Friday, March 27, 2009

Pointy Hat-ed Pontiff Ribbed (or Unribbed Perhaps) by Facebook

According to the Telegraph, a few Italians have started a growing facebook campaign to inundate the Vatican with prophylactics. The campaign was started in response to comments the Pope made about how condoms aggravate the spread of HIV. Organizers claim that 60,000 have signed up so far. If you are one of the participants, might I recommend sending the condoms with the reservoir tip as they actualy kind of look of look like the aforementioned pointy hat.

Kidding aside, this policy is just plain deadly. I read that the Pope made these or similar comments on a recent trip to Africa. As Africa has about 22.5 million people currently infected with HIV and 20 million have already died from it, his suggestions that the disease could be defeated through chastity and abstinence is tantamount to homicide in my book. Africa has enough indigenous and cultural problems dealing with the disease with out adding any more to it. Harvard researchers last year estimated that the approach of South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki had led to 330,000 needless deaths. Mbeki, you may remember, said that there was not enough evidence to prove that HIV caused AIDS. This lead to bad policies such as not providing antiretroviral drugs to those already infected.

So Mr. Pope, if you are listening, I ask you, which is the greater evil?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Speaking of Weirdness

I think I now know why both clowns and Fergie scare me, and why I was such a strange little kid. Look at what I used to watch!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joaquin Phoenix's New-Found Weridness

I caught part of his interview on David Letterman last month, and now I saw this headline about him getting into an altercation with a heckler at one of his hip-hop performances.

Yeah, hip-hop. Is he on tour or something? If so, has anyone out there actually been or bought a ticket?

I'm guessing this is one big Andy Kaufman-esque thing. It does sort of sound that way, and I kind of hope it is. I think Hollywood and the media (especially all the gossip rags) need a good shaking up again.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Freestyle

I am saddened that I had not seen this before. If you want to stop laughing, check out the violence at the end and the racist youtube comments that follow the link.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Proposition H8

Well, they're off, in theory, as argument was supposed to begin at 9 a. m. PST. I have been unable to access the sites that are supposed to live stream the arguments. Like this one. But they are supposed to last 3 hours, so I guess I can just try again in a bit.

The LA Times reported that the demonstrations in front of the court were "slow to start," but I don't think that a "couple of hundred" people who were there an hour before the hearing even started is really a "slow" start when it comes to demonstrating in front of court houses.

However you feel about the issue, there are some interesting questions before the court. Such as, is this a "revision" of the constitution rather than an "amendment" because prop 8 "revised" the previously interpreted breadth of the Equal Protection clause? Or is it an amendment since it only revised an interpretation of the EPC, rather than the EPC itself?

I heard that the Supreme Court has rejected such challenges in the past, but I'm not sure if any of them dealt with the EPC which, I think everyone would acknowledge, is in a more fundamental and separate category from the rest of the (enormous) California Constitution.

Even if the court does uphold the proposition, what of the people already married? Should it be retroactive?

Tough questions. I guess we'll know in 90 days or less.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Detour to Africa Via Den Haag

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Interestingly, and some would say incomprehensibly shamefully, the warrant does not include the charge of genocide.

Apparently the PTC did not even think they could establish the low standard of "resonable grounds" necessary to include the charge of genocide in the warrant. I have to imagine that perhaps this was ultimately a political decision aimed at minimizing the reaction in Khartoum. Either way, I have to share in other commentators' dismay.

But there might be other factos at work too. I imagine that establishing Bashir's genocidal "intent" might be hard to establish. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the ICC can only consider conduct that occurred after the entry into force of the Rome Statute in 2002, so Bashir's activities during the pre-Darfur civil war with the SPLA in Southern Sudan during the mid-to-late nineties and early naughts would not be able to be considered. So I think the lead prosecutor's case will have to be based on mostly the conduct in Darfur.

He has been charged with:

  • five counts of crimes against humanity: murder – article 7(1)(a); extermination – article 7(1)(b); forcible transfer – article 7(1)(d);
    torture – article 7(1)(f); and rape – article 7(1)(g);
  • two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities – article 8(2)(e)(i); and pillaging – article 8(2)(e)(v).
The reaction in Khartoum, however, has been quick. Protests were almost instantaneously started and the Sudanese seem to have revoked the licenses of several NGO aid organizations that operate in the country. Apparently this is Bashir's way of punishing the West by further punishing his own people.

Now at the risk of sounding clinical, this is going to be an interesting experiment, as it will be testing ground for the ICC in a new area. It will be a new chapter in the ongoing argument between those who think that impunity cannot be tolerated and that those who are reasonably believed to have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity should be tried in the Hague if the local country is unwilling or unable to do so, and those who are not sure if the meddling of the international community will help, and might only make wounds fester.

For further information about the long civil war in Sudan, the one that preceded Darfur, I highly recommend a book by David Eggers entitled "What is the What."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Locker Room Etiquette

I'm about as "straight but not narrow" as they come, but something about my gym makes me a little uncomfortable. Specifically, how gay it can be.

Now I don't mean that I'm bothered by the LGBT community going to my gym. Far from it. However, on any given day, you can find m4m missed connections from the men's locker room. Here are a few examples.

saw you working out at [gym]. You were wearing a purple t-shirt and Stanford shorts. Looks like you're tan from vacation. I checked you out in the locker room but you were talking to some of your buds. I gotta know who you are - does anybody else know? I was the in-shape white guy, five eleven 180lbs muscle tats on right arm, that checked you out several times. Let's bone bud - I bet you're a HOT TOP... I saw your thick dick in the showers!
Saw you today working out and then in the locker room. You are very cute. We talked for a minute but I did not want to be too forward. I would love to meet you outside of the gym. I think it was around 4:30 or 5
Ok this is SO not fair, heteros don't get a sneak peak at the goods! Although maybe being objectified by other men might be a good lesson for some of us so that we can empathize with how women feel most of the time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

We're All F*cked But at Least It Won't Be on the Internet Anymore

Not to be the boy who cried wolf or chicken little, but if you don't find this scary enough, maybe this will cause you to panic. I mean, if internet porn can't make it in today's economic climate, I don't like the chances for the rest of us.

*I just went to NYC a few weeks ago and finally saw Avenue Q. Hilarious.