Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It’s sexual abuse, but it isn’t fraud: why the JONAH case is frivolous

Sean Ewart

 So it’s finally happening: a few gay guys are suing an organization that promised to turn them straight.

To their surprise the four Jewish men left Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing as gay as they arrived – and considerably more emotionally unstable – and are looking for reparations.

But the lawsuit isn’t exactly breaking any intellectual ground.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Darkest Comedy: Israel and Palestine

Sean Ewart

This is so stupid.
As we are all aware, Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip are fighting… again. Israel is targeting terrorists in Gaza, and killing civilians in the process, while the terrorists in Gaza are targeting Israeli civilians with crude rockets. They are mostly missing.

Without getting into the politics of today’s conflict (i.e. the role of the new Egyptian government in the affair and the upcoming Israeli elections) the obvious should be stated: this conflict is fucking dumb. And, speaking on behalf of everyone, Israel and Palestine need to knock it off.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 5:
"Say the Word"

Five reasons why Skyfall was terrible

Sean Ewart


After the Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace flick (I count them as one film because, watch them one after the other like I did before seeing Skyfall, they are) I was expecting James Bond to continue in a similar vein.

Ok, QoS left a lot to be desired – crucially because it overplayed the trivial Bolivian water monopoly aspect of the film and underdeveloped the revenge against Quantum plotline. 

But at least it had a plot. 

So when I walked into the theater Saturday night, I was looking for a similar experience: a tightly wound action film with a certain level of British ironic detachment. 

What I got was a massive letdown. I’m not saying I want my money back, but I also don’t want to see it again. And that’s a failure in my book.

So here are the five reasons Skyfall failed, let me know how strongly you agree with me in the comments:

Step up and lead

Joe Alicata

On Tuesday November 6th the United States re-elected President Barack Obama to a second term in what turned out to be an election close in the popular vote but disparate in the Electoral College. As an independent, I was not as happy to see the president win as I was ecstatic that Mitt Romney lost.

I have a few bones to pick with the president, namely the NDAA which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens suspected of “involvement with terrorism” and the health care reform that wasn’t actually real reform.

Without going off on a tangent about how horrific of a president Romney would have been, it is time to turn to the president and kindly ask him to do one thing during his second term, just one thing the entire four years: step up and lead.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Five truths about this year’s election


Hunter Christopherson

1) Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

If you or anyone else you know has fretted over giving enough to either the Obama campaign or Romney campaign; slap yourself right now. With an approximate budged of 923 million the Obama campaign is speculated to be the “first billion dollar campaign in history.” Though Mitt was slightly outspent like a contestant on the ‘price-is-right’, his campaign funds are no scoffing matter either.

With 881 million raised, the approximate total of the whole election was 1.6 billion dollars—that’s a lot of basketballs and coffee—I mean Harvard law reviews and deceased baptisms. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Because she loves you

Aaron Rood 

“Mom said she didn’t wanna take me to get a new backpack last night. She is so lazy”.

“Hey, respect your mother. She works hard for you Evan.” Replied his father lovingly.

“Well then why can’t she buy me a new backpack?”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guy Fawkes was a religious terrorist not a freedom fighter

Sean Ewart

Morons wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.
Remember, remember the 5th of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I know of no reason why the Gun Power Treason
Should ever be forgot.

The Gunpowder Plot was a 17th century terrorist attempt and nothing more.

When, in 1605, Guy Fawkes and his conspirators, funded by Catholic kings on the European mainland, gathered together in a bar in London to talk revolution, they were not advocating the overthrow of tyranny. Fawkes and friends were instead discussing the most effective way to slaughter the entire Protestant government of England and replace it with a Catholic monarch.

The details of the story were left out of the 2005 Warner Brothers adaptation. V for Vendetta glossed over the facts of the Gunpowder Plot in favor of the inspiring imagery.

And it made for a great movie.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 4: "Killer Within"

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 4:
"Killer Within"

OMG! Christie and Obama, no way!

Joe Alicata 

You're an asshole if you think this picture is a problem.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, much has been made of New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie and his public thanking of President Obama for his handling of the situation in New Jersey. Christie appeared on Fox News’ faux news program “Fox and Friends” and said:

“The President was great last night… he said he would get it done. At 2 a.m. I got a call from FEMA to answer a couple of final questions, and he signed the declaration this morning (disaster declaration). So I have to give the President great credit. He’s been on the phone with me three times in the last 4 hours. He’s been very attentive, and anything I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done, as far as I’m concerned, a great job for New Jersey.”

Holy crap. Stop the presses. Take a seat. The United States of America has just witnessed the most momentous political event of the past ten years: a Republican governor has thanked a Democratic president and said he has done a “great job” in the throes of a contentious election during which only days before that exact Republican governor had been highly critical of the president and his leadership, comparing him to a man lost in a dark room looking for “the light switch of leadership.” Apparently, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, Obama found the light switch.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Last Minute Pre-Election Plea

Allie Lane

As I’m sure everyone is painfully aware, the election is only a few days away. We’ve been inundated with it for months. I almost hesitate to write about it because I, personally, am so sick of all the coverage. Every hour there’s a new poll, a new talking point, a new controversial nuanced remark we’re told to factor into our decision. In the final countdown to this election, which is no doubt an important one, I will keep my remarks brief in order to prevent myself and everyone else from going into an Election Overload Coma.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Dangerous Neglect of Syrian Kurds

Sean Ewart

Syrian Kurds are the wildcard in the Syrian War

The Syrian War, a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is fast igniting regional, and global, tensions, has been pitting ethnic and religious entities against each other since the beginning in spring 2011. The war has been costly with more than 35,000 people dead.

In recent days the role of the substantial Kurdish minority has been crystalizing. Representing roughly 10 percent of the Syrian population, the Kurds have long sought an independent homeland, not just in Syria, but in northern Iraq, Turkey and Iran.

Kurdish leaders in Syria are closely aligned with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in Turkey that has been engaged in a decades long, often violent, struggle for independence in that country.

In Iraq the Kurds have been granted relative autonomy within the framework of the federal government. With massive oil reserves, however, revenue sharing has been a point of contention between Iraqi Kurds and Bagdad. It’s an unhappy marriage of convenience and nothing more.

In Syria the rebellion against the Assad regime is an opportunity for greater Kurdish independence.

Already the Kurds have been granted more flexibility by the regime as it focuses on crushing the Sunni Muslim rebellion.

And while the Kurds are natural allies with the Sunni opposition, as they have long been hindered in their own quest for autonomy by the Assads, there is more to the story.

In particular the reluctance of international forces to engage more forcefully in Syria can be largely explained by their common fear of Kurdish ambition.

Turkey, the nation with the most to lose, risks encouraging an escalation in the conflict with its own Kurdish minority if it stokes the flames of Kurdish rebellion in Syria. Because of the close ties between Syrian and Turkish Kurds, if Turkey, or one of its allies – like the United States – were to arm the rebels, it would amount to arming the PKK in Turkey as well.

So as the United States calls for a “reorganization” of Syrian rebels, don’t look for a strong Kurdish presence.

Unless the Syrian Kurds agree, as they have (to varying degrees) in Iraq, to renounce their own territorial ambitions in exchange for a role in the future Syrian government, they will be left out of any future deal.

And that is regrettable.

Syrian Kurds are far less zealous than the Islamist Sunni rebels. Indeed, Iraqi Kurdistan has been the most peaceful part of the country throughout the last decade and if granted autonomy in Syria there is potential for a similar arrangement.

But so long as this war is polarized between Sunni Muslims backed by Saudi Arabia (and the United States) and Shiite Muslims backed by Iran (and Russia) the Kurds will be lost in the shuffle.

And as weapons inevitably make their way to Syria, and into the hands of the Kurds, this neglect has the potential to fuel more deaths in the future… in Iraq, in Syria and in Turkey.