Monday, April 25, 2011

Seriously California? Serioulsy?!

So those people who want there to be a law in California denying gays the right to marry are saying the ruling by Chief Judge Walker which says Prop 8 violated the civil rights of gay Californians to be vacated. Did you catch that?

Prop 8 was on the ballot in 2008 in California and passed, effectively putting into law be referendum that gays aren't allowed to vote.

Some gay couples challenged that ruling in court and Chief Judge Walker agreed with the gay couples.
But now the proponents of Prop 8 want his ruling vacated because he has recently revealed that he is gay and has been in a relationship with his partner for 10 years. They say he should have recused himself because by being gay and in a long-term relationship, he would stand to benefit from his ruling and therefore could not possibly be unbiased.

What. The. Fuck?! These people must hate that you can't tell someone is gay by looking at them. Cause then they could keep gays from holding positions like Chief Judge and then they'd never have to call such things like bias into question. Life must be so hard for these poor conservatives, ahem, homophobes.

I guess they'd rather things be like the were in the civil rights era. If you had dark skin or squinty eyes or spoke Spanish or had boobs, it was clear you weren't unbiased and might do something like give women and minorities the same rights as regular white men.

If they had their way, gay Californians would have to wait like the rest of the oppressed groups in America for some white heterosexual Christian males to realize that it was a better economic decision to let the minorities have their "rights". Hopefully those men wouldn't know anyone actually gay to guarantee a lack of bias.

I guess if I'm black and I sign a petition saying the people who want to defund Planned Parenthood are all assholes, I'm biased because I could at some point benefit from their services. Since when is benefitting from a decision a reason to have that decision vacated? This is the most ridiculous logic. Perhaps these Prop 8 people should turn their focus on Wall Street and stop all those self-serving policies.

Oh wait, if they did that, all these religious groups would lose their funding. And then how would they keep finding new and interesting groups to oppress?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series: Sudan

The protests in Sudan kicked off on December 18, 2010.
See the whole Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series.
This country completely fell beneath my radar for some reason. I'm going back in history because I missed them in chronological order. So I just saved them until the end. Sorry about that. I guess I should take a look around the internet and make sure I haven't missed anyone else.

Basic History
Sudan's official name is the Republic of Sudan. Geographically, Sudan is located in northeastern Africa. Important bordering countries include: Egypt and Libya. The capital is Khartoum. The population is estimated at 43.9 million people. The languages are Arabic and English.

Sudan's most recent leader is President Omar al-Bashir. The government is setup as a presidential democratic republic. The President of Sudan is head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the Sudan People's Armed Forces in a multi-party system. But Sudan is widely seen as an authoritarian state. Bashir's military coup in 1989 ended the last time there was a Prime Minister in Sudan. He also ensured sharia law was the law of the land. It wasn't until the civil war ended that opposition parties were recognized and power wasn't completely concentrated (at least on paper) in one person.

In terms of independence, Sudan has a long history, but the most recent is their separation from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956. Their current constitution has been in place in 2005. There have been many conflicts within Sudan, most notably in recent history in Darfur. That is a region in western Sudan that has been in a humanitarian crisis ever since the government of Sudan declared war on the non-Arab indigenous population. If you don't know about Darfur, please look it up.

The Protests
The main causes cited as the reasons for the protests include: dissatisfaction with the government, rising prices, corruption, inner turmoil within the country.

I actually have seen conflicting dates for the exact start of these protests. The thing every website does agree on is that these protests in Sudan are linked to the independence referendum within the country, as well as the revolutions in neighboring Egypt.

Sudan has been dealing with a civil war between the government and the rebels. They signed a peace agreement in 2005, but not all the rebel groups agreed to the treaty. And the country is divided. Most of the oil that brings in much revenue is in the south of the country. The south wants to secede from the north (sound familiar?).

The country held a vote from January 9th to the 15th to see if it would split. the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of a split and an independent state will form this year on July 9th.  Right now, they're trying to work out issues with splitting the revenue from oil since northern Sudan will be it's own country.

But back to the protests. There were calls for protest before the referendum in support of Egypt and Tunisia. But after the referendum, a big protest was organized for January 30th. The police clashed with the people on two university campuses and in the capital city of Khartoum. There were protests reported in other cities as well. Many people were arrested and a number of people were injured.

Other protests were scheduled, but a number of them were stifled by police before they could even begin. In these protests, the demands seem to reflect the growing distrust of government by young people all over the region, but also the strife within the country over what would happen when the country splits.

President al-Bashir has made one major concession. He says he will not run again for office in 2015. That says nothing about who may run from his political party or what changes may need to happen in the country politically and economically between now and then. Some people consider the major protests in Sudan over, but time will tell as they move closer to the secession of the south and as food prices continue to rise.

More information can be found at,, and

Friday, April 15, 2011

Seriously, Laurent Gbagbo? Seriously?

I've been covering the protests in the middle east and north Africa, stretching even to Cameroon. But what's going on in Ivory Coast is an entirely different situation.

Check out the links Google has for news about this situation here.
This asshole Gbagbo is ruining things and almost set off a full-blown civil war in his country. The French had to basically blow a hole in the side of his house and come in and arrest him and his wife.

There was an election in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Gbagbo lost. He decided that even though the other guy, Alassane Ouattara, won he was still president somehow. This guy, President Ouattara, is nationally recognized as the winner of this election, but Gbagbo didn't listen.

Apparently him and his asshole religious leaders decided God was the only one who could give or take away his presidency, democracy be damned. That's the dangerous part about switching religions while in power. You become a puppet of that religion rather than a follower of it. Yeah, I just went there.

But now Gbagbo is in custody, but that hasn't fixed the Ivory Coast problem. There are still divisions amongst the people because the Gbagbo supporters didn't just disappear into thin air because he was arrested. And President Ouattara's supporters are guilty of some very egregious offenses as well, though in the name of protecting his right to govern.

I wonder where Ouattara is going to live. They wanted Gbagbo out of his residence since it was the official Presidential residence, but now it has to undergo construction I'm sure to repair all the damage inflicted trying to oust him.

I don't have any memories of all that went down in Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 90s, but if it was anything like what's happening in Africa and the Middle East, I'm sure it was riveting. Every week, there's some new jerk putting his quest to maintain power above the lives of the people he's supposed to serve. Jackass.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Drunk Toddler At Applebee's

I'm stuck in the airport for a delayed flight and I'm watching HLN on the TV. There was just a news report on about a 15 month old baby who got drunk in an Applebee's.

Apparently, he was drinking from a sippy cup. But instead of apple juice, he had a margarita!

His parents didn't see any probs until the baby started saying hi and bye to the walls. The father took a drink from the cup then called over the manager. He smelled the cup and was like, "wow, what a mixup. There's nothing we can do besides apologize".

It was a mixup in the kitchen. And they apologized. The couple wasn't satisfied with that and called the cops. They took the baby's BAL and it was .10. Legal limit for adults is .08!

That damn baby would have gotten alcohol poisoning if he had finished the cup.

I have three questions.
1) what dummy in that kitchen puts a fucking margarita in a baby's sippy cup?
2)What dummy between those parents didn't notice their baby was getting lit?
3)Why did the manager say he couldn't do anything?! At least make their meal free and offer to immediately fire the person who almost killed their baby.

Seriously, lots of dummies involved. A margarita in a sippy cup? If that baby grows up to have poorly functioning kidneys/liver or a proclivity for alcoholism, all those dummies will be at fault.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series: United Arab Emirates

The protests in the United Arab Emirates kicked off on March 9, 2011.
See the whole Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series.
UAE is a country I only know of because of the expensive and gorgeous man-made islands. But they are their own people with their own internal culture that has nothing to do with tourism (except with the economy of course). Let's dig in and see what we can learn about these people.

Basic History
The United Arab Emirates is often abbreviated to UAE or shortened to The Emirates . Geographically, it is located in southeast Asia and is part of the Midde East. Important bordering countries include: Saudi Arabia and Oman. it shares the Persian Gulf with several more countries that have been mentioned in this series:  Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Iran. The capital is Abu Dhabi. The population is estimated at 4.7 million people. The language is Arabic.
The Untied Arab Emirates' most recent leader is President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He is also the Emir of Abu Dhabi. He succeeded his father when the father died in 2004. He will be referred to as Sheikh Khalifa in most articles and definitely in this blog post. The Prime Minister is Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and he is also the Emirates Vice President. He was nominated by Sheikh Khalifa and approved by the UAE Federation National Council, only some of who are indirectly elected. All the rest are chosen by appointment in their various emirates. The UAE is a federation of seven different emirates. The UAE Prime Minister is the monarch of one of them, Dubai.

In terms of  independence, the United Arab Emirates drafted their constitution in 1971 after the end of a special treaty with the United Kingdom. There were nine at first with Bahrain and Qatar included, but those two states became independent when a government setup could not be agreed upon that satisfied all nine emirates.

The Protests
The main causes cited as the reasons for the protests include: lack of universal suffrage, dissatisfaction with the constitution,

The intellectuals in the Emirates were the start of the uprising against the government. They wanted universal suffrage and for comprehensive reforms of the constitution. They drafted a petition and had upwards of 160 signatures, many of them academics and former Federal National Council members.

There have been changes made where the 6500 who used to vote for half the 20 FNC positions are appointed. The other half are appointed. They are still hoping for more reforms, but they have yet to come.
More information can be found at,, and

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series: Kuwait

The protests in Kuwait kicked off on March 8, 2011.
See the whole Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series.
Kuwait is a country I don't remember hearing about after the 1990s. I'm looking forward to hearing something about it that has nothing to do with Bill Clinton (and that's only a vague connection I kind of remember).

Basic History
Kuwait's official name is the State of Kuwait. Geographically, is it located in western Asia and is considered part of the Middle East. Important bordering countries include: Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The capital is Kuwait City. The population is estimated at 3.6 million people. The language is Arabic.

Kuwait's most recent leader is Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He's been in power since 2006, when as a 70 year old crown prince, he succeeded the sheik who had just died. Kuwait's government is a constitutional hereditary emirate. They have the Emir, who is the head of state and the Prime Minister who is the head of government. The Prime Minister was Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah until April 1, 2011, and the position is now vacant until elections are held. Previously, the Prime Minister was appointed by the Emir.

In terms of independence, Kuwait they gained independence from the British in 1961.Through the discovery of their oil fields and an influx of foreign investments, they were able to form an independent country. They settled border issues and gained complete recognition as an independent state by all other countries.

The Protests
The main causes cited as the reasons for the protests include: dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed, restrictions on civil rights, .

There were calls for protests on March 8, 2011. Well before this even started, Emir Al-Sabah announced that he would be giving each Kuwait citizen (about 1.12 million of their population) 1000 dinar. It was said in celebration of their 50th anniversary independence year. There have been speculations that the stipend was to curb any protest sentiments floating around before they get moving. But clearly, the money didn't work since there were still calls for protests.

Even in February, there were protests, but they weren't by Kuwait citizens, they were by non-citizens living in Kuwait called diboons. They protested February 19th (I think) about the fact that they have such reduced rights in the country.

On March 8th, Kuwait was bracing itself for protests planned for the day. The primary point of the protests were for the ouster of the Prime Minister. The wanted the person who filled that role to not come from the royal family.

Amid calls for political and economic reform, parliament called in members of the cabinet who were members of the ruling family for questioning. Think of Congress holding a hearing to explore any one of the offenses done by a government official. The three members in question chose to resign their cabinet positions rather than face the questioning. This happened on March 31st.

Politics in Kuwait seem to have been influenced more by what is happening in nearby Bahrain than what is happening in their own country. The resignation appeared to be an attempt by three Cabinet ministers, members of the ruling Al Sabah family, to avoid being questioned over why Kuwait did not contribute troops to the Saudi-led Gulf force that was sent to Bahrain.

It's a bit confusing, but from what I can tell because of the resignation of Prime Minister Nasser's cabinet, he is no longer the Prime Minister. Yet, it is reported that he has been asked to help form a new government. The opposition to the ruling family has protested this request, and time will tell what will happen.

The country is trying to respond to the calls for a different organization of government officials in hopes that there will be better economic options available to the citizens. I'm not sure what will happen with the protests by those who are not Kuwaitis. I don't know if their calls for equality and citizenship will be answered. It's especially sad for those who have no country. Being the descendant of a nomad apparently makes you a man with no country. That sucks, plain and simple.

More information can be found at Wall Street Journal Video, Press TV, MSNBC.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series: Pakistan

The protests in Pakistan kicked off on March 2, 2011.
See the whole Middle East/African Revolution/Protest Series.
Pakistan is a country I hear about a lot, especially in terms of terrorism that affects America and relations with Israel. I don't know much about their internal conflicts though and I'm glad to finally learn.
Basic History
Pakistan's official name is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Geographically, is it located in southeast Asia and is considered part of the Middle East. Important bordering countries include: Afghanistan and Iran. The capital is Islamabad. The population is estimated at 170.6 millions people. The official languages are Urdu and English. Other recognized languages are Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi .

Pakistan's most recent leader is President Asif Zardari. He is the widower of Benazir Bhutto. Click that link and read her wikipedia page. She is a person you should know. But back to President Zardari. He is elected by electoral college after the people vote in Pakistan. He is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The Prime Minister is Yousaf Raza Gillani. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party who receives the most voted for office in the bicameral legislature. The Prime Minister is the head of government.

In terms of  independence, Pakistan as a modern state was established on August 14, 1947. This was when they declared their independence from the United Kingdom. Pakistan has fluctuated in terms of civilian, military, and religious rule over the years. As it currently stands, Pakistan is under Islamic law, but the people in charged are elected (indirectly) to office.

The Protests
The main causes cited as the reasons for the protests include: presidential corruption, oppression of women, lack of basic human rights. Some of these I was surprised to read about as being problems in a democracy, but I guess it makes more sense when looked at through the Islamic lens. Womens' rights are not a priority for Islam.

It's been pretty difficult to get a specific timeline of what's been going on in Pakistan. But I've read a number of articles that decry the use of violence against the protesters. They say the police have over-reacted to the protesters and incited more violence by doing so. You can read more about that here.

Here is the best I can figure from the posts and blogs and reports I've read. There have been various protests around Pakistan protesting corruption, economic turmoil and the like. Some of the clashes have been handled terribly by police. But for the most part, Pakistan isn't covering the protests on a large scale. They see news of it on TV, but it isn't the biggest concern. There seems to be more national concern about that cricket match they lost. But the protests are still ongoing and they are causing President Zardari to make concessions about solutions to the economic problems.

As of now, America stands with Pakistan's government against the protests, but of course condemns the violence against the protesters by police and particularly violent protesters themselves. If you know where I can find more specific information to piece together a timeline, let me know and I'll cover in more detail on this blog.

More information can be found at,, and

Monday, April 4, 2011

Back From My Break

I'm just writing this post to say I'm back! I've had a very exciting week and I was so busy I literally never had time to sit down and blog. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I can get back to writing my blog posts and living my regular life, even as it's in the process of evolving.

You can read what I've been up to on my main blog. And you can read my other blog where I talk about my friend's love lives here.

I'm glad to be back and finally finish my series of posts on the protests in Africa and the Middle East. Then I can go back and do updates on the ones I finished weeks ago because a lot has been happening. Libya and Egypt are the two countries that hold my attention the most (because of coverage). Join me in looking at what goes on further away than just outside your door.
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