Archive | April 22, 2013

Sex Manual for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Jewish Marriage“If you have never seen a movie or read a book, how are you supposed to know what you do?” asks David Ribner, an Orthodox sex therapist explaining the need for his new sex manual to BBC News:

Sex is a touchy subject – not least among Israel’s highly conservative ultra-Orthodox Jews. But a therapist in Jerusalem has written a sex guide aimed specifically at this community.

There used to be a sex shop on the way to Dr David Ribner’s office in central Jerusalem.

The sign is still there – with big red letters spelling out “Sex Shop, Sex, Love” – but you can barely read it because it’s been scratched out.

The shop went out of business. Now there’s just one sex shop left in Jerusalem. No surprise for a city brimming with the pious.

Things are quite different in Ribner’s discreet office. Here, there is a row of boxes packed with lubricants, vibrators and massage oils, and an unusual collection of books on the wall – The Joy of Sex and The Guide to Getting It On sit side by side with volumes of Jewish religious texts.

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Guatemalan Lawsuit Against Canadian Mining Giant May Set Precedent

via CorpWatchBehemoth

A group of indigenous Mayan Q’eqchi’ have filed three civil lawsuits in Canada against HudBay Minerals Inc. of Toronto for alleged human rights atrocities committed by its subsidiaries – HMI Nickel, Skye Resources and Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel – at the company’s nickel mine in eastern Guatemala.

The outcome of this cross border lawsuit is being closely watched by human rights activists after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a case against Shell for aiding and abetting human rights abuses in Nigeria on the grounds that Shell did not have sufficient ties to the U.S.

However the Supreme Court decision left open the possibility that U.S. companies could be sued in U.S. courts for human rights abuses abroad. Thus a legal decision that allows Canadian companies to be sued in their home country, would also help fill the legal vacuum that multinationals have often taken advantage of historically to escape liability.

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UFO Disclosure or UFO Circus?

Stephen Bassett’s latest event at the National Press Club has been making headlines recently. The Citizen Hearing on Disclosure is supposed to assemble a gallery of credible UFO witnesses to be interviewed by a distinguished panel of former U.S. congressmen. Having former high-ranking statesmen conduct the inquiry, according to Bassett, will lend credibility to the event, which recently got positive airtime on MSNBC.

“They are essentially conducting themselves as if they were still in Congress. We’re looking for them to be objective and gather information,” Bassett told HuffPost Weird News. “We do not care what their opinion is, it’s not a factor. We simply want them to do the job.”

But who, exactly, are these congressmen? According to website Parapolitical, they are the “nuttiest former U.S. congressmen in history.” Taking a closer look at the biography of the panelists reveals a range of anecdotes that could be amusing, if it weren’t so frightening to imagine these people once held high public office.… Read the rest

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Sinister Yoga

From Modern Mythology:

“Breathe in, hold in, breathe out, old, focus on purifying the mind and body with white light” — how many of you have heard this before? (Quite possibly while internalizing thoughts of lighting the teacher on fire as they use words like “sensation” as code for “agonizing, excruciating pain” as they twist you into a pretzel.)

Here at Modern Mythology we are often looking at the origin myths behind what has become rote practice. This may involve delving into etymological history or just conjecture about the possibilities that have since been forgotten. However, in this case, it seems that our work has been done for us. If you’d like to check out an alternative perspective on yoga and the myth of the yogi, check out David Gordon White’s “Sinister Yoga.” (This is not to say that alternative myths are not myths themselves.)

This approach challenges many of the preconceived Western notions of yoga.

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FBI: No Ricin Found in Home of Mississippian Suspected of Sending Poisoned Letters

curtisThe feds turned up empty-handed after scouring the home, vehicle and computer of the Mississippi Elvis impersonator suspected of sending ricin in the mail to several elected officials, including President Barack Obama.

Via the Clarion-Ledger:

Investigators haven’t found any ricin in the house of Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge, according to testimony Monday from an FBI agent.

Agent Brandon Grant said that a search of Paul Kevin Curtis’ vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., on Friday did not turn up ricin or ingredients for the poison. A search of Curtis’ computers has found no evidence so far that he researched making ricin.

“There was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something,” Grant testified. He speculated that Curtis could have thrown away the processor.

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The Art of Harvey Kurtzman

Cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) founded the satirical MAD magazine in 1952 and forever altered the way young readers experienced the media and consumer culture around them. As the late film critic Roger Ebert explained, “I learned to be a movie critic by reading MAD magazine. I learned a lot of other things from the magazine too, including a whole new slant on society. MAD‘s parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin–of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same dumb old formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe.”

After MAD, Kurtzman worked with a team of artists including Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Will Elder on a series of short-lived but influential publications, including TRUMP, HUMBUG and HELP! At HELP!, a fortuitous nexus of nascent sketch comedy and underground “comix,” Kurtzman worked with then unknowns Woody Allen, Gloria Steinem and R.… Read the rest

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Exonerated While Black: America’s Guilty Secret about Convicting Innocents

Picture: State of Louisiana (PD)

Picture: State of Louisiana (PD)

Sadhbh Walshe writes at the Guardian:

It’s hard to imagine a worse fate than being sent to prison or even being sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit. There’s no way of knowing for sure how many of the over 2 million Americans who are currently incarcerated were wrongfully convicted, but studies estimate that somewhere between 2 and 5% of them, which would amount to up to 100,000 people, may be innocent of their crimes.

What we do know, however, is that since 1989, more than 1,000 people, some of whom have spent decades in prison, have been exonerated (pdf). We also know that of that number. more than half were black and male; and their treatment by the criminal justice system, post release, is not a whole lot better than it was prior to their incarceration.

In 1989, the 16-year-old Shareef Cousins was convicted on eyewitness testimony of a murder he didn’t commit, and was sentenced to death.

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CISPA Cybersurveillance Bill Passes In House Of Representatives

CISPAHere’s crossing your fingers that Obama stands strong on his threat to veto if the bill make it through the U.S. Senate. Via CNET on Thursday:

By a 288-127 vote today, the House adopted the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA. CISPA would authorize e-mail and Internet providers to share confidential information with the federal government.

The odds of a Democrat-controlled Senate the approving legislation opposed by President Obama are slim, but today’s vote could increase pressure for some sort of legislation this year.

CISPA is “so important to our national security” that it must be adopted, said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who authored CISPA and heads the House Intelligence Committee.

CISPA is controversial because it overrules all existing laws by saying “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” including privacy policies and wiretap laws, companies may share cybersecurity-related information “with any other entity, including the federal government.”

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Ron Paul: “Gitmo Sucks!” | Rand Paul: “Gitmo Rocks!”

Paul & Paul | image courtesy Gage Skidmore

Just like Baskin-Robbins, the Paul brand has learned it can increase its customer base by offering both chocolate and strawberry. Therefore,

- Ron Paul is continuing to advocate closing Guantanamo Bay,
- Rand Paul is advocating keeping Guantanamo Bay open.

Reporting on the opening of the Ron Paul Institute, whose board of directors has been joined by former Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, Politico noted the Gitmo issue as one of several gaps between the older Dr. Paul and the younger Dr. Paul:

It will not be surprising if the younger Paul receives less than a 100 percent rating from his father’s group.

The elder Paul, for instance, said Guantanamo is “outside the law” and symbolizes torture, secret prisons and an assassination list.

The Kentucky senator, 50, gave a carefully nuanced answer Wednesday when a reporter asked his position on Gitmo during a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

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