Daily Archives: April 17, 2009

Leaders in Sierra Leone Sign Female Genital Mutilation Agreement

An agreement stating that girls under 18 will not undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone was recently signed by village chiefs and other community leaders, including women who perform FGM. The agreement affects the Kambia district, which is in the northernwestern part of the country.

At puberty, the majority of girls in Sierra Leone are initiated into the Bondo Society, a secret society of women that uses circumcision to initiate new members abducted the women. Gloria Bella, of Sierra Leone’s Human Rights Commission, told IRIN, “community leaders feel that [initiation] is their culture, they feel offended by lobbyists, and don’t listen…We need to listen to their fears and try to allay them, and make sure they know we are not coming in to challenge traditional authority.” John Marah, who works against FGM in Sierra Leone through local NGOs, also told IRIN “We are against just the cutting, not the training. You can still have a rite of passage. It’s just a change of mentality.”

More details and source here.

CIA exemption is the right thing to do

Update: See this: CIA exemption is the wrong thing to do

I do not disagree with Obama’s decision to pre-pardon CIA agents who tortured people at Gitmo and elsewhere. (See this.) The only reason to not pardon them is to use them to get to higher-ups who should actually be prosecuted. These on the ground operatives are the ones who, like it or not, need to do what they are told even when they may well “know” it is wrong. As long as they were not acting as rogue agents, they should be immune, and they should certainly not take the fall for what Bush, Cheney and their cronies did.

Burn the books!

“The commies have infiltrated our country as part of their fifty year plan! I know what I’m talking about, I’m in the marketing business! Only the FOX network knows the truth!” … and so on and so forth.

These are real people. Be afraid. Trust no on. I am not joking even a little. You must listen to the end, or at least, focus on the last 90 seconds or so.

When depression and suicide comes to your family …

… there is no way to turn way from it, but we are often poorly prepared to deal with it, especially when it involves teenagers. Face it: adults like it when teenagers finally learn to hide some of their emotions. Maturity = knowing how to leave other people out of your bad shit. We reward this behavior and we model it by building and maintaining a Barbified and Kenified culture. But every now and then a kid goes too far for their own good and, not to shock you or anything, but the morgue is not the appropriate place to have “that conversation” about life.

I’ve been lucky. I was never particularly suicidal, nor were any of my relatives as far as I know. As I was growing up, only two people I knew killed themselves and a few tried, but they were not people I was close to. I once had to drag my roommate off the roof of a building. I have a very close friend now who was very depressed and suicidal as a teenager. There have been times in the past when we would go somewhere and he’d point out a spot that he had sat for a long time contemplating suicide. It was always a high place, over a road or a train track. It is rather chilling to hear such a thing while standing there looking at the spot.

So now, today, a friend of mine has someone in her life who is in a state of depression and need but who is living in a setting where there clearly is not enough support, so she is intervening, or at least, trying to. She, my friend, happens to be a blogger. So like I was saying to Lizzie the other day at dinner, “If you hang around with a blogger, you’re going to get blogged.” (She gave me a dirty look.)

OK, so this blogger has decided to share this with others for obvious, and good reasons. I want you to do me a favor and take some time off from reading my blog, and visit this post:

A Letter to the Kid

Then go find some teenager and give them a hug. But make sure it is a teenager you know and that the hug is appropriate.

Ubuntu security alert

One of the nice things about Linux — but by no means the most important — is the enhanced security that comes along with running it. That doesn’t mean Linux never runs into security issues, though, and this week, the vulnerability in question centers around a nifty little service called udev.

According to advisories from several distributions, including Fedora, Ubuntu, and SUSE, a bug has been discovered that allows a local or remote user to exploit the udev service in order to gain root access to the system….

You can read the rest here,
but mainly, just update your system frequently over the next couple of days and it will be fixed.

Washington (which is no Texas!) Expands Gay Rights

Same-sex domestic partners would have all the rights and benefits that Washington state offers married couples under a bill passed Wednesday by the state Legislature.

The Democratic-controlled House approved the Senate-passed measure on a mostly party-line 62-35 vote after nearly two hours of debate. It next goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire, who said she will sign it into law.

“Our state is one that thrives on diversity,” Gregoire, a Democrat, said in a statement. “We have to respect and protect all of the families that make up our communities.”

Washington = Sane

Vaccine for E. coli developed

From a Michigan State University Press Release:

A Michigan State University researcher has developed a working vaccine for a strain of E. coli that kills 2 million to 3 million children each year in the developing world.

Enterotoxigenic E. Coli, which is responsible for 60 percent to 70 percent of all E. coli diarrheal disease, also causes health problems for U.S. troops serving overseas and is responsible for what is commonly called traveler’s diarrhea.

Continue reading Vaccine for E. coli developed

May the Farce be with you …


Eight of Scotland’s primary police department have listed their religion as Jedi.

Strathclyde Police said the officers and two of its civilian staff claimed to follow the faith, which features in the Star Wars movies.

The details were obtained in a Freedom of Information request by Jane’s Police Review.

Strathclyde was the only force in the UK to admit it had Jedi officers.

Apparently there are close to four hundred thousand Jedi in England and Wales. Scotland has fourteen thousand.