News Appetizers: Ask for extra sauce to help the medicine go down

In case you are one of those TL;DR kind of people, here’s a quick summary: Trayvon Martin’s case is continuing to get people talking but so far not much more; things are terrible in the world, especially in Syria, at funerals, and for Susan Powell; some basketball happened; people won a crapton of money; the Republican primary is coming to a head (but don’t use that kind of language around republicans); the individual mandate is being debated.

Martin's parents
Trayvon Martin's parents. Image courtesy of CNN.Picture: Trayvon Martin's parents. Courtesy of CNN.

Trayvon Martin’s family is putting in a formal complaint against the state prosecutor, who may have interfered. You know what else interfered? The existence of a law that says that it is a-okay to shoot to kill if you feel like you might be injured by somebody. If there is anything good that comes out of this case, I hope it at least gets people to realize what a horrendous law this is. (CNN)

Anonymous is maybe threatening to shut down the Internet to protest anti-piracy proposals. I kind of adore Anonymous, and really, really hope I never make them mad. (NPR)

The world is increasing pressure on Syria, but the violence continues. (CNN)

Holy awfulness. Susan Powell went missing in 2009. Her two young boys said strange things like, “My mommy is dead,” and that she went camping with them but never came home. Her husband, Josh Powell, maintained his innocence. He changed his story a lot, and his alibi didn’t add up, but he was never arrested. In February, Josh Powell killed himself and their two boys. His father, Steven Powell, has served time in jail for child pornography. Awfulness all around. But now they’ve found her blood in their Utah house, as well as a will that showed she was afraid of her husband and her father-in-law, and feared for her life. Holy moly. (CNN)

Suu Kyi
One step forward for humankind. Image courtesy of the BBC.


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won a place in Myanmar’s parliament, according to her supporters. The government has promised free and fair elections, but they seem to be anything but. Last time she won, the results were ignored and she was placed under house arrest. Let’s all hope that this time she is able to do the work for democracy that she is so passionate about. (CNN)

Three people won $218 million each. Is it you? GO CHECK! If it is you, the server is hungry. As am I. I mean, I like you anyway and I’m not only friends with you for the money, but seriously. Hungry. (CNN)

One of the winners, whose identity is not yet revealed, is from Kansas. Also in Kansas, a guy bought some tickets and then got struck by lightning. (CNN). I HOPE IT IS THE SAME GUY. Oh. I should have read the whole story. It wasn’t the same guy. I HOPE IT WAS THAT GUY’S FRIEND. (NY Daily News)

Ugh. Funeral shooting in Miami, killing 2 and injuring 12. Any shooting is awful. But shooting at a funeral? Ugh. (CNN)

The average length of labor is 6.5 hours. Fifty years ago, it was 4 hours. This might be because babies are bigger, there are more epidurals, first time mothers are older. I don’t care why it is, it sucks a lot, and remind me to never have another baby. (NPR)

In women’s basketball, all four regional #1 seeds have made it to the final four. This is apparently awesome, although don’t take my word for it, because I don’t really watch sports. (NPR)

KU vs OSU was maybe the only time I ever cared about basketball. And I didn't care very much. But still! Care. Image courtesy of the Lawrence Journal-World

For those of you that follow men’s basketball, KU will be up against UK (if you don’t know which one is which, it doesn’t matter! Kansas and Kentucky!) for the NCAA championships. For those of you who don’t care, just know that I was at a conference at my alma mater (Ohio State) watching the OSU/KU game with current students and rooting for my home team (I grew up in Kansas), and it was pretty amazing. Even though I don’t care about basketball and didn’t even know that they were playing. Or that March Madness actually ends in April, which is, quite frankly, misleading. (CNN)

Police are using cell phones more and more as surveillance devices that the surveilee signs up for and covers the cost of. Super. People talk about how this is good because you can find suspects faster and if a kid is in trouble you can get to them, etc., but apparently I am a libertarian because it makes me hugely uncomfortable. Hugely. (NYTimes)

Here’s something nice: gay pride groups are being formed in military academies. (CNN)

I was about to write something about how I didn’t understand why Twitter would cut its character limit to 133, or why that would save money, but that it seemed interesting, and then I realized it was an April Fool’s joke. April Fool’s! (NPR)

The individual mandate was debated in front of the Supreme Court, although we won’t know results until June. For once, I know exactly which side I want to win, but I can very clearly see and understand the arguments on both sides. Not about whether there should be an individual mandate, but whether the bill as it is worded is actually constitutional. I hope my side wins. It is losing in popularity, though. (NPR)

The Iraq war has made people skittish about jumping into war with Iran. Halle-fucking-lujah. (NYTimes)

The stock market had its best quarter since 1998! WOOHOO! The rich keep getting richer, people! And the poor, well…I’m sure it’ll trickle down or something. (NPR)

Tangentially related: the federal government is cracking down on eight more firms about how crappily they handled the foreclosure crisis. Did I ever tell you the story about when we refinanced our condo? Our original loan was crappy (5-year ARM), and if we didn’t refinance, there was a decent chance we would eventually default. The only trouble they gave us when we got the original, crappy loan was that we weren’t asking for more money. Three years later, we did a refinance with the same company to make it less likely that we would default. So – we were paying the company to change the loan to make it more likely that they would get paid the full amount from us. They very nearly denied us, based on our finances. Which were better than when we got the original loan. YES, YOU STUPID BANK. DENY SOMEBODY A REFINANCE AND MAKE A FORECLOSURE MORE LIKELY SO THAT YOU CAN LOSE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE. (NYTimes)

Even less related, except when I think “rich” I think “Romney.” Mitt Romney could seal up the Republican nomination on Tuesday. It’s not like I like Mitt Romney. But the fact that the person who had to catch himself from calling the president of the United States a racial slur is still in the race is mind-blowing. (NYTimes)

So. The news is generally depressing. Go forth and fight the good fight.

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.

18 replies on “News Appetizers: Ask for extra sauce to help the medicine go down”

I call bullshit+/bad science writing on that NPR labour story. Both times quoted seem very short: the NCT in the UK quotes 6-20 hours for first-time mothers and 2-10 hours subsequently. And they never define ‘labour’: Is it from the start of the first stage to the end of the third stage? From the onset of contractions? From the onset of contractions X seconds long Y minutes apart? From Zcm of cervical dilation?

I clicked through to the press release about the study, which seems to say it’s first stage of labour they’re talking about, but still – seems quite short, especially since the press release doesn’t clarify if the comparative figures relate only to first-time birth. I definitely smell some bad science writing.

It could be – I mean, the context of the sentence was weird, it could have fit in but the syntax was off.  So I don’t know.  If he were about to say that word – how is it possible that that word even drops out of people’s mouths anymore?

I just can’t figure out what else it would be. I mean, we could be hearing “Nigg- uh,” when he said “Ni- guh.” I say “guh” sometimes when I’m trying to find a word. But even then, I can’t think of what word would fit. On the other hand, I can’t imagine an upper-class white guy referring to someone as a “government ******.” It’s just not the right level of language.

When is the news not depressing? I grew up with guns in the house, and I am, for the most part, fine with private citizens owning guns. But the gun nut response to the Martin case has been so unspeakably gross, I am ready to say no more guns for anyone. If you can’t make the judgement call about this being a misuse of personal firearms, then you don’t get to have any.

I’m willing to believe that there are times when killing in self defense can involve a gun and not be reprehensible. From my very layman’s understanding of Michigan law on the topic, someone pretty much has to have broken into your home and be advancing toward you (no shooting people in the back and saying you felt threatened). I’m ok with that. That seems reasonable. I am not ok with a law that says you don’t have to try and flee a scene before lethal force becomes justified. It should be a last resort. Any non-last resort situations should be treated as criminal.

Leave a Reply