Back in April, after a rare mass-protest by Afghan women and particularly forceful international pressure, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai agreed to review the Shiite Personal Status Law that reportedly would have “forbid[den] women to refuse to have sex with their husbands and force[d] them to get their spouses’ permission before leaving the house, looking for a job, going to the doctor or receiving education.” But last week Human Rights Watch revealved that a final version of the law, which was reviewed by HRW as published in the official Gazette on July 27, 2009, retains many of the regressive and oppressive articles that were the source of international outrage to begin with:
“The law gives a husband the right to withdraw basic maintenance from his wife, including food, if she refuses to obey his sexual demands. It grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers. It requires women to get permission from their husbands to work. It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying “blood money” to a girl who was injured when he raped her.”
Earlier today, the Times posted a Lede entry with a pretty inflammatory headline that includes some interesting videos showing interviews by Al Jazeera with some Shiite women who endorsed the original articles.
To all my Afghan women: it’s time to listen to rapper-ternt-family movie star Queen Latifah and tell these guys to cut it out. In her early ’90s hit classic, “U.N.I.T.Y.,” Queen Latifah brings the positive message to females everywhere that it’s simply not OK to let men belittle you, call you a “bitch” or a “ho,” or smack your ass (without permission). I think that starvation as retaliation for lack of sex might fall into that category of “unacceptable” behavior as well, but maybe that’s just me. Two lines really struck me as appropriate for today. The first, “I’m not your personal whore,” could rightly be said to apply to the Afghan women here. The second, “I had my cut-off shorts on, right, ’cause it was crazy hot” goes out to all the people, male or female, who are sweating it out in this humid hotness that has finally descended on the city.
But back to the message: Women of the world, UNITE.
Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.:
Last week it was widely reported that various intelligence seems to suggest North Korea may test a long-range missile some time soon, possibly on the Fourth of July, with Hawaii as the intended target. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been pretty vague about the intelligence, as according to the WSJ he has admitted that “the U.S. had ‘seen some signs’ that North Korea was preparing to launch a long-range missile. But he cautioned, that ‘at this point, its not clear what they’re going to do.'” Despite this uncertainty and the skepticism voiced by many analysts’ that North Korea would even be able to send a missile on the 4500 mile journey from Pyongyang to Hawaii, steps are being taken to prepare for any possible attack, such as “positioning a sophisticated floating radar array in the ocean,” affectionately(?)/commonly known as the “golf ball,” and deploying antimissile interceptors to the area.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think I might be concerned about this if I lived in Hawaii. Contrary to this gut-reaction, however, today both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal posted articles online with interviews of local residents that leave an impression of a general indifference towards the potential threat. The sentiment is nicely summed up in a quote from a Mr. Gerald Aikau in the Times piece: “What are you going to do? … You are going to go sometime, whether it’s on a wave, or a missile, or your buddy knocking you down and you hit your head.”
Well Mr. Aikau, I don’t know that I would share in your non-chalance. Aren’t missiles kind of a big deal? I can sort of understand since, hey you’re the in the middle of the ocean and there isn’t exactly a highway to the mainland, but still.
One thing we can be sure about is that Kanye West still thinks of HIMSELF as a big deal, and today marked the online premiere of a new video from Virgina Beach hip hop duo Clipse for “Kinda Like a Big Deal” that features a pretty killer verse from Kanyeezy. Clipse, the brothers Malice and Pusha T, although relatively well known in the industry for past efforts, are looking to finally break through to the mainstream with this one from their third LP Till the Casket Drops, scheduled (for now) to be released sometime this September.
Clipse ft. Kanye West – Kinda Like a Big Deal:
After weeks of claims that she and Congress were never briefed on the CIA’s use of waterboarding, it seems that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has “Some ‘Splaining” to do after yesterday’s release of a memo that says she did, in fact, receive such a briefing as early as 2002 or 2003. Today, she admitted as much. OMG.
Pelosi has tried to quiet the storm a bit by pointing out that this is exactly the sort of storyline the GOP has been looking for “to take the spotlight off of those who conceived, developed and implemented these policies” in the first place. But this isn’t likely to blow over quickly.
All of which leads us to the chorus of today’s Jam of the Day: “Oh my God/I can’t believe it/I’ve never been this far away from home.” I feel like this sums up a lot of everyone’s feelings on the matter: Oh my God (Pelosi haters), I can’t believe it (Pelosi supporters), I’ve never been this far away from home (Pelosi – she does live in CA after all).
Originally a Kaiser Chiefs song, Mark Ronson worked with Lily Allen on this remake for his album, Version. Personally, I think Ronson and Allen do it better.
Mark Ronson ft. Lily Allen – Oh My God:
The top story for most of the major papers this morning was the news from yesterday that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has given the boot to Gen. David D. McKiernan as the top military commander in Afghanistan. According to the Times article, Gates acknowledges very matter of factly that this will “probably” end McKiernan’s career in the military.
Sad day for the General, but this shouldn’t be a surprise given that his boss – Gen. Petraeus (read a nice profile of him in The New Yorker here) – rose through the ranks past McKiernan byway of his successful implementation of counterinsurgency tactics in Iraq and various other non-traditional methods of warfare, which apparently are not within McKiernan’s areas of expertise. Still, it’s tough to lose your job.
So to help with the healing and the soul searching, today’s jam is a sad but beautiful one from Bon Iver. Who’s holding all the tickets now, huh Gates? I don’t even know what the means!
But in all honesty this song is really great. Bring a tissue.
Bon Iver – Skinny Love (live at Bowery Ballroom):
NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Straight outta P-A, it’s a crazy brother named Specter! This song is a shout out to Arlen Specter, the venerable Senator outta Pennsylvania who yesterday announced that he would be leaving the Republican Party and joining the Democrats, mostly because he almost certainly has no shot at re-election running as a Republican.
Deomcrats embraced the move, calling it “game-changing,” while Republicans mostly said “WTF?!?” and continued the soul-searching that everyone in the media thinks should happen but may or may not actually be taking place.
We here at ev2bk call it “bad ass.” Like, check out this quote at the end of the NYTimes article: “I don’t expect everybody to agree with all my votes,” he said. “I don’t agree with them all myself at this point.” Straight gangster.