From time to time I have a ton of different stories open on my browser, that I’m considering for posts, and just don’t get to writing about most of them. I keep forgetting to write an uber-post that provides you links so that you can peruse them at your leisure. Not a bad way to start the morning with a slurry of interesting articles:
Huckabee, Cruz and Rand Paul refuse to talk about gay marriage and abortion at big conservative confab in New Hampshire (Buzzfeed):
At a conservative conference Saturday billed as the “unofficial start” to the 2016 Republican primaries, right-wing heroes Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee competed for activists’ attention with ready-made messages for the movement, replete with Obamacare-bashing, foreign policy tough talk, and more than a few NSA phone-hacking jokes.
Conspicuously missing from their pitches: social issues.
In a sign of just how marginalized the religious right has become within the Republican Party, not one of the Great Right Hopes positioning themselves for presidential bids at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit — an event sponsored by Citizens United and the Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity — tried to rally the crowd with condemnations of same-sex marriage, or abortion. And when reporters asked the prospective candidates about these issues, the replies that came back were feeble and vague, and studded with rhetoric about the importance of big-tent Republicanism.
The Vatican Swiss Guards are reportedly totally gay (Daily Beast). Not surprisingly, there’s some major homophobia linked to the story:
As a follow-up to the story, Schweiz on Sonntag then interviewed Elmar Mader, a former commander who led the elite force from 2002 to 2008, who seconded the rumors, and went one step further, telling the paper that could not “refute the claim that there is a network of homosexuals” within the Swiss Guard itself. Mader even told the Swiss paper that he purposefully did not promote gay Swiss Guards out of fear that they would be disloyal. “I also learned that many homosexuals are inclined to be more loyal to each other than to other people or institutions. If this loyalty were to go so far as to become a network or even a kind of secret society, I would not tolerate it in my sphere of decision making. Key people in the Vatican now seem to agree.”
In the interview, Mader also claimed the Vatican was “like a magnet” for gays, who he said tend to be drawn to all-male environments. He also said that when he retired, he informed the liaison with the Holy See about his concerns of the growing “secret society” and that he feared it might put the pope at risk.
American dry cleaners are still charging women way more than they charge men for the same dress shirts (Wash Post)
The Russians are attempting to start a civil war in eastern Ukraine, possibly as justification for an invasion (US State Dept.)
49 things you never knew about “Game of Thrones” (I found it interesting – Buzzfeed)
Did you know that “Game of Thrones” used George W. Bush’s head as one of the impaled-heads in a scene two years back? (NY Daily News, 2012)
A transgender teacher in Texas was asked not to return to work after some parents expressed concerns. She was later reinstated. (Via DKos)
Why big media companies are afraid to speak out against Comcast’s $45.2bn merger with Time Warner Cable. (Buzzfeed)
There is also now a website with a name that translates as “traitor.net” that includes photos and quotations of public figures who have spoken out in some way against Russia’s policy toward Ukraine. The bottom of the site has a button inviting viewers to “suggest a traitor.”
At Mr. Putin’s direction, a committee led by his chief of staff is developing a new “state policy in culture.” Widely expected to be enacted into law, the proposed cultural policy emphasizes that “Russia is not Europe” and urges “a rejection of the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance” in favor of emphasizing Russia’s “unique state-government civilization,” according to Russian news accounts that quoted a presidential adviser on culture, Vladimir Tolstoy.
A Russian news site, znak.com, also reported last week that a popular series of math textbooks would be dropped from an official list of recommended educational texts because it used too many non-Russian fairy tale and other characters in its illustrations.
Even more from that wacky NYT article about the Russian government losing it:
And in a statement last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned its citizens not to travel to countries that have extradition treaties with the United States, saying that the Obama administration “is trying to make a routine practice out of ‘hunting’ for Russian citizens in third countries with the goal of their subsequent extradition and conviction in the U.S. on the basis of, as a rule, questionable charges.”
Boris Y. Nemtsov, a longtime political opposition leader and a former deputy prime minister under Boris N. Yeltsin, who also appeared on the banner, wrote on Facebook that the situation seemed worse than during the Cold War. “In my opinion, even the Soviet Union wasn’t like this,” Mr. Nemtsov wrote.
Some of the language on Russian television in recent days has been far more charged than anything heard during Soviet times. One of the country’s most prominent television hosts, Dmitry K. Kiselyov, declaredduring an evening newscast last month that Russia remains “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive ash.”
How someone made that really cool, and creepy, animated gif of Emma “Hermione Granger” Watson and Sofia Vergara (HuffPo):