Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fox News: We Totally Know Where Egypt Is

Presented entirely without comment…

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On This Day…

American jurist Sandra Day O'Connor (b. 1930),...

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five years ago, Sandra Day O’Connor completed her last day as a United States Supreme Court Justice. She was on the court more than two decades and was the first woman to hold the position.

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Prominent Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Killed

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On Wednesday, David Kato, a prominent Ugandan gay rights activist, was found murdered in his home outside Kampala.

Kato became internationally famous after a Ugandan newspaper published his name and photo and announced his homosexuality. Above the picture was the caption “Hang Them.” After the article was published, Kato received death threats. Kato sued the newspaper and won a victory in court exactly three weeks before his murder. The newspaper was enjoined against publishing any more pictures of homosexuals in Uganda.

It is believed that an intruder entered Kato’s home around noon on January 26 and struck him in the head with a hammer. In Uganda, being killed by an iron instrument is called an “iron-bar killings.”

Ugandan security forces have arrested one suspect and continue to look for others. The police have noted that this crime could be linked to a series of other murders that have taken place in the neighborhood. They also speculate that the murder could have been part of a burglary and not related to his homosexuality.

Homosexuality, however, is illegal in Uganda. The punishment is a term up to 14 years.

Via Impunity Watch.

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United Nations Investigates Abuse in Indian Nation

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On Friday, Rashica Manjoo, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on violence against women, stopped in Cherokee, North Carolina to discuss assault on Native American women.

According to the Department of Justice, one of three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, and three of four will be physically assaulted.

The Indian Civil Rights Act limits tribal courts’ sentencing authority over Indians accused of sexual assault and domestic violence. Additionally, non-Indians cannot legally exercise jurisdiction over members of the Indian Nations.

Advocates are pushing for greater jurisdiction and services for victims of sexual and domestic abuse.

Via Impunity Watch.

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Indian Government Officials Protest Murder of Their Own

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Hundreds of thousands of Indian government workers are protesting the brutal murder of Yashwant Sonawane, an official in the western state of Maharashtra.

Sonawane was burnt to death Tuesday while trying to prevent a gang from stealing fuel on the Nashik-Manmad highway. He was attacked, doused in kerosene, and burnt alive.

The protesting government workers have met in Mumbai to mourn Sonawane, call for the strictest possible punishment for his murderers, and demand protection as they carry out their official duties.

Nine people have been arrested in connection with Sonawane’s murder. The government has blamed the “fuel mafia” – criminals who steal petroleum, mix it with kerosene, and sell it. Maharashta Home Minister R.R. Patil said the fuel mafia’s strength is increasing daily.

Via Impunity Watch.

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Japan Gives $11.7 Million More to Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Japan announced Friday that it will provide another $11.7 million to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the United Nations tribunal trying former Khmer Rouge leaders.

Nearly $9 million will go to the international arm of the ECCC, with $2.9 million for the domestic arm. Japan is the single largest contributor to the ECCC.

The ECCC has spent more than $80 million to date. It has tried and convicted Duch, the former guard of S-21, the largest Khmer Rouge prison, where 14,000 people were imprisoned before their executions.

The ECCC has also investigated evidence against four top Khmer Rouge cadres, and it will be trying them next year.

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Pros and Cons: Football Players Who Commit Sexual Assault

Tuesday night, during the State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.”

I’ll be honest and begin by saying that I couldn’t care less who wins the Super Bowl. As a former Clevelander, I would love it if the disastrously terrible Browns were to take the title, but only so the city can feel good. They have harsh winters, loads of unemployment, and bad sports teams. They could use the lift.

In any case, the Browns haven’t made it to the Super Bowl. The teams who have made it, though, both have players who have faced sexual assault allegations.

I’m guessing you’ve heard of the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault scandal.

However, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the only ones with sexual assault charges in their pasts. Last summer, two women called the police to a resort in Wisconsin, alleging that several Green Bay Packers held them down and sexually assaulted them. Linebackers Brad Jones and Clay Matthews, guard Josh Sitton, safety Khalil Jones, fullback Korey Hall, and quarterback Matt Flynn were cleared of charges after the women changed their stories. Brandon Underwood, however, is currently under investigation.

You may be surprised, like I was, to find out the number of allegations of sexual assault against the players in this year’s Super Bowl. Apparently, though, this kind of criminal activity is just par for the course. (Please excuse a golf analogy in an article about football.) A 1998 study, Pros And Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL, announced that more than one in five (21%!) NFL players has been accused of at least one crime.

Although we haven’t heard about a lot of these crimes, many of them have made the news. Last year, Lawrence Taylor (a two-time Super Bowl champ from the New York Giants) was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in a New York hotel. He pled guilty to much lesser charges, solicitation of a minor, and will have to register as a sex offender.

In 2009, David Meggett (former Super Bowl Champion and two-time Pro Bowler) was found guilty of rape and received a 30-year prison sentence. It was his second sexual assault charge.

In 2007, Michael Irvin (former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys) was accused of rape.

Eric Green (former Arizona Cardinal) was sued by a transgender woman who claims he raped her in 2009.

While we can’t assume that all of the men mentioned in the article above are guilty of crimes, I think we can all see a disturbing trend. Rape is a depressingly underreported crime, and with the media that surrounds football players, accusers are probably even less likely to bring charges to a conclusion. It might be a failure of our criminal justice system that people who have committed sexual assault face no jail time, but it’s also a failure of our own personal standards when we glorify these men. When the Super Bowl finally showcases two teams with clean sexual assault records, then I’ll be watching. Until then, I’ll just have to check out the good commercials online.

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