In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Slavery; rape; torture; terrorism; misogyny] This is horrifying: "Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when 'owners' of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females. ...The fatwa was among a huge trove of documents captured by U.S. Special Operations Forces during a raid targeting a top Islamic State official in Syria in May. Reuters has reviewed some of the documents, which have not been previously published. Among the religious rulings are bans on a father and son having sex with the same female slave; and the owner of a mother and daughter having sex with both. Joint owners of a female captive are similarly enjoined from intercourse because she is viewed as 'part of a joint ownership.' The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the Islamic State of the systematic abduction and rape of thousands of women and girls as young as 12, especially members of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq. Many have been given to fighters as a reward or sold as sex slaves. Far from trying to conceal the practice, Islamic State has boasted about it and established a department of 'war spoils' to manage slavery."

I am sitting here recalling how former President George W. Bush and his entire disgusting administration and their disgusting neocon cheerleaders justified their Middle East interventions by routinely asserting they would be freeing women. "W is for Women" is an actual fucking slogan that was actually fucking used. And IS emerged from the chaos they created. War criminals, who plunged Iraqi women into this nightmare, under the auspices of "saving" them. There aren't sufficient words to describe the profundity of my rage and grief.

[CN: Terrorism; war; death] In other IS news: "US-led airstrikes have killed a Syrian-based jihadi linked to the chief planner of the November suicide attacks in Paris, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. Pentagon spokesman Col Steve Warren named the dead man as Charaffe al-Mouadan, thought to be French, who he said had a direct link to the Paris attack cell leader, Abdelhamid Abaoud, and was killed on 24 December. 'Al-Mouadan was actively planning attacks against the west,' Warren said. 'We will hunt Isil [Isis] leaders working to inspire attacks against US and our allies. As long as Isil external attack planners are operating, the US military will hunt them and kill them.'" Is anyone else getting that old "Al Qaeda #2" refrain stuck in their heads?

[CN: Terrorism; Islamophobia] Meanwhile, as we continue to disproportionately focus on threats to "us" (ahem) in the US, while largely ignoring what IS is doing to people in their occupied territories, we also ignore the increasing risk to Muslims resulting from the irresponsible conflation of Muslims with terrorist extremists: "Authorities are investigating a firebomb attack on a mosque in Tracy, California that took place on Sunday as a hate crime. 'It exploded all over the place,' Mohammed Arain, president of the Islamic Center, said of the molotov cocktail that hit the mosque. ...No one was injured in the attack, but it has made congregants feel ill at ease at a time when more and more mosques and Muslims have come under fire. 'It doesn't happen accidentally, so they have certain hate involved,' Saifi Raniwala, a member of the Islamic Center's board of trustees said."

[CN: Privacy violations] The hell? "We've seen boat loads of personal info dumps online in the last year, but none as bizarre as this: A discovery of personal data from millions of Americans who've voted since 2000, found by a researcher and sitting in a sloppily configured database. In other words, it was just hanging out on the web. For unknown reasons. And we have no idea who put it there. ...This mysterious voter database contains a mix of voters' personal and public information including Phone numbers, home addresses, party affiliations, email addresses, full names, ethnicity, gender, and age. Luckily, though, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, and sensitive financial data were not exposed."

[CN: Homophobia] The fuck? "Two men were caught on camera defacing one of Philadelphia's rainbow crosswalks in the city's Gayborhood on Monday night. Video recorded by an onlooker shows one vandal taking a sledgehammer to the crosswalk before being joined by another man who 'chiseled' away at the rainbow pavement. ...The rainbow crosswalks were installed in June to show Philadelphia as a LGBTQ-friendly city." What is wrong with people?! Seethe.

[CN: Privilege; video may autoplay at link] Hey, remember Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old wealthy white Texas teenager who received probation after killing four people while drunk driving, because he suffers from "affluenza," i.e. being a privileged shit who's never held accountable for his actions? Well, he broke his probation by traveling abroad and was just apprehended in Mexico. Where he was chilling with his mother. They seem like a neat family.

RIP Lemmy. "Ian Kilmister—the iconic Lemmy of British heavy metal pioneers Motörhead—died Monday at age 70... 'There is no easy way to say this,' Motörhead said. 'Our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer.'"

If you've been waiting to see for whom Samuel L. Jackson will vote before you make up your mind, wait no longer! "I'm forever a Democrat, you know, and I'm gonna vote for Hillary. I mean, I love Bernie—Bernie's a man of the people—but he can't win. So I gotta cast my vote for a person that can keep those other people from winning, okay? Not to mention, you know, Hillary kinda knows the job, she can hit the ground running. She didn't have a huge learning-curve like Barack [Obama] had or some other people had. And hopefully she can open up the skeletal files of those do-nothing assholes that go to work, like, four times a year and not vote on things [an apparent reference to Sen. Marco Rubio and other elected officials with poor attendance records] and threaten them with whatever she and Bill [Clinton] uncovered on them years ago and make 'em do something and we can get something done." LOL!

The Olive Garden in Times Square will be "charging diners $400 a pop on NYE." NOBODY TELL IAIN!

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] "It isn't every day that a mystery from the deep swims into plain sight. But on Christmas Eve, spectators on a pier in Toyama Bay in central Japan were treated to a rare sighting of a giant squid. The creature swam under fishing boats and close to the surface of Toyama Bay, better known for its firefly squid, and reportedly hung around the bay for several hours before it was ushered back to open water. It was captured on video by a submersible camera, and even joined by a diver, Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, who swam in close proximity to the red-and-white real-life sea monster. 'My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it,' he told CNN. 'This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea.'"

And finally! "15 Photos That Prove Goats Are Underrated, Majestic Beings." One time, at a petting zoo, I saw a goat eating another goat's poop directly as it was falling out of that goat's butt. "Majestic" is absolutely how I would have described it.

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