things to him.  Since I don’t, I’m going to have to fill the hole where my uterus used to be with GS cookies. DELICIOUS, RADICAL, LESBIAN ABORTION COOKIES.

It’s odd that yesterday, after seeing a family with a Down’s Syndrome child in the grocery store, I was thinking about how prenatal diagnostics has effected the rate of such.  Just in time to refute Rick Santorum with FACTS!

So to satisy my curiousity, and yours, here is a link that explains what affect legal abortion and advanced prenatal testing have had on abortion rates and the incidence of Down’s Syndrome.

In a nutshell, two paragraphs copied/pasted below for your convenience:

“The number of U.S. babies born with Down syndrome has increased by nearly one-third over the last three decades, despite the large number of women choosing to end those pregnancies, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“The study is the first broad, population-based effort to look at the prevalence of the syndrome. It conflicts with earlier surveys that projected a decrease in Down syndrome births due to better diagnostic tools and higher abortion rates.”

“CDC scientists said those numbers are likely to rise over the next several years.”

Read it and weep, Mr. Santorum.

Also, totally superficial, but something about the way that he TALKS makes my skin crawl.  I was shocked when I saw him at one of the debates for the first time – I couldn’t believe that people don’t have a terrible gut reaction to his mannerisms.

That’s not superficial. He sets off my Rape Alarm. Not kidding, not being hyperbolic–he gives me the immediate sensation of an imminent threat to my personal well-being and agency. Like a man driving by too slowly when you walk down the street at night, alone.

I’m so happy to see this new feature! I’d much rather discuss news and politics with a familiar community than with the nutjobs I see on the major news sites.

I really feel like the options for the Republican party have come down to a “lesser of two evils” situation with Romney and Santorum being the evils. Just when one of them does something completely appalling and I start to think, well, I guess he’s better than the other guy now, the other guy goes and kicks the douchebagness up a notch.

The Rockette happened to be using my iPod Touch when the “breaking news” notification about the avalanche popped up and she had 100 questions about it. It’s scary to think that these were expert skiers who really knew what they were doing and yet they still didn’t survive. Any word on the 8 that were missing? I didn’t see anything in the CNN article I read earlier.

Still not sure how they chose Lindsay to host SNL. Does she have a movie to promote? That ‘Deep Throat’/Linda Lovelace thing was the only one I’ve heard about but has that even started filming. Either SNL is trying to profit off of the train wreck of her life or they figured they better book her while she’s still alive, both of which are really sad reasons.

I agree about the lesser of two evils, but then again, I think Mitt is the lesser of two evils.  Really.  100%.  Because Santorum’s bullshit makes me sputter.  And I’ll be honest – Mitt’s Mormonism is a plus for me.  Did I just say that?  Yes, I did.  Because all of the Mormons that I’ve known have been, deep down, really, really good people.  I don’t know that I can believe that about Mitt, but if he has grown up surrounded by people who (admittedly have very different beliefs than I do about a lot of things, and the gay marriage stuff is obviously very upsetting) value hard work and honesty, I take that as a plus.

I agree about Romney being the lesser of two evils, the way that peeing yourself is preferable to shitting yourself.

However, the religion thing…I try not to hold it for or against anyone. That neither Romney (Mormon) nor Santorum (Catholic) are “Christian” as I was raised in a Protestant church to believe is not something I will use to evaluate them. Similarly, I won’t hold Obama’s Protestant faith in his favor, either.

As many Jewish and Catholic atheists as one can meet, there’s definitely a culture around at least some faiths that transcends whether an apostate can still call themselves part of the group. I see what you’re saying there.

If I were Catholic, I certainly wouldn’t want to be blamed for Santorum. Even as a Pennsylvanian, I want to shout, “I voted against him at the first opportunity, in ’06! I’m sorry; we’re not all bad people!” ::shudder::

I’m a Catholic, and I don’t want to be blamed for a lot of the nasty members of my faith (Gingrich, you’ve had, like, 800 divorces. How did you even get past the front door?) But then I am a “bad’ Catholic who believes that birth control is good and abortion needs to be legal (also state secularism, so many crappy awful things the church has been involved with are the result of having an incestuous relationship with government). I kind of hate the Bishop who confirmed me now that he’s the archbishop of my diocese, and I’m not so hot on this Pope either. My faith is complicated.

I like to spend a bit of time at the Catholics for Choice website when I get particularly rage filled. Or I look at something like the Just War Doctrine or their stance on labor rights, and remember that the Church doesn’t always have its head up its rectum.

I don’t think they have the amount of time and money it would take to moderate comments which is why so many of them seem like such a free-for-all. But, holy shit, I think I would end up crying or putting my head through a wall if I had to read through them all day, every day.

I agree, I think Romney is more tolerable than Santorum, his ideas aren’t as crazy by comparison. And even though I haven’t known many Mormons personally, the ones that I have known have never tried to force their religion on others as much as the fundie Christians *ahemBachmanncough* have.

I guess that’s where my bias comes in – there was a surprisingly high percentage of Mormons in my grad program (probably 25-30%…a small department, but I still got to know several of them very well), and they were just so awesome.  Really.  Never once talked about religion unless it was brought up by somebody else, laughed when I would make jokes about how much beer they drank (GET IT?  THEY DON’T DRINK!!), and were always, always, always willing to help everybody out.

That’s been my experiences with Mormons as well – some of my best friends in high school were Mormons, who never tried to convert us or talked about religion unless asked about it.  We’d routinely hang out at their house, and they had pop and such (they never drank it, but knew we liked it).  I still keep up with some of them on Facebook, and although we clash on some political issues, we can do so in a rational debate.

I thought I had read that Lindsay Lohan was replaced in the Linda Lovelace movie. I just realized they both have LL names. That has no significance whatsoever. I think Amanda Seyfried took the Lohan (Linda Lovelace) part. says it’s now in post-production. So I have no clue why Lindsay is on SNL. She’s a mess lately. I feel for her–she comes from a damaged family. They are starting in on the younger sister, Ali, now, too.

Actually, Lindsay Lohan was supposed to play Linda Lovelace in Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, the other biopic being made of her (yes, there’s two of them in development at the same time). Malin Akerman is supposed to replace her. Amanda Seyfried is in the other one, Lovelace.

ETA: Slay Belle beat me to it!

That’s right, I forgot that she had been replaced in the (one of two) Lovelace movie. So wtf is SNL thinking? I hope it’s because someone honestly believes she deserves another chance (and needs the money) rather than trying to profit off of the train wreck.

Oh man, if you thought that comment by ESPN was bad, you should see the response by Kpop star Jenny Hyun! (Warning: this is really racist)

Syria. I have no idea what to think anymore. It’s completely horrifying that no one is stopping it. No one is even talking about it in my circles but I guess we’re all feeling helpless.

Ohmygod, I hadn’t seen those.

Nor do I know who Kpop is, so I am hopeful that it is just a terrible person who doesn’t influence people?  That’s what was shocking about the ESPN headline to me – It’s freaking ESPN.  Don’t they have checks and balances to keep the racist shit out?

Kpop is a style of Korean pop music wildly popular throughout Asia and it’s recently been getting a lot of attention in the west. In Korea, these singers/performers are considered gods and everything they do and say is well publicized. Kids want to be them. Young people want to look like them. Old people know all their songs. The influence of singing groups like Girls Generation (whom Jenny Hyun comes from) is enormous and sadly, her racist remarks echo a growing sentiment in Korea that people of African descent are criminals. A teacher at my last school once asked his kids if they had any phobias and one said his was black people. Racism is pretty prevalent there but you don’t normally see such extreme public declarations like Jenny Hyuns. I really hope that her comments don’t inspire people to do the same.

The bit about “I don’t hate black people, it’s just the truth” was what made it way over the top for me.  I mean, it is all awful.  But to then think that it is a-okay, to think there is nothing wrong with what you said?  Holyyyyyyyyyyy shit.

Y’know, I always think it’s silly when my friends phone me after hearing about horrible anti-gay laws in other countries or murders to go “YOU KNOW I ACCEPT YOU RITE? RITE? PLEASE DON’T DIE” (it’s so sweet but after a while you’re like “really I’m OK”)

but after reading this, for a split second I went “I NEED TO PHONE NAV AND TELL HER I LOVE HER OMG”

Seriously. Seriously. How do you have any conception of human biology and still come up with moronic stereotypes like this. Fuck Jenny Hyun. She is a frown.

I say this far too often, but I do find American politics mind-boggling. The points on pre-natal testing and so on just wouldn’t happen here. At all. There was the Nadine Dorries trouble which now seems, thank goodness, to have subsided, along with her attempts at changing abortion legislation.

The oil “problems” are an interesting one, as we still have North Sea production. But it could still make life very difficult, and well, it wasn’t unexpected.

That shooting of the mother and child is so sad, and indeed, I was reading about another case this morning (from Australia, I think) where a father killed his child and himself. Those are both cases of men being violent, but there is so much to be done to end violence in the home (as well as elsewhere) regardless of the perpetrator being a man or a woman.

Definitely good points.  I feel so sick about the teenage mother – and I think the domestic violence angle of it makes it hit harder for me, just because I am imagining a long buildup of abuse, I guess.  It wouldn’t make it better if somebody kidnapped them and killed them, but there is so much manipulation and awfulness that goes along with domestic violence.  Ugh.

And the Santorum stuff: I just – once again, my fingers are tongue-tied.  He doesn’t think that women should have the right to know what is going on INSIDE THEIR BODIES because they might want to make INFORMED DECISIONS.


For me, I think with domestic violence, it’s knowing that most likely there had been violence going on for a considerable length of time before it came to an end. No matter how or why, it’s still horrible.

I think your “WTF, America?” caption summarised it pretty neatly. I have great admiration for you guys having to deal with that. At the very least, it has made me very grateful for what is available here.

I am so grateful these days more than ever before to live in a country where abortion is essentially freely accessible, where gay rights are entrenched (and more than that, mainstream parties all support them).

Jesus, I was actually gobsmacked when I heard the Conservatives were planning to extend gay marriage rights. What happened to Section 28?

I suppose the best thing about the UK is that our parties see social liberalism as a way to win votes. Thank Secularism the populist vote fell that side of the axe. =/

It’s a good place to be, for sure. It’s great seeing how things have moved on. Certainly there are things that need to improve, there’s no doubt about it, but things are definitely going in the right direction.

The change in the Conservatives is interesting and I’m sure not all their supporters agree, but as a general perception and belief, things are changing for the better. I can’t remember what triggered it, but I looked up Section 28 the other day and it was just plain to read about it considering where we are now.

The contrast between our parties and others (like the US) is something I find particularly interesting, and an excellent reminder of why we’re so fortunate in so many ways.

Well, we’re a country where 40% of the population explicitly identify as non-religious and 11% of the 50% who identify as Christian actually attend church. The funny part is that over the last five years we’ve gotten more big-C Conservative and more socially liberal at the same time. It would be very amusing if in about five or ten years all of our big debates at election time came down to the economy.

Most of them at the last election were about the economy, one way or another. Independent of the religion side of things, it also seems class is becoming more prominent against, albeit in subtle ways at times. Especially with the welfare state/Broken Britain debates that keep going on, which tend to boil down to money and “class”.

With religion though, the recent ruling on prayers in council meetings was great (and it’s also super to see the British Humanist Association and other associations being listened to, rather than humoured) but last I heard it’s going to be overruled which is so frustrating.

H V 2P’s Papas del France

1 order of french fries

1 packet of ketchup

1 paper plate


Spread half the ketchup in a thin layer on the plate. Layer the french fries. Drizzle the rest of the ketchup on top. Serve hot or warm or room-temperature or cold. Serves 1-2 people, 5-8 undergraduates. Do not take internally. Results may vary. Contact your physician or a cool parent if symptoms persist or you experience blurry vision, priapism, or total loss of nostril control.

Tee hee!

So, there’s a place I used to go online that posted news bits and I enjoyed getting news in a place where I could scroll down and see comments expressing what the fucky fuckery fuck fuck? It adds a certain sweetener to the Slurpee of ka-ray-zee that news is.

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