Sohaila Abdulali, author of "Year of the Tiger," recounts in The New York Times how she was gang raped when she was 17 and living in Mumbai. The crime was much like that recently committed against the young woman who died after being attacked on a bus in New Delhi. Ms. Abdulali and a male friend had gone for a walk when four armed men raped her repeatedly and beat her friend.
Ms. Abdulali was lucky. She survived and returned to a nurturing family: "I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared. Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life ...
"Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your 'virtue.' It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men's brains are in their genitals."
Who do they represent?
Post-Gazette staff writer Mark Roth noticed in MIT News that Christopher Warshaw, an MIT expert on politics and geography, has come up with a way to track Congress members' votes vs. the wishes of their constituents. One interesting and somewhat depressing finding: Most Congress members will vote their party's preferences on the issues regardless of what their constituents think -- it takes more than 80 percent of a district's electorate to want something different from a party position before a legislator will change his stance.
"It takes an overwhelming majority to get legislators to cross partisan lines," says Mr. Warshaw, which is "one of the things that most frustrates people about Congress."
Hendrik Hertzberg in the New Yorker quotes Rep. Louie of Gohmert of Texas in a piece about guns: Free people should be an armed people. It insures against the tyranny of the government. If they know that the biggest army is the American people, then you don't have the tyranny that came from King George.
He goes on to write: "For Hobbesian gun nuts of Gohmert's ilk ... the real, irreducible purpose [of the Second Amendment] is to enable some self-designated fraction of the American people, in a pinch, to make war against the American government -- to overthrow it by force and violence, if that is deemed necessary. If that's the line you draw, then where, logically, do you stop?
"In Georgian times, when the amendment was ratified, the most fearsome weapon anyone, soldier or civilian, could carry was a single-shot musket. And today? 'Shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles don't shoot down black helicopters, people with shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles shoot down black helicopters'?" ...
"[Mr. Gohmert's] seditious fantasies of freelance insurrection are shared by a nontrivial portion of the NRA ... and by a gaggle of locked-and-loaded politicians who, not long ago, were threatening 'Second Amendment remedies' for policy offenses like the Affordable Care Act."
Israel to veto Hagel
The local Spork in a Drawer blog noticed this item in the Onion: "JERUSALEM -- Top-ranking government officials in Jerusalem confirmed Tuesday that Israel would exercise its longstanding, constitutionally granted veto power over American policy if U.S. lawmakers confirmed retired [Sen.] Chuck Hagel as the United States' next secretary of defense.
" 'In light of Mr. Hagel's worrying remarks on Israeli-Palestinian relations and questionable classification of Israeli interests as "the Jewish lobby," we consider him a highly inappropriate choice for defense secretary who stands far out of line with our national priorities, and therefore we are prepared to swiftly and resolutely use our official veto power over this U.S. action,' said Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev of the legal maneuver that the small Middle Eastern nation has employed to block U.S. Cabinet nominees, U.S. legislation, U.S. international relations and U.S. domestic policy over 1,400 times in its 64-year history."
Greg Victor (email@example.com).