Tags: politics


The Opium Brides of Afghanistan


Khalida's father says she's 9—or maybe 10....The trafficker found them anyway and demanded his opium. So Shah took his case before a tribal council in Laghman and begged for leniency. Instead, the elders unanimously ruled that Shah would have to reimburse the trafficker by giving Khalida to him in marriage. Now the family can only wait for the 45-year-old drugrunner to come back for his prize. Khalida wanted to be a teacher someday, but that has become impossible. "It's my fate," the child says.

Local farmers say more than one debtor has been bound hand and foot, then locked into a small windowless room with a smoldering fire, slowly choking to death.

In the two districts she studied, approximately half the new brides had been given in marriage to repay opium debts. The new brides included children as young as 5 years old; until they're old enough to consummate their marriages, they mostly work as household servants for their in-laws.

. "I pray that God doesn't give me a daughter if she ends up like me."

Finally something helpful on elections

Without the rhetoric and talk about who's most inspiring, CNN has a chart of where each candidate stands on the issues.


Since McCain is almost definitely the Republican nominee, I'll mention his stances.

Clinton's definitely strongest on women's issues, promising to code Roe into federal law and overturn the global gag rule on family planning/abortion. She voted against the Partial Birth Abortion act (a misnomer, btw).

McCain, would overturn Roe.

Clinton's also the only one of the candidates that will go for national health care.

I wish she was less hawkish and agree with Obama more on stances on Iran and Iraq. He supports diplomatic efforts.

I wish one of the main candidates would pony up and support gay marriage. At least both are in favor of civil unions. McCain would support a federal marriage ban if the courts overturn state requirements.

All 3 are ok on stem-cell.

Snort. All 3 want that ridiculous 700 mile fence.

Both Dems are willing to revise NAFTA. McCain is a fan.

I prefer Clinton on economic stimulus. She's not talking tax cuts, and I like the 90-day moratorium on subprime lending.

I don't know what Obama thinks a $250 tax cut is going to do. That will help slightly in the very short term.

Nobody has anything about restoring the personal liberties taken by the Patriot Act. McCain wants to increase numbers in the military...guess that'll be needed with so many of our soldiers suffering from PTSD. No one has anything to say about additional help for Vets either.

Guns, I don't worry about too much. There's such an underground trade in them that any effort at restriction is essentially meaningless. If you want a gun, you can get one.

On the issues, I have to go with Clinton.

And to think I used to kind of respect John McCain

I put up with him panting after Bush, thinking he just had an overdeveloped sense of loyalty or whatever, but this?

McCain to speak at Liberty University

JERRY FALWELL'S university?

"The Arizona senator will give the commencement address Saturday at Liberty University, the Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., headed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a fundamentalist Baptist. McCain called Falwell and the Rev. Pat Robertson intolerant and "evil" in 2000 after blaming them for a smear campaign against him."

But whatever gets you the votes, huh, Senator? I don't know what's worse, thinking that he actually shares Falwell's beliefs or that he's so politically cynical that he's willing to suck up to these people.

I also didn't realize this:

"He said they agreed on what he called the two most pressing issues to social conservatives: opposing abortion and gay marriage. He said they disagreed over how to combat gay marriage: Falwell supports a federal constitutional amendment, while McCain prefers to ban it at the state level. But he applauded McCain's commitment to support a federal amendment if courts throw out state bans."

Well, it's good to know, I suppose. Sigh. Knowledge is power, blah, blah. Knowledge is disillusionment too, these days.

He sees you when you're sleeping...and he has a lawyer

My thanks to the LJ community dark_christian for the point out.

Falwell threatens to sue/boycott groups that 'subvert' Christmas

Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell has a message for Americans when it comes to celebrating Christmas this year: You're either with us, or you're against us.

I'll take 'against'

"They'll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Which that teacher should do

Standing on the other side of that sand line are religious, liberal and secular organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, whose national director, Abe Foxman, recently bemoaned the religious right's efforts to "Christianize" America.

No doubt, evil Satan worshippers one and all

The issue is a dilemma for the Anti-Defamation League, too. It commissioned a poll last month of 800 adults, 57 percent of whom said Christianity was under attack. Among evangelicals, the figure was 76 percent.

Yes, the President and most of congress sharing your religion is a sign of persecution. You can't marry. You can't adopt. Your faith (even if you don't do stuff like beat the shit out of your kid in the name of the Lord) is enough to have your children taken. Oh. Wait. That's not you. That's what you DO TO OTHER PEOPLE

Anti-war sermon threatens church's tax-free status

"The Internal Revenue Service has warned a prominent liberal church it could lose its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon a guest preacher gave on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, church officials say."


"The IRS warned the church in June that its tax-exempt status was in jeopardy because such organizations are prohibited from intervening in political campaigns and elections."

We have local churches that hand out VOTING GUIDES. Of course, those are for conservative candidates. Not to mention all the sermons on the evils of homosexuality, feminism, and choice. I wonder if Falwell's "Liberals caused 9/11" church is still tax exempt?

Our newest possible jurist

Well, he actually HAS been a judge. That's something. OTOH, Bush is running back to his roots, here.


Two of his decisions:

"In one of his more well-known decisions, Alito wrote the opinion in a case that said a Christmas display on city property did not violate separation of church and state doctrines because it included a large plastic Santa Claus as well as religious symbols."

I'm amused at the idea of Santa attending the Nativity, perhaps along with Frosty and Rudolph, but I'd think the religious would be annoyed that it's lumped in with secular Christmas decorations. Maybe I'm the only one whose thought about it. The Nativity is either a religious symbol or it isn't. If it's just another candy cane (which a lot of people seem to treat it as), then fine. If not, you can't display it on city property. Before everyone gets bent out of shape about the Minorah, I *believe*, and let me know if I'm wrong, that it's a cultural, not a religious symbol as the Torah would be.

There's nothing funny about the second decision.

"he was the only dissenting voice in a 3rd Circuit ruling striking down a Pennsylvania law that required women to notify their husbands if they planned to get an abortion."

We'll leave out the part about how a woman could easily be beaten/killed for informing an abusive spouse of this decision. That could happen, and it's a concern, however, bottom line, a woman's body is HER OWN BUSINESS. Sorry, Alito, but we're not chattel anymore...at least not legally. We don't have to get permission from hubby to make a decision about our bodies.

I'm home

Very very tired. Also somewhat bemused by Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of the President of Venezuala. I guess it's a Who Would Jesus Whack kind of thing. Of course, he wants to nuke the state dept. too, so we can't really accuse him of playing favorites.

Anyhow, chemo went ok despite some serious stupidity that I'll write about later when I'm awake and stuff. I hope this is the last one.

No chat for me tonight, peeps. cya.

Riding the subway while non-white

Is a bad idea in London.

Inquiry into de Menezes shooting death

If true, this is absolutely horrific.

"ITV News, citing documents and photographs, reported that de Menezes was not carrying any bags when he entered the Stockwell Tube station and was wearing a denim jacket, rather than a bulky coat as police had previously said.

De Menezes walked at a normal pace, did not vault any barriers and even stopped to pick up a newspaper, ITV News reported.

He descended to the train slowly on an escalator, then ran toward the open subway car and took a seat, according to ITV, which based its account on a document outlining what was captured on surveillance footage."

We'll see.

Know what I think would be a great team name?


Really. Proud warriors, and all that. Or Masai. Who could possibly object?

How about Muslims? Or Jews! The Fightin' Jews would be the greatest name ever.

Bush criticizes ban on team name

""I think they insult those people by telling them, 'No, no, you're not smart enough to understand this. You should be feeling really horrible about this.'"

Because people have never participated in their own oppression before.

""How politically correct can we get?" Bush asked. "The folks that make these decisions need to get out more often.""

Ah, yes. How dare someone want to change the prevalent way of thinking.